The Redhead's Green Thumb

Xiane rambles about eco-issues, gardening, crafts, and life.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Are ceramics eco-friendly?

one black bird: the *green* ware question.

This is something I never knew to think about, and although the essay is long, it is extremely informative!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Our oceans are turning into plastic...are we?

Best Life Magazine: Our oceans are turning into plastic...are we?

Be ready to be very, very depressed when you read this. However, PLEASE read it. Then post about it. And post your ideas for how to eliminate plastic from our lives. Things as simple as refusing to use plastic bags and choosing to use your own cloth ones can make a difference. According to this article, "only 3 - 5% of plastics are recycled in any way." That's frightening.

Look around your house. Examine your life. What do you have around you now that could be made from another material than plastic? Do you recycle the plastics that you have?

There's also reference to a book that I'm in the process of getting to read: Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. The blurb has this to say about the book:
"Paper or plastic? Neither, say William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Why settle for the least harmful alternative when we could have something that is better--say, edible grocery bags! In Cradle to Cradle, the authors present a manifesto calling for a new industrial revolution, one that would render both traditional manufacturing and traditional environmentalism obsolete."

This is the kind of thinking and action that we need. Please take some time today to read the article and look over the link to the book - and maybe pass along this message?

Monday, July 16, 2007


phantom limb syndrome

what is essential
and what is lacking
are not always the same -
that does not negate the pain.

I miss music.
Not listening to music - there's no way that will ever stop happening, although it isn't the lifeline that it was for me at one point, when I was fresh and unknown in Charlottesville. Then, music was one of my only friends, the thing I relied on to commiserate with me and my feelings. Now, I look at it as an old and dear companion, and I often know what it will say before I ask.

But this is about the things that come along *with* the music. There's that feeling that one gets before a band starts playing, when you're in a crowd yet alone when the lights go down... a sense of anticipation that is magnified by how strongly this band has gotten under your skin.
And there's a particular sense of belonging that I had as someone who took the time to seek out, support, and disseminate this music to other people - something that made me feel important, yes, but something that also made me feel like I was doing a Good Thing. I was helping people who meant the world to me, and I was perhaps giving someone who was like me - someone who the music spoke to in the best of ways - another voice, another empathetic friend for the times when one needs a friend most.

I'm a nostalgic person by nature. It is in my personality to hold a small torch for That What Was, and I'm usually fairly inured to that aspect of my personality. However, it occasionally gets to me, and today is one of those days. Today, I'm dreaming of a place where I can stand in a crowd and cheer as a wash of guitars sweeps over me, and my eyes are dazzled by spotlights bouncing from instruments and microphones. Today, I wish that I was dancing in the front row with my friends, with a band that I adore. Today, I'm missing rock'n'roll for all it's worth.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007


Who knew that amber could be so complicated?

amber resin
Originally uploaded by xiane threeravens.

Today, I had one of those really interesting conversations that sometimes happens at the Etsy Forums - someone posted with a request for "raw amber incense" and it sparked a wonderful debate on what exactly it was that the poster was really looking for.
Liquidambar Orientalis, sometimes used in incense:
[see the first photo; also known as storax]

"Indian" amber resin, which is what's commonly sold as amber resin [for scent]

[from ]

Here's a piece of "raw" amber of the type used in jewelry:

[from ]

And here's ambergris, an ancient scent additive and fixative, especially in perfumery, which is exuded by whales:

[from ]

As you can see, they are all very different, yet their common names are close enough to cause some serious confusion, even in a customer who has previously purchased the sort of "amber" that they're looking for!

The moral of this story? Probably that you should make sure that you're dealing with a reputable and knowledgeable herbalist, bath and body person, incense maker, perfumer, or lapidary worker/jeweler before you make a purchase of anything titled "amber" - or you could end up with whale vomit! [okay, not likely with the price difference, but you have to admit that it sounded alarming!]

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Home and Garden: 35 Uses for Plastic Milk Jugs

Home and Garden: 35 Uses for Plastic Milk Jugs

I snagged this one from The Worsted Witch - lots and lots of great ideas for the gardener... or really, anyone.

Friday, July 06, 2007


squeegee cat

squeegee is insane
Originally uploaded by xiane threeravens.

If you do such things, please think good thoughts for my Squeegee cat. He had to take a trip to the vet yesterday, because he's suffering from the oh-too-common feline UTI - luckily, I've had a cat who went through the same thing, so I recognized some of the behaviors before the infection got too out of hand. He's on antibiotics now - evidently strawberry flavoured, which he surprisingly likes just fine - and I've taken away the kibble and started adding some extra water to his wet food, just to up the water intake. He's been pretty cheerful, if a tad lethargic, but I can tell that he's still working through his illness.
I think the saddest part is that he didn't sleep with us last night, because he was either moping in the office or scratching in the litter box all night. He did come in for morning cuddles, and that made me feel a little better. *sigh* I'm a worrier, because I just adore this silly cat.. so please, send good thoughts his way.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


10 Ways To Simplify Your Life

Recipe for Simplicity - Natural Life Magazine January/February 2006


You might notice a few changes...

I'm looking for feedback here, faithful and friendly readers, and let me tell you why!

I was lucky enough to participate in the online portion of the Global Microbrand: Using the Web to Stay Small whilst Selling all over the World workshop given by Antonio Gould and hosted by Etsy Labs. Why do I mention this? Well, I was even luckier - my shop and business was chosen to be the example for demonstrating what I can improve, and what I'm doing right, in regards to my Microbrand. I learned quite the armful of useful tips, and found that although I'm doing some things right, there is *always* room for improvement.
My first plan of attack? Well, it is actually something I've had in the back of my head for a while, but I'd been dragging my feet over. You see, if you know anything about me, you know that I wear all black most of the time, and I adore purple and red. However, no matter what I prefer on my body, black was doing me no favours as a background color for my websites. I have some problems reading black text on a white background, as I feel it to be too bright for my eyes - but people have complained that the bright text on a dark background wasn't working for them. That was a very important fact to have driven home tonight, and I've responded by changing my template here. Where do you come in? I need you to let me know what you think! I absolutely can't abide looking at a white background, it gives me headaches... so this was a compromise. Can my dear readers deal with it?

Just as an aside: I feel so lucky. I can't stress that enough. I am privileged to have access to a wonderful site where I can sell my wares AND that offers invaluable information for *free* - and they go out of their way to create selling opportunities like the trunk shows, too! I intend to take advantage of all of these gifts and thank them by bringing as much business back to Etsy as I can. I love that we all win this way!

Just to reassure you, as I sign off for the evening: I will be redoing my website, too. It suffers from the same curse - black-background-itis. That needs to change!

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