Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bad news first

Wow it's been a while since my last post. After that "little stuffy" post I started feeling a little stuffy myself - and it got worse. I'm on the upswing now, barring a little soreness in my throat, and started reading the table of contents of Science magazine, when what do I find? More bad news about the environment.

A few examples:

§ No hope in sight for coral reefs

§ Even native species can help the spread of crop-eating pests

§ Wild salmon are dying from lice from salmon farms

§ Biodiversity is changing in the Amazon

So this is the bad news. The good news is:

Species are sometimes more resilient than we think. For example, ants can fight off infections in really smart ways, we may be able to predict El Nino type effects better soon, and Archaebacteria can suck up CO2 in new ways.

But it's all nothing if we don't do our own part. You know, stop the endless consumption of STUFF, change policies, fight for the environment that cannot protect itself. And other things, like the daily idea here. (And that is your eco-tip of the day)

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Little Stuffy

Yes I do have a cold and sore throat, but I'm still working on some projects. Haven't you been dying to know what I've been working on? No? Okay.

Here's a picture anyway.

Can you tell what it is? No? A clue: It's a type of food.

Still no idea? It's a SAMOSA SET.


- 3 samosas
- purple sweet date chutney
- green spicy chutney
- a cup of chai

I put it in a cute japanese box someone gave me.

We went to Ikea and found a fantastically soft elephant there that we almost bought. Instead, it inspired me to make something a lot less complicated. So I used up the last of my fiberfill to make another stuffed toy:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Greeting Cards - Is Recycling a Waste?

One of my favorite pastimes is converting old junk mail and old cards into "new." I'll take a cute saying from a card, mix it with the front of another, and include a gum wrapper ("Stay sweet!"). I take little scraps and glue them together into a design on the front of a card. I use the patterned insides of envelopes to make more cards and bookmarks and gift tags.

After all, recycling is good. All that paper would have gone to the recycling bin. Reuse is always preferable to recycle - less energy involved.

But then my mother pointed out that while reusing and recycling are both good, the whole concept of card-exchange is a somewhat wasteful exercise. Isn't the act of giving out things of paper something we don't necessarily want to encourage? Why should I assist people in giving out a million holiday cards to people they only write once a year? Why should I give a birthday card when a genuine Happy Birthday will do (and the card will be most likely tossed the next day)?

For me, making cards is something I feel the need to do - my hands need the activity. I want to save something from the recycle bin, and at the same time make something of beauty.

I think I'd like to strike a balance. Make only beautiful, functional, useful cards, or make them for people who might give them anyway, or to encourage the very act of recycling paper (after all, billions of virgin paper cards are still made and sold every year!).

In my ideal world, people would only ever exchange reused/recycled cards, and they would reuse them until they fell apart, until they put them into the recycling bin. They would exchange beautiful cards only for geniune sentiments, not mass communication (Do I really need a holiday card from a national phone company?).

Until then, I'll still be making some recycled cards, especially out of things that cannot be recycled easily, and I hope they will be things of beauty.

Seven Things #41, #42

Last week's Seven Things:

11/23 #41
- 2 scarves
- plate
- 3 more packs of cards
- broken sunglasses
- old key

8 items

We also bought a number of new things. Sigh - the Compact is really out of the window.
- kitchen rug
- curtain rods and sheers
- a mattress pad

11/30 #42
- showerhead
- map of Iowa
- another jar of jam
- 1 top

Only four this week. So that's a total of 587.

I'm making a hopefully interesting new craft, but in the meantime, I made a set of 3 magazine placemats or trivets (like the ones at the top here - i'd like to try the bowl next!).

VeganMoFo 31: Oh it's over!

I just realized that VeganMoFo is OVER. Hmm, and I have been planning all these interesting things I'd like to eventually post (after I try them).

I'd still like to write about the super-sour orange we plucked that grew over from the neighbor's yard.

I'd still like to write about the slightly bitter spinach khakra of which I ate 6 with the spicy powder that came with them.

I'd still like to write about the food we had at Komala Vilas where they serve you endless food Indian-style and you have to eat with your hand.

But I guess all of that will have to wait for next year!

VeganMoFo 30: Thai food

On Friday we went to Indochine, which is nearby and after being doubly reassured of no fish sauce and no oyster sauce and no egg and no egg noodles, I ordered the pad thai. I took a chance.

On the other hand, the food tasted simple, homemade and fantastic, with the perfect amount of spice. I hate the whole thing. It was also nice to have a dish without having rice on the side.

That morning I made cinnamon-apple bread. I took a thick slice of my dense whole wheat bread, added some vegan butter and toasted it, then spread on some apple jam, sprinkled on some cinnamon and raw sugar. With a cup of herbal tea, it's heaven.