Tag Archives: consumerism


Over the weekend I went to Canada to buy a mattress*. Now I live pretty far north, but headed straight up on route 108 I’m still 45 minutes south of the border. That’s a LOT of land between here and there- and a lot of small towns whose grocery store is even further away than mine.

When I got to the border the Canadian guard was very friendly. He even helpfully pointed out that the Boucherville Ikea is easier to get to than the one in Montreal proper (this will be important later). This was only sort of helpful, because I was traveling like it was 1997. My cell phone doesn’t work in Canada, and my GPS doesn’t have maps for that country. Instead I was traveling with carefully printed step-by-step directions from the internet…

Luckily I learned to drive in 1997 and thus am skilled in the art of traveling in this manner. I managed the windy back roads of Quebec with the same skill as the matching windy back roads in Vermont. It was when I got to Montreal that things became tricky.

Did you know? Montreal is a BIG city. Somehow, in all my planning I’d forgotten this important detail. And Ikea is on the far side of that big city, so I had to navigate the flying buttress highways and large bridges that go with city interstates. Somewhat miraculously I made it to Ikea without incident.

Then I had to navigate Ikea. Have I mentioned yet that this was my first time to any Ikea store? And have I mentioned that all the signs are in french? Sometimes they have english subtitles, if I’m lucky.

Unluckily the receipt the nice lady handed me which listed my chosen mattress and pillowtopper did NOT have english subtitles. This made navigating the self-serve warehouse somewhat tricky (pro tip: mattresses are not self-serve. You pick them up after paying)

Eventually I figured it out, paid, and found my way to the pick up location. Where I waited for my number to be called. I waited, and waited. People who got there after me picked up their stuff and left. Finally my number was called, and the guy came forward with just ONE rolled up piece of bedding. He explained the mattress was stuck on a second story shelf. They’d be able to get it down for me after business hours. Could I come back at 5:30?

I blinked two or three times, then mentioned that I live 4 hours (round trip) away. Therefore, NO, I could not come back later. He devised a scheme and suggested that I return the delayed mattress and choose a different one. Seems like a good concept right? Well, except for the fact that I had to navigate Ikea for a second time that day it was a fine idea.

I proceeded with the plan. The second time around I knew exactly what I was doing and it went much more quickly. Soon I picked up my two rolled items and left the store.

The drive home was relatively uneventful** with the exception of the US border crossing guard who apparently had A) never heard of Ikea and B) was wondering how much one could, hypothetically, smuggle in two rolled up bedding items. I’m just glad he didn’t decide to open them right there. They wouldn’t have fit in my car so well in their unrolled state.

When I got home I excitedly unrolled the mattress and pillowtopper. They need a few days to stretch properly. But the moment we got the wrapping off something was visibly wrong. The pillowtopper was about 3 inches too thick…

Apparently when the warehouse guy said the “mattress” was on a second story shelf, he meant the pillowtopper. But because Ikea stuff all has names like Finnvik and Favang I didn’t catch that detail. So now I have two mattresses, no pillowtopper, and a plan to go BACK to Ikea sometime next month for a wee exchange… I think this time I’ll drive to Boucherville. Just to mix things up.

*totally not as sketchy as it sounds. My nearest Ikea is in Montreal.
**uneventful, except for the part where I was sitting in stalled traffic on the interstate in a foreign country and some guy pulled up next to me to ask for directions. This happens to me ALL THE TIME. I swear, it’s like someone taped a “tour guide” sign to my back.

What I’m wearing: cosmetic edition

Today, I’m wearing layers:

wearing layers

because the weather guys SAID it was going to be sunny and cool, but then when I woke up it was cloudy, and I was afraid it’d be even cooler, and I hate my cold, cold office. The top is my modified version of A Little Something, one of my 12 sweaters in 12 months from last year (I had to have some quick knits in that project) I wear it All The Time in spring when I’m looking for transitional clothes. I should knit another lacy, vesty, sort of thing.

The other thing I’m wearing, is makeup:

i almost never wear makeup

I don’t usually wear a lot of makeup, but as I’m doing more modeling for my own patterns I’m starting to feel like having it available wouldn’t hurt. But I hate the idea of all the chemicals in regular makeup, so I’ve been exploring alternatives. I’ve been using, and loving, burts bees shampoo for years, and so I tried their tinted chapstick. It’s awesome. Suddenly I own it in three different colors.*

I got a free sample of Sweet Libertine mineral eye shadow in a package from the Sanguine Gryphon yarn company. The purple and rose seem to go together pretty well, and I’m getting a (free) larger set from them soon – in fact it looks like they still have some free packs left. (you do have to pay shipping) Most recently I picked up some mineral foundation at my local hippy/health food store where they carry Christina’s Natural Qualities.

All of these versions of makeup don’t contain chemicals like parabens or phthalates which was my goal. But they also have the benefit of being very light and not feeling all clingy. So that’s good enough for me! Along with all that, I’ve been wearing Black Pheonix Alchemy Lab perfumes for quite awhile. So that’s nothing new for me, but also on the “no weird ingredients” cosmetics list. The best thing about them is that they don’t make my mom sneeze. She’s highly sensitive to most commercial fragrances – except it turns out it’s the carriers she can’t handle. The natural oils and scents don’t bother her.

And finally, I’m wearing my home made deodorant. I got together with some friends and had a “not a stinky hippy party” last saturday and we made deodorant using the recipe from Angry Chicken.


I love this stuff and am so glad to have more of it! Mine is scented with tea tree and lavender essential oils because that’s what my friend used when she made some and introduced me to it. But one of my friends had a bunch of other essential oils and since we were making 9 pots of the stuff:


we had lots to experiment on. She made some for her fiance with cedarwood, rosewood, and pine- and DEAR LORD I think all men should smell like that stuff.

*three might not seem like a lot to some people, but given that before I owned zero lip stick, this is new and different for me.


I’ll come right out and say it – I love handkerchiefs. Reusable, old fashioned, cloth ones. I’ve seen those cold and flu prevention thingys that say you should use disposable tissues but I don’t care. My cloth handkerchiefs are here to stay*.
I love them for so many reasons. They’re reusable – I think this makes them environmentally friendly. I can embroider them –making them a great way to show off my new crafty skills. I love having a clean one in my purse for emergencies – nothing feels quite like offering someone a soft, clean, cloth hanky if they’re feeling a little sad**. Also they’re great for other emergency cleanings such as small spills or wiping rain and snow flakes off my glasses.
But here’s the reason I love them most – they’re better for my nose. After 6 days of being sick most people’s noses are red and raw and sore as well as being messy. But mine isn’t (ok, it’s still messy, but not red or chapped) I don’t care how much aloe and/or chemical crap they pump into paper tissues, they’ll never be as soft as a nice cloth one. We all know cloth hand towels are nicer in the bathroom then paper towels***. The same thing goes for cloth tissues. I switched years ago because I’d run out of tissues and was too sick to go to the store. I think the first cloth hanky I used was actually an old, soft bandana. My nose felt less raw and chapped within 12 hours and I never went back. Mind you fresh crisp cloth isn’t really great you need old cloth, or soft handkerchiefs like these. I like the ones I’ve seen at antique stores too.
So there it is: my cloth handkerchief evangelism. Lots of people think it sounds gross. But seriously, just get plenty so you can wash them in between. It’s worth it, they’re awesome!

*don’t worry, I wash them regularly, and don’t share them with anyone. Common sense people, it’s not as common as I’d like.
**bonus points for embroidery, or old fashioned printed or lace edged ones!
***DON’T get me started on those disposable paper towels for your home ads I’ve seen on TV recently (tag line: because this world needs more disposables in the landfill and less money in our pockets!)

REALLY one track mind

I swear, by the end of next week there will be chickens, or gardening, or something on this blog…

But do you want to know where I’m going early tomorrow morning? To the Golding booth. I’ve decided I need another drop spindle, and I’m sure they’ll have something that catches my eye…

And my friend wants a trip to the Bosworth booth. We might have spindles on our minds. After that who knows where we’ll head. I have a list of vendors, sorted by location, it’s 6 pages long…

knitting, bags, and camp

I’m so excited about knit camp next week I can barely stand it!  I’m still a little shocked that I won’t be knitting the subtle stripe vest there:

Well, maybe I’ll finish the neckline and armscye trim that weekend…

Instead I’ve started the lace shawl, so I should be able to just follow the simple lace pattern while I talk:


It’s only a 10 stitch repeat, what could possibly go wrong? (don’t answer that)

Along with that I think I’ll bring the long in hibernation argyle jacket, because that’s just the kind of simple stockinette I may need to fall back on…  Also, autumn is coming, and before I start any new Twist Collective patterns, I should really get some of the old ones off my needles. (that’s a link to the new fall twist collective, I haven’t looked yet, I’m headed there next!)

But before I go, I want to show off my cute new purse:
I finally retired the old vera bag with the foam showing through the handles.  Who am I kidding?  By “retired” I mean it’s now holding a knitting project…  Anyway, my new purse is a beatiful hand-made bag by RS Designs.  I’d give you a link, but they don’t have one.  I got mine at the Old Mill Craft Shop, which is like a downsized version of Etsy with all kinds of awesome stuff, plus no shipping!