Boro is the Japanese art of mending and the term boro is literally translated as rags or scraps of cloth. Boro is also used to describe clothes and household items which have been patched-up and repaired many times. This textile tradition comes from northern Japan, a poor region with a harsh climate.
Boro textiles were usually sewn from nineteenth and early twentieth century rags and patches of hand loomed indigo dyed cotton. Older boro pieces were made with fabric made from bast fibers (foraged local plant materials and hemp) then patched and quilted together with second-hand scraps of cotton garments. Boro garments were the work garb of both men and women working as farmers, lumberman, and fisherman. Boro techniques are also found in other household items, especially futon covers. A family futon cover might incorporate elements from clothing used by generations of family members.
As fabric was scarse and expensive, boro used patchwork quilting and sashiko stitching to mend and extend the life of all the pieces of worn fabric in a household. Sashiko, literally translated to “little stabs”, is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching, usually running stitch, for areas on clothing that get a lot of wear. No fabric would be thrown away, adhering to the concept of mottanai.
While frugality drove this textile tradition, the aesthetic sensibilities of the women stitching created beauty out of the materials at hand. These patched and heavily stitched articles of daily life are cultural textile treasures.
Our homegrown French breakfast radishes!
It includes good, sound healthy eating advice -- eat more produce, avoid antibiotics in your meat and dairy, etc. I was happy to see suggestions related to packaging -- use reusable bags, skip bottled water, buy foods with minimal packaging. I am all for reducing our seeming insatiable need to buy things in plastic! And these suggestions on being environmentally friendly reconfirm many of the lessons we learned from the Garbage Experiment.
I also liked #31 Eat your leftovers. It never occured to me not to. But unless you are raising your own bacon, the leftovers belong to you!
And, check out #32 Double your recipes. Cook smart and use less energy. Having things reaady to use in your freezer is pretty cool.
Lately, we have been seeing how many meals you can get out of a roasted chicken. You can eat for a week. Roasted chicken dinner, chicken soup, chicken sandwiches, and a pan of enchiladas. Pretty good eating.
Thanks to Heather for the link!
Mottainai is a Japanese term meaning "a sense of regret concerning waste when the intrinsic value of an object or resource is not properly utilized". It is a compound word: mottai refers to the intrinsic dignity or sacredness of a material entity, while nai indicates an absence or lack. The concept is consistent with the Shinto belief that spirit resides in all objects. And, while it applies to food and resources, it also applies to actions, time, talents, emotions, dreams, and potential.
An island nation with few natural resources and a high population density, the Japanese have historically been very careful with resources. Before the "Economic Miracle" after World War II, Japan was a poor country. People recycled everything and nothing was wasted. Mottainai (waste nothing!) was a ubiquitous exclamation used to warn children about wasting a bite of food or a scrap of cloth or paper. The philosphy is seen as a powerful tool to teach younger generations about conservation and sustainability.
It is a powerful concept. It is the spiritual big brother of "Make Do and Mend."
This installation proiject interested me for a few reasons. There is the recycling component. He used 65,000 CDs. That is a lot of CDs. It is at Longwood Gardens, a place we visited a lot growing up. I know we went whenever Grandpa B. was in town because he loved flower gardening. SAnd, it is a tribute to the platterlike big waterlillies which I think look cool.
Bruce Munro, British artist and light designer, created "Waterlillies" using 200 foam discs of varying size covered in CDs which reflect the hues of the surrounding landscape and the constantly changing light patterns. I would like to see this during a full moon! And, don't worry, he plans to reuse the CDs in other work, not just toss them after the installation.
Upward facing dog Downward facing dog
When your yoga mat starts breaking down and just sort of has lost it, don't throw it away! I kept mine and was using two mats for the extra knee protection. But there are a surprising number of functional ways to reuse that mat material around the house. There are recycling and donation options too. Here are some of the ideas and if you want to go crazy there are lots of lists and ideas!
My favorite ideas:
- Bedding for animals
- Cut to fit and use as kitchen drawer liners
- Small squares as jar openers
- Leave one in your car (impromptu seating. bleacher cushion, roof protection when moving stuff on your roof, etc)
- Child proof sharp corners, furniture, etc.
- Make you own mousepad or laptop sleeve
- Dog or cat placemats (keep dishes from slipping)
- Cut out cool shapes and use as hot pads (maybe with some Sharpie decoration added?)
- Cut out lots of numbers and letters for the kids to play with
- Sleeping bag pads or tent liners (maybe as a liner but not squishy enough to use alone as a pad)
- Door mats or area rugs (while all for the cushion in front of the sink.....is is gonna look like never put away my yoga mat...)
Ideas I may not go for:
That is enough. You get the idea. Recycle, donate or re-use it!
The Garbage Experiment has left me pretty vigilant about unnecessary packaging and unwilling to buy all those aseptic boxes of stock. We all have to do what works for us. For me, I will make stock but I do not feel the need to grow/can/preserve/bake/make all my own food. Nor will you find me grinding my own flour or wearing sunbonnets.
I was thinking about the things that I have started making or would be easy to make and I found a ton of lists telling me what I should start doing myself and NEVER buy again. ("11 Real Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making from Scratch", "5 Packaged Foods You Never Need to Buy Again", "15 Foods You Should Never Buy Again".
I am stubborn and resent being told what to do. Here is what I am willing to do in spite it being told to do it.
Salad dressing: A traditional vinaigrette is really reidiculously simple. And, reading the ingredients list and looking on line will give you the basic info you need to recreate your favorite Annie's or Paul Newman's or whatever.
Broth/Stock --also worth doing. All those years working in restaurants and hotels, taught me a few things about controlling food costs. You just save all the bits! Keep all your parmesan rinds, carrot tops, mushroom stems, celery leaves and vegetable parings in a bag in the freezer for vegetable stock. Bonus, tastes fresher and lower in sodium!
Tomato sauce tastes good when you make it how you want it. You can make it for pizza (more oregano) or spicy or with a lot of basil! Making one big batch will cover you for a few meals. And, you can make a quick sauce that does not have to simmer all day. Really, it will still taste good.
Soup. Grandmom D. said, "Honey, anyone can make soup." That is the simple truth. You can use a recipe if you like, if it makes you feel more confident. But, you can get a good soup using what you have on hand or what you need to eat up before it goes the way of compost. Having a pot of soup around is awesome. For me, it means lunch is already made!
Hummus. Hummus is one of the things that should be vegan. So, why, oh why, would some brands have dairy in them? That is some good easy, healthy snacking.
Canned beans. I have a slow cooker. Maybe I should have a pressure cooker. In any case, there is no reason not to cook up a batch of beans. And they freeze just fine. No reason at all.
Bread crumbs. Was not on the list and is the easiest thing to do. If you buy good bread, your bread crumbs are gonna by great. Again, keep them in the freezer and make them as you need them. Wicked simple to do.
Spice mixes. I will not lie. I do have some of these in my pantry. But, I have started buying bulk spices. And, don't be surprised if spices mixes are in your Christmas stocking.
I start to balk at being told to make all my own condiments. Could I? Is it a good idea? Sure. Will I do it? No.
I am going to say that I do enjoy the convenience of coconut milk. I have done it. It would have made a great video what with all the chasing a coconut around the kitchen with a hammer and screw driver.
So, I am willing to make some stuff from scratch and not buy it anymore. But, I am not dropping out and eating only what I can raise myself or anything extreme. In fact, I am still mad about being told what to do. Until I see these list writers in my kitchen making my annual supply of homemade catsup for me, they need to shut up with all the nevers and shoulds.
Remember what they say. Moderation in all things, including cooking from scratch.