Sunday, February 27, 2011

Franken Foods Freak Me Out

Would you knowingly eat a potato that needs to be transported in hazardous waste containers since every cell contains pesticides? This isn’t food terrorism (at least not the kind we recognize as a crime); this is what passes as improvements to our food supply. Perhaps one day we will learn that we can’t improve on nature.

From Flavr Savr tomatoes to Roundup Ready Soybeans, genetically modified foods are being manufactured and unleashed on an unsuspecting public whether we are ready for them or not. The Grocery Manufacturers of America estimates that 75 percent of all processed foods in America contain a genetically modified ingredient.

Governments worldwide should have insisted on extensive safety testing of genetically modified ingredients before allowing them to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. But according to an article entitled, “Health Risks of Genetically-Modified Foods” by Dr. Joseph Mercola, the U.S. FDA even states, “The FDA has not found it necessary to conduct comprehensive scientific reviews of foods derived from bioengineered plants … consistent with its 1992 policy.”

Genetically modified (GM) foods are big business in North America, particularly in the United States. They are also supported in Brazil and to a certain extent in Asia. Europe has been appropriately cautious in its approach to GM foods and to date has limited access to the European market, much to the frustration of U.S. business. There is a very real threat that this could change in the near future.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Who Is Your Muse?

Who inspires you the most? You know, like a muse* muse would be Abby over at
Infusion Fibers. She writes a blog that always inspires me and her photography is artistic, sensitive and fun.

The first time I saw her blog, I moved right back to my own and de-cluttered, simplified and cleaned up my own blog. In her Etsy shop, she also uses natural, organic, sustainable and recycled fibers and fabric. And lives her life accordingly. Her shop is stunning in its’s simplicity and clean look. The bags she makes are the stars...and oh, I want them all.

My other muse would probably be Des from Life’s Ambrosia. I love cooking and her creative and simple recipes along with beautiful photography give a ton of inspiration.

We all know that there are a ton of folks out there who give inspiration and and whose work and ideas we an really identify with. (I know....‘with’ is a preposition, but proper grammar is a tad pompous in this case). I would love to know who you feel inspires you the most and why. Just a few words. If they have a link to a shop, blog or site, please include that too. I would like to see what folks are feeling.

*Muse: Many artists, writers, poets and musicians have said that their creative work has been inspired by an individual whom they refer to as their muse. A muse is someone who has such an influence on another that he or she becomes the focus and inspiration for that person's creative work.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Clean Water, Pleeeeeease!

Right on the tails of my last post re water, I find another slant on water isssues.  There is no replacement for water.  None, nada, not one!  We are in serious denial.

Mark Ruffalo - Gardener and Activist for Clean Water


Somewhere in Upstate New York (Sullivan County in the Catskill Mountains), an impossibly cute, Oscar-nominated actor gardens with his family.  In a recent story he said, "I know all my neighbors. It's beautiful and healthy, and in the winter there are blankets of snow covering the rolling hills.  But I'm raising three kids up there, primarily because it's supposed to be so clean, and all of a sudden I'm in the middle of a public health fight."
The public fight he's in the middle of is against fracking, the "controversial and potentially polluting natural gas extraction process by which tons of water are infused with chemicals."  Ruffalo says, "They blast the mixture underground at such high levels that it fractures the bedrock, which allows the natural gas to escape."
He first learned about the fracking debate at his local farmers market, where he goes to buy the things that he and his wife, Sunrise Coigney, don't grow in their own garden. (But they grow almost everything. They are those people. Asked to identify anything in his salad he could have harvested himself, he lists everything but the cheese.)
In Men's Health we learn that the Ruffalos live in a 150-year-old post-and-beam barn on their 50 acres of secluded farmland. They spend a couple of months in that "healing place" every summer, and the Men's Health reporter found him there "playing with the kids, Dad-erranding to town for supplies, and moving some rock and grading the entrances to the barn."
So, it turns out the character Ruffalo played in "The Kids are All Right" - the laid-back grower of organic foods - was no stretch.
And now that we know that he's a gardener/farmer in Update New York, where there just happens to be a GardenRanter nearby, a site visit and gardener interview are definitely in order.  Michele, you have your assignment and this quote by Ruffalo offers a clue to approaching him: "You know, the people around here just work too damn hard to go to movies, which means that the guys at the local Agway are just as insulting to me now as they always have been. And I like that."  So just insult him like the local farmers do and you're in!  We want photos, too.
But back to fracking, it's just one of many water issues he hopes to see people coalesce around. "Our idea is to go from city to city [and unite] whatever water groups are fighting mountaintop removal, or water scarcity, or gas drilling - anywhere that water is under attack, we host a concert there." 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

::W A T E R::

The need for fresh water ranks among the most urgent environmental challenges of this century. Only 1% of the world's water can be used for human consumption. Yet it disturbs me that we seem to be doing everything we can to use up or pollute what little we have -- half of the global population will be living in areas of "acute water shortage" by 2030.  That is not far off.  Nor will it be far away.

I am a quilter and bagmaker.  I use cotton every day.  Since the textile industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, I go out of my way to use organic fabrics, including cotton, which require none  of the pesticides chemically treated fibers. The World Bank estimates that almost 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles.
Waiting for water.......

Cotton production accounts for 2.6% of annual global water usage.

Remember this:  A single T-shirt made from conventional cotton requires 2,700 liters of water, and a third of a pound of chemicals to produce.

The idea of being without water.....for a whole population is a circumstance that I cannot wrap my mind around.  I grew up in suburbia and took water for granted.  In fact, when I was young, I was sure it was free.   Now we live in the country and depend on a well for our water.  This is not a subtle change by any means.  I am always aware of where my water comes from.  The Earth.  My Earth and your Earth.  Of which we are the ultimate stewards.  Together.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

recycled tp~ what’s that all about?

Did you know that most toilet paper is made from the virgin pulp of old growth trees?  Ecologically valuable forests full of old growth trees are being cut down so that we can have soft and lovely paper to wipe our tushes with.  Not only are ancient trees being destroyed, but massive amounts of chlorine are also used to achieve the pearly white color that we’ve come to expect when buying toilet tissue.

‘Ancient forests are the planet’s old-growth and original forests. The world’s ancient forests maintain environmental systems that are essential for life on Earth. They influence weather by controlling rainfall and evaporation of water from soil. They help stabilize the world’s climate by storing large amounts of carbon that would otherwise contribute to climate change. These forests also are home to around two-thirds of the world’s land-based species of plants and animals.’  This site will educate you on where these forests are and why they are essential to our planet’s health. They also offer ways to get actively involved.
I found this article that lists brands of toilet tissue that have a nice percentage of post consumer recycled content.  Recycled doesn’t mean tough and horrible. We made the switch over a year ago, after learning about this issue and we haven’t missed the bleached white stuff one bit.  The two things to look for when buying eco friendly bathroom tissue are 1) a post consumer recycled content of at least 40% and 2) chlorine free processing, labeled as (pcf or ecf).

Rebloged from:

Quilting Tutorials....a ton of 'em!

Links to free tutorials...some mine, others from around the web.  Enjoy!





Tuesday, February 15, 2011


LE POTAGER from Benoit MILLOT on Vimeo.
With a grateful 'Bravo' I thank BenoitMillot for his touching video (s).  To enjoy more his work, please visit the link above.

Cotton is one of the most environmentally destructive agricultural crops. In pesticide use in the US alone, it is staggering – 125 million kilograms annually.

The need for fresh water ranks among the most urgent environmental challenges of this century.

The textile industry is one of the largest polluters in the world. The World Bank estimates that almost 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles.

Cotton production accounts for 2.6% of annual global water usage. A single T-shirt made from conventional cotton requires 2700 liters of water, and a third of a pound of chemicals to produce.

Many believe that conventional cotton uses much less water than organic cotton, but in fact the opposite may be true. By beginning with healthy soil, organic cotton farmers need not supply intense irrigation for their crops—the plants themselves use water much more efficiently due to the inherent health of their surrounding environment.

Organic cotton has undoubtedly sounded like the overwhelming choice thus far, but nothing is perfect. India, Turkey, Peru, China and Africa currently grow more organic cotton than the United States does. What does this mean? It means that the next organic cotton T-shirt you buy was likely grown hundreds of thousands of miles away, shipped around the world to be processed, then shipped to a retailer and finally to you. That’s a big carbon footprint for one T-shirt!

All hope is not lost for organic-cotton fans who appreciate local production. States such as Texas, California and New Mexico are continually expanding their organic cotton production. Still, the United States is one of the world’s top conventional cotton producers, making it a vital force in the cotton market and one we should continually influence to embrace organic growth and production.

About GMO .... There’s a reason that the Department of Agriculture does not allow the use of GMO seeds for organic cotton—they aren’t as successful as they sound on paper. Monsanto, a manufacturer of GMO seeds and pesticides, claims that a study showed its Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis, a naturally occurring soil bacterium) cotton yields 30 percent more fiber than non-GMO seeds. A little digging quickly proved that Monsanto was a sponsor of this “scientific” study.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What's On The Counter Today?

Garth brought this in for the garden, and I don't know which fragrant, spring sweetie this is....we have winter iris and narcissis so far.  Anyone have an idea?

::L I N E N::

BE LINEN MOVIE from Benoit MILLOT on Vimeo.

This video was posted on the 4th by Abby of  infusionfibers.  I went to Millot's site and draged it down to share with you.   I follow her blog and relish her photography, approach to design and most of all her dedication to the eco-life.  In her work and in her appreciation of the world around her on the Oregon Coast, you could find no better source of inspiration.  She says about linen:  "Linen - it's smell, it's physical texture, it's visual characteristics - is one of those things that affects me almost physically - it excites some part of me."

In the world of organic fabrics and fibers linen, for me, is the most sensual.  My wardrobe is packed with it, I quilt with it and make bags with it.  I have blogged about it before, but I want to share the video that Abby posted on her website today.  The Benoit Millot film about flax/linen along with some of his other work can be found on Vimeo.  Do go and look.....look all around, get lost in the site and follow out to others.  Trust me, it's all good!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Dirt on Cleaning Product Companies

How do your favorite mainstream cleaning brands stack up?

Women’s Voices for the Earth, aka WVE, has put out the results of a study of five of the leading cleaning product companies regarding the use and labeling of toxic ingredients in products. I am a big fan of WVE, a national organization that engages women to advocate for the right to live in a healthy environment. They also helped to launch the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. They “seek to reduce and ultimately eliminate environmental pollutants that cause health problems for women, their families and communities. To this end, WVE creates opportunities for women to influence environmental decision-making.”
Knowing WVE’s mission statement, I sat up and took notice of their announcement about their scorecard on cleaning product companies, published Sept. 24, 2008.
Find out how top manufacturers rate in protecting you from toxic chemicals in The Dirt on Cleaning Product Companies

Read more: