Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Eco Friendly Wrapping *Paper

For some reason giving up wrapping paper is one of the more painful things for me to sacrifice for the planet. I miss juices, but for some reason wrapping paper in all its frivolousness and being such an obvious and easy thing to give up, is something I miss the most.

I always took such pride in my elaborately wrapped gifts. I would search store after store for just the right wrapping paper. I made bows with jingle bells, beads, pop poms, and handmade tags. Sometimes I even made the boxes myself from origami. People would keep my boxes and bows to re use year after year. I loved Mylar wrapping paper most of all. I knew it was wasteful, but it was just so fun and so pretty.

The first year I gave up wrapping paper was the easiest. I had just completed huge sewing project for a wedding where I made both the bride's "dress" and the grooms menswear. I had a mountain of beautiful fabric and ribbon scraps too small for another project but too big to throw away just begging to be re used. As per usual, people who got gifts from me (almost all non sewers) kept the fabric. I even saw a friend using the velvet scrap I used as wrapping in his guitar case just last month.

Year two I failed. After leaving my husband in August and nearly severing my finger in an industrial accident just before Christmas, my fabric and ribbon scraps had been purged and my creativity tanked, and I gave in and bought wrapping paper at Walgreens at the very last minute and to add insult to injury, quite literally, Even with wrapping paper, it looked like a 5 year old, or at least a mere mortal without my superior wrapping powers had done it. Well, to be honest, it looked exactly like someone who loves to wrap gifts but had recently nearly severed her right index finger had done it.

This is year three. My brother Tom is way ahead of me. He uses comic books that have lost their value as wrapping paper. It looks phenomenal. Mine came from a comic that was clearly intended for adults, so it might not work for everyone. I'm not really a comic book kind of person, so I had no comic books, but I did have a calender from last year, or this year, depending on how you look at it. One of the coolest things about using a calender was that you can use the small versions of the pictures that they print on the back as matching tags. Unfortunately, this only covers 6 to 18 gifts depending on the calendar and the size of the gifts. (tee shirts take two months, btw)

I tried using a magazine for the larger gifts, unfortunately, the magazine I picked was Entertainment Weekly's 2010's best and worst, and guess what was on the center pages I had planned on using: the celebrity obituaries! Not really the festive feeling I was going for, so I had to toss those pages in favor of some others.

Somehow, I know its silly, but I just really miss wrapping paper.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Localvore to freegan

It started with some pots and pans, and a dish drainer. Like I predicted, I broke down and got new pots and pans when I could afford them. Then, some girl who had the same taste in clothes as me left a pile of them on the beach. I don't usually take used clothes, (San Francisco has a bedbug epidemic, this is why I'm saving up for a NEW couch as opposed to a used or free one) but they were all surfer girl clothes, all my favorite brands, stuff I would buy myself. Yes, I'm a materialistic tree hugging freak, so sue me. I even liked the girls perfume, the clothes I found on the street smelled better than mine.

But the eggs put me over the top. I came out of my favorite local produce store, delighted that I had purchased the very first slice of pumpkin chocolate chip cake plastic free, before they wrapped up the individual slices, and there they were, piled high peeking out of the dumpster, a stack of dozens of eggs. I was almost out of eggs. I know that eggs last for four weeks past the expiration date, I know how to tell if an egg is good by putting it in water, and I know that some chickens had to lay those eggs. I looked at this stack of free perfectly good eggs, destined for San Francisco's municipal compost, and couldn't resist, I looked to see if anyone was looking, they weren't even all the way in the dumpster, I opened one. It was perfect. Not one broken egg. I put it under my arm. I got greedy, I looked at the next one. Only one broken egg, just barely broken. I grabbed that box too. It was thrilling.

Now I knew the schedule. I went back a week later, this time at night, with a flashlight. Bananas. I hadn't eaten bananas in almost a year, since deciding to eat only local produce for environmental reasons. Then peppers, a tomato, it was almost like shopping!

I got bananas again tonight. I had my choice of them! I think I lucked out with the eggs, but this is my new habit. My schedule lends itself to dumpster diving. I'm going to shop dumpster first.