Making Stuff: the Domestic Edition

Because of the internet and the bunch of killjoys who use it, those of us who look up stuff and read links our friends send to us on a regular basis have come to realize, in excruciating detail, that everything (every single thing) inside our homes is pretty much killing us. We are surrounded by chemicals, breathing them in from the time we roll off our toxic mattresses in the morning to when we relax in the evening on our comfortable couch as tiny particles of flame-retardant carcinogens waft upwards, entering our bloodstream via the air we breathe and our very own skin, that traitor.

So what is a conscientious person supposed to do? Well, some of us are purists and dress only in ethically-sourced hemp, use only milk paint and eat food that only comes from biological resources that don’t have eyes, which means that even some plants are off-limits. Others among us don’t go that far. I am one of those others. But still, I really, really, really despise being forced to play along with our Industrial Food-and-Chemical Overlords, so on to the real point of this missive: I recently made my own toothpaste, and I liked it.

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Decorating for Slackers

The internet is rife with tutorials in How To Do Anything.  It’s wonderful, really.  No more schlepping down to your local library or ordering a set of TimeLife books with the information doled out in three easy payments of $39.95 (plus shipping and handling).  Now you are a google-search away from whatever you need to know.  Or don’t need to know, whichever the case may be.  So I offer my own internet tutorial here, in the spirit of self-styled experts everywhere.

But before we begin, you should know that my idea of a tutorial is the sort of thing detractors of all the proliferating blogs out there like to complain about: common sense ideas and bad photographs thrown together and posted under the label “original content”.  So with that in mind, I bring you:

How To Decorate with New England Christmas Greens

Fast & Cheap is my motto when it comes to seasonal decorating (and hopefully seasonal decorating alone)  – yet certain aesthetic perimeters are observed.  No plastic, for starters.  So, like the hearty soul I am, I turn to Nature’s bounty for a solution, heading into the woods for my boughs and branches.  But of course, all of this scavenging takes place within reason – what if we all went into the woods for our Christmas greens?  There would be no Nature left.  So a little common sense must prevail.  You should know just whose boughs it is you are hacking, if you know what I mean.  Not that I follow this rule necessarily.  But I think you should.

For This Project You Will Need:

Obviously you don’t need the baby, and if you don’t have the baby you don’t need the baby carrier, but for many of us, taking small children on our foraging trips is just part of the deal.

Step 1)  Find Greens.  Any sort of evergreen will do, and something unexpected like rhododendron is especially nice.

Step 2)  Set down the baby.  Allow baby to rummage around in the leaves or snow or whatever.

Step 3)  Cut greens.  As you can see from what I used, no special tools necessary for this task, as long as you’re willing to do a little sawing with your scissors.

Step 4)  Stuff the greens into the baby carrier’s zip-up pocket (yet another reason – besides the fact that it’s illegal to leave a baby home alone – to bring the baby).  Stuff the baby into the carrier and head home.

Step 5)  Grab a container, fill with dirt and push in as many greens as it will hold.  Stem-first.

The Finished Product

Voila! Start to finish: 25 minutes.  Which is just about my window of tolerance for an task beyond those needed to survive.  I know my standards aren’t very high, but I was quite happy.  December 1st and my outside greens (and I even managed the symmetry of a matching urn on the other side of my door) are done y’all.  Happy Holidays to me!  And to all of you too, of course.  But mostly to me.  Because I did a project and didn’t spend any time or money, which qualifies as success in my book.