It’s Not Just What You Buy, It’s What You Don’t

buyerarchyWith Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday almost safely behind me, I’ll admit, the merry madness threatened to sweep me away -- I nearly lost my eco-consciousness.

Black Friday is most definitely not my thing -- and the mighty Hudson River stands between the malls and me.

Saturday, I cruised the shops in my vibrant small town, and hit the Farm and Flea on Sunday.

So far, I’ve made it through today without a purchase. With so many cyber-deals flying furiously past my screen, it’s a miracle the credit card hasn’t shimmied its way out of my wallet.

I have a new strategy for not shopping. Every time my mouse gets twitchy, I grab a snack.

It’s Munchy Monday!

Not so fast…

It’s not just what you buy (or eat), it’s what you don’t.

How do you get through the holiday shopping season hoping to save a buck, save the environment, save yourself?!?

Image: Long Live Irony

Egg Shell Sculptures

egg_shells_carvedElegant - These photos of gorgeous egg sculptures are created by Chinese artist, Wen Fuliang.

Fragile - When Wen Fuliang was laid off from his job as a wood carver, pilule he turned to this unusual and skillful form of art to make ends meet.

Repurpose - He uses chicken, goose and duck eggshells to carve out designs and places of interest.

Artistry - Egg carving is done using a fine diamond bit on an electric rotary tool. Wen Fuliang carefully empties the yolk and egg white with a syringe and sketches a design on the shell.

Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

MORE Easter posts:

DIY Silk Eggs From Old Ties Super Natural Eggs 3 Ways To A Clean Air Easter "Green" Easter

Photo via Daily Mail

Yarn Bombing: Knitting Over The Edge

Has knitting become a subversive movement? In the last few years, knitting has put miles of distance between the images of grandmas in rocking chairs knitting up tea cozies. I just love how hip, and alternative-minded folks are picking up needles and casting a rebellious flair on an otherwise complacent hobby.

I encountered my first brush with yarn bombing after a satisfying lunch with my kids at the popular Boston eatery, Flour. I was totally taken aback when I bumped into an innocent lamppost and came face to face with urban knitting graffiti.

Like many of you, I'm a big fan of individualizing environs - both interior and exterior, and knitting is my number one hobby of choice. As a mostly non-political knitter, my knitting adventures of late have been relegated to gifting my family with hats, scarves and socks. It may sound silly, but this lamppost encounter with its anonymous yarn artistry, absolutely delighted me. It was as if the inanimate object sprung alive and sported a mischievous grin that said, "Tag, you're it."

Magda Sayeg, the founder of Knitta says, "It not only turns alive, there is something comforting and loving about it. You don't look at the pieces we wrap and get angry or mad. You are happy." Two outlaw knitters, Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain have elevated yarn grafitti to a new level in their book, Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti. Along with the accompanying blog that chronicles Moore and Prain's research into knit (and crochet) graffiti groups from around the globe, they've been "tagging" the world with "yarn bombs."

Pique your interest? If you are a knitter or crocheter with a flair for fiber artistry and you're interested in dabbling in the underworld of yarn bombing, join the movement. It's certainly a great reuse opportunity for your leftover stash. Plus, groups are popping up all over the world. But first, you must be willing to abide by a manifesto of sorts.

England's, Incognito group (no website link, as they want to stay below the radar) shares a few rules:

1. We anonymously promote knitting as adventure. 2. We aim to soften the edges of an otherwise cruel, harsh environment. 3. We juxtapose vandalism with the non-threatening nature of knitting. 4. We aim to readdress the nature of graffiti with a non-permanent, non-destructive, cozy medium. 5. We are a non-discriminating collective. 6. We aim to recruit members to tag on an international scale. 7. Knitstable today, the world tomorrow!

Ready to join the yarn graffiti force? Even if yarn bombing is too fringe (no pun intended), check out the's a voyeuristic pleasure not to be missed.

For me, yarn bombing gives new meaning to, "Go hug a tree." Thoughts? Does knit graffiti desecrate, or do you agree with Yarn Bombing's slogan, "Improving the urban landscape one stitch at a time?"

There Is No Away

Feeling a little bullish and full of questions about Earth Day.

Do we still need Earth Day?

I remember the first Earth Day. We were told, "Make every day Earth Day."

Did we?

At the time, our cars slurped leaded gas, power plants belched out smoke and smog without recourse, and our rivers were on fire.

With even cleaner ways to power our vehicles, have we embraced cleaner cars? With mercury pollution poisoning our children and asthma on the rise, is our air clean enough? What will happen to our rivers and ground water if our land is fracked?

Earth Day was inspired by the anti-war movement. It tapped into that tremendous energy to bring public awareness to air and water pollution. In April of that year, 20 million Americans rallied for a healthier environment. Groups fought for less polluting power plants, eliminating toxic landfills, bans on pesticides, and cleaner roads.

How'd they do it?

In a rare political alignment, Republicans and Democrats created the EPA, and then passed the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Could this be done today?

We've got climate change deniers in Congress, and a well-funded pro-polluter lobby drumming the false message that we have to choose between the economy and our precious planet. Such a no-brainer. Where's the economy headed if we can't breathe the air, drink the water or farm on the land?

What can we do with such a divided environmental community?

We've come a long way since 1970, yet we haven't answered all the questions. I'm thinking we need a new uprising, a new mission for Earth Day...a grassroots movement focused on the single most important environmental problem of our time--global warming. Our parents fought hard for a cleaner environment for their children. And we've learned there is no away.

Maybe it's time to repurpose Earth Day?

Earth Day 1970...

Poster: IDSA

3 Ways To Knit Green And A Big Cable Coverlet (free knitting pattern)

In my conciliatory effort to catch up, it’s time for another knitting project. Before you grab your needles, let’s take a look at the saving the planet side of knitting.

Since I must examine the eco-friendliness of everything, and I must knit, I must help you find a way to knit without doing any further harm to our precious environment.

Let’s be real. Knitting is not the greenest of crafts. It’s expensive, and there's a myriad of toxic additives and dyes used in the manufacturing of yarn. The process is not energy-efficient, and not great for workers health. And a large chunk of yarn comes from faraway places. All of this can negatively affect people and our planet.

While the yarn industry may have a long way to go, there are a few things conscious knitters can do.

3 Ways to Green Your Knitting

1. Knit Your Stash – Here's a fact: Knitters horde yarn. Why? Because you’ll never know when you will need a variegated purple fingering-weight merino angora-blend skein. What was I thinking?

2. Unravel An Old Sweater – It’s spring…go weeding in your sweater drawer. I wrote about how to rip out a sweater and reuse the yarn HERE. Try it. For some, ripping out is more fun than knitting.

3. Consider Your Ecological Impact – Purchase organic yarn from a local yarn shop. Organic yarn goes through the same rigorous requirements as organic meat. Sheep are fed organic feed, free of injected growth hormones, and their cushy fleeces cannot be washed in chemicals. Natural dyes seal the eco-deal.

Big Cable Knitted Coverlet

My daughter sent me a photo of a coverlet she wants for her bed (main image). I pinned it onto my Pinterest Knitting Board. Love the big cables. I found the perfect (free) KNITTING PATTERN (right), and beautiful creamy organic yarn at my local yarn shop.

Cabled and caught up!

Photos: the style files, Lion Brand Yarn