Friday, July 13, 2012

My Strawberry Bench Project

Apparently I have been spending too much time on the internet...on pinterest and checking out people's blogs..I caught the DIY bug!!!!!!
So I came up with a project! Found a cute little wooden bench on kijiji for $15 and transformed it into my strawberry bench!
This is the little bench

I stripped the paint with an eco friendly paint remover
Then I repainted it with some leftover paint and found a board that just happened to fit in the bottom for a base for my planter

Then came the hard part!
I wanted a unique looking planter and thought cutting a bunch of boards to fit properly would be a lot of work and slightly dangerous...
And finally, the finished product! Unfortunately my strawberries haven't come up yet but I am looking forward to when its full of plants and strawberries!

Wedding Scrapbooking

So, I haven't actually started a scrapbook for our wedding...that is much too big of a project for what I have going on right now! But I did decide to do a little project from our wedding. So I put together a little booklet of our wedding invitations, thank you cards and cards from other people. It was actually a really simple project and looks pretty good on a shelf in my living room! Should be cute to show off when people come over! Here's a few pics and ideas if anyone wants to try one themselves.

So, I haven't actually started a scrapbook for our wedding...that is much too big of a project for what I have going on right now! But I did decide to do a little project from our wedding. So I put together a little booklet of our wedding invitations, thank you cards and cards from other people. It was actually a really simple project and looks pretty good on a shelf in my living room! Should be cute to show off when people come over! Here's a few pics and ideas if anyone wants to try one themselves.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy World Water Day!!!

Can I just say that I love water?!?! I love the sound of water, I love the feel of water, I love drinking water! I love the idea and challenge of water worldwide!
Have you ever gone a day or even a few hours without water in your house? Its super annoying! Everything is on hold for us when we don't have water. We don't wash dishes, we don't do laundry, we can't even flush the toilets! And you hope it doesn't last long because not many of us save water for such occasions.
Imagining living where there was no running water in your house (our grandparents, maybe our parents, maybe even you can remember what that was like back in the day!), no running water and no easy access to water. Imagine having to walk a mile or several miles a day and carry enough water for your household, enough water for drinking, cooking, washing and laundry. Imagine your water access is a shared pool with the animals. This may be hard for us to imagine but for a large portion of our world this is a reality.
I spent a month in africa in the summer of 2009 in a small community, getting to know the people, how they live, what they struggle with and some of the challenges and goals for their lives. A resounding theme was water and access to clean water! Something that we in north america can not even begin to fathom!
The following are a couple of pages from the scrapbook I made of my time spent in africa (feel free to check out the whole book when you come visit me!):
Water running in the ditches, often gathered by children for use in the home.
The same water that is shared with the ducks below!

The watering hole below contains stagnant standing water and is frequently used as well.

Below is the washroom. Built in people's yards it is covered, moved and a new hole dug when it is full. Which means when it finally does rain in africa, yards are flooded with refuse  which contaminates water sources even more.

Children gathering water for their families

Below is a hole dug in a womans yard for her family to use. As the dry season continues, this water source will dwindle and eventually disappear making it more difficult for a single mother of two to provide for her children.

Gathering water from a municipal source. I'm pretty sure this is water that they have to pay for.

Below is a picture of the municipal water source which is piped into people's homes who can afford it.

A well source, comes at a cost to individuals who choose to use it.

The pipe that carries water from the municipal source from Lake Victoria to Mwanza

Water must be contained and saved during rainy season in order to survive dry season

Another source where you have to pay for water

Part of my purpose in going to Igoma was to do some research and discover what some next steps could be for the community. It did not take long to discover that clean water is a huge issue and the weather does not cooperate much either!  Half the year the rains do not fall and things get drier and drier while the other half the year it rains and everything is constantly covered in contaminated runoff water. But it is not just a matter of getting clean water that is safe to drink to the people, it is a matter of getting any kind of water to the people. Access to water is a major obstacle for the majority of Igoma. I was shocked to see children gathering water from a small stagnant pond of water that had accumulated from a leaking pipe. And it wasn’t a single event. When water is so hard to find, any water source that is close is used, including stagnant water shared with animals. This water is used for all purposes in the home, washing, bathing, cleaning, cooking and drinking. It is easy to see why illness rates from unclean water are so high.

Coming home from a life changing trip like this causes you to see your world differently. Water at the touch of a button without a care for where it comes from, trusting that it is clean and will not harm us and wasted daily so frivilously. With the world's population so high, we cannot ignore the wasted water in our corner. Our water footprint (the amount of water we use) highly exceeds what our world can sustain with our population. If we expect to maintain and provide for our world population, we in the developed world must take up the challenge of equitable distribution and use of water throughout the world.
Consider how much water you use in a day and how you could decrease the waste. Shorter showers? Full loads in your washer?
But its not just the water you run in your house. All the food that you eat has an imbedded water footprint in it. For example, meat has a high water footprint (the amount of water it takes to produce meat and get it to your table) compared to vegetables. The clothes that you wear and the products in your house have a water footprint as well.

The following shows the average water footprint of countries worldwide. As you can see, we consume a large amount compared to most other nations (

National water footprint

Consider your footprint and research ways to make changes and help sustain our world for this generation and the generations to come. Check out
Consider helping to build and support wells in developing countries that struggle with access to water.
You can make your footprint smaller and yet have a bigger impact! Take up the challenge!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

I love buying products that are made sustainably, are healthy for me, the environment and my fellow man, products that support my lifestyle and allow those who produce them to live a happy and fulfilling life.
Companies and products that fulfill my goals are not always available in central alberta and definitely not all in the same place! Fortunately we live in a technological world where everything you could want to purchase is at your fingertips!!
The following are a few online stores that I have found that support sustainable organizations, are environmentally friendly, fairly made and traded, cruelty free and/or recycled all in one place! To top it all off, the organizations allow you the opportunity to save money and donate to some amazing causes around the world. Not only are the products ethical and safe, but you can make a difference in the lives of people around the world!

An organization that makes shoes (can also find vegan shoes!) and for every shoe they sell, they give one to children in need in over 20 countries around the world. Shoes are a bit pricey (I'm kinda cheap!) but its a great cause that has made a difference for over a million children.

An organization that supports a different organization each week through the sales of tshirts with slogans relating to the cause. Cute tshirts, great causes, great prices!

An organization that presents different companies for a short period of time with great products, good sales and great causes that you can choose to donate some or all of your savings to.

Consider buying your products from an organization or group that supports the environment, your health, produces sustainable products and supports great causes. I know there are many more organizations out there but these are a few that I have come across recently in my hunt!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Our "Green" Winter Wonderland Wedding

So, I know its been a while but can I just say that I have been busy?!! 
Started my new career this summer, been working tons, trying to stay caught up with life and then getting married! So yes, its been busy! but I am hoping that with the cold, cold, stupid cold weather here in Alberta that I can get some stuff done at home, including blogging!
Where to start? What have I been doing in the last six months or so to "green" up my life?
A good place to start is our wedding. We kept it low key, low maintenance and as cost efficient as possible. This was to keep our costs down and keep the wedding as green as possible even though it was in the middle of winter! We had the ceremony and reception in a heritage house in Red Deer, had is catered by their in house caterer. We had a small guest list which was difficult to keep to considering I have such a large family! But the small gues list meant that we could do things smaller and keep the wedding intimate. The venue did most of the decorating, they had the christmas tree up already and the few decorations I brought were second hand yet classy! Thanks Kijiji!!!

 I opted to not do party favors for guests based on the decision that unless they were useful and useable they were not wanted. Our guest signing book was a few blownup pics of Jeremy and I, something that we will actually look at and incorporate in our home and life.

but my favorite part of the whole wedding, besides marrying the love of my life! is how we opted to handle wedding presents. Jeremy and I have both lived on our own for several years and had enough stuff to fill two houses, so we felt that we did not need more "stuff". We knew family and friends would want to celebrate with us and share their love so we decided to share with them our passion and goals in life. In lieu of wedding gifts, we asked our friends and families to participate with us in our goal of building a well for a community in Africa that so desperately needs it.
Our choice to sponsor the building of a well in Africa was a very exciting choice in the wedding planning process! We researched organizations and found one that worked closely with the community, gave them ownership over and responsibility of the well. Throughout the process, we will get pictures and updates of the well and the community who will benefit from it. It will be an exciting endeavor that will continue to grow over the years, just like our love! (there's my nauseating lovey dovey bit!)
I encourage you to check out my pictures of the wedding and the website of the well to see the fabulous event and how "green" our winter wedding was!!! Enjoy!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Do you know what you are bringing in to your home?

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I bring in to my house and the effect that it has on my enbironment, my health, my pets, my friends and family and the world around me. Everything that we purchase and bring in to our homes has an effect. It is up to us to decide whether it has a good or bad effect.

Lately my focus has been on air quality in my home, specifically air fresheners. According to countless studies done by reputable groups ( air fresheners are not only ineffective but they produce volatile organic compounds that are harmful to life. I considered researching every product that is available and determine what is not harmful and what I can make on my own to produce safe products (on a side note, a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and water can eliminate odors, even the odors from the litter box!!) But then I discovered that someone had done the research for me!! Makes my life a lot easier!

GoodGuide is an organization that has been researching products and items since 2007 and ranking. The research is based on life cycle assessment, environmental engineering, chemistry, nutrition and sociology and ranks products for health, environmental and societal effects. Seems pretty reliable and is a great resource for my purchasing needs!

Have fun researching and making informed decisions for a better world!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


This is my ideal life, a quiet, simple life of mutual respect and the upmost goal of the common good. Maybe I should move...

Aropa- an attitude of giving and sharing, a lifestyle

In the heart of Polynesia, in the middle of the Solomon Sea, lies the isolated yet highly populated Anuta Island. The small volcanic island is a barely more than 800 feet across with one of the highest population densities in the world comparable to Bangladesh. The people of Anuta Island have a simple lifestyle consisting mainly of fishing and farming. At the heart of the Anuta culture is the idea of Aropa, an attitude of mutual giving and sharing. The idea of aropa is most closely translated to our english word compassion. The 300 member community manages its minimal resources responsibily, ensuring that everything is shared equally, no one goes out and no one takes more than their share. The concept of preserving the economy and the future for generations to come is highly evident in the way that they live.
This idea of aropa is one that I hope to incorporate in my own life and I encourage and implore my fellow mankind to consider what we are doing, how we are living and what we are leaving behind.