Things I LOVE – Our Local Library

Imagine if you will a place close enough to walk to where you can go in select anything off the shelves you want and take it home without playing a dime. You can even go online and request an item from this great place (or others close by) and the wounderful staff will put it aside for you.

I LOVE our local library. I love that whenever I hear about a great book I simply log onto the library website and request it. I get a phone call on my cell to let me know when it arrives and go pick it up. The little one and I make a weekly trek to the library to fill her library tote with new books to cuddle up with on the couch and read…and read…and read.

What I have out right now:
The Kite Runner
Prodigal Summer
Hollyhock Cooks: Food to Nurish Body, Mind and Soil

Oneskein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit and Crochet
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder


Waiting On:

A Thousand Splendid Suns
Stuff : The Secret Lives of Everyday Things
Playful Parenting

Last Minute Knitted Gifts

Well as the evenings get cooler I look forward to snuggling up on the couch and reading a few good books…well, when I’m not knitting!  Any good book recommendations…???

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September 25, 2007 at 5:20 pm 3 comments

The Knitting Season

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My first sweater off the needles – a baby cardigan (Daisy a free pattern from knitty) for a close friends first little one…and onto the new a felted bowl from this great book I have on lone from the library. 

Autumn, my favorite season, has so many sights, smells, sounds and tastes associated with it. I’m thinking of the leaves crunching underfoot, the beautiful abundance at the farmer’s market, pumpkin pie with whipped cream or the crisp cool air in the morning that gives way to our last few glorious sunny days. One thing I was recently reminded of is the touch of autumn. To me it is that of the knitting in my hands. The cool air brings with it the start of knitting season and has me reaching for my knitting bag and casting on a project or two.

I’ve started to take inventory of our hats and scarves and mittens. Who needs what? What can we pass on to friends and family? What have friends passed onto us? Where are the gaps? My project list quickly gowns as we all need a new hat and perhaps some warm wool socks. The little one has requested a sweater for herself in her favorite color (purple of course) and I will hopefully have enough yarn for a matching hat. 

Handmade gifts for family and friends are being planned as I think to the colder days of winter and look forward to the rhythmic clicking of needles and the feel of the wool in my hands. 

September 19, 2007 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

And They’re Off…

Live Lightly Tour

At the same time as the Janssen’s hit the road for their exciting adventure living sustainable in an RV powered by veggie oil, a new website has been launched for the Live Lightly Tour. Love it! The logos and graphic elements I designed for them are very much complemented by the T-shirts and stickers Sara designed and the blog and RV wrap design by What Cheer. The new website offers you a number of ways to get involved, Spread the Love and help support the Live Lightly Tour.

Bookmark the site and join me in following along on this families sustainable journey.

September 17, 2007 at 9:06 am Leave a comment

Autumns Arrival

Fall is truly here, little E had her first day of school this week. Our teacher is very calm and inviting and the other kids and parents were interesting in the best ways. I look forward to feeling inspired once again in gentle, creative parenting. We found an immediate flow of play, song and a shared snack time.

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This weekend also provided a lot of time for canning and preserving some of the richness of summer. From left to right – Apple sauce, tomatoes with basil, veggie salsa and wild blackberry/blueberry jam. I still have some pears to can and perhaps a small batch of pear ginger jam.

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September 10, 2007 at 9:26 pm 1 comment

Things I LOVE – All Natural Home Cleaning

I’ve talked here quite a bit about the things we’ve done as a family to reduce our impact on the environment, but one thing that I haven’t touched on yet is the one thing that I think is essential for both frugal reasons and environmental ones. Now I don’t really love cleaning my home but the task is made much better while using all natural cleaning products. I’ve used store bought green cleaners for years – good for the environment but not the pocket book. I always use much less than what the manufacture recommends.  The product last a long time however it feels like I’m always having to buy more and with living on three floors I’ve been looking for something more economical that I can have on each floor. In terms of store bought green cleaners I’m partial to the Ecover line of products and am still using the Seventh Generation laundry detergent to wash our clothes. 

Recently I have made the switch to DIY cleaners made from recipes containing Dr. Bronner’s, lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar, my favourite essential oils and water. The cost is dramatically less, its fun mixing up the solutions and best of all they work. My home is clean and there are no toxic chemicals or nasty smells…mostly you smell a light lavender-vinegar scent. The little one loves to help and has her own spray bottle and cloth.

Surface Cleaner:
2 Tbsp of Lemon Juice
10 – 15 drops of lavender essential oil
Fill bottle almost full with warm water
add 2 Tbsp of Dr. Bronner’s

Glass Cleaner:
1/2 cup vinegar
10 – 15 drops of lavender essential oil
Fill bottle almost full with warm water
add 1 Tbsp of Dr. Bronner’s

Bathroom Cleaner:
4 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tsp Baking Soda
10 drops of lavender essential oil
Fill bottle almost full with warm water
add 2 Tbsp of Dr. Bronner’s

September 7, 2007 at 3:51 am 1 comment

The 11th Hour

If you have been living under a rock or totally off the grid (good for you), however, you may not have heard about Leonardo DiCaprio’s new documentary, the 11th Hour.

The film is a new feature length documentary focusing on our environmental crises caused by human actions and their impact on the planet. It explores how humanity has arrived at this moment; how we live, how we impact the earth’s ecosystems, and what we can do to change our course. You can view the trailer below:

I managed some time away from the little one and a movie date with a good friend this past weekend. Of course we went and saw the 11th Hour.

The 11th Hour is packed full with a wide range of people (Stephan Hawking, David Suzuki, Bruce Mau, etc.) and information about our current situation here on earth, how we got here and what we need to do NOW to make change. Unlike previous eco-documentaries that opt for manipulative scare tactics, this film’s strength is in its directness, from start to finish. The movie will definetly appeal to a wide audience—and most likely a young one. I hope that it becomes required viewing in grade schools in years to come.

The take away message … CONSUME LESS. LIVE MORE.

Along with the film, the filmmakers created www.11thhouraction.com, an action website based solely on helping people identify the things everyone can do to become more sustainable. (more…)

September 4, 2007 at 6:16 pm Leave a comment

“B” is for Beg, Borrow and Barter

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One way of reducing our consumption of resources, save money and build community is to get the word out about what you need and then borrow or barter for it. In our consumerist society this is so often forgotten. We all need to beg, borrow and barter for things more often.

Bartering in Action
Through various work connections we bartered computer services for a new computer. Great! Wounderful! Our old computer was running out of hard drive space and a little too slow for our needs. The new machine is efficient, fast and has more space than the old one.

At the same time our neighbours had put the word out that their computer had died and they were in need of a new one. Well we moved hard drives around and used our old computer box to build our neighbours a new to them computer. The same neighbours are in the middle of a bathroom renovation and have an old bathroom cabinet they no longer need. You guessed it…we are in need of a cabinet in our bathroom. So they now have our old computer happily humming away at their house and we have a newly installed bathroom cabinet. Bartering really does work!

Borrowing in Action
As I’ve mentioned before we live in a cohousing community where sharing resources is a central theme. If I need to trim the plants in my garden I simply go to the Garden Shed and borrow whatever tools I need. If I’m canning some Summer Salsa I simply go to the Common House and borrow a canner and all the necessary tools. If I need my carpets cleaned I can put the word out to my neighbours and we can hire a company to come in and clean all our carpets at the same time, usually for a cost savings.

Why can’t this model of sharing resources be incorporated into the design of our cities? Why does every household need a lawn mower or other items used infrequently? Could neighbourhoods have a central coop where they could go to get a tool that they need when they need it? This wouldn’t have to be limited to tools…what about camping gear, sports equipment, children’s toys, etc.???

P.S. – The Summer Salsa turned out great. It’s from this wounderful book on home preserving.

September 2, 2007 at 7:22 pm 1 comment

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I am passionate about reducing my impact on the environment and am learning to live simply and live green. I am learning the age old arts of home food preservation and cooking from scratch. This is yet another eco-blog and a place for me to really channel my passions for writing, photography and sustainable living.
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