Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Latest Plan For Dishes

A while back a little craze for "silverware cozies" or "silverware pouches" got started.  The idea was that you could bring your silverware to potlucks and such so as not to use the plastic disposables. 

My sister wrote about making a cute one for herself a couple of years ago on her blog: Cute DIY To-Go Ware.  I've also seen them on a regular basis over at Etsy.  Here's a lovely one at a very cool Etsy shop called PattyPanShop:

Utensil Cozy - Simply Black and White  DC-10

I don't know what brought these to mind, but I started thinking about them today, and I had an idea.  As I've mentioned, our plan is to have one set of dishes (plate, bowl, cup or mug, fork, knife, and spoon) per family member.  Because our kitchen is tiny, this will save on storage space, and since we won't have a dishwasher, a side benefit is that we will have motivation to each wash our own dishes after every meal.

My thought is to create from fabric a long rectangular panel to hang on the wall.  The panel will be divided into four sections, and each section will have pockets or elastic holders for one person's dishes.  If it is hung vertically, the lower ones can be for the kids and the higher ones for the adults. 

If it is made from thick fabric, or put together quilt style with adequate batting, I'm thinking we should be able to put our dishes away and let them dry in their permanent spots rather than having them dry on a space-hogging drying rack in the kitchen. 

The panel can then be hung as wall art in the living room near the dining table (which will probably be the table with the leaves that drop down so we can push it against the wall to use as a practical or decorative table between meals), taking it out of the tiny kitchen entirely and leaving more wall space in there for things like art and magnetic hanging knife holders.

I'm imagining a mix of fabrics, sort of Oilily style.

Friday, December 3, 2010

So Let's Talk About Downsizing Christmas

This is a toughie.

Let me start by saying that we haven't done big holiday celebrations in years.  We have long been intentional that the holidays shouldn't be about stuff, and finances have been limited for a few years anyway.

Last year some relatives and friends bought our kids some store-bought items, but aside from what was in the kid's stockings, they received nothing from us that wasn't made by us.

I have absolutely no craft skills, and amazingly, I was able to find things to make and it was a lot of fun.  We made such exciting things for the kids as:
  • A rope ladder (made with repurposed materials)
  • Balance beams (made with repurposed materials)
  • A stationary kit
  • A writing-practice book
  • A "phone book" with photos of their loved ones and their phone numbers
The kids made such exciting things for each other as:
  • Cookies
  • A bracelet
  • A "flaming chalice" (religious symbol)
This year just feels tougher for some reason.  I think part of it is that I used up so many of my best ideas last year.  I feel stumped.  And part of the reason I am stumped is also that we are moving into this dinky little apartment and really won't have room for more stuff as of this summer.  In fact, the kids are now aware of our plans to downsize, and this has them all worried about Christmas. 

I keep trying to think of things that will be exciting but not take up space, and everything I can think of takes skills to make that I don't have.  Not to mention that there is an issue with our kids becoming older and facing more conversations with peers who are looking forward to a wide variety of expensive store-bought items.  It makes me glad about the fact that even though my kids invest in the game of pretending Santa is real, they also know that it is a game.  It is easier to explain why "Santa" is giving several friends a big, blowout Christmas, and Santa is bringing them just a few little things.  They never asked about it in years past, but they had the privilege of being younger and not hearing so much from their peers.   This year has been rough, rough in terms of peer-to-peer conversations.

So I'm combing the internet for a few things I can manage to make that will be functional but not take a lot of space.  I'm most hoping to come up with something really fun for the kids to do physically indoors (like the rope ladder) that doesn't take a lot of room, as I know in a tiny apartment that we need to be intentional about providing the kids ways to burn off energy when the weather is bad outside.  Otherwise, we have cabin-fever to fear. 

Ideas welcome!

This lovely picture was taken by Sweet Boy by a camera given to him by my parents.