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we heart the fibre arts.

6 Jul

I love this latest example of fibre/fiber arts entering the mainstream via new editions of Penguin Classics embroidered by artist Jillian Tamaki, available in October.

P.S. In case you were wondering:

Fibre Arts:  A broad term that covers various types of modern work that are made with fibre but which are distinct from traditional categories such as tapestry.

 ‘The use and development of non-traditional materials in art, combined with feminist consciousness about the relationship between certain materials and processes and women’s cultural and historical traditions, led to an intense questioning of art traditions … The idea of using fabric as an art material both summed up the iconoclasm of the 1970s and established a context within which to mount a feminist challenge to the way art history honored certain materials and certain processes instead of others.’ (Whitney Chadwick, Women, Art, and Society, 1990) (

Whoa, how’s that for a highfalutin definition.


we heart TOMS (but…)

24 Jun

My favorite TOMS have finally worn out. As you can see above, the sole has worn completely through and the fabric is beginning to poke through. Since TOMS are practically the most popular shoe around right now, I’m not going to tell you about the brand or “ooh and aww” over their charitable mission which you already know. While I still love TOMS (especially my new wedges), I am thinking of branching out for the following reasons:

1. Durability

I bought my Toms over winter break which means they have lasted about 6 months. While I do wear them a lot, and they don’t make claims about being super durable, this is still pretty ridiculous! If I had to buy a new pair twice per year I would end up with a LOT of old shoes.

2. Life Cycle Analysis

I’ve searched a lot over the internet for whether old Toms can be composted or recycled and I haven’t found anything specific. It seems that the canvas is made partly of recycled plastic, so that wouldn’t decompose, and the sole is made of recycled rubber, so it’s probably not recyclable either. I would really like for them to work on making a compostable shoe. They wouldn’t have to change much, using a natural latex bottom and biodegradable canvas upper and sole wouldn’t change the look or durability of the shoes.

TOMS does have a section on their Facebook page on repurposing old TOMS, but you repurposing things into knick-knacks that you don’t actually need isn’t true recycling.

3. “One-to-One” Criticism

There has been some criticism of their “one-to-one” model. The blog Good Intentions makes some good points:

  • It’s quintessential Whites in Shining Armor.
  • It’s doing things “for” people not “with” people.
  • They allow people to pay to travel with the distribution trips as shoe fitters thereby promoting poverty tourism.
  • They promote the “awareness raising” activity – One Day Without Shoes – which is really just a marketing ploy.
  • They ship in goods for free that outcompete local goods, it’s a short-term solution that could create long-term problems.
  • There are many better and cheaper ways to get shoes on the feet of the poor. Continue reading

more great greeting cards.

15 Jun

happy jewish dayhappy jewish day Continue reading

hilarious greeting cards.

12 Jun

Continue reading

it’s working.

22 Feb

This is how corporations get you to think that buying a pairs of shoes every month is normal, even necessary. Because owning a bucket load of flimsy shoes is the key to happiness.

Thanks Urban Outfitters.

inside your cup of coffee.

15 Dec


P.S. did you know that 100% of Dunkin’ Donuts’ espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes are fair trade? I suppose they don’t advertise it because it would seem too “elitist” (remember Obama’s arugula?). In contrast, Starbucks’ coffee is only 3.7% fair trade but the company embodies the “arugula aesthetic” far more than Dunkin’.

wishful thinking.

8 Nov

I’m in love with this scarf from Anthropologie. It would be a fun project to knit yourself; challenging but interesting… if only I had time!

Fox Scarf - Anthro

Click the pic to see how much it costs. I’m used to Anthro being out of my league but… this one was just a shock.

dear urban outfitters

29 Sep

Urban Outfitters model 2

Is this a joke? Are you playing a big prank on us? Do you really think I’m going to spend $500 on that coat from the Men’s Wearhouse?

Or maybe I’m just not hip enough to get it.

school, chocolate, and extreme frugality.

14 Sep

Enjoying Pitt on the cusp of fall…

Schenley Park

Munching on a chocolate bar from the East End Food Co-Op, my new favorite place in the world…


And reading this fascinating blog about “extreme frugality” which began with this mission:

“For the first time ever, my family is going to do the unthinkable. We’re going to live within our means… our family of six is going to live on $550 a month.”

But most recently undertook this challenge:

“What’s the longest you’ve ever gone while living your normal daily life without buying something? Think about it. Be honest. A month? A week? A day? For me, during this frugal year, I’ve lasted around two to three days. But I want to do better. It’s time to shake off the shackles and see what it’s like without consuming… For the entire month of September, we’re spending ZERO dollars.”

The family has done lots of cool stuff like raise their own chickens, learn how to barter, make their own maple syrup, and they rely heavily on the family garden for produce. Although the blog focuses mainly on the family’s financial savings, their are also becoming more sustainable (and probably healthier). I would love to be able to try living like this. Unfortunately my apartment didn’t come with a chicken coop.

the pursuit of happiness.

13 Aug

I love this NY Times article about the economy of happiness, how to get more joy with less money. Turns out the key is experiences, not stuff. I think everyone knows that subconsciously, but we get so caught up in wanting more and more stuff that we lose sight of what matters.

The focus of the article is a woman who got off the “work-spend treadmill” by reducing her total personal belongings to 100 items, and downsizing to a 400-square-foot apartment in Portland where she lives with her husband. Because of their low-cost lifestyle the couple has more time and money to travel, volunteer, and spend time outdoors while still saving money. Sounds like a great life to me.


And on an unrelated note, aren’t the Dirty Projectors adorable? They’re giving away two free downloads on their site right now.