Category Archives: all things beautiful

Urban Composting

This was originally posted on May 19th on www.thenewnew.blogspot.com where I am a contributing writer……

The rain showers here in NYC haven’t let up in what seems weeks. If you are anything like me, your overall summertime morale hasn’t benefited from all this precipitation, but the flowers, gardens and lawns sure have. My own urban garden is growing so fast, lush and green it’s amazing!
 
Gardening is one of my favorite DIY hobbies. Such satisfaction from planting tiny little seeds, taking care of them, feeding the soil and watching everything grow! I used to think I didn’t have much of a green thumb, but those days are a changin’ my friends. Like anything else, the more you work at it the more you learn over time.
 
 
After covering the basics, the next logical step in my gardening journey is composting. For some reason composting had always intimidated me, I have always felt that you have to really ‘know what you are doing’ to get results….I sort of chuckle thinking about that now, because it’s actually pretty easy. You throw stuff in a bin, mix it up once in a while and you get beautiful lush fertilizer. It just takes a little elbow grease and patience (and of course knowing your ‘greens’ and your ‘browns’)! Not only is it organic, it reduces your garbage output and it’s totally free.
 
Urban composting can be done indoors or outdoors in various different ways, in small spaces and large. You can make it work for you, your lifestyle and your space. To fend off my composting fears (like how do I prevent a stinky bin, what about rats and flies and stuff…?) I attended a composting workshop held by the Lower East Side Ecology Center (through the NYC Compost Project). It gave me the confidence to go for it on my own and have been working mine for just over a month now!

My metal compost bin + what I added today (before it got a good stir!)

 
Don’t have enough space, time or resources to compost yourself – but want to put your organic waste to good use?
 
Several of the city’s Greenmarkets are running a pilot composting collection program. You can save your compost materials (like your veggie scraps, coffee grinds or eggshells) and bring them to the collection site. Did you know that over the past nine weekends they have collected almost 50,000 pounds of food scraps in Brooklyn and Manhattan? That is a ton of waste being kept out of New York City’s garbage turned into useful nutrients.

Even if your urban garden is your windowsill or your fire escape it’s enough space to have a DIY garden all your own. Carve out a little piece of green :)

Happy gardening!

Useful composting resources + links for NYC residents:

Now go out there and get your hands dirty!!

Until next time…..
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save the date ~ handmade holiday market!!

 

Come and celebrate a winter shopping wonderland with more than 50 of the area’s amazing artists, designers, and crafters. This year’s Holiday Cavalcade will be filled with handmade clothing, home decor, jewelry, accessories, paper goods, toys and bath & body products, all designed and produced locally.

So mark your calendars now for December 5, 2010 from 11am-8pm. This year’s Holiday Handmade Cavalcade will take place at OpenHOUSE Gallery in Nolita, New York.

 

Photo from last year’s ~ 2009 Second Annual Holiday Cavalcade

 

photo courtesy of The {NewNew}

This third annual holiday market ‘The Handmade Holiday Cavalcade” will be a spectacular offering of the best handmade goods around! Stay tuned for my sneak preview of some new Sans Map designs. I’ll have all new colors and special holiday accessories – – the best for gift giving (and, go on – for yourself!)…..more to come!!

check out The {NewNew} blog, updated daily!!

The Holiday Handmade Cavalcade is an event sponsored by The {NewNew} – an eclectic group of etsy sellers in the New York metro area. We are solely vendor run and this will be our third consecutive year bringing you this amazing celebration of handmade talent designed and produced locally!

inspirational piles….

see! i told you i would post more often….so far, so good, eh? :-)

on the weekends especially, i have these extended periods of inspiration where i’ll end up with tons of ideas and subsequently work so quickly jumping from project to project that i end up with piles and piles of fabric, leather, zippers and more.  surprisingly still organized, in a ‘corey’ sort of way….it’s amazing…but it’s when i’m the most productive and it’s a system i’ve come to realize just works. so i thought today would be a good day to share with you a couple of quick peeks into my workspace, while i’m actually working…..

one of my many piles of fabric today is filled with soft mustards, blue and brown plaid, grey and teal….totally autumn colors, totally sans map. don’t you think that this is one of the best times of year for finding inspiration from nature?

today ella and i went for a fantastic run in prospect park – – she even got to romp around like crazy with a group of  off-leash dogs (shhh, it was outside off-leash hours…i won’t tell if you don’t). since it gets so dark so early now, when i run with ella during the week it’s always at night and the sun has already set – not merely as beautiful and relaxing as during the day when the leaves and lakes are shining their beauty!!

 

a work in progress:

instead of piles of zippers, i have rows of zippers!….i keep a tiny photo of emma when we first brought her home on one of my corkboards…i must have been only 15 years old….she was probably just a couple of months old and so tiny! always makes me smile…

 

the holiday season is upon us and i’ve much work to do….! i hope to share more of my work and process in the coming weeks…i always love seeing how my favorite artists and designers work in their studios, and i hope you do too!

….happy daylight savings (we get an extra hour of sleep :-)  yay!

 

did you miss me?

it’s been forever since i have last posted an entry. close to three months!  i hope you are still out there, perhaps only hanging on by a thread, a small glimmer of hope, waiting patiently for me to come back…..i know my content is lacking. this my friends, i am painfully aware of.

i have somehow managed to reminded myself each and every day that i need to write a post and then never do.  it’s not by accident. it’s conscious procrastination founded on my lack of motivation. and it’s not because i don’t want to write, or because i don’t have anything to say. in fact, it’s just the opposite. i have an almost overwhelming amount of things going on right now, thoughts, ideas and so much rushing around my head like crazy – – but when i get ready to share, i end up recoiling. i get scared. do i want to tell so much, expose my innermost feelings – my hopes and fears – – and yikes! could i possibly take the criticism or judgement?

i’ve hit a patch of time and space of uncertainty where i have this inexplicable self-doubt. i am taking risks, pushing myself and venturing into the new, and it’s not easy.  most people just don’t, or won’t, admit that.  the people who act like soldiers with big tall walls built up around them like a fortress of emotional security – no one gets in…and nothing gets out. i really think they’ve got it all wrong.

so here i am now – sharing, with you – my friends (and kind lurkers)…..i’m nothing short of super crazy excited to be on the path i’m running down right now. i’m focused, i’m energetic, i’m thinking positive thoughts….but that nagging devil’s advocate we call fear silently tugs at me. i’ll shake it off, let it roll off my back and focus on all the good stuff, the positivity i can, thankfully, always manage to scrounge up from somewhere.

so now just promise me one thing – promise me that you won’t judge.  i’ve given you the dish on why i purposefully (but temporarily) abandoned my blog. will you come back, and stay….?

let’s call it a truce…i think now we’re even :-)

(plus…now that i’m back, i have tons of stuff to tell you!!) :-)

taking my own advice…

i began writing this blog when i moved to the south of france a year and a half ago, as a way to keep my friends and family at home in the loop, to share photos and to tell stories. it turned out that i really enjoyed writing, one or two people actually read my blog from time to time – and it became a way for me to get my thoughts off my chest….talk things through, so to speak. i guess now it’s growing along with me….

i am most inspired to write from the heart about my true self – what i’m thinking about, what i’m working towards at the moment share a bit about who i am. down to earth and genuine.

have i been avoiding this in my writing lately?
putting things on paper, writing something in ink means confronting those innermost fears and worries.

sometimes we need to go at our own pace – even if it’s a pace unlike those around us. swim against the current, divert.
so instead of talking things through – out loud, i’m taking some time to look inward, re-group, re-center, find calm, find solace. to disconnect, unplug, log off – step back a few paces.

i wanted to share with you a post i wrote over a year ago in france – this is one of my favorite places on earth, cap d’antibes. so beautiful a place, i often go there again in my dreams. hindsight is always 20/20 but many times we can really take our own advice. i just need to take a deep breath, relax…..

(originally written and posted on march 23rd, 2009. all photos were taken by me.)

take a deep breath, relax…..

in a world of uncertainty, constant change and self-discovery where the road can be long and winding…..we may sometimes feel lost, many times worried or unsure what the future may bring us. if you are like me, and find the search exciting and very much worth the effort, you may also feel the pressure (even if only our own on ourselves) weighing in heavily.

we all need to take a break, take some deep breaths and realize that everything works out in ways sometimes we don’t, or can’t, understand. the outcome may not even matter – – we are not reader’s of the future, of our own or others. happiness is not fleeting….it sticks around, if you let it.

in those times of self-doubt, which i know everyone has, albeit probably more often than we like…..a break, an escape, a parting with life’s bothers is greatly needed.

let me take you to a place that can make those worries a faint whisper, a long parted trouble and taken away in the wind. a place that has the ability to pull out of you those nagging troubles, no matter what they may be – – however insignificant or faint…..

beauty has that effect on me, at least. i arrive with more than what i leave with. the hands in the wind grab at what nags at me at takes it away, lifts it off my shoulders. launches it into the horizon, far, far away…..

i can only be eternally thankful for what i have been lucky enough to experience in my life. the sights, the sounds, the people. and these i will hold dear and never let go……

for they provide me with solace, escape and utter happiness. they have given me insight into myself and they are part of the pieces of me. what makes me who i am.

so let me take you to a place that can make those worries a faint whisper…

take a deep breath, relax…

inhale the beauty and let your worries drift far, far away into the wind….and beyond.





it works for me……and that is why i love cap d’antibes. this one gets tucked away for safe-keeping. i know i’ll need to look on it again, when i just need to relax.

(link to original post: https://sansmap.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/take-a-deep-breath-relax/)

ca pousse toujours….

calendula flower growing in my garden

whoever started the age-old saying ‘it’s growing like weeds’ wasn’t kidding around. and neither do those weeds.

a while back, i shared our progress in our back garden pre-and-post-de-gunking ….we are now into phase II of our garden beautification.

for my co-worker that was shocked when i said i don’t own a t.v., and to answer his question ‘what the hell do you do then?’…in addition to all the other stuff i keep ridiculously busy with – – i work in my garden. and i love it.

sort of like the other stress-relieving and life-enhancing activities i do like running, (the new addition of) yoga and of course the methodical and relaxing nature of sewing….gardening is relaxing, soul-reviving and fun.  i actually like watering my flowers. the gratification that comes with watching things grow, beautiful things grow, is infinitesimal happiness.

i don’t miss that t.v. a bit…

so when my ‘weed’ garden tucked in the back corner of my flower garden began getting out of control – – (i had let it go for two too many weeks), something had to be done. from the front of the garden where we sit on the patio, it was barely noticeable…..until you walk past the hydrangea bush and see what turned into literally a forest of weeds. at first it was ok. you could see the path and even walk along it.

this was how the back corner and path looked for most of the summer so far…..

my 'weed' garden is on the right (the other side is groundcover)

….then those stubborn weeds revolted and took over!!

(cue scene from home alone with macaulay culkin screaming hands slapping on cheeks…!!!!)

the great big 'Weed Take-over"!! argh!!!!!

we don’t go down that easily you crappy weeds.

so one huge trip to lowes with our borrowed jeep during a brief weekend car-sitting for a friend and we were on the attack!

with droplets of sweat running down my face in the 100+ degree heat, i pulled, tugged, yanked and got dirty in a maddening attempt to rid my garden of those unrighteous weeds once and for all!

poof! if only i had a magic disappearing wand, i would have had those weeds conquered ages ago.

weeds pulled, flowers planted and mulch spread…..almost there…..

at this point, i felt like a weight had lifted off my shoulders. weeds to me are like a messy closet. or piles of stuff just sitting. it’s like a silent nagging feeling…..

sweeping, pea gravel and lots of watering later – – the finished product!!!

now the back of the garden looks as pretty as the front!

phase III – – grow grass (again)……

until later, let’s hope we can keep those weeds at bay…..ca pousse toujours!