Picture 6

“In a world where manual skills are shunned we believe in them, not only in the act of producing a better product, but in the sheer joy of doing or becoming. We feel that pride in craftsmanship, of doing as perfect a job as possible, of producing something of beauty even out of nature’s discards, are all homely attributes that can be reconsidered.

It might even be a question of regaining one’s own soul when desire and megalomania are rampant – the beauty of simple things.

It is a synthesis of old traditions with modern requirements, quite opposite to the usual art or design school in that the fundamental techniques of good workmanship are first resolved and then integrated into pieces designed for contemporary use.

Over the years we have built up a collection of extraordinary lumber; in a sense priceless, as many items are now unobtainable. From this material, we start the making of useful objects to fulfill man’s life – again we hope, in a manner akin to the disciplined way by which nature produces a tree… or a flower.”

This is part of the philosophy of George Nakashima, Woodworker, his daughter Mira and their craftspeople.


Safe SPF Lip Balms

August 7, 2009

Picture 5Great list of safe SPF lip balms researched by EWG.com including (in the top 14) my friend, Emily’s cosmetic line for men called Jack Black.

Mosquito Madness

August 6, 2009


I am sweet, mosquitos love me. This year is especially challenging- I am covered with bites and I am sensitive to them so I scratch and I have scabs and scars–ick. It feels bothersome to put on smelly bug dope to run up to the garden to grab some greens for dinner, but I come back bitten. We have a “mosquito magnet” machine- doesn’t seem to help. I know that the local bat population is crippled by some disease, so they aren’t helping by feasting on the mosquitos and it has been very rainy and wet- an environment for mosquitos to breed in. I don’t like using chemicals like DEET on my skin so as suggested in the GreenerTrends.com blog: I am trying greener bug spray like EcoSmart and Bite Blocker Insect Repellent. They are made from plant oils that are natural repellents for mosquitoes. I am going to make my own: Trying theses recipes from Bellaonline.com.

lemon peels and/or orange peels
mint leaves and/or pennyroyal leaves and/or sage leaves
rubbing alcohol or witch hazel

(Note Do Not use penny royal if you are pregnant or wish to become so.)

Make a strong tea with the peels and the mint leaves. You can use each ingredient separately if you like or combine them to suit your sense of smell. Its best to soak the ingredients over night in a covered pan. The next day strain. Mix the strong herbal tea half and half with either witch hazel or rubbing alcohol and put in a spray bottle. Spray your self down before going outside in the evening.


Salad oil of any kind (but olive is preferred)
lemon peels and/or orange peels
mint leaves and/or pennyroyal leaves and/or sage leaves
glass jar sterilized
pan to heal oil

(Note Do Not use pennyroyal if you are pregnant or wish to become so.)

Place torn leaves and peels packed in a sterilized glass jar. Heat oil to 160 degrees F. Pour over herbal mixture in the jar to completely cover. Place top on, and let sit in a dark place for at least a week. A month is better. Rub this oil on before hikes or out side activities where one might sweat off a spritzer.

So Long Fruit Flies

August 3, 2009


‘Tis the season, and once those little fruit flies get a foothold in your kitchen it’s alot of work to get them out, right? They have a 10 day life cycle, can drive me crazy. They like organic food just fine. Here are some great ideas on how to rid your kitchen of fruit flies, from wikihow.com.  There is even a video! Google is great, right? I am going to do the simple remedy tonight- a glass with something yummy in it covered with plastic wrap and little holes punched in so they can get in and dine and they can’t get out. Let you know how it goes.

Floods? Go Floating!

August 3, 2009


I found these interesting posts on Inhabitat.com about alternative housing in areas that have floods or where people fight the tides. For example, here a beautiful project in the Netherlands called Citadel which is a floating apartment complex. Beautiful, built in a polder, which is a flood plain separated from the sea by dikes. The Stilthouses are another idea for habitability and are workable whether or not there is flooding. A just-in-case home! And the most fun is the floating camper, the project of a group of students (also referred to as guerilla social engineers) who have been responsible for several projects like the one pictured above. Holland has a history of flooding and there is a great deal of creative thinking and building going on there. Smart and fun.

Picture 1

Just saw the new scifi flick, Moon. This 97 minute film was released in June and is becoming popular by word-of-mouth and good reviews. A mining operation on the moon is run by one employee, alone on a 3-year stint. Completely cut off from live communication due to some glitch, he is reliant on messsages relayed by his computer, GERTY. The years are wearing on him; it almost time to leave and he is starting to hallucinate and feel sick. What happens is very thought-provoking and the story is powerful and reminiscent of a good Asimov  tale or a short story by Heinlein. The story was written by Duncan Jones, son of David Bowie, and he also directs the film. The sole character is played by Sam Rockwell in the role written for him by Jones and Nathan Parker. We also hear the voice of Kevin Spacey as the computer- shades of Hal. Sure, the premise is a bit unbelievable, I mean, who would give up family and love to be alone on the moon for three years. But ignoring that, it is interesting and the music is well done. I would really love to write about the themes but it would give away too much of the plot. It is more drama and mystery than thriller, I don’t do thrillers very well. It is most definitely scifi. Here’s a clip.