Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hai Karate T-shirt Upgrade


I've had a black t-shirt with a picture of Bruce Lee spinning records on it chilling in my drawer for about two years now. I like it, but I don't love it, so it doesn't get worn. I wanted to make it super awesome, so I decided to stick with the martial arts theme and give myself a yellow belt in cool. I went to the thrift store and found a large yellow t-shirt to cut up into a belt. Next I cut the neck and sleeves to give it a handmade feel and then got to work on sewing my super belt onto the t-shirt and haiya! I love, love, love this shirt. Nobody bothers me either!

Container Farmer


With the cost of gas pushing up, the cost of groceries is always sure to follow. It is always more expensive to eat healthy, and as much as I love to support local farming, my salary has not been keeping pace with the rest of my necessary expenditures so I've decided to try my hand at container farming. I already have a great herb garden going in my front yard, but I'm not sure that I'm ready to dig up my ornamental grass and replace it with squash so I decided to look for a good sunny, empty space in which to lay down my roots. Fortunately, although I live in the city I happen to have a very long and wide driveway. There is plenty of unused space there and it gets all of the sun any veggie could want. So I went to Burpee's website and started checking out veggies that would be easy to grow in containers. I wanted to try out some annual herbs also, I can always transplant those into my regular herb bed once the weather warms. I bought about 100 peat pellets in which to plant my new veggie buddies and some seeds. Some seeds need to be started indoors and some should be sewn directly into the soil once the danger of frost has passed and my seeds fall about half and half into these categories. I heated up some water and got some large tupperware containers ready for my peat pellets. I labeled each container, filled the little pellets with seed, watered, and crossed my fingers. So far I have planted: Patio Princess Hybrid Tomato, Sweet Basil, Jalapeno pepper, Rosemary, Flavorburst pepper, and fairy tale hybrid eggplant seeds. I also tossed in a food moonflower seeds just because I love them. Now, to find containers.....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Freecycling

My fiancee sent me two great recycling resources this week. The first is http://www.freecycle.org/.
Their tagline is "changing the world one gift at a time". Membership is free and you can join large network of groups seeking to give or receive previously used items. It is a list that functions similarly to the free section of craigslist, but is moderated. There is no trading however, only gift giving. If you have something that you no longer need or want, simply list the items as available. It is organized and moderated by location and the person interested in your item is expected to do the pick-up. The biggest difererence between freecycle and craigslist appears to be that you must arrange for pick-up by the reciever, no leaving items on the porch or curb.
The next website is http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php. Here you can trade books, dvds, and music for only the cost of postage. I've long been a fan of half.com, which is very nearly free for many books, but this is the first website allowing you to trade nationwide at no cost and with no commissions.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Batteries and What to do with them


While visiting my Uncle for my 2-year-old cousin this weekend, he showed me a mason jar full of old batteries and asked where I had been recycling mine. I noted that now that my daughter is 11, I don't have so many batteries to recycle, but promised to find a place close-by. As it turns out, it is so much easier than I would have thought. Apparantly every Staples and Best Buy in the area takes computers, electronics, and that's right.....batteries. It is, of course, always advisable to purchase rechargeable batteries though to cut down even furhter on waste.



You can find your closest Staples here.

You can find your local Best Buy here.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Coolest Cardboard Furniture I've Seen All Day!

'Green' furniture cut out from cardboard
(on Cnet News)

What does cardboard furniture have to do with technology?
As prices rise for oil and raw materials (even sawdust), fans of furniture made from cardboard call it more earth-friendly and affordable than its wooden counterparts, which usually requires felling trees, or furniture made of pressboard, which contains toxic glues. It's also lightweight and can be packed flat for easy shipping.
Star architect Frank Gehry is known as the design pioneer in this realm. Between 1969 and 1973, his "Easy Edges" series of designs layered corrugated cardboard to create chairs and tables capped by a wooden layer for extra strength. Design schools regularly teach Gehry's forms.
Cardboard as a building block is slowly gaining in appeal around the world. The 2000 Olympics in Sydney featured cardboard furniture. In Hong Kong, cardboard is used for coffins.
Credit: Vitra

View the original article and photos here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bike There!




A friend sent me this article on DirtRag:



Google Maps 'Bike There'

by Karl Rosengarth

The folks at googlemapsbikethere.org have created an online petition to get Google to add a "bike there" component to their maps. They hope to convince the Google Maps team that folks want the ability to get bicycle route information via the main Google Maps interface. In addition to getting driving directions for cars and mass transit information, the folks at googlemapsbikethere.org want Google Maps to provide the ultimate in sustainability and self-reliance and exercise and healthy living—bicycle route information.As of this report googlemapsbikethere.org has collected over 12,000 signatures. You can add your signature to the online petition (which is reprinted below) by clicking here.
To: Google, and the Google Maps teamWe would like a 'Bike There' feature added to Google Maps—to go with the current 'Drive There' and 'Take Public Transit' options.The feature would take into account actual bicycle lanes from the locality being mapped, and it would automatically plan a route for a bicyclist, possibly even providing the cyclist options for either the most direct route, or the most bicycle-friendly (safest) route. The Google Maps-based third party site, byCycle.org (http://byCycle.org/), provides these features for two metro areas—Portland, Oregon and Madison, Wisconsin, and there are countless other mapping initiatives around the world aimed at accomplishing the same goal. We hope that Google will consider building this feature into the core Google Maps service.There are many reasons why this feature would be a wonderful edition to Google Maps. Among them, some of the most influential would be to:
Make bicycling safer for millions of bicyclists around the world.
Empower world citizens to better adapt their lifestyles to face the challenges of global climate change.
Help Google realize its core mission of 'organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful.' By implementing the 'Take Public Transit' option, Google and the Google Maps team have shown themselves to be concerned and capable world citizens; a 'Bike There' feature addition to Google Maps would be the ultimate statement in support of sustainable development.For more information on this feature request please visit the Google Maps 'Bike There' website (http://GoogleMapsBikeThere.org/).Thank you, Google and the Google Maps team! And thank you, petitioners, for joining us in attempting to realize this very important goal!
I'll be signing the petition and I really hope that this feature is intergrated. So sign-up an help remind everyone to "Bike There" more.

Organic Day Spas?

My mom is a massage therapist and clued me in to a new trend, organic day spas. I was a bit skeptical at first, how could day spas really relate to recycling, but from what I've read about the new ReNew Organic Day Spa they've incorporated a number of green builiding and recycling techniques that are really innovative. Baltimore Magazine has even named them "Best of Baltinmore" in 2007. You can read their review here and get additional information here. What a great way to truly feel good about recycling.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What's Mine is Yours

Treehugger is highlighting clothes refashioning this week in their e-newsletter and in their article they mention Whatsmineisyours.com. This website offers a place to swap, buy&sell, or barter clothes. What a great way to change out the items that you have grown out of or just fallen out of love with. I'm about to list several pairs of barely worn Banana Republic pants for somone new to love, so sign up add your size and get swapping!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Proposition 3-17



SAY YES TO PROPOSITION 3-17



Help the brewers of Guinness stout get 1 million signatures by
midnight on March 16th to help make St. Patrick’s Day an
official holiday. Go to proposition317.com to sign the petition
or simply text “SIGN” to 65579 to make a difference.


With nine times more Irish-Americans in this country than there are people in all of Ireland, never before has the Irish Spirit been so
alive. Come St. Patrick’s Day, that spirit is even more pronounced as everyone reveals a little bit of their Irish side. From the camaraderie
in the streets to the joy pulsating in their hearts, people from all nationalities and backgrounds bask in the glory that is Irish.
That is why Guinness and the undersigned, present Proposition 3-17 which hereby requests that St. Patrick’s Day be made an
official holiday not only to officially commemorate the spirit of this day, but to celebrate and honor St. Patrick himself. A man once
known for driving snakes out of Ireland, St. Patrick now embodies the pride and strength in all who are Irish and in Irish enthusiasts
alike. March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, is a widely celebrated holiday in the US. Not only Irish Americans, but an ever-growing community
of people in America from all races, creeds and weltanschauungs partake in the day’s festivities.
Guinness and Proposition 3-17 supporters believe that a regulated, official holiday would not only reduce the amount of employees
missing work in order to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but officially allow people to express their Irishness. Guinness and Proposition
3-17 believers strongly urge you to consider making this day official so that it can be observed and celebrated annually by all
Americans for generations to come, when not only our nation, but nation's around the world, will join together to enjoy the parades
and fellowship and a pint of Guinness stout or two.

RECIPES:

GUINNESS® Marinade Sauce

Ingredients:
  • 2 cup GUINNESS® Stout
  • 1½ cup beef broth
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 drops hot sauce
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter, unsalted

Directions
1) Pour all the ingredients (except butter) into a saucepan on medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for
about 15-20 minutes.
2) Remove the bay leaf and stir in softened butter, 1 tbsp at a time over low heat. Stir constantly until the
butter is completely incorporated into the sauce.
3) Let cool. Use as a marinade for steaks, chicken or pork.

GUINNESS® Beef Stew

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes


Ingredients:
3 lbs boneless beef sirloin, cut into 1” cubes
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
¼ cup butter
¼ cup olive oil
3 lbs onions, chopped
2 pt GUINNESS® Stout
1½ qt beef stock
1½ lbs carrots, cut into 2” pieces
¾ lb parsnips or turnips, cut into 2” pieces
¾ lb rutabagas, cut into 2” pieces
½ lb celery
1½ lbs potato, cut into 1” cubes
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1½ hours

Directions
1) Season beef with salt and pepper to taste.
2) Heat oil and butter in kettle. Add meat. Brown on all sides. Remove meat and set aside.
3) Add onions and sauté until soft.
4) Place meat back in pan and add GUINNESS®.
5) Add enough beef stock to cover meat. Cover pan and simmer over low heat for one hour or until
meat is tender.
6) Add carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, celery and potatoes and cook until vegetables are tender and
sauce is thick, approximately 20 minutes.

Chocolate GUINNESS® Cake

Ingredients
Cake:
3 squares of unsweetened chocolate
2½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup shortening
1½ cup sugar
1 tbsp orange peel, finely grated
4 eggs
1 cup GUINNESS® Original Draught
Ingredients
Icing:
4 oz bar of sweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
¾ cup water
¾ cup butter
2 tbsp blanched slivered almonds

Directions
Cake:
1) Melt chocolate in a small saucepan, then cool, slightly.
2) Sift together flour, salt and soda.
3) Cream the shortening and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy.
4) Add eggs, one at a time, beating until light and fluffy.
5) Add dry ingredients alternately with GUINNESS® to cream mixture, beating well.
Stir in the chocolate.
6) Place batter into 2 greased and floured 9” layered cake pans. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until
cake tester comes out clean. Let stand in pans for 5 minutes, then remove layers to rack and cool.
Icing:
7) In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate with the water, stirring often.
Remove pan from heat and stir in the butter.
8) Pour warm icing over bottom layer cake, spreading evenly with a spatula. Top second layer.
Finish icing cake.
9) Arrange almonds in pattern on top of cake.
10) Refrigerate 2 hours or longer before serving to allow the icing to harden.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Try My Tea



Adagio Teas are letting users make their own blend of teas. I decided to make a flavor similar to my favorite Thai Dessert, Mango Sticky Rice. This tea contains all of my favorite Thai flavors in one. Try my tea blend or design your own at Adagio Teas.

Thai Dessert Tea: Mango, lemongrass, and sweet vanilla come together to produce a rich, sweet flavor reminiscent of mango sticky rice.
If you are interested in a free $5.00 gift certificate good toward your next purchase at www.adagio.com leave me a comment with your email address and I can send you one right away.

Chronicling my adventures in proving that less is more. I'll learn to refashion/recycle clothes, prepare gourmet meals using as many natural/basic/raw ingredients as possible. I'll learn to spend less, live more, and reclaim those things that are truly valuable in my life.

Feeds

Below are feeds from websites that I find to be interesting and from a similar vein.

ReadyMade

craigslist | free stuff in baltimore

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