Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I have had several kind people inquire about my extended silences here on my blog.

I am doing just fine, but am very busy and have had to let regular blogging go. I will be leaving this blog up and will still post occasionally, but I don't expect to return to blogging regularly.  

Regarding Nuno Magazine:

After much thought, we have decided to put future issues of Nuno on hold indefinitely. Rachel and I are just not able to devote the enormous amount of time necessary to putting together new issues.

The Nuno blog will remain up as a reference and back issues will still be available for purchase at least through the end of the summer.

We greatly appreciate all the support that you, the blogging community, have given us. Many of you left us lovely comments of encouragement, bought each new copy as it came out and used your own blogging space to spread the word about Nuno. Thank you!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Love Food Hate Waste

For the last year or so, I've really been trying to waste less food. In the US, the average household throws out a pound and a half of food every day (or in a year, almost $600 worth).  I'd like to think that my household never reached that level of waste, but I'm not so sure.

Since I've become more conscious of waste, I have seen the amount of food I end up throwing away go down drastically. Here are some things I did which worked for me:

1. I buy less perishable food to begin with and keep my refrigerator about half empty. I can easily see what I have and use it up before it spoils. Is it nice to have 3 kinds of lettuce, 6 fruit choices and 5 kinds of cheese? Sure, but if I'm realistic, I know that much of that is going to go bad before it gets eaten. Instead of having a lot of choices simultaneously, I just vary what I buy from week to week.

2. I shop several times a week instead of once a week (but buy much less each time). This works if you go past a grocery store frequently as part of your regular routine. It's not such a good strategy if you have to make an extra trip into town. Really organized people can accomplish the same thing by careful meal planning. That's not realistic for me, but buying (only what I  actually need in the next few days) spontaneously does seem to work in much the same way.

3. I cook smaller portions (and we eat everything up). If we are honest with ourselves, most of us could stand to eat a bit less of even the most healthy foods. Cooking just enough eliminates the very real possibility of leftovers rotting away in the back of the refrigerator. Some people love left-overs and actually eat them, but if you don't, consider cutting down on what you cook up in the first place.  

What good does it do to cut down on food waste?

It's good for the environment: Food takes an enormous amount of energy and water to produce, process and transport. Wasted food is wasted water, wasted fossil fuels, and needless pollution.

It saves you a lot of money: Imagine if every household in the US saved $600 a year on food and turned around and donated  that amount to their local food bank or to programs promoting food security in impoverished countries. Yes, shipping loads of food over to starving nations has never produced a lasting solution, but there are many organizations working to promote real food security based on a more complex strategy. And, while some people would argue that therapeutic food to save the life of a starving child doesn't accomplish anything in the long run, I'm not one of them. Every life matters.

I watched this very interesting documentary on food waste a few days ago. If you have Netflix streaming, you can find the full version there.

Read more:
Love Food Hate Waste Top Tips
Love Food Hate Waste Campaign
Dive! (the film)
The US Wastes Half its Food

Charities Promoting Food Security and Providing Emergency Food Assistance:
Your Local Food Bank
ADRA (this is the program I personally support)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Handmade Holidays: Softies to Sew

Softie toys are great personalized gifts to make for your youngest friends and family members. Handmade softies are also very green and inexpensive to make, since you can use fabric from your scrap bin. Here's a few of my favorite free patterns and tutorials from around the blogosphere.

Oopsie the Octopus
Pointy Kitty
Scrappy Owl
Lucy Goosey
Mooshy Belly Bunny
Plush Duck
Felt Goldfish
Puppy Plush
Matryoshka Doll
Softie Whale 
Sheep Softie

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Handmade Holidays: Crocheted Hats for Men and Boys

I'm kicking off my Handmade Holidays with a roundup of my favorite free crochet patterns. Handmade gifts for men and boys are a tricky proposition, but if you crochet or knit, hats may be your best bet.

Most of these patterns are easy enough for beginners and many could be whipped up in an afternoon.

Which patterns would I like to try? The fisherman's style hat for my father, the beanie with horizontal stripes for my nephews and the "Best Guy Hat Ever,"  for my husband.

Simple Beanie in Single Crochet Stitch
Classic Fisherman's Style Hat
Cap with Vertical Stripes
Best Guy Hat Ever
Large Beanie (with video)
Beanie in Double Crochet Stitch
Visor Cap
Mustache and Beard Hat
Beanie with Horizontal Stripes

Friday, September 9, 2011

16 Things to Make With Cereal Boxes

After doing a number of projects utilizing cereal boxes (mostly masks) I am totally sold on the potential of the lowly paperboard box. Below are some interesting ideas I found from around the blogosphere.

Kid Stuff:

Grown-up Projects:

More Inspiration:
From Plum Pudding
Chris Kassman

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Seven Compelling Reasons to Thrift

Reason No. One: Thrifting is very environmentally friendly.

Buying a preowned item saves all the energy consumption and pollution caused by producing that item new all over again. How much energy does thrifting really save? Buy a used t-shirt instead of a brand new one and you just saved the planet at least 570 gallons of water and 11 gallons of fuel (plus eliminating emissions, potentially polluting industrial by products, and the energy used to transport the finished t-shirt to the store).

Reason No. Two: Thrifting supports good causes. 

The vast majority of thrift stores are operated by organizations who use most of the proceeds from sales to support charitable work. If you aren't sure what the charities who run your locale thrift shops do with their money, find out and support the shops whose work is most consist with your own personal values.   

Reason No. Three: Thrifting will save you money (lots of it).

The average American woman spends over $600 a year on clothing. Not all your clothing needs can be meet by thrifting, but a regular thrifter will find it challenging to spend $600 on clothes and still be able to get her closet door shut. Other good places to use thrifting to trim your household budget: books and toys, furniture and household items like dishes.
Reason No. Four: Thrifting makes your stuff unique (and nicer).

I have a much nicer wardrobe than I would if I didn't thrift: cashmere sweaters, Italian leather shoes, nice vintage jewelry. Ditto for my library, knick-knacks and furniture. If you thrift regularly and develop a good eye, it's absolutely amazing the things that you can find.

Reason No. Five: Thrifting encourages creativity. 

Thrift long enough and you will start looking at objects as things with potential. That battered desk? With a new coat of paint, it could be a sideboard. That ripped silk robe? Cut it apart and it could become a set of cushion covers.  Add refashioning clothing to your repertoire of skills and the possibilities really open up. 

Reason No. Six: Thrifting makes you a more discriminating consumer (hopefully).

Newbie thrifters tend to over buy. "Everything is so cheap!" they say. Unless you are on a very tight budget, if you want something at a thrift store you can buy it. The question, "Can I afford it?" becomes irrelevant. Instead, you have to ask yourself, "Do I have a genuine need for this?" or in the case of non-utilitarian items, "Will this be a lasting source of pleasure?"  Asking these question over and over while thrifting starts to spill over into other areas of your life that relate to the acquisition of "stuff" and results in a more thoughtful and considered way of deciding to accept or reject a new possession.        

Reason No. Seven: Thrifting creates a connection between you and the past.

New, shiny, untouched things with the plastic wrapper still on are rarely found at thrift stores. Instead thrifting involves sorting through objects of various ages and conditions that came from the homes of literally thousands of previous owners. Each object has a story (most of which you will never know). Incorporating items from previous eras into your home and wardrobe gives it a certain rootedness and authenticity that a house full of brand-new objects just can't duplicate.   

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Painted Toilet Paper Tube Chalk Portraits

This is a very simple project you could do with kids (or for yourself). There's not much to it, really. Paint toilet paper tubes with acrylic paint and draw faces on with chalk. If you want to preserve the faces, use a spray fixative, but part of the beauty of this project is that the chalk can be wiped off with a damp cloth and you can draw new faces. If you are doing a project with small children, be sure to use non-toxic paints and chalks and skip the fixative.