Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hunting for bunnies


Happy Easter (in a completely secular sense)


1. Our first Easter basket, complete with glitter, big confetti and craft straw.
2. How does one small person accumulate so much chocolate? Thanks to our lovely friends and family who somehow got all this into our house over the course of the last week.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A boy, with bruises

Dear Boy has been walking for almost two months. He's less drunken zombie and a little more wild-west these days and with that he's become more confident. Instead of crouching down and going carefully down the single step into the laundry or from the front stoop onto the porch, he's decided to take the step. Each time he's done this so far, he's fallen down onto his knees, keeled sideways/forwards/backwards and banged his head on the floor/door/wall/step.

Today he's sporting a bruised left forehead, a grazed chin, a grazed right forehead and his very first black eye.

It is very hard to feel like a good parent when his little face is black and blue. And red. And a little yellow.

Friday, March 29, 2013

New Tricks 6/26: Handmade Easter

This Easter I wanted to make a few little bits and pieces and avoid the normal chocolate stash that tends to accumulate and then get consumed despite all my best intentions. I wanted a weird little bunny and some carrots, so I turned to Pinterest, of course. In the end I used Clare's Craftroom's carrot tutorial and then combined Revoluzza's Easter Bunny with the ears from Martha Stewart's menswear bunny.I had been looking for some vegetable tutorials for a while, hoping to create Dear Boy a complete set, but it wasn't until I came across these carrots that it occurred to me to use tacking and a drawstring style method to get the effect I was after. I admit, it was bloody fiddly to keep the hem folded down, tack, draw in and keep the leaves in while stitching it all together, but the second one was definitely easier.  The bunnies were quite easy, even with the variation I added (because little folded ears are just the cutest). It was a simple cut and stitch, although my embroidery skills on the face are less than spectacular. Stuffing the bunny was probably the most difficult part, especially pushing the filler into the quite small arms and legs and then keeping it there while I stitched up the side. My invisible seam stitch is getting better. It's actually almost invisible. 
I made two bunnies and carrots: one set for Dear Boy and one for his sweet friend O, who we've known since the babies were 8 weeks old. The boys have shared so much already (clothes, milestones, illness) so I thought sharing a matching set of toys would be super cute for Easter. 

Have you made anything for these holidays?

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Living through March














Some days it feels like I am simply surviving, getting through until the next chunk of time has gone and a new one arrives. Without trying to sound full of wankery, I am endeavouring to be more 'in the moment' with my son. But it is hard. When motherhood is monotonous, covered in vomit, full of whinging and there seems to be an awfully long time before the next nap, it is hard to 'be present' and enjoy the individual moments. It is hard to keep two people with wildly different requirements fed, well, happy and entertained. Feels like such a first-world whine, but it's my regular struggle. So I am trying to not just chronicle his moments in the world, but to also be in those moments myself, with him. 

1. Dear Boy is in love with boxes, but no box is as good as a little one that contains food. His fine motor skills are amazing. It wasn't so long ago he was smacking himself in the nose waving his own fist in front of his face.
2. Some books say to wait until they have a full set of teeth, but my boy is in love with corn on the cob. The tracks of his nibbles tell a story of all those teeth to come.
3 & 4. We took a very long walk last week - across several suburbs, on roads, on tracks, through bush, through business districts. The track that ran alongside the rail line was full of half finished maintenance projects and quite old fashioned rail paraphernalia. It felt like walking through a country town rather than the suburbs of Melbourne. Every time the train came past, a little finger would appear out from under the hood of the pram: "car".
5. Dear Boy has added the word "yuck" to his vocabulary, extrapolated all by himself from 'if I put this in my mouth it'll taste gross' to 'something is stuck to my hand'. Usually, it's one of hairs caught in his fingers because I'm still shedding like a crazy person after giving birth. But it's now also about food on his hands, which is kinda awkward given he uses them to eat just about everything. 
6. A fountain without a barrier or a wall? That's the toddler equivalent of catnip, right there. If it had a flashing light or tooted, I would never have been able to leave.
7. Dear Boy took this photo. After I'd wrestled him away from the fountain and attempted to distract him with a walk through the conservatory (stupidly, because there's another fountain at the other end *forehead slap*), he decided he wanted the camera around my neck. There was wrestling involved there too. 
8. I love the way he moves through the world. It's almost an interpretive dance. All he needs is a BeeGees soundtrack.
9. This is one for my 'I got this, Pinterest' file: entertaining a toddler who's sick of the tub with shaving cream and food colouring. 
10 & 11. Dear Boy's first colouring-in competition. It's now hanging up on the wall of our local supermarket. There's chocolate at stake.
12. For some reason, the sky's been so much bigger and brighter and darker and full this summer (*ahem* Autumn). These sun-filled clouds topped a massive black storm front. And the contrast was unsettling.
13. Walking far from home, we came across a building site that had carved the land away from a convent, filling it's view with low-cost, low-lying McMansions. The convent-cum-nursing facility is probably enjoying a suite of marvellous new equipment and much needed renovations from the sale.
14. Walking home, this little fellow was the saddest little Easter Bunny I'd ever seen. I wonder what his owner's face looked like when they realised it was gone.
15. Okay, okay, we'll keep walking. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sick

Roseola, childhood illness, red rash, torso/trunk


Posts have been thin on the ground for the last few weeks. After the grant applications were submitted, illness came knocking. First Dear Boy was hit with Hand, Foot and Mouth (HFM); two weeks later he scored a case of Roseola. Both are considered common and minor childhood illness but they've still managed to make us feel like we're living in a house of pestilence.

Last week I posted about vaccinating our son, the reasons why we are pro-vaccinations and the hope that we'd never have to have, cause or even see preventable and potentially life-threatening childhood illness. Seeing my son covered in Roseola's faint red rash is horrifying enough. Even knowing roseola is a mild viral rash and never fatal, it's scary. Bloody scary. The fact that it could have been much worse, that it could have been measles or rubella, makes me feel sick.

I thought, in the interests of share-and-share-alike and perhaps allaying another new parent's fears, I'd talk about our recent go-round with HFM and Roseola.* If you're already feeling itchy looking at these pictures, perhaps you should stop reading.

Roseola, childhood illness, red rash, torso/trunk

HFM: This one started as a few spots that got bigger and redder around Dear Boy's thighs and bum. I thought 'nappy rash'; it was in a bit of a weird spot for him but slathered on a bit of Sudocrem, and off we went to the library for some Baby Rhymes. After a few rounds of 'Wheels on the Bus' and 'Little Green Frog (Galumph)', Dear Boy was getting fractious, grizzling and rubbing at his face and hair. A quick nappy change and that nappy rash wasn't looking so much like nappy rash anymore. A quick check of his hands and feet and we were straight into the car. A completely illegal phone call at the lights and we were in to see our lovely GP. Even though he only had a few spots on his hands and feet, and none that we could see in his mouth (thank goodness), it was definitely HFM. Apparently it's the only thing that can cause spots on the palms of the hands like that. The doc recommended a (low percentage) hydrocortisone cream for the itchy bits and that was it. Nothing else to be done. Dear Boy had a very mild case - no spots around or in his mouth, no real symptoms beforehand (generally showing up like a cold with fever, malaise, loss of appetite or a sore throat), no blisters and not a lot of complaining about the itching. Of course, he still had to be quarantined from childcare, although that was most likely where he scored it from. In our state, kids are excluded from school and care until the blisters have dried out.

So, is HFM contagious? Yep, sure is. Pretty much anything wet coming out of that body is going to spread it around: saliva, sneeze/cough-droplets, snot, blister fluid, poo - you name it.

Is it life-threatening? In very rare cases, yep. I didn't find out until much later that it can cause viral meningitis, encephalitis or polio-like paralysis. But again, that's exceedingly rare. So rare, they call it a mild and common disease.

Can it make your/child's life miserable? Yep, sure can. I imagine blisters anywhere near the mouth are going to be, literally and figuratively, a complete pain. We had this one fairly easy.

ROSEOLA: Dear Boy's bout of Roseola started with a fever in the middle of the night. He woke every 30-40 minutes from 3am, growing hotter and more cranky. We gradually stripped him of bedding and clothing but by 7am he'd hit 39.2 degrees (celcius - 102.5 for those playing in Farenheit). Dear Boy normally runs at around 37. We supplied him with paracetamol and cold wash-clothes until his temp came down to 37.8. We called the child health hotline and they supplied us with the new guidelines for treating fever - which are, apparently, 'don't'. Anything under 39.5, and the new medical professionals are advising to let the kids fight it out themselves - let the body do its thing. The next night, the same thing happened - a temperature spike and multiple wakings. How the hell do you dress a child for bed when it's somewhat cold but their body is on overdrive? By the third day, and a peak of 39.6 (and multiple doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen - because screw the guidelines when it comes to my boy's brain melting), we headed to the doc. 'A virus'  - nothing to worry about. But probably don't go and visit the newborn baby if his temp's still up. The next day his temp dropped to 37. 5, then to 36. 9. The day after that: rash. Those photos up there - that's my baby's body as it currently stands, sits, crawls and walks. A faint, red, spotty, almost lacy rash all over my baby's beautiful smooth, soft, olive skin. Not surprisingly, the rash is often mistaken for measles or rubella. And given the fact that these diseases are now making a comeback, it makes me feel ill to see it all over my boy's chest and back. Once the fever came down, there's really not much to be done for Roseola. The rash doesn't appear to be itchy at all.

So, is Roseola contagious? Yep, sure is. Except, and here's the kicker with most things like this, it's contagious before you even know you have it. Once the rash appears, it's no longer contagious. Before then, it's treated like a virus because there are generally no other symptoms apart from a bit of irritability - and hey, what baby doesn't get a little irritable now and then? Again, it's spread through droplets - sneezing, coughing, etc. It's caused by a herpes virus (but won't cause other herpes effects like cold sores) and 90% kids have been exposed to it by the time they're two. So yeah, it's contagious. It's not an excludable illness according to the Australian government (not even listed on the Victorian government site) although I imagine that's because of the reasons above - once you figure out what it is, it's no longer contagious.

Is it life-threatening? Well, it's kinda hard to tell. The major complication with Roseola is the potential for febrile convulsions due to rapid spikes in temperature. These are incredibly scary (I know, I've being holding a child in my arms when he had his first one on his first birthday) but not fatal or damaging to the brain. So, I'm going to say no BUT... I imagine a vulnerable child or someone with a compromised immune system may have other issues.

Can it make your/child's life miserable? Yep, it sure can. Even knowing his body is doing its thing and functioning as it should by raising its temperature to fight off a virus, it was bloody scary. He was also whingey and clingy and we didn't get great sleep for a few days. In the larger scheme of things though, that's not so bad. Once we had our diagnosis, it was a huge relief. Knowing it wasn't going to melt his brain was a huge relief. Not knowing sucks. Majorly.

Neither of these viruses have a vaccination and neither have a 'cure' or even a medical treatment. Do they need one? Maybe science can field that one.

Has your child had something that scared the hell out of you? Did it turn out to be something 'mild'?

* I am by no means a medical expert. This is based on our experience of symptoms as well as the advice given to us by our doctor/medical advisors for our specific case and information provided by the Victorian government health websites/guidelines. If you are at all concerned about your child's health - always seek advice from medical professionals - several, if you have to. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

For the herd's sake: Vaccinating Dear Boy

On Valentine's Day, Lovely Husband and I exchanged cards, murmured thanks for the other's love and commitment then went and allowed a stranger to stab holes in Dear Boy's arms. Nothing says I love you like a suite of immunisations. Of course, that's a throw-away line - but somewhere under the rhetoric, I think there's a kernel of truth: I love my son and want him to avoid preventable diseases; although I hate causing him a moment's pain, I'm willing to if it prevents weeks or months or a life of suffering.

Vaccination is apparently the third-rail of parenting discussions. It can be a sometimes awkward and sometimes downright nasty conversation killer. It can rub up against religious beliefs, parenting philosophies and approaches to life more generally. It can pit science against emotion: evidence against gut feelings. But it also brings up a lot of issues for me about the validity of numerous positions, about how we gain and evaluate knowledge and the difficulty of respecting other people's decisions when, to be frank, you're pretty sure they're just wrong (more on this below). But I figure it needs to be talked about. In Australia, at least, each set of parents has to make a deliberate decision about it: you either do it as prescribed; do it on a different schedule or you fill in all the paperwork for registering as a conscientious objector.

I am pro-vaccine for several reasons:

  1. I have faith in science (even though they get it wrong occasionally, they're usually capable of admitting that and fixing it, STAT). As a corollary of that, I believe vaccinations work. I know they're not 100% effective for all people, but they do for 90% plus. I know they can have a lot of side-effects, from the subtle to the serious, but I much prefer those odds than coping with the effects of the disease. The numbers are on my side (like my faith in science I have faith in statistics too). Science has effectively eradicated the worst of the preventable diseases where immunization rates are high. That's hundreds of thousands of lives saved in Australia alone and millions of cases prevented. (I think people who continue to preach about vaccinations causing autism are dangerous. They're among that breed of people who don't care about things like evidence, who listen to a charismatic preacher and take their word as gospel without bothering to check whether their ideas, their beliefs, their myths have any grounding in fact. The man who claimed he had proof lied. He made it up. It took a while but science got to the heart of it in the end.). As an academic I am torn between the positions of knowing how to research and accessing information in an objective sense and recognising that I am completely unqualified to make a truly informed decision about medical matters and need to rely on people who have trained extensively in these areas. In my area, which is the study of creativity, the same ideas apply. How do we really know something is creative? The answer is usually because the experts tell us it is. How many people truly understand that E=MC2? I don't and I'm a smart cookie. I read a book about it and everything. But I still don't really understand it, not in the way a physicist does. So I have to trust that when they say it's a fundamental principle, that it's right. I trust the 95% of medical professionals/organisations that say vaccinations work, vaccinations are good, vaccinations are necessary, even with the corollary problems and potential side-effects. I understand people will think that naive, but I believe it's naive to assume you can make a truly informed decision on this issue without any kind of medical training.
  2. My grandfather had polio and hasn't been able to use his right arm for most of his life. More than the physical impairment, there was also a social cost. Living at the time in rural Queensland, my grandfather was sent to a city hospital hours away to be quarantined in a disease ward with dozens of other children. He tells stories of rascally capers, but it was hardly ideal. He spent a long time away from his parents, from his family; he even picked up a smoking habit before he was ten; his schooling was interrupted. A friend we made recently at the library has watched the ongoing consequences of polio in her mum, in near constant pain now like so many polio sufferers with a post-polio syndrome.
  3. Vaccinations for kids are free in Australia. If they weren't, we'd pay.
  4. Vaccinating is the socially responsible thing to do. I pay taxes to help the government help those who can't help themselves and I follow the road rules so I don't injure myself and other people. I vaccinate because some people can't and need the services of the herd immunity. I think it's incredibly selfish to rely on others to take risks with their children's health and draw on all the benefits while at the same time putting the herd at greater risk. I don't understand why parents who are willing to protest against nuclear proliferation or gas-mining or whaling aren't also doing their part or putting their bodies on the line to protect their social/health environment. Not sure how conscientious the objectors are when non-vaccinated children and adults can create holes in the herd immunity and infect those who are either too young or too sick to have the required immunity to fight disease. 

So my dear, Dear Boy is fully immunised. We were a little late with the 12-month shots but only because the first clinic after the Christmas holidays was full by the time I booked in. We received a letter from Centrelink warning us about the withdrawal of benefits and potentially having to pay money back if we didn't keep up to date. Now, I am all for encouraging vaccination (which the government used to do financially with a vaccination bonus but this changed last year) as well as exclusion policies for non-vaccinated kids in childcare centres and schools when diseases are present, but having it tied to financial support is pretty rude. Punatively forcing parents to give back money already received is beyond the scope.

Here's how vaccinations have worked out for us:

Birth: Dear Boy was given Hep B (as well as the Vitamin K). I wasn't entirely sure the Hep B was necessary but Lovely Husband felt pretty strongly about it. Lovely Husband and I were both given Whooping Cough injections for free by a nurse who came around the wards, checking to see if anyone wanted them. My parents and brothers all paid to get them so they could visit. Our tiny newborn screwed up his face but that was about it. At that stage, it probably wasn't that much more of a shock to his system than lights, air, noise, etc.

Two Months - Dear Boy was given the Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hep B, Poliomyelitis, HiB and Pneumococcal vaccines in two injections (one in each chunky thigh) and an oral Rotavirus dose. He squawked briefly then fell asleep for almost the whole day. I spent the day on the couch with him in my arms, freaking out (belief in science doesn't equate to being anxiety free, obviously).

Four Months - Same deal as the two-month ones: two needles and an oral dose. Dear Boy squawked loudly when he got the injections then squalled for about five minutes. No reactions, no temp.

Six months - Same again. Dear Boy let loose a howl of rage with the second needle but was distracted by toys. He was grisly most of the day, with a slight temp.* I had to do these ones on my own. Not fun.

Twelve months - Dear Boy didn't even make a noise for the first two needles (Measles, Mumps & Rubella and the HiB), in the arms for the first time because he'd started walking. He raged after the third, stingy Meningococcal C one but was fine after five minutes of cuddles and rough housing with Lovely Husband. I made sure Dear Boy couldn't see my face with these ones after reading about kids feeling more pain if they see their parent's anxiety. He had a mild fever that day, and then again about a week or so later, which is apparently quite common with the MMR.

So that's where we're up to so far. Next up is Chicken Pox at 18 months (unless he's already had it), then the pre-school boosters at 4 years old, and the high school boosters in Year 7 and 10. At the moment they're contemplating making it compulsory for boys to also have the Human Papilomavirus needle in Year 7 (currently only for girls). I am all for this for much the same reasons as above. Even though it won't prevent my own child from getting cervical cancer (because, well, der), it might save a girl/woman's life somewhere down the line.**

*Where he's had a fever, we'd given him doses of panadol. We never gave pain relief before the needles as some medical practitioners advise to do. Our healthcare nurse gave us a good argument for why it was essentially unnecessary for us, but may be necessary for other kids with complicated medical issues.
** The argument that girls shouldn't be given the HPV vaccine because it may encourage promiscuity is stupid. And factually incorrect. Sure, you may have religious grounds for not wanting to prevent (or even eradicate) the most common sexually transmitted disease, but cervical cancer kills approximately 5000 women each year in the US, some of whom are straight and married and Christian. It's men's promiscuity you need to do something about given they're more likely to be carriers and disseminate the disease.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

New Songs on a Saturday morning (591-600)


As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.

Feeling a little uninspired this weekend. I was hoping Dear Boy being up early would provide some marginal side benefit of being able to catch Rage with its pants down, but it was not to be. More of the same, same but different. On the plus side, I saw a Jacksons' film clip it'd never occurred to me to watch. At the moment, I really don't know where to do to find the music I want to listen to. Other people/bloggers are offering them up so it may be a case of snatch and grab where I can. Either that or sit in the car with the radio on because, honestly, I don't think we even have one in the house anymore.


591. Tom Odell - 'Another Love'
592. Justin Timberlake - 'Suit & Tie' - Great tune (apart from the intro). Great film clip (until the smoking and spreadeagled girls turn up).
593. Chris Bathgate - 'Big Ghost'
594. Zoe Keating - 'Tetrishead' - Cello, Zoe.
595. Zoe Keating - 'Hello Night'.
596. Ed Sheeran - 'Drunk'.
597. Foster the People - 'Ruby'.
598. Grimes - 'Vanessa'
599. Kimbra - 'Come Into My Head'
600. Mark Foster, A-Trak & Kimbra - 'Warrior' - some weird Converse sponsored song.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Moments in the World: A list of links


I have been wandering around the internet instead of doing lots of things, and to fill in the time when all those other things are done. These are some of the places where I stopped for a moment, or for several moments, and found something worth sharing.

1. The Verge has been doing some weird and wonderful things. NIN's 'Head Like A Hole' mashed with 'Call Me Maybe' is an abomination that you can't un-hear. But for some reason, you won't want to. This article by Trent Wolbe is also a treasure. It's 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Appreciating Carly Rae Jepsen's For Dummies Maybe': I'm not altogether sure it's as tongue-in-cheek as the title.

2. Inked in Colour's 'Aesthetics of Maternity' made my cheeks flame with self-recognition. I am guilty, guilty, guilty of doing this on occasion. But it's never, ever been satisfying. It hit with a vengeance in the first few months of the boy's life when my stroller wasn't flash enough and his toys were old and his clothes were plain. Now, I see how all the expensive fancies in the world can't make some mamas happy... or good mamas.

3. Nora Ephron's son, Jacob Bernstein, wrote this piece about his mother. It's funny and insightful and heartbreakingly sad. It's full of little stories and glimpses into his mother's world that make me want to run away and write. 

This line almost cut me down to the bone: "When I arrived in her room, my mother was crying. She cried a lot that first night, and then, the next day, she cried some more because she was certain Christopher Hitchens had done no such thing, and she was devastated at the thought that she might not be as brave as him about death."

This one did: "On this day, I told her some things. After she moved to her bed, I said that sometimes, I thought of the possibility of her not being around and wondered if I’d ever be able to write again. If I’d even want to. And she told me that I would, that I would find it within me, and that whatever happened, she hoped my brother and I would lead the kind of lives where we did stuff big enough to occasionally say, 'Wow, I wish Mom was around for this.'"

4. I spent a lot of time on trains as a young traveller. The kinds of moments in the world  and character snippets in 'How to spend 47 hours on a train and not go crazy' make me want to go and do it all again. Except with more leg room.

5. Adam Savage tweeted about this tangle of legal mumbo jumbo for writers. As ever, content producers get shafted.

6. Joss Weddon’s new version of Much Ado About Nothing is a black and white feast with all his favourite actors as guests. It's like a grown-up version of Romeo and Juliet for the folks who watched Buffy and Firefly when they first aired on TV.


7. I saw Shane Koyzcan perform his poetry at the Sydney Writers Festival several years ago, and the poem 'Visiting Hours' still reverberates around my mind sometimes. Now he's done a TED talk, with his beautiful and animated poem on bullying and survival and beauty. If his voice seems weird and high-pitched in that official video, try this one. Share either amongst your people.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

New Songs on a Saturday Morning (581-590)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.


581. David Bowie - 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)' - Self-referential and gently mocking video feat. Tilda Swinton.
582. McFly - 'Love is Easy'
583. Impossible Odds feat. Georgia Corowa - 'Everything' - Australian hip hop vocal in this gets me.
584. Cub Scouts - 'Pool' - Fun in the sun. Silly but so, so catchy.
585. Delilah - 'Breathe'
586. The Staves - 'Winter Trees' - Lovely folky ladies.
588. The Staves - 'Mexico' - More loveliness.
589. The Staves - 'Motherlode'
590.  The Staves - 'Tongue Behind My Teeth'

Friday, March 8, 2013

Small change, world changers & life changing

I keep coming across projects that use big and small ideas to create change in the world. I'm captivated by them, by the people who think of them and the people who take the ideas and turn them into a reality that changes lives. Most of them seem to take nothing or something small or something that unused or unwanted and turn it into something with value.

The first is the Global Soap Project, which collects used bars of soaps from hotels, which would have otherwise been thrown away, and recycles them into new bars that are then distributed to people and places that need them: disaster victims, refugees, people in extreme poverty. The stats (from their website): 2 million bars of soap are discarded from hotels in the US alone every day; 2.4 million children die each year from hygiene-related illnesses; washing hands can reduce morbidity rates by as much as 47% (around 1.1 million children); GSP collects soap from 1000 US hotels and produces 30,000 new bars of soap each week. Simple idea: taking used soap and making new soap. World changing idea: distributing that soap wherever hygiene-related illnesses like diarrhea are prevalent. Recycled soap = reduction in preventable deaths. It's not a glamorous idea, by any means, but what a difference a bar of soap can make.

The other project I came across recently is Who Made Your Pants? They're essentially a lingerie company or in their words a 'campaigning brand'. So it's undies with a twist. They make their cute knickers with fabrics left over from major factories at the end of the season, which might have otherwise been chucked away, in a little factory in Southampton in the UK whose workers are all women who've struggled to find a job, who are refugees or who've just generally having a rough time. Rather than spending a fortune or fancy-pants that are often made in sweatshops in third world countries, spending your hard earning money on these lovelies helps empower these women. All the profits are churned back into the business, into training and support and advice as well as a decent wage for a decent day's work in a decent factory environment.

The are a few others as well, including Jessica Alba's The Honest Company, which seems to pop up in everything I read these days, although that's a regular old company with a nice premise rather than a charity. I feel inspired when I see these types of projects underway in the world. But inspiration is a funny beast - it's not specific ideas magically appearing in my head, just an urge, a desire, an impulse to do 'something'. It'll sit there, with so many other unspecific urges to do 'something', until the right confluence of events and people and former ideas and whatever else makes a 'new' idea, and 'something' becomes one thing. One small thing that I can do to make big things happen.

Have you come across any little/big ideas lately?

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