Back Green Garden Update

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Well, here they are - photos of our lovely back green garden in bloom.

The lettuce (Lola Rosa) patch is already producing enough for most residents ...

I never knew you could grow your own celery ...

Herbs are my favourites as you can pick, and pick, and pick ....

The rosemary and mint in these clay containers give the garden a distinctly Mediterranean flair, don't you think?

Nasturtiums keep the French beans company.

The little guy loves to play under the trees behind the garden where he makes mud pies but he also loves to water the plants in the garden. This garden has been a godsend for me as I find it hard somedays to keep up with his nibs. So much energy in such a little package. Now we spend mornings in the garden enjoying the sunshine - I get to catch up on my reading and the little guy plays happily by himself or with any of the other kiddies that show up. 

Earth Day 2014

Posted on April 22, 2014 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Good advice from Dr. Seuss as today is Earth Day. If you are wondering what it's all about here are a few resources you can visit to find out what you can do.

Earth Day Canada

Earth Day Organization

UN Earth Day Activities

You can also check with your local city hall/council to find out what your town or city is doing to fight pollution. Get involved, start an initiative in your own home or neighbourhood. I'm trying to get our city council to put umbrella-style covers over street lamps to cut down on the amount of light that is wasted lighting up the sky instead of streets. Putting these covers on street lamps helps migrating birds (who get disoriented by a brightly lite night sky, often crashing into buildings) by decreasing brightly lite night skies while at the same time increasing illumination on streets, making it possible to remove every other lamp post and saving money. So far no luck, although they are changing over to LED lights.  I'm also trying very hard to lighten my load and promising myself not to buy anything unless it can be recycled, reused, repurposed - not just for today but everyday. 

DIY Milk & Juice Carton Recycling - Part 1

Posted on April 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (1)

I know that I promised you a bunch of Easter recycling ideas but I thought I'd take a little break and focus on the real intent of this blog: i.e., recycling stuff. A few days ago, a friend brought over a few milk cartons (the kind with cap and spout) and asked me how she could go about these as she has several kids and ends up with dozens of these cartons from both milk and juice in her recycling bin. 'Are there any ways', she asked, 'I can recycle these?'  'Well, yeah', says I, 'maybe, perhaps - let me think about it.'

So here goes. Let's start with the cap and spout first. You know those pesky packages that stuff like salt, sugar breadcrumbs, or baking soda come in? Whenever I poured anything out of them, they either would just dribble and stop pouring or pour out too quickly. So I decided that if I reused the cap and spout part of a milk or juice carton, I could solve that pesky problem. Here's what I did.



Now I know this is something others have thought of, so I'm not claiming it as my own idea, but if it works, it works. To start, of course, you will need canning jars - new or vintage - for this to work. You can pick up vintage canning jars at any charity shop or church bazaars - I collected a zillion of them at the Sally Ann over the years. Or you can buy new ones at hardware or kitchen supply stores. To replace the canning jar lids, just cut out the cap and spout part of the milk or juice carton and then, using the metal ring of the jar as a guide, trim to fit the jar.

Lastly, pour whatever contents you want into the jar, top with the new lid, and replace the metal ring.

You do know the jar should be clean and dry first, right?  

Heel and Toe - Shoe Tree & High Heel Recycling

Posted on March 21, 2014 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Need somewhere to hang up your keys, coat, scarf, or hat? Why, just put up a few of shoe trees (or lasts as they are also called) and you're in business. They'll add a bit of flair wherever you put them. This idea is yet another one from my friend, Sean. 

To find more inspiration for recycling, reusing and repurposing shoe trees/lasts, head over to Susan and Jimmy Gaston's website where they do a lot with wooden shoe trees.

Here's my own take on recycling something shoe-related - high heels - just the heel. Some time ago (it was a Mother's Day idea), I stumbled across a bunch of derelict high heels in a tip outside a shoe store on Queen Street. I politely asked the shop owner if I could help myself to a few (why - I wasn't sure at the time - it just seemed like a good idea!). Anyway, I hauled a few home and this is what I created. These do take a little more work than just hanging them up on the wall

Searching for that Pot of Gold - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Seems everyone has gone green today - ecologically (I hope) and because it's St. Patrick's Day. Even if you're not Irish, you can enjoy all the festivitites associated with this day. Too bad about the curfuffle in New York City but don't let that stop you from enjoying the day. Have a Guinness on me, too! And keep looking for that pot of gold.

Recrafting with Sean

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I have a most fabulous friend, Sean, who like me has a brain that's wired a bit differently than the norm. When we get together, we have a blast to see who can come up with ideas of how to recycle, reuse, reinvent, repurpose stuff others toss out. Not that it's a contest - I like to think we complement one another. We just both love the idea of giving something a second - even third or fourth - (useful) life.

And I know what you're thinking - don't these guys have a life? Well, we do but being blessed (or cursed) with brains and imagination like ours, we find it extremely difficult to walk by something that's been discarded or thrown out without seeing it's potential. And I mean ANYTHING. 

So we both get excited when we come across things like National Geographic Magazine holders (slipcases) or old shoe trees or puzzles (the 1000+ pieces kind), old envelopes, maps, etc. For us, it's like finding the pot at the end of the rainbow (well, maybe not quite - gold coins would definitely trump just plain old stuff). But we spend many a happy hour dreaming up how we can repurpose and not toss out what we find.

Okay, okay, some of you may not even know what shoe trees (sometimes called shoe lasts) are but you may have few of those leather bound National Geographic Magazine holders or similar. So at our last get-together, when Sean brought over the magazine holders and shoe trees, he quickly showed me how these can be repurposed without any effort or glue gun. 

Need somewhere to put all those office or craft do-hickeys? No problem if you've got a couple or more of those slipcases. They would look very retro and decorative at the office since these National Geographic slipcases are leather bound with gold lettering. In the craft room, you'll never lose those little odds and ends anymore. Nice, don't you think?

Ahhh, shoe trees - you can still get them but these days they're made of plastic. The function of foldable shoe trees is to help leather shoes keep their shape between wearings. In the olden days, when shoes were hand made, shoemakers often custom-made these personalized for their customers. And somehow, wooden ones do have an intrinsic beauty. 

If your shoes are of the more plastic variety (and most are these days), shoe trees are no longer necessary. But if you do have a few, don't chuck them out - there's are ways to reuse these little gems. I have a pair just sitting on top of some shelves as sculptures; Sean showed me how they can simply be folded and used as bookends.

And here's the good news - no scissors or glue required. To quote our lady Martha, "... and that's a good thing."