#The100DayProject: 100 Days of Recipes

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Image credit.

I love creative projects. There's something about the extended course of a creative practice that brings out the best in me. Joy. Ingenuity. A pep in my step. A lightness in my heart. In undergrad, I had an incredibly wise, brilliant, and eccentric design professor who used to walk around the studio yelling, "Get the corn out of your system!!" Meaning, your best ideas won't come until you get the junk out first. You have to work for it. Creativity cures corn.

I've heard about The 100 Day Project for at least the past three years, but I was never really interested. I always felt like I couldn't spare the time to work on an additional project when there were so many irons in the fire. This time, I feel like I kind of need it. The honest truth is that I am exhausted. Not physically. Not mentally. Not even emotionally. It's a form of discontentment, and I'm not entirely sure with what. So, I need to return to what I know. I need to be doing something for no other reason than because I genuinely enjoy it, so I can better understand what's missing.

At the time of writing, I have a list of 154 recipe ideas just waiting for me to... do something. I love recipe development, and writing one recipe per day is something I can reasonably handle. Naturally, the complexity of each will vary depending on the day. Most importantly, I'm just really excited to begin.

I have an idea of how I'd like to organize the recipes when I'm done, but that will come later. Right now, I'm writing. No cooking, baking, testing, or editing. Just writing.

So, starting tomorrow and over the next 100 days, I'll be working on 100 recipes. All plant-based. All made with my health needs in mind. Here's to getting rid of the corn and enjoying the process.

2017 Make Nine: A Handmade Wardrobe Project

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I am so so late to the Make Nine party! If you're not familiar with the concept (because I only learned about it a week ago), it's where sewists all over the web declare their handmade intentions for the year. It's a brilliant concept created by the lovely Rochelle at Home Row Fiber Co.

The truth is, I've been thinking about making my own clothes for a while, but every time I even halfway entertain the idea, I keep coming back to one thing: I don't have time for this. To be honest, I don't even have the skill level. BUT, I realized that I also don't have time to hop from store to store to find less than a handful of things I actually like only to discover that none of them fit well. Or to spend hours pouring over websites to finally make a purchase and then... surprise... it doesn't look half as good as it did online. The reality is that I can sew a simple pattern (including searching for and watching tutorial videos) in the same amount of time it takes me to drive to a shopping center, find parking, become disenchanted with everything, and return home exhausted (and with nothing).

First world problems, I know. I'm fully aware that if I have a choice about what to wear or how to spend my time, this usually means I'm doing just fine. I get that. But I'm also not kidding when I tell you that my wardrobe is...minimal. Like, "somebody please get this girl a gift card to Old Navy" kind of minimalism. When it comes to being human, fashion is my weakest subject.

And I'm going to be completely honest: sometimes I just really don't care about outfits. Not because I think it's silly or trivial, but mostly because I have a hard time when I'm taken at face value. Although, it's not lost on me that this is essentially what happens while building a platform online. What I'm trying to say is that I don't want someone to be attracted to me (romantically nor platonically) based on what I'm wearing. What about my mind? My heart? My borderline obsession with vegan cupcakes?? Anything but my clothes! My introverted soul craves more than that. Just to be clear, it's not like I'm walking around showerless and disheveled (I definitely am NOT). I know how to dress when I have/want to, I just don't really put any effort into my regular everyday wear.

But that ends now.

I want to wake up and get excited about getting dressed in the morning. I want my clothes to tell stories and hold memories. I want to remember how I felt when I first ran my hands over the fabric that would eventually become my favorite dress. I want to think about how I wore my first pair of self-made jeans during an exam and how it made me feel just a little bit more confident in myself and my abilities in general. I want to stop spending money on stuff that's "just OK" and "works for now". I want to wear what I love. If I'm going to put the time, money and energy into revamping my wardrobe, I'm going to do it for things that 1) I actually like, 2) were made to fit my body and current lifestyle, and 3) hold value... in more ways than one.

Fast fashion just isn't working for me anymore... for many reasons. This includes the social, health, and economic implications for the factory workers and entry-level employees in the industry. I won't pretend that adding a few handcrafted pieces to my closet will solve everything, and the reality is that I'll probably still buy a few items here and there. But I'm taking baby steps in the direction of the life I want to live. And that feels good.

So, without further ado, here are my make nine picks!

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  • Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts. An early favorite, I love everything about this dress. I envision it being an easy option to throw on before class or running errands, especially in the spring and summer months. The first time around, I plan on lengthening the bodice and skirt for a better fit. Next, I hope to extend the length again for a maxi dress! Photo credit.
  • Zinnia Skirt by Colette Patterns. Pretty much my dream skirt. I'm thinking I should make one in chambray and one in yellow ochre (my favorite color).
  • Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files. The thought of making my own jeans kind of terrifies me, but I think I'm up for the challenge. These Ginger jeans have received high marks from just about everyone who has tried them. Photo credit.
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  • Long sleeve cowl neck dress. This is actually a ready-to-wear dress, so I don't have a pattern. The company that sells it doesn't have the best customer reviews, so I wouldn't feel comfortable purchasing even if I wanted to. Since I don't have a pattern, I haven't the slightest idea how to make it. I just know that I love it! Apparently, my signature aesthetic is "anything that resembles a wearable blanket". I'm hoping once I gain more experience, I can piece together a few patterns to get the look I want. Photo credit.
  • Tamarack Jacket by Grainline Studio. I've seen this jacket quite a few times on Instagram. It's perfect for those cold-but-not-so-cold non-rainy days in the PNW. Photo credit.
  • Yuzu Raglan Coat by Waffle Patterns. I already have a winter coat, but it would be nice to switch it up every now and then. I really like the lines and architectural quality of this one.
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  • Oversized dress (source unknown). Another dress without a pattern. I found the photo online and instantly liked it. I'm thinking this could be another one where I piece together two patterns to get the desired look. We'll see. I envision myself wearing this on those quiet Saturdays where all I want to do is drink tea and make art or read a good book. Photo credit.
  • Ridge + Wedgwood Bundle by Straight Stitch Designs. I'm kind of cheating because this is a top and skirt bundled into one product. So, I'm actually doing a make ten! You know me... always the rebel. I love the pure easiness of this skirt and top. Perfect for meeting a friend for coffee or lunch and then roaming the halls of a beautiful museum!
  • Archer + Alder by Grainline Studio. This is actually a case where two patterns were already put together to get the desired effect. I've been looking for a loose-fit long sleeve shirtdress for at least a year. Sold! Photo credit.

I have no idea if I'll be able to complete nine (er, ten) items this year. That feels like a lot right now. But, even if I make one thing that's actually wearable, it's more than I made last year (I attempted a shirt that hasn't seen the light of day because... well... it needs "help").

Also, I picked a lot of dresses/skirts! That's really interesting to me considering I hardly ever buy them in store. I'm not sure where this strong desire for a closet full of dresses is coming from, but that's what I'm being drawn to, so I'm going with it!

Well, here we go! Wish me luck (because I'm definitely going to need it). And if you're embarking on your own handmade wardrobe project... I'd love to hear about it! Happy sewing!

DIY 2017 Planner

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Happy new year! I hope these first days of 2017 have been good to you. I'm slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things. Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite subjects of all time: planning! Yes, I know this topic has made many an eye glaze over, but I love this stuff! I always appreciate when bloggers walk through their planners, talk about what they're using, how they apply it to their lives, and why it works for them. So, I thought I'd do the same.

If it hasn't been made clear yet (partly because this site is relatively new and partly because I haven't really talked about it), one of the core missions behind Herban Native is to foster the ideas, processes, and tools needed to design a life more nourishing than depleting. What does that mean? It means that if we don't find ways to consciously nourish our bodies, souls, and spirits (through lifestyle choices guided by our values) we'll end up giving more than we get. Which, of course, can translate to sickness, disease, clinical depression or even that general crummy feeling that seems to take up residence deep in our hearts. The smallest decision to secure peace in our lives can make a tremendous difference. 

THAT is why things, like making planners, cooking a well-made meal, or finding the courage to embark on that DIY project you've always wanted to try, is such a big deal. These things provide us with a creative outlet that's good for the soul but also an end product that facilitates a good life. It's a win-win situation that offers cumulative rewards. It's all pretty cool when you think about it.

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OK, so now that you know where I'm coming from, let's talk planners!

This year, I decided to go with an A5 ring binder that I made by hand. I have used other binders in the past (like Kikki K), but my main concern was cutting down on as much bulk as possible so that it would be easy to carry. I take my planner everywhere, so having something durable, yet light, was high on my list of "must-haves". I also wanted the freedom to add pages to a ring binder instead of being committed to a spiral-bound planner. I ended up cutting down two pieces of book board (with a cork-backed ruler and extra sharp box cutter) and binding then together with a piece of scrap quilter's fabric and adhesive. Classic bookbinding technique mandates the use of bookbinding cloth, but I have way too much quilter's cotton in my stash not to use it when I can. It worked out fine. The final dimensions were 7.25 x 9" with a 1.25" spine. I chose Rifle Paper Company's tapestry fabric for the cover and inner lining, and the 1" 6-ring binder mechanism was removed (with needle-nose pliers) from an old binder that I wasn't using. I punched two holes and secured the mechanism with two chicago screws.

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I use the inside cover for holding bits and pieces I pick up here and there as well as any reminders. For example, I clipped my eyeglass and contact prescription to the cover as a reminder to order new glasses. I tend not to forget things when they're visible every time I flip open the binder.

I also use a regular zip pouch to keep adhesive notes and a spare thank you card just in case I feel impressed to write a quick note in return for a kind deed. It's so much more convenient to have a card ready when you need it instead of constantly forgetting to pick up one at the store.

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Next, I have a small collage of inspirational images that serve as a form of "artistic direction". There are so many new personal and professional things I want to try this year, and since I'm such a visual person, I've found that having images in front of me to express those goals really help me stay on track. I tried this back in 2015, and within three months, everything represented in my images was accomplished! While I hardly think I can beat that time frame, I'm looking forward to the extra motivation it provides. The images are 2x2" squares tucked into a trimmed-down sheet protector.

The rest of my planner is broken down into five sections: 

  1. monthly calendar
  2. weekly calendar
  3. meal planner + shopping list
  4. budget + expense planner
  5. sketches + notes

Each section is partitioned by tab index dividers that were cut down to the A5 size. I like to keep my monthly and weekly inserts separate because I use them in two completely different ways. My monthly inserts (that were printed and cut from pre-designed A5 digital inserts) are used for big dates likes birthdays, deadlines, bills and events. My weekly inserts (printed and cut from the same pre-designed insert pack) are used for daily to-dos, appointments, assignments, class times, and errands.

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Here's a look at how I use the weekly spread. I'm using last year's schedule, because I figured it's probably not the wisest thing to plaster my exact whereabouts over the Internet. Not that anyone really cares, but I'll play it safe anyway. ;) 

When planning, almost everything in my life can be broken down by either time or task. For example, individual classes and appointments happen on specific days and at specific times. However, things, like returning library books or writing blog posts, are more task-oriented. It doesn't matter when I do them, as long as I get them done by the "deadline". For that reason, I need a weekly layout flexible enough to handle both types of commitments on any given day. And because I'm a student, no day looks the same, so I also need something that would give me room to plan according to the pace of each particular day. As you can see in my mock spread, I reserve space for the time-oriented items first, using each line to denote a 30-minute increment. From, there I fill in task-oriented items in the "morning" or "afternoon" spaces based on when I'm most likely to complete them. This has worked so much better for me than having a planner that was only designed with time slots or only designed with space for to-dos. Having both in one column allows me to make the most of my time and be smart about what I can reasonably accomplish on a given day.

Additionally, a weekly format helps me look ahead so I can keep track of exams, assignments, or projects. I often use that blank space at the bottom for notes, scribbles, and encouraging words.

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My meal plan and shopping lists are pretty self-explanatory. I designed these in InDesign and printed and cut them with my paper trimmer just like the other inserts. It was important to me to break up my shopping list according to the sections I most frequent in the grocery store (ie. produce, frozen), item category (ie. household, personal), or the type of purchase (ie. online vs in-store). Having a section specifically for online purchases helps me tackle those items during breaks in between class, so I'm not stuck without an item and having to wait the unexpected extra days for shipping. With the constant probability that I will be "distracted" by school or work, it's important for me to stay on top of the little things, and this definitely helps.

My budget and expense tracker, which I also designed, is really just a paper version of the cash envelope system. All of my purchases are broken down by category (ie. automobile, groceries, utilities, eating out, etc), and a certain amount of money is designated for each. When I have spent the designated amount for that group of purchases, I'm done. I find working with cash a bit cumbersome, and I know there are apps that do this for you, but again, I'm a visual and kinesthetic person through and through. I like writing it down for myself, crossing things off, and calculating by hand, because it helps me stay accountable and more present in my spending. 

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Last, but not least, I have a few pre-designed A5 blueprint pages behind the last tab for quick notes and easy sketching. All holes were punched with my Cinch bindery tool, although a regular or basic hole punch would work just fine too. All inserts were printed on eco-friendly 24 lb. copy paper.

Whew, that was a lot! If you made it this far... thanks for sticking with me!

Moral of the story? Take stock of your life and figure out what you most need to be successful in managing the big and small components of your day. Then, design (or purchase) a planner around those needs. It's important that your planner fits your life, not the other way around.

Happy planning!

2016 Holiday Gift Guide for the Herban Native

Just in case you need a little help picking out gifts this year, I thought it would be fun to put together a small gift guide! There are no affiliate links here, just items I actually love (and some that I own and love). Maybe you'll find something you love too!

For the Foodie Who Loves Entertaining

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01. Farmhouse Pottery Cheese Stone ($100.00) | I've been in love with these cheese stones for a few years, and now that I've been experimenting more with vegan cheese, I think it's time to finally get a pretty platter to show them off. 

02. Crate & Barrel Wood Pedestal Server with Dome ($69.95) | I'm always attracted to wood- and stone-made pieces for the kitchen, and this cake stand would make the perfect centerpiece to any dessert spread.

03. Farmhouse Pottery Dipped Baker's Pin ($50.00) | Another favorite from Farmhouse Pottery. These beautiful rolling pins are just what you need to roll out pie and tart doughs with precision and beauty.

04. Revol Les Naturales Tart Pan ($69.99) | I love every single Revol Les Naturels stoneware piece I own, including this tart pan. Every item in this line is beautifully-crafted, high-quality, well-made and naturally non-stick. What's not to love?

05.  Studiopatro Flour Sack Towels ($39.00) | I try to grab reusable towels over paper towels whenever I can. These oversized flour sack towels are the perfect mix of elegance and utility making them a treasured tool in the kitchen for years to come. 

06. Anthropologie Mini Latte Bowl Set ($12.00) | They're back! I remember when these little bowls were discontinued a couple years ago, and I drove to two locations just to snag the ones I wanted (stalker much?). They're the perfect size for dips and sauces, not to mention that one scoop of your favorite ice cream when you really want the whole pint.

For the Maker Who is Always Working on A "New Project"

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01. Grainline Studio Stowe Bag PDF Pattern ($14.00) | This is a sewing pattern that walks you through the steps of making your very own craft carry-all. Perfect for the crafter on-the-go.

02. Pacific & West Walnut and Brass Notebook ($30.00) | These are my favorite journals in the whole wide world! I use the dot grid pages for sketching, designing and dreaming.

03. Need Supply Co. Delfonics Wood Mechanical Pencil ($10.00) | This pencil, in gold, makes the perfect companion to my favorite notebook. In a beautiful package with a handful of my favorite erasers, this duo would make the perfect stocking stuffer for any writer, maker or doer who loves getting their thoughts down on paper.

04. Target Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Marker Pen Set ($24.99) | I use these pens for everything from drawing out biochemical and immunological pathways to color coding my planner and product development. I can't see myself using any other markers.

05. Colette Patterns Colette Sewing Planner ($28.00) | I'm relatively new to sewing, but my head is already swirling with all the things I want to try. This sewing planner seems like just the tool to keep me organized and on track.

06. MP Paper Co. Weekly Classic Planner ($55.00 but currently on sale for $20.00!!!) | I've been using this planner since the beginning of the school year, and I'm in love! There is the print spiral-bound version (which I've linked) but also downloadable print files for those who'd rather mix and match to customize their own planner binder.

For the Modern Small-Space food gardener

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01. Terrain Heritage Gardening Hose ($59.00) | I'm so excited for next year's growing season because it will be my first time having a container garden! Even though a full on water hose might be overkill (I calculated that using a water can twice a day would be sufficient), I still love this beautiful gardening hose!

02. Terrain Haws Solid Copper Watering Can ($98.00) | Another superfluous item, but it's... just... so... pretty! I would think of every excuse in the book to water my garden if I had this can.

03. Terrain Saipua Coffee Mint Soap ($18.00) | If there's one thing I learned from my Organic Gardening class this past Summer, it's to never underestimate the power of a good bar of soap! This coffee mint bar sounds like it's exfoliating enough to handle the dirt but bright enough to freshen you up. Perfect. 

04. Terrain Wooden Crate ($28.00) | These are just the right trays for a small culinary herb garden. I can't wait to make more summer dishes with fresh herbs grown by my own hand. Adding castors to the bottom would even allow them to move as you move around the kitchen while prepping and planning for dinner!

05. Terrain Japanese Carbon Steel Shears ($38.00) | I'm obsessed with these beautiful shears. Perfect for snipping herbs here and there to top off any dish. Every time I picture myself trimming rosemary from my own garden, my heart flutters. Seriously.

06. Floret Farm Seed Collection Hardy Annual Mix ($25.00) | Last, but not least, a seed collection of "easy to grow" summer annuals that just might be the perfect confidence booster for any beginning gardener. Plus, Floret is one of the top-ranking flower farms in the US, so you know there's quality seed here.

And that's it! I hope this list makes shopping for your loved ones just a little bit easier. Wishing you all a lovely, warm and peace-filled Christmas and holiday season!