Friday, September 9, 2011

Come on by the new blog!

It's been a loooong time since I posted over here, and I thought it was worth mentioning again that I've changed blogs. I blog now at, and I'd love to see you there, so stop by, and follow if you like what you see!


Monday, February 7, 2011

New Post on the New Page!

I'm still working on the new blog ~ Different Shades of Green. I'm working with Kristen at Ahoy Graphics for a page design. I wanted to wait to start blogging until the new design was up... but I got too excited! So, take a moment and check out my first Menu Plan Monday post, but know that the big reveal is still coming!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blog World, Here I Come!

I have a blog, so I'm already here. But I'm going to make a commitment now, and try to really make my mark. I'm exporting this blog into a new one, because 'kristentriestoblog' just isn't a winning title. ;)

I'll post the new web address when I get it up and running. I'm working on that now. I hope those of you that are following will come join me at the new spot. Once a week, I'll post a vegan recipe I've made. I'll also feature a "Made in the USA" product weekly. And I'll write about a "Reduce, Reuse, Recyle" topic one a week as well. In between, I'll post whatever comes up and seems relevant!

See you soon!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Last of Holiday 2010

Ok, this will be my last post about the Holidays for 2010 - and a short one at that! It's a little late since it's already 2011, but better late than never!

I struggle with Christmas Trees. I hate to cut down a living thing, but I don't want to buy more plastic from China either. In military housing, a rooted tree isn't really a feasible option, since we can't plant it when we're done. And I just love Christmas Decorating too much to forego the tree altogether.

So, while we are in Hawaii at least, here is the closest thing I can find to balance all of those issues.

It's a Norfolk Pine, from Waimanalo Farms on the North Shore. It's a different experience altogether from cutting down a tree on the mainland. You go to the farm in your shorts, sandals, and sunglasses. You tell them how tall of a tree you want, and then you walk around with a guy and a yardstick, until you find the tree top that you like. They cut the top off for you, and off you go! So here's what I like about these trees, other than the fact that they are local. They grow back! From what they told me at the farm, they grow up to 3 feet a year depending on the rainfall. That's why they only lop off the tops. Pretty cool, right?

Most real trees in Hawaii were cut months ago in the Pacific Northwest, and shipped here in refrigerated containers, and then sold on a lot at the mall. That makes me cringe. And most fake trees were made in China, and shipped to the mainland, and then shipped here. And at some point, they'll be shipped off island again, to meet their landfill demise. That makes me cringe too. The Norfolk Pine isn't a perfect solution, but it's way better than those two choices, so I'm happy with it for now. And icing on the cake - I bought it through a Kokua Foundation Fundraiser, so it did a double dose of good!

We had family in town this year, so space was limited. We put the tree on the lanai, and only used decorations that we felt could handle the outdoors. Mostly, that meant shells I've collected over the years, most found on the beach, but some purchased or given to us, and a few of our less breakable traditional decorations.

The best part about having an outdoor tree was the interest it created with the birds! So I bought some bird treats, made in the USA of course, and put them in the tree. It only took a couple of days for the birds to test it out, and soon, they were hanging out in the tree all day! The best decorations of all!

An that's that. Christmas is over, the decorations are down and stored for next year, and our tree is going to the mulching pile. We had a pretty successful Holiday season, in terms of being green, vegan, and Pro-USA. Our Holiday Dinner was a success, with a few good recipes to keep for next year. I didn't buy an inch of wrapping paper or any new decorations, and I think I did a pretty good job of making everything look festive anyway.

So, here's to 2011! Happy New Year! May it be full of kindness to you, your loved ones, the animals, and the Earth!

Friday, December 17, 2010

More Green Wrapping

Two more sets of presents are wrapped and ready to go!

The first set had some large, awkward shapes, so I used leftover fabric, in addition to comics, onion bags, and brown paper. My favorite wrapping though, is the striped paper. That was a bag from a local store, that I've been saving since Spring. It has a beautiful sateen finish on it, and I was so excited to use it as gift wrap. The ribbon came from a gift I was given last year. On the little gift below it, I used a left over strip of the bag and one brad to make a makeshift gift bow.

The next set of gifts used more bags from retail stores. I centered the tree from a Starbucks bag, and the sticker from a bag from a local boutique, "Eden in Love", to make the presents pretty. Instead of buying stockings for my niece and nephews, I layered sheets of comics, then rolled the gifts in them, and tied off the sections between gifts with ribbon, making a Chinese Cracker style string of gifts. I used stamps on recycled craft
paper to spruce up the more basic packages.

All I have left to wrap now are the presents that will be exchanged here at my house, with my Mom and Husband. So far, I haven't spent a dime on wrapping this year, and I'm using up things that would have otherwise gone in the trash. And I'm making room in my craft closet - that might be the best benefit of all!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Holiday Time Again!

I love the Holiday Season. And I love decorations and wrapping presents and making everything look beautiful, and... and... and... I hate all the waste!!!

Since I haven't written since last December, it's obvious that the huge excess of the season inspires me to be a little greener. To accomplish a more planet-friendly version of Christmas this year that still fits within my ideals of decorating, I've been setting things aside all year to use in December. I put a basket in my craft closet, and I've been adding to it whenever something strikes me as beautiful, even in an unconventional way.

The first round of wrapping is complete! This collection of gifts will be going to our nieces and nephew in Tennessee. The paper is recycled brown paper. The ribbons are either scraps, or from my stash (that I am no longer adding to). And the decorations are all onion and potato bags. The tags are scraps that I've been saving from my scrapbooking projects.

At the beginning of the year, I was worried that I would start to feel like a trash packrat. But it really didn't add up to much, and it only grew out of the basket when I started saving a few containers, like the tins that hold steel cut oats. I cut back on buying bagged onions and potatoes, and now only buy those when it's the only option, or when the loose ones don't look good. I'm also not scrapbooking as much, because it's so time consuming and costly. So for the whole year, the pile didn't get out of control, not even close. And of the parts of the family I send gifts to, one whole family's gifts were easily covered with these scraps.

Best of all, except for running out of tape, I didn't have to spend a dime on wrapping these presents. I had the paper leftover from a previous project, one spool of ribbon came from my stash, and everything else was scraps.

I already sent off one box - and I didn't wrap those gifts at all. I used a basket that was a gift to hold the rest of the gifts, no wrapping needed. This completes box number two. That leaves one more group of gifts to wrap and send, and then the gifts we exchange here at home. I'm hoping they all end up as green as these!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Green Market, Green Tree!

Yesterday, I went to a green market at a church downtown. I picked up a prepaid ticket for a local kine Christmas tree - a Norfolk pine from Helemano Farms in Wahiawa. By buying it from the Kokua Foundations, $10 goes to their charity. Now I can just take the ticket to the farm, and have my tree cut down just for me! No shipping a mainland tree for me! And these stumps grow back - isn't that awesome!

I also picked up a few fliers about local organic produce. I'm excited that you can call an order a box of fresh produce that's in season, provided locally, and grown organically. And the profits go straight to the farmers!

And last but not least, I picked up some Christmas presents!

Here I am, basking in the glory of a good green market!