Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Pledge


I love nothing better than a 
great flea market or antique store
and my kids get equally excited
to while away an hour or so there, too.

  To them, it is like discovering treasure.


My daughter is always on the hunt
for vintage dog figurines to add to
her collection.  My son likes frogs
as well as other boyish collectibles,
such as spy-glasses and compasses.


On a recent trip to an antiques mart,
I was struck by their surprise whenever
they turned an item over looking for
a price tag or an identifying mark,
crowing,  Mommy, it's made in
the USA!  In their young lives, this
has been the exception and not the rule.


Which got me thinking about how 
ubiquitous the Made in China sticker
has become in our lives.....

While I love 

Chinese
tea


games



history and culture



food


fireworks


even dogs and cats....



There is one Chinese thing I do not like: 
 the prevalence of their manufactured
 items found in our U.S. stores. 




The Chinese dominance in manufacturing 
makes me mourn the days when our own
craftsmen and artisans created 
millions of items with pride and our
domestic corporations churned out typewriters 
and washing machines, televisions and telephones.


{This is one reason that I'm so drawn to vintage.}


Low labor costs in China mean lower wholesale 
expenses for companies and lower retail prices for us, 
the consumers.  Sadly, inspections and standards
of working conditions in China are not as rigorous 
as they are in the USA and sweatshops and child labor 
are a still a reality in that country.  China also has 
environmental problems that continue to get worse every
year due to factory pollution.  And, China is a communist 
country, diminishing the hard work and goodness 
of some of its people in order to benefit others.

Chinese children making toys

Chinese children making fake designer boots

Of my international friends, I ask:  
Do products made in China dominate 
the stores in your countries?  
If they do, what are your feelings about this topic?

For me, the true cost of these low price 
items is too high.  
I believe that my family can choose
alternative things to those made in China.  
So, for the month of October, I am 
pledging not to purchase Chinese manufactured goods..  

Nada.

Zilch.  Zippo.

It will take awareness.
It will take intent.


What are your thoughts on this subject?
Care to to join me in my challenge? 

 I'd sure love your company.



[mages: 1-3, P&H;
4-17 flickr {click for attribution}
18-20 Google sources {click}]

Monday, September 27, 2010

Going Nuts


After a weekend
of parties {and party food}
celebrating my husband's
high school class
reunion, I'm feeling
really blobby and
not particularly
energetic.


However, this week
instead of dwelling
on the
 shouldn't haves


fried food
processed food
sugary food


I want to focus
on foods that 
n o u r i s h
and give
e n e r g y,
especially as we
head towards
the holidays.





The
should haves.

One thing that I 
love about fall 
is the abundance
of fresh nuts,
such as pecans,walnuts,
almonds and one
I especially enjoy,
the hazelnut.

Hooray for hazelnuts!

In the United States,
hazelnuts are cultivated
in two of my favorite
states, Oregon and Washington.
In the rest of the world,
they are found in commercial
quantity in Turkey and Italy.


Cousin to the Filbert,
and considered the
healthiest of nuts,
hazelnuts are high in
protein and unsaturated
fat and contain significant
amounts of thiamine and
vitamin B6.


Toasted, hazelnuts
are wonderful in granola,
tasty tossed with green beans,
olive oil and
fresh lemon juice,
and delicious in a baby
greens salad with pear
and craisins....


But this 
is the way I
savor them best:

dark chocolate covered
hazelnuts


or
Nutella spread
{I just eat
it on a small spoon!}


and sometimes
 in chocolate candy,
such as this....


In moderation,
the combination of 
dark chocolate
and hazelnuts can be 
an energizing treat,
full of antioxidants.

{That's my story
and I'm sticking to it!}

Last October
I was introduced
to a fantastic
source for hazelnuts
of all kinds
dry roasted
dark chocolate covered
salted
spiced
diced


Hazelnut Hill, 
a hazelnut orchard
near Corvallis, Oregon,
where they grow,
roast and make their
own candy with hazelnuts.

Family owned,
their hazelnuts
were fresh and delicious,
and possibly
the best that
I'd ever tasted.



Which 
 nourishing foods
top your list? 


Will you go 
a little nuts
with me, 
this fall?

Hazelnut and Chestnut
Nothing to do with
nuts except their
names,
but I couldn't
resist : )!!


[Picture credits ~
Google images: 6 & 9;
All others Flickr; click
on each for attribution]



Friday, September 24, 2010

Romancing British Country and a Winner!


Surprise!
Today I am
guest posting
for the fabulous
Zaira at her blog

If you have not
met Z, you will
just love her gentle
musings and ardor
for all things British.

Please come over
and say Cheerio or Ciao!

PS: The winner
of my Feathering
Your Nest giveaway,
using random.org
is:


#100
Elizabeth
Pretty Pink Tulips


Thanks to everyone
who entered and to
Shellagh at Ticking and Toile!

See you at Z's!

image: WSJ Magazine

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shiny Happy





Shiny happy people laughing
Meet me in the crowd
People people
Throw your love around
Love me love me
Take it into town
Happy happy
Put it in the ground
Where the flowers grow
Gold and silver shine


~ R.E.M.





Last Thursday,
Friday and Saturday
I found myself
surrounded
by shiny
happy
people.....

Once strangers
who I might
never have met
or shared a
smile
a laugh
their
stories.

And it
all happened
because
last winter
I discovered
blogging!


Between attending
day one of an
inspiring conference
called the Creative Connection
in Minneapolis, Minnesota
USA


and exploring
the ginormous
Midwest flea market
called Junk Bonanza....


I had the pleasure
of getting to know
a wonderful variety
of creative women,
such as....


My favorite painting
farm girl/blogger mama
Becky


Beth {Beth Quinn Designs} and Becky {Farmgirl Paints}


A Canadian school teacher/
photographer/blogger
Koralee
Koralee {Bluebird Notes} and Me


A talented jewelry-maker/
Junk Bonanza vendor/blogger
Gretchen
Gretchen {Mimi-Torias Designs}
flanked by two Junk Bonanza princesses!


A full-time nurse/part-time
Etsy artist and shopkeeper
who hails from Japan
Chieko


A crafty occasional sale mama
Colleen

A talented farmer's wife
with a successful photography biz/blogger
Traci
My girl with Traci {Traci Thorson Photography}
and Jen {Sanctuary Arts}
And a former paramedic/mother of
three wee girls and artist extrodinare/blogger
Jen




A cop's wife/treasure seeker and
refinisher/businesswoman/blogger

Jen and Mary {Urban Farmgirl}


A cottage stylist/Junk Bonanza guru/
local celebrity/blogger mom

Becky, Jill {Forever Cottage, Junk Bonanza}, Me


A French-loving/shopkeeper/
photo-styling blogger

Tracey {French Larkspur}



The most enthusiastic Aussie
bringing junk love back to Oz,
Tracie {Tracie Van Wechel} JB official photog and
Tamarah {Shabby Vintage Junk} all the way from Australia!


....and so many
many more, all equally
fascinating
in my book.


Shiny, happy bloggers


But wait ~
there's more!!


On Thursday
while attending
the Creative Connection,
I sat in on a panel
discussion that included
Serena Thompson of
the Farm Chicks blog....



And had meals with
keynote speeches
from Ree Drummond... 
{The Pioneer Woman}


Ree signing my cookbook!

And Mary Jane Butters
And Amy Butler.
It was a
wild and crazy
ride
and one I would
never have
dreamed of,
six short
months ago.


A whole new
community


of 


shiny,


happy


people.


Thank you for 
being part
of this
extraordinary
new world!


{Don't forget
to enter
my giveaway,
which ends
Thursday night.}


[images: 1 flickr {click 
for attribution};
 rest P&H
except Serena, Ree,
Mary Jane and Amy,
which were taken from
their own blogs.]