Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fear

Think of fear like alcohol. It impairs judgement. You shouldn't make any decisions while under it's influence. -from "Iconoclast" by Gregory Berns

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day and World Malaria Day

Did you know that what you consume and how you dispose of it directly affects people in developing nations? People in the U.S., on average, have the largest carbon footprint in the world. For example, 80% of the paper consumed in the U.S. comes from outside it's borders. Paper!

Did you know that very little of our plastic that we so faithfully put into our recycle bins gets processed in the U.S.? It gets sold off shore where there are no government restrictions to make sure that it's done safely and without harming both the environment or the people who live there.

Did you know that plastic bags cost thousands of dollars to recycle material that is only worth a few dollars when the recycled product is done? So instead of being recycled, they go into landfills, get caught on trees, end up in the sewer and washed into waterways clogging harbors and eventually joining a large mass of them in the Arctic ocean near Spitzbergen. Even worse, as they degrade, they become more and more toxic.

So this Earth Day on April 22nd, think about reducing your carbon foot print by reducing your paper and plastic bag use. You can figure it out. Get creative!

Another important day this week is World Malaria Day on April 25th. Malaria is 100% preventable and it kills more kids in Africa than AIDS. 75% of those who die from malaria in Africa are kids under the age of 5. So let's do something about it!

Jordan Foxworthy learned about malaria on a family trip to Africa as well as how simple it is to prevent it. She realized that even though she was only a teenager, she could do something about it. So, she is, and she's asking all of us to participate. Go here to learn more about malaria, watch the videos, and bite back by buying a net.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Got a POGO Printer

I just got a POGO printer. Now it's time to play! I'm hoping it will work well for travel journaling.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Recycling Crafts: Making bags From Grocery Bags and Old Towels

I've been doing an investigation of recycling crafts and find that most stuff is not up to my standards. Some of it takes junk and makes junk. Some of it, I'm just not interested in. But I have run across an idea that I like and has me making and thinking.

I ran across this pattern for a bag crocheted from plarn. Plarn is yarn made from plastic grocery bags. I lost the printout I had, so mine doesn't look like the pattern but is still quite functional and has motivated me to collect grocery bags that my friends have collected and don't know what to do with since they started using reusable bags.

So I've been trying to look at stuff or trash and try to think of a reuse.

I have some old towels that I haven't thrown out because I've been trying to figure out how to reuse them. The fabric is good, but the dye has leached out in places and there are snags everywhere. So I thought I'd try turning it into yarn to make into a bag as well.

It's working. I cut off the seams on both ends and then started to cut a 1/4" strip but left the last 1/4" from the edge uncut. Then I started cutting from that edge and what I have is a zig zag of 1/4" wide terry cloth yarn. (Tarn?)

I grabbed my size P hook and have begun crocheting it into a bag. My guess is that one towel will make one bag. I'll post a link or photo when I'm done.

If you decide to try this, do it someplace easy to clean up. The terry cloth loops that get cut end up all over the place. In addition, please note that this is hard on the hands. Just cutting the heavy terry cloth (they were quality towels) was a strain, but so is the crocheting.

Monday, April 13, 2009

If you're a germaphobe...don't read this post.

When I was growing up in Africa, we didn't have facial tissues. We had handkerchiefs. I do remember references to "dirty old rags" and things like that; but most of the time, they weren't that bad.





I've always had a fascination for the "lost" art of handwork on linens. Doilies, table clothes, dresser scarfs, handkerchiefs... So I have started looking for great examples in good condition at antique stores and shows. One thing I've collected quite a few of are in the handkerchief category. I've even embellished a couple of them myself.

Then, the other day as I was reaching for another facial tissue, it came to me. I've thrown a lot of those in my trash. I started thinking about all those nice handkerchiefs I have and realized that I didn't remember them being so bad for every day. You grab a new one in the morning and throw it in the laundry at the end of the day.

So I dug out a few handkerchiefs and have begun using them every day. So far, it's working very well. I still have the paper ones handy and will probably not get rid of them entirely. But not only can I reduce waste, but I'm looking forward to making a few new ones to add to my stash.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Africa

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, one of the things you might have picked up on is my interest in Africa. Or maybe it's not as obvious as I might think it is. Any hoo...it's going to become a lot more evident.

At one point I was actively going to school in order to apply to graduate school and study African art history. I still do, but due to life's unfortunate turnings I've had to put that dream aside (at least for now). After a period of disappointment and grieving, I'm coming out the other end and picking up my interest in a new way.

My long neglected reading list includes a lot of African history. Art is affected by historical events and circumstances, so I feel I need to learn as much as I can about African history and archaeology. I would like to post reviews or summaries on some of the books I read.

I have two trips to Africa planned this year. The first is to Uganda where we will get to meet our sponsored child. The second is to assist at a construction project at Rain Forest International School in Cameroon. I'm going to do posts starting with the preparations and following through with the post-trip reflections. If able, I will try to do posts during each trip, but internet connectivity can be sketchy there.