Thursday, April 21, 2016

A new beginning

This blog has been on a bit of an unofficial hiatus for more than 4 years. I have changed a lot since when I began this blog back in 2007. Over the past years I have gotten married, finished grad school, had two amazing daughters and become a full time homemaker. I love my life and I love blogging, but my interests have changed along the way. I still find the arts and crafts movement fascinating, but I've also become enamoured with some subjects that are definitely a bit off topic.

 When I started this blog, I was determined that the Earthly Paradise would be a fairly narrowly focused blogs that would provide readers with in-depth discussions of the Arts and Crafts movement. Nine years later, there are so many wonderful blogs that do an amazing job at serious art history! The problem for me is that (at least for the moment) it's not where my heart is. And I think until I come to terms with the fact that I want to write about more divergent topics, I won't be writing at all, which would be a shame (at least from my perspective!), since it's something I really miss. I love interacting with the people that I've met though this blog, but I don't think I'll be comfortable doing so until I give myself permission to write about the things that really interest me right now.

Anyway, I'm back to blogging, albeit on a very different topic. Over the past year or so, I've begun eating a plant based diet. Initially, I was vegetarian, but have since gone vegan. It's been a wonderful experience. I read once that you are happiest when you get to live according to your values, and I think that's been very true of my experience with going vegan.

My interest in being vegan is very much ethically based, although I know that many people become vegan for health reasons. Because of my interest in the ethics of using animal products, I'm also eliminating animal products from my wardrobe, and I've been having a lot of fun finding beautiful, luxurious, alternatives. And since I love to dine out, I've also been discovering the best places for vegan dining.

If you followed me in the past, and you've wondered where I've been, I'm writing now at, and you can also find me on my YouTube channel, ModVegan (the preview is above).

At this point, I would like to apologize to anyone that was subscribed to my blog when I briefly switched over to my own domain. After one year, the blog was purchased by someone that took all of my content and used it to create a spam site. I really hope it didn't affect you! My mom actually told me I should sue the other people, but I felt like it was best to just let it go. Sometimes those things are way more stress than they are worth.

So many of you were wonderful friends to me when I started this blog, and even though it's been a long time, I remember you all very fondly. I hope that you are still blogging!

Thanks so much! Very best wishes to you all!

William Morris and Steve Jobs

As I've been savouring Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs,  I'm often struck by some of the parallels between Steve Jobs and William Morris, and the similarity of their visions.

I am not alone in this. Perhaps most notable is Mukul Kasavan's article The Apple of Our Eye. In the piece, the author argues "that Apple is the lineal descendant of the Kelmscott Press", but concludes that Morris would have been disappointed with Apple products being produced in "Chinese sweatshops" (that's probably true). It's a great read, though I disagree with the author's conclusion that Steve Jobs would have somehow disappointed William Morris.

I think Morris would have been thrilled to see an innovator with a vision taking on the establishment. After all, Morris himself was not above a bit of hypocrisy. Those of us who are more familiar with William Morris' entrepreneurial endeavours will recall that Morris was often disappointed with the fact that he couldn't produce goods affordably while paying workers well. It was a constant source of frustration for him.

It's not easy to be an idealist in a real world. And in that respect, Morris and Jobs would have had a lot in common.