Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.



Warrior Couples

This one is for Breanna, who introduced me to the most awesome Warrior series of books, originally authored by Erin Hunter. I couldn't put these books down, read them voraciously until they were all finished, and I had to wait until the next one was published, and the next, and so on!

Here is where you can read more about the inspiration behind this video created by a 12 year old 7th grader, who to this date has created 42 other videos. This is where you can see those other videos and the incredible artwork that goes with them!


Victoria Gardens

The Rancho Cucamonga Grape Harvest Festival was, unfortunately, a bust. Apparently the organizers did not advertise sufficiently.

It was held in a local mall, a lovely concept called Victoria Gardens. Yet, there were no signs posted letting customers know where the vendors were located. How sad!

Several visitors to Laurie's table mentioned that, and a few just happened upon them, saying they had not even been aware of the festival.

I suppose some people don't realize what one has to do to be an independent artist attempting to present your creations, and get them out to the public. Laurie actually had better sales selling off the curb the previous weekend at a local boutique sale.

There is not a mercenary bone in her body. But, at least one would like to have enough income from sales of craft items to cover the expense of creating them and have enough left over to make it worthwhile.

When you consider that the requirements for the privilege of being allowed to be a seller in the Grape Harvest Festival, are stringent and expensive, one would hope that the organizers would have made appropriate arrangements for making it worth the efforts.

It took a lot of paperwork and another exhorbitant and unexpected amount of cash up front. Then, the seller is required to be on the premises about 10 plus hours a day, that is asking too much, without equal return, if you ask me. I would be exhausted.

Still, Laurie, with the help of her youngest son, and his supportive girlfriend managed to help hold down the table throughout that long weekend, keeping Laurie company and giving her a chance to take rest breaks.

Festival attendees who were able to find them, were at least interested in her crocheted jewelry items, and some also bought the decorative seasonal glass block lighting Laurie had created.

Also, Laurie was able to make networking connections with other sellers. The stack of Laurie's Forever Sierra Rose business cards were all taken as well. She has already received a couple inquiries regarding special requests for custom jewelry, and one for a hand crochet shawl like the one pictured.

So, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, I always say. I can't wait to see that motif in one of her jewelry items. Lemons, that is.


Award Winning Hand Crochet Jewelry

I'm proud to mention that Laurie won third place in the Crochet Guild of America's 2008 Design Contest. You can see the complete winner's list at the CGOA site.

Laurie is a member in good standing of the Crochet Guild of America.

Heather's Necklace is made of goldstone and light topaz swarvoski crystals, and chocolate and gold glass beds. Has a pretty brass or antique gold flower clasp.

This one's for Coco


Do it yourself carbon footprints

Tonight, after I washed my hands, I reached for some moisturizing cream as my skin has been dry. It was then I noticed one of the first ingredients was mineral oil. Hmm, I thought, I never noticed that. Another ingredient: Petrolatum, another: Lanolin. I looked at another moisture cream, same thing, then another.... same thing. Well, what would I expect? I buy the cheap stuff. So maybe I could save a lot more money by making my own cheap stuff. Buy a bottle of mineral oil, a container of petroleum jelly. Where would I get lanolin. Isn't that the fat of lambs?

I never heard of ecology as a kid. It wasn't taught in school. Though, by about tenth grade a science teacher suggested something toward it when he explained that the earth was eroding away. The wind, the water were going to erode the soil away and we would be left with nothing. Science Fiction as good as the books my father read, I thought. I didn't get it.

By the time I was in college there were rumblings on the street about leading a greener life. We didn't call it that. We were just terribly aware of pollution and felt quite self-righteous that others didn't seem to want to do anything about it. So, a group of students protested on the Quad, and we spoke to the powers that be, and suddenly we had a "recycling program". Trash bins were placed all over campus and we were to make sure to pick up any garbage and put it there. Cans, bottles, plastic, though there wasn't much plastic beverage containers then as there are now, and all our papers and banana peels and so on. Getting the students to take over the jobs of the custodians must have been worth the cost of the extra receptacles!

About ten years ago in conversations with various people there was a lot of ridicule towards people like me who still believed in fairy tales, those science fiction myths of global warming and pollution. After all, Lost Angeles had cleaned up it's act and now Indiana was dirtier than it had ever been. But, with only two Air Quality Control Officers for that state, it was hard to prove. My asthma proved it and I moved back to California.

Well, I am way off the subject of beauty products now, aren't I. Let me get a little closer. In trying to reduce my own personal carbon footprint, I have had at least a commitment for the last 35 years in this direction. I did little things along the way. Using less harsh chemicals in my life, buying cars with less gas mileage and so on. Having soil recycle bins for my garden. But, not a big concerted 100% effort. Since Gore made things more clear and the dissenters in my life began to quietly think about his message, and more importantly their children brought the message home to Mom's and Dad's, there are changes afoot.

I long ago stopped buying chemical laden cosmetics, then stopped buying them altogether. Except once in a while if there was some thing I had to go to where people would stare if I didn't have a face on. Or, more realistically, I would feel stared at and reviled if I didn't. Old insecurities die hard, sometimes! But keeping emollients in my house is not necessarily about beauty. I've lost what I had to time. It is now about comfort, and skin health. And I am just as lackadaisical in my commitment to using it. I just go with the flow, let my body tell me when I need to rub me down with something gooey.

So there I was with the big moment of understanding about moisture cream ingredients and reached up for that one very special expensive container, thinking that perhaps that was the best deal on the shelf. It must have the good stuff in it. Wrong again. It had the same as the cheap stuff, only in different order, then a whole bunch of chemical names, and some Red dye and yellow dye whatever their numbers. I paid $18 dollars to put that stuff on my face? Yikes. No wonder my cheeks burn!

So now I sit with the dilemma. What's the best way to get rid of this product? I don't know. In some cities they collect cooking grease from restaurants to be rendered down, and then what, make topsoil conditioner? I don't quite know. But, would doing the same with this stuff, even if my city had such a program, be in good conscience? I don't know.

Well, I can admit to having made some good changes, I think. I have stopped buying cleaning supplies. You know the one for the floor, the one for the wall, the one for the bathroom, the kitchen, the oven, the patio, etc. etc. etc. Plain soap, like that green product, which I am still very suspicious of, the one laundry detergent I can afford that is "almost" green enough. Still hunting for easy access and affordability in this category. But no more fabric softener products. What is in that stuff anyways? More Mineral Oil? For rinsing the soap product out of my clothes, I use Vinegar. I use it in the kitchen for cleaning too. Kills germs, and it's proven. It's what our great grandmothers used.

So lately I have been looking at my hair. No more hair dryer. 1500 watts of electricity to fry my bleach blonde look into a haystack that needs more product washed, rinsed, and rubbed into it before it will lay down and almost look like those models on TV. But, no shiney curtain to swish against the lights. Just a limp rag of hair, that at least isn't standing out, but still dried out. So, after having stopped the hair dryer use, letting my hair air dry. Really it is not that inconvenient. By the time I arrive where I am going it's dry. Gently use a towel for the at home dry job. Okay, so that brings me to the vinegar again. Squeaky clean rinse job. Now got to find a shampoo that doesn't have all that POO in it.

So tonight I find a website article called Top Five DIY Eco Hair Conditioners. DIY, for those of us who are as clueless as I am means Do It Yourself. Somewhere among my dark roots I am still a ditzy blond.

The article was authored by Jeannine Ouellette of Minneapolis, MN, USA. She says that hair conditioner is "whatever you put in your hair to make it smoother, shinier, or just easier to comb through," Makes sense to me, and I'm willing to bet that Mother Earth finds most of the products we are coerced into buying is not nice to M.E.
Ouellette says, "Some of it, like palm oil, does its damage through the way it's harvested and produced. Other ingredients, like many of the fragrances in hair conditioners (especially musk ketones) remain stubbornly in our water even after treatment at sewage facilities.
I can attest to that. My ex husband used to work for the wastewater treatment plant and came home smelling musky... I mean mucky... okay that's my joke for the day.

Some of the alternative options that are suggested in the article start with good old vinegar, which by the way is good for dandruff! Then, would you believe? Tea. Yeah, I like that one, especially if I want my hair to turn green. But, seriously, some dark tea might take care of that old bleached look that's been needing a touch up for so long. Then, I love this idea... Olive oil. (That sounds so much better than mineral oil. What have I got against Mineral Oil? I don't know. Minerals are supposed to be good for us aren't they. But, I guess I just want to know from where the minerals are derived.) I use extra virgin olive oil in my kitchen. this would be no big change for me. The last two suggestions are Rosemary Oil. I have that stuff growing in my garden. Would love to try making my own. Love the fragrance. And last but not least, the most ancient hair dressing product in the world (that I am aware of), Henna.

Go take a look at the article and find out more interesting details, how to create and use your own future DIY hair conditioner, while you and I are shrinking our carbon footprints. Or would that be feet prints?