Thursday, March 29, 2007


If I were renaming my blog, I would name it this. It reminds me of magical spells (like witchcraft) but brings to mind things green and energy-conscious, and of course, crafts!

I finally got to uploading the picture of my meal. I've bought some new peanut butter, but it takes some difficult mixing, and I haven't tested out putting in any spices or herbs yet. Maybe I'll just try sprinkling things on top and see how they taste.

This week's illustration friday topic is "I Spy..." and this is a drawing I did that might be appropriate - can you see the 3 objects in there? I did this a long time ago (actually, in a literature class!), but regret doing this on paper that was printed with text on the back. I'm giving the original of this one away too (email me at pj20 at cornell dot edu if you want it).

I've broken some defashion rules a bit - watched a few minutes of "Top Model" and flipped through a "Good Housekeeping" (does that count?) over the weekend. I avoided the fashion pages in the magazine, though I have been visiting some blogs that have clothes and fashion on them. Yep, I've broken it.

I've been keeping up on the compact though. I bought two used books online as a gift, but didn't pay for them. Other than that, so far the only non-compact new non-consumable item bought this year has been the compost bin. I'm trying to keep it together.

Eco-tip: Arundhati Roy's candid views on resistance and violence and deforestation and more in India. Read the interview here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's Wednesday

I checked Monday's post and again it says Friday, when I started the draft of the post. Wonder why it doesn't use the date you publish, rather than the date you started composing the post. Well, it was posted on Monday.

More stuff is making its way into the give-away bin. Yay!

I'm still giving away my 8.5 by 11 drawings if anyone wants them. Most are black-and-white, but they're all pen drawings. Email me pj 20 at cornell dot edu if you want more details or want me to send them to you.

I'm sleep deficient today. Trying to work anyway.

I found myself upon on the moon
And told a story of the sun
But then it ended much too soon
And before I knew it, I was done
Before I knew it, I was done

I turned the page and a sliver
Of the Earth was turned to me
The Earthset glowed along the river
And crept as Earthshine on the sea
It crept as Earthshine on the sea

Maria, seas so dry as bone
Abandoned was I away from home
I wandered, saying, as craters shone
"Forever, ever will I roam.
Forever, ever will I roam."

Observation: I discovered that although I have no window at work, I have a sliver of greenery visible through a tall narrow window. It's always cheerful. The sun and the green really make the drabness of an office more bearable.

Eco-tip: Check out the Science Idol - cartoons on how politics influences science. Last year's winners covered everything from grant-writing to global warming.

Friday, March 23, 2007

SHUTDOWN and play!

SO, shutdown day was great. I got up early and had to run a few errands, after which I went to the farmer's market and library, and then did some reading. Then we went out to play badminton and finished up with hanging out with friends and dinner. I did once get tempted to check email but resisted the urge. This morning I got up and tried to put off computer until about 2:30, after finishing Julie of the Wolves. I highly recommend this computer fast.

I also managed to raise $90 from the sale of 2 old cellphones we had. We'll round it up to $100 for AID.

In San Diego, I had bought some rose salted basil peanut butter from Spread. It's delicious, but unfortunately almost over! My typical meal with this: multigrain toast with a touch of Earth Balance (I toast on the stove, no toaster) and the spread, and a glass of hot herbal tea (in this case, jasmine green). I could order more, but I wonder if I could do it myself with fresh or dry basil and some sea salt. It would be fun to try other variations too - I'm imagining chili-coriander-peanut butter and apricot-marmalade-peanut butter. mmmmmmmmmmmm

I finally began working on my craft paper lantern also. I started drawing on some white paper (it looked better than the brown) and planning out what parts I'll cut out. I'm only about an eighth of the way through!

Shutdown Day and Seven #9

From today's A Word A Day: How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake
mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young?
-Paul Sweeney

Tomorrow is Shutdown Day, so I won't be online for a whole day! No computer, no email, no blog, no google maps (I'm printing some directions today just in case!). Gonna be tough, but I think I can do it. Right in line with compacting. Will you join me?

I started drawing out my paper lantern FINALLY. it's taking a little more planning than I had imagined - it's important to have places where the paper is still attached to the lantern, so that it's not just all holes.

Also, this week's Seven things:
- one blue and white salwar set (1)
- my bottle cap tray (1)
- about 8 folders (1)
- waiting for someone to pick up 2 cell phones today (2)
- some old maps (1)
- 2 books for India (book on science for kids and Learn Sanskrit Through English)
total this week: 8
total so far: 89

Eco-tip: Save energy - try to cut back one unnecessary tv show from your watching. And be sure to put your tv on an energy strip you can turn off at night (it's still sucking up energy when it's off).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Work is fun!

I've actually discovered that my work (in science) is really and truly enjoyable. I feel like I'm doing something useful, I find it fun, and I'm definitely learning something new each day. I still experience setbacks and the constant fear that I am way out of my league here, but I do feel like this is work that is comfortable and suited to me. I won't yet be merging my craftiness and my science the way the Crafty Scientist has, but maybe someday...

On another note, Bill McKibben and others are organizing Step it up 2007 - rallies around the country to combat global warming on April 14th. I won't be in the country, so I hope I can convince some people to take part instead!

One of the things I loved that he said on Forum was that apparently one of the largest industries in the country is the sale of storage lockers! How sad are we that we pay people to hold stuff we don't even need for us?

I'm full throttle at giving stuff away and clearing all that STUFF from my life. My India suitcase (the trip nearly three weeks away) is half full already! A couple more packages will go out to postcardx and others this week.

Eco-tip: Go to and sign up for a rally!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Building Community

I am not a gregarious person. My ideal day off involves taking a walk alone or with dh, sitting in my room doing crafts and listening to music, reading a book, doing some writing, and a little computing.

However, today's speaker on Forum was Bill McKibben. Amazingly, I had not heard of him, but his words were amazing. He has a very soothing Hugo Weaving-like voice (Agent Smith from the Matrix) and discusses some lovely ideas about global warming and living with less by building local communities and getting to know your neighbors. What a Why-aren't-people-already-doing-this sort of concept! You can hear the show here starting tomorrow. It goes right in line with Compacting, while incorporating the ideas of physical interaction. He notes that walking around in a farmer's market, for example, people have many more conversations than in a chain grocery store.

My further adventures in removing stuff from home (in addition to my frantic seven things collections) are now involving:
1) packaging gifts for friends with upcoming birthdays
2) sending some nice little things for my Save the Children child
3) sending a new package to someone on
4) staring blankly at my closet and room (and kitchen and bathroom and...) in the hopes of convincing myself I can indeed part with something there

After reading Judy Moody Saves the World, I've gone back to read the original Judy Moody. Still kids' stuff, but still highly entertaining! It's nice to have an adult perspective while reading children's books. I'm now on to Julie of the Wolves.

No takers for my giveaway yet. Last chance - they may go in my Seven Things donation on Friday.

Eco-tip: Stash a plastic or regular spoon in your bag. When you go out to lunch, you don't have to grab a brand new cheap plastic one. Put it in a cloth bag if you can't wash it off.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Getting rid of things is a freeing experience. It's tempting just to give more and more away once you begin, and simplify to exhaustion. It's especially fun to send someone a nice package or to give them a well-thought out gift.

Speaking of gifts, I've finally finished reading Julie (skipped Julie of the Wolves, that's next, thanks to Femminista). It was a poignant book and I learned a lot I didn't know about Eskimo culture! One of my favorite passages:

"The Eskimo languages have no words for "thank you." One does not give to be thanked. A person gives to please himself; that requires no thanks."

I've also been considering the alternative: sometimes it's good to sell what you have. You get money back which can go to good causes. We are selling some old cell phones, and the proceeds will go to the Association for India's Development.

In the meantime, I am collecting various items around the house (more than seven!) to donate not only to our usual American Veterans pickup but also to take to India next month. I'm hoping I can create a couple of crafts as well to take and donate. Along those lines, I am still lurking on 25 Things for Charity. A beautiful concept, but I am not sure if I am ready to commit.

Eco-tip: If you have a laptop, don't leave it plugged in. You'll get better energy savings and battery life if you use it unplugged until the battery drains then let it charge up again fully. Don't forget those energy-saving settings also.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Giveaway! Seven #8

This week, I've reached a few milestones:

- I've was going through my clothes this morning and for the first time am finding it difficult to part with anything in there. I love it all. We'll have to see how long that lasts. (ie I still have 40 tops)

- Week 8 of my seven things has yielded: two salwar sets to my mom, our microwave (finally gone!), 3 unused plastic pots left out, a length of scrap cloth, and 2 DVDs I'm returning to my sister (The Producers and Harold and Kumar Go to Whitecastle). That makes 9. Yay!

- I've decided not to keep any of the crafts I've made. My loss is your gain (aside from those I've already given away). See below, and click for pictures. If you want any of the items below, please email me at pj 20 at cornell dot e d u . I'll send it your way!

1. Dryer Lint Doll - once I've fixed her up. I'll include the dress.

2. Various drawings - on various themes (village, mother-child, goddess, lion cub, and others), mostly in black and white

3. Plastic bottlecap tray

4. Drawing - in red and blue

5. Patchwork drawstring bag

Eco-tip: Summer's coming. Turn your thermostat up to 78 degrees and use the air conditioner only when you have to. Invest in a ceiling fan or a standing fan to help circulate air and keep you cool.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Two steps forward, two steps back

While I'm simultaneously suffering from various maladies, I'm trying to keep up my posts. The last two were actually posted only yesterday and the day before but somehow since they were first drafted on Sunday that's what they show.

Anyway, the dryer lint doll is still legless. I think I'm just going to try to redo her leg entirely.

In the meantime, I've drawn out a preliminary plan for the cutout lamp (a la Tord Boontje). I'll have to trace it out onto some white or brown kraft paper and I will cut.

A spontaneous poem:
tiny grain of sand
in my eye
a perpetual reminder
devastating ebullience
suffused with intolerable reticence
forever grating, forever swimming
finding life
in my tears.

Eco-tip: Building or buying? Know what to look for and give your home a green upgrade at

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Card designs

I've made up several card designs over the years (okay, it was two years ago) for my own use. I was making a card for an old family friend who recently got married and rediscovered them.

I'm not sure if any of you will use them, but here they are.

1. This is a folding card - I wanted to make one that opened up to reveal the message inside like doors. The images are somewhat traditional for Indian weddings.

2. This is a card for inviting people to your house for a function known as Navarathri - nine nights, including golu, when clay dolls and other sculpted and painted pieces are placed on a series of steps in the home. Then you travel to each person's house to see their displays, sing them a song, and get something yummy to eat as well as a goody bag! (Front and back)

3. This card is actually made from a picture from my own wedding. Fold in four to make the card.

4. This is another picture from my wedding, different effect. Outside and inside separate.

I've also wanted cards from these images by Artist Maya. Unfortunately, right now they're only for invitations and not for congratulations....

Lintiness and forgotten seven #7

Saturday was a lovely day. We went pedal-boating at the lake and took color and black-and-white photographs on my friend's non-digital camera and saw the most beautiful sunset I have seen in years. And Sunday we went to a lovely spa including a hot tub and steam room and shower and fresh towels and tea. You can get all this for under $20! Who knew? I plan to avail of these more often in the future. It was great for my sinuses.

I also finished up my dryer lint doll.

She needed a little dress, so I started making one:

And then, look what happened! :(

Despite all my attempts at water-soap-glue surgery, she is still legless! Now, what to do with her? She is too dusty and fuzzy to be kid-safe, and it's really sad to see her like this. Any ideas?

Also, this weekend I went to the composting workshop in my area. It was great! I broke the compact to buy a worm bin and some worms. I thought it would be really gross handling worms and had nightmares of them crawling around everywhere but they are well-contained in their little black bin, happily chomping away at the first peelings and coffee grounds I've fed them. Plus they don't like light, so they'll stay inside. I think this counts as a legitimate compact purchase, considering how much less trash I'm producing, right?

I TOTALLY forgot about my Seven Things this weekend! Oh no, number 7! I had already put aside another top, another pair of tights, a bag, and a few trinkets I gave away as gifts for some little kids. We'll count that as 4.

We've also left out a few of our own things on the curb. Apparently every year in our new neighborhood, everyone leaves out whatever they don't want for neighbors and whomever to pick up. We left our old microwave and some boxes and other things out. After a little digging around, I came back with a pretty green plastic grocery basket, a complete box of the game "Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?" (how amazing, I loved to watch that as a kid!), a couple of little basket/trays, a small footstool, and a pretty envelope decorated with a pig. And someone was throwing all of that out!

Finally, I must say, over the weekend I had three soy chai lattes (a lot for me!). HOWEVER, Saturday's chai at the lake beat the other two. It smelled and tasted like liquid gingerbread. Just thinking about it...mmmm.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


I just received a beautiful package from Lish at Handmade Detroit. I loved the golden paper, the football bag, and all the Hello Kitties (there was one on the envelope, which you can't see).

Inside, she included a Hello Kitty card, two buttons, a sticker, and a really useful book, Cheap Ways To.... I've been devouring it already - what a perfectly sweet gift. Thank you Lish!

I just discovered the following amazing trick - making a perfect 5-pointed star with one snip. The legend is that this is how Betsy Washington convinced her husband (and others) to have 5-pointed stars instead of 6 on the US flag. I tried it out on scrap paper. The folding and one-snip were fun - but I have yet to perfect it:

Yesterday I sent off a bunch fo postcards through Postcardx plus a few to OLD friends with whom I seem to have lost touch. Let's see if I get a reply.

Today I'm off to a Composting Workshop! Followed by potential wandering and craftiness. But first, a good salt water gargle.

Eco-tip: Refill your ink cartridges instead of buying new - you save plastic and money. You can get refillable packages for a fraction of the price of a new one. Or get it refilled at your local drug store or office supply store for a nominal price! And when you toss out an old one, send it back to the company for recycling (they might offer a discount as well).

Friday, March 09, 2007

Still sore throaty, but better. Working from home today, or trying!

My next craft projects are twofold:
1) make a dryer lint felt animal. I've made the forms (wet it with soap and water and mold it), but I'm not sure how now to cover them, or more importantly, how to sew them together! Any suggestions?

2) make a paper lantern or shade or just a pretty piece of paper a la Tord Boontje's Midsummer Light. Not exactly but with my own design and hand-cut. Going to be a LOT of work!

I am at the computer
while I'm typing this.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I really wanted to go to this Craft Group last night, but couldn't for family reasons. Well, it turned out for the best I guess because I am sick with an achy body and a horrid sore throat today! So no major updates today. I hope I'll be back to normal tomorrow!

I should mention I'm reading Don't Get Too Comfortable though, during my illness, which is making me laugh (painfully) out loud!

Edit: Craft group link is here

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Small post today, while I work on creating some tricolor crochet coasters. I've always been crocheting sort of "on-the-fly," not knowing what each stitch is called (besides chain), making up patterns for things as I go along. So I finally picked up a book that explained what single crochet, double crochet, and slip stitch were. My "oh...that's what that's called!" moment. Single crochet makes nice dense stitches, so I'm using that. I'll keep you posted.

I also went window shopping, though I did my best to avert my eyes from clothes, and focused instead on the tags on perfume bottles, or boxes that they came in. I had to look over at my friend's clothes - as she paraded what she bought. Fun!


Investing in the future isn't easy, they say
Instead, divest yourself
of greed
of shame
of ego
Imagine drops of humility dripping from your words
Forming perfect pearls of peace
in the palms of your hands.

Eco-tip: Sign this new petition against Fidelity to protest their investments in Darfur.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Illustration Friday

It's not Friday but I wanted to do Illustration Friday for a few weeks now. Here is my first - sort of a cartoon sketch (which I'm not crazy enough to post on their site yet!) I don't usually do cartoons and I'm badly out of touch but I find them easier sometimes when I'm not in a painstaking-care-drawing mood. This week's theme is "hide." Somehow this made me smile, thinking of how occasionally I was so scared of my teachers in school.

I also finished those coasters. I like top left best - it's most dense and neat. I also did it first. I guess I forgot or got lazy with the others. I wanted to do all the same colors but in different combinations.

And finally, here is a little booklet I made for a friend of ours who just got married. It has our fave restaurants, hiking trips, b&bs, and some gift cards in there.

Eco-tip: Save on unnecessary packaging and buy in bulk or at a local farmer's market or produce store. When you go, opt for produce that came from nearby rather than those labeled "Timbuktu" (unless you live there) or anything far away - it takes a lot of energy to get those things here!

Monday, March 05, 2007

February 2007 tally

I forgot to do the February tally! Not including the 6 days of march past. I also realized I only had 9 for January. Ha! Here it is:

1. stuff given away: 15 + 10 + 10 = 35

2. poems written: 2

3. drawings done: 1

4. times i went swimming: 2 (rainy month, outdoor pool, excuses, excuses)

5. made (for WR or just for fun): 2 (curtains and border jeans)

6. bought: food, junk food, household stuff like toilet paper and soap

7. real work accomplished: actually decent, considering #10

8. rules broken: my main problem now is with analyzing and complimenting and looking at people's clothes and accessories - a hard habit to break. when you want to make it, how can you not? and when it's cute, i feel like i have to say so! maybe i should recant on the "not complimenting" part...whatdya think?

9. list items done: i seem to have abandoned the list! time to get back on track.

10. blogs read: too many to count!

Let's add a number 11 - number of eco-tips: 8

And today's: Save energy by cleaning out your dryer filter before each dryer cycle. Better yet, use a drying rack or as it warms up, dry your clothes in the sun! What to do with all that dryer lint? A few ideas here.

Show and Tell

I have a million more things for show-and-tell today :)

Cute link: Nina Paley's Sitayana

in love with this wallpaper from Nama Rococo. i have this great urge to take some paint from the garage and just go crazy on the walls, but not the guts to actually do it. plus, we're renting (sheepish smile).

I've been playing with my new copy of Photoshop (especially the flare tool, which I just discovered) and made these little guys:

I call them Robi and Myna (not really sure why, they just sounded right). For some reason I was trying and couldn't remember my favorite animal. Until this:

I've also been playing with the program "Comic Life" that came on my laptop. It's funny - you can make anyone say anything! Here are my mom, my sister, and myself (the trigger-happy one):

We had a chance to spend a nice hour reading and browsing at Barnes and Noble this weekend. I was reading craft mags (surprise) and also a lovely yoga poems book by Leza Lowitz. This one grabbed me by the heart:

Buddha Konasana
Bound Angle

If you could call it perfection
What would it look like?
How would you know it,
feel it,
be it?

Wherever you are now
call it perfection
and know
that in the moment
it is really enough.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Craftiness! And Seven #6

This weekend, I have already been exceedingly crafty.

Yesterday I spent all evening making a paper doll book for a friend's daughter out of my paper scraps. I'd wanted to make an Indian paper doll for SO long (turns out there are several on the market now, try Googling). I wasn't sure how to do all the perforations and all that, though, until I got the GREAT idea of Velcro from Tania's blog! So that worked really well (click to read the whole book):

I've been saving up plastic caps and rings from milk and juice to make a bowl (can't remember where I saw the idea), but that just wasn't working out (plus my glue gun ran out of glue). Instead I made a tray that just slightly curves upward at the edges. I should try only the rings for the bowl next time - the caps are too inflexible and hard to glue together.

I also made some jewelry out of some old beads pulled from various necklaces. And then I wrapped that box in a great children's travel brochure I had saved from a trip to Switzerland. The green bow on top is made from a teabag fold pattern. I made an accompanying card from scraps.

Another cool recycling idea, as well. I saved a juice holder thing (holds two bottles together, from Costco) not knowing what to do with it. It turned out to be perfect for holding our razors. Cool, huh?

Phew! That's a lot of recycled stuff. I feel good about it, even though I've created more stuff in the world (a strange paradox)

On an unrelated note, I was pointed to this children's book. Judy Moody Saves the World. I'm hooked by the excerpt. How will Judy convince her family to recycle? I have to find it at the library and find out!

Seven #6 turned out a little lame: 2 tops, 1 scarf, 1 bag (as mentioned earlier), 5 balls of yarn, a pair of tights, a hairclip and set of earrings (as a gift). I had offered up my microwave on freecycle but it's not gone yet. Total: 68. The yarn went to an amazing freecycler who was knitting for newborns and leukemia patients. I felt like Schindler - maybe I should have given her more!

Ok, too long a post. Last thing:

Eco-tip: Plastic or paper? Say no to both. Stash some cloth bags (or reused plastic or paper bags) in your handbag or the trunk of your car. You'll have them handy when you go shopping.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Today I learned how to make these: ♥ • ⊕ ∗

I also followed the lead of Anna at twelve22 and made up a calendar. I used to make these but she inspired me to make it pretty and creative. I fill it with Hindu holidays and other interesting holidays. Not sure if anyone else wants to use it, but here it is!

I just rediscovered this. A while ago Wardrobe Refashion was looking for a new logo. I took a few pictures and put them together - the idea was poor Cinderelly to fashion model. They didn't pick me but I kind of liked it...

Oh, it's Friday. I haven't found any more things to give away. Someone might take my microwave soon though. Have to scramble tonight.

Eco-tip: Carry a few pretty handkerchiefs instead of a bunch of tissues. You can wash them to clean and they will not fall apart in your hands.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I won!

I just found out I won the Yogurt challenge on Handmade Detroit. I didn't even realize it was winnable, but I'm glad she liked my idea. Everyone had some great uses for old yogurt cups. Thanks, Lish!

Speaking of the intersection of art and the environment, see the above. It may be a fine example of pointillism, but here is a version that is made out of (trumpet fanfare) aluminum cans! It's an amazing exhibit that calls to attention the amount of resources (as well as political points) we use in the US. Chris Jordan makes some amazing pictures that get more amazing as you see the detail.

And here is my own simplistic artwork, a little pattern I made on ArtRage.

Oops, here's the image

Making making

First items are now in the shop! Go take a look.

Here are the creations so far:

Completed blocks for baby (can you read her name?)

Completed hat for baby's daddy (shhh) It looks small but it fits my husband just right, so I'm hoping...

My first ever embroidery. It was kind of hard because I didn't have an embroidery hoop with me, so that far right flower is kind of wonky. Otherwise, I enjoyed it. The fabric is now a little bag I'll use for gifts.

Stuff given away: two more tops, a cloth bag, and a scarf. (I know that's only four, I have a day or two left, though!)

Eco-tip: Try to keep track of what you throw in the trash. Is it something that can be recycled? Set it aside. You could even leave yourself a note on the trash can - "Is that your final trash?"