Archive for March, 2009

Life In The Slow Lane

It’s a beautiful day and I’m eager to explore the town in the sunshine, so here areĀ a few links to peruse if you’re stuck inside…



March 24, 2009 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment

Spring Cleaning

Spring has sprung and you can’t tell me otherwise! The Starlings hang out on the cables outside my living room window puffing up their feathers as they sing to each other, and I have this irresistible urge to repaint my apartment. Yes, Spring has sprung.

This is typically the time of year that most people start to open their closets and garages and take a serious look at what they’ve accumulated over the past year. What should go and what should stay is foremost on our minds. Spring cleaning is no easy task but as we chip away at it, little by little, an amazing thing happens…our minds lighten, our eyes brighten, and our lives become freer. There is a definite psychological bonus to clearing out the clutter.

But where do you begin? Under the beds? In the closets? Up in the attic? Well, that’s a personal choice, but here’s something to consider…how about within yourself? We focus so much energy on organizing our surroundings, in making it aesthetically pleasing, in caring for a lifetimes worth of knick knacks, but how much time do we spend on cleaning out the cobwebs and clutter that have built up inside us?

One way to sweep the dust from your soul is to connect with people. Whether you’re volunteering, visiting friends, working with the public, or just making a point of saying hello to people you pass when you go for a walk. We’re social creatures, we need each other. You could also be proactive and take a class in something that interests you. This is a good way to meet people that have similar interests to your own. Or, you could take part in a community activity, such as an Earth Day clean-up or an MS Walk. Nothing makes the soul sparkle like giving.

Other possibilities for clearing away the inner clutter:
-Go for a walk. It’s amazing how open the mind is after a brisk walk in the sunshine.
-Watch the sun rise. Just remember to sit facing East.
-Write in your journal, penning down all the stuff that crowds your mind.
-Draw. Paint.

Or … you could clean out your closets.

March 23, 2009 at 2:12 pm Leave a comment

The Three R’s

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse!

I know, you thought it was Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Today, it is all about reusing what you already have in your home to help keep what you ship out of your home down to a minimum. Below is a list of my top 5 techniques for stretching the use of an item, which invariably stretches my dollars, and keeps said item out of the landfill altogether or for a little while longer.

1. Garbage Soup. Sounds yummy doesn’t it? My daughter turns her nose up at the name but I turn out a delicious soup every single time and this is how: When I chop veggies for a meal, I don’t use up all the little bits, so I cut those bits off and put it in a container in the freezer. The little bits? Well, they’re the tops of tomatoes with the hard center cut out, the trimmed off tops of carrots, the ends off celery. Getting the idea? I have one container that it goes into, uncooked, and when I’m ready to make soup I boil this oddball mix of ‘leftovers’ to make a broth. I also save meat bones separately and use them in the same broth. When I feel the broth is just right, I scoop out the odds and ends and then add my fresh ingredients.

2. Cloths. I don’t use paper towelling. It really is a waste of money and resources. There is nothing wrong with using a good ole fashion rag to clean up spills. When a dishcloth becomes threadbare it can pull duty as a cleaning cloth. Keep a separate pile of these little helpers with your cleaning supplies.

3. Newspapers take the stink out of life. Tired of reading about corrupt politicians and wayward people? Put your newspaper to good use before you recycle. My kitchen garbage pail used to smell by the time I got my bag of trash to the curb each week, but one Sports section placed in the bottom of the pail when I put in a new bag keeps my garbage pail from smelling like a landfill. I’ve also balled up newspaper and wedged it in a smelly summer shoe for a few days. Who would have known there was an easy way to be rid of the-teen-doesn’t-like-to-wear-socks-with-sneakers-foot-odour. I also wadded some up and put it in a plastic storage container that had an unidentified aroma. That particular container was never again used for food but is still in use for other storage.

4. Treasures. I’ll be completely honest here…I haven’t used all of the treasures I have found. I have a jar of them that I pull out from time to time, hoping I will have a project they can be used in. Treasures are the lost bits of jewelry, buttons, and other bits that I find on the ground when I’m out for a walk. I have earrings without mates, little charms, bits of heavy wire, plastic ties, hoards of odds and ends that can be converted into decorative trims for craft projects. I used a section of a beaded necklace as a hanging ‘button’ on a crocheted purse. It snagged the yarn constantly but the theory is a good one. I’m going to try it on a sewn bag next time.

5. Plastic bags. There is a booming market for reusable bags. Businesses are trying to be rid of plastic bags for both environmental and financial reasons. But what about the plastic bags you’ve already accumulated? Most of us have used them as trash bags, but what about just using it as a bag? Why pay for a reusable bag when you can simply reuse your plastic ones? Just lay them flat and fold, pressing flat as you go, and stuff them into a resealable bag, then keep it in your purse or pocket for those unexpected trips to the grocery store. You can also crochet with them. I did this once, but the time and effort put into cutting the bags and crocheting them together, just to make another plastic grocery bag, didn’t make sense to me in the end. I’m sure you can make other things, though. What do you think?

Some other ideas for reusing items found around your home:
-Make your own mailing envelopes out of magazine and catalogue pages
-Reuse envelopes by putting a label over the old address
-Jar and freeze the water you boil veggies in to use in soups
-Pull laces out of worn out shoes and launder. Voila! Spare laces
-Make old clothes new by refashioning them
-Use large Q-tip boxes for storage when they are empty. Great for things like crochet hooks.
-Make magazine holders out of cereal boxes

March 22, 2009 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment


March 2009
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