Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
- As I mentioned, we've ditched the disposables
- Our community started a curbside compost pick-up (if your community does not yet have one available, I strongly encourage you to lobby your municipal government to start one), but soon we will be starting our own backyard composter
- Just generally become more conscious of what we purchased, so that we don't have much crap to throw away
- Started buying flushable, biodegradable kitty litter
- Stopped buying processed foods, which are often packaged in non-recyclable packaging
- Started repurposing things that would otherwise have been garbage
- As of yesterday, started buying recycled and recyclable toothbrushes. :)
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Well we're back from our lovely vacation, and back to our daily grind. It's always so nice to get away, but also nice to get back to our regular routines. The kids get pretty out of sorts when they get off their routine. But a rest from that routine can be good as well. It gives us a chance to step back and reflect on our lives and on the direction our lives are taking. An opportunity to re-evaluate that direction, and decide if we need to make any changes. For me, being away inspired a renewed enthusiasm and determination to continue on this path that we're on. For some reason, when we're on vacation we tend to stray from our values a little. We spend a little more freely than we normally would. We buy things that we wouldn't normally buy. We ate fast food several times a day, which was horrible for us, and produced a tremendous amount of waste (but is difficult to avoid on a 3-day long trip). We feel the influence of others who are more into consumerism than we are, and lose sight of what we are striving for. It's also difficult when staying in someone else's home to continue to be environmentally conscious when they are not. You don't want to offend anyone by insisting that they should compost or recycle or NOT clean with toxic cleaners while your children are in their home. As they say, "When in Rome...". That being said, I love my family dearly, and I was also reminded of how much I miss being close to them and having them to lean on. Families are an important network, and will be increasingly more so in the future. I think that it's better to inspire others to change through example, rather than criticism. While we were staying with my Aunt, she had run out of her usual dish soap, and instead of purchasing regular dish soap, she bought some that was eco-friendly. I also noticed she had some organic shampoo in her shower. That could have been purely for my benefit, but it's also possible that I inspired a teeny-tiny change in her habits. It's only one or two things, but as we all know, the only way to get from point A to point B is one step at a time. No matter how small the steps. I know that there are so many people who just don't realize how destructive their own habits are, and what kind of impact they themselves have on our environment. It wasn't so long ago that I was one of those people. I would buy cheap, made-in-China crap, not realizing that I was contributing to child labour, to global warming, to oil depletion, and to our landfills (which is where the stuff ultimately ends up). I didn't realize that what I was cleaning with was making us sick. That what we ate and where that food came from was crucial to creating a sustainable environment. It took a huge awakening to realize the impact I could have on our planet and on our own health- either positive or negative. I have to bear that in mind when I get frustrated that we are working so hard to make our planet healthier, while others are making it sicker. Sometimes I feel like we are spinning our wheels, because others are undoing what we are working so hard to do. In a sense, that's what makes me happy that Peak Oil is upon us, and we are facing an oil-deprived future. For those who won't change out of concern for the environment, they will change for the sake of finances. It will no longer make economic sense to purchase crap from China, because the cost of getting it here will nullify the advantage of cheap labour. Buying things locally will eventually be cheaper than buying things from far away. Petroleum-based chemical cleaners will cost more than vinegar and water (and probably already do). The price of gas will be out of reach for the average person, so riding a bike or walking will look like a much better alternative. Growing your own food will be cheaper than buying it at the grocery store. All of these things are already true, but as petroleum skyrockets in price, the differences will be magnified, and people will start to notice. I just pray that the effects of Peak Oil are severe enough to inspire change before global warming reaches the point of no return.
As part of our renewed commitment, we built another garden after arriving home, so that we could plant some more food. (I'll take pictures soon - we're using the Square Foot Gardening method!). We bought some canning supplies so that we will be able to preserve some of that produce. We bought some books that will help us on our path. Books on composting, on preserving, on sewing "green" (with recycled materials), and one on general self-sufficiency. We are trying to build a library of reference books that will help to learn all of those skills that died with our ancestors. I'll add these books to my side bar as we accumulate them. It's funny that in talking about sustainability, I'm also talking about the things we are buying - but we are buying things that will help us to be more sustainable and buy less in the future. As inflation takes hold, these things will be invaluable to keeping our cost of living affordable. We've started a Wish List of things we want to buy in the future, as finances allow. On that list is things like a bike for me (my husband and kids have one, but I don't). Other reference books we want to get so that we can practice our skills in those areas. More canning supplies, and possibly a dehydrator. And as the cheap things we already own break, we are replacing them with things that can be repaired, and will hopefully last a lifetime. Like good, sturdy kitchen tools. We're planning to insulate this year to keep our heating costs low. We'd like to build a wood shed so that we can buy a winters' worth of wood all at once, instead of buying more halfway through the winter when costs are high, and the wood is not as well seasoned (meaning we burn more in order to get enough heat). These things all cost more money up front, but will pay huge dividends in the long-run.
Many of the Peak Oil blogs I follow have indicated that we have already reached the Peak (in July of 2008), and that we will soon begin the descent. Oil prices, in spite of the economy, are beginning the creep upward, and it won't be long before they surpass the prices of 2008. Is anyone else feeling a sense of urgency in preparing for the future? If so, what concrete steps are you taking to make sure your family is fed, clothed, and has a roof over their heads? Are you concerned that Global Warming might beat it to the punch? Have you tried to influence your loved ones to help make them more aware, and thus become a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem? How have you gone about it?
Monday, July 6, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
I didn't have much in the way of cotton yarn, I had a bit of yellow and a bit of orange. Neither was enough to complete a full dishcloth so I thought I'd make a striped one! It's nice and thick and soft - I can't wait to put it to work. It may not be perfect, but it was good practice - and it will do the job! It worked up really quickly, so I hope to make a few more for myself, and maybe some to give away as gifts. If you've never used a knitted or crocheted dishcloth, you really should try them. They fit great in the palm of your hand, and do a wonderful job of cleaning. I like them so much better than regular dishcloths, and especially now that I can make them myself!
Friday, June 5, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Sew Mama Sew is hosting a Sewing Machine Meme today, so I thought I'd participate! Since I'm not actually getting any sewing done these days, I can at least talk about my sewing machine. :)
What brand and model do you have? Janome DC3050. I blogged about it here. :)
How long have you had it? Almost exactly a year.
How much does that machine cost (approximately)? We paid $799 CDN, but I think the regular retail was $999.
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? Right now, not much of anything. :) Normally, I like to sew kids clothes, cloth diapers, pajamas, curtains, pretty basic stuff. Lots of mending. And I'm learning how to quilt!
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? Ideally, I would like to sew for an hour or so each day. Since the baby was born, I think I've sewn for an hour, total. :)
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? I LOVE my machine! It's very, very quiet. Sews like butter. It has a good selection of fancy stitches, but not so many that it's ridiculous. I haven't named her... any suggestions??!
What features does your machine have that work well for you? I LOVE the automatic needle up/down. And the automatic needle threader. And that it automatically sets stitch length and width when I select a stitch. And the drop-in bobbin with the clear cover so I can always see when I'm running out of bobbin thread. What's the expression, "A luxury, once sampled, becomes a necessity...". So true!
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? Some things took getting used to. Like the speed control for the machine is on the front of the machine, so to go faster, I have to adjust the little switch, rather than just push harder with my foot. Irritating at first, but now I'm used to it. Also, the seam lines are marked in centimeters (the inches are further up on the plate), which can be annoying when I'm trying to use a seam allowance that's in inches. I guess since I'm Canadian, I should get over it and just work in centimeters. :)
Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it! My darling husband bought it for me for Mother's Day last year. He was dying for a new iPod Touch, so he sold off almost half of his CD collection to raise enough money for it. Then his parents ended up buying him the Touch for his birthday, so he bought me a new sewing machine instead. :) Isn't he sweet??
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? Absolutely! It runs like a dream. And other than the above-mentioned minor irritants, it's a fabulous machine.
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? SERVICE! No matter what machine you decide on, I think you should always buy it from a local sewing machine dealer (Not Wal Mart!). The machine itself is only part of what you're paying for, there's no substitute for being able to take it back to the dealer any time you have a problem with it, often they will help you with the problem free of charge. My machine also came with as many free lessons as I wanted. I would far sooner buy even a second-hand machine from a dealer than a cheap new machine from a big-box store that you're stuck with once you buy it.
Do you have a dream machine? Well, I love my sewing machine, and can't see myself replacing it any time in the future. My next dream machine will be a new serger. :) The Babylock Imagine.