Friday, December 28, 2007

My first published article!

Chicagoland Gardening magazine published my article and pictures (written with the help of my boss, Mary) in their January/February 2008 issue. The article is under the Chicagoland Natives Section, and titled 'Native Plants to Attract Wildlife'. It is about trees and shrubs you can use in your landscape that are beneficial to wildlife, especially birds.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Modern Crafter

'Handmade 2.0' Published: December 16, 2007 in the New York Times, describes the movement to buy handmade (especially gifts) and the rise of the website Etsy, where people can buy and sell handmade items. The 'Do-it-Yourself' movement combined with old fashioned methods and some entrepreneurial spirit thrown in, and now modern crafters are using the internet to sell their creations, and even make a living from it.

The value of a site like Etsy is described perfectly in the article:
"It depends on people buying things... a throwback to the way consumption ought to be: individuals buying from other individuals. “Our ties to the local and human sources of our goods have been lost,” ... The idea is a digital-age version of artisanal culture — that the future of shopping is all about the past."
For a good example, check out my sister's Etsy store, where she sells handmade reusable gift boxes, hand knitted scarves, and paper products made from Ellie Pooh Paper (Non-toxic, recycled paper made from elephant dung. Protects the elephants of Sri Lanka from poaching, and provides a revenue source for the local people).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Natural Remedies- Honey as cough medicine

A study (backed by the National Honey Board) found that honey is a more effective and safer alternative to over-the-counter cough medicines.
Honey helps calm coughs by dissolving mucus and coating sore throats. Honey also has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
The study suggests that parents should consider honey “as an alternative to cough medicine for children over age 1.”
'Tame a Child’s Cough With a Touch of Honey' By Nicholas Bakalar Published New York Times: December 11, 2007

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Practical Gift Ideas for Gardeners

An article in the New York Times this week had some great ideas for gifts to give gardeners. I agree completely with her advice:

'Don’t give cute presents to your gardening friends. Avoid stones engraved with the words Love or Peace. Instead, think about what’s practical.'

Garden Gift Ideas:
  • A basket for collecting vegetables, herbs, or cut flowers from the garden
  • Gardening gloves- comfortable and strong
  • Sun protection- Nice looking Hat (for extra convenience, look for one that is washable and soft so it can be thrown into a bag and taken everywhere) or Long sleeve UV protection Shirts
  • Sunblock- I recommend Badger Sunblock 30SPF, it is made with natural ingredients and works great. Better for your skin and the environment (Badger also makes a bug repellent made with natural oils, it works for your backyard, but not so much in the deep woods)
  • Skin care- natural lotions or soaps for overworked hands (Update- see my post on Help for Springtime Skin)
  • Attractive thermometer or rain gauge
  • Compost bin or worm bin- many models available in all sizes and price ranges
  • Seeds- unique cultivars or heirloom varieties can be fun to try
  • Books- especially ones with lots of colorful plant pictures, they get a gardener through the winter, with ideas and inspiration for next spring
Springtime, Wrapped and Beribboned
By Anne Raver, Published in the New York Times: December 6, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Gift Ideas

Does the holiday season fill you with dread?
Most of us I do not need more 'stuff', and would like to spend less money at the holidays and create less waste.
Wouldn't you like to spend more time at home with your family and less time shopping?

Ideas to save time and money that are good for the environment
  • Energy saving gifts- compact fluorescent lightbulbs (may not be exciting, but very useful)
  • Reusable grocery bags- compact and attractive bags can be purchased, make your own out of old tshirts (instructions)
  • White Elephant Exchange- have everyone wrap up something they already have, can be a lot of fun
  • Give gifts in attractive reusable bags or boxes
  • Make something - arts and crafts made from things around the house
  • Go somewhere together- spend time doing something you all like to do
Jolly and Green, With an Agenda

The Problem With Christmas- Are you brave enough to say no to a high-stress holiday?