Category Archives: Recycle

Green Week Day 4: A Little Help From My Friends


Today, a shout out to all the green inspiration I’ve seen sprouting up this week.
Sharon and her kindergarten students in Texas are taking recycling to a new level.
Keesha has overhauled her daily routine to cut out the crap.
Carrie is cleaning house and demonstrating the power of composting.
Rachael reminds us all of the old camping rule that makes such sense at home too — mellow yellow.
And June, oh June. She who regularly inspires me artistically shares her recipes and motivation for cutting out chemicals and making her own environmentally friendly cleaning products. Yeow!
Bravo ladies!

These are just a few of the many great ideas you’ve shared this week. Thank you so much for pushing me to be better! Speaking of, today I’m telecommuting. Tomorrow? The bus. Wish me luck!


Green Week Day 3: Using Less

Miss Frida

Who wants a fabulous new market bag? Apparently throngs on the East Coast do. I’d love one of those, but my Frida bag fits the bill. Not only does this bag keep me from bringing home a ton of plastic ones, but I know that when it is full — it is time to leave the market. If I buy more than one bag, I end up throwing out produce at the end of the week because I couldn’t get to everything in time.
Frida and I have a weekly date at the market by my house. The clerks roll their eyes when they see me coming. Yet, more and more people are following the trend, so I guess they’ll just have to be more patient. This size reminds me to consume only what I must, which I think one of the most important principles of being good to the earth.

A few other photos from my home, simple ways I’m trying to use less:

unplugged in between

Appliances unplugged when not in use.

air drying

Drying my clothes on a clothing line and rack, rather than in a dryer. This has a double benefit this time of year because the dryer really heats up my laundry room. There might be a problem with my dryer. I don’t think it should be this hot. Perhaps I should contact a service provider who can do Dryer Repair and ask them to fix the issue. That way, it may also end up not consuming so much energy as it does now!

saving fuel

Thankfully, ceiling fans help keep my air conditioning bill manageable. The key is to use these only when you are home. More great tips here. But in case you do not have any ceiling fans, and keep your house ventilated/cooled through central or ductless air conditioning systems, then worry not. You can still do your part to reduce energy consumption. Make sure that your systems are well maintained and functioning at their most optimal, install temperature regulators so you can up or down the temp as you need; all this with help from trusted heating and cooling companies in Denver (or wherever you live) who may be able to guide you on what else can be done to optimize energy use, and be well on your way to making a difference!


I recycle everything I can.

nalgene to go

I always have one of these with me. If I am out and can refill one of these, rather than take a disposable cup, I do. Every bit helps. I think bottled water is pretty ridiculous; my parents own an RO water company and I’m spoiled with tasty tap water that’s been filtered. Tap water rocks.

What do you do to consume less?

Green Week Day 2: Using Less Water


Awesome shower timer shared in the Green Week photo pool.
Living in the desert, it is easy to use too much water. It shouldn’t be easy, but modern conveniences — such as air conditioning, swimming pools, an even landscaped yards — make water over-consumption the norm in Phoenix.
Your comments and ideas yesterday about using less paper were great. Collectively we know we aren’t going to change popular culture overnight. We also know that we are changing our behavior — the only thing we can control. Big change begins with small steps.
The small steps I’m making toward using less water are pretty darn basic. I wear a running watch all the time. I’m too lazy to have the battery in my dress watch replaced, so my Nike digital is permanently fixed to my left wrist. Not only does it clock my running times, but also my showering times. Four minutes or less is my goal, with the water turned off during non-crucial rinsing moments. I’ve lived without running water before; I also understand how easy it is to overlook this awesome household convenience when available. You’d think a girl who once hauled each drop of water she planned on using, by bucket, from a community well, over hilly terrain, wouldn’t need to wear a watch in the shower to be mindful about her water use. You’d be wrong.
Regardless, this week is about being more mindful and I’m working on it. Sounds like you are too! I’m also keeping a bucket in the shower to catch excess to feed my house plants. I’m not washing my car. I also recently helped campaign for my HOA to switch all communal areas in my community from sprinkler-fed grass to desert rock landscape.
Small victories! What are you doing to use less water?


Green Week Day 1: Using Less Paper

cutest recycler ever

How cute is this wee one, rocking the recycling? This photo is one of several already submitted to the Green Week photo pool, celebrating the best of reducing, reusing and recycling.

Today’s earth-friendly idea is using cloth instead of disposable anything. Such as cloth napkins, towels and of course, diapers. My friend Amanda emailed me a ton of stats on why it is important to use cloth. Did you know it takes 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose? In contrast, it takes just $17 in water during a child’s life to clean cloth diapers. No landfill waste, less diaper rash, and oh — you aren’t contributing to the 1 billion trees cut each year just for diapers. Yikes!

This week I’m sewing cloth napkins to use at home. I’m also whipping up some knit dishcloths. A few other simple paper-saving things I try to do include using junk mail envelopes for note paper, sharing magazines and books with friends, printing with the “selection only” feature to prevent pages of unwanted text when printing off the web, and reusing shipping boxes for mailing.
What can you do to use fewer paper products?


Green Week

Green Week!

I am so impressed with your ideas for treading a bit lighter on mama earth. Awesome! So, I got to thinking — how about we show each other how we incorporate these ideas into our everyday routine?
Next week will be Green Week around here. To participate, please photograph one of your green habits and throw the photo in this flickr group. I’ll share the photos along with conversation here and we’ll take a step toward doing something about slowing global warming, rather than just sitting around complaining about it. Hell to being helpless!
Sound good? Oh, and of course there will be eco-friendly prizes. I’m thinking sets of cloth napkins, market bags, Nalgene bottles, etc…


The Bare Minimum

Earthy market bags

Want to help the earth, but didn’t make it to the concerts this weekend? Can’t afford to purchase a Prius or are just too lazy to figure out the bus schedule? Good news: you can still help.

The very least we can all do is to stop using plastic grocery bags whenever possible. Carrying your own cup to the coffee shop, recycling clothing and other goods at thrift stores, buying locally, walking/carpooling/using public transport and consuming less by principle earn bonus points in my book.

When some friends asked if I’d mind sewing them some canvas market bags, I jumped at the chance. Sew for a good cause? Absolutely!


What is your favorite environmentally-friendly practice?


Shabby Chic Japanese-Style

Dear Finny,
Man, oh man, how I wish you were here. I need you, a pitcher of Ace Pear, a veggie burger and about four hours on the patio of Four Peaks. And of course, a cab.
Rather than drinking away this crazy week, I’ve taken to some Butler therapy. Me + In Stitches + a pattern June says is “easy” + a bunch of shabby chic fabric. And lookie what I made?

Kimono robe

It’s a kimono robe for a certain February birthday girl. I like the blue fabric, but am not so sure about the trim. And as for this baby being easy?

back of kimono robe

Well, June is a master seamstress and I am not. {Have you seen her latest projects? Talented!} This was my first sewn garment and the shoulders are a bit wonky. So, I just added a bit of recycled bias tape and a bit of extra so you can hang the sucker up. What do you think?

goofy model

While I was at it, I made a couple wristlets — because I’m a bit addicted and have that giant eBay zipper stash to go through.

shabby chic wristlet
recycled Africa pouch

This wristlet, I must say, is a fantastic example of recycling. Remember when I tried making those baby dresses from pattern? They were for baby Pia — the newest addition to the 6.5 family. Well, they were a disaster and ended up in my scrap bag — only to be turned into an African pouch. My mom ended up making the dresses anew for me when I visited at Christmas.

Orange dress
Daisy dress

Got to love my mama. She is so darned good behind that sewing machine. Speaking of, what’s the February In Stitches theme? We’ve also got to select January’s winner from the flickr gallery.
You sure you can’t come over for the weekend?


p.s. I bought the new Norah CD today. It is so, so good!

eBay As A Form of Environmentalism

What is it about January that makes us all crazy about changing our lives? I jumped on the resolution train with a first-class ticket, so I’m just as guilty as everyone else. I even got on the scale at the gym this morning. And took a couple huge bags of clothing to Goodwill. I’m sorting, resolving and cleaning like a maniac with the best of you. But you know that one resolution I made? The one where I said I was going to use what I had more and buy less? Well, I’m making one caveat.
eBay doesn’t count.
I am officially ruling eBay (pretty much my second favorite store next to Tarjay) a form of social environmentalism. It’s somebody’s trash is another man’s treasure come to life. For example, this bag?
eBay makes saving money on great items like this so easy, and with coupons and discounts from Raise (check them out here –, you can save even more money on amazing items making it really easy to budget without having to sacrifice buying luxury items. It’s definitely worth making the switch if you’re looking to stretch your funds. Additionally, it is a great platform for sellers since it enables them to set up a virtual store easily. Furthermore, services such as the eBay fees calculator can help them track their return on investment. This makes sense why more and more sellers might be moving towards virtual stores.


Coming back to the bag, I really shouldn’t spend $100 on it. I don’t need it, but wow. The birds? The brown? I’m kind of in love. Even though I’ve got an REI gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I’m not buying this cutesty bird bag. I’m not. (The only thing girlier in the entire store? The pink Nalgene that’s currently sitting on my desk.)

But if I were to find one on eBay for a fraction of the price? Well, that’s just smart investing.


All Tied Up

I am not one to spend lots of money on fancy wrapping paper. Instead, this Christmas, I’m using things I already had around the house and a large dose of creativity. To wrap my advent gifts, all 250 of them, I used my alphabet stamping set, some red ribbon, a bunch of brown paper bags, some silver paper, and one $4 box of ornaments I purchased at Ikea. Viola — a bit of Christmas craftiness.

advent gifts, numbered
advent 1
advent wrapping

Using what you have is satisfying and challenging. The added benefit is getting back a few more shelves in my studio. I spent about 6 hours crafting yesterday, only to put everything away last night and have the closet doors close with ease. Woo hoo!

If I were home this weekend, I’d be bopping around the house in a holiday apron, listening to Frank Sinatra crooning about mistletoe and wrapping myself silly. Instead, I am off to Tucson to run another 1/2 marathon. The Tucson Marathon and I have a love/hate relationship. I love her when she is six months away and hate her the day before. The last time I ran the full marathon, I cried hard for last 13 miles. There is nothing like a long, solitary race through the desert to make me hysterical. By the time I crossed the finish line, I was dehydrated, embarrassed and frustrated. This year, I’ll be prepared with an iPod full of great tunes, warm clothing to ditch on the sidelines as the race progresses and an improved attitude. It’s just a nice stroll through the saguaros, right?

Can’t Knit? Sew Recycled Mittens

That crafty Martha gave me another idea. In one of the recent Living issues, she listed a handful of projects using old, matted wool sweaters. Living in Arizona, I don’t have many (any) of these hanging around, but thankfully I did have one gifted to me by a fellow crafter in a recent swap.
I followed Martie’s instructions on how to transform this lovely gray sweater into a pair of simple and sweet mittens. {What? You don’t call her Martie? Come on. She’s been in prison. I’d guess this is one of her kinder monikers. Then again, looking at her successful return to society, I’d guess there’s nothing like time in the pokey to make you more inventive. Spoon = shovel. Straw = shiv… Well, that’s a whole different magazine.}

Martha's idea
pinned glove pattern
gloves cut from sweater
completed felted gloves

Voila — a unique and warm pair of gloves. After I took this photo, I dolled these gloves up a bit with a few pretty black glass buttons sewn on the cuffs. They are wrapped and under my little tree, ready for a certain family member’s hands.
I’m going to use the remaining part of the sweater to create iPod cozies. That way when you throw your tunes in your purse, the screen doesn’t get scratched by your keys. I’m thinking of embellishing these with embroidered initials, buttons and a piece of pretty ribbon around the edge.

I promise you all of my advent posts won’t be crafty. I’ve got some decorating, wrapping and baking ideas coming down the pike too. It’s just that I’ve been sitting on these photos for a bit and couldn’t wait to share.