Archive for August, 2012


Ten great DIY projects you can make from an old T-shirt.

If you’re anything like me, you have tons of old T-shirts laying around in your drawers collecting dust. Instead of dumping them all in a collection bin, turn them into something useful. You’ll be amazed at how many things you could actually make from a humble tee. Here are ten of our favorites.

Wrapped Bracelets
You can never have enough bracelets, and there are so many great ones you can make yourself. All you need to create these wrapped bracelets are some old tees and bangles you no longer use (or look in the thrift stores for them). Follow these simple instructions by Camilla Fabbri and start wrapping.

Market Tote
Plastic bags are slowly but surely being banned in cities around the country. This stylish market tote is great to carry with you, whether you are shopping at the supermarket or the farmers market. Follow this simple tutorial by delia creates and make one in every color.

If you have a sewing machine, this DIY scarf is very easy to make following this tutorial by wienerdog tricks. Use one T-shirt for a monochrome, more refined look or go wild and mix colors or create a tribute piece from all those old band tees you’ve held onto since forever – the possibilities are endless.

Knotted Headband
This stylish headband is super easy to make, with nothing but a few cuts, knots, and glue. If headbands aren’t quite your thing, you can easily make it into an equally stylish belt by just making it longer. Check out this tutorial by Lovestitched for inspiration and how-tos.

Knotted Rug
I love DIY projects that look like they came straight out of a fancy design store, and this knotted flokati-style rug is a great example of that. It does take a bit of manual labor but, following this tutorial by Xoelle, it’s quite easy. And your friends will surely be impressed that you actually made it.

Quite far from those macaroni necklaces we all made in school, this DIY necklace is simple to make with just a few tools, following this tutorial by Whole Living. Make it grown up and elegant in one color, like above, or choose a tee with a more intricate pattern or print for a funkier take on the same theme.

No-Sew Vest
If you have about five minutes to make something out of that old tee, try this simple no-sew vest by Wobisobi, which requires nothing but a pair of scissors to make. A great summer piece to throw on over your favorite tee to create a layered, casual look.

Skirt with Pockets
This DIY recycled T-shirt skirt by Out of Order is as simple as it is clever. No material is wasted – even the sleeves are used to make pockets. Use it as a simple summer skirt, or do as demonstrated in the photo above and decorate it with buttons down the front for a more dressed-up look.

Dress up your table for a summer party with DIY placemats made from T-shirt fabric scraps. This tutorial by Creative Jewish Mom shows you how to create a simple homemade loom that you’ll use to weave the scraps together – no fancy equipment required.

T-Shirt Yarn
A great way to make use of old tees is to make them into T-shirt Yarn. It’s simple and you’ll actually end up with a ball of soft (just like your favorite tee) continuous yarn that you can then use to crochet, knit or knot. Check out this video tutorial by Relevé Design to learn how.

Thanks to Eco Salon

Let me know if you have any other interesting ideas with an old t.shirt in the comments section below:


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ImagePurchasing solar is personal and a lifestyle choice. Many see solar as way to lower utility bills and increase energy independence. Others see it as an environmental choice to reduce their carbon foot print and reduce pollution.

Solar is an investment on the scale of a bathroom or kitchen remodel. However, unlike these purchases, solar will pay for it self in several ways – saving energy, buffering against energy price increases, increasing the value of your home, adding curb appeal from a growing “green” consumer market and ensuring a guaranteed rate of return on the initial investment.

There is a lot of information which can be quite confusing – here are a few things to think about:

How much rooftop do you have? A standard 1 kilowatt solar panel system measures about 100 square feet. While rooftop panels can be designed big or small, it often does not make sense if you have less than 100 square feet of space. A 1 kilowatt solar panel generally produces 1,800 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year (take a look t your recent energy bills to see how much you usually use). Some solar installers won’t install unless you have at least 400 square feet of roof space.

Which direction does sunlight hit your house? Sun from the south is best, sun from the north is worst. Sun from the west and east will do the job, just less efficiently than south.
What kind of sun reaches your house? Do you have large trees, neighbors homes, etc which block sunlight? Simply put, it doesn’t make sense to put in solar panels if you don’t get much sun. In order to be economically effective you must receive southward sunlight throughout much of the day.

Can your roof handle PV panels? Solar can be installed on all types of roofs. Most installers will recommend having had your roof shingled within the previous 10 years. You don’t want to spend all this money on Solar Panels, just to have to take them down to re-shingle. Panels usually weigh about 3 pounds per square foot, so you based on the age of your home the contractor can help you determine if your home is strong enough to support the equipment.

What kind of tax incentives exist? Most states offer tax incentives for solar installation, which can save your roughly 25-50% of the cost of installation. Check out www.cansia.ca

What is the cost? I recommend shopping around to get a number of quotes. Usually systems cost about $8-12/watt, or roughly $9,000/kilowatt, but it varies greatly depending on the specific panels used, labor charges, etc.

What size system is right for me? Solar systems come in big, small, and everything in between. The size you choose is up to you, and even the smallest PV system makes a big impact on the environment. To give you an idea, the average 2000 square foot home uses 10,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

A 4 kilowatt system (about 400 square feet of panels) will produce about 7,200 kilowatt-hours per year, covering about 75% of the total usage.

Solar may be right for you if you answer yes to any of these questions:

•    Do you want to lower your energy bills?

•    Do you want to reduce your carbon foot print and pollution from traditional energy sources?

•    Do you want to own your energy instead of renting it?

•    Do you want to buffer your budget from energy price increases?

•    Do you want energy independence?

•    Do you want an investment that provides a guaranteed rate of return?

•    Do you want to be an example in your neighborhood by owning your clean energy source?

•    Do you want to help reduce our nations dependence on fossil fuels?

Do you have any information that you would like to share regarding Solar? Leave your comment in the section below.

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ImageYour water heater is not likely something foremost on your mind, but it can be a potential threat to your home if not given the proper attention. Here are a few things you should know about your water heater so that you can keep it well maintained.

First of all, most water heaters will only last from ten to fifteen years because they are used many times a day and have to work hard. Also, since the water heater uses so much water in a typical day, you need to check it at least once a month so that you can identify problems before they get serious. Due to the fact that water heaters pump so much water every day, most builders will put the water heater in the basement of a home, so that if there is a problem with the water heater, it does not result in water damage to the whole house. The negative effect of this placement is that it tends to create an “out of sight, out of mind” scenario, therefore it’s important to make a conscious effort to perform monthly checks. If your water heater is getting old, you may want to consider just getting a new one instead of waiting for it to break down.

You will need to inspect the water heater periodically, and here is how you do it. First, search for any wet spots or rust on the tank or anywhere around the tank. Either of these are signs of a problem. Rust can make your water heater break down and small leaks can lead to larger problems that can cause serious damage. Next, in the water heater’s main tank, sediment can build up, eventually causing it to perform below par. The water heater should have an instruction manual which will explain how to get this sediment out of the tank. Do this every few months to increase the longevity of your water heater.

Next, check both the pipes going in and out of the water heater. If you think there may be a leak, you should call a professional immediately. In most homes, your water heater will be located next to a floor drain, so that if there is a problem with the machine, it will not cause water damage to your home.

Finally, you should check the bottom drain valve. If there is any sign of rust or corrosion, this could cause problems with the water heater. Doing this quick inspection of your water heater will help you prevent your water heater from breaking down and causing water damage to your home.

Get a brand new Energy efficient water heater from morEnergy call us at 1-866-225-7204

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24 Super foods.. Are you eating daily?

24 super foods

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ImageWith the monsoon season upon us, we like to remind everyone to think about harvesting rain water.  Here is your simple guide to start saving our most sacred resource: water!




The Eight Principles of Successful Water Harvesting

Courtesy of Brad Lancaster-harvestingrainwater.com

1. Begin with long and thoughtful observation.Use all your senses to see where the water flows and how. What is working, what is not? Build on what works.

2. Start at the top (highpoint) of your watershed and work your way down.Water travels downhill, so collect water at your high points for more immediate infiltration and easy gravity-fed distribution. Start at the top where there is less volume and velocity of water.

3. Start small and simple. Work at the human scale so you can build and repair everything. Many small strategies are far more effective than one big one when you are trying to infiltrate water into the soil.

4. Slow, spread, and infiltrate the flow of water. Rather than having water run erosively off the land’s surface, encourage it to stick around, “walk” around, and infiltrate into the soil. Slow it, spread it, sink it.

5. Always plan an overflow route, and manage that overflow as a resource.Always have an overflow route for the water in times of extra heavy rains, and where possible, use the overflow as a resource.

6. Maximize living and organic groundcover. Create a living sponge so the harvested water is used to create more resources, while the soil’s ability to infiltrate and hold water steadily improves.

7. Maximize beneficial relationships and efficiency by “stacking functions.” Get your water harvesting strategies to do more than hold water. Berms can double as high-and-dry raised paths. Plantings can be placed to cool buildings in summer. Vegetation can be selected to provide food.

8. Continually reassess your system: the “feedback loop.”Observe how your work affects the site, beginning again with the first principle. Make any needed changes, using the principles to guide you.

Principles 2, 4, 5, and 6 are based on those developed and promoted by PELUM, the Participatory Ecological Land-Use Management association of east and southern Africa. Principles 1, 3, 7, and 8 are based on my own experiences and insights gained from other water harvesters.

These principles are the core of successful water harvesting. They apply equally to the conceptualization, design, and implementation of all water-harvesting landscapes. You must integrate all principles, not just your favorites, to realize a site’s full potential. Used together, these principles greatly enhance success, dramatically reduce mistakes, and enable you to adapt and integrate arange of strategies to meet site needs. While the principles remain constant, the strategies you use to achieve them will vary with each unique site.

For a thorough introductory description of water-harvesting principles and additional ethics see Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1 (Rainsource Press, 2006).

Thanks to Who’s Green?

If you have any great tips to rain water harvesting or water conservation, please do share in the comments section below.

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When deciding to make your home more energy efficient and eco-friendly, many people forget about one of the most used rooms in their home – the bathroom. Since the bathroom is so frequently used on a daily basis, and it is where most of the water usage in the home comes from, it is probably an area that is causing you to pay the most money in terms of energy costs. However, it is never too late to make your bathroom as energy efficient as the rest of your home. Keep reading to find out how.

Pick Out Energy Efficient Fixtures:

Toilets: When creating a more energy efficient bathroom, it is useful to think over the kinds of fixtures you choose. Toilets are one of the biggest sources of water usage in the bathroom, especially older toilets. Whether it is a problem like a running toilet or too much water used per flush, older toilets will add to your water bill. There are various new toilets on the market now that are designed to conserve water. These toilets are made to use more suction and less water per flush. This means that more water is being conserved and less is being wasted. This is a great step to take when deciding to make your bathroom greener.

Bathtubs: Your bathtub is another fixture that could be causing you to use more energy than needed in your bathroom, and this is even more true for older bathtubs. Older bathtubs are typically made out of cast iron or steel, which is very cold to lay against when taking a bath. This causes people to raise the temperature of their bath water to make them feel warmer in the tub. Acrylic tubs are warmer to the touch and could help you reduce the amount of hot water you use in the bath. If you do decide to change your tub, you should consider hiring a professional bathroom remodelling company to help get the job done.

Showers: If water consumption is something you care about, you should assess the shower head you are currently using. So many shower heads use tonnes of water per 5 minutes of use. That is a lot of wasted water and a lot of money on your energy bills. A very good choice to make to help decrease your bathroom’s energy consumption is to buy and install a new shower head that uses less water per shower. These shower heads are low pressure and use tonnes less water per 5 minutes of showering which will significantly reduce your energy costs. Assess Your

Lighting Situation:

Energy Efficient Lightbulbs: Lighting is perhaps one of the easiest ways you can lower the amount of energy you consume in your bathroom. It doesn’t matter what kind of lighting system you have, it is as easy as changing the bulbs. Switching from regular bulbs to energy efficient light bulbs may cost a little bit more at first, but the money you save in the long run will far surpass the extra few dollars you spend now. Energy efficient bulbs use only a fraction of the electricity of regular bulbs and last up to 15 times longer. Another way to save some money is to add a dimmer to your new energy efficient bulbs. This way when the bathroom is being used for purposes such as taking a relaxing bath or shower, the lights can by dimmed since they are not needed so bright.

What Do Your Windows Look Like?:

New Windows: Another energy consuming culprit in your bathroom could be your windows, if there are any. There is a lot of moisture in bathrooms and this can cause damage to the windows and window frames over time. This can then lead to leaks of hot and cold air in and out of the bathroom from the window. This can also lead to a spike in your heating and cooling bills. If this is the case, and there is permanent damage to your windows that cannot be fixed, you may want to consider having a new bathroom window installed. Opt for an energy efficient window that will help regulate the temperature in the bathroom. You will find a decrease in your future energy bills for sure.

If you have any other ideas to make your bathroom more energy efficient, Please do share in the comments section below.

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