January 28, 2010

welcome new contributors!

Time for an exciting announcement: we have five new bloggers joining Sew Green!

This call for contributors has been a wonderful experience for me, and for the other Sew Greenies as well. It wasn't easy to choose from among all the fabulous people who threw their hats into the ring, but it was a great opportunity to get to read a whole bunch of blogs and emails from people that I really admire and appreciate. Although we couldn't sign up all of the wonderful green crafty people who contacted us, we absolutely loved the chance to get to know some of our lovely readers a bit better.

However, after a highly scientific analysis, we selected five diverse and inspiring writers to join the Sew Green cohort. I think that these five bloggers will bring some different perspectives and topics to the blog, and I for one am delighted that four of the five are from outside the U.S. In no particular order, here they are:

is a parent of 2 college-aged kids, works full-time, and is in graduate school full-time, and attempts to live as sustainably as possible. She lives in Rochester, New York, has an urban garden and backyard chickens, cooks mostly from scratch, does some knitting and sewing, and is a big proponent of bike commuting. Julie also writes for rocbike.com, and she'll be sharing her ideas about biking, commuting and transportation here on Sew Green.

is a 21-year-old designer-maker based in north-east England. She sews, knits, crochets, embroiders and batiks. She does ceramics, primarily pinch potting, and also has experience in metal and, to a lesser extent, woodwork. Maimy plans to write about environmental issues in terms of crafts, sustainable and repurposed materials, as well as the simple, everyday things like "what to do with awkward scraps of fabric that you don't want to throw away."

is a gardener since age 2, who, at age 39 is finally making it official by taking the Master Gardener course through University of Saskatchewan's Horticulture Department. She's a prairie girl, which means her garden is currently under 3 feet of snow. And she has a soap box which she's not afraid to use. Catherine lives in Manitoba, Canada.

is a writer in Ottawa, Canada whose blog emphasizes local, seasonal produce and lots of stories about her own adventures in gardening. She is also really passionate about sewing and about living sustainably. Jennifer is interested in writing about gardening techniques, local food, recipes, community involvement, and pet ownership for Sew Green.

is a creative crafter type in Australia who is keen to learn about (and attempting to) lead a more sustainable life. She is an architect, and is particularly interested in sustainable building design, backyard veggie gardening, waste minimisation (using everything that you have to it's fullest, and making use of things that others might consider waste), and sustainable crafting.

A very warm welcome to all five! Stay tuned for their posts on Thursdays as the year unfolds.

January 20, 2010

contributor update #2

a quick note to let you know that we're running a bit behind on the selection process for our new contributors. we'll be announcing them very soon!

thank you for your patience (especially those of you who emailed us—we'll be in touch shortly).

January 18, 2010

monday poetry

And now for something completely different...

My partner has just been at a conference on state and local governments' response to climate change and sea level rise. He did not leave there encouraged; however he did find the time and inspiration to write a little poetry about what he was hearing. Please enjoy a poem this Monday, courtesy of HWWLLB.

hierarchy of desirability

He said, We've all been working very hard
To make a hierarchy of desirability,
Along with a decision tree.
It's kind of like homecoming and the prom,
All rolled into a single scientific craft -
The jock is at the top, the princess chooses first,
And you don't get to pick until a lower bough.
You've probably never thought of your sweet self
As a low-hanging fruit - but don't feel bad.
This kind of public policy may be hard
to take, but it has wide support,
from academics
and especially graduate students,
Who know all there is to know of human love.

January 14, 2010

my green library

I found it very difficult to post today. My head is swirling with images from Haiti of the devastation that has taken place. Things here seem quite trivial. Thoughts and prayers and hope and aid are needed there. For a list of reputable agencies to donate through visit here. Also DWR is matching donations made to UNICEF and donations to Mercy Corp may be made directly through the amazon.com website.

Happy New Year! I love a new year - and the fresh start it brings. And as a list lover, I am always excited by the prospect of committing resolutions to paper. This year, I think I have made things pretty doable (my list can be found here). The hardest one may be number 10 ("Read the books I have"). I am also a book lover. To the point where our postal carrier recently asked me if I owned a library for the number of books that come to our door. I do, I guess. It is my weakness. And I have made a wager with my husband that I can spend 2010 with the books I have, and not purchase any new.

some favourites

And so I thought I would share with you my top 10 favourite "Green Reads" from my library (in no particular order). Some I have mentioned before, and some are regional, but I think it is a good cross-section of interests. I would love to hear your favourites ... which I can visit our public library for!

1. The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It, by John Seymour
Dubbed the "Father of Self-Sufficiency" John Seymour first published this tome in 1976, it has just been reissued and updated by Dorling Kindersley. It covers everything - from laying out your backyard garden (or acre or 5 acres...) to basketry to saving energy to making butter and cream. Oh, and it has great illustrations. I would love to someday take a class at the school named in his honor.

2. In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
There are so many books of this genre (what is this genre called?) that I have enjoyed - The Omnivore's Dilemma (also by Pollan); Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; Plenty: One Man, One Woman and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally; Coming Home to Eat... It was hard to pick just one. So I just picked one. And I'll add that the "rules" Pollan puts forth in this book are good ones that I carry with me: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants". I have Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer on hold at our library and am looking forward to it as well.

3. Alabama Stitch Book, by Natalie Chanin
Carrying the byline "Projects and Stories Celebrating Hand-Sewing, Quilting, and Embroidery for Contemporary Sustainable Style" this book is not only a visual feast - but also has clear directions on recycling cotton tees into objects and garments of beauty. From simple (tea towels) to more intricate (reverse-applique corset). An interview over at the Burda site with Natalie Chanin sheds more light on her ideals of "slow design" and "sustainability".

4. Pat Welsh's Southern California Organic Gardening, by Pat Welsh
This is also a new edition. The earlier edition was on my frequent flier list from the library. I was very happy to receive this new edition as a holiday present. Growing up in central Canada I felt pretty comfortable with a spring to fall growing season - but winter is really prime garden time in Southern California, and I have learned a lot from this month-by-month guide.

5. Care and Maintenance of Southern California Native Plant Gardens, by Bart O'Brien, Betsey Landis, and Ellen Mackey.
I met Betsey Landis in 2006 at a California Native Plant Society meeting and immediately purchased this book, along with her Southern California Native Plants for School Gardens. When we purchased our home it was all lawn and rosebushes - not a tree to be found. That is all gone now - and we have a drought-tolerant garden I am very proud of. It is mostly California natives, and this book is full of valuable information on their care. (Hmm... this seems to be out of print - with crazy prices being asked for used copies over at amazon. I would suspect a new edition is likely in the works.)

6.The Urban Homestead, by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen
This is another a go-to book for me. After following Kelly and Erik on their blog I was excited to see much of the information discussed there in one place. It's material isn't that different from what is found in the Seymour book, but with the focus on the urban. I like their idea of what they deem "Five Essential Projects" - and their clear instructions on bringing them to fruition.

7. Natural Learning: The Life History of an Environmental Schoolyard, by Robin C. Moore and Herb H. Wong
I am obsessed with ridding our 9 acre elementary school campus of all that asphalt. So far we have taken out over 100 tons - but still have a long way to go. This book, published in 1997, was one of the first I read on the concept of green schoolyards and the notion that our kids need to connect with nature now more than ever. I love Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods - but when I am feeling dreamy I pick this up. It chronicles the transformation of a Berkeley California elementary school in the 1970s. The story doesn't have a happy ending -but it still fills me with inspiration.

8. EcoKids, by Dan Chiras
This is an inspiring read for practical advice on raising children who are aware and thoughtful. I especially like the chapter on combating the media's influence as well as the overarching idea that the best way to teach our kids is through our own actions.

9. A Slice of Organic Life, edited by Sheherazade Goldsmith with an introduction by Alice Waters
This one really falls under the same category as The Self-Sufficient Life and The Urban Homestead. It is nicely designed and very concise in its presentation.

10. Frog Girl, by Paul Owen Lewis
We have quite a few of the 'usual suspects' when it comes to "green kid lit" (The Giving Tree, The Lorax etc.) but this one is by far my favourite. Written and beautifully illustrated by Paul Owen Lewis it is filled with images of the Pacific Northwest and drawing from Haida and Tlingit mythology it reminds us that we are all - the people, the animals, and the earth - connected and it is our responsibility to care for all.

runner up...

The Great Neighborhood Book: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Placemaking, by Jay Walljasper
I kept adding this, then deleting it. But I can't leave it out. Shash's recent post made me pull it out again. I am strong believer in the power of community - and our basic need to connect to ensure our wellbeing. It is full of inspiring case studies and a great list (which I have referred to before).

Oh there were so many more... I wanted to include a cookbook - but will leave that up to you!

A reminder too that Saturday, January 16 is the deadline to send us an email if you are interested in contributing to sewgreen! Details below...

January 9, 2010


Thanks to those of you who are emailing us about contributing!

Just wanted to let you all know that we will accept emails from potential new contributors through midday Saturday, January 16.

We'll announce the new Sew Green folks here on Thursday, January 21.


January 7, 2010

Happy Sew Green 2010!

Welcome new readers, and welcome back to the rest of you!

This year we at Sew Green plan to continue to post on (at least) Thursdays, covering a variety of topics of interest to us and related to all things green. If you have followed Sew Green for a while, you know we post on a wide range of topics, from knitting green, to cosmetic info, to DIY laundry soap and pads, to sustainable agriculture book reviews, to green building/architecture, to tales of chicken keeping, to responsible and fun gift ideas, to cloth diapers. As none of us are necessarily experts on all things green, we aim to share here what we are learning and what we are doing in our own lives to live more responsibly. We are a crafty-artist-designer bunch, hence the name of our blog.

We are looking for a few more contributors to join us in our Sew Green pursuits.

We alternate posting, so depending on how many of you join us, you'd be posting somewhere around once every two or three months (give or take a couple of weeks).

If you are interested in contributing, please email a little bit about yourself to sewgreenblog[at]gmail.com, and let us know if there are certain topics in particular about which you'd like to write. Send us a link to your blog too if you have one.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you also to our wonderful past contributors (now listed beneath our archive).