Eco-friendly

I Made the Switch to Reusable K-Cups!

Hello, my friends! I hope that you are having a wonderful, caffeinated Wednesday! Or if you are less  caffeine addicted than I am, I hope that you are having a wonderful Wednesday all the same!

I drink coffee every single day, one or two cups per day. Last summer I was able to ween myself off of drinking coffee, but here we are… there are certainly worse vices…

A vice related to my coffee drinking, but not a result of the actual act of coffee drinking… was using k-cups that WEREN’T REUSABLE. I had even tried to use a reusable k-cup! I bought one and everything, but it did not work! For whatever reason, it wasn’t compatible with my Keurig. And as guilty as I feel saying this… I just didn’t try to make it work or even buy a new one… until now.

Today is day one of using my reusable k-cup and I am NOT going back. I will say that it is a little bit more labor intensive, as you have to clean it out, but that’s really not a problem for me.

On the Midwest Mattie blog we are all about saving money AND saving the Earth. Making coffee at home is already better for your pocketbook and for the Earth, but if you are using a Keurig, I couldn’t recommend purchasing a reusable K-cup enough.

I’m trying to make changes in my lifestyle that are doable, and sustainable. It doesn’t do much good for us if we try to make too big of a change at once, and then ultimately give up because it was too much, too fast. And I understand the allure of going big or going home, but I think that going at a pace that works for us and will continue to work for us is the best way to go about change. And being HONEST with ourselves. Only we can know 100% if we are doing our best to be sustainable. People have different factors in their lives that may change their ability to make an assorted amount of change in their own lives.

Thinking about things that we do EVERY SINGLE DAY that we can change is important. Despite my best efforts, there are days when I get a coffee from a coffee shop and it’s in a plastic cup. And I always feel guilty when I do that, but it is not an every day thing. We will all make mistakes. We cannot be in complete control of our lives and our surroundings 100% of the time. We just can’t.  We have to do our honest best.

Thank you so much for reading, friends!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

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Musings

Simply Summertime: Five Simple Living Activities for Summer.

Hello, friends! A very happy Monday to you all! Today I wanted to write a post that is slightly reminiscent to this one, but different enough that I thought it was worthwhile to share. I felt compelled to write this in order to provide some inspiration for summer activities that are simple and don’t include spending unnecessary amounts of money.

  1. Admiring the flowers. I suppose that this one could work for spring as well, but I’m from Michigan, and you never know when these beauties will finally make an appearance. Appreciating flowers can happen all sorts of ways. You can find flowers in their natural habitat, or you can go to a grocery store to admire all of the beautiful pots of flowers they have. And maybe buy one or two… Or, see if anyone you know has a garden and would be willing to donate to your flower fund! I especially like the thought of that because then you have a patch of flowers that represent so many wonderful people that are close to you! My mom has a beautiful variety of flowers that come from many loved ones’ gardens.
  2. A picnic lunch. I absolutely adore picnics. I think they’re a lovely way to feel as though you’re eating out for much smaller of a cost! You may even be able to make a picnic lunch using food you already have in your kitchen. It’s a wonderful thing to do, especially when all you have are bits and pieces. A couple odd carrots, a handful of berries, and a chunk of cheese could be the base to an absolutely lovely picnic. And if the weather isn’t being kind, it’s also fun to have an indoor picnic! It’s the perfect rainy day activity. Rainy day picnics with a board game are such a wonderful way to pass the day!
  3. A scenic bike ride. Owning a bike is so wonderful because it can be put to practical use, when you have somewhere you need to be, or a leisurely purpose, when one has nowhere they have to be, but they just want to be out and about. You can look and see what sort of trails your town has, and take advantage of them. Some towns may not have such trails, but you could still bike all the same! You could maybe even sneak in an errand or two, especially if you have a nice little basket attached to your bike. Maybe a quick trip to the farmer’s market or to return some books to the library.
  4. An air-conditioned read. Speaking of libraries… I think that libraries, of course, are wonderful year-round, but there’s something about summertime library visits that are all the more magical. Maybe it causes me to reminisce of my summer breaks as a child, or maybe it’s because the air-conditioning in the library is such a wonderful refuge from the heat outside. Either way, this is one of my favorite activities to do in the summer. And once you have gotten your fill, you can continue your read under a nice and shady tree. How lovely!
  5. Wandering the Farmer’s Market. And speaking of farmer’s markets… I love a good farmer’s market. It’s so heartwarming to see so many hardworking individuals with so many wonderful things to sell. Maybe switch out getting your green beans from Meijer one weekend to buy a package of them from your local farmers. Or skip baking a loaf of banana bread to buy one from a local baker. I love making my own food, but I also love supporting local people as well. Bigger companies won’t care if you do or don’t buy one single loaf of bread, but for small businesses and local farmers, it will mean much, much more. I think it goes without saying that you shouldn’t spend yourself broke at farmer’s markets, but I definitely would suggest going and supporting your neighbors!

Thank you so much for reading, my lovely friends. I hope that your day has been wonderful so far, and that you’re able to take a minute or two today for yourself. A small thing or two that makes you happy!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Crafting · Eco-friendly

Sewing Stories: Reusable “Cotton” Pads.

Hello, friends! I hope that you are having a wonderful Monday so far! I had a lovely weekend, which was, of course, too short. A wonderful, simple, little weekend. Going to lunch with my friend Tenley at Ponder, wandering around an estate sale, and SEWING!

I’ve seen so many different DIY’s for making these little “cotton” pads, but I thought I’d share my experience. In everything I do, I’m quite utilitarian. Food? Tasty, but not pretty. Home decor: Useful first, cuteness last. (I know, shocking!) And sewing… As long as the stitches keep things together, I’m fine. Pretty stitching is not my top priority.

I find these pads to be pretty darn cute, but that’s mostly likely because I find everything small to be adorable. I’m sure that someone who is better at sewing could make these even cuter, but I think that all in all, they turned out pretty well! They did what they were supposed to do — remove makeup!

Materials Needed:

  • I used terry cloth. If you have any old towels that are getting a little dingy, you could use those as well.
  • circle stencil. This can be all sorts of things, get creative! I used a small glass, but you could choose so many different things. A cookie cutter, an old jar, or even the bottom of a shampoo bottle! Whatever you choose, make sure that it’s just a bit bigger than your desired size, because you’ll lose a little material from cutting and sewing.
  • Some paper, for said stenciling. I recommend reusing some recycled paper for this step! I used the paper that came attached to the fabric.
  • Pins, for two different steps. Very important!
  • Sewing needle, or a sewing machine. (I sewed this by hand. A sewing machine is on the top of my want list, though…)
  • Thread. I used a thread that was close to the color of my cloth, but it could also be cute if you chose a contrasting color!

Okay, friends! Here we go!

Step One. I used my stencil to make a circle on the piece of paper. I suppose some people may be able to free-hand this, but I wasn’t taking any chances! Once you’ve traced it, cut it out!

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Step Two. After you cut out the stencil, pin it to the fabric. I also pinned the fabric to itself so that it wouldn’t shift at all, as shown in the below picture.

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Step Three. I cut out the circles two at a time. You could do more or less, depending on how thick your fabric is.

Step Four. Depending on how thick you want these to be, you can do varying layers of fabric. I chose to do three.

Step Five. I sewed all three of the pieces together! There are so many ways that you could go about this, but I just sewed all the way around the little circle, nothing fancy. If you want to speed up the process, you could definitely use a sewing machine.

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Step Six. Remove any loose strands and snip any excess fabric.

Step Seven. Remove your makeup! Yay!

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Thank you so much for reading, my friends! I had such a fun time with these. They were SUPER easy to do. And they worked like a charm, too!

Happy crafting!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Musings · Uncategorized

The Art of Keeping a Cozy House.

Hello, friends! A happy Monday to you! I hope that you all had a lovely weekend! I definitely did. I was able to spend lots of time with my family, which I always love. Not to mention how BEAUTIFUL it was outside. Finally! Spring weather! Sundress season here I come!

I spent most of my Saturday at my Momma’s house, which got me to thinking about how cozy it is. How could I have forgotten that? How can I have a house that’s half as cozy?!

I have never wanted to live in a large home with expensive, white appliances and impractical white furniture. My heart skips a beat whenever I see old farm houses way out in the boonies. I love houses filled with antiques and well-loved furniture. Anything handmade or passed down from generation to generation, I adore. I understand that this is not everyone’s style and that some prefer a more polished and expensive home, but I am not one of those people. For us regular folk, it is also probably out of our price range. We shouldn’t feel ashamed about this, not at all. It’s not what makes a good home anyhow.

I’ll use my Momma’s home as an example, since my nest isn’t quite where I’d like to be yet. Especially right now. I’m trying to sell items I don’t have use for and in the process, I’ve kind of turned my apartment into a big ol’ mess. And let me remind y’all, it is far too small for a big ol’ mess. All part of the process, friends…

The flowers that I posted for the featured image are my mom’s. She bought them for $3.00 at Aldi, then put them in various clear jars and put them at both windows. It’s something that cost very little money, but made her home feel so much happier. It also kind of reminded me of one of my recent blog posts where I talk about little luxuries. My mother bought those flowers to brighten up the space and to give her just a little extra pep in her step. She only spent $3 on them and paired them with some jars that she already had. Not only is it the flowers that cozied up the place, but also the way she arranged them. Coziness goes hand in hand with ingenuity. It’s doing something unique with items, repurposing them when needing a bit of change. I took some inspiration from her and picked some daffodils that grow outside my church and put them on my windowsill. My aunt lent me a beautiful white vase to put them in and it pairs so nicely with the bright yellow of the daffodils. Just that little added something makes a home feel much cozier.

Bobby and I went to Goodwill yesterday and scored BIG time. We’re trying to find home decor for when we end up moving to Traverse City. We were able to find so much wonderful stuff. I bought some wicker baskets, a little homemade cup, and some wooden crates from a winery in Traverse City, two of them! (I also bought a beautiful red and white polka dot skirt, and Bobby found 13 DVDS) and we spent less than $50 on all of that! I want to scream from the rooftops that it’s not about where you buy something or how much it costs that makes the item a treasure. I spent the remainder of the day giddy about my $3.00 wicker basket.

A cozy home is one where people feel comfortable. It is a tidy home, but it does not need to be spotless. It’s simply doing your best. Life gets busy sometimes and maybe laundry isn’t number one on your to-do list. That’s okay. It also doesn’t mean you have expensive furniture or a freakishly large TV, instead, it’s a place where everyone has a place to sit and a feeling of belonging.  Where everyone can relax and enjoy each other’s company. Play a board game, talk to each other, maybe even share a meal.

A cozy home is one where the host/hostess is friendly and makes their guests feel at home. You may not have the most expensive food or be the best cook, but let your guests know that they’re welcome to what you have. Offer them a coffee, a tea, or a glass of water. If they’re spending the night, let them know where the extra blankets are. Act as though you are happy that they’re there, do not act as though they’re a burden! The kindness you give, mixed with the coziness of the home can make for a wonderful time, for both you and your guests!

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in photos and lives we see online. We go to Pinterest for inspiration and instead we start feeling bad about our own home. We follow an Instagram account for DIY tutorials, but instead we feel bad about our skills. This is so harmful to us! We’re so lucky to have these resources, but we must remember that our homes do not need to be copies of what we see online. What’s the fun in that anyways? What makes a home beautiful is the people within it. It’s fun to decorate and create a cozy environment, but at the end of the day, what’s truly important is the time we spend with our loved ones, our home is just a place to make that possible.

Thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Musings

Note to Self: You don’t Have to Buy a New Dress for EVERY Holiday.

Hello, friends! Happy Friday! The weekend is upon us, thank goodness. I am so excited because this weekend is Easter and I get to spend time with not only my family, but Bobby’s family too! How crazy is it to think that in six short months they will officially be my in-laws? It’s so exciting!

I think it’s important to celebrate our small accomplishments, but gosh, some feel so trivial.  This being one of them — I didn’t buy a new dress for Easter. I typically buy a new pretty dress for every holiday, which is so wasteful, because I have so many pretty dresses already. I suppose I felt like I had to, so that when I took photos, I wouldn’t be wearing something that I had already taken pictures in. How silly is that! I looked at bloggers I liked and noticed that they seldom wore clothes more than once. I thought that to be a blogger I had to keep up with that and even try to replicate it! Lately, I’ve been trying to find fellow bloggers that enjoy simple living and don’t buy new dresses for every holiday. The people I followed were all lovely, but I found that following them on social media gave me this extra itch to shop. Keeping our social media filled with good influences as opposed to bad influences is something that I’ve really been working on lately. Along with trying not to use social media quite as often. I think that the two paired together can really improve our life.

I don’t think that it’s inherently wrong to love our possessions, but I do think we should avoid loving the idea of possessions. I think that owning things we do not love and cannot use is where the problem is. There are certainly dresses that I’ve bought that I did not love, I only bought them because I thought they would work for one particular occasion. Afterwards, it sits in my closet, unworn and unloved. To be clear, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting pretty dresses, I personally never feel more confident than when I’m wearing one. For me, they have purpose and I love them. For someone who does not love them, it wouldn’t make sense for them to buy them. I think the issue is buying clothes (or items) that you don’t love, or only buying something for one use. I’ve seen the idea online of shopping one’s closet, which I absolutely adore. I want to start doing this more. To fall back in love with what I already own and if I cannot do that, donate the piece so that hopefully someone can find joy and use from it. I am trying to get rid of pieces in my closet that don’t work with many items. I want to eventually have a closet full of pieces that can me mixed and matched with all my other clothing. This takes time and I’ve been slowly beginning the process of getting rid of useless pieces and obtaining pieces that I find to be more useful. Which sort of brings me to another topic: buying clothes that are timeless versus clothes that are trendy. Perhaps another blog about that? I get so long-winded in these! I need to be better about that, but it’s so hard when you’re so passionate about what you’re talking about!

I think I’ll finish the post here, so that this post doesn’t end up being too long! I hope that you enjoyed reading and I can’t wait to be back with another post on Monday! Happy Easter!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Musings

Thoughts One Has When Mending Jeans.

Hello friends! I hope that you are having an amazing week! I thought that I’d begin this blog with a little joke. One that I certainly did not make up, but a joke nonetheless. One that has certainly gotten many an eye-roll.

“Those your church pants?”

“No.”

“Then why are they so holy?” 

(Hehe!)

On Monday, I ripped my jeans while sitting down for dinner. Which is fine, but this is my THIRD pair of jeans I’ve ripped in the past couple of months. Two of which I ripped whilst at work! Which is totally embarrassing, but luckily Bobby was able to bring me a new pair of pants to wear.Which doesn’t feel great, but it did get me to thinking about a couple of things.There are many emotions that can be felt when ripping one’s jeans. (Or maybe I’m just a tad sensitive…) Annoyance — this was my last pair of jeans! Embarrassment — This is the second time that I’ve ripped my pants at work! Or even worry — I really can’t afford to buy any new jeans! And I have felt these things, but I’m trying to shift my way of thinking.

  1. I currently have three pairs of jeans that need mending, which is coincidentally the number of jeans I own. I much prefer wearing dresses or my overalls. My initial thought was to go buy a couple of new pairs, but instead, I’m going to mend the ones I already own. This will save money and I’ll also be able to practice my sewing skills. It’s so interesting to think about how our way of living hasn’t been around for very long. Our culture of buying, buying, buying is a relatively new one. The days of mending what’s broken seem to be long gone. I really don’t want to say that everyone is this way, because I know of some lovely people who put in the effort to fix what’s broken. I, unfortunately, have generally been the kind of person who buys new things when they break. I’m trying to get myself out of this consumeristic way of thinking. I want to love each and every thing that I own and I want to feel the desire to fix it. It also shows a sense of pride over one’s possessions, which I think is important too. Why own items that we don’t have a use for, or items that we don’t love? I suppose there is some sort of comfort in owning things, but I don’t want to receive comfort from things anymore. Or at least to that degree. I am working on being more conscious of what I own. I want to only own things that I love. This will also help me want to mend what I have, because I won’t want to part with it.
  2. Instead of getting down on myself for gaining weight and ripping holes in my pants, I’m choosing to be kind to myself. These things happen. They can be fixed. Our bodies, much like our lives, are perpetually changing. It’s important to take care of our bodies, but whether or not a pair of jeans fit is not representative of our overall health. This also had me thinking about something else that I really cherish about slow living. Slow living includes making food in the home, instead of eating out. Bobby and I have gotten a little lax about it and have been eating out much more than I’d care to admit. This week we’re doing a no spend week and it’s been wonderful, of course for the bank account, but it’s also forced me to be a bit more creative with what we eat. We’ve been having some really fun meals, using up items in the cupboard that may have been there for awhile. I think that it’s much easier to eat healthy when you’re preparing your own food and I think this is one reason that I’ve been able to be a little kinder about ripping my jeans. I’m making efforts to improve my health, so there is absolutely no point in beating myself up about weight.

I love the idea of mending clothes instead of getting rid of them because it’s beneficial for the Earth, one’s pocketbook, and one’s sense of worth. There’s such a sense of unique accomplishment when mending something, be it a dining room table, a cracked teacup, or even a frayed pair of jeans. While we’re being kind to our possessions, make sure we’re being kind to ourselves as well. 🙂

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

slow living

Thoughts on Living Simply and Slow Living.

Hello, friends! I hope that your Monday is going well thus far! This blog post is a bit longer than normal, so buckle up, my lovelies!

When I was little, one of my favorite things to do was look through my mini sewing basket. It had pieces of ribbon, small bits of fabric, and buttons in it. I really enjoyed sewing and would spend hours sewing clothes for my dolls. I had a sewing machine, but my favorite was always hand sewing. I don’t know when or why, but I stopped doing activities like this as I got older. It’s sad, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve dedicated less and less time to creativity. Some of this is understandable, as I’ve been going to school and have been working, but I have spent more than my fair share of time just messing around on the internet or watching tv. To the point where my brain feels like mush. And honestly, spending hours watching tv or playing on my phone makes me MISERABLE. If that’s the case, then why the heck can’t I stop? I think as we get older we interpret these activities as relaxation, as a reward for all the hard work that we’ve been doing. And to an extent, I think that’s okay, but I think I’ve begun to take it to the extreme and I’m sure many others can relate to this. 

I’ve somewhat been in a rut lately and I’ve been trying to fill it with shopping,tv, and hours spent mindlessly scrolling. And let me tell you, it has had zero positive impact on me. I don’t put blogging in this category, because while it is online, it really stretches my creative muscles. I’m able to write my little heart out and take photos to accompany the posts. I love it and it definitely feels wonderful to do. But the other things… spending hours on Instagram with no purpose, just scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. Or using my free time to watch tv shows that I don’t even want to watch. I’m just watching them because I don’t want to do anything else. I could instead be spending my time doing so many other things. And I’m not saying that I should be spending this time, my relaxation time, doing something that could be deemed “productive”. As I’ve said in previous blogs, it’s SO important to have these times of rest. But I  need to rethink what I do in these times of rest. I find myself so much more refreshed when I spend my time being creative, knitting, sewing, writing, or taking photos. These things replenish me and make my life feel a little more full. It also gives me a feeling of kinship with my elders, thinking about how my ancestors may have spent their time doing the same thing. I can’t quite explain it, but it’s a wonderful feeling. 

It also gives me a sense of slow living. I’m able to sit with my thoughts and create something beautiful. I think it’s the feeling of creating that’s such a wonderful life-giving sensation. That feeling is lost when just consuming. 

Creating is also a way to spend my leisure time not mindlessly consuming. And by consuming, I mean shopping. And now, don’t get me wrong. I love shopping and I probably always will. My Grandpa’s term of endearment for me was “Little shopper”. And I think there’s something special about shopping where you’re able to cultivate a style, whether it be fashion, or whether it be styling the home, that is amazing, but I think it’s important to not be addicted to the feeling that shopping gives you. Accumulating non-stop is not good for anything, your bank account, space in your home, or the Earth. I used to be really good about predominately shopping at second-hand stores, but I’ve gotten away from it lately.

Blogging has been such a positive thing for me, but for a brief moment I sort of got lost in the idea of trying to portray myself as something that I wasn’t, especially on my Instagram. I was constantly buying things that I thought would be interesting to write about. I want to get away from that. I do love fashion and I love sharing the things that I buy, but I want to make an effort to only buy items when I genuinely love them, instead of buying them to look trendy on a blog post.

I sort of had a revelation today. I picked some wildflowers and was just kind of reveling in how beautiful they were. I loved how small and imperfect they were. I was visiting my mom and found in her cabinets this little white teacup, it was cracked and clearly an antique. I reveled in the beauty of the two together. Both things so humble, but when put together, they honestly took my breath away. Which may sound so silly, I totally understand that, but I loved that I felt that way. As a child, I had such an imagination that everything felt somewhat magical and as an adult, it starts taking more and more to feel that sense of wonder. It was a welcome feeling, that’s for sure.

When thinking about living a simpler life, what comes to mind is also living a slower life. People seem to always be in such a rush and given the world around us, I totally understand. I however, have never been good at doing things at a fast pace. For instance, walking. Everyone that has ever taken a walk with me can attest to this. It’s part me having small legs and part me just admiring the world around me. I naturally move at a slower pace. And I have felt embarrassed about this for so long, only recently realizing that it’s not something to feel negative about. It may differ from what we are “supposed” to be or do, but the fast-paced way we live is relatively new. The world used to be much slower and not so concerned with being perpetually busy and doing everything quickly. I don’t like that way of living. I understand that for some people it’s invigorating, but for me, it’s draining. I like doing things slowly. For instance, the other day I did my hair using foam rollers instead of a curling iron. It’s such a small thing, but I loved the excitement that built up from awaiting the curls. Not only that, but they lasted so much longer than if I had curled my hair. Patience can be a beautiful thing.

Gosh, friends! This blog is all over the place. Perhaps I’ll write some more blogs about slow loving and living simply in more detail, but this blog is getting so dang long! This one is less polished than my usual posts, but I think that this way of thinking is something that I’m still mulling over in my head, so I can’t quite polish it any more currently. I hope that my words were able to impact you some and maybe consider living a life that’s a little slower and a bit more simple.

XOXO,

Mattie Mae