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Archive for the ‘Reduce Reuse Recycle’ Category

So I have been a pretty busy recently with various projects ranging from my Argentina photo book (look here!), to working on computers for my friend’s IT company….But what I really enjoy lately is making things by myself, whether it be small craft projects, new clothing, or new recipes.¬†

RAIN BARREL
I already have my garden growing and I see some budding on the tomato and squash plants! VERY exciting! I have compost in action and the last thing I had to do to complete the outdoor project was to make a rain barrel catcher. Now you can surely purchase these barrels to attach to your gutter that has an attachable hose at the bottle, so it is as easy as 1-2-3 to water your plants. Check out these here. But they are quite expensive and plus for us, our gutter was far away from any plants we needed to water, so I made my own!

I purchased a cheap $10 plastic bin (like the compost one) with a lid. Then I purchased a gutter attachment that curves Рsee here, for another $10. Cut what you need off the existing gutter, attach the piece and curve it into the barrel. Easy as that! All for $20!

rainbarrel

What is left to do now is to cut a hole in the lid and stick the attachment in – this is so bugs don’t start feeding off the water…
When you want to water your plants, take a simple watering can and scoop up the water and take it where you need! After all this rain, it has been completely full for weeks – one step to save lots of water! ūüôā

NEW(OLD) Skirt!
Next on the to do list I had was to make new clothes out of old. I am not amazing at sewing what-so-ever, actually I am pretty awful :/ but I wanted to try. So I took all the clothes out of my closet that I was going to sell but instead figured out how I can reuse them all together. So below is what I made out of 2 shirts…

Front

Side

So it’s not perfect, but hey, it is salvaging old clothes and one skirt less that I would otherwise buy… ūüôā
I have been inspired by these few sites that are amazing! Check them out – anyone who wants to not buy new clothes, but would like to¬†up-cycle¬†their existing¬†wardrobe…

Crafting a Greener World – sewing but as well as other home, craft projects…catch them on Twitter! @CAGW
Transforming a men’s shirt into a skirt … CraftGossip– This one is for a young girl, but Clever Girl has it figured out for woman.. I love them all and already got dad’s shirt to do my own!¬†

GOLDFISH!
I made my own Goldfish! Ok well in the end it was Goldcircles…I didn’t have any cookie cutters to make cool shapes but check it out!

GoldCircles

You can spot the few attempted “goldfish” I tried to make by hand. It was a simple¬†recipe¬†I found on Yumsugar, with only a few¬†ingredients. VERY tasty! Better than the unknown ingredients found in store-bought goldfish…

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So I was with my Aunt this weekend up in Fredrick, MD. She came back from Wal-mart in the morning with tons of plastic bags (you know this doesn’t fly with me if you read my 5 challenges post previously…) and I asked her where were her cloth reusable bags?? Her response was “I reuse them! I use them to pick up Shadow’s poop…” I said Okay, understandable, but you still throw away all of these plastic bags, thats not good. Now its hard when family becomes involved in these sorts of situations. I hate to be the one that says, “Well actually Aunt Shell, you aren’t really doing any better if you were to just to use the bags once and throw them away.” So I am careful to choose my words wisely and try to shift her (or anyone else for that matter) thinking; how to be even MORE green. I told her later that I had to come up with a solution so she wouldn’t have to be dependent on reusing plastic bags.¬†

So this is what I have come up with, ways to help minimize your dependence on plastic bags. 

1. Pooper-scooper – so you have to carry this thing around with you when walk the dog, but scooping that poop up and putting it in the trash will save hundreds of plastic bags a year. The only thing is, you should put it in a biodegradable bag, which brings me to..

2. 100% Biodegradable plastic bags  РBIOBAG which is made up of 100% decomposable matter, so no chemicals or toxins going into the land. You could use these while you follow your dog or even use them to as your main trash bag when scooping the poop up. 

3. Compost your pet’s waste – If you want to get really green with your dog’s number 2, check out this article by Marion Owen about how to compost your dog’s waste! Dog Waste Composter¬†

And don’t forget all of the other opportunities to green your pet:

-Make new toys out of old articles of clothing or balls

-Buy natural, organic food

-Use biodegradable kitty litter like FelinePine.

-Bake your own dog’s treats, check out these¬†recipes from The Poop Pantry.

A healthy pet is a happy one! 

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After I came back from Buenos Aires, I was inspired to do more with less. That is, less energy, spend less money, but with a little more patience. And after all, summer is approaching, that means more SUN ENERGY!

After washing and drying your clothes by hand for more than 5 weeks, I became more appreciative of our efficient machine washer and dryer here at home. But there is something about the sun drying my clothes which I like a little bit better. So,

1: Dry clothes by hand, OUTSIDE! 

I took on this task the day I came back from Argentina, washed all my clothes on one setting less (warm instead of hot, or cold instead of warm) and took each load outside to my deck, hung them up on the dryer rack (or use a clothes line) in the sun (but be careful of the sun fading the color, they can dry just as good in the shade when it is warm out) and waited. I swear, 10 minutes later in 70 degree weather, they were all dry! Ready to be folded and put away. There is something real soothing about hanging up your clothes in the hot sun. I LOVE IT! Less money on your electricity bill, a little more patience and you can become a little more greener! 

hanging my clothes

2. Compost! See my post earlier about how easy it is to compost! Without spending more than 10 bucks! Anyone can do it, even in an apartment! 

3. Use less! Of course of course, everyone says use less, but one trick my family and I figured out was to use more microwave save containers: this means less plastic-wrap (which some contain toxins like DEHA that is a known human carcinogen, EEK!) used to heat up your dishes as well as to preserve food in the refrigerator. Check out these inexpensive ceramic containers: Chefini. Another trick I found was using less plastic bags and more reusable containers, like plastic containers or these cool snack pouches! (Seen on Oprah) Reusablebags.com 

www.reusablebags.com

4. Steel Bottle What? Steel?…Yup! Plastic is OUT and Steel is IN. Most plastic bottles (reusable or not) contain a chemical called BPA or Bisphenol A that can affect your brain and physical well being. That doesn’t sound too good…so check out Klean Kanteen¬†and purchase one bottle for $20 that is socially, economically and environmentally responsible. With YOUR purchase of one bottle can save hundreds of plastic bottles you would be purchasing over a year that will be kept out of the landfill! Pretty easy right?

 

 

 

5. Reusable Bags I know, you have heard this plenty of times, but it works! And it is EASY. SO SO easy. Many of the bags I have¬†received¬†were free from expos but the few that I have bought were around $1 – $5. Cheap right? With a few dollars, you can save hundreds of plastic bags a year bringing them with you¬†wherever¬†you may go. I take them to Target, the grocery store, CVS, everywhere. Ok so in the beginning I get lots of looks, especially if it isn’t at a farmers market or Whole Foods. Or comments like “Trying to save the world huh…?” that is usually not too friendly…But, my response is, well actually yes, I am. Believe me, it is started to catch on. It is so simple and so easy people will get the hang of it. Right as your checking out, just say to the cashier, “I have my own bag” and where I live, they usually bag (other places you have to do it yourself which makes it easier) so just hand it over. Remember, a plastic bag is a 500 – 1,000 year life span:¬†read about it more here¬†¬†wholefoods

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Compost!

Now, it seems scary, but I swear it is NOT. I tried this last year, and I was determine to figure it out, in a simple easy way. And it can be done! With only up to 10 dollars for materials, you can reduce your waste that goes into the landfill right in your kitchen.

Why this is good?  When you throw away simple food scraps like veggie shavings or banana peels into a plastic bag that can hold up for hundreds of years, nitrogen is produced along with other toxins which pollutes the land it is sitting in. NOT GOOD! This is one simple way, anyone can reduce their waste and have a better impact on our planet!

Step one: get a big plastic garbage can, about 32 ounces or less 

Step two: poke a bunch of holes in the side of the can with a hammer and nail about 1/4 inch thick, spaced about 10 inches apart all the way around.

Step three: collect your kitchen scraps: fruit peels, veggie shavings, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grinds, but NO meat or fish scraps and NO pet waste. 

Step four:¬†add BROWN (carbon)¬†ingredients:¬†dried leaves, shredded newspaper or cardboard and GREEN (nitrogen) ingredients: kitchen scraps, fresh soil, garden waste…throw it all into the big trash bin

Step five: put the lid on top and roll the bin on it’s side to combine all ingredients or use a shovel to smash it all up

Step six: repeat the layering each time you add your kitchen scraps

Note: if it starts to smell funky, this means you have too much GREEN/nitrogen ingredients, and you need to add more BROWN/carbon ingredients: add shredded newspaper or cardboard to the pile and make sure you mix it up! 

Step seven: keep it moist! don’t drench the mixture, but sprinkle water on it every time you layer

Step eight:¬†Once your compost becomes a soil mixture, usually takes about 2 -4 months, add it to your favorite part of your garden by mixing it with existing soil. Don’t have a garden big enough? Find a near by park or even a plot of land in the city: you will be doing your local community a favor!¬†

Check out more on compost and guerrilla gardening!

 

My compost!

My compost!

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Well, it is 4 days away from Mother’s day, what to do for Mom?? Well my mom LOVES food, even though she is a health nut. And I have her getting on my band wagon with eating more organic, local foods. With this said, my one gift to my mom is digging up a garden in the back yard. She is a teacher who is very busy (Teachers appreciation week I might add) and 2 days on the weekend is not enough. So, today, I got the rake and the shovel out and began to overturn the current gross next to our shed. We had a few tomato and herb plants last year in pots, but this year we want to go even bigger! 3 tomato plants, 2 pepper plants, zucchini, lettuce, and some herbs. That should do it for now, because we do love to go to our local farmers market. Speaking of which, check out Olney’s Farmers market starting this Sunday, on Mother’s day! They are located in front of the old movie theater off Town Center dr. They are suppose to have tons of craft venders and hopefully you can catch a few farmers with their first pick of the season.¬†

So you take Saturday afternoon probably to head up to your CVS or local grocery store to find the perfect (or not so perfect) card for Mom. I tend to dread this moment. All of the cards are just stacked starring straight at you. None which every sound exactly what you want, either too mushy for your relationship or too boring. So I decided since last year to make my mom cards from either old cards around the house – cut the front picture off and use¬†construction¬†paper to write what you want or cut up some old magazines with pretty flowers and clue old buttons and ribbons on them to make it pretty! Moms always loved when you did this when you were younger – a few years on you doesn’t make a difference. They still appreciate it. I swear! Try it!¬†

Check out this website that gives you more ideas on homemade gifts for Mom:

Crafting a Greener World

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There are many things that interested me; photography, design, food, friends, going out: A typical 22 year old life style, right? Well yes, but I will be letting you know what I, as well as you, at any age can do to slightly reduce your impact on the environment. I am not here to critize, judge or yell, but to inform and to let the world (local area of Rockville, MD especially) that it is possible to green through your personal daily life.

In these economic hard times, wouldn’t you want to see your surrounding community thriving off your money rather than seeing it go under? Support your local grocery stores, hardware stores, cleaners, farmer, clothing boutique and so on. It will be your money being returned in your surrounding area, which will lead to a better, thriving city for you to enjoy.

My first word of advice to start realizing what your community has to offer is to pick up the local paper, check out the neighborhood news at your local grocery store: what the hell is going on in your community??? The good thing about this day in age is the abundant amount of information on the internet (I became to realize how beneficial this is from living in the stone age in Buenos Aires) that gives you an exclusive look into your community.

An outdoor concert this weekend? Farmers market the second week of May? A local crafts fair with local venders? A wine tasting?? (My favorite) These are all a few amazing, fun things you can do that I KNOW are and will be this summer in the surrounding area – if not downtown Rockville, perhaps, Olney, Gaithersburg or continue our way downtown through Bethesda and Friendship heights to of course D.C., which will be hard NOT to find out what’s going on there.¬†

What I will be researching are mostly my interests, but also plainly what is going on in this area through these categories: 

~Arts & Entertainment: Local and green events 

~Night Life: Who says you can’t be green when going out??

~Food & Restaurants: Eat Local, Eat Organic

~Businesses & Shopping: How to be a social, economic and environmental conscious shopper

~Home: Tips to make your home greener

~Green News from resources like http://www.coopamerica.com

~Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: USE LESS!

~Green Deign: What is happening in the green design world??

Now of course, I will try as hard to find out each of these categories the most GREEN possible, but I believe it is important to become engage with your local community what ever that may be, enjoy the things you love around you, near you, to put money back into your neighborhood.

 

My Friend Sarah and I at Butler's Orchard 2007

My Friend Sarah and I at Butler's Orchard 2007

http://www.butlersorchard.com

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