Thursday, January 13, 2011

Improvising ... Not Just for Comedy - It's a Life-Skill, too

I was watching this video about Mark Boyle who is living without money in the UK and has been, reportedly, doing so for over two years.

Mark makes some great points about stepping totally outside the money economy, and it is something Deus Ex Machina and I have been striving to do ... although we hope to "adapt in place" rather than shuttling our family off to an undeveloped piece of land and live, like Mark, in a camper - not that I would have a problem with that ... just that we already have the house, and moving just sucks.


So, keeping in mind the "moneyless" lifestyle, I'm always trying to come up with ideas of ways to keep living *our* life without having to buy "new" stuff, so when my tea ball decided it was done being a tea ball and desired, instead, to be garbage (you just gotta love something that breaks after a few months of using it as it was intended ... sheesh!).

We already had the little mesh strainer which fits perfectly in a cup and sits low enough that I can put a teaspoon of looseleaf tea in the bottom of the strainer, fill the cup with hot water, and in a couple of minutes, have a perfect cup of tea.

Sometimes, though, I steep the tea for too long, because I get busy doing something else, and, then, I have to make it not quite so strong. That's when I use the teapot. I pour the extra-strength tea into the teapot and add an equal amount of hot water, and voila! Two cups of tea for the trouble of one.

Unfortunately, the tea gets too cold, too quickly. I kept hearing about tea cozies, but neither knew where to find one nor wished to spend money acquiring it. So, I improvised.

I hope to make something at some point that looks a little prettier, but for the time, it's fun in a silly kind of way, to tie a towel around my teapot ... and it works :).


  1. Man, do I love my tea cozy. We use the teapot and the cozy every single day. I thought about making extras and even giving a few away as gifts. But I'm an awful seamstress and not very good about maintaining motivation for crafts I suck at. I have the materials, thinking I'd just copy the design of the tea cozy we have, but basically they've gone nowhere, so far. Anyway, I think for those who *are* good at sewing, this could be a nice little cottage industry. Everyone needs a tea cozy! Improvisation is good though - always.

  2. Very cool. You could knit two appropriately sized squares, sew them up on three sides, leaving room for the handle and the spout. Wool yarn is a pretty good insulator.

  3. Very good job improvising!! I took a look at the video and found it interesting, but I agree with you about leaving your house to move to a field in a camper. But I think it will help me to look at things differently.


  4. Do you have a spare hat - I use one as an emergency tea cosy. Works perfectly. I also keep the tea pot on a slice of wood my son brought home from Cubs and that keeps the pot warm longer. Can you tell I'm British!

    You could knit a big hat in a dark colour and that could be the cosy. Dark colour because tea does stain.

    ALso, last night I crocheted myself a new watchstrap instead of buying one. Works pretty well for a first draft.

  5. LOL Nice Tea Cozy! I use a little tea candle under my pot to keep it warm.

  6. Your girls knit! Put them to work!

  7. Kate - pictures? I need ideas for the one I'm planning to make ;).

    Fleecenik - Hmm? I hadn't thought of a knitted one ... and I can knit squares :).

    Kelly - I really liked the video, too, and like you, it definitely gave me some food for thought. A documentary about Mark's project is also available on YouTube. I've only watched part of the intro, at this point, but it looks very interesting.

    Jess - I wish I could knit hats, but at the moment, it's still beyond my *ahem* skill :). But I do have some knit hats that might serve double duty, and our "farm" table is wood. I wonder if it has the same insulative properties? I love the sound of your improvisation! Bravo to you! I'll bet your crocheted watch strap is awesome!

    Kaye - Yeah! Put them girls to work! Big Little Sister couple probably come up with something nice looking. Oh, did I post a picture of her knit cat? Very cool.

  8. Also put a potholder under the teapot. It keeps the cold from seeping up from the countertop and cooling off the tea.