sestdiena, 2011. gada 24. decembris

Crafts for Interior V- Advent wreath IV

It is time to light the fourth candle in your Advent wreath, so I wanted to share another one of my creations this year. This one was for my brothers grave. It may sound weird to some, but we bring a wreath also to the cemetery every year since he passed to another realm of freedom and happiness, and I find it to be a chance to be closer to him..

Best wishes this season!! 

sestdiena, 2011. gada 10. decembris

Crafts for ladies I- crocheted scarf with roses

Earlier this autumn I decided that it's time to some selfish crafts on green carpet, I hadn't done anything for myself for a while. Since we had very long autumn with roses still blooming in October and even November, I found my inspiration in them.. so here's what came out of it:

piektdiena, 2011. gada 9. decembris

Story of Cosmetics...

Here on this side of the ocean green carpet is a little greener and I do believe that cosmetics are a bit safer than Annie tells.. By that I mean that at least we can trust the label "Organic" since it has to be certified here in Europe. However, the rest still applies, I can't believe what chemicals they put in baby wipes! You can clean the nastiest (is that a word?) spots on your clothes with them! But that's all they're good for, no baby bums! Horrible, how much toxic stuff we put on and in our bodies daily! I think the sadest part is that our babies are born already loaded with the toxic stuff..
Just a funny reminder what not to use from Annie- Story of Cosmetics:

Remember- Toxics in -> Toxics out!

Crafts for interior IV- Advent wreath III

After today's heated feelings on green carpet on article on Durban and after funny moments with good old Story of Stuff, I found my harmony by placing another beautiful Advent wreath in it's right place. This goes to our guest house:

Let the warm light of a candle gives you all comfort and lightness!

Story of Stuff..

Here on green carpet we've always looooved Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff and all the following episodes of this funny and very powerful cartoon. She tells the ugly truth on our consumerism patterns and our world of toxic over-production in a very simple, funny and memorable ways. Since her new Story of Broke is out, I decided that I should re-post her videos here as well. The more people will see it, the greater impact Story of Stuff has! I'm not gonna expand on what I like (or adore to be more precise) in this 'movie', it will best be watched and listened to Annie!
Enjoy watching- Story of Stuff!*
From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever." Annie Leonard

* All copy-rights belong to Annie Leonard!!!

Frustration after Durban

This morning started very well on green carpet- baby time, shower, tea, yoga, walk outside.. and then I read  The Ecologist on COP17..  feeling 'Angry' would be underestimated..
Durban was supposed to be a place where to decide more closer action and more action itself on Climate Change (CC). Unfortunately it was turned out to be a place that shows our inability to act and reach obvious goals and a place to talk about opportunities not to do anything or as little as possible.
The Ecologist also reminds that many countries are 'justifying' themselves by poor economic situation, however, what they should have done is redirection of finances from what's polluting to what's green and that would already be step ahead.
Talking about 'new deal' on CC sounds more like a "blaaablaaablaaaa".. why? As my professor Troy Gordon on Genocide, War Crimes and Human Rights class once said- we do not need new conventions now, first we have to start implementing existing ones... I say that same applies here.. Ok, Kyoto is coming to an end.. but that isn't the only document we have that is supposed to guide our statesmen how to run the country to make our world sustainable and stop CC at 2 degrees! One might argue that we need one more specific on CC and Environment. Fine, I can agree with that. But creation on such deal should not be primary now. It should be a 'side' process while we are already acting on agreed- reducing emissions (instead of trading why should I be allowed to pollute more than others), investing in renewable energy (like supporting individuals who want to put solar panels on their houses instead of subsidizing use of fossil fuels) etc. I could go on and on and on about pollution taxes that should be implemented along with incentives for those willing to use "green" technologies (cars, heating, energy etc.) or how world organisations should work out the implementation control better.
I loved what Professor Barrett offered in another article, before Durban took place. Idea on 'Carbon Club' was great, but especially good in my opinion was a Sector-by-sector approach, where countries would agree on some specific area where to apply reductions and improvements instead of this very vague goal- reduce by 40%. We could start with aviation since airplanes are super-pollutants. IMO is already doing well on shipping but we can always commit more. We could do on cars, agriculture, steel factories, textiles etc etc.. This could be applied not only thinking about CC, but also general Environmentally friendly practices. I believe this would work so much better!

Our problem here is that we agree on certain things without true wish to act on them. And why is that? Because there's no one to punish us for that. One, two, three, ten, thirty countries can sign a document stating that we are going to reduce GHG emissions, but if they don't we just keep playing shocked and say- they are bad ones.  And that's it. At the moment there are no real consequences, no sanctions, no embargoes, boycotts or such. And GHGs are flying up in the air and temperature is raising..
It makes me sad to read how slowly the reduction is going.. but it makes me truly sick to read how the EU, which is supposed to be very green and proactive, is not reducing the promised numbers but thinking of how to make the developing countries reduce the rest of the amount! Thank you, The Ecologist, for once again removing my rose colored glasses (or 'green' in this case) on the EU.
And part about climate finance?! Ughh... well, I'm not that naive to think that it's gonna be really easy to work out the huge money issues, but seeing the numbers 2 of 30 billion? That's open plan cheating. Countries are not willing to put such money in their own territory to green them up, let alone global south.. Yes, there should be more transparent and first of all- effective system to direct the money properly. The question remains- who will do that the best? And how to make sure it's not corrupted. Because- let's face it- to many people it's pure business. But I believe that it's wrong to put such people in charge. This course should be led by someone who sees the world green and sustainable in their vision, who is following idea, not money or power in their heart.
Once again it's time to realize- it's all down to us, people as both individuals and society together to act, to change and to do something. So I encourage everyone again- vote with your wallet, do some boycott and some bycott, request from your municipalities and governments what you think is right thing to do! And TALK about it with other people. And maybe, just maybe, those people up there will hear us and we will see different numbers on next meeting! Remember- you can make your voice heard, look up for chances to do that for Rio+20!

ceturtdiena, 2011. gada 8. decembris

Crafts for interior III- Advent wreath II

There was a discussion on green carpet about how green really are our Advent wreaths I felt that maybe I should say a word or two here too..
You are cutting trees!- Well, we only take few branches from big trees and that does not really hurt them, besides my family is planting trees as their business, so we're cutting our own. And then I thought - hey, that's a good idea! We should encourage people to plant their own future Christmas trees and trees to use for decorations!
You are using artificial decors that are made of all those plastic, toxic ingredients!- I must admit, that we use few, indeed.. but we don't use plastic only, we use glass and ceramics as well.. besides, whatever we use, we do it for many years. We still have ribbons and little balls that my mom purchased about 10 years ago, and they still look great if you take care of them.. and most important- collect them after use in a box for the next winter!
You are using toxic color sprays and powders! - Yes, unfortunately we do. I haven't yet found another solution to how to make thing golden or copper without a color spray or powder.. I'd love to have other ways too!So if anyone comes across an ecological colors, please, please, please, let me know! And to justify myself a little bit again here- if I color spray a pine cone or a coffee bean or a hazelnut, I use it again for more than one year. I also make sure there's no-one nearby to breath in that fume. Our rule with unnatural stuff is simple- use it multiple times and take care of it to use longer!!! 

For many things nowadays you can find a non-toxic, pure alternatives, like candles, for example. You can ditch the regular candles made of paraffin that are not good to your health and choose the vegetable based wax or bee wax candles instead. This is what I promise to do next year, since this year we used what we already had. I just take caution not to light them in the room when my little one is in and they are lit only for short period of time. Unfortunately many things are still as toxic as they were.. I am really looking forward for it to change!!! And I kindly ask you, if you find an alternative that doesn't compromise the looks or quality- please, please, please, let me know!!! 

But here to have some visual joy again- another Advent wreath, this one I did for my dad's office!

I just love the smell of fir trees during this time of year.. whenever you pass it buy, aroma therapy kicks in! 

trešdiena, 2011. gada 7. decembris

Crafts for interior II- Advent wreath I

I love this time of year, when candles in the Advent wreath are warming our hearts despite the cold winds that blow outside.. But I think even more than that I love the creation of Advent wreaths. Day or two before the First Advent Sunday our family goes to the forest and gets some evergreens, then we lay out all our decoration "stuff" (which is a lot!!!). We combine what nature gives us with a bit of artificial decors as well, we play with sprays and powders in golden, copper, silver, peacock, white.. and our favorite tool that day- is a hot glue gun!
So here's the first of our collection this year- this one goes to our apartment in the city!  

We wish everyone bright, peaceful and harmonious Advent!

Winter delights I- fragile honey gingerbread

Winter has finally arrived on green carpet!!! When I have to think, when does the winter really starts, it's not a 1st December.. neither 1st Advent nor 23rd December when astrological winter begins.. My winter begins with the first snow.. And finally, yes, finally it's here!!! So, congratulations everyone on the beginning of the winter which is going to be a first one I spend here, back home, after a very long time.. And it's the first one for my little precious darling girl as well, so I hope we do get a lot of snow, many sunny days and lot's of joy! And I wish the same to all of you!

Obviously, winter also has many delights.. These are the warming ones you love to enjoy cuddled under big jacket and wearing woolen socks.. Like- gingerbread!
So here's one amazing recipe that we already enjoyed this year on 1st Advent.

Fragile honey gingerbread: 

  • 180g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp spoons milk
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 300g flour
  • 1tbsp gingerbread spice
Mix together milk, sugar, soda, egg, honey and butter and heat it until everything has melted and starts to boil. Stir all the time! The paste should become frothy and expanded. Let it cool and then mix in flour and spices to have thick but not hard paste. Keep it in cold for 1hour (not longer, it will become too hard then!). Spread the paste on the table and cut out the shapes of gingerbread you want, put them on greased pan. Remember that they will expand while baking, so consider the distance between each gingerbread. "Paint"  them with beaten egg and bake in 180 C until golden brown and ready. Remove from the pan immediately and let them cool. 
Believe me- you'll love them- super fragile,crunchy and spicy!!!! 

Note- we're making our own gingerbread spice which I will share some time later on, but you can use the mix you can get in stores or use your own recipe! Enjoy!

Autumn delights IV- Carrot pancakes- reduce your leftovers!

It's been a while ago since I promised to post a recipe what to do with the leftovers after squeezing carrot juice.

On this post on Autumn delights on green carpet you will find a reminder about fresh juices, but here is the recipe for carrot pancakes/ fritters.
After you have juiced your carrots for a fresh vitamin drink, take the pure carrot "dry" leftovers from the juicer container. If you juice the mix of vegetables, remember to juice carrots first and remove the leftovers before juicing other ingredients!
Then add to the carrots the following:

sour cream
pinch of sugar and salt

mix it all together in a thick, creamy paste and put spoonfuls on a pan with hot olive oil and fry on medium fire till golden brown. I suggest turning them couple of times to be sure they're well fried!
They are the best with sour cream. You can eat them hot or cold, but I have to confess that in our home they disappear still burning hot right from the pan...

And if you want to experiment, my suggestion would be mixing leftovers from carrot and pumpkin juice together!

otrdiena, 2011. gada 6. decembris

Crafts for interior I- pot holders

Here on green carpet we love to give hand-made gifts on birthdays, namedays, Christmas and all other occasions whenever we have had enough time to make them. Winter before first snow is pretty dark here, so I just had a feeling to do something colorful. Both the idea and the necessity came right on time and these lovely pot holders went to my mother-in-law as a birthday present combined with home made jams, pumpkin juice and meringue cookies, yum.

I think such things would also make wonderful Christmas presents, however, I think I'm a bit out of time for those now. Have to put in a diary for next year!!!

pirmdiena, 2011. gada 5. decembris

Crafts for Baby III- knitted Cardigan and booties

One more little piece to share on green carpet- knitted Cardigan and knee high booties made for my princess from Merino wool + Silk with a little silk ribbon for ties. Cardigan is done quite long to cover little bum as well since we experience long and cold winters here. She has already grown out of booties, but the cardigan will fit till the end of the winter. So I'll just have to make new booties now a size bigger. Enjoy knitting on green carpet!!!

svētdiena, 2011. gada 4. decembris

Crafts for Baby II- knitted Christmas sweater

One of the things I love about hand-crafts on green carpet- you can make anything any size and any style you want. Since winter is coming along, it's the time my little one tries on her Christmas sweater. I love these patterns and it's warm from not dyed baby alpaca wool. Another thing I love about it- it fits both a girl and a boy, so if my little girl will have a brother some time after a while.. he'll love this warm, soft piece too :)

A note to myself- in future post my works before the little princess has started to wear them..
It looks much better on the baby rather than just flat on the surface. But I'm one of those moms who thinks that this little soul is so sacred that it is not yet ready to be shared with the whole world in pictures. That time will come too.. but- in a while!