Hooters and the Oil Spill: An Unlikely Match

June 17, 2010 · Filed Under Environment, Events, Homemade, News

Who knew that Hooters waitresses could make such a large difference in light of the Gulf Oil Spill disaster? Those good looking legs will help reduce 1 million gallons of oil from hitting the coastline. Not too bad, eh?

With a goal of donating 100,000 pairs of used pantyhose, they will contribute to Matter of Trust’s efforts to create booms that will spread 15 miles long that will essentially stop oil from reaching the coastline. The pantyhose will be laundered, patched, and then stuffed with hair, fur, and fleece.

Host a Boom B Q
These booms are not just for waitresses though! You can host a Boom B Q (instructions available on Matter of Trust’s website) to gather the ingredients to create a Boom. They offer YouTube videos and instruction sheets alike to help you contribute to reducing the impact of the oil spill.

Booms B Q

Lastly, you can also encourage your local salons to donate all hair clippings to Matter of Trust’s hair mat project. It is estimated that there are 370,000 salons nationwide that collect a minimum of 1 lbs of hair per day. That’s a lot of hair going to waste!

So get involved by encouraging local salons or hosting a Boom B Q to help take part in the mitigation efforts of our neighbors on the Coast!

Style, Grace, and Upcycling

January 27, 2010 · Filed Under Environment, Homemade, Products
ReadyMade

Who needs a dumpster when you can upcycle?

Upcycling converts items previously considered ‘garbage’ into new creations. Today you can find wallets made out of bicycle tires and purses composed of post-consumer pop tabs. Upcycling was coined in the book “Cradle to Cradle” which flips the ‘cradle to grave’ idea of products into a closed loop ideal. For Cradle to Cradle, each component of a product is designed to continually be upcycled, creating no waste. The vision is to create a world in which waste does not exist, only items that can continually evolve into new things or biodegrade back into nature. The pages of the actual book are waterproof and it is printed with special ink so that it can be collected off the page and reused along with the book.

What if you only owned one book that could be transformed from an economics text book to a romantic fiction novel simply by cleaning and reprinting the pages? The idea is revolutionary, but the concept of upcycling is one we have embraced for quite some time.

You don’t have to be a chemist like Michael Braungart or an architect like William McDonough, the authors, to start upcycling things around the house. The magazine “ReadyMade” hosts stylish and long-lasting upcycling ideas including this vintage Traveling Trunk into a Bar on Wheels transformation. With a quick trip to the hardware store, we can easily makeover defunct or ‘lost’ items into something fun, useable, and unique. ReadyMade is a great source of inspiration because they have anything from small art projects to large-scale furniture and home designs.

View ReadyMade’s Projects

Find a ReUse center near you

It looks like Upcycling has hit the mainstream media as well, check out this article in Reuters about Australia’s efforts.

There are plenty of ‘Do It Yourself’ sites out there, so please feel free to share your favorites and let’s get a rolling list going!

Shopping Local Made Etsy, I mean Easy

January 20, 2010 · Filed Under Homemade, Local, Products

Did anyone make a New Year’s Resolution revolving around eco-friendly gifts? For those of you who are time or talent ‘lacking’ there are several ways to locate local shops that support your economy and local entrepreneurs. My favorite site to shop local is Etsy. Etsy’s vision is to create a platform for inventive individuals to sell their work and connect them with potential buyers, thus creating a new economy where people support people in place of global supply chains.

Etsy Baby Hat
Photo by Karenisa.

We all know that shopping local feeds dollars into our region’s economies, bolstering their viability during tough economic times. So Etsy’s addition of a ‘Shop Local’ feature allows you to enter your location and viola! local artists in your City pop-up. Since there are no brick and mortar stores to support, the costs of production and exhibition are greatly minimized, including their environmental impacts. This is an easy way to better manage your own supply chain of goods that flow out of your house, so your gifts can match your ideals.

Instead of braving markets in the cold winter months, you can support local artists from your own home. And for those of you with crafting genius waiting to be discovered, you can create your own webpage and start sharing your work today. Who knows, you may find the perfect gift!

Click here to see what local artists are up to in your neighborhood on Etsy.

Natural Heartburn Relief

August 17, 2009 · Filed Under Health, Homemade

If you are like the millions of other Americas, you probably have suffered from heartburn at one point of time or another.  Millions of people suffer from heartburn every day with over 100 million people suffer at least once a month.   With worldwide sales at around $10 billion, the pharmaceutical industry is making a killing off of consumers.  Many of these products contain ingredients that are unnecessary can even be harmful.  Here are some natural ways you can relieve heartburn.

Car Wash
Photo by shawncampbell.

Antacids

The root cause of heartburn is when our stomachs become too acidic, especially due to foods that contain high levels of acid.  One great natural way to fight the symptoms of heartburn without having to break the bank is sodium bicarbonate or baking soda.

Sodium Bicarbonate

A great homemade antacid is to mix a solution of water with 1 spoonful of baking soda. Baking soda not only works great for cooking and household cleaning and affordable, but is also an extremely effective antacid.  The logic behind how baking soda works to stop heartburn makes complete sense.  You are consuming a strong base that neutralizes the strong acidic stomach fluids when coming in contact.  The effect works just as many products on the market, lasting for up to 60 minutes.  Just be careful if you have high blood pressure problems since taking baking soda can raise your blood pressure.

Why all the ingredients?

Just as with most of the products that are sold for us or our pets, there are tons of ingredients that add nothing to the food but make it more appealing to look at.  Given that baking soda works so well by itself, why do we need to have so much crap in antacids.  Here is an example of a popular antacid that uses calcium carbonate that works similarly to baking soda:

Antacid Ingredients

And why is it necessary to have four different food colorings and artificial sweeteners just to calm down our stomachs?  The answer to that question is simple, we don’t.  Companies would like us to continue believing that we need their products to solve a problem in our lives.  I would stick with using simple baking soda.  There is no need to spend tons of money on products that add nothing.

Diet

Using an antacid like baking soda is not the only way to treat your heartburn.  Changing your diet to remove alot of the foods that are causing the problem is an easy way to prevent heartburn from arising in the first place.  This means eating less acidic foods to reduce the amount of acid that enters our bodies.  The biggest problem with this is that so many foods we eat have high acidity levels, especially high foods high in fat and sugar.  Eating a diet comprised more of fruits and vegetables especially when they are raw can reduce the risk of heartburn, while making your healthier.

It’s no surprise that instances of heartburn are so high.  Taking baking soda or other antacids can help relieve your heartburn temporarily, but the only way to really eliminate it is to  improve our diets.  By combining all the above methods, you should be on your way to a heartburn free and healthier lifestyle.

Homemade Drain Cleaner

July 21, 2009 · Filed Under Homemade

Who ever said that dangerous chemicals need to be poured down your drain to clear a pipe.  This all natural and homemade drain cleaner will unclog just about any pipe and is safe for the environment.

  • 3/4 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Vinegar
  • Several cups Boiling Water

That’s it.  Three ingredients when used in the following order will clear out your pipes without causing them harm:

  1. Pour the baking soda down the drain.
  2. Immediately follow by pouring the vinegar down the drain.  The drain will begin to foam as you would expect mixing the two together.
  3. Wait for about 1/2 – 1 hour.
  4. Begin boiling the water either in a kettle or a pot.
  5. Pour the hot water down the drain.

If the clog is still there, simply try the above steps again.  Also trying increasing the amounts of baking soda and vinegar.

I recently had a clog in my bathroom drain and this homemade drain cleaner cleared it right up after one use.  Imagine how much money you could also save if you are constantly buying bottles of Drano to clean out your pipes.  All the ingredients in this recipe are extremely cheap and almost everybody already has them in their homes.  Give it a try and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Homemade Bread Crumbs

July 15, 2009 · Filed Under Food, Homemade

Freshly made homemade breads crumbs are so easy to make and can add great flavor to many recipes.

Bread Crumbs
Photo by vapour trail.

Making breadcrumbs on your own also allows you to reuse those old loaves of bread that are just sitting there ready to be tossed.

Let’s get started.

  • Pick you favorite type of bread to use as breadcrumbs.  Who ever said plain white bread was the only type of breadcrumbs we are allowed to eat?
  • Toast or Bake the bread if your bread is too soft or want a more dry breadcrumb.  I bake the bread in my toaster oven for a few minutes.
  • Tear or cut the bread into small chunks.  This makes the process of making crumbs of it a little quicker.
  • Throw the bread into a food processor or blender with whatever seasoning you would like.  Italian seasoning is popular, but any type of seasoning will do.
  • Let it run for 10-20 seconds, depending on how small you want the breadcrumbs to be.

That’s it.  Now you have fresh breadcrumbs that will taste way better than any of the stuff you would ever buy in a grocery store while saving money.

Breadcrumbs is just another product that has unnecessary ingredients added to it by manufacturers to make it last forever.  I was curious to see what was actually on the ingredients of a popular brand of breadcrumbs and was shocked to find that one of the top ingredients on the list was hydrogenated oil.  I guess manufacturers will do anything to try to make their product taste better or last on the shelves longer. Just another reason to stick with making breadcrumbs on your own and reap the savings.

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