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Water Bottle Sling from cargo pants and karate belt

My kids are off to summer camp. We got a loooong packing list, and among other things, we were told the following:

“Every child goes on tiyul (=hike, trek) for at least one overnight. For these tiyulim (hikes, treks), it is essential that your child pack a water canteen with a shoulder strap that can be easily carried while hiking.”

A quick search revealed a variety of prices for the water carrier, but I also found many tutorials for making them, and so… I finally used this great tutorial by Betz White to make the water bottle sling shown above from old cargo pants. Here are some more results:

a girly water bottle sling (pinkish)

a man's water bottle sling (no pink)

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You may recall an earlier post, where I wrote with astonishment about Agata Olek’s art. Well, she did it again. She does not stop. This time we visited the open studios @ the AAI– down at the Lower East Side.

It started off at the corridor, where my kids discovered 2 crocheted figures, standing and offering toasted cheese sandwiches.

crocheted people serving stringed toast

with the artist, Agata Olek

The cheese seemed to be part of the display, being melted into a long, continued piece of (cheese)yarn. Thus, my very own little guy became part of the display by accepting (more like grabbing) that toasted sandwich, curiously gazing at the crocheted people, and munching, only to find out the sandwich is connected by (cheese)yarn to the very next sandwich, and so on. After three (!) such sandwiches, I stepped in to stop it. The reports from the battle field state that the sandwiches were yummy! Also, a passerby dog was caught eating the string (cheese).

dog enjoying the crochet display

We later stepped into Olek’s studio to find more crocheted gems.

shorthand crochet

crocheted balloons !

crocheted slide

Our magical journey continued with a musical setting, crocheted of course.

crocheted drummer

Our final surprise came as we left the building. The kids just loved the bicycle. You guessed it. It was crocheted.

crocheted bicycle

For a balanced justice, I must also bring your attention to some other talented artists that I especially liked:

Elaine Carl at her studio

Linda Byrne's recycled plastics

Tutte, oil on linen, from the Self Deceit series by Jennifer Mazza

Check out Linda Griggs interesting use of Walnut Ink she produces herself:

paintings with walnut ink- Linda Griggs

Finally, a little word about the Lower East Side. Walking the streets at that part of town is fun, lots of little stores, cafes and even galleries. A very nice place to have either lunch or dinner, with the kids, was the Noodle Bar at Stanton & Orchard. Decent sized dishes at a decent price. Kids and noodles- you can’t go wrong.

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I’m sure that I’m not the only one that hates it when a good cork is tossed away.

I love wine and I love corks! So I collect them.

corks corks corks

some quick cork facts:

  • cork oak tree grows in coastal regions of the Mediterranean.
  • cork trees survive harsh conditions.
  • average life expectancy of a cork tree would be 120 to 200 years.
  • natural cork is actually obtained from the bark of the tree.
  • In ancient times, cork bark was used to form sandal soles, food storage vessels, and floats for fishing nets.
  • Seventeenth century, one French monk, Dom Perignon, is credited with being the first to recognize the ability of cork to contain sparkling wines. The rest- is history.

Cork oak with bark of lower trunk removed (Ian Francis, Australia).

Corks uses nowadays:

cork collage

cork designs by Martin Margiela

cork floor

cork floor (from corkfloor.com)

And here are some things the kids made at our Trash 2 Art club, and anyone can make:

heat resistent cork trivet

heat-resistant cork trivet

Erel's trivet

Yahel's cork art- ancient dog?

cork trivet

Standing cork trivet

and there’s plenty more to do with corks. maybe we’ll wait for next winter. meanwhile- collecting more of them.

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Where do I even start?

Well, it’s my inner instinct and logic to prefer food that does not contain chemicals (man made), toxins, pesticides, hormones, or any other synthetic additives, nor food that has been meddled with (genetically). I don’t need any books, studies, magazines or movies for that strong inner feelings. Yet, better know and be educated, informed, than not…

organic

organic

Lately I have read Robyn O’Brien’s book “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It“, who has started AllergyKids.com.

According to the book, most of Europe and Great Britain, Australia, Japan, and even Russia demand the clear labeling of food products that contain genetically engineered ingredients.  Several African countries even refuse to accept genetically modified (“GM“) grain as food aid. According to Reuters, Egypt just announced that it won’t be importing or exporting any GM foods.

Today I have also watched the film “The Future of Food” that has reinforced and better illustrated my gut feeling. I am already waiting to watch the much talked about film “Food, Inc.“.

It seems that while the world around us has long begun to understand the meaning of contaminated food and its consequences, here in the US, people are either too sleepy, or ignorant, or affixed and have their mind set, that the FDA or big agri-businesses or the government are taking real good care of the people and the food they are allowing us to eat.

That’s right, nobody is forcing us to buy GM food,      or do they?  When we try to buy any box of any food, and read the list of ingredients, do we know which was GM’d ? Do I know if the corn flour, the soy or any other grain was modified?

No, I don’t. In fact, I just learned about genetically engineered sugar beets in Kellogg’s products:

Organic Consumers Association and allies sent a letter to Kellogg’s on June 12, requesting that Kellogg’s not use sugar from genetically engineered sugar beets in its products or face a consumer boycott.

Kellogg’s has responded, claiming that US consumers do not care if their food contains Genetically Engineered (GE) food or not.”

So do I have any free choice in choosing the unmodified foods? not if I can’t identify them.

proccessed food

processed food

D’you hear the name Monsanto before? I bet that once you start to read a little more about any of those topics above, “Monsanto” will introduce itself right out of those articles you’ll be reading, because it is one of (if not the largest) multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation that has produced herbicides, genetically engineered seeds, and develops and markets Bovine growth hormones, just to name a few.

And guess what? Monsanto is fighting hard and lobbying with all its might (and mighty it is) to keep us consumers in the dark. It is fighting against labeling any of the GM foods as such. The Europeans, concerned about the food they eat, chose mandatory labeling of GM foods and ingredients. Here, Monsanto and big $$$ are still winning, and GM foods aren’t labeled. Read more about GM foods.

The more I dived deep into the food industry info, I became aware of the knotted political ties that thrive behind the scene of the food industry, the ones between government, pharma- business and agriculture business. I also became aware of the potential role of the chemical toxins added to the foods in the development of autism, allergies, asthma, and ADHD.

What is one to do in the meantime?

  • read, learn, watch the movies, get educated, and pass on the word.
  • try to avoid processed foods, or at least read the labels and make a rational decision based on what you know when choosing that product;
  • try to consume organic food products, or at least the basic ones, such as milk, and eggs.
  • try to purchase locally grown fruits, vegetables, dairy and support your local farmers.
  • take an extra step and write to your local newspaper editor;
  • take an even bigger step and write to your legislators (type your zip code to find your officials);

It’ll probably be long before the labeling of GM food will become a must, or maybe even banned, it’ll take some time before government will subsidize organic farms. But we shall overcome someday.

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hair- adorned. d.i.y.

hair- adorned. d.i.y.

I did not have many necklaces, but out of the four few that I had, three somehow ripped and got torn, thus leaving me with many orphaned little beads. Are you familiar with the experience? So now I keep a special box to hold all those little colorful creatures. The box is now full with buttons as well…

beads- waiting-to-be-adopted

beads- waiting-to-be-adopted

One great use for the waiting-to-be-adopted beads/buttons, besides putting them together to yet another necklace, is to rearrange them into a cool, colorful, jumpy hair clips. Oh yes- we’ve got orphan clips as well.

arranging beads

arranging beads

Wait- don’t throw old beads, buttons, hair clips or hair pins. You can even use the plastic string or elastic one to incorporate and bead a nice longish thread, attache it to the hair clip, and voila`!

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food choices in school

fresh salad

fresh salad

More than 30 million American children eat lunch at school every day.

Sometime soon, Congress will review the Child Nutrition Act, and will have to decide, among other things, to reauthorize the principle of providing all children in school with healthy food choices. That means low-fat dairy choices, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, and most important, that schools should become soda and junk-food free !

President Obama addressed the issue today as he spoke at the American Medical Association’s annual meeting in Chicago today:

“The second step that we can all agree on is to invest more in preventive care…      It also means cutting down on all the junk food that is fueling an epidemic of obesity, putting far too many Americans, young and old, at greater risk of costly, chronic conditions. That’s a lesson Michelle and I have tried to instill in our daughters with the White House vegetable garden that Michelle planted. And that’s a lesson that we should work with local school districts to incorporate into their school lunch programs.”

What can we do about it?

* we can contact our legislators ;

*  we can sign a petition ;

* we can watch the movie Food, Inc.

* we can start at home. prepare and eat simple, healthy food.  have everyone sit together at meal time.

carrot juice - health food

To health !

yes, we can.

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recycle plastic bags and milk cartons into baskets

recycle plastic bags and milk cartons into baskets

So… what shall we start with?

Well, I am celebrating Shavuot, which is known to be one of the oldest holidays in Judaism. On this holiday, harvest of the first grains is being celebrated with songs and dances, remembering the old times when the people went up to Jerusalem, to the Temple, bringing with them gifts and offerings of the first fruits, veggies and flowers. Today, among other customs, we fill nice little baskets with goodies, and decorate both the baskets and the kids that carry them.

My little league dived happily into our little basket project while maintaining the opportunity of keeping green.

Wait, don’t throw:

  • those milk cartons, or plastic jugs, or those cubic tissue boxes;
  • grocery plastic bags that come in all those cool colors.

After the containers are empty, clean and well dry, cut their top, and then cut all four side panels into strips, going all the way down to the base, only make sure that eventually, you have an odd number of strips.

Cut your colorful plastic bags into many long, thin strips, about 1 inch wide.

Knot string to string in a way that eventually produces one long, multi-colored “thread” for your weaving.

Now you can start weaving from the bottom of the container and up.

weaving those plastic bags

weaving those plastic bags

Start by knotting the “thread” around one of the carton stripes at the bottom, and then around the carton, weaving the thread in a consistent manner, first under the carton strip, and then over the next strip, under the next one, and over the next one, producing a pattern of warp and woof.

You can tie a knot at the end just around one of the strips. For one of the baskets (shown above), the ends of the strips are folded outwards. For another basket, we embedded plastic beads to make it even more happier.

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