Category: Media


While I continue to recover my health, please enjoy these baby hummingbirds!

Thanks to Care2.com

Stream videos at Ustream

More details about our earthbag house plans!

Check out today’s issue of The Free Weekly for more detail about our earthbag home design, as well as some pretty cool articles on GMOs and social justice that I can’t wait to read!  We’ll be learning from other small home builders and even earthbag builders in the coming month, and I’m really excited to combine our knowledge and live even more sustainably thanks to the expertise of others who have come before us.  Today, we’re on another land search with our friend Jacob to explore more opportunities for conservation and community service.  Wish us luck!!! Next week’s Making Ripples column will have an update on how this land search is coming along.  Do you know of anything for sale in Northwest Arkansas?  Let us know, so we can start making a more tangible difference with our energy and resources. Thanks!

It’s Fun to Change the World.

Ripples' New Logo

Ripples’ New Logo

So often I’m studying science, technology, or some other such subject like organic gardening and earthbag building, that I forget about creativity.  Ripples isn’t just living without a car and making vegan dinners, it’s also about admiring the rainbows reflected in a prism catching the afternoon light from our window, and playing with the swirls of white “fire” after pouring coconut cream into a cup of black tea.  And, yes, it’s about dreaming of rainbow lollipop trees, with rippling branches and spreading roots.  This logo was sketched on paper with copic markers and ink, but later converted into a digital representation of what we’re trying to express.  Organic. Social Justice.  Deep roots.  Ripples of change.  And before you think, “Wait, nature doesn’t make rainbow trees!”  Think again: I had the enormous pleasure of seeing in person a park full of “Rainbow Eucalyptus” trees when I visited Costa Rica.

I need to remember that our homestead without an artistic spirit is really just a building.  It’s our creativity and personalities which make it come to life with a new message for sustainability-seekers: this is fun.  This is creative.  This is going to make people happy.

We’re continuing with our redesign of Ripples, to include more hand-drawn art in the margins, header, and background of the site.  Expect more changes in the months to come, and please give us feedback on how these changes affect you and touch your experience of Ripples.  We want it to be fun to read about conservation.  We’d like you to laugh when you read about capturing rainwater.  So let us know how we’re doing in the comments below our posts or on our Facebook Page.

What do you think of the new logo?

So far, about 50 people have seen it without commenting or clicking “like”, so I’m beginning to wonder if they’re just busy this week or if I’ve created some socially-taboo tree or something…

Valentine’s Day is a great time to share your care; here are ways to do so without hurting anyone or anything.

I love Valentine’s Day and spreading little notes and treats around.  Although I’m not perfect at it, trying to spread the love without spreading injustice and destruction is a top priority for me.  This week’s issue of The Free Weekly is out today, and contains great articles on Comprehensive Sex Education, loving meat-producing animals, and the latest Making Ripples column about creating a Valentine’s Day gift box from a toilet paper roll!  Here are some reminders for how to love your sweetie without harming the planet and other people:

  1. Buy local.  Shipping things from far away adds to our climate change problem.
  2. Be fair. Chocolate isn’t harmless if children were enslaved to produce the sugar and the farmers don’t get paid fairly, so purchase fair trade chocolate.
  3. Know your ingredients. Even if a product doesn’t have a certified stamp on it, chances are, it could be harmless – research the ingredients if possible.
  4. Reuse before recycling. Turn something old into something new, and help reduce the waste stream.
  5. Roses have more than thorns. Make sure yours are produced sustainably.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Ripples!

This is for women who need to know how to fix basic problems that could happen at home.

It recently occurred to me, while browsing the library stacks for the usual mindless entertainment I enjoy, that I have absolutely no knowledge about simple home repairs.  This PBS home video jumped out at me as a solution to wanting to build a sustainable house with a lack of skills in plumbing, electrical wiring, etc.  Dare to Repair was a great introductory video in how to fix minor problems in your standard house or apartment, and much of what I learned can be applied to our off-grid earthbag house someday. View full article »

Bringing you fuzzy tidings on colorful wings and wet noses this holiday season!

Yes, the bluejay is as big as the raccoon because it’s a baby raccoon named Pancake, the son of Waffles. Amanda drew this with the cheapest markers and black ink, using a mechanical pencil for the first sketch, then inking and coloring it in.  This drawing is the first in Ripples’ 2013 art, using circles and themes from our blog posts to illustrate the importance of sustainability and social justice.

Making Christmas magic for wildlife this year.

A bit of trivia from Science 2.0: the first artificial trees were basically really tall toilet brushes, manufactured by a toilet brush company!  Read what I’ve learned about artificial and real Christmas trees, the pros and the cons of each, in the latest column of Making Ripples in The Free Weekly that came out yesterday when I was so busy working on concept art for Ripples 2013 that I totally forgot to post a link!  Sorry folks.  But the art is coming along, and next week there will be a holiday surprise from Ripples to all of you!  Check out The Free Weekly online to learn about how you can recycle your live trees in Bella Vista this year to help little fishies have lake habitat.

Ryan & I are decorating our wildlife “tree” soon and will be posting photos here next week once we do.  Cross your fingers that we get a deer or some cute squirrels!

How to turn old PJ’s into new stockings!

This is what it looks like while the glitter puff paint is drying, once dry, the once faded design looks bold and beautiful!

I couldn’t part with these old Winnie-the-Pooh pajama pants that I’d worn since childhood.  After paying a couple times for seamstresses to sew them back together, only to find more holes appearing everywhere, I knew I couldn’t wear them as pants again.  So I decided to use them as a pillowcase for one of my stained pillows, and also to make two new Christmas stockings out of the legs.  Ok, so bear in mind these stockings are not feet-shaped because I hate sewing and this was quick and easy.  They are square-ish, all the better for stuffing goodies into! View full article »

How to make vegan chocolates with Christmas foil colors.

Wrap your own chocolates in recycled candy foil instead of throwing it away!

This was the most fun I’ve ever had in a kitchen, and really quick too.  You could choose to melt your own block or bar of vegan chocolate, or use shaped vegan or close to vegan dark chocolates that already come in shapes.  I’ve done both, but I don’t yet own any holiday-themed candy molds.  So I used Divine dark chocolate Christmas trees, and had my husband Ryan eat some Hershey kisses wrapped in colorful holiday foil.  We saved the wrappers from the kisses, brushed off any chocolate crumbs inside the wrappers, flattened them a bit, and then I used them to wrap these little Christmas trees!

Hint: after you wrap your shaped chocolates, use your fingernail to press into any grooves or designs on the chocolates, so they look less like blobs and more like the shape they’re supposed to be.

I love these cork oak trees!

The latest issue of The Free Weekly is out today, so grab a copy and check out what we’ve learned about sustainable flooring options.  We decided on cork for our earthbag home, but as always, research and exposure to new information could change our minds over time.

In Portugal, cork oak trees are harvested every nine years, helping to protect the man-made forests with profits from the sale of corks and cork flooring, employing about 60,000 workers, and sustaining habitat for native species.  How cool a floor is that, which can do all those things?  Here’s a video about harvesting cork from trees without harming them!

“…the environmental issues, the social issues, and the economic issues are in good balance, and it all starts with harvesting the cork itself.” – Carlos de Jesus, Director of Marketing, APCOR