Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

Self Care - Hygge or The Danish & Norwegian Art of Coziness & Conviviality

Hygge at Home with Christine Liu and her Sustainable Home Book by Conscious by Chloé

What's Hygge?

The word Hygge (pronounced "hoo-gah") appeared in written Danish for the first time in the early 1800s, but the word is actually Norwegian in origin. It describes a universal feeling of being warm, safe, comforted, and sheltered — an experience of belonging to the moment and to each other.

Hygge has been called everything from "the art of creating intimacy", "coziness of the soul", and "the absence of annoyance", to "taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things", "cozy togetherness" and "cocoa by candlelight".

Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.

Hygge is the antidote to the cold winter, the rainy days, and the duvet of darkness.

Hygge is about feeling safe. Hence, hygge is an indication that you trust the ones you are with and where you are.

When life gets hectic, work grows stressful, and the days fly by, hygge allows you to unplug and tune in.

Hygge at Home with Christine Liu and her Sustainable Home Book by Conscious by Chloé

The Hygge Manifesto by Meick Wiking

  • ATMOSPHERE - Turn down the lights.
  • PRESENCE - Be here now. Turn off the phones.
  • PLEASURE - Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
  • EQUALITY - "We" over "me". Share the tasks and the airtime.
  • GRATITUDE - Take it in. This might be as good as it gets.
  • HARMONY - It’s not a competition. We already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievements.
  • COMFORT - Get comfy. Take a break. It’s all about relaxation.
  • TRUCE - No drama. Let’s discuss politics another day.
  • TOGETHERNESS - Build relationships and narratives. "Do you remember the time we . . . ?"
  • SHELTER - This is your tribe. This is a place of peace and security.

Hygge at Home with Christine Liu and her Sustainable Home Book by Conscious by Chloé

Hygge at Home

Here's my way of making my home a little more hyggeligt:

  • A warm cup of tea

When I last de-cluttered my kitchen, I cleared a whole deep drawer and converted it to a coffee/tea/matcha brewing station. All my ingredients and handmade ceramic cups are in the same place. It makes me happy every time I open it!

  • Heavy blankets

There's a basket next to my couch where I keep a collection of warm and soft blankets. Whether I'm reading a book by myself or watching a movie with Octave, I reach into the basket and add a little warmth and coziness to any activity!

  • Scented Candles

Nothing beats candlelight to make any gloomy day and dark room feel warm and welcoming. I made a bunch of soy candles last year and will definitely try new scents pretty soon.

  • Delicious Cake

Baking is such a great colder days activity. It warms both your home and your belly.

  • Good time with good friends

It's so easy to retreat into your home and stop going out when the days get cold and wet. The best way to beat the gloom is to have friends over and share a great moment together.

Hygge at Home with Christine Liu and her Sustainable Home Book by Conscious by Chloé

Hygge at Work

Hygge is not reserved to your home, which means you can apply those principles to your workplace.

  • Decorate your workstation, make it more homey and comfortable

  • Schedule a potluck

  • Bring cake

  • Organize a meditation session/yoga class

  • Grow plants or herbs

Hygge at Home with Christine Liu and her Sustainable Home Book by Conscious by Chloé

A Hygge Reading List

Last winter, I borrowed these 3 books about hygge from the library and loved every one of them:

Now if you've learnt enough about hygge and actually want to experience it, here are my favorite "afternoon under the covers with a warm cup of tea" books:

My friend Christine sent me her book and I've been loving it. Taking inventory oh what's in your home, making it simpler, more organized, healthier is one of my favorite past-times. It is a great reminder that we can make a lot with what we already own. Thank you Christine for this thoughtful gift and congratulations on a beautiful work!

A beautiful book about learning to embrace the imperfect and entertain with thoughtfulness and ease. PS: The book in itself is so beautiful with its Japanese binding!

  • I usually do not read those kinds of books, but I bet epic sagas or winter adventures or Nordic tales would be very hyggeligt.

For more book recommendations, you can check out my reading list.

Hygge at Home with Christine Liu and her Sustainable Home Book by Conscious by Chloé


Let me know in the comments below whether you have fall rituals and what's your favorite way to make your home feel cozier in the fall!

Make Your Own - Foraged Wreath

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

On our way back from Southern California, we stopped on the side of the road for lunch and I took this opportunity to get the supplies I needed for a project I had in mind.

Inspired by Max Turk's creations, I had been meaning to give wreath making a try.

So while Octave was preparing lunch, I grabbed a knife and a bag and went for a stroll to forage. I had no idea about how much greenery I would need and pretty much eyeballed it. My advice: take more than what you think you'll need. A wreath can never be too crowded, and, worst case scenario, you'll have enough supplies to make a second one and give it to a friend or neighbor!

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Back home, I unwrapped my bounty and tried a couple designs on the floor of the living room.

Some people create the wreath by making a circle of branches. Others like to use wire to secure the strands around the wreath. I chose the easy route and found frames for 75 cents each at SCRAP, my local second-hand artist's supplies store and decided to just use some cotton thread to wrap the straw around the frame.

The end result looks nothing like what I had in mind, but I'm happy about where trial and error took me.

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé


FORAGED WREATH DIY

Wreaths are a great way to decorate your home on a budget at any given season. They're common for the end of the year celebrations but can be created at any time of the year to bring the look and smell of nature into your home!

Active time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours

Supplies

Tools

  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Forage seasonal greens.
  2. Arrange your greens on a flat surface and test various patterns.
  3. Tie a knot around the frame.
  4. Roll the thread around the greens all around the frame to create a base.
  5. Slip bits and pieces to cover the thread and create a pattern.
  6. Hang your wreath and take a step back.
  7. Add more greenery to create balance.
  8. Enjoy the view and the smell of your creation as long as you deem necessary.

Notes

For this wreath, I foraged crested wheatgrass, sagebrush, and rabbitbrush in Southern Oregon. But any kind of greenery will do. Go for a hike and work with what nature offers you. The secret is to have some thicker material for the base (to cover the frame) and tons of little bits (dried berries, pine cones) to use as ornaments). After you take your wreath down at the end of the season, compost the greenery, reuse the thread, and store the frame for the next season.

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé


Have you ever made your own wreath? What did you use? I want to see pictures (tag me on social media so I can see them)!

Make Your Own - Solar Eclipse Wall Hanging

Oregon Solar Eclipse Clay Wall Hanging DIY

As some you may know, next Monday, the "Event of the Century" will pass through Oregon.

By then, I should be road tripping in the Washington State wilderness, mainly because the timing's right for both Octave and I to take a break, and also because we're not fans of big crowds.

But still, the solar eclipse frenzy got ahold of us.

Our neighbors already gave us extra sunglasses (we should sell them on the black market!), our friends took days off to drive to the coast, and "eclipse observation campsites" keep popping up on our Hipcamp radar.

I've also been meaning to work with clay for a little while and had actually gathered supplies before leaving for Florida.

You'll see where I'm going with this...

So, as I had a slow Monday after a week-end at work, I finally dove into it.

I had no design in mind, but still had a slight memory of the moon phases wall-hangings that were all the rage last year.

Now you see where I'm going...

What if I made a solar eclipse wall hanging?!

The project took me less than an hour (with a couple breaks for clay baking and paint drying) and I'm very happy with the result (considering my lack of patience and drawing skills).


SOLAR ECLIPSE WALL HANGING DIY

This is a quick and satisfying DIY to commemorate the August 2017 solar eclipse or any other non-cosmic event.

Active time: 1 hr
Total time: 2 hrs

Oregon Solar Eclipse Clay Wall Hanging DIY

Supplies

Tools

Oregon Solar Eclipse Clay Wall Hanging DIY

Instructions

  • Knead you clay until it is soft and smooth.

  • Roll it out. I hear that certain rollers have depth rings, which would be super convenient. I eye-balled it, so some pieces are thicker than others, but I'm totally fine with it. Consider working directly in your baking tray, so your pieces won't get wobbly when you transfer them from your working area to the baking tray.

Oregon Solar Eclipse Clay Wall Hanging DIY

  • Cut into the desired shapes. I used a food plating mold, but cookie-cutter will do the trick, or you can also freehand-cut your shapes with an x-acto knife if you're feeling confident.

  • Preheat your oven following the packaging instructions.

Oregon Solar Eclipse Clay Wall Hanging DIY

  • Use a toothpick to pierce holes in your pieces. Make them wide enough so your needle and thread will pass though them.

Oregon Solar Eclipse Clay Wall Hanging DIY

  • Bake the pieces following the packaging instructions.

  • Let the pieces cool down.

  • Soften the edges with your sandpaper (optional).

Oregon Solar Eclipse Clay Wall Hanging DIY

  • Use your brushes and paint to decorate your pieces (I used some paint that the owners left in our garage to paint my pieces white before adding the gold accents).

  • Let the paint dry.

  • Use your thread and needle to string your pieces together, knotting them along the way to have the spacing you aimed for.

  • Tie a loop at the top to hang your new creation.

Now you have your own solar eclipse at home!

Oregon Solar Eclipse Clay Wall Hanging DIY

Notes

You can order your supplies online, get them at your local craft store. I love SCRAP in Portland. It's a nonprofit creative reuse center where you can buy inexpensive (and donated) art and craft materials!


Oregon Solar Eclipse Clay Wall Hanging DIY


Photographs by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

I hope you'll have a wonderful week. And don't hesitate to tag me in your creations so I can admire them!

Make Your Own - Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

Natural All-Purpose Cleaner by Conscious by Chloé

All-Purpose Cleaner

Supplies

  • 1 tablespoon borax
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap
  • Hot water
  • 15 drops of your favorite essential oil

Tools

Instructions

  1. Add the borax and castille soap to the bottle.
  2. Fill the bottle with hot water.
  3. Close the bottle and shake it to dissolve the borax.
  4. Let the mixture cool.
  5. Add the essential oils.

Notes

This cleaner is great for counters, walls, hardwood, laminate or tile floors.


This recipe was inspired by Erica Strauss' in The Hands-On Home. And here's the complete Natural Cleaning Products Guide.

Habit Shift - Seasonal & Natural Cleaning Routine & DIYs

Natural Cleaning Sprays by Conscious by Chloé

The first week of January is usually pretty slow around here, so it is a perfect time to tackle a project that echoes with the beginning of the year resolutions: a deep cleaning & decluttering session.

I've been pretty inspired by the book I got for Christmas, The Hands-On Home, and decided to gather all the products and tools I would need to try all of the home cleaning recipes it contains and a couple more I've tested in the past.

A deep cleaning is a very big task, so instead of diving into it and spending a whole week-end scrubbing and vacuuming, I decided to spread it over a whole week, focusing on only one area a day.

Set reasonable goals

Now is the part where you are all going to think that I am a little insane, but I'm gonna go for it. It was inspired by Netflix’s fictional character Kimmy Schmidt.

As you may know, Kimmy has survived 15 years of imprisonment by a cult leader in an underground bunker during which she and her bunker mates had to constantly turn a heavy crank - the purpose of which remained unknown to them until long after their escape. During a scene that stuck with me for a reason I could not fathom, Kimmy shares her secret to dealing with unbearable tasks: You can stand anything for 10 seconds, then you start on a new 10 seconds.

Whether it's scrubbing an oven or writing a school paper, setting an attainable goal is a good motivation, and an encouragement to keep going. I heard the same idea in a podcast I listen to but Kimmy's metaphor is such a good one that I'm gonna stick with it.

One good example, is cleaning a very dirty stove. Decide from the beginning that you'll allow yourself to stop after you've scrubbed the first burner. Once you've finished this task, your mission will be accomplished. If you feel like to can do more than one, good for you. Otherwise, pick up where you've left off the next day. What's important is for you to know that if you stopped at the first one, you've reached your goal. Motivation is key and you'll quickly get to a spotless stove, one burner at a time.

Gather your supplies

Another important factor is to make sure that you have everything you need for when you'll decide to tackle this major project. To me, there's nothing more frustrating than realizing that I'm missing one key ingredient for a recipe or, like it happened for this photoshoot, realizing that 2 of my measuring spoons were missing (I should have left them hooked to that ring!).

I like to keep a shopping list on Wunderlist, adding tools, ingredients and other supplies for DIYs so that when I'm at the co-op, the home improvement store or second-hand shop, I can grab what I need without having to go back to the recipe or Youtube video.

Once you've prepared your cleaning mixtures, put them all in one location, so you can conveniently grab them in the room you're gonna be cleaning (use a tote bag, a bucket or a basket, whatever is convenient/eye-pleasing to you).

Schedule your cleaning time

And last but not least, schedule your cleaning time. Whether it's a deep-cleaning session or routine cleaning and, more importantly, if you share this task with a partner or housemates, knowing that a special date or time in the week or month is dedicated to this task makes the decision-making way easier. No arguing, no convincing, no debating, it's in the calendar so that's when it should be done!

Here is my personal schedule:

  • Monday - Bedroom
  • Tuesday - Bathroom
  • Wednesday - Mudroom/Pantry
  • Thursday - Kitchen
  • Friday - Living Room
  • Saturday - Office

I try to keep the same schedule for weekly maintenance cleaning but mostly rely on our common bimonthly cleaning session, scheduled on Wednesdays, every other week (I'll talk about conscious cohabitation in an upcoming article).

Natural Cleaning Supplies by Conscious by Chloé

Supplies

  • Baking soda
  • Borax
  • Cheap vodka
  • Distilled water
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Essential oils (sweet orange, lemon or lemongrass, grapefruit, peppermint)
  • Kosher salt
  • Liquid castile soap
  • Powdered oxygen bleach
  • Washing soda

I had most of these ingredients at home, except for the powdered oxygen bleach and granulated citric acid which I easily found in bulk at the coop.

Natural Cleaning Tools by Conscious by Chloé

Tools

You can use bottles that you already have at home and just get trigger sprayers that will fit and drill holes in the lid of Mason jars to turn them into shakers.

Natural Cleaning Products by Conscious by Chloé

Cleaning Products

Tips

Work top to bottom
No backtracking
Clean by circling the room:

  • 1st loop: Tidy the room and pick up what goes in the trash and items that belong in another room
  • 2nd loop: Dust
  • 3rd loop: Clean and wipe surfaces and glass with the relevant cleaners
  • Then vacuum, sweep and mop toward the door.
  • And finally, put away the misplaced items and your cleaning supplies

In order for your to be able to find these DIY for further reference, during the coming week, I will post one DIY a day and update this article with the corresponding hyperlinks. I hope you'll find them useful!