Remember The Christmas Cards?

For the last three years I’ve been having a no-contest here on the blog. I’d just send a Christmas card to anyone who would send me an email via the contact me link. (See the post from 2006, 2007 & 2008.

However I have bad news this year. Times are hard, and even tho I love making the cards and sending them far away to share my happiness, I can’t afford to do it this year. You see, the cards cost me around 2€ each, then I spend a couple of evenings at the very least making them, and sending them costs on average 1€ each. I’ve been sending around 30 cards each year. That’s 90€ that right now I do not have.

So here is my dilemma. Should I ask you people that love getting these cards for a small contribution towards them? Would it then be the same? I can’t decide, and I’ve never liked asking for money (ask Jan!). So, I’ll let you discuss it. What would you want to do? We have till the end of the month to decide what happens with my beloved Christmas cards. Then I’ll take the decision and let you know.

PS: yes, I know it’s not been Halloween yet and here I am talking about Christmas. But we know these things take time to make and to arrive to their destinations, so I do need to do it well in advance!

Blog Action Day 2009: Global Warming

I like to take part in these yearly posts about different topics that Blog Action Day promotes and hosts. This year’s topic is Global Warming.

What is Global Warming?

In short, it’s what its name says, a global warming. The average temperature on the earth’s surface is gradually increasing, and that is causing other problems, such as the day-to-day weather being awkward for the season, the level of the seas increasing due to ice melting, and so on.

The Planet Is Heating Up—and Fast

Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are drying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace. It’s becoming clear that humans have caused most of the past century’s warming by releasing heat-trapping gases as we power our modern lives. Called greenhouse gases, their levels are higher now than in the last 650,000 years.

We call the result global warming, but it is causing a set of changes to the Earth’s climate, or long-term weather patterns, that varies from place to place. As the Earth spins each day, the new heat swirls with it, picking up moisture over the oceans, rising here, settling there. It’s changing the rhythms of climate that all living things have come to rely upon.1

What causes Global Warming?

There are several factors that should be taken into account, but the main processes that should be mentioned are2:

  • Greenhouse gases: The greenhouse effect is the process by which absorption and emission of infrared radiation by gases in the atmosphere warm a planet’s lower atmosphere and surface. The major greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and ozone. These gases contribute in different amounts to the effect.
    Human activity has increased greatly since the Industrial Revolution, and with it the amount of gases in the atmosphere.
  • Aerosols and soot: Aerosols created by volcanoes and pollutants scatter and absorb solar radiations, having a slightly cooling effect. They also make the clouds have more and smaller droplets, making in fact the cloud a more effective reflector or solar radiation.
    Soot, on the other hand can both have a cooling and a warming effect. Atmospheric soot aerosols directly absorb solar radiation, which heats the atmosphere and cools the surface. When deposited, it can directly heat the surface.
  • Solar variation: Variations in solar output have been in the past responsible for climate changes.

What are the effects of Global Warming?

There are so many that it’s hard to begin. I’ll try to point out the ones I find most important3

  • Effects on the weather, such as extreme weather, increased precipitation, bigger areas affected by drought.
  • Glacier retreat and disappearance.
  • Sea level rises, temperature of oceans increases, acidification of the waters, oxygen depletion.

Effectively, the climate change that global warming is triggering can make the coastal lines recede, and take with them many towns and making people migrate. It can also make food production hard, since increased storms mean a harder time for crops. Drinking water reserves will shrink, with the acidification of all waters. The list goes on and on.

What can we do to slow down / stop Global Warming?

There are many things that we as individuals can do to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions. My favorites are4:

  • Using energy saving lamps. They take a bit longer to reach full light, but they save a ton of money and energy.
  • Using recycled paper, non chlorine bleached is even better!
  • Adjusting the thermostat: our heating is set rather “cold” (we wear jackets inside the house), and we don’t have airco at home. If we did, it’d be set for 25ºC!
  • We shower instead of taking baths. And our average showers are short.
  • We try to buy produce locally, but sometimes it’s just impossible. I’ll still buy the produce that has been grown closer to home even if it’s a tad more expensive.
  • Skip the packaging and plastic bags as much as you can. Have you tried making your own fabric produce bags? Make sure to always carry a fabric shopping bag with you, that way you don’t have to accept plastic bags when you do some impromptu shopping.
  • If available, use gas / electricity companies that guarantee their energy comes from renewable sources. Might not be the cheapest, but you’ll be happy.
  • Use public transport, bike or walk when possible.
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle. The classic and basic three Rs are never out of place. Be it for trash, or anything in your home.
  • Become a vegetarian! Even just one day a week, and you’ll reduce your carbon dioxide emissions in 170 kg a year.
  • Do yourself a favor and help protect our planet from Global Warming. Go look for more tips on what you can do.

  1. Visit National Geographic for the full article.
  2. Source: Wikipedia, taken with a grain of salt
  3. You can find an extensive article over at Wikipedia! Yep.
  4. For more ideas, visit Stop Global Warming and take action yourself!

Mandatory Monthly Update

It seems like lately I don’t feel like updating much or often. It might be because right now I have nothing to update on. Life is mostly boring and routinely for me. I’m not in classes or have a work (yet, I’m looking…). I actually was supposed to be working now, trial period, but got called that they were going to hire someone that had previously worked at the place and wanted to work full time, instead of lacking experience me that wanted to work part time cause I’ll be in classes hopefully soon.

Last week I went to Knit Flanders. And I forgot my camera so I didn’t take any pictures. Mostly we knitted, had some drinks, and some people had cake too. It was fun. I had to leave early because I wanted to go to UCT and ask about enrolling in the intensive Dutch courses. I have to go again this week after I filled some paperwork so I can enroll and take a placement test.

I also won the Free Fabric Friday over at Sew, Mama, Sew‘s blog. Which means I got a yard of the fabric of my choice. And I chose a lovely Japanese Floral Blue Full Blossom:

Japanese Floral Blue Full Blossom
Picture Credits: Sew, Mama, Sew.
Click on the picture to go to the store and buy this fabric.

I still don’t know what I will do with the 44″ wide yard (110 x 90 cm approximately) . Options that come to mind: easy peasy A-line skirt, some sort of top, bag of some kind, or just thought of decorating a bulleting board with it to hang in the studio.

Maybe next week I have more news, maybe not. Stay tunned!