Monday, March 24, 2014


Every once in a while, I like to review my waste.  Nobody's perfect.  I certainly put out a can for the garbage truck on occasion. Granted it's only every month and a half or two. But I still like to see if I can reduce it even more.
As you can see, my garbage cans are filled mostly with facial tissues.  Might not seem like such a huge deal.  Tissue is just paper, right? That's recyclable and biodegradable. True.  But like paper cups, eventually they add up to a lot even though a single one is not so bad. Also, when you buy tissues, they come in a box with a plastic opening. And if you buy a bunch of them, the pack is wrapped in plastic.  So every time you throw away a tissue, you throw away a little bit of plastic used to get it to you.  (I actually just use toilet paper, but the same principle applies with plastic packaging and toilet paper rolls.)
Well, it's a fairly obvious answer. Hankies! Hankies have been phased out in the name of convenience and germophobia! I am no germophobe. And as it is plainly a large contribution to my household waste, I am ready to make the switch!

decided to make some.  I have no idea where you could buy hankies anyway.  I had a tiny bit of starry flannel so I made a couple out of that, but took advantage of the many receiving blankets I had on hand (for some reason?). With my allergies, a couple wasn't going to cut it.  
I cut out many 10x10 squares, rounded the corners, used a zig zag stitch around the edge to prevent unraveling and voila! Hankies! I keep a stack in my towel closet and grab a couple to get me through the day. Bye bye wads of tissue waste!

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Coaster Tutorial

I think this was one of the first things I ever learned to sew.  So simple! They make cute gifts. Or you can keep a few different sets around for different occasions. Thought I'd share the how to.

1: Pick out two fabrics you like and think would look good together.
2: Cut out 3 squares of fabric A and two of fabric B. Size depends on how big you'd like the coaster. I cut 4.5" (11.5cm) squares for a 4" (10cm) coaster.  Just add half an inch to the size you'd like for the seams. 

3: Fold two of the fabric A squares and both fabric B squares from one corner to the opposite for a right triangle and iron.

4: Arrange as in photo above. With the still square fabric A face up, then the four triangles layered over one another like a pinwheel. Pin in place.

5: Sew around the edges.

6: Cut the corners on a 45° angle. This is so you don't get a big lump of fabric in the finished piece. Be careful not to cut the thread!

7: Turn inside out through the space in the centre of the triangles.

8: I used a crochet hook to poke the corners out.

9: Iron flat and voila! Cute fabric coaster.
Repeat for a set and tie with ribbon to give as a gift. 

Try different colour combos.  A good variation is to fold the fabric into rectangles instead of triangles.

Happy sewing!

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Handmade is Just Better

I love handmade items. They are my favourite gifts to give and receive. I find they are typically a higher quality and definitely more unique than factory-made. And yes, more expensive.  But I try to support others who make things that I can't.

So when I decided I needed a holder for my new Flouster business cards, I didn't just go and order a plastic one for three bucks from Amazon or Staples. I went on Etsy and looked for ideas. I was thinking a nice wooden one.  But I saw a pottery card holder and it was gorgeous! Now the other thing I love to do is support local artisans rather than distant ones.  You know, reduce shipping fuel and keep my money as local as possible.  So I brought the idea to a potter in the next town over.  She made me a gorgeous card holder! Twenty-two dollars versus three, but my money sure isn't going to China. She does fabulous work and it's worth every penny. 

I also spontaneously picked up a couple buttons for a friend of mine who just so happens to be a fan of this lady's work. She was pretty happy with her random present. 

On a bit of a side note... For my birthday last month, I was stoked to receive not one, but two hand made cards. It was fantastic! Here's the one I got from Susan:

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Passion into Work

How many of you love your job?  I don't.  I'm sure you're aware of that if you've been reading my blog for more than a couple months.  Well, I'm on my way to getting out of it.  Store is for sale.  Everything is on clearance, now.  Getting ready to move.

But... I have no idea where I'm headed.  Not physically.  Dan and I are planning on moving to Nanaimo or near there.  But as far as a job goes, we have no clue what awaits us.  We're just those kind of people.  No plan is okay.  However, for me, I like to at least have a direction.  Thus far, my direction has been that I want to get into something environmental. Well, that's a pretty broad spectrum of careers! I need to figure out what I actually want to do if I am to get there.

I had an appointment yesterday at our local community college.  I had the expectation that I would say, "What jobs are available in the environmental spectrum?" and the director would provide me a list.  Well, when I asked him, he was at a loss.  Apparently most people come with a career and need to figure out how to get there.  I must not be most  people because if I knew what career I wanted, I could probably figure out how to get there pretty easily myself.  What I needed was guidance on a choice.  We had a pretty lengthy and interesting discussion during which I felt like I was of little use.

I've sort of envisioned my ideal career as being an environmental engineer.  Perhaps designing eco-friendly housing or a more efficient solar panel or wind turbine.  But I fear the debt that goes along with extensive schooling.  So we ruled out any careers that required many years at school.

Then we looked at more simplistic ideas.  He seemed interested in the passion I put behind my beliefs.  Suggested I might be a good instructor.  Teach people how to go green through workshops or visiting schools.  But I feel like I'm not enough of an expert on anything green to teach others.  I would need to learn first.  I thought maybe I could be a farmer's market manager.  I have a little experience with that.  Not a really easy career to get into as most markets have a manager for life and then the torch is passed on rather than applied for in many cases.  We talked about making and selling compost.  Well, you need land for that.  Maybe I could invent new ways to make your house less energy intensive using simple materials rather than purchases expensive new devices.  That's sort of in the direction of eco-engineering.  But how could I test these things out?

It seems every direction had a few hurdles.  Which is fine, mostly.  I don't mind having barriers to overcome along the way, but I still felt blocked by that eureka moment when I would finally say, "YES! That's the career! That's what I want to be when I grow up!"

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