Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day everyone!

In my search for inspiration on how to continue my journey to be more "green" I have found that other bloggers are one of the best sources of information out there  (which I have also found true for quilting - sewing tutorials are amazing!).  So, here is a list of Green blogs that I read pretty regularly and find a lot of helpful and inspiring information on:

My Plastic Free Life (aka: Fake Plastic Fish) - the journey of one woman in San Francisco to eliminate plastic from her life.  Amazing resource for learning about the issues of plastic and how to use less of it and (hopefully) get ride of it totally. 

No Impact Man - "crazy" New Yorker who experimented with his family for a year to find ways to live with no impact on our planet for a year.  His project took extreme measures (like no electricity for half the year) but it was done in the spirit of trying inspire others to take up their own projects and lessen their own impact on the planet.  If you are a Netflix subscriber his movie is currently available on the instant play list.  Really inspiring to me because he started from zero - he had no idea what he was doing and just jumped in head first and learned a lot in the process.  His goal is to find the middle path in life where we are all striving to do our part and save the planet but also finding ways to be more efficient about it so it's not a struggle but becomes the normal way of life.

Crunchy Domestic Goddess - a mother who writes about the eco-movement from a family standpoint.  Lots of information about "green" kids products and craft projects.  A lot of information about natural family living.

Betz White - an eco-friendly crafter!  She creates some super cute and beautiful crafts all by recycling (felted wool, re-purposing old clothing, etc)!  And she even has her kids doing it and creating super cute projects.  Inspiring from a creative side and an "green" side.

This last one isn't a blog but a site with some short videos about how we ended up in our crazy consumer driven society: The Story of Stuff.  Simple but informative.  A good place to start if you are just dipping your toes into the waters of the "green" movement. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter

With Easter coming up next weekend I find myself thinking about ways to be more eco-friendly during the holidays.  Easter (and Halloween) tends to be day full of single use items.  Easter baskets and Easter grass (the weird plastic stuff) are horrible!  Both are a waste of money - the grass just gets thrown away and most kids have no use for a basket and both are bad for the environment.  And, I really hate buying something that will be used once and then be thrown away. 

I try to be creative with my Easter baskets for my kids and I owe my own Mother for the inspiration to do so.  When we were kids we rarely got a basket (and if we did it was a real basket that she wanted for something else in the house and would then confiscate and use for it's real intended purpose once Easter was over).  We did however get an Easter "basket" that was another object.  One year we needed new bike helmets so the Easter Bunny left our goodies in our new bike helmets and that same year the Easter Bunny left my Grandmother (she loved to paint) a new vase filled with jelly beans (instead of water) and new paint brushes (instead of flowers).  Last year, Dominic had just started playing in the sand box at the park and was always trying to take the other kids buckets and shovels so his "basket" was a bucket and shovel.  This year the Easter Bunny is bringing Dominic some new legos (that will be put together into the shape of a basket) and Malcolm is getting a dump truck.  I also try to keep the candy to a minimum and find other goodies to put (I found some cute board books in the dollar bin at target this year and I am sewing up some bean bags for a ring toss game).  The grass I use is made out of paper that I shredded in our office paper shredder and have been keeping every year to reuse. 

Other ways to go eco-friendly is to use natural dyes to color your eggs.  I've done this in the past and the results can be good as long as you don't expect the brilliant colors you get when you use the pre-packaged dye kits.  And of course, going Fair Trade and organic when purchasing candy is always good (disclaimer: while I do prefer organic candy I fully admit that I bought Cadbury eggs and Starburst jelly beans for our baskets - I love both and only get them at Easter).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reuse


I remember hearing "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" as the main slogan for the green movement when I was a kid and I think that it is a great way to start going green.  It's simple and easy to implement.  Reuse is a big one that many people over look.  So many items in our homes can be reused and not simply thrown away.  Around here I use old jars as storage for beans and pasta in the kitchen or craft goodies in the sewing room.  We save our plastic food tubs for use as bath toys and bath toy storage for the boys. 


 And, old spice containers also make great toys (especially if your little one loves to pretend to cook, like Dominic does - right now he's making orange juice and fruit pizza for us to snack on).  Old sheets (ours are from a twin bed we no longer own) have been saved to use as picnic blankets and as materials to make forts.  I also have a box full of Will's stained/torn button up work shirts that I plan on cutting up and making into a quilt (I need a few more to have enough for a big quilt like I have in mind).  We also keep egg cartons and food boxes for future craft projects and old cotton t-shirts make great rags.  The list can go on and on - just stop before you throw something out to consider if you can reuse it some how and if you can't then can you donate it somewhere or recycle it?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Earth Day is coming soon

Earth Day is coming up soon (April 22) and it's made me think about what I've been doing lately to continue my quest to be "green" and eco-conscience.  This month I have several posts planned (as long as kids and such allow me to write - I'm still getting into the groove of having two kids around now) to hopefully inspire others out there to go green with me! 

My main goal this year to to consume less paper towel (and eventually stop using them entirely in our home).  Paper towels are pretty wasteful and are often made with very little recycled content.  Most often we use paper towels in our house as napkins and for wiping up spills and messes.  In February, I bough a huge bag of rags (on clearance for less than $3) and we've been using them for cleaning up almost everything that we used to use paper towels for (table, cabinets, Dominic, spills, etc).  We have also started using kitchen towels as napkins at meals.  I have a laundry basket in the laundry room for used rags and kitchen towels that I throw in the washer once a week with our load of bath towels.  The only real thing that I haven't figured out a replacement for is using them to soak up grease (like when you make bacon) - but I guess the occasional use of a paper towel for bacon is okay since I can put it in our compost bin.  I have also cut up a bunch of old white t-shirts into large squares to use for cleaning things like windows and as a replacement for the swifer cloths (nothing gets up the cat hair from the wood floors better than the swifer broom but the cloths were expensive and hugely wasteful so I'm really excited about using the t-shirts as a replacement).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Playing...

I finally got a chance to sit in my sewing room and play with fabric.  Malcolm was contentedly sleeping in the carrier and Dominic was happy to "sort" through the fabric with me.  :)  I have several scrap projects that are in progress that I plan on working on this month - all of them are perfect for short 5-20 minute long breaks that I can sneak in for sewing right now. The first is my wonky star project - I've been piecing on these for a while and have a big stack of them so I think I'll make a few more and then see what I can do with them.  The second is my spider web quilt - I started it back in 2009 and thought that I was done with the top except for some borders but then I found more of my theme fabric in my scraps so I think I'm going to try to add another row or two to it since I did want it to be bigger. 



And, the third project is to search for more epp star fabric in my scrap bins - I think I might have used up everything I have in my stash that is in the right color scheme (green, purple, and blue).  I found a few pieces that I haven't used yet but not as much as I was hoping for.  I did get them all cut out but I any not anywhere close to the number I need to finish the quilt at the size I want - I guess I'll have to go fabric shopping soon (oh, darn!).