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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Real Christmas Tree versus Artifical Debate

I'm hearing, (well I should say reading, cause it's all on the interweb) a lot of people saying that an artificial tree is better for the environment. Truth is, an artificial tree is the worst possible choice for the environment.

Artificial trees might look like the more environmental choice since it's reusable and you're not killing a tree. But they’re usually made of PVC! Do you know how many toxic chemicals are released into the air during production? Let's see . . . mercury, chlorine, oh and the most toxic chemical known to science,
Dioxin. Compare that to a tree growing in a field which is producing oxygen. Also when they wear out, and they will wear out, where do they go? that's right the good ole landfill. Artificial tress can't be recycled.

The majority of live Christmas trees are from a farm and grown specifically for that purpose. When they're are harvested, another tree is planted to take their place. It takes from 10 - 12 years for a tree to grow to the standard Christmas tree size. With a growth rate that slow, you can rest assured that most farmers, if not all, are running their farms in a sustainable fashion.

It's true that many farms do use pesticides and other chemicals in their quest for the perfect tree shape, so you should always check them out before buying. Our local Christmas tree farm has birdhouses throughout the fields. Also try to buy local, if you're tree had to travel 300 miles it's caused quiet a bit of pollution on the way.

Artificial trees are crammed back in their boxes after Christmas or taken to the landfill. What do you do with a real tree after the holidays? Many cities have a recycling program just for the trees, they chip them and use them around the town for mulch or give away them away as free mulch (check around and see if you're town has such a program). If you live near a lake or pond, a tree can be sunk to provide habitat for fish and aquatic animals, yet another reason to make sure it's pesticide free. If you have a lot of land you can put it outside to slowly rot back into the earth. Don't forget to remove all your ornaments.

Of course you can avoid the 'what to do with it after' question altogether if you buy a tree with root ball still attached and plant it afterward. If you don't have a place to plant, think of donating it to your town or a local retirment community to be used as a landscape tree. Just make sure you plan ahead and buy a tree that will do well in your area.

If you're still concerned. Try a rosemary topiary. They're often shaved into a Christmas tree like shape and you can use the herb in your cooking and crafts around the house. Or don't have a tree at all. Santa can leave those presents piled on the couch, under the kitchen table, or on top of the book shelves.

Really, he's flexible.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The big stinky yarn store tease

OK, first a little background on my lovely town. It's a very small town, the only big chain store type thing we have here is Wal-mart. I do not shop at Wal- mart. The nearest Micheal's, AC Moore, etc is a 30-45 minutes drive from here. OK, now onto the story.

I was driving down the main street of my town on an errand when I passed a building that used to be a restaurant. My mother said recently that the owner of the restaurant had died and that his son had taken over and then closed it down.

Out of curiosity, I looked over to see what, if anything, it had become. Imagine my delight when I saw a sign that said 'Mary's Yarn Shop'! I was so excited that I drove around that same way again to look at the hours on the sign. I didn't have time to stop just then so I decided I'd come back later that same day. Well within the hours of operation listed on the sign.

I thought about it all afternoon. There would be an easier way to get yarn and needles and other supplies, there would be someone there to help out when i got stuck on something. perhaps there would be a whole knitting and crocheting community, once hidden in my town, now revealed. I could barely wait until I could go back and check it out!

I went back. Parked my car in the public parking area behind the building. Climbed the step to street level (yes the parking spaces are in a large hole) walked down the sidewalk. Put my hand on the doorknob. Pulled. Nothing happened. The windows were dark. (this is an old building with tiny windows and you couldn't see if the lights were on or off until you stand right in front of them.)

I peaked through the door, right beside the sign telling me it was a yarn shop, and I saw tables with ketchup and mustard bottles sitting on them! No yarn. What? There was a door to the right of the main door, which lead to the upstairs of the building, but there was no sign on that door and the 'Mary's Yarn Shop' sign was closer to the main door than this one so I didn't try it.

I came home and decided to look for a number and call the store and ask where they were located. There is no listing in the phone book, there is no info on the web that I can find. I asked several people in my town if they'd ever heard of this place and they all said no.

Argh!!!! Should I hold out hope that it will open soon, that they're in the remodeling phase now, that it's actually upstairs in that building even though they have no phone? Or should I just resign myself to traveling for my yarn and supplies?

Stupid stinky yarn store tease!!

Le sigh

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Knitting Manifesto

Inspired by Nutmeg over at Material Mama I've decided to share my knitting manifesto. I fully admit that sometimes I've just changed the words a bit to suit my situation, but hey, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

I will
  1. Encourage smaller, boutique pattern designers and yarn shops..
  2. Understand knitting does NOT save money. (although I might not share this with my significant other)
  3. Love my stash. Visit it, pet it, appreciate it, and listen to it.
  4. Learn to hear praise and compliments about my work and say “Thank You”.
  5. Not play down my accomplishments, even if it's figuring out something that I feel should have been obvious.
  6. Knit gifts for those who appreciate them
  7. Be proud to show my one of a kind, properly fitted, custom tailored garments.
  8. Know mommy made things make my child feel special and loved whenever they are wearing them.
  9. Knit because I have to, it’s a part of who I am
  10. Occasionally toss an item across the room in frustration.
  11. Forgive myself.
  12. Ask for support when I need and want it.
  13. Listen to my heart about MY yarn and pattern (or lack thereof) choices.

I will not

  1. Support pattern companies that do not support me.
  2. Feel pressured to defend my beautiful stash
  3. Feel pressured to knit for others
  4. Support sweat shop labor
  5. Allow my stash to control me and how I feel. I am always in charge of Stash.
  6. Listen to any negativity about how knitting is outdated (it’s classic, and classic never goes out of style)
  7. Throw anything heavy at someone who tells me “wow, did you know that knitting is getting popular again?”
  8. Knit for anyone who might not appreciate it, or sees it as inferior to store bought. It’s their loss.
  9. Deny that knitting feeds my soul.
  10. See myself as competing with Wal-Mart, Target, etc.
  11. Engage in negative self talk or berate my skills to myself or others.