Another Hobby and is Nesting a Bad Thing

I mentioned in my previous post entertaining the idea of canning some produce from this summer after reading the Whole Living article gave me the inspiration to can and preserve. It goes to the idea of being green by not wasting food, becoming more self-sufficient (a more powerful word to me than independent), and having control over what goes into my food. The idea of canning and preserving really entered into my mind after reading another article in the August issue of Eating Well with recipes two brines and eleven pickles to try. The pickle from the Eating Well is for refrigeration for up to a month, but canning would the process to use for pickled foods that can last up to a year without refrigeration. So today after coming home from work, I walked to Ace Hardware store (it is about three blocks from where I live) and purchased a dozen one-pint Ball canning jars. Upon asking the sales associates about the canning jars, she asked me if I was from the South and I told her no, but my parents are from there. She mentioned not many people up north (technically, New Jersey is a border state and there are parts of South Jersey that painfully remains of scenes from the movie Deliverance, but I digress). However, I think with the DIY movement in the country brought on the resurgence of knitting and sewing, the idea of conserving by canning and preserving, and baking bread (which is cheaper than buying a loaf from the store); this recession has gotten people re-prioritizing their values about what is important, and the reality is saving money is a part of that value.

I went to the bookstore a couple of days ago and finally picked up a copy of "How to Sew a Button" by Erin Bried. The book has a chock full of information for being a more self-sufficient like our grandmothers and mothers were before technology came along. The book covers everything from how to make blueberry pancakes to shining shoes to entertaining. She has a section in the book of how to make your own beer explaining that the process of beer making is simple to do and a kit should cost around $65.00. I am interested in how to make a good vodka martini (I hate gin). The book has good information and a joy to read because there are some funny moments along with the instructions. More importantly, the book is about having more control over your life and who does not want that.

The last thing I am going to mention is that I signed up for a class that celebrity event/wedding planning David Tutura from "My Fair Wedding" is teaching "How to Become an Event Planner". I am looking forward to attending the class this coming Tuesday. I do not know if I want to become an event planner, but within my job responsibilities, I work three to four events a year and think improving on that skill will help me in the long run. I am going to stop blogging for the evening and enjoy this cool summer breeze coming through my window with a good night sleep. Ciao for now!


Things are Getting Greener

The other day, I wrote a blog about doing a little laundering on the fabrics we made into clothes and caring for them.  It would be easier to take them the dry cleaners, but there are times when the cleaners can do more harm than good our nice fabrics.  You may have horror stories to tell about that favorite cashmere sweater that the dry cleaner managed to ruin.  However, does anyone ever wonder about the chemicals that are used at the dry cleaners cannot be good for clothes or the environment.

Going green has become a huge trend over the past couple of years with Al Gore’s book and movie “An Inconvenient Truth” has made the public more aware of global warming or the new catch phase climate change that conservatives are more with using.  However, I believe the average do-it-yourselfer is more conscience of using and recycling things around the house.  I recycle as much as possible as it does save some cash.  I know that people who sew, knit and crochet probably has a million ideas about recycling such as using that glass jar originally for pickles turn into a convenient containers for buttons, ribbons and other notions.

I listened to an interview the other day on Fresh Air with Terry Gross ( with Mark Schapiro discussing his book “Exposed.”  Schapiro is an investigative reporter who examined how toxic chemicals exist in many of the products we handle every day from the gadgets, toys, beauty products, etc.  He also discussed how the European Union requires businesses to minimize toxic chemicals or list them, and the U.S. does not provide any such requirements in its policy, and with an increasingly green economy, American businesses could get shut of the huge market he argues.  You can listen to the interview at the above-listed link.  In fact, Fresh Air is airing inteviews this week pertaining to environmental issues.  FYI, after hearing the interview, you may not want to purchase anymore plastic toys for your children.

Here is the section where I give some web resources about getting a little greener.  There some good resources on the web on being environmental safer and putting some green in yourself, and there are many instances where you save money.  An interesting tipbit that using a dishwasher saves more water than handwashing dishes as we tend to continually run water while washing them.

Now here are the resources:

National Geographic created a magazine called the Green Guide that provide information on green products, make your own green products, and about the environment  

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit organization consisting of a team of scientists, enginners, policy experts, lawyers and computer programmers pores over government data, legal documents, scientific studies and our own laboratory tests to expose threats to your health and the environment, and to find solutions. Our research brings to light unsettling facts that you have a right to know,

This one of my favorite websites.  The cosmetics database list beauty products and rates the level of toxic chemicals from 0 being the lowest to 8 being the highest


Ideal Bite is an website that gives daily tips for green living.  You can also subscribe to the e-newsletter for your daily bite


Lime is a great website that provide mass media, TV, Radio, Podcasts, etc.  There is a variety of information concerning alternative health, fitness, green living, etc. 


Of course there is Body and Soul Magazine from Martha Stweart Omnimedia (, Plenty Magazine (, and Verdant Magazine ( are some of the magazines about green living on the market.


 Finally, here are some blogs about green living:


I hope that I gave you something to think about, and perhaps visit some of the website to give some ideas how to make your life safer because we only get one and life is too short to waste.  Now, I know everyone isn’t going to do everything, but maybe not having so many lights on in the house, and remember to turn off the water while brushing your teeth to conserve water.  Finally, being aware of the toxic chemicals in your cleaning and everyday products and use with caution, or find alternative products that are safer.  Have a greener day everybody!

Time for a Little Laundering

With all my new hobbies of knitting and sewing, I wondered how I am going to keep all my articles of clothing and accessories clean.  As you might know, I am a magazine hound (another side hobby) and everything from Business Week to Real Simple.  Real Simple gives some great advice about simplifiing your life, and introduce some great products to use.  Getting back to my laundering issue, Real Simple wrote a small tip bit about this company called The Laundress.  It is an online company created by two women created a line of luxury fabric care specialty detergent line.  The line includes cashmere/wool shampoo, delicates, whites, darks, stain remover, and fabric refreshener.  The line also has a detergent for baby clothes and denim.  I am going to warn you that products are pricey, but worth it as they smell great and does a wonderful job in cleaning your fabric which means longer wear. 

I ordered from The Laundress sample kit that comes with six best-selling formulas from The Laundress; 2 oz. Whites Detergent, Darks Detergent, Delicate Wash, Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, Stain Solution and Classic Fabric Fresh. They come in a black and white zippered pouch along with our Laundress Recipe Card.  The products are organic and biodegradable which means you will be helping the environment.  I tried the whites and darks detergent and thought was great, and the smell is wonderful, people will think it’s prefume.  I encourage anyone to visit to browse and see if anything interests you.  I recommend to try the sample kit to see which products are probably more useful to you before committing to the larger size bottles.

Now for the my regular laundry, I use Arm and Hammer detergent and 20 Team Mule Laundry Booster because the water where I live is hard which is also better for the environment  In addition, 20 Team is an all-purpose cleaner that is also good with cleaning things like bone china, refrigators, bathrooms, garage pails, etc.  I am thinking about making my own cleaners for the house than purchasing all the commercial brands that take its toll on my skin and breathing (have asthma).

Well, I guess those my little tipbits for the day.  Enjoy Everyone!