Mar 29, 2011

on greenness

image via

it’s that time of year again when magazines and TV shows taut the benefits of going green. i like to consider myself to be environmentally conscious, and i always gobble up new ideas and tips for how to live a greener life. however, my efforts to go green have not always been successful, and right now i feel somewhat stagnated in my current level of greenness.

when “green guides” first started appearing on the market, i think i read every one and took their words as gospel. if a book said that sodium lauryl sulfate is the devil (it actually does make me break out into a painful, itchy mess), then i threw away every product i had with the evil SLS and bought new, natural stuff ASAP. i bought as many biodegradable cleaners and beauty products as i could find on the market, and, if i couldn’t find something biodegradable, then i would settle for anything labeled “natural.” but then something happened--sometimes the new natural products just didn’t work. natural shampoos are almost impossible to wash out of my super-thick hair if the water is hard. sometimes even the most natural and pure facial cleanser made me break out. i found myself with a new green dilemma: the unnatural, possibly carcinogenic products worked, and the natural, healthy products didn’t. plus, just because something is natural does not mean that you want it in the water supply. i had thrown away the “bad” products to switch to the “good,” and found myself either suffering my way through a “good” product only to go back to the “bad” or tossing yet another product into the trash or recycling bin. in the process of trying to be green, i ended up being more wasteful than if i had just been blissfully ignorant of the whole issue.

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similarly, the more i learned about sustainable and responsible products, the more confused i became. a couple years ago, i needed some towels. this lead to following thought process: should i buy bamboo towels? bamboo is really easy to harvest without a ton of water or pesticides, but the manufacturing produces a lot of toxic chemicals. should i buy organic cotton? the lack of fertilizers and pesticides is obviously positive, but i heard that organic cotton requires way more water to grow than conventional. the more i learned, the more i realized that there aren’t any clear winners in this game. to everything that had an upside, it seemed that there was also some sort of downside. it became confusing and frustrating to make any sort of purchase.

fast-forward to today: i recycle, i try to minimize packaging and other waste, and i use 4 or less (recycled) rolls of paper towels a year. i only buy toilet paper made from recycled paper. none of my cleaning products are toxic. i haven’t bought a conventional light bulb in years. i do most of the things on any list of ways to be greener that you will see this month, but i know that there’s room for improvement. specifically, there is one very green thing that i do not do: consume less. yup, i’m a consumer. i love to get new clothes for the new seasons, and i hoard craft supplies like nobody’s business. this is unfortunate, since i have come to the conclusion that the most green thing a person can do is to consume and do less.

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so this year i will honor the earth by doing less. i (unfortunately) cannot reduce my commute at this point in time, but i can run all my errands in one fell swoop over the weekend and then stay in. i can certainly buy less. i have enough clothes to have something to wear for weeks at a time, and i have enough books and craft supplies to keep me busy for months. i do not need to buy more stuff. my challenge to myself for earth month (didn’t you hear? earth day has expanded out to an entire month!) will be to buy as little as possible. knit up the yarn, read the books, eat the food in the pantry and freezer, and spend the very minimum amount of time shopping.

are you doing anything for earth month? what do you do year-round to keep things green? anyone else want to do this challenge with me?

Mar 27, 2011

52 weeks, 52 projects: finished object #10 and #11

slowly, slowly getting back on track with 52 weeks, 52 projects. this pink cowl is something i actually started two or three years ago, and, in taking inventory of my stash, i found it and finished it up in roughly 20 minutes. isn't it funny how sometimes you get so close to end of a project, but you're so sick of it that you can't bring yourself to finish it? i think this is actually the first knitted item i ever designed myself, so i fully intend to get a free pattern up for you guys someday. it's a really easy knit; i just need to take some measurements and actually write down my stitch pattern before i can write the super-simple pattern.

the stats:
  • pattern: my own
  • materials: lion brand cotton-ease yarn in berry (2 skeins), size 6 needles
  • cost: rescued from the stash = $0

my other project is something that i cast on and finished yesterday. i saw jaykayknits's knitted jewelry frame on ravelry, and thought "i have to make that." my ears would not tolerate earrings for a couple years, and, mysteriously, the tides have changed and now earrings are okay. since it was literally years since i was last able to wear earrings, i had given all of my old ones away, and now i am slowly replenishing my stock. since i have so few pairs, losing one would be a much bigger disappointment than it was in the old days when earrings were plentiful, so when i saw this i knew i needed one. i bought this silly frame from target around halloween. if you don't know this already, i love bats, so anything batty in the dollar spot is a must-get, even if it is months before i know what to do with it. the yarn is leftover from a shawl that is completely finished, but i haven't yet gotten around to blocking it, so it will be an FO for another day.

the stats:

speaking of tragedies, part of the reason why i've been even worse than anticipated about posting is that my cat, dolly llama, hurt her leg and had to have surgery this week. poor girl has a cast from the top of her leg all the way down past her toes, but she's been a trooper. she came home yesterday and is already able to stand up and take a few steps. she still seems to be sleeping plenty and eating with a healthy appetite. i wish i could say the same for myself, but things are coming back together for me now that the surgery is over and she's less angry about the cast. i have big blog plans for april (earth month), but we'll see how well they actually play themselves out...

ever had a pet crisis? how did you cope with it? any ideas on what to name my cowl design? what crafty goodness are you working on right now? show me your FOs!

Mar 12, 2011

a brief hiatus

image via le compte postcard folders

e was in town this past week, and, while i thought i would keep up with posting while he was here, i obviously did not. i will be away next week for spring break, so i think i'm just going to go ahead and call it: i'm going to let myself off the hook and resume normal posting when i return. since i will be going 2 weeks without a completed project, i'll owe you two plus my regularly-scheduled project when i return.

do you have a spring break? is it crazy to spend my spring break in a colder climate than the one in which i live? what projects are you working on right now?

image via the national park service