All Hallow’s Eve

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My Halloween tribute to Christina Aguilera
with a Dr. Evil photobomb

I have a special place in my heart for Halloween. The eerie aesthetic has always been a draw, plus my oldest son was born so near to the holiday that I have spent most of the last 18 Octobers planning and executing some type of holiday/birthday event. In other words, I’ve had my fair share of crafting, cooking and creating all things dark and creepy. The downside is that like any other holiday it can get pricey real quick, not to mention wasteful (all that candy!) when I get carried away. So in the spirit (ha!) of sustainability, here’s a few links with ideas for celebrating Halloween without sacrificing those things that make the day so much fun.

Decorations: Who doesn’t love turning their yard or walkway into a festive display for trick-or-treaters or party guests? One of my friends – a teacher and veritable superwoman – along with her boys, made a horde of these monsters using plastic bottles and lined their driveway with them. Also super cute and simple to make using jars and acrylic paint, are these glass luminarias. For our party last year, we placed several sets of these spooky glowing eyes made from empty toilet paper rolls in the foliage behind our deck. We used glow sticks in lieu of the LED light and battery, and they turned out well. I definitely recommend borrowing a hobby knife, if you don’t have one, for an adult or older child to use when cutting the eye shapes. Scissors will work, but not as easily.

Pumpkins and Jack o’ Lanterns: If you find yourself with an extra, uncarved pumpkin, or even one that has already been cut into (a masterpiece gone awry, perhaps?), making it into puree for baking is easy. Just don’t use any carved pumpkins older than 24 hours. As for the guts, the more ambitious chef with time to shell seeds might like to try making pumpkin seed pesto, otherwise classic roasted pumpkin seeds, make a tasty, healthy snack. Once carved pumpkins are past their prime, they can be tossed right into your compost bin. No bin? You can find a location to dispose of your organic food waste here, or simply bury the shells in your garden to enrich the soil.

Costumes: I love all the other prep that goes into Halloween, but the dressing up is my favorite- whether I spend an entire month or just the final hours before a party working on my costume. Refinery 29 presents some ideas for piecing together a costume from the thrift store, but you may even be able to shop your own wardrobe. Your favorite television character, zombie bridesmaid (never a bride), or even “Carrie” could already be in your closet. For additional inspiration, try some tips in one of these You-Tube make-up tutorials also assembled by R29. (WARNING: The Jem and the Holograms make-up video included in this listing is extra awesome and may lead to the immediate and uninterrupted viewing of all Vintage or Tacky’s other tutorials.)

Candy: We always end up buying more candy than we can hand out, and our own kids bring in such a haul that it gets a little crazy. If you find yourself buried in Halloween treats, consider donating them to the troops. For those chocolate based favorites deemed too precious to part with, you can boost the nutritional value by melting them down to make a dip for fresh fruit or a recipe such as these banana pops. Unreal Candy and YummyEarth Organics offer some alternatives to the usual handouts for trick-or-treaters, plus a directory of fair trade chocolatiers can be found here.

Hopefully, you came across something in this post that you can use or put your own spin on. Would love to hear additional tips and ideas from others, too, so please feel free to share. Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

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The Connection Between Wildlife Trafficking and Terrorism

It’s impossible for me to comprehend the reality of living in a region where terrorism, animal cruelty, and animal cruelty-funded terrorism, is a way of life on such a large scale, but clearly this is one of the-if not the worst- scenarios when it comes to issues surrounding animal protection and conservation efforts. I can’t claim to completely understand the political and historical context in which these events occur, but animal suffering is a terrible thing and when it’s perpetuated to maintain a system of terror and oppression it becomes something even more horrifying. I think this piece by Chris Tackett at TreeHugger does a great job of breaking down how this sort of thing happens and illustrates the need to remember that animal issues are not always “just” animal issues-they are often human issues as well.

http://www.treehugger.com/endangered-species/how-elephant-poaching-helped-fund-kenyan-terrorist-attack.html

Quick Note- DIY Handbags or: What You’re Getting from Me for Christmas

Refashioned Bags

Just came across this book and I am so very, very excited! Excited enough that I had to share right away. 

Even though I don’t have as much time for this kind of thing as I would like, I really do enjoy making stuff and typically when I get down to sewing something, it starts out as a purse. It may not end up as a purse, but hopefully this book will remedy that -once I get my hands on a copy, that is. Until then, I will continue to be inspired by other creative folks who are making awesome bags out of some interesting materials:

Sailcloth bags-said to be incredibly sturdy. I love their summery look. This skull bag is my favorite.

skull sailcloth

Construction netting– cute, structured bags available at maliadesigns.com. Bonus: proceeds go to fight human trafficking and increase economic opportunities for women.

Mod Blue handbag

Juice packets– colorful and fun, these items are constructed of 100% recycled materials and assembled by workers who earn a fair wage.

 woven wooden handbag

Vintage fabric– not too surprising in terms of the materials used, but I threw these Kim White bags in because they are adorable and reversible.

reversible bag brown wallpaper

Finally, here’s a video on how to repurpose old books into cute purses. Enjoy!

Hilary Duff’s Edgy-Glam Compassion-ized

So of all the starlets Disney has churned out of its factory, I dislike Hilary Duff (and Raven Symone) the least. I’m not even sure why that is, but suffice it to say I’m not here to bag on her-in fact I quite like what she and/or her stylist have done here. I’m just going to inject a little compassion into this fun People Style Watch spread. After all, proclaiming leather pants to be her go-to item for looking edgy is practically a cry for help. Someone with Hil’s fashion budget and creativity can easily integrate sustainable and cruelty-free purchases into their wardrobe. Behold!

Hilary! from People Nov 2009

Starting with the ensemble on the far left- I was able to find an organic cotton dress from SUST that works great for this look. Since it lacks the sparkly embellishment that makes HD’s dress, let’s add this fun vintage brooch from Michelle’s Vintage for a little bling. (Did I just type the word “bling”?)  Moving on…for HD’s croc print clutch, I decided to go a little smaller, and chose this pleated, snake print clutch by Shiraleah available at Alternative Outfitters.

Mod dress SUSTDimensional Brooch Michelle's VintageMarilynBlkClutch Alt Outfitters

The shoes are somewhat more problematic-not because I couldn’t find a non-leather equivalent, because I did find a perfect imitation. The fact that this dead ringer is only $8 is trouble because I’m guessing that the workers who assemble cheap knock-offs of Jimmy Choos for online strip club wear outlets probably don’t earn a living wage. Just a hunch. So I had to depart slightly from the silver snake print gladiator and go for these gorgeous silver shoes from Beyond Skin.Beyond Skin’s shoe line is completely vegan and they are known for their ethical business practices as well.

silver snake gladiators amiclubwearbeyond_skin_poppy_vegan_silver_heeled_sandal_shoe_sd

Moving on to the bottom right of the page-Adorable crocheted bag by Autonomie Project available at Nimli, wide black belt with faux croc print buckle- these are pretty easy to find just about everywhere. Had a little difficulty finding a slip with long fringe like HD’s but I couldn’t resist this vintage fringe dress, which could be done with or without the belt, from Robin Clayton Vintage. Add these patent peeptoes from Neauaura available at Shop Humanitaire and we’re set!

crocheted clutch from nimli

Neuaura Maybelle at shophumanitaire

vintage fringe dress robin clayton vintage

Finally, top right- HD’s edgy denim look made more animal and eco friendly with these almost booties available at Ragazzi Vegan, and fair trade, organic cotton jeans from Equa -find a sharp object and distress ’em yourself if you must. As far as her top goes, it’s hard for me to tell what’s going on in the photo, so I’m going to let Hil really make a statement here and put her in this “Live Green or Die” tank from Alternative Outfitters.

vegan booties ragazzivegan

Black Jeans Equa

LiveGreenTank_BlkAzuri organic cotton scarf from Nimli

Matt and Nat Kogan clutch

Rounding out the accessories, I think HD would love this Black Kogan clutch by Matt and Nat. The black Azuri scarf from Nimli is organic cotton and comes in an amazing variety of colors.

And with that I must wrap up our little virtual shopping extravaganza. Hope you enjoyed it- I know I had a great time. Let’s do it again soon.

Cheers!

NYC Garment Workers: A Rags to Riches to Rags Story – Working In These Times

Most of the time I’m ok not having cable, but I really, really want to see this…

“In These Times features award-winning investigative reporting about corporate malfeasance and government wrongdoing, insightful analysis of national and international affairs, and sharp cultural criticism about events and ideas that matter.”

via NYC Garment Workers: A Rags to Riches to Rags Story – Working In These Times.

vegan jailbirds in the UK

what rights does one have when one is imprisoned and also happens to be vegan? here are some links that provide information about what is, or might soon be, available to vegan prisoners in the UK, and some info about, you know, human rights and stuff:

~ article from Telegraph;

~ VPSG website;

~ VegNews;

~ Prison Vegetarian Project;

~ Vegetarian Journal.

~~~

there’s a lot to digest here… it’s a complicated issue.  frankly, this doesn’t seem to be black and white to me, and i’m not sure how i feel about it.  i think we’re going to start seeing a trend here as far as how it is i go about posting, but, really, this brings forth a lot of questions.  namely, what exactly is the purpose of imprisoning someone?  to what end is the system working toward, and is the system effectively achieving that end?  are we seeking to reform these individuals?  are we seeking to punish them?  or are we seeking to isolate them from a society in which they fail to function at a level at which they are not a danger to themselves or others?

if imprisonment is all about punishment, then i would suppose providing prisoners with vegan or fair trade chocolates would be absolutely ridiculous.  but it doesn’t seem ethical to me to create a system into which the citizens of the world pump millions upon millions of dollars solely for the purpose of making someone’s life miserable.  i was, in my half-hearted, incredibly lazy attempt at research, not able to find any statistics on the world’s prison population that detailed exactly what it is people are being imprisoned for, but… isn’t it true that a lot of these folk are probably imprisoned because they stole a car or something?  i mean, i would be totally pissed if someone stole my car, but i don’t think that means they should have every human right stripped from them.  on the other hand… murderers?  rapists?  child molesters?  i’m absolutely on board for these folk to have everything taken away from them; chances are, they took everything away from someone else, and you bet if someone hurt someone i love in this fashion, i would be out for blood.  maybe that’s not very ‘liberal’ of me, but it’s the truth, and i would probably be absolutely livid were i to discover that the man who raped my sister or the woman who molested my son was being provided these amenities for which people ‘on the outside’ have to work so hard.  that being said… i’m having a difficult time imagining a vegan rapist, and maybe that’s also totally off, but, sort of strange, don’t you think?

essentially, if the goal of the prison system is to rehabilitate, which i think it should be in those circumstances in which rehabilitation is an option, ain’t nothin’ wrong with giving them law-breakin’ vegans something to hold on to.  i work for a transitional home for ‘at-risk’ teens – they get to leave the house and use the phone and smoke cigarettes, and i know how hard it is for them to be penned in… i can’t imagine how difficult it must be to literally be locked away from everything you once knew… if having a few creature comforts keeps your head screwed on tight, keeps you feeling like a person, then what’s the harm?  even more importantly… let’s imagine we live in a world where the prison system actually does at least attempt to rehabilitate people – and, let’s imagine we had a bad day and we stole our ex-boyfriend’s car – and, let’s also imagine we got our ass busted for stealing that car, and we suddenly find ourselves locked behind bars.  assuming that the act of rehabilitation has to focus on repairing or restoring or ’embiggening,’ if you will, one’s sense of mental health, or one’s sense of self… what’s to keep us interested or invested in rehabilitation if we have no control over our lives, and don’t have the ability to maintain at least some remote semblance of the self image we had before we made such a silly mistake?  people are easy to break; it’s not a simple thing to keep the long-term effects of one’s actions in mind when one is trudging down a long, mundane, monotonous, soul-sucking path, and, it seems that not providing people with a few small things here and there might actually mean we’re pumping more money into the system, or that we are preventing people from having the ability to rehabilitate.

this is all theoretical.  but that’s my schtick.  it would be awesome to see some actual research about some of this, or to hear other people’s thoughts on the whole vegan prisoners thing.