Friday, November 28, 2008

Been thinking

I've been coming out of the green closet so to speak lately at work. Being more outspoken about my green efforts and getting more active (am now co-leading a greening IT group!). All this is kind of exciting and scary. Exciting because I've been getting a lot of really positive feedback and scary because I'm sure it won't all be positive. And so I'm going to have to work on what I'm least good at...debating. Being able to articulate why I feel so strongly about the 'lighter living lifestyle', and not disengaging if I am met with strong views that are counter to mine.

And so, what I've been thinking about lately is how to use video in that debate. I find that video is a great medium because it can be inspiring and thought provoking and also perhaps less confrontational (depending on how its done). I'm hoping to explore the use of video (at work mostly) to promote 'lighter living'.

Along those lines, here are some videos I'm digging today....

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo

Andy Hobsbawm on TED
(don't know why it's displaying like that with player 7 and player 8, click on either one and click on play and it should work)

Monday, November 17, 2008

No more paper towels

Inspired by Peak Oil Hausfrau's Zero Waste Kit that I found thanks to Unstuffed, I thought I'd make myself a hand towel to carry around.

My embroidery leaves something to be desired to be sure (but practice makes perfect right?). The towel itself is made from an old t-shirt.

Now I just have to remember to carry it to the bathroom and kitchen at work. In the meantime I apologize to my co-workers who have to grab wet door handles because I left my towel at my desk!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some presents from me to me

Treated myself to some 'new to me' stuff over the last week....

I haven't bought a pair of shoes since Jan. 2006 so this is a big treat! Aren't they cute? Got these babies at Clothes Secret (consignment shop on Bank St.). Now I don't have to wear my brown diesel sneakers that are falling apart and have developed a squeaking noise in the left shoe to work anymore. Woot!

And I got this stack of books at the Rockcliffe Park School book fair. Had to go back twice because I wanted more books than I could carry. This book fair is a three day affair that happens annually and should not be missed. All the books are donated and all the profits go to the school. The most expensive book I got was $4 but most were in the $1-$2 range. Some were only $.25! The books in the pick are only a subset - I have another stack that will be Christmas presents. :)

And my favourite thing....

Mybrightredrotaryphone. Courtesy of Found Design. I love it. And it's ring. DRING...DRING!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

more baby crochet!

Seems I'm at that age where everyone around me is having babies! :)

Went to a baby shower yesterday and as well as a stack of books and some super cute onesies that I got at a consignment shop, I also gave the Mom to be this baby toque (the little one will be arriving in Jan when it's -30 here!):

I used this pattern as a guide but had to rework it quite a bit for a 0-3 mo baby as opposed to a 3-6 mo baby. Here's my final pattern:

Hook size=4.5
Yarn=cotton, weight - not sure, I think worsted (US), double knitting (UK)

R1 - Make an adjustable ring (OMG - first time trying the adjustable ring - learn how to do it here). Chain 2, 15 DC in ring. SS in first DC
R2 - ch1, SC around. SS in first SC (15)
R3 - ch2, 2DC in every stitch around. SS in first DC (30)
R4 - ch1, SC around. SS in first SC (30)
R5 - ch2, * 3 DC, 2DC in 4th stitch, repeat from * around. SS in first DC (38)
R6 - ch1, SC around. SS in the first SC (38)
R7 - ch2, DC around. SS in the first DC (38)
Repeat Rows 6 and 7 until you have 11 completed rows.

The brim:
R1: Single crochet through both loops (7)
R2-38: Single crochet through back loops only (7)

SC the brim to the hat.

Make a pom pom. (the cardboard circles that I used were 4cm in diameter)

Weave in the ends.

**confession - I normally only use second hand yarn but when I was at the yarn shop buying a crochet hook (needed a new size - I tried to get one second hand - honest!), they had a bag of odds and ends that included a lot of really cute cottons including this pink so I got it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Last week my fav blogger gave me a super cool award! Was smiling all day about that so thanks Unstuffed! :)

It seems the way it works is that one passes the love around. Trouble is Unstuffed already mentioned my fav ottawa blogs. And most of the other blogs I peruse are in my right nav.

So instead of giving you green blogs, I'm going to give you craft blogs! These blogs constantly get my creative juices flowing and hopefully they will for you too. Handmade gifts beat out high carbon cost, plastic heavy gifts from half way around the world any day of the week. Especially if they are made with second hand materials! :)

  1. Purl Bee. Blog from the the folks at Purl (super amazing yarn store in SoHo NY). Free freakin' patterns folks! Knitting, crochet, embroidery, patchwork. Tutorials too. You name it that have it. With beautiful pictures to boot.

  2. Melanie Falick Books. Publisher of stunning craft books. The pics on this blog alone will make you want to start making stuff. Like now.

  3. Inchmark. Queen of the colour wheel and colour chart, Inchmark's posts are not only beautiful, they'll make you want to do things you'd never have thought about. Like collect envelope security patterns or candy wrappers. :) She's also a Mum and does lots of posting about cool kids stuff (like the awesome costumes she made her kids for halloween!).

Ok, turns out while I could easily come up with a list of 5 craft blogs - just google 'craft blogs' and you will be overwhelmed, I don't want to include blogs I don't go to on a regular basis. So to round out the 5, here are two non-craft blogs that I like a lot:

  1. Arduous. Thoughtful, heartfelt and always challengicious. :)

  2. The Spectrum. Also known as Crunchy Chicken's cousin, this blogger makes me laugh out loud on a regular basis. She also makes me cry. She puts it all out there and I admire that. Her blog posts even though often pages long, are never long enough!

Monday, November 3, 2008

How to collect grey water (and flush your toilet with it)

As I mentioned in my recent water bill post, I have started collecting my shower greywater and am using it to flush the toilet.

Here's how I do it:

1. Collect the shower warm up water

2. Dump the shower warm up water in a bucket

* At this point you can do one of two things:
  1. leave it at that and only use this water - doing this means that you can put the water directly in your toilet tank as follows: next time you flush the toilet, empty this water in the tank as it is filling. I don't do this because it sounds like it takes a lot of coordination, plus I only collect 1.5 litres of warm-up water per shower. Or

  2. you can keep going and collect the grey water too:

3. Put the plug in the shower to stop the water draining out

4. Shower. Navy style.

5. Collect the soapy shower water. Yes. That's my shower water. What, you thought I'd waster a shower's worth of water for this demo? :-) Don't be grossed out - its only soapy water.

6. Dump this water in the bucket along with the other water

Now you have your water collected, here's how you use it...unlike the shower warm up water, it is not recommended that you put grey water in your toilet tank. The soapy residue can gum up the working parts. Also if you have a fancy toilet, you know, like a dual flush one, you might have a warranty which would probably get voided if you put soapy water in the tank. So what do you do?

It's the easiest thing ever.

You won't believe it.

If you pour the greywater, from the bucket, directly into the toilet bowl, the toilet will.....flush. For reals folks. Takes more water than the toilet would normally use to flush (at least half the bucket) however the net effect is zero as this water would have gone down the drain anyway in the shower.

So there you have it - the totally low tech, no cost way to recycle some of your greywater.

If you are more of a fan of high tech, this system, sounds interesting (bonus - its a Canadian company - based in Montreal). It uses chlorine though.

And here's another low tech option for capturing greywater.

You can also use greywater to irrigate your garden. Check out the water purification/irrigation system in Earthships.

Oh and one last thing. If you are going to capture your greywater and don't plan on treating it (like with the bucket method), you should use the water within a day. After that, the water can grow bacteria and will generally be unhealthy to have around. If you haven't used it within a day, it's probably best to dump it out.