For my second post, I thought I would share the evolution of CrunchySoul, those seeds and passions that made me want to start this blog. Where my first post gives an overview of the blog, this one explains some of the reasons behind the blog’s focus areas.
There are so many reasons I’m drawn to crafting. Through crafting, you can make something that didn’t exist before — a skein of yarn into a scarf, a flat piece of fabric into a tote bag.
This is a tote bag I made for my stepdaughter's fifth birthday.
You can also take something unused and unwanted and rework it into something beautiful and useful. I find something powerful in that creativity and transformation. I am also fascinated by how things are made and just love learning new things all the time. And frankly, I like taking a stand against the throwaway culture we seem so accustomed to. I relish slowing things down, taking the time to create handmade (and often imperfect) gifts that have character and show thoughtfulness.
An alphabet blanket I crocheted for my friend and coworker.
Unfortunately, I have a looong list of things I want to make, for myself and others, and the fact that I don’t get to them adds stress, which is really counter-productive to the type of mindfulness and serenity that I’m aiming for! But we’re all works in progress, right? All in good time is what I like to tell myself. I mostly crochet, quilt, and sew crafty items, but I have so much more that I want to try out like knitting, sewing clothes and home decor, woodworking and upholstery.
If you knew me, you might be surprised that I have a blog related to “green” issues. I’m not a vegan, not a card-carrying member of the Sierra club, don’t ride my bike to work….not yet anyway. But without being able to identify the actual beginning point, over time, seeds of concern about the earth have gotten into me. I’m almost hesitant to call it being “green” (which might explain why I have put “green” in quotes twice already! Make that three times. Just imagine air quotes every time I write it) because it sounds so trendy and trite. I mean, corporations are claiming it these days, and once corporations start using a term repeatedly to boast their products, you can best bet they’ve squeezed out anything genuine from the term.
Anyhoo, one thing I’d like to explore is how to get through all the trendy surface green stuff and get to the deeper questions about living meaningfully and purposefully, in tune with Mother Earth. How do we live compassionately, with reverence for the earth and for the future generations that will inherit this world from us? It’s one thing to carry a nifty reusable grocery bag (which I do….most of the time), but is that enough? What, exactly, is enough? How does one stainless steel water bottle measure up against the serious issues of power and exploitation, environmental racism, corporate raiding of indigenous resources? Are they connected? Should they be?
Upcycling: Here's a wool soaker (cloth diaper cover) I sewed for Mamacita. It's made from an old sweater using Katrina's Sew Quick Soaker Pattern.
The pessimist in me wonders if my single well-meaning actions can’t fix these larger issues then why should I bother? But the optimist hopes that my solo efforts might just be one drop in a larger wave of change. Maybe, just maybe, with my small gestures I’ll motivate myself to be even more active in the larger environmental movement — sort of like a muscle that gains strength over time, or a snowball that keeps building momentum downhill. We shall see.
I guess I’m hoping for the latter, that baby steps will matter. I envision CrunchySoul.com as a place to explore all these questions and ultimately to become more confident, more thoughtful, more knowledgeable, more empowered, more outspoken, and more conscientious about the environment. I think this is especially important for black people who are frequently affected by environmental and closely related economic issues but are underrepresented in the “Green” movement. Well, you have to start with small steps and big dreams. I just hope to never get shrill or judgmental about environmentalism. That’s not what I’m about. I just want to learn and document and share what I learn.
Interior design and landscaping
You ever watch Househunters on HGTV? You ever see those people who look at a house and say, “It’s okay but we would really need to redo the whole kitchen and all the bathrooms before we could move in.” Then, one month later the show visits them and they’ve moved in, painted, renovated, had new furniture delivered and hung custom artwork? Well, that is most certainly not me or Big G. We were just psyched to move in. Then we started a ritual of daydreaming and planning what we could do with the house. Then we never executed the plans. We’d toss around new ideas — we still do, but not much changes.
And here we are almost four years into our house. Meanwhile, the walls remain stark, the clutter is growing exponentially, patches of dirt are multiplying in the yard. The previous owner’s fruit-motif curtains and generic blinds still cover the windows, weeds are sprouting up between the landscaping rocks, tree limbs hang ominously over the house.
Here are those infamous inherited fruit curtains.
I could blame it on lack of money, lack of time, lack of energy, lack of skill — to some extent these are all true. But honestly, at heart, I think my true problem is fear — of messing up, of having to start over, of not being able to execute the vision in my head. This fear keeps me frozen, and I need to break out of this rut. I’m hoping to look deep within to find a little creativity, a an adventurous spirit, some determination, ingenuity and focus to get some things done around here. Perhaps I’m crazy to blog about it, but then again the level of accountability might be just what I need to move from a dreamer to a doer and to make this home feel like mine.
I have a burgeoning interest in gardening, and a fundamental belief that those slow-food, local harvest, sustainable gardening folks are on to something quite lovely. It just makes sense to me. I would love to join this movement, to know the joy and toil that goes into producing food for my family, to teach my kids to appreciate where their food comes from, to know with certainty that no pesticides or GMOs are going into my body. Assuming I ever overcome the landscaping hurdle, the next step is definitely a garden in our little plot of (patchy) earth.
So, as you can see, I have high hopes for CrunchySoul.com. Some of these focus areas overlap, and I will also expect to blog about my random interests every once in a while. I expect it to be a wild — or at least compelling– ride and I hope you’ll join me.