Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Just two little days....

Finished planting the allium 

Ever notice that when you are ordering bulbs, it seems like you can't get enough? And then you go to planting and think, "150 bulbs is a LOT." Fortunately, I took a couple of days off from work last week and spent some of it gardening. I planted about 75 allium. I planted them in close little groupings of them to pop up along the walk.

Filled cloth beam

 I also wove off the placemat warp I've been working on for a few months.  I now have eight mats to hem, but that should go fairly quickly.

Socks #13
And I finished sock pair #13--I'm in the 15 in 2015 challenge, and my goal is to knit 15 pairs of socks. I not only finished this pair but started the next one.

Basket ripened
Just had to show you these tomatoes too.  They were green a week ago. Sitting in the basket has done them lots of good. And I've been cooking with them too.  Nothing to do with the two days off, of course.
Besides finishing three projects, I also made headway on a throw I'm weaving and my gray rug yarn project. So three cheers for crafting holidays!

I've written the letter to P&G about those plastic beads mentioned in my last blog. It's crazy what they put in our personal care products.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Plastic beads in my toothpaste? Seriously?

Being a sucker for all things shiny, I just loved those multicolor sparkly toothpastes.  Sucker is right as little did I know that part of what makes them so pretty are tiny plastic microbeads.  The label will have either polyethylene or polypropylene as an ingredient. That is plastic. That is mircobeads.
Check the label before you buy!
These microbeads are in all kinds of things, usually stuff you put on your face. They are in facial scrubs, one of which I used to love until I started using cheaper things. I recall when that was the "new" thing oh, maybe 15 or 20 years ago.  And look what fifteen years of exfoliating and teeth whitening has done to our lakes and oceans:


All that smooth, clean skin has caused some big problems in the aquatic food chain. Me, I don't want the Great Lakes to become a plastic soup. I feel ashamed now that I ever used those things. I've been recycling for 30 years and bringing my own bags to the grocery for ages. But I didn't make the connection of tiny plastic beads going down the drain and into our waterways. I am only relieved that I stopped using those facial brands some years ago, opting for the more "organic" BHA free brands. Now, I'm thinking plain old soap with very few ingredients will do just fine.

This is serious stuff. I urge all readers to check labels on their products.  We don't need microbeads on our face or our toothbrush. A washcloth can do just as good a job exfoliating. As for toothpaste, at least make sure your kids toothpaste doesn't contain the stuff. Get the older formulations and brush longer.

Yes, yes, the FDA says the microbeads are safe. Big deal. My doctor also tells me not to injest any small seeds because of intestinal concerns (anyone my age should not be ingesting small beads).  And you know, it's toothpaste--there is no way we aren't ingesting a few of them. So if endangering our lakes and  rivers isn't enough of a reason, then think of what it could do if it got lodged in your intestine.

Fortunately, not all toothpastes have microbeads. You can save money by buying the cheaper older formulations of the same national brands. And then there is good old fashioned baking soda. But that is a lifestyle choice. I have yet to try one of those "make your own toothpaste" recipes, but maybe it's about time I did.

I'm planning to write polite letters to companies using microbeads and ask them to phase them out of their formulation. There is also a petition to sign on 5gyres.org which I've already signed. 

But I'm still stuck with three tubes of shiny toothpaste that I will not use. Yes, there is the food pantry, but is it okay to foist my shopping mistake on someone else? What if they are older and have been told by their doctor not to eat tiny seeds? What if they are children? And knowing what it could do to the life in our lakes streams and oceans, how can I let this tube be opened and released into the environment?

I feel like I'm stuck with three tubes of Toxic Waste.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sock it to pure relaxation

Sock pair #12
I've always loved knitting socks, not that I did it that often. Not until I signed up for a challenge back in January to knit 15 pairs this year. I'm in the middle of sock #13, and interestingly, none of them are fancy. Oh, the yarn is pretty: colorful, self-stripping and more, but the actual sock is all from memory, or a cheat sheet when I'm to tired to remember.

Lace is out for me. I can't see deliberately putting holes in a pair of socks. I took a shot at cables, but found my shoulders tensing up as I worked with the tiny needles. So I've settled on pretty yarn and a straightforward plane Jane pattern. They won't win a sock knitting contest, but they are comfortable to wear.
Sock #13 is nearly halfway through
And relaxing. Knitting is a kind of meditation for me, a tranquil time watching the pretty yarn slipping through my favorite needles. The beauty of plane socks is they are so easy and straightforward, I can knit them anywhere. They are the perfect antidote to lousy morning traffic. It nice to finally get to my parking spot at work and spend a few minutes knitting a round or two before I leave the car to start my day. There's nothing quite like the soothing sensation of knitting! It helps me get back my Zen.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Still picking tomatoes!


Tomatoes fresh from the garden
Our garden is tiny this year. It is the first garden we've had in a few years. A planned expansion to 20 square feet was postponed a couple of years ago when my husband hurt his arm, and this year we finally had the heart to plant some more--but changes in our lives kept us from doing much more than a bunch of tomato plants.

But gardening here we come! I was really encouraged by just how many tomatoes our six plants produced. They kept us in a steady stream of tomatoes all summer! And they continue despite temperatures in cool shortening days. This is exciting. Next year, the garden will be even better!

These will be going into a fresh pasta dish tonight a stirring of some delicious ingredient to make something extra delicious. But I'll share that recipe once I have it figured out.