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1. Leg warmers.

Taking an artistic picture of your own leg is hard.

Taking an artistic picture of your own leg is hard.

You wear a sweater over your shirt, so why not over leggings? They’re extra good for traveling, since they effectively turn a pair of shoes into boots. I pretty much always wear them when I go out these days.

This pair started life as men’s kilt socks. The original cuff fits well over my shoe, and I added a tighter cuff where the foot used to be to make sure it doesn’t slip down. You can upcycle sweaters to make your own, make them out of fabric, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, knit them yourself. No leg need go unwarmed this winter! You could even wear close-fitting ones under your trousers.

Gaiters

Protip: If you travel/commute in the northern US, a pair of gaiters will do the same, turning warm shoes into snow boots without adding much bulk to your suitcase/briefcase.

2. Zentangle.

Zentangle

This involves making detailed doodles in very small spaces. It’s very relaxing. Studies (heaven forbid I remember which ones) have shown that concentrating on doing one thing at a time makes people more content. So Zentangle, concentrating on just making shapes, is very relaxing. Like meditation, but easier because you don’t have to think about nothing; you get to think about one thing.

DIY midori-style notebook

Also, check out my gorgeous notebook. It’s a homemade midori-style notebook, so I look forward to putting in new blanks when it’s full and enjoying the cover for a long, long time.

3. My new desk set-up.

Desk riser

I appropriated an unloved USB keyboard from the office during the last big clear-out, which allows me to simultaneously have my keyboard at an adequate height for typing and my screen at an adequate height for viewing. For a small change, it’s incredible how much more comfortable it makes working. The screen riser is a lap desk from Ikea. It’s extra handy because I can push my keyboard, mouse and notebook underneath to quickly free up desk space.

I also still use my standing desk set-up, likewise courtesy of Ikea. Surprisingly, there are no pictures of this yet. Soon. This is a PSA: sitting for too long is bad for you, even if you exercise.

4. Lined envelope pouches are apparently really easy to make. No ironing, no sew-the-lining, sew-the-outside, attach. How did I not know this before now? To be fair, a quick search of the internet indicates that it’s not common knowledge. I’m having trouble not whipping up scores of pouches with no purposes, just because I can.

5. Honey cinnamon cashew butter! So far I’ve been using the peanut grinder at the Co-op instead of my own food processor (Monday is almonds, Tuesday is cashews). I have heard that you can make your own in the food processor by adding coconut oil, but so far have merely managed to chop and spice some cashews. Store-ground it is!

After I add honey and cinnamon, it’s about the consistency of marzipan, and I mostly scoop some out with a spoon and then eat it in little bites. Much more enjoyable than eating plain nuts, to this gal at least, and nearly as healthy. My jar is nearly empty. But not for long.

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