Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our new desk

A few posts ago, I briefly mentioned our office renovation project.

Our office badly needed a reno as we've never had a proper office. What we had instead was a small room with a bunch of random furniture including a desk I'd had since I was about 14.

Here is a glimpse of the mess that was our old desk (for some reason hubby didn't want me posting a pic of our entire office - whhhhyyyyyy?)

Bad right?

Before starting the reno we had to decide on some rules. We landed on the following:
*Repurpose whatever we can,
*only buy new items if there is absolutely no alternative
*second hand purchases and gifts are allowed! :-)

When my folks heard about our project they jumped in to help by offering a number of items from their house including this not so pretty 100+ year old piece of wood:

Which my wonderful hubby planed and sanded and treated until it became this:

Isn't it gorgeous? If you look closely you can see the holes where the square nails used to be.

Hubby finished the wood with Eco-House Hardwood Oil Finish. You can buy it in Ottawa at Healthiest Home. He sanded the wood, oiled it, sanded it, oiled it and sanded it again. You can't tell from the photo but the wood feels like butter. So soft.

We did have to buy two new things. After searching for ages for second hand brackets we ended up buying two sturdy brackets from Lee Valley.

What happened to the old desk? Hubby took it apart as it was solid wood and we've stored it for now before we turn it into something else.

Wondering about the creepy doll? That's a damned dolly. They are packaged plastic free in a tiny cardboard coffin. What? Awesome. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Some good news stories

This week someone tweeted a totally awesome article about how the largest contributor to climate change was the manufacture of goods. The article had a wicked pie chart which showed that buying less stuff would reduce our global climate footprint more than any other measure (e.g. if we all bought energy efficient appliances).

It was such a great article. But I forgot to favourite it and now it is lost in the Twitter abyss. Unless anyone smarter than me favourited it and could send it to me? :)

In any case, what I really want to talk about are some very cool initiatives here in the Ottawa area that are helping people buy less stuff. They are both part of a great 'keep stuff out of the trash by resuing it' model. It's a model that works and that could and should be used more in Ottawa (both these initiatives are in communities just outside Ottawa - would be great to have something in the city centre).

First there is the re-use centre in MacDonald's Corners (800 10th Con Dalhousie) which collects perfectly functioning stuff in a 'store-like' centre that anyone can visit and take stuff away for free! It's similar to the Freecyle/Full Circles concept except this is a store that you can browse around and doesn't require having access to the interweb. It's open 3 days a week (Thursday, Saturday and Sunday).

Second there is the Wakefield Dish Lending Library. This library opened only last weekend and is currently collecting gently used, uncracked, unchipped, non-aluminum (and of course, non-plastic) dishes, cutlery and glassware. These items will then be made available to community residents to borrow for events so as to avoid using disposable items. It looks like the library is being run by the Wakefield Fair Trade Committee so I think they are the folks to contact for more info.

What I also like about both of these initiatives is that they seem to foster a sense of community. They are run by volunteers, and provide a service to a community, but they also provide a space for community to grow, and gather.

I have this card on my cork board that lists ways to 'build community'. Some of them are:
-leave your house
-know your neighbours
-greet people
-use your library
-share what you have

Check. Check. Check.