Monday, 27 October 2008

Eco admission

I have an admission to make. I have been distracted from the eco blog by a new blog I have started. It is at Please have a look. Don't judge me too harshly if you notice that I have occasionally posted the same things on both blogs, but I think there are two different sets of readers.

I have not abandoned my Eco Self, but am taking a short sabbatical. Instead I am writing about lots of lovely, unnecessary things I don't need, as I have a really strong interest in design. Doesn't sound very eco, does it? Still, believe me when I say I still have the rumblings of an eco conscience. Today I went to two fancy dress shops in New York (I'm here as an election tourist), and felt really quite unwell at all the aisles crammed full of plastic use-once for Halloween tat. And then I bought a Cleopatra headress. I promise I will take it home and file it away for future fancy dress reference.

So, if you're wondering where I've gone, that's where I have gone. I'll be back.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Etsy eco: Allies Adornments

This week's Etsy eco is Allie's Adornments, from San Francisco. She makes one-off pieces of jewellery from 1800s buttons, collected from all over the world. Is it wrong that My Eco Self is somewhat swayed by the photographs as to which is my favourite? Clue: I love the pink flower in the bottom photo.

1800s button bracelet.

1800s button necklace

1800s button bracelet.

Laura Cahill's book vases and lamps

My Eco Self is very taken with these book vases and especially the standard lamp. They are the brainchild of designer Laura Cahill.

Books are notoriously difficult to recycle, because of the glue used in the spine, even though the Confederation of Paper Industries says that it is not impossible. What's your preferred method of disposing of old books? My Eco Self is going through a non-philanthropic stage, due to unemployment, and is selling old books secondhand on Amazon, rather than donating them to a charity shop.

I think that books are not necessarily that much of an ecological disaster (apart from the publisher's returns system, don't get me started) because most people keep their books and display them on their shelves to give off an air of intellectualism.

My Eco Self thinks that it is chick lit which is the greatest environmental liability. Keep this to yourselves, but in recent months My Eco Self has read Chasing Harry Winston and The Manny - but there is no evidence in my flat which would suggest so...Chasing Harry Winston was a throwaway purchase, read on the Eurostar between Paris and London and left behind on the train.

via Tea for Joy

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Rise magazine

This month's Rise magazine has an eco focus.

Check out my feature on the Hyde Farm Climate Action Network - it is a community group in South London which is really involved in lots of energy saving initiatives, including lightbulb libraries, draughtbusting and foraging for fruit on the local common. When I was interviewing Sue, one of the founders of the group, she had to excuse herself to answer a very cloak-and-dagger telephone call. I later found out why - Gordon Brown visited her house three days later!

I also wrote about my experience of joining Food Up Front.

Etsy eco: recycled crayons

There's no avoiding it, autumn has truly arrived. My Eco Self has unearthed my hot water bottle and I have turned my heating on, once or twice. I know I could conserve energy by wearing a few more jumpers, but I find it difficult to function when waddling like a Michelin man. Let me indulge myself just these few precious times, as an imminent gas bill is likely to kill off my desire to casually turn on the heating.

There are great things about autumn; indoor cuddles, a fire, cosy blankets, and these beautiful recycled crayons from Art2theextreme's Etsy shop. They look like so much fun for children to draw with.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Tooting Foodival

This afternoon My Eco Self and friends went to the Tooting Foodival. There was lots of local food in varying forms - apple crumbles made from back garden apples, urban honey, eggs from Deen City Farm, and curry from Poojas.

I've been a fan of Poojas for a long time - they sell 4 delicious samosas for £1. I tentatively went in there last week for the first time in a few years and with only £1 in my pocket; convinced that inflation and the credit crunch would have pushed up the prices. But no, still 4 samosas for £1.

The event was organised by local community groups Transition Town Tooting and Food Up Front.

I first discovered Food Up Front about a year ago, when they had 30 members and I wrote about them here. They are a scheme which encourages members to grow food in containers. Since then there's been a flurry of FUF activity - watch this space for an update on their activity coming soon.

My Eco Self recently signed up to be a member of Food Up Front, and enthusiastically planted my seeds in compost which I literally rolled home on a shopping trolley and in high heels. Technically, there is no sign of life so far, but this could be because:
a) My back door broke. While this may seem unlikely, it is actually true. I couldn't get into my garden for a week to water my container, until my friend Emma (ie Emma of superhero Emma with superhuman strength fame) opened the door with a casual flick of her wrist.
b) I went to Paris, not the perfect locale for carefully nurturing my seedlings.

Now I come to think of it, there really is no sign of life in my container. I've just remembered that not everything I planted was a seed; I planted a chard seedling, as documented in the photo above. It's gone AWOL, with not even a hint it ever existed. I'm sure the foxes are to blame.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

List progress

Progress on my list so far: none.

Except that I have been enthusiastically searching on Ebay for bargains. Further to my recent sales (for minimal results) I was convinced that there would be bargain purchases as well.

Where to start? There is just so much for sale, that it's almost impossible to narrow it all down. So I started searching by keywords of things I like; trees, hummingbirds, storms, swallows, Polaroids, black and white photographs. In my over-enthusiasm, I managed to buy a 2005 black and white photo of Green Park. 2005 is not exactly the vintage era I was aiming for. I lost out on Wedgewood hummingbird teacups, a cross-stitch of a hummingbird and an old hummingbird print. Do you notice a recurring theme?

Then I got a little bit carried away with shopping online, and bought a set of five spotted dishes from Lottie's Barn, like the one in the picture above. I am very excited about this new purchase, which of course is going to encourage me to use up all my leftovers and completely abandon any inclinations towards food waste.

Picture via Vintage Heaven.