Friday, April 27, 2007

T-shirt Bag Part 2

I guess my description of the t-shirt bag wasn't very explicit, so here are some more photos. In USING my bags, I'm finding the one with the armhold handles to be more useful than the one with the cut handles on the top (that was pictured in the last post). So, here are some photos to help describe what I did.
1. Sew the bottom of the shirt closed.
2. Cut off the arms, leaving the seam intact (you put your hands through these armholes as handles)
3. Cut the neck just a bit bigger on each side (remember, the t-shirt stretches, so you don't need a wide-open gaping hole for stuffing your bag).
That's it! And they work SO well. I'm finding the smaller t-shirts are just right, the larger ones I'm too tempted to fill them too full and they become heavy for toting across town. Try it! Help eliminate some of the 4 to 5 TRILLION (not a typo) plastic bags manufactured each year. Share your creations with me! Make some for all your friends and family!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Idle No More...

I've been shutting off my engine at red lights, in traffic, every chance I get since Linda gave me the facts in her fantastic book. Now here's a great article from that'll surely convince you to, too.

"Turn It Off "
A mere 10 seconds is the amount of time Natural Resources Canada recommends you leave your engine idling while running errands, chatting with a friend, waiting at the ferry or picking your children up after school. "Avoiding unnecessary engine idling is something that we can all immediately do to minimize our contribution to greenhouse gases," explains Oak Bay Green Committee (OBGC) member Trevor Williams. The OBGC and Green Gatherings are launching a community No Engine Idling campaign targeting Oak Bay schools. The campaign includes free No Engine Idling aluminum signs and information kits for the schools. "The No Engine Idling campaign not only educates drivers about the need to reduce emissions, but it also creates awareness around the relationship between society’s over-reliance on vehicles and the damage it is doing to the environment and our children," says campaign co-ordinator Britt Karlstrom.
According to Natural Resources Canada, children are especially susceptible to carbon emissions due to their developing lungs and need to take in oxygen at an increased rate, exposing them to increased amounts of particulate matter believed to cause respiratory related illnesses. Vehicle emissions also greatly contribute to the pollutants that contribute to greenhouse gases—the gases that are responsible for the climatic change. Statistics show that parents contribute to unnecessary engine idling more than any other group.
"We are hoping that (the No Engine Idling campaign) will continue to spread to other communities as well," explains Williams.
"We have already sold signs to individuals from Sundance and McTavish Schools and to someone who wants to put a sign at the ferry on Cortes Island."
If every driver of a light-duty vehicle in Canada avoided idling for just five minutes a day, we would prevent more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year—that’s a huge contribution to Canada’s climate change efforts. Oak Bay’s first No Engine Idling sign is located at Demitasse CafĂ© at 2164 McNeil Ave.
For more information on the Oak Bay No Engine Idling campaign contact The Oak Bay Green Committee at 370-7736 or visit our website at"

Thanks so much for that, Andrea Rutz!

Happy Earth Day!!

I awoke in the night with a new project flashed onto my brain. I've been hearing so many talk about buying cloth bags to carry around (instead of using plastic), and so many cloth bag designs have gone through my mind. And yesterday my mil was asking if I want yet another shipment of her discarded t-shirts... well! the two came together and at 4 this morning I made a t-shirt bag. T-shirts are AMAZING inventions, really. You can cut into the shirt and you don't have to sew the cut, because it won't fray! So, two designs came to mind. First, you sew the bottom of the t-shirt closed, then you decide if you want your handles right in the middle at the top, like this:

whereupon you just sew the sleeves shut, cut the neck a bit wider depending on how big it already is (you have to be able to quickly get your groceries in that hole), make a handle size cut either side of the neck (try to make them line-up) and voila! You have a new cloth grocery bag! It's stretchy, holds a lot, and folds down to a nice neat size to store in your handbag or your backpack or your vehicle. So cool! Alternatively, you cut off the arms, and use the armholes for the handles, open the neck up a bit and you have a slightly different shape of bag (these handles are more like the ones on a plastic bag). I tried mine out this morning and couldn't believe how much i could fit into this one I made from one of my mum's old lovely t-shirts! You could start collecting thrifted t-shirts now to make really fun, easy, cheap, environmentally-friendly birthday gifts for all your friends and family.

Let me know if my description isn't clear. I love my new bag!

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Company that Exploits Children

Here's a film I think everyone should see. It's the story of a postman and a gardener taking on the lies of a powerful corporation. Or rather, the corporation's attempt to snuff out their wee voices. McDonalds spends 2 Billion dollars a year trying to tempt children to nibble their fries.
"The judge ruled that indeed McDonalds does 'exploit children' with their advertising, produce 'misleading' advertising, are 'culpably responsible' for cruelty to animals, are 'antipathetic' to unionisation and pay their workers low wages." It's highly entertaining and just might change your mind about their fries. More good reading here.

Consider LED lights

Did you know that those new compact fluorescent lightbulbs contain mercury and that one lightbulb can contaminate 6,000 gallons of water if it's not recycled properly? Click here to find the nearest recycling depot near you. And after reading about the hazards of these trendy new lights here, you might want to consider using LED lights instead. I am!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cloth Family

I'm learning a lot from the No Impact Man blog, and one of the things we're incorporating is the cloth in everyone's pocket idea. This way we don't have to use papertowels when we're out, don't have to use paper napkins when we eat out, we can bring food home wrapped up in it, and it just comes in handy for so many things! If you want to read more, click here. I especially think the photo visual is inspiring...