Sunday, July 06, 2008

Locavore Grabbed Me When I Wasn't Looking

The universe has been hitting me over the head with information about the history and current state of the food we eat and all roads are leading to locavor-ism. For example, a friend who knows I love the TV show "LOST" sent me a link to a video of a TED talk by J.J. Abrams. The next talk cued up under "other talks" was Mark Bittman: What's wrong with what we eat,
I highly recommend checking it out. Another example was the book I decided to listen to by Barbara Kingsolver. I ordered the book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" on CD from my monthly subscription service for my 30 min commute to work because I just finished "Poisonwood Bible" and felt like another Kingsolver. If you haven't read the book, it's a one year memoir/journalistic investigation of her families attempt to be locavores plus nutritional information, meal plans, and a few sidebars on food-production science and industry--not the fictional escape I hoped for but obveously just what I needed.  And then there was the link my mom sent me of her friend's endeavor in Canada,, an organic, multi-family farm. I know that going green is hot in marketing and advertising but these are odd avenues into a topic I wasn't looking for. We eat organic food and I'm very aware of biodynamic gardening, fair trade, and sustainability. Locavor-ism is not only new to me but tracked me down and jumped in my face. I hope you look into it since it's the only logical way to reduce the amount of fuel required to product you next meal. Just think of it, you too can be a superhero and save the planet!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Go Green! Embrace an Earth Friendly Lifestyle and Save an Environment Worth Sharing With the Next Generation.

I’m so excited to report that our family finally took the plunge into 100% ecological, non-toxic, biodegradable, natural cleaning products. We donated all of our toxic, environmentally unfriendly cleaning supplies to friends who wanted to use them as I couldn’t bear to just recycle them (maybe I should have—oh well). I’m afraid it was a long transition; we started with laundry and dish soap and had a hard time finding something we really liked. We’re still cycling through ‘green’ options for dish soap. Our cleaning bucket is now stocked with notions and potions from Earth Friendly Products (, Seventh Generation, (, biokleen (, and ECOVER (

Living in Santa Cruz, California, we’re a bit behind the curve; most of our friends switched years ago or grew up with granola baking; make your own cleaning solvent moms. I didn’t find the earth friendly products to cost more than the toxic options but I haven’t seen them in bulk at CostCo yet (come on Jim Sinegal, go GREEN!!). It’s scary to think that earth friendly isn’t yet the norm. Back in the 70’s while I was in elementary school my science teachers were talking about limited resources and the necessity of finding alternative sources of power like solar or wind, and electric cars (My nifty solar hotdog roaster was a hit at lunch time). What happened in the last 28 years? Why haven’t we made more progress? Why do things have to start to fail before we get off our butts and make some changes?

My friend, Tammy Pittenger, launched an online business selling ‘green’ products for the home at (not bad for a part-time stay-at-home mom gig). She’s not alone; a quick Google search will serve up a plethora of options. We’re lucky enough to have two stores in town that focus on providing green solutions for everything from lunch boxes to house paint, greenspace ( and Eco Goods ( … and they have websites if you’re stuck out in Oklahoma in an ice storm.

It is NOT easy to change a lifetime of habits and it’s the ONLY way the next generation will have a lifetime to enjoy this planet.

Kiss your babies and count your blessing. Peace to you.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Doing Waldorf Children’s Watercolor with Ellen SpringWind

I took a wet-on-wet watercolor painting K-3 course with Ellen SpringWind. It was very inspirational and full of great tips. The main things to keep in mind are:

1) Work with a color experience .
2) You're creating inner pictures out of the feeling life.
3) Become familiar with the character of each color.
4) You must be in tune with how a color lives, breathes, moves, and the interrelationships between the different experiences from yellow to blue.
5) Paint every picture before you present it to your children.
6) A painting lesson should be a sacred experience.
7) Begin simply with first one color, then two in various combinations, and then three primary colors.
8) Usually each lesson suggests the next one (notice techniques that need to be worked on and sense special interests)
9) Warm colors in the fall. Cool colors in the winter. Clear, bright, and shinning colors in the spring.
10) The form always coming out of the meeting and blending of the colors.
11) It's best that children learn to regulate the amount of liquid on the brush by watching your techniques and imitation.
12) The fewer words the better. Paint slowly and be very conscious of each brush stroke.
13) Whenever possible present the lesson as a simple color story, in which the colors live and move and speak. For example:

Today Red, the magician, is going around,
Very soon the Yellow he's found
And made him orange without a sound

Well, you get the idea.

Paper - at least 12" x 8"
Paints (Stockmeyer water colors or Grumbacher tubes)
Brushes --good ones in the beginning. It's works the results. Use broad flat hair burshes (Nos. 16 or 18)
Newspapers to put your paints, water and wipe burshes on
Water containers - jam jars and yogurt containers
Rags - 8" x 8" white Cotton (old t-shires work fine)
Boards - Masonite works well
Baby food jars (for paint)

Colors to Start With:
Prussian blue
Ultramarine blue
Lemon yellow
Golden yellow
Green (Thalo or Viridian)

Gold and Vermilion make a good Orange
Lemon Yellow and Prussian Blue make clear, bright Green
Carmine and Ultramarine make a possible Purple

1) Mix the paints the day before (use the smallest amount possible)
2) 1 pt. paint to 2 parts water
3) Soak the paper well ahead of time (sink or bathtub work fine)
4) Children can help set up the work space (you help transfer the wet paper to their board)
5) Blot with a clean rag laid on the paper (avoid rubbing w/sponge). You should see no puddles.
6) The lesson can begin with a verse.
7) Light a candle to set the mood of reverence and keep an atmosphere of quiet.
8) Tell a 'color story' while you demonstrate painting the picture.
9) Give instruction in a whisper.
10) Never allow a child to destroy a painting and help them make something of it (teaching conservation and perseverance).
11) When all are done, have the children help clean up.
12) Never leave the brushes in the water. Always lay them down on the newspaper.
13) Relax and enjoy the process!

Color Verses
Colors shine around us
From earth and sea and sky,
Pale and light, deep or bright,
They show the glory of the universe and earth's might.
(to use in kindergarten)

The rainbow colors gleam in the sky above,
They can shine also from our papers,
If with the heart's warmth and hand's skill.
We place them there with gentleness and care.
(to use in early grades)

Other resources:

I hope this helps you start to water color with your children at home or inspires you to continue.

Best wishes,