Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items
RSS Designs Wearable - Internet Shop of Wearable Items

Anyone who has read my blog knows that I love trees!!

So, it is quite logical that I would want to tell you about GIVING A GIFT OF LIFE WITH A GIFT OF A TREE PLANTING!!

I have lived in Southern California for about 28 years now - and there is a group here in Los Angeles that is all about planting trees - TreePeople!

They have various programs in the city of Los Angeles and somewhat beyond in the county of Los Angeles and even further beyond in forests of Southern California.

You can donate money for planting of trees in a variety of programs -- or you can donate your time and volunteer and even help with the planting of trees!!

They are truly a major contributor to the Greening of Los Angeles!!


I was looking for a way for people to have trees planted in other places than Los Angeles and I finally found one - Trees Instead!

You can have trees planted in any US State, Canada, Israel and the Amazon through them!!

Also, for a variety of different events or occasions!!

I can't think of a greater gift of hope or life than planting a tree!!

A tree does so many things that are good for our environment and us:

- clean the air

- clean the water

- holding soil in place

- giving shade which keeps us and the land cooler and moister

- and of course they take in the carbon we so carelessly produce with a myriad of human activities and produce the oxygen we need for breathing!!

What a beautiful balancing act of nature!!


Sunday, December 21, 2008


Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items
RSS Designs Wearable - Internet Shop of Wearable Items

Happy Hanukkah to all of you out there who celebrate it!!

Tonight is the first night of the eight-day celebration named HANUKKAH!!

Blue and White are popular color themes for this holiday, so I thought I would show off a few of my creations in that theme!!

A Bowl in Shaded Blues in Thread Crochet:

A new Pair of doilies - a Blue Starburst in White Lace:

A doily with Navy Blue Stars in White Lace:

Nested crocheted baskets in various shades of blue:

Blue and White is one of my favorite color themes that I enjoy working with!!

Also, I am actively in the ETSY THREAD ARTISTS TEAM - check out their blog:
http://etsythreadartists.blogspot.com/ --
and search for their items on ETSY with the tag: threadartists team



Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items
RSS Designs Wearable - Internet Shop of Wearable Items

I have been crocheting hats and scarves and sweaters - warm things for the winter - for years - since I was a teenager actually!!

This year I also added knitting them!!

-- And I made my first pair of fingerless mittens - for myself.

I knitted them in Peaches & Creme worsted cotton - double strand - Bright Navy Blue and Black.

I chose cotton - Peaches & Creme worsted cotton - because I love the feel of cotton and I want to be able to wear them all the time when I am doing things, but it is cold.

Double strand, Peaches & Creme is warm - especially since I knitted them in Garter stitch.

They are WARM!! And I made them snug and long - they go up my arm about 3 inches from my wrist. And they have a covering for the thumb for warmth!

Here, take a closer look at one of them.

I am so happy with them!!

Watch for some showing up in my shop for Wearables - RSS Designs Wearables!! As I DO CUSTOM ORDERS, I can make a pair for any one in the size they want - though I will have to possibly find the colors someone wants.

Of course, Peaches & Creme has a huge selection of colors that I can get if you can wait. See here for the selection of Peaches & Creme worsted cotton yarn.

Keep Warm!!


Thursday, December 18, 2008


Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items
RSS Designs Wearable - Internet Shop of Wearable Items
RSS Crochet Thread Plus - Internet Shop of Crochet Thread

I woke up this morning to find the ground still covered with beautiful white snow!!

I checked out in my front yard a couple of times today and took a few pictures.

Someone told me that this was a first for them and they moved here 20 years ago!!

Our driveway and yard was still covered with snow, though this afternoon it looked like the sidewalk was starting to peek out!!

Bush in my front yard - about 10 AM this morning:

The remaining photos were taken somewhere around 1 PM today.

Bird Feeder hanging on the tree:

My rose bush was still in bloom when the snow fell - ROSES IN SNOW!!:

Bush in my front yard - some snow has melted off in the sunny day:

Bright blue sky through snow covered branches - but some snow has melted!!

Enjoying this unusual seasonal experience!!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items
RSS Designs Wearable - Internet Shop of Wearable Items
RSS Crochet Thread Plus - Internet Shop of Crochet Thread

My little town of a few thousand in the southeast portion of the Antelope Valley of Southern California, which is a High Desert, rarely gets snow - especially snow that "sticks". A few times over the 6 1/2 years since I moved here I have woken up to snow, but usually it is melted by around noon.

Not today!!

We have beautiful, beautiful snow -- and it is still snowing!!

I went out today to get something important, despite the snowing, and managed to get a ride home early. I wore boots, which was good, because my sidewalk and lawn in my yard had an accumulation of snow when I got home around noon and I actually made footprints in the snow!!

This is a first for me since I've lived in the Antelope Valley. The van I was in is properly equipped for driving safely in the snow at the time we were driving.

But the Antelope Valley is not really set up for this kind of weather and the public transportation system was in the process of shutting down until the weather "lets up" and it is safe for them to operate. We saw snow plows some on the streets and at a nearby gas station on the way home.

I come from the midwest - Chicago area to be exact - and I know how to deal with this weather.

Dressing properly was a good thing today!!

Actually, I am loving it, though I couldn't do some shopping I had planned. We need the precipitation in this part of the country to keep off a drought.

I have a bucket out there catching snow - when it melts, I am going to use the water/melted snow for watering plants instead of having it run down the sidewalk and driveway to who-knows-where.

I managed to get a few pictures so far.

My yard at 7 AM this morning.

My yard at around 1 PM today (deeper snow - it is piling up)!

A group of Old Growth trees in the back around 1 PM today.

Looking at the sky through one of the trees in my front yard around 1 PM.

This kind of weather is unusual in the valley of the High Desert here - and it is worth enjoying the benefits of different seasons.

YES, the snow is "sticking"!!!

I keep wondering how long it will last!!


Monday, December 15, 2008


Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items
RSS Designs Wearable - Internet Shop of Wearable Items
RSS Crochet Thread Plus - Internet Shop of Crochet Thread

When I moved to the Antelope Valley -- the High Desert north of Los Angeles - it was for a number of reasons, but there were some real bonuses.

Where I reside, in the southeast corner of the Antelope Valley in the low foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, there are those mountains to the south and the Antelope Valley desert - the eastern edge of the great Mojave - to the south and east.

Last Friday, I was up early to go out and as I stepped out after the sun had risen, I was struck by the tones of the winter desert sky. Such muted tones, but beautiful.

Wanted to share it with you all.

The trees - the natural, native Old Growth in the back of the property where I live!!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

An ETSY Treasury of POTTERY, WOOD and LACE

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items
RSS Designs Wearable - Internet Shop of Wearable Items

On ETSY, the website for buying and selling handmade, you can find some really beautiful objects. But - finding them amidst the hundreds or thousands of listings that come up in searches can be daunting, frustrating, aggravating and time consuming, so ETSY came up with a variety of different tools for promoting.

One of the free ones on ETSY is called a Treasury - and an individual seller can put one together.

Well, I came up with an idea. I love making doilies and lace table coverings and I have joined up with a team of them on ETSY - the ETSY Thread Artists Team, who you can find at http://etsythreadartists.blogspot.com/. I also love pottery and wood. So, my idea is to put some table decor in pottery, wood and lace all together in a Treasury!!

And I did it!

Here is the link:


And, here is the screen shot:

You might want to go look at it on ETSY and look at the individual listings by clicking on the pictures. There are some real works of art in this Treasury!!



Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items
RSS Designs Wearable - Internet Shop of Wearable Items
RSS Crochet Thread Plus - Internet Shop of Crochet Thread

I just read an article on the Internet that was very upsetting to me.


It covers the problem with carbon offset funds somehow going to logging of primary old growth forests.

Folks - NO, NO, NO - that is not the right way to do carbon offsets.

The primary Old Growth forests on the planet are not supposed to be logged any longer - if absolutely necessary, based on current environmental analysis for fire hazard, small understory trees may need to be removed to protect the Old Growth and keep fire out of Old Growth and their tree canopies. Other than that, no tree removal in primary Old Growth forests should be done.

Carbon offsets are good for protecting Old Growth from removal.

And carbon offsets are good for restoring highly significant areas of forests that have been previously destroyed, such as the Atlantic Forest in Brazil.

Restoring means restoring - not planting so-called "tree-farms" for future logging or homogeneous even-aged tree plantings, either. Restoring means planting hetereogeneously (definition: in a way that is heterogeneous, which is defined as "consisting of or involving dissimilar elements or parts; not homogeneous"), which in terms of trees means planting different species and they should be native species to that forest eco-system. They should also do planting in small groups at different times, so it is not even-aged, but you end with trees of different ages. After a canopy is grown in the area, they should allow natural regeneration. Along with planting trees, the soil and its total underground biotic province needs to be restored.

I have seen a restored forest - restored from cleared land in an farming area in central Illinois - the woodlands of Robert Allerton Park are so beautiful, you can hardly believe that only a fraction of these woodlands are virgin forest. I went to the University of Illinois, which runs Robert Allerton Park, 1969 to 1972 and the canopied woodlands of Robert Allerton Park provided a wonderful place to hike. It was from the head Biologist at Robert Allerton Park, who was a professor at the University of Illinois, that I learned several years ago about the woodlands being to a large part a restored forest with a fraction of it being virgin forest. 1,000 acres of it are now a National Natural Landmark. I have also been told that this is a Regional Biodiversity Hotspot for that eco-region. During my hiking experiences there in the 1970 through 1980, which were truly wonderful for me, I had no idea that it was not a virgin forest. Read about it here: http://www.continuinged.uiuc.edu/oce-sites/allerton/history.cfm.

So, you see, from personal experience and knowledge, I know cleared forest land can be properly restored to be real forest and not a tree farm.

If you donate for carbon offsets, you need to make sure that the program you are donating to is really about restoring trees or protecting trees/land to the level where they actually do sufficient carbon sequestration as to count in offsetting carbon emissions and reducing globally the amount of carbon in this atmosphere - this issue is discussed in an article on Wikipedia, which is very interesting - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_Sequestration.

I mentioned the Atlantic Forest of Brazil here and in earlier posts - the Atlantic Forest of Brazil is listed as a globally significant Biodiversity Hotspot by the International Conservation Scientists of the organization, Conservation Internaltional, www.conservation.org.

Planting the area of the Atlantic Forest of Brazil is one of the programs being done by The Nature Conservancy - "Planting a Billion Trees" at www.nature.org.

Also, on The Nature Conservancy website is an "Ask the Conservationist" article from June 2008 on the subject of "Do Carbon Offsets Really Work?" -- http://support.nature.org/site/PageServer?pagename=asktheconservationist_200806&JServSessionIdr012=3q075ukq61.app43a. Read this article and you will get a realistic answer.

I have discussed this matter several times in my blog posts and I go into information from a number of different scientifically based organizations in my posts - check here to read my earlier posts and get links to various organizations.

I love real forests - but it is more than my love of forests that is my motivation for writing my blog posts -we need live, carbon sequestering forests on this planet, in addition to reducing carbon emissions, for this planet and this web of life to be healthy for us humans to live in.

We all need to take responsibility for this condition.



Sunday, December 7, 2008


Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items
RSS Designs Wearable - Internet Shop of Wearable Items
RSS Crochet Thread Plus - Internet Shop of Crochet Thread

One of my Etsy Teams, ECOETSY, has a benefit currently going on to raise donation funds for http://www.heifer.org/.

The participating shops on ETSY are donating 10% of all sales for a team-wide donation to http://www.heifer.org/ to help with their programs to help the needy around the world provide for themselves. I have gotten brochures in the mail from http://www.heifer.org/ so I know what they are doing and I think they are making a valuable contribution to society. I think their principle of "Teach a man to fish..." is a really good way to help others.

At the following link, you can get a pdf document about the EcoEtsy event, "Proceeds of Promise" with information about the event, EcoEtsy and Heifer International.

By buying things at the participating shops, including mine:

-you will be helping to make a contribution to bettering someone's life.

This 10% donation is in addition to the 15% off sale going on in my shops.

So, if you buy in my shops, you will get 15% off the listed item price plus 10% of what you pay (not including shippping) will be donated to Heifer International.

Have a good Holiday season!!



Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items

I made a donation to an Annual Clothing Giveaway that is going on today - I mailed them a box of clothing, some of which were the hats for babies and older kids that are in this picture:

I really enjoy making them and it is something that can be worked up quickly. And it feels good to do something that may really help someone.

In the colder months, there may be children who need head coverings who can't get them.

I plan to make a donation to this Annual Clothing Giveaway every year.



Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items
RSS Designs Wearable - Internet Shop of Wearable Items
RSS Crochet Thread Plus - Internet Shop of Crochet Thread

I am really glad that I got on Twitter - http://twitter.com/rssdesigns.

Not only does it give me an opportunity to do quick, fast microblogging about a variety of subjects, but I am "following" a number of people who provide me with some valuable information and links.

In the area of crafting, it was on Twitter that I met Norm, "Crafty Coach", who has his own website for coaching on crafting and sells guides on Etsy.

I thought I would make a brief mention of it here, because I think this article on his website has some really good common sense advice in it: http://craftycoach.com/2008/12/i-dont-know-a-damn-thing-about-your-site/

I can't really tell you how good he is, but for what exchange we have had to date and what I have seen on his website, his website is worth reading and his guide - well, for the price, I would buy it!



Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items
RSS Designs Wearable - Internet Shop of Wearable Items
RSS Crochet Thread Plus - Internet Shop of Crochet Thread

I found out about a pdf document on the internet from the
UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) World Conservation Monitoring Centre, which they have named "Carbon and biodiversity, A demonstration atlas".

Here is the link: http://www.unep.org/pdf/carbon_biodiversity.pdf

Some of the environmental groups I strongly support for their work on protecting and restoring biodiversity, The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International, were contributors to this report.

I am glad to see that the United Nations has shown this support for Global Biodiversity.

A large part of it is protecting lands of primary Old Growth - some of the healthiest and most ecologically significant lands left on this planet.

Not logging the primary Old Growth left on this planet may be the most valuable thing that we can do on this planet at this time - for the web of life.

Anyone who has seen a clearcut in a forest first-hand and in-person knows from personal experience what a clearcut looks like and how it must affect the forest -- and I have seen a clearcut that must not have been too old at the time I saw it. It was in the Sequoia National Forest in the late 1980's when logging and clearcuts were still going on there. It wasn't too far off the Western Divide Highway in the southern portion of the Sequoia National Forest in what is now the Giant Sequoia National Monument. I was driving down a back road looking for a good place to take some people hiking - I drove around a corner and was shocked at the devastation of this clearcut. Obviously, I was not going to bring these people hiking here as they liked to photograph live trees, etc. It totally upset me and was part of my motivation for getting involved in public issues regarding managing the National Forests.

And, YES, this was in an area not too terribly far from Giant Sequoia groves, though I don't know exactly how close - it was on the western side of the Western Divide Highway somewhere south of the Wheel Meadow Grove and east of Red Hill Grove and Peyrone Grove. I have a map of the Sequoia National Forest and I know where these are.

It was reading Aldo Leopold - both in his book, A Sand County Almanac, and his paper, The Last Stand - that I found out about the devastating effects of clearcutting on the land in addition to just the removal of the trees.

I would like to quote from these.

From "The Last Stand" by Aldo Leopold as published in The Leopold Outlook Winter 2004, A newsletter published quarterly by The Aldo Leopold Foundation.

"Few laymen realize that the penalties of violence to a forest may far outlast its visible evidence. I know a hardwood forest called the Spessart, covering a mountain on the north flank of the Alps. Half of it has sustained cuttings since 1605, but was never slashed. The other half was slashed during the 1600's, but has been under intensive forestry during the last 150 years. Despite this rigid protection, the old slashing now produces only mediocre pine, while the unslashed portion grows the finest cabinet oak in the world; one of those oaks fetches a higher price than a whole acre of the old slashings. On the old slashings the litter accumulates without rotting, stumps and limbs disappear slowly, natural reproduction is slow. On the unslashed portion litter disappears as it falls, stumps and limbs rot at once, natural reproduction is automatic. Foresters attribute the inferior performance of the old slashing to its depleted microflora, meaning that the underground community of bacteria, molds, fungi, and burrowing mammals which constitute half the environment of a tree.
"The existence of the term microflora implies, to the layman, that science knows all the citizens of the underground community, and is able to push them around at will. As a matter of fact, science knows little more than the community exists, and that it is important."

In the book, A Sand County Almanac, in the section, The Upshot, in the sub-section, "Wilderness for Science", I quote Aldo Leopold again:

"Many forest plantations are producing one-log or two-log trees on soil which originally grew three-log and four-log trees. Why? Thinking foresters know that the cause lies not in the tree, but in the micro-flora of the soil, and that it may take more years to restore the soil flora than it took to destroy it."

So, clearcutting - or "slashing" as Aldo Leopold called it in "The Last Stand", has a destructive impact on the land that affects future growth on that land.


Also, in the same issue of The Leopold Outlook of Winter 2004 is an essay written by 2 former Chiefs of the United States Forest Service published originally August 24, 2003, Mike Dombeck and Jack Ward Thomas - "Declare Harvest of Old-Growth Forests Off-Limits and Move On"

I would like to quote one paragraph that I feel contains key, relevant information.

"Second, scientists increasingly appreciate old-growth forests as reservoirs of biodiversity with associated 'banks' of genetic material. Most stands are prtected as habitat for threatened or endangered (and associated) species - to meet the purpose of the Endangered Species Act '...to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved...' It's time to stop fighting over what little old growth remains unprotected."

And part of another paragraph discussing forest management from this same article.

"Forest management should focus on restoring forest health and reducing fire risk, intially in areas where risk to human life and property are greatest - the so-called wildand/urban interface. Then, appropriate management practices should be strategically targeted in the right places and at the right scales across the landscape."


It is now becoming a global issue - with The Nature Conservancy (see Plant A Billion Trees gadget on this blog!) and Conservation International and Care2 running campaigns for protecting rainforest and planting trees - and the United Nations publishing papers on it.

You, too can join the bandwagon - through these organizations you can contribute to protecting the Old Growth forests left on this planet - incluidng for free by clicking on Care2's Race for the Rainforest!!