Tag Archives: Re-purposing

The Tyranny of Green

First the caveat: I recycle. A lot. In fact, as much as I can: steel, aluminum, glass, plastic and all paper. We compost. No chemical fertilizers. Pesticides only for fire ants and wasps.

I don’t do it to “save the earth”; I think it’s arrogant to think that even if one could do almost everything the green police are insisting on, that it still wouldn’t make a lot of difference to anything but landfills.

Yes, I’ve read the statistics on how much less energy it takes to recycle something than it does to make a new something, but I simply don’t believe that just that bit of saved energy will add up to enough to make a difference.

Landfills are a different story, because most of that stuff just isn’t going anywhere, so I try to buy smart (glass containers instead of plastic and reuse them. I’ve had some of my jars over 30 years and I recycle what I don’t re-use). Plastic is generally avoided because I don’t like it. One of my pet peeves is that I don’t like drinking out of a plastic tumbler.

Books that tell how to re-use (the new term is re-purpose) are interesting and I check them out from the library. There’s not much I can use from them, but I like to look at them and see if I can get any ideas.

What this all boils down to is that I believe in being a good steward of what God created and has given us. I want to be a good steward of his bountiful gifts, but I will not be a slave to the earth.

Genesis 1:28 tells us: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Being Green has become a religion. One is not allowed to question their “truth” or not adhere.

I worship the Creator, not his creation. He gave us dominion over it.

There are degrees of being Green. Probably the lowest level is the most common one where someone preaches it for everyone else but doesn’t do even the basics themselves (like recycling; I don’t know even one young person who recycles).

At the highest level are the true believers. They think that man is so harmful to the earth that there’s no redemption except the elimination of the human race. Yes, there really are some who are saying that. We all must die to save the plants, animals and the dirt. I can’t find that link right now, but I’ll keep looking for it.

The leftist high priests of this new religion fly around in private jets going to conferences and high dollar speaking engagements but tell us to not be using fossil fuels. The rest us are told to drive the equivalent of go-carts (or better yet – walk) while they are chauffeured around in limousines. They heat/cool huge mansions while those of us in smaller homes are told that we’ll have to live hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. There’s even serious talk of smart electric meters that will tattle on us if we use more than bureaucrats deem proper. I’ve read that the person currently in the Oval Office keeps it warm enough that he can work in his shirt-sleeves. He likes it that way.

“Do as I say and not as I do” should’ve been his campaign slogan.

One of my favorite photos is of George Clooney looking cool while he stands by his swimming pool. A swimming pool. We’re stuck with toilets that don’t flush and shower heads that don’t flow, but he gets to have a swimming pool. Was that in the past before he saw the light? (Well, he certainly didn’t see the light if he was using one of those compact florescents.) And speaking of Mr. Concerned About the Earth, click here to read the article about how compassionate Clooney is towards people. He publicly mocked Charleton Heston and his struggle with Alzheimer’s and when called on it said “I don’t care.”

Let’s see, how many times must a typical Californian take a shower instead of a bath so that an elite like George Clooney can have a swimming pool filled?

“The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.” — Michelle Obama

It looks like the Ruling Class make the rules and the proletariat will have to live by them.

Magazines are some of the most egregious purveyors of this nonsense. Country Living magazine is almost completely ruined. The Green doctrine is a huge part of their editorial policy now. When I read it or even Better Homes and Gardens, I feel lectured at.

And what hypocrites they are. There again, they must consider themselves the Ruling Class which are exempt because they tell us to do all these little things to “save the planet”, when they are using tons of paper and all that ink. Then fossil fuel is used to mail and deliver it to us.

This empty hypocritical preaching to the masses doesn’t make sense when magazines are dropping like flies. How long do they think it will be before their readers (readers: the ones who provide them with incomes) connect the dots and quit buying this propaganda? Do they not understand that if they actually convince people to follow their mantra then consumers would quit being consumers and not buy their publication?

And speaking of propaganda, there’s another outrageous film (the others shall remain nameless) being shown to vulnerable school children called the Story of Stuff. Apparently, Annie Leonard doesn’t think we need to be buying radios and stuff that comes from factories; or at least cheap stuff. I wonder where those jeans came from that she was wearing in her video, or her shirt? Did she make them herself after growing her own cotton and weaving them? Where did her shoes come from? Horrors! Not a factory!

I highly recommend this video critique of The Story of Stuff. This is part 1; links to the other parts will be on that page.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s we were told not to reproduce. They said: The planet is overpopulated! So, a lot of people actually bought into this and either didn’t have any children at all, or only had one or two. Here is a youtube video of Mark Steyn talking about the resulting population demographics.

We were also told by the scientists that there is a coming Ice Age!

Oops.

No, now they say just the opposite.

So, no, I don’t believe in man-made global warming. After those scientists have shown their proclivity for adjusting data to fit their philosophies, I don’t know if I believe in global warming at all.

But I do believe in good stewardship.

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Pot Pourri Starter

Doesn’t pot pourri add something beautiful to a room? It’s more than simply the smell, it’s the look of it, too. All those lovely flowers and fragrances. However, I don’t like paying for the good stuff so I usually make my own. Besides, it’s something nice to do with all those rose petals, etc. that will be falling next spring and summer.

Now, in the winter is a good time to start on a new year’s fragrant bowl. Citrus fruit is in season and this is a good use for all of that usually discarded rind.


This morning when I peeled an orange, I tried to leave the rind in pieces as large as possible. Using a small cookie cutter, I pressed it into the rind to cut out little hearts. As you can see, I used a plastic one, which I don’t recommend, because it’s difficult to use, especially since this orange had really thick skin. A small metal one would’ve been better but I couldn’t find one in a generic shape that wouldn’t look Chrismasy next summer. However, I did employ the rolling pin to distribute the pressure and got a better cut that way. (That sounds like a physics problem. That’s about all I know concderning that subject. When Joe went back to school and got his degree in physics, people would ask me just exactly what that was. Really, I don’t know but my stock answer is that it’s the mathematics of how things work, like pressure, light, etc. Now if they had asked me about literature or history we could’ve had a longer conversation.)

Inserting the cloves


After getting the shapes trimmed (use kitchen shears or cheap scissors, it’s easier than a knife), I used a chop stick to poke holes for inserting the cloves. A large nail will work just fine, too. The hole at the top of each shaped piece is a little larger so I could hang one from a ribbon on a garland. You don’t have to use cloves, but they do add a lot of oomph to the smell. A few stars of anise thrown into the mix later on is nice, too.


All of the rind can be used, even the ragged bits. Just slice then into little pieces or cut them with the scissors.

All of the citrus bits are now sitting in a baking pan under our wood stove to dry. That’s not necessary, and you certainly won’t want to install a wood stove just to save on pot pourri, but it’s a good place for drying things. It doesn’t get hot to the touch, just a constant warm. When we were in England, my friend Julie, taught an art class and she used her hot water closet to dry papier mache. Just use what you have. In the past, I’ve just put the ingredients straight into the bowl and let them dry that way.

So this is the starter. You can add whatever you have or whatever you like to it. There are lots of pot pourri recipes in some of my books, but they were awfully intimidating and terribly expensive. They called for several ingredients which are not in my kitchen and probably not on the shelves of our local store.

What I’ll put in mine: the cinnamon sticks I got on sale at Wal-Mart for .20, petals from all the flowers that come around (either cut flowers or wildflowers), a few rose leaves for something different, a few drops of oil of cinnamon (from the spice section at the grocery), a little bit of essential oil and some dried orange or grapefruit slices. They look so pretty in the bowl.

This post linked to:
Food on Fridays @ annkroeker

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Thrift: Postage Stamps – Both New & Used

There is a little drawer in my desk in which I keep stamps. Along with the new ones, I also toss in ones torn off of envelopes that were never sent. For those really organized and efficient people, it will remain a mystery why anyone would go to the trouble to write out a card or letter and then not send it. But as an imperfect, very imperfect, human, I can tell you that after a couple of years, I have a little collection of these torn off corners of envelopes.


Now the slightly less efficient may simply toss the whole unsent letter into the trash; the slightly less efficient but conscientious would recycle the whole thing.

As a member of the above mentioned imperfect group, I set out a saucer of water and soak the stamps off of the paper, then place them on a piece of waxed paper to dry (if they were placed onto the countertop while wet, then I’d have to soak them off of that.)

5 minutes of work netted me just a little less than $4.00. With stamps at .44 now, I’m glad to save those expensive little bits of colorful paper. I would no more put an unused postage stamp in the trash than I would throw away .44 in coin. Or, in this case, four $1 bills.

Not just at Christmas, but all through the year I ask the Postal clerk what kind of commemorative stamps they have. These are the ones other than the Flags or Liberty Bells, featuring historical and/or popular illustrations; some of my favorites have been Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Stewart, the state of Oklahoma, Desi and Lucy, Elvis and Henry Fonda. Commemorative don’t cost any more than the others and give a certain oomph to the envelope. Of course, one has to actually mail the letter or card for it to have the final polish of that cancellation mark.


Speaking of which, canceled stamps are a great embellishment for handmade cards, scrapbooking, altered books or any papercrafting project. There is an almost infinite variety of ones available and one begins to look at mail, even the junk mail with a whole new perspective.

This post linked to Frugal Fridays @ Life as Mom.

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Books Read in October, 2009

Timeless Treasures Previous Review Timeless Treasures by Emilie Barnes

Dancing with Rose Dancing with Rose by Lauren Kessler

After her mother died of Alzheimer’s, Lauren Kessler took her guilt (years of ignoring her mother) and her journalism and went to work in an Alzheimer’s facility as an aide. Her goal was to learn more about the disease and get first hand experience with patients, then write about it. The resulting book is fascinating and easily readable, but troubling. Troubling not simply because it’s a tough subject and was a very tough job (she has my admiration for being willing to tackle the unpleasant physical labor).

Whether intentionally or not, she comes across as a voice of authority on approach to the disease, family vs. caregivers and the personality changes. Kessler stops just short of saying that who these people have become is really who they always were. She seems to catch before herself saying that these are people in their purest form, without all the restrictions that we put on ourselves to live in society. To me this is a ridiculous, silly and empty-headed view of Alzheimer’s. It is obviously a left-over philosophy from her hippie days. In fact, she says that she and her husband joke about nursing homes of the future: hash brownies and Black Sabbath music.

Which brings me to my biggest complaint about this book: the hidden buddhism. She doesn’t openly name her philosophy until nearly the end of the book, which I consider a cheat. Early in the book, and even without knowing her religion, I saw a pattern developing that bothered me. A more honest approach would’ve been to state it up front.

This was the second book on Alzheimer’s that I checked out from the Grapevine Library that took a buddhist approach to the disease and caregiving. The first book I didn’t even bother to read. If she had been more forthcoming , I wouldn’t have wasted my time on this one, either.

Because the other reason I resent her and her book, is that I wrongly took to heart something she said about a family member who was calling on the phone to talk to their parent. She wrote that she believed that they did it more for themselves than for the patient and that the patient would’ve been better off if they hadn’t called. I don’t know if she meant this as a general rule for everyone, but I took it to heart. We live in another state and can only get up to see my mother about every 3 weeks, so I call her on the phone in between times. With only one exception, she seems to enjoy the calls. But there was once when she was agitated and I thought maybe Kessler was right and I shouldn’t call; that it was making Mama unhappier. So, for several days I didn’t. Then I decided to call and talk to the nursing staff and get their opinion because they deal with her afterwards. I asked if she seemed worse after the phone conversations, more unsettled. Each one of them said that she enjoyed them and they considered that it was better for my mother if I did call. Then I felt like a lousy daughter for having taken Kessler’s advice. I don’t even know if she meant it generally, but that’s how I took it. She sure seems to think she’s one of the experts after her experiences.

Mrs. Miniver, Amazon listing Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther Previous review of book and movie. Related post.

A spoonful of poison

A Spoonful of Poison

A Spoonful of Poison, by M.C. Beaton

Published in 2008, this is the 19th Agatha Raisin mystery by M.C. Beaton. Publisher’s Weekly referred to it as ‘saucy’, which I found perplexing. Surely I’m not more liberal than Publisher’s Weekly! Obviously that’s not so, therefore I really don’t know what they meant. There’s no hard language, descriptive sex or gruesome details.

Cozy mysteries are my favorites and I certainly think that M.C. Beaton is probably the best at this genre, after Agatha Christie. Of course, Christie was the best by far, but both the Agatha Raisin and the Hamish MacBeth stories and light, diverting and easy reads. One of the things I appreciate most about her books is the unexpected humor.

Sooner Cinema, Amazon listing Sooner Cinema – Oklahoma Goes to the Movies, Edited by Larry A. Van Meter

Being a native Oklahoman and a movie buff, I was very interested in reading this book. Van Meter is the editor, rather than the author, because the book is a compilation of 19 chapters by different writers, each focusing on either a film which was set in Oklahoma, or someone who was a native (i.e. Woody Guthrie, Bound for Glory).

To be expected some of the chapters are better than others, but one that I found absolutely outrageous was the one by David Charlson called “Oklahoma Values in One Hour or Less: Gary Rhodes’ Banned in Oklahoma and Bradley Beesley’s Okie Noodling” .

Charlson is an instructor in English and Documentary Film at Oklahoma City Community College, which is really a shame. He is not a native and has nothing but disdain for the conservative atmosphere in the state. He is appalled that John McCain carried every single county in Oklahoma in the 2008 election (the only state in which this was true). He punishes conservative students who won’t watch one of his assigned films by giving them another choice: gruesomeness instead of child pornography.

Other chapters are about Cimmarron, True Grit, Silkwood,The Outsiders, Far and Away, Oklahoma Crude and The Grapes of Wrath, among others. The rest of the book is interesting, but Charlson’s chapter is so snide and irksome, it was a waste of time and money.

Handmade Home Handmade Home – Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soule

Speaking of a waste of money brings me to Amanda Soule’s book. I bought this one while traveling home from Oklahoma and we stopped at a book store to stretch our legs. I should’ve known better than to stretch them in a book store because books are my biggest weakness. I usually buy used ones. Rarely do I pay full price and I have kicked myself repeatedly for doing it this time.

It is craft book, a sewing book, which is what I wanted. What I did not want was a new age/green/hippie book. But that’s what I got.

In the store, I briefly looked at the introduction (she talks about the family history of practicality, which I appreciate) and some of the projects like pot holders, wall pockets, and computer mouse pads. What I didn’t see until I got home was the publisher’s leaflet advertising their zen/new age books on family. Had I seen this, it would’ve been the Red Warning Flag: Carla, you will hate this book. And I do. I don’t even like the smell of it. They probably used strange ink.

Sewing books should be just that. I’m not interested in her personal beliefs. I don’t believe that I should have to carefully look through a SEWING book to see if I’m going to be offended. As I was for the “Women’s Cloth”. Gross. Just plain gross. Besides which Soule doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She wrongly opines “Disposable menstrual pads have become the norm only in the past 30 years or so …” (emphasis mine). I am almost 50 years old and disposables have been the norm and around a lot longer than me. How do I know? Because one of the things I collect is old magazines. Frankly I was surprised that these products and some of the ones I considered more modern were available as far back as they were.

So, there were happy experiences with books in October, and some which set my teeth on edge. And I didn’t even list the ones I started and gave up on.

My November reading is off to a good start. Kind of gets some of the bad taste out of my mouth.

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Filed under 1940s, Alzheimer's, Books, Cozy, Faith, Fiction, Movies, Needlecrafts, Oklahoma, Tea

Fashion History Altered Book, work-in-progress

Altered book, 1920s page

Altered book, 1930s page I

Click here for part II.

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Using What You Have – Glass Bottles and Jars

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We recycle lots of glass bottles and jars at our house, but I reuse a lot of them, too. It’s free storage and I prefer it to plastic.

My canisters are gallon pickle jars, mostly from a movie theater where I worked when my husband went back to college in the late 1970’s. After washing and soaking off the labels, I painted “oats”, “flour”, etc. on them but that eventually wore off. A few years later I stenciled red cherries on them to match the new curtains I made, but that, too has worn off. Now they have labels I printed off from the computer, onto regular paper, cut and attached with clear strapping tape.

The jars work very well as canisters because they hold a lot, seal against little invaders and I can tell at a glance how much of something I have on hand. We buy in bulk at Sam’s Club; it’s not only cheaper, but convenient, too. We live about 4 miles from the store and I just won’t get in the car and drive in for a missing ingredient. I love having plenty on hand.

I store the 25 pound sacks of flour and sugar in large plastic buckets with tight lids, from which I replenish the smaller vessels, but everything else goes into glass. Currently we have flour, sugar, oats, cornmeal, macaroni, dried beans, baking soda, and powdered milk stored in large jars. Breakfast muffins are in a large one in the freezer. Quart to half-gallon sized ones contain yeast (in the refrigerator), cornstarch, barley, rice, grits, cereal and lemonade mix.

This summer we bought a large box of Texas peaches and froze most of them in a light sugar syrup in jars. It was too hot for me to get out and pick blackberries, but we usually have jars of them in the freezer, too.

For convenience and because I like the way it looks, I keep bottles of canola oil, olive oil and vinegar in small bottles. Sometimes I order water at restaurants and it comes in beautifully colored bottles. Lovely shades of green and blue. A package of corks from the hardware store seals them. This is very convenient for making salad dressing and cooking.

My parents were young adults during the depression and I learned about this from them. My dad would sit and shell pecans during the winter, put them in jars in the freezer and then we’d always have plenty for cooking the whole year.

This post is linked to:
Make Do Mondays
Frugal Friday on Life as Mom

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