Welcome to Priscilla Woolworth's Blog

A Visit to DOSA

January 18th, 2015

Portrait of an incredible eye

I just had the most wonderful visit to DOSA’s studios. DOSA is a clothing, housewares and accessories line designed by Christina Kim.

Nature is featured as a constant source of inspiration.

At the entrance to the warehouse

At the entrance to the warehouse

At the studio, chamomile in small vases

At the studio, chamomile (or tiny chrysanthemums)  in small vases

Pile of necklaces brought back from Christina Kim's  travels

Pile of necklaces brought back from Christina Kim’s travels

 

Collection of natural treasures

Collection of natural treasures

 

Natural treasures

Natural treasures

 

Tumbleweed lampshade

Tumbleweed lampshade

 

Tumbleweeds and friends

Tumbleweeds and friends

Spotted! I used to carry this same lovely polar bear eraser in my store.

I used to carry this same lovely polar bear eraser in my store.

Spotted: The same kettle I used to carry in my store as well.

I love seeing the same kettle I used to carry in my store!

Blue Alphabet

Blue Alphabet

 

Blue indigo

Blue indigo

Stunning sprouting potato

Stunning sprouting potato

Collection on display

Collection on display

Sample fabric designed using a feather and cassava

Sample fabric designed using a feather and cassava

 

Found golf balls

Found golf balls

It was such a privilege to spend time in Christina Kim’s work and living space.

Priscilla Woolworth Blog Update 2015

January 17th, 2015

Thank you for following my blog whether you are a new subscriber and especially if you have been loyally following me for the past 5 years.

This is my story, in addition to the monthly almanac newsletter I’ve been writing for the past 5 1/2  years. This blog is still about all the ways I’m learning to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

I have lots more to share with you! I’m going to start featuring the work of artists and designers. Also, look out for features about feathers, orange peels, DOSA, art projects using recycled paper, leaves, glass jars, and all sorts of things I love to photograph. There will be as little text as possible and be all about the images.

 

I don’t have a set schedule for when my blog goes out.

 

I’ll strive to keep you interested.

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Peace Love Happiness

Priscilla

Composting

January 9th, 2015

I only started composting my plant based kitchen scraps 7 years ago. It’s become second nature for me to save all the organic & pesticide-free scraps from banana skins, old lettuce leaves, coffee grinds, egg shells, spoiled vegetables and fruit, chop them all up and add them to the compost pail I keep by my kitchen sink.

On my way to empty the compost pail into Valentina, my outdoor wooden composter.

On my way to empty the compost pail into Valentina, my outdoor wooden composter.

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Stencil I made for the inside  lid of the Valentina Composter, listing all the ingredients you can compost.

This is a stencil I made for the inside lid of the Valentina Composter, listing all the ingredients you can compost.

 

Here I am, emptying my compost pail into Valentina. It takes 8-10 months for all the material to fully break down. When it's hot outside, it goes faster.

Emptying my compost pail into Valentina.
It takes 8-10 months for all the material to fully break down. When it’s hot outside, it goes faster.

 

Here is Valentina Composter, with a bucket full of fresh composted material on top, ready to be added to the vegetable garden beds.

Valentina Composter, with a bucket full of fresh composted material on top, ready to be added to the vegetable garden beds.

Composted material is nutrient rich. Most gardens, especially vegetable gardens are depleted of nutrients and adding organic compost to the beds helps the garden to thrive.

Composted material is nutrient rich. Most gardens, especially vegetable gardens are depleted of nutrients and adding organic compost to the beds helps the garden to thrive.

When Valentina is all filled up and needs to be left alone while the material decomposes, I made another composter just recently. I placed in my vegetable garden, so the worms can reach it and speed up the composting process.

When Valentina is all filled up and needs to be left alone while the material decomposes, I made another composter just recently. I placed in my vegetable garden, so the worms can reach it and speed up the composting process.

This is another larger outdoor wooden compost bin I made from recycled wooden pallets I found on the street. Because it's open, with no cover, I only put leaves and all sorts of unappealing vegetable plant remains, so I don't attract the dreaded rodents.

This is another larger outdoor wooden compost bin I made from recycled wooden pallets I found on the street. Because it’s open, with no cover, I only put leaves, woody clippings and prunings and all sorts of unappealing vegetable plant remains, so I don’t attract the dreaded rodents.

The benefits of composting are:

-Reduces the amount of waste that goes out to our overfilled landfills

-Recycling that waste

-Turning that waste into free nutrient rich material

-Your garden will thrive with all the compost added to it and attract beneficial insects as well.

-Composting is rewarding!

-Makes a great hostess gift! I’ve not only given a bucket of compost to a garden loving friend but also a jar of precious worm juice.

 

Issues that may occur when composting:

-The composter smells: add leaves, shredded newspaper or a bucket of potting soil.

-If the compost attracts flies, add shredded newspaper or cover the material with potting soil. If you don’t mind the flies, they will probably lays eggs, and larva will soon appear. They can be quite helpful at speeding the decomposing process up.

-If the material looks too wet, add shredded newspaper and mix it up.

-If the material looks too dry, add a little water and mix it in.

-If the material is not breaking down as fast as you feel it should be, add red wriggler worms, as they do help at speeding up the decomposing process. Worms also create a fantastic liquid referred to as “worm juice.” If you are able to collect it, add a pan underneath the composter to capture this natural fertilizer. Worm juice is very concentrated so when using in the garden, add a 1/4 cup to each large watering can and water the soil around the plant, rather than right on the plant, as worm juice can sometimes be too intense for some sensitive plants.

-Rodents love composting materials, so make sure that your composter has a lid and strong one.

 

What not to compost: Meat, fish, chicken, bones, cheese, milk, butter, salad dressing, cooked food, weed seeds, diseased plant material, disposable diapers, dog or cat feces, glossy newsprint, and coal ash.

 

Most tools I use for composting are available here (except the Valentina Composter which is temporarily sold out): http://www.priscillawoolworth.com/store/garden

Monarch Butterflies

January 8th, 2015

For scientist Tierra Curry, the monarch butterfly is part of the American experience.

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Native to North America, once present in every U.S. state except for Alaska, the insect with the distinctive and colorful wings is known for its spectacular migration each year from Mexico to Canada and back.

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But scientists like Curry have seen the monarch’s numbers plummet. The population has dropped by 90% in the last two decades alone.

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Now Curry, sees some hope.

On Monday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would conduct a one-year status review of the butterfly species to determine whether it warranted Endangered Species Act protection.

“The Endangered Species Act is the most powerful tool available to save monarchs, so I’m really happy these amazing butterflies are a step closer to the protection they so desperately need,” Curry said.

Hundreds of Monarch's in clusters, dripping down from the eucalyptus trees, in Goleta, California

Hundreds of Monarch’s in clusters, dripping down from the eucalyptus trees, in Goleta, California

To read more: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-monarch-butterflies-20141229-story.html

 

Walnut Milk

January 7th, 2015

Silky nut milks are a great alternative to dairy milks and are surprisingly easy to to make. Nut milks are increasingly popular due to their nutritional benefits and refreshing flavor. Try them in cereal, in tea or coffee, or a smoothie.

You’ll need:

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1 cup Walnut Halves, rinsed

 

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1 Tbsp. Honey

 

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1 tsp.Vanilla extract

 

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pinch of Salt

Place walnuts in a medium bowl or jar, and fill with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Cover and set aside. Soak at room temperature at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours for easy blending.

Drain walnuts; rinse thoroughly. In a blender, combine walnuts, 3 cups of water, honey, vanilla and salt; blend on low until very smooth, at least 2 minutes.

For a smoother milk, strain through a cheesecloth-

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Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Walnut Date Smoothie: In a blender, combine 1 cup of walnut milk + 1 cup of plain yogurt + 1 cup of pitted medjool dates + a splash of vanilla extract + a pinch of cinnamon and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of ice and blend until ice is crushed. Serves 1.

Source: Martha Stewart Living

Oak Gall

January 6th, 2015

My daughters gave me this small glass dome for Christmas. Perfect for an oak gall.
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California oak gall

Wasps in the family Cynipidae are gall inducers on plants, or inquilines of gall inducers (living inside the galls made by other cynipids). The majority of species occur on oak trees (Quercus sp.). Galls range in size from 1 mm to 6 cm or more and come in many shapes and colors, as depicted on this page. Different cynipid species occur on specific oak species, and the galls themselves occur on specific locations on the trees (leaves, stems, buds, roots, etc.) depending on the species and which generation it is. Some species have two generations per year, a sexual and an asexual (female only) generation, each producing completely different types of galls on different parts of the host. The adult wasps are generally around 1-4mm in size. The wasps support a community of other insects that feed on them, their parasites, and their galls.

Source: http://joycegross.com/galls_ca_oak.php

Keeping spices fresh and usable in the kitchen

January 5th, 2015

My blog is dedicated to all aspects of sustainable living and making choices that are good for you as well as the planet.

Keeping spices fresh and usable in the kitchen

I found that over the past year, I’ve bought several of these small boxes of…the same spices, simply because I couldn’t find them in my spice shelf. It’s maddening! This morning, I poured each of them into recycled glass jars and added labels with their names and “use by” dates.

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I think I’ll be saving money in the future by doing this!

 

Easy-to-make All-Purpose Non-Toxic Cleaning Product

June 16th, 2014

I’m interested in preventive measures when it comes to the health and the well-being of my family, and in my home office. Since home is where many of us spend 90% of our time, it’s a good idea to make the indoor environment as toxin free as possible. We can’t control what’s happening outside but we can when it comes to the indoors. Did you know that most of the conventional cleaning products available on the market contain toxic chemicals and hazardous substances that are harmful to our health?.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/10/worst-household-cleaners-cleaning-products_n_1871420.html

One of the easiest and best ways to reduce exposure to chemicals in your home is by making and using your own all-purpose non-toxic cleaning products, and you’ll save money too. I just made a batch that will last me for months. I’m also trying to reduce the amount of waste my household produces by reusing glass containers. I wash and save the glass milk bottles I get at the market. They make excellent containers for my homemade cleaning product. Or use large pasta sauce jars.

 

All you need: White Vinegar + Water + Tea Tree Oil + Orange Essential oil (or Lavender or Rose Geranium)

empty bottles

Fill 1/4 of the bottle with White Vinegar, then fill the rest of the bottle with tap water, almost to the top. Add 20 drops of Tea Tree Essential oil, a natural anti-bacterial and 20 drops of Orange Essential oil to make it smell nice. Put the top back on and shake it up.

These 8 bottles are full and ready to be carried back to where they are stored on a shelf, and out of direct sun.

bottles on the move

 

The all-purpose cleaners smell so good, clean and fresh. Poured into glass spray bottles, they are all ready to be used with  washable and reusable cloth rags instead of wasteful paper towels.

full bottles

Let me know if you have a recipe you love to make and use for cleaning your home or office! Let’s all help each other be healthier as well as save money while doing it.

 

For more tips and resources about living a sustainable lifestyle: www.priscillawoolworth.com

For housekeeping products: http://www.priscillawoolworth.com/store/housekeeping

 

 

 

FEATHERED FRIENDS

May 28th, 2014

June 17th-23rd is National pollinator week. Here are a few tips to attract these helpful feathered friends to your garden today!

1. Keep your feeder fresh.

Offer sugar water in a hummingbird feeder by mixing one part sugar to four parts boiling water. Change the water frequently since the “nectar” can spoil quickly, sending a hummer away no matter how hungry it is. Replace the solution every five to seven days during the cooler months, and as often as every two days in the summer.

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2. Make sure your flowers are a favorite.

Plant annuals and perennials with different blooming periods to have a steady supply of flowers from early spring until fall to attract hummingbirds and keep them there. Red and tubular flowers are a favorite, but also consider native honeysuckles, most varieties of sages or salvia, and many types of columbine.

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3. Leaving some insects can be beneficial.

While many people think hummingbirds feed only on nectar, the birds feed their young a diet made up almost entirely of small insects. In addition, adult birds need regular doses of protein from mosquitoes, spiders, thrips, gnats and other arthropods.

 

4. Don’t forget water.

If you have a birdbath, place a couple of flat rocks in it to give the tiny birds a chance to bathe. Running water seems to be a magnet to hummers—they will even fly through the spray of a sprinkler. Or, if you have a large clamshell handy, they make excellent birdbaths. Don’t forget to rinse them out often and replenish with fresh water and you will be rewarded with many beautiful feathered visitors!

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Emergency Preparedness 2014

March 30th, 2014

In light of the recent earthquakes southern California has experienced over the past few weeks, it’s a good time to review your own emergency preparedness. Are you ready in the event of a natural disaster?

This following list is from the REI website:

Emergency Preparedness

 

Now is a great time to start—or continue—to plan, collect and organize what you need to survive in case of an emergency.Bonus: Many outdoor gear items you may already own can be quite useful in such instances.

This article discusses the 4 basic concepts of emergency preparedness:

  1. Storage and retrieval of supplies
  2. Survival food and gear
  3. Copies of important documents
  4. Maintenance of your supplies

Note: REI stores occasionally offer free emergency preparedness seminars(conducted with a fun and popular zombie-preparedness theme as Halloween approaches). Check the classes at your local REI store for upcoming dates.

Shop REI’s selection of survival kits.

Storage and Retrieval of Supplies

Natural or human-made disasters can occur with little to no warning. So it’s important to keep everything you need in one place, protected from the elements and easily accessed. Retrieving your supplies should be as easy as grabbing a bin, backpack or other container—a 1-step process that’s crucial when every second counts.

Storage tips:

  • Use plastic bins or similar containers, or use a backpack or duffel bag wrapped in a clean garbage bag.
  • Store the container in your basement, outside in a storage shed, in your garage or even buried in your backyard.
  • Make sure everyone in your household knows where and how to retrieve it.
Hand-crank radio

Survival Food and Gear

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, offers a detailed website full of useful information: www.ready.gov.

Their website recommends that you should include the following items in a basic emergency kit:

  • Water, 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a 3-day supply of nonperishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First-aid kit (see below for details)
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape toshelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cellphone with charger, inverter or solar charger

Next, consider adding the following:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first-aid book or free information from the (see the FEMA website’s publications page)
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person; add more bedding for cold-weather climates
  • Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes; more clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper*
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

* When diluted—9 parts water to 1 part bleach—bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use bleaches that are scented, color safe or have added cleaners.

First-aid kit

A first-aid kit is a great resource to have handy at home, in the car and at work. The following first-aid items should be stored in an elements-proof container, or in a small backpack/pouch if stored under your desk or in a car.

  • Two pairs of latex or other sterile gloves if you are allergic to latex
  • Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
  • Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Burn ointment
  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant
  • Thermometer
  • Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers; periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates
  • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies

Nonprescription drugs:

  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid
  • Laxative

Other first-aid supplies:

  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant

Copies of Important Documents

Stash your important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) (PDF – 977Kb) developed by Operation HOPE, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.

Tip: A sealable plastic bag tucked into a wide-mouth water bottle works great. Your important documents are protected and—voila!—you’ve secured an extra water vessel as well.

Maintaining Your Supplies

Every 6 months, check your food and emergency supplies. Refresh your water supply, consume and/or replace foods that will expire within the next 6 months, dispose of expired or damaged food, and add any items that may be needed. An addition to the household or changing medical needs may require different or additional supplies. Refer to the following list as you survey your stash:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend the shelf life.
  • Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented or corroded.
  • Use foods before they go bad and replace them with fresh supplies.
  • Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front.
  • Change stored food and water supplies every 6 months; be sure to write the date you store it on all containers.
  • Rethink your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/emergency-preparedness-basics.html