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Street Finds - Wood for Cutting Boards

Posted on August 13, 2016 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)


Do you ever find that you think about something you need, then put it out of your mind to find it arrives at some unexpected moment? It happens to me a lot and again yesterday. 


It was garbage day and across street from my building I spotted a some interesting materials put out ready for the taking. So, of course, I dashed over to see what I could pick through and found an Ikea chest of drawers that had been taken apart and set out on the curb. 


What a surprise. I've been thinking about Christmas and what to give my friends who have EVERYTHING already. There was a post on Ikea's Livet Hemma site about dressing up cutting boards with leather. Of course, they were flogging their own cutting boards but I thought, AH HA, there's an idea. Why not gift my friends this year with custom made cutting boards? All I needed was some wood. 



Et voilà! I dashed across the street and found a motherlode of wood. I nabbed one of the drawers (heavier than I thought but heck, it was pure pine!). Once home, I took the drawer apart and found I had enough boards to make at least half a dozen cutting boards. Now I'm just am waiting for a friend to bring over some tools I can use. 



To top off my day, I found esy-to-follow DIY instructions for making your own cutting board over at A Beautiful Mess. Yay! For instructions, click here. 


I'll be showing off my own cutting boards soon. First, I have to find a saw!


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Garden Recycling - Plastic Containers 2

Posted on May 24, 2016 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)



For those who were wondering if my plastic container garden was ever completed, wonder no more. Over this past long weekend, the weather warmed up and I found the time to repot into my recycled plastic containers. It was surprising to see how quickly the plants resettled in. Once the plants are sturdy enough, I will repot them up permanently in my larger metal garden containers - old kettles and pails. With more warmer weather on the way, it won't be long.




This year I've planted sage, tomato, flat-leaf parsley, oregano, thyme, chives, some garlic, rosemary, and mint from seed. All of these were started off in empty eggshells 'pots', then each one placed back into egg cartons. If my egg cartons had been those paper ones, I would have simpled planted the seeds into the carton compartments but mine are clear plastic and I like to reuse these over and over again. I stored the carton 'incubators' under the kitchen sink cupboard - a nice dark and cosy place for seedlings to sprout. Once the seedlings had grew a few inches, I transplanted the little fellows into plastic milk containers (the ones I used for the pizza gardens last year).


Note that before transplanting, I gently crush each eggshell and then place each in the new container. Even though the eggshells will soften in the new pots, it's still a good idea to crush them as it allows the seedling roots to quickly reach out and settle in new soil. Because it was too cold to put these outside, I placed the plastic containers in front of a sunny window near the heating ducts. When it was warm enough outdoors, I moved the containers onto to their bamboo perch.



This is such a simple way for anyone to garden. The kids that live in my apartment building are already working on this year's balcony gardens (I gave each one my surplus seedling plants) and were, again this year, eager to see the results. Note you don't have to use plastic containers - waxed milk containers work just as well. So do tin cans. If you are using tin cans, remember to put something under each can to prevent rust showing up on your patio or balcony. An old saucer or plastic lids work well.


Also you don't have to start off your seedlings in eggshells - egg cartons (as I mentioned above), newspapers or cardboard toilet rolls work just as well. Use what you have and get the kids involved. As with the eggshells, you should make tears in the toilet roll pots and open up the bottom as cardboard takes a long time to disintegrate and this can stunt the seedling roots. Newspaper on the other hand falls apart quickly.


Enjoy your gardening!


Decor Recycling - Spring on the Balcony

Posted on May 14, 2016 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (2)


I love spring because it means that I get to decorate my balcony and my studio with an eclectic mix of vintage and found objects that have been stored away over winter. The warmer weather allows me to expand my living space. Here are a few of my balcony ideas.



I invite bird visitors to my balcony, not with bird feeders (these only attract pigeons!) but with bird baths - both water and sand. Birds like to take a dip into the sand bath to rid themselves of any pesky little insects that hide amongs their feathers. I make both types of bird baths using clay pots and saucers. I attach the saucers to the pots with velcro - that way I can undo them easily for storage or use for my extra plants.



Because wasps and hornets can be a problem when eating al fresco, I hang little jars of sugared water (flat coke works, too) a few feet away from where I will be dining. That way, the insects get their meal while I enjoy mine. By the way, the insects survive their little dip and I set them free once I've finished my meal.



I like to have a pot or two of herbs on my patio table while I work and usually pot these up in whatever container I have handy. This year, I potted my Italian parsley in empty maple syrup tins. This way I get to nibble on something while I work and the scent of herbs can be soothing.




When the sun goes down, I light up my patio with candles set in small vintage yogurt jars and topped with a few vintage cheese graters. I place these on an old laundry bench that I picked up in England.


As you can see, it's really easy to create a unique and personal atmosphere on your balcony or even in a small garden space just by using what you have on hand.


Tomorrow - what I do inside my studio.


Garden Recycling - Plastic Containers 1

Posted on May 11, 2016 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm getting so impatient to start my little balcony garden. I've managed to start chives, garlic, and thyme plants this year and have kept these nice and warm under my kitchen sink. Now it's time to get them outside. However, here in Ottawa it's still a little too cool to put out my plants. My plastic milk containers, all in a row, are ready to be filled. 



I slipped a bamboo rod throw the handles of each container to hold them in place and then added two over-the-door hooks to secure the rod to my balcony railing. I love this time of gardening as it saves me lots of room on my long, but very narrow, balcony. And it's portable, too, so I can move it when the plants need more sunshine. Once the plants are too big for the containers, I will transplant them into bigger garden pots. 

Spring Weekend Recycling Projects

Posted on April 23, 2016 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

The weekend's just started and if you want to get outside and do something, but nothing too strenuous, how about these four projects?



I've got a collection of vintage trucks that I use for all kinds of things, including this one. Just plunk a couple of potted plants in the truck and you're done. The little guy loves these truck plant pots and spends hours pushing them around the back green garden. 



Make a statement with these bashed and banged up tin cans. Just paint with any leftover paint you have on hand, plunk in some daffodil bulbs and wait for the flowers to appear.




For a little indoor spring project magic, this little frame is just the ticket. I photocopied a page from an old French lease that I found in Paris and decoupaged it onto a charity shop frame. I found the fern lying on the ground in a neighbour's yard, pressed it, and stuck it in the frame.  




This entire project uses recycled material. I have a terranium that's overflowing with moss (I can't remember what it's called, unfortunately) so I removed some. Then I took some Styrofoam computer packaging, shaped it, smoothed on some soil and then applied the moss. I twisted some bits of wire into U-shapes and used these to hold the moss in place. Twigs support the plant and the basket is one I found in a tip during one of my morning walks. Took a bit of time to look this good as the moss had to settle. To maintain the moss I just spritz it daily with water.


Try any of these ideas (or make up your own) and your friends will be amazed by your creativity and your wallet will stay filled with green.


Earth Day Every Day

Posted on April 22, 2016 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)


If we all practice Earth Day every day, we will make a difference. All it takes is one small step - whether it's donating to or volunteering for a local non-profit environmental organization; whether you decide to cycle or walk instead of using your car; whether you decide to plant a tree; whether it's refusing plastic packaging - whatever your action, it will make a differenc. Start now and keep on.