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A Year of Handmade: Cheating Already

May 5, 2011

Hello friends! My apologies for my absence this week- the hubby is out of town for two weeks, and some days I’m left scrambling…it makes me appreciate him all the more!

As mentioned in my last post, I have already cheated on my Year of Handmade pledge. But I think it’s a good kind of cheating…

My husband and I recently spent three years (2007-2010) living and working in Africa- which is where he happens to be right now- and we’re hoping to travel back there, all three of us, in November for an extended time. And we’re going to try to do most of our luggage carry-on. With a baby. (That’s your cue to chuckle a little…)

All that being said, everywhere we have lived and traveled in Africa, laundry is washed- generally by hand, but some lucky people have machines- and then hung out to dry. Here in Colorado it would dry in five seconds flat, but in Africa, that’s generally a different story- and I’ve worn damp underwear enough times to prove it.

The only ‘high performance’ fabric (durable, fast-drying, sweat-wicking) I was able to find is ripstop, which I can’t say would be very comfortable to wear anywhere, so it seemed like making things by hand was not going to be an option.

So, do I really need it?

My husband and I sat down and had a little conference and decided that, yes, there were a few things that would make traveling much easier (and dryer!). We also decided that if we were going to be buying non-handmade, we wanted to make sure our purchases honored people and their livelihoods the same way a handmade purchase would. And lastly, if we are going the spend money on something, let’s make it a quality product. It obviously costs more to make purchases like this, but it helps us to live out our values and challenges us to use what we have and be satisfied with less.

So, not to be an advertisement, but if you’re interested, one of the few corporations we are really pleased with and trust is Patagonia. According to everything we’ve been able to read about them, they have a great human rights track record and go out of their way to ensure fair wages and labor practices for their workers in foreign factories. It also seems that their corporation seeks to be environmentally sustainable, are members of 1% for the Planet and they have even figured out how to make fleece out of recycled plastic bottles (and a lot of their clothing line is recyclable as well). As far as buying quality goes, they have a lifetime guarantee on any item you buy from them, and everything we’ve ever purchased from them has lasted My purse, for example, is Patagonia, and I’ve used it every day for almost four years with no sign of wear or tear.

So I’ve started compiling some Patagonia travel gear (most importantly fast-drying underwear) as we find it on sale, and I’ll probably be working on some items made from linen or other quick drying natural fibers (not that I can think of any…).

the most recent version of my will.not.die purse

Do you know of any great businesses you like to support? Any great travel gear/garments you would recommend? Know of any places to buy some high performance fabrics by the yard? Please leave a comment and share your wisdom!

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