Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Very Greene Earth Day To You!

"Everything is Connected"

Photo: The Island Institute

In honor of Earth Day, a shout-out to The Island Institute. For over 25 years, the Institute has helped sustain the year-round islands and coastal communities in the great state of Maine. (In related good news, it is now supported in that effort by recently-appointed Annual Fund Director Seth Taylor.*) More good news: there are pretty things to look at/purchase after the fold...
"Our perspective is fundamentally ecological, based on an understanding that all life is intimately linked with its environment; that people are therefore an inextricable part of the ecosystem..." 

Photo: The Island Institute

Many people know and love the Maine islands and maritime communities as pristine and beautiful vacation spots. Of course, life for locals can be a different (um...) kettle of fish. It takes serious thought and effort to maintain ecologic and economic health in places like Peaks Island, Matincus, Isle au Haut, and Swan's Island, and that's what the Institute is all about. It works humanitarian and environmental magic through many clever strategies that you can read about and support at

Want to be privy to all the new sugar? Sign up for The Working Waterfront, the Institute's cheerful, inspiring, slice-of-life-sharing monthly inter-island e-newsletter. 


In further celebration of The Day the Earth Got Love: unique, handmade art, craft and design shopportunities!

Archipelago helps island and Maine artists and artisans gain exposure and earn income. Sales advance efforts to sustain island communities. A few faves...

These totally remind me of fairy baskets...

“Evening Tide II” Basket by Towanda Brown

Island Basket by Towanda Brown

Who needs a GPS when you can let your accessories be your guide?

Map Bracelets by Cynthia Caldwell, Peaks Island, Maine

Do wind chimes drive you bonkers? Not me -- I love 'em, and the sea glass brings the ocean right to your backdoor.

Baxter Wind Chimes by Goose Rock Designs, Arundel, Maine

I simply cannot resist these little guys -- total harbingers of spring. Baaaah!

Needle-Felted Sheep by the appropriately-named Keely Felton, Vinalhaven, Maine

Compelled to connect, but have no more room on your shelf? You can simply make a charitable gift to the Island Institute. Which is really a gift to yourself and all of us.

* Seth's move to the Island Institute left many a sorely-charged Wellesley College heart, but we are grateful to him for guiding us to see and appreciate the nature-made splendor of our campus home. Cheers, Seth!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Out-Greeneing the Greene: Tossing the TP (or... "Waste Not, Want Not")

Even though I know better, I had somehow come to perceive myself as living on the extreme side of Greene. I bring my lunch in Pyrex, reuse (and re-reuse) every plastic or paper bag I come across, and recycle like there's a contest and the prize is James Franco. I clean (*when* I clean, haha) with baking soda and vinegar, and have gotten tsk-tsked many times for attempting to send used paper through the copier at work. I love dirt, I buy local meats, and I feel appropriately guilty on the rare occasion that I forget my cloth grocery bags. I have even been known to tuck lightly-used paper restaurant napkins into my handbag for later. I know, right? I'm craazy. I could go on and on about my quirks, but you get the point: a garden-variety eco-responsible human -- slightly obsessed, but that's part of my charm.

That said, the sustainability spectrum is wide, and I recently found out just how wide. took me to school... à la toilette... when I stumbled upon this post about nixing toilet paper in favor of reusable cloth wipes. Fun for the whole family!


I commend this kind of hardcore footprint-reduction. I love SortaCrunchy's courage in putting it out there. And, props for her unflinching answers to the FAQ, which were very informative. Turns out, there is one more wonderful use for vinegar: scent-reduction in your "wet bag!"

I'm not gonna say "never," although this is definitely something (like getting a ferret, or being a Kardashian) that should be full approved ahead of time by one's housemates and mine, so far, have shown no interest in such a revolution. Also, in my case, there are so many other ways I can beef up my Greene that I don't even have to consider the question at the moment. (Phew!)

That said, if you are curious, but need a little nudge, just think, with all the tree pulp you save, you could be a beautiful bride...

Toilet Paper Wedding Dress!


... just let the lucky guy know ahead of time exactly what you mean when you say, "waste not!"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Greene for the Little Bean


I am completely enamored of this play-kitchen a friend created from recyclables to help her little guy learn his way around the most important room in the house. I love the time and care she took to do it. I love that almost no new materials were used. Of course, I love her color scheme (!), and, finally, I love that it's for a BOY. Granted, a fully-stocked weapons artillery might have been slightly more complicated to create from cardboard boxes, but, still, big ups to Courtney at beautyfullyused for giving her wee lad free reign to imagine his way through shopping, chopping, mixing, baking, broiling, scrubbing, and generally having a good ol' time alongside Mom and Dad in the heart of the home.