Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

This is totally last minute, but I wanted to give an almost-Twitter-sized announcement about World Habitat Day, an event put on by Habitat for Humanity, one of the most profoundly committed and productive organizations I know. We utilized one of HfF’s local “recycling” stores for some of the parts to build our raised beds and clothesline. The stores receive various parts and supplies from contractors that they then sell at deeply discounted prices to budget-conscious DIYers like me. All proceeds go to local HfH projects. It’s a genius idea.

HfH has lots of other genius ideas, too, like World Habitat Day. Check out the announcement, get edumacated, and get involved!

This video kinda says it all…

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When I first got to Washington to start my new job, I had to look all freshly scrubbed and nicely attired. And I was…except for my shoes. I walk with purpose, and my shoes look like I walk with purpose. To the outside observer they might also looked old and scuffed. But these were nice shoes (Nunn & Bush), so I certainly wasn’t going to throw them away. The only other option was to fix them. What they needed was to be re-stained (or dyed or whatever it’s called).

For about three seconds I considered doing it myself, then I pulled out my iphone and began to look for a cobbler. Yes, a cobbler. That word evokes images of an old Danish man dressed in a frock and hunched over a table, pounding tiny nails into the sole of a leather boot. As I typed cobbler into google maps, I wondered how far I would have to drive to find one.

There were three in downtown Everett. Apparently, people in Everett still take their shoes in to get repaired.

So I took my shoes in for their tanning (or dyeing or whatever) where I had to wait in line to get served. A line. At a cobbler’s. Who was neither old nor hunched. Nor Danish, for that matter. Bottom line: $25 bucks for both shoes. When I picked them up they looked like new. Which is a big savings compared to actually buying them new for $85 a pair.

This event got me to thinking (as pretty much every event does; it’s the philosopher in me): what if we applied the cobbler methodology to other things, like computers? First, let me explain what I mean by cobbler methodology. It’s simply this: just because something is old, worn, or even broken doesn’t necessitate throwing it away. It can be fixed, often to look and feel like new; sometimes it can even be made better than the original.

What if Apple took up this methodology? (I’m using them as an example for a few reasons: a) they’re super geekilicious; b) their new laptops are cut from a solid block of aluminum, making them very durable; c) they’re rapidly adopting green production methods). Instead of designing their computers to allow for minimal expansion, modification, or replacement, they could make them modular and significantly upgradable. Then, instead of buying a whole new laptop every time there’s an advance in, say, processor speeds, you just take it to your neighborhood Apple Store and have one of their icobblers swap out the processor for a new one. No need to waste all of those precious materials by tossing out the whole unit. Just adopt the cobbler methodology and extend the useful life of a resource-intensive product by years, maybe decades.

I realize that this is a return to the way that many computers (mostly PCs) used to be made. In fact, some still are made this way. The difference is the way in which it’s done. Formalize it; standardize it; coolifize it. Make a statement while making a positive change for our planet.

How’s that sound, Apple? You in?

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When I was 12 (hey it was not THAT long ago!), I had an accident that pretty much confined me to my couch for a few months. I was a VERY active tomboy, so after about a week of watching television and reading I was going crazy.

Say it with me: CRAZY.

A friend of my mother’s offered to teach me how to crochet. As desperate as I was, I lunged at the opportunity. So a group of us pre-teen girls would get together and have classes. We crocheted, we talked, we laughed, which really helped distract me from the long recovery. Kathy, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU!

Time went by; friends started having babies; I started making blankets; but no matter how much I tried I just could not get past the “square ” crochet, so blankets was pretty much all anyone got.

After I had Logan I felt emboldened to try more complex knits. I mean, I was a MOM, and once I became a mom, long dormant genes had awakened. I figured one of them had to be the “knit” gene. So I took up a knitting book—the basic “teach yourself to knit” type. Success! I learned to make a hat!

By the time Kaia came along, I had advanced to booties, so she had the full outfit—hat, booties, blanket!—when she was born. And I had found a creative outlet that was portable, fun, and easy to start and stop—except for the starting and stopping part. You see, as the kids and their dexterity grew, projects were abandoned with increasing frequency as I found the needles in increasingly interesting places—and consequently not in my project. When Kaia was hitting her first birthday, I was hitting my limit. I put the needles down (more or less) permanently.

Then in November, the month after Kaia turned four, I came across knitting looms. At first I was unsure if the looms could give me the same satisfaction as my needles. Turns out not only am I satisfied, I am thrilled.

Say it with me: THRILLED.

I can leave my knitting for days, know exactly where I was when I left off, and the kids have not messed up one project. In the 8 weeks or so I have worked on the looms I have made over 30 hats, which was perfect for a Christmas where we chose to emphasize giving handmade gifts over purchased ones. I’ve also made a few cool scarves, and I’m in the process of doing a blanket with a stuffed teddy bear head for a baby shower. I have lots of other ideas turning in my head, too. I’m a knitting genius.

I have even inspired my brother-in-law and his kids to take up knitting.  Apparently he is using it in the place of a bad habit he is trying to kick……I expect a hat (or 20) soon!

I personally have the knifty knitters round and long looms; they come with basic instructions and you can watch demonstrations and get patterns or craft ideas online. Any fellow knitters reading this? Wanna share secrets and ideas?

Knit on!

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To the Family

Hi gang!

So…we’re finally off the ground. Aren’t you proud? Or, at the very least, amazed? I kinda can’t believe we did it either. Mom thinks it’s a bloody miracle after all the yelling and screaming she had to do.

But it’s up! And we’re keeping up the tradition of appearing on film doing silly things that also might be a smidgen helpful.

It feels really good. And I’m actually thrilled that we can share this with you. It feels like you’re part of this, too, because you are…in so many ways. And we’d like you to be involved in other ways.

More tangible ways.

Like contributing to this blog. As commenters, as writers, as contributors, as hydroponic experimenters, as whatever you’d like to do. And then, when you feel like we’ve got a handle on this and that it’s actually going somewhere, invite friends and confidants to come and participate. Let’s turn this into a party!

P.S. I’m working on a virtual game of Oh Hell.

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This has been a long process. Mostly because of me. I’m notoriously busy and important (or at least my ego tells me I am).

The whole project (long before we called it a project) started almost a year ago, when my mom decided to take some Public Access classes. Initially I was in no way involved; she was doing this for her own edification. I was like, “Yeah, great for you, mom. I’m glad to see you’re broadening your horizons.” Blah, blah, blah.

Then she took her first class. And she was excited.

Really, really excited.

“Yeah, great for you, mom,” I tried to say, but I didn’t even get to the blah, blah, blah. I knew from the look she was giving me that I was getting involved. Whether I wanted to or not. Whether I had time or not. And I really had no time. Seriously. No time. That’s why it took six freaking months to create the first episode.

But I made time. Because I had to. Because it was important to my mom. And, inevitably, because it became important to me. Now I can see the potential it has to help shape the discourse around sustainability and conscious living. So the next goal is to make it important to the community. But first we have to build a community.

That’s where you come in. Hopefully, we’re creating something that speaks to you. Hopefully, we’re building a place, a destination where you will find things to both help and inspire you to live more sustainably.

Hopefully, you will help us, too.

That’s why I created a blog as opposed to a website. My mom and I want to create a community; we want to share and learn and grow with you. I hope you’ll join us and be an active contributor.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon. We’ll have lots more for you to see.

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