Archive for February, 2009

free store, financial district

February 27, 2009

There’s no catch. Really, everything at this store is free. With an artists’ grant, Athena Robles and Anna Stein set up the Free Store where donations are accepted but not necessary to walk off with free clothing, jewelry, or household items. It’s located at 99 Nassau Street in the Financial District, how apropos.

[Photos courtesy NY Post]

Read more at Racked, NY Post, or AM/NY

“clean coal” brought to you by the coen brothers

February 26, 2009

Learn more at This Is Reality.

is this fish for real?

February 25, 2009

I’m going to let this video speak for itself. This fish is pretty freakin’ wild.

Read more about Macropinna microstoma (aka, Barreleye) at PopSci.

handmade in brooklyn, the old-fashioned way

February 25, 2009

Since making it a priority to shop at the farmers market every week, I’m more appreciative of certain things. For one, I appreciate where food comes from, and really, where other things come from as well. I think more about who produced things and how. I’m more gung-ho about supporting locally made products.

There’s a great article in the Times detailing the Brooklyn culinary movement, comparing it to 1970s Berkeley in its return to the traditional way of doing things. Some of the gastronomic arts highlighted: pickling, hand butchering, chocolate making, knife crafting. It warms my heart to support local/handmade products in response to the proliferation of mass-produced, made-in-foreign-lands goods. Whether I’m eating a salad at Franny’s made from farmers market greens and locally made cheese, chowing down a grass-fed burger at Diner, or crunching on deliciously spicy Mean Beans from Rick’s Picks, there’s a great sense of satisfaction that I’m supporting people who care a whole lot about what goes into what they’re making.

The next step in my appreciation for all things local was to bring it all even closer to home. I’ve begun cooking more at home, baking, and making other things with my own two hands. I now save veggie scraps to make stock (I made about 10 quarts less than a month ago and have already gone through it all making soups). I’ve been experimenting with muffin and dessert bread recipes (ingredients are as local and organic as I can get). Unfortunately I missed the really good end of summer pickling season, but I plan on taking advantage of it this year. And I’ve started making crafts as well.

Why buy it if you can make it, or remake it?

Some of my projects…

Inspired by a picture frame I saw on Etsy, I made this picture frame out of vintage upholstery buttons, linen, and an old frame I had lying around. (I’m the little one on the right.)

I’ve been wanting a neckwarmer that would fit under my coat better than a scarf would. So I taught myself to crochet using the Stitch ‘N Bitch book and crocheted this one using super-soft Peruvian highland wool. So cozy!

I read recently that crochet can only be created with human hands. So when you see something crocheted, you know that no machines were involved (except for maybe the spinning of the yarn).

I also wanted to freshen up an old bookcase we had, so I got some milk paint (in Soldier Blue) to do the job.

I think I’ve got the DIY, crafting bug, and I think I like it.

PS. I just found this great green crafting blog, Crafting a Green World. Exciting!

action, action, we want action!

February 18, 2009

Things are not looking up for our feathered, finned, and furry friends. Climate change, overfishing, and pollution are posing a threat to these magnificent creatures. But you can do something to help. Get involved. All it takes is a couple of key strokes and a click to help save species on the brink.

Help birds survive global warming
[National Audobon Society via Care2]
For the past 40 years, as our climate has warmed, birds have shifted their winter ranges further and further north. This ecological disruption is yet another wake up call that we must act quickly to solve the climate crisis. The birds’ northward movement is another signal that climate change is here and action is needed now.

Save sea turtles from reckless fishing practices
[Defenders of Wildlife]
Bottom longline fishing in the Gulf of Mexico has resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of imperiled sea turtles. Snagged by razor sharp hooks on fishing lines that span anywhere from four to nine nautical miles, loggerhead and other threatened and endangered sea turtles are drowning and dying right now in the Gulf of Mexico.

Help imperiled coral reefs and tropical forests

[World Wildlife Fund]
You can help protect coral reefs and tropical forests — two of the most valuable and threatened ecosystems on the planet — by urging your members of Congress to cosponsor the Tropical Forest and Coral Conservation Act.

Say YES to sustainable seafood
[World Wildlife Fund]
Consumer demand for sustainable seafood can act as an extremely powerful incentive for better fisheries management. If you buy or ask for seafood that comes from sustainable sources, you are helping to protect our marine environment and, at the same time, ensuring that seafood can be enjoyed for many years to come.

Protect endangered species from coal mining
[World Wildlife Fund]
Coal mining is devastating Appalachia and harming endangered aquatic life. Widespread and increasing mountaintop removal mining — a form of mining in which entire tops of mountains are removed and the debris is dumped in valleys and sometimes directly into streams — is despoiling hundreds of miles of rivers and streams within the Southeast Rivers and Streams ecoregion, which World Wildlife Fund has identified as one of the richest, rarest and most biologically important ecoregions in the world.

developments: eco stuff from around the web

February 11, 2009

New growth forest promising, but not as plentiful as the real thing
[NY Times]

All-in-one home recycling center saves space, but at a price [Gizmodo]

Light on the horizon: new LEDs that are affordable and built to last [TreeHugger]

Bad news for old king coal (good news for the planet) [Daily Kos]

adorable diy undies just in time for valentine’s day

February 8, 2009

I love it when you can transform something old and boring into something super cute and useful. Here’s a little video from Clare Bare — indie lingerie maker extraordinaire featured on ThreadBanger. It’s underwear that you can make yourself from an old shirt, just in time for a happy heart day. Enjoy!

BTW, if you’re not handy with the sewing machine you can get a pair of these fancy pants on etsy.

big changes a-comin’

February 2, 2009

Lately, my posts have been pretty sporadic to say the least. Well, there’s a reason for it. There are gonna be some big changes coming soon to this here blog. I’m really excited about them and I hope you’ll appreciate the useful tools that are coming your way.

I’ll be posting here occasionally in the mean time.

So stay tuned!

what every tree wants

February 1, 2009

Sun, air, water, soil. It seems so simple, right? Not so for a street tree in the big city. Trees here in NYC can have it pretty rough. But we need them. They clean our air and provide us with fresh oxygen. Their canopies, however modest, provide us with shade during the hot summer months. And street trees are a resting place for migrating and residents birds, providing us with an opportunity to watch nature run its course.

It’s easy for us city dwellers to pass trees without a second thought — we’re often too busy going somewhere, texting and walking, or too busy minding our own business to notice.

But trees have needs and we need to tend to them.

This is what trees don’t like:

1. Dog poop and pee (no it’s not fertilizer and water!)
2. Tree guards that will eventually gird them (and then kill them)
3. Plant beds that come too high above the root line (rot!)
4. Rock salt, aka, halite or sodium chloride (damages the roots)*
5. Cars driving into them (ouch)
6. Compacted soil (so thirsty!)

*better alternatives include calcium chloride and coarse builder sand.

Street Tree DON’T

Sure, the guard saved it from a car’s bumper,
but this London Plane may someday grow
into this tall guard

Street Tree DO

This guard allows the tree to grow out if it needs to

I learned all of this at a couple of workshops — one put on by Trees New York and the other by the city’s MillionTreesNYC program. If you’re interested in caring for street trees, check with these organizations for free workshops throughout the year. City trees need all the help they can get!