Archive for October, 2009

Cheaper By The Dozen

I have a confession to make.  As those who know me can attest to, I am a bit of a pack rat.  Not one of those scary pack rats/hoarders, like on the A&E show Obsessed, but a bit of a pack rat none the less.  For example, I like to hold on to clothes I haven’t worn in a year, just in case (I eventually donate them).  I also like to save old magazines, notebooks and papers from school, and various gifts from well-meaning relatives that I don’t use, but feel bad giving away.  It does make things like packing and moving more difficult (I’ll never have a clutter-free, clean and modern house), and means that I need LOTS of storage space; however, sometimes being a pack rat can come in handy.

Take this example.  I’ve been holding onto a few old calendars that I really liked, and thought were too nice to throw away.  When we moved into our basement suite almost a year ago (before this house), D discovered these old calendars, and tried to convince me to toss them.  I told him that I had an art project planned (I actually had no idea what I was going to do with them, but didn’t. want. to. throw. them. out.)  So I kept them, and packed them up for yet another move a few months ago (to our new house!).  Now, being in a house, and having a lot more empty wall space to fill, I got to trying to think of creative ways to fill that space.  We have some hand me down art, and some beautiful original pieces from the many talented artists in both our families (thanks E, G, and T!), but we still had lots of empty walls.  And finally it dawned on me!  A fantastic use of those carefully preserved calendars that I’ve been saving for years!  And so, last weekend we bought some cheap frames from JYSK, popped in some calendar art, and ta da!

Calendar wall art


I was really happy with how they turned out – they look like real art, and way more expensive than they really were ($12.99/frame).  I still have a lot of empty wall space though, so if anyone has any cheap and creative ideas for filling it, please share!


October 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm Leave a comment

Blog Action Day: No Idle Matter

Well, today is blog action day, and it is time to deliver on the ecoblog front, as promised.  Now, I don’t really want to write a boring post telling everyone that they should change their lightbulbs to compact fluorescents, or turn down their thermostat two degrees, or remember to recycle their newspapers.  I also don’t want to write a post bragging about the things that we do (yes, we recycle, compost, and turn the lights out when we leave the room).  I had planned to post about the projects around our house that we have done and plan on doing to reduce our energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, but to tell the truth, today my mind is elsewhere.  And that is because I did something today that I think will make a waaayy bigger difference in the grand scheme of things than changing a lightbulb.

In the spirit of blog action day, I am going to stray a bit from my intended blog topic, and reveal a little bit about what it is that I do every day when I’m not painting cabinets or building fences.  I am…(cue drumroll)…an Idle Free Ambassador.  And what, might you ask, does and idle free ambassador do?  Well, I tell people to turn off their engines!  Ha!  Actually, I do lots of other stuff, including research and providing education and awareness about air quality, climate change, and vehicle emissions.  So every single day I’m actually doing work to help protect our earth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Today was a special day though, because today I gave my very first presentation to a classroom full of twelve year olds.

Why is this such a big deal?  Well, because kids really are the future – they are the ones who will have to grow up and deal with the problems being created today, and they are the ones with the power to change our course.  Today it was great to talk to twenty-seven kids who were receptive and enthusiastic, and that definitely gives me hope.

And while we’re on the topic, just in case you’re wondering what type of impact idling has on climate change, here are a few facts:

  • Just 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine
  • For every litre of gasoline used, 2.4 kg of carbon dioxide are produced
  • If every driver in Canada reduced idling by just 3 minutes a day, it would be equivalent to taking 320,000 cars off the road!

Food for thought.

October 15, 2009 at 11:04 pm Leave a comment

Taking climate action – one blog at a time

Thanks to John and Sherry over at Young House Love for drawing my attention to this great opportunity to link up with bloggers around the world in expressing support for climate action.

Climate change is the biggest environmental issue facing our planet today, and threatens the sustainability of life as we know it for future generations.  By standing together in support of finding solutions, spreading the word about ways of reducing our environmental footprint, and motivating our political leaders to address this vital issue, we can play a role in encouraging dialogue and promoting a more sustainable way of thinking and living.

As it says on the Blog Action Day website:

“…the blogosphere has the unique opportunity to mobilize millions of people around expressing support for finding a sustainable solution to the climate crisis.”

You can help!  Just click here to register, and on October 15, write a post relating to climate change on your blog, in the context of whatever it is you like to write about.  So, for example, I’ll be talking about some of the eco-friendly changes we’ve made to our house so far, and other renovations we have planned to help reduce our carbon footprint, save money, and live more sustainably.

October 5, 2009 at 2:26 pm Leave a comment

All fenced in, and nowhere to go…

P1000175One of our most recent projects with the house involved fencing in the yard – a prerequisite before going to pick up our new pup (who was introduced in the previous post).  Now, when we bought our house, most of the yard was already fenced…except for one section along the side, next to the kitchen entrance.  Actually, this lovely, almost magical little pathway leading into the backyard was one of the things that sold us (or at least me) on this house – I just loved it.  So, once we decided that we would need to finish fencing in the yard, I worried that our lovely path would be ruined.  When D started talking about his plans to put up a six foot tall barricade, I worried even more.  After much debate (and even a few tears), we finally came to a compromise, and were both quite pleased with the result.

P1000390First, up went the fence posts.  Three were installed using big spikes, which screw into the post and then go down about two feet into the garden to hold the posts in place.  The post with the important job of holding up the gate was cemented into the ground, using a quick set cement.  Then, cedar lattice was cut to size and framed in using two-by-fours on the outer frame, and one-by-ones to hold the lattice in place.  The same process was repeated on the section to the right side of the path.  Once the two lattice frames were installed, the next step was to build a gate.  And here is where my highly instructive play-by-play comes to an end, because I was banished from the area while the extremely technical process of gate-building was going on.  

Luckily, it turned out that all my worrying was for naught, since we ended up with a lovely fence that didn’t destroy the path and side garden at all (although Juno has happily taken on that task herself).  Below, the finished product:


Now, Juno can be safe and secure in her yard.  Although, they say that huskies can be escape artists, and it’s true!  You can’t see it in the photo above, but there existed a tiny gap between the stairs and the left fence post, where the vines come through, and the little bugger managed to squeeze herself through it  last week.  Luckily, she didn’t go far, and we’ve since blocked off the hole.

So, what do you think of our new fence?  Any exciting fence building stories of your own?  Feel free to share.

October 4, 2009 at 1:05 am Leave a comment

October 2009
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