Posts from the ‘green life’ Category

DIY – Art Journal

It has been a while since I shared a DIY post, and I was making something for my sister, so I decided to include it as my Do It Yourself project. It is a fun Art Journal or Whatever Journal really. The materials used are recycled materials. This type of journal is supposed to be fun and carefree – you are supposed to have fun while creating it. Anything goes, you are to let your imagination soar free. This is also a great exercise to let yourself go if you need a break from your routine or are feeling uninspired. I have admired many of these, and of course, had to try making one.

The materials I used – recycled paper, ink, old book cover, construction paper, beads, cord …, and basically anything that I could incorporate while making it. The first thing I did was to find an old book cover and transform it with paper and a coat of Mod Podge. Then I selected what to use for pages and attached them to the cover. After that, it was a matter of creating anything I wanted on these pages. Last, I decorated the front of the cover, as well as the interior. This art journal has space to write, lots of pockets to have fun with, and envelopes with stickers and pieces of paper to write your thoughts. The good thing about it is that my sister will be able to add to it – in short, play with it, adding while discovering all the little nooks in it. It is a green journal and it gives these materials new life. Here are a few pictures of some of the pages, just to give you an idea, and maybe inspire you to create one. You can use and transform any material while making one of these journals. My cat could not help but to assist me; that is the part of its head on the first picture, left.


Recycled Materials Art Journal

Recycled Materials Art Journal


003 004 005 006 007 008 009 010 011 012 013 014 015 016 017 018 019 020 021 022 023

I hope you enjoyed this post.




The Vintage Office

If you have followed this blog, you are aware of my love for vintage items. I love the yesteryear charm of these things, the detail in workmanship, as well as the durability of many vintage objects compared to a similar object manufactured today. In addition, selecting vintage is my way of contributing to the planet by giving a second chance to things, and preventing some of these things from landing on our landfills.

As a writer and entrepreneur, I try to create a space that will inspire me during my working hours, but also that is environmentally friendly. Many times, before heading to the nearest staples, I try to plan purchases ahead of time, looking to see if I can find a vintage item instead of buying new. Sometimes, this action saves me money, sometimes it does not; however, it always helps the environment by preventing an item from going into the landfill.  Many times, I am buying new old stock (NOS) – new items from the past, never used or that have survived sometimes more than a 100 years and are still in great usable shape. Examples of these items are vintage pencils, hole punchers, metal pencil sharpeners, ledgers, paper, refillable pens, paperclips, card holders, heavy-duty Rolodex and refill cards, note cards … you get the idea. Of course, some things require new technology, which I buy new.

The trick here is to plan so you have time to look around; therefore, you don’t make a hurried purchase, which could end up being more expensive. However, Mother Earth is always grateful. As an example – if you know that you will need to buy a stapler in a few weeks, now is a good time to look. If you need to replace your stapler, the heavy metal vintage ones are excellent and perform well and you can still find original staples online, whether NOS or new replacements. I stress this point, planning a purchase, because let’s face it, if you need something right away, you will not have time to shop, compare, and most likely, you will rush to the nearest office supply store because you cannot wait for delivery.

Sometimes the detail in craftsmanship of these items is inspirational in itself – you see a well thought and designed item, proudly displayed, which may inspire you to reach for the same in your work output.  So there is an added benefit. If you are a techie who loves the latest gadgets, this post may not be for you, but you can help by organizing your work and schedule electronically, thus reducing much paper output, in a way, which is great too. And since we are in the topic of paper, if you alternate between writing your drafts on the computer and paper, you can use vintage journals or ledgers for that purpose. I have been lucky to find an entire box of NOS copy paper for three dollars. Other great writing materials are fax paper or the old printing paper with the removable sides. Just a few ideas.

Here are pictures of some items in my writing/working space. By the way, the desk was a Craigslist buy for $10.00 (no zeros are missing here).


Roll Top Desk - photo by M.A.D.

Roll Top Desk – photo by M.A.D.

Heavy metal Rolodex, 7 position industrial hole puncher, industrial stapler (takes three sizes)

Heavy metal Rolodex, 7 position industrial hole puncher, industrial stapler (takes three sizes)

017 018   Photo by M.A.D.

Vintage Camera Case - fits perfectly my Canon Powershot. Photo by M.A.D.

Vintage Camera Case – fits perfectly my Canon Powershot. Photo by M.A.D.

Journal Ledger - Photo by M.A.D.

Journal Ledger – Photo by M.A.D.

002 004El Dorado pencils and metal sharpener

So there you have it; all these items are vintage, some more than 50 years old, some new old stock, but all ready to give many more years of service. I hope you enjoy this post, and that it inspires you to give a second chance to vintage items to help our environment.



Quick Weekend Project – Recycling Pallets

It has been a while since I posted one of our projects, and this weekend I helped Eddie with a simple and quick garden project.  After hurricane Sandy arrived last year, our front garden arch/trellis came down, leaving the Wisteria plant looking like a big mess, and we just trimmed it, and let it be for a while.  This weekend we had a few large pallets collecting dust and we decided to tackle the project of building a new trellis, since the Wisteria plant had grown wild and presented the risk of poking the mail carrier’s eye. So Eddie built it, a very simple design, and I helped paint it in a vibrant red.  I think that it came out nice, and it took care of the unruly plant – it will grow happily in it, and I am sure that the mail carrier appreciates it as well. The materials used were all recycled materials and some we had at hand – pallets, nails, glue, and paint.

Here is a picture of the old arch as it was left last year.



And now that the poor Wisteria has grown back, we built her a nice trellis were it can stretch to its contentment.


recycled trellis 050


The Top 10 Endangered Places – SELC’s List

Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge (Photo credit: Ethan.K)

Just a quick post on the recently released list from SELC – Southern Environmental Law Center, which of course targets the South; however, three out of 10 relate to Virginia,

  • the VA and Tennessee mountains (coal mining)
  • Charlottesville, VA (proposed Route 29 Bypass)
  • Southside, VA (mining)

Here is the article’s link where you can find pictures as well as detailed information on each one of the 10 issues (click each picture).

Top 10 endangered places 2013

Sad Message in a Bottle

This morning I became irate when I heard a comment from one of the PIX 11 news cast members about a message in a bottle that was found.  The reporter encouraged people to go to the beach and deposit their own messages.  Although she said it  in a casual tone and probably she did not think twice before saying that, I was angry because I expect more from a person who is well-educated and many times, has done a segment on eco-friendly products.  Imagine what would happen if 100 idiots, followed by another 100 morons, decide to do just that?  100 message bottles a day = 36,500 bottles dumped into the ocean yearly.  What would you think of 100 people dumping 100 message bottles in your front door or lawn?  Well, the ocean is home to many species and just because you belong to the human species does not give you the right to trash another species home.

The point of this post is not to ridicule anyone (hence the name of the reporter is not mentioned) but to make you think about how every little step that we take impacts this planet – for better or worse.  A more appropriate comment would have been – “Oh, let’s try not to throw more bottles into the water, send a virtual bottle instead, or next time you are at the beach, why not pick up one bottle and dump it in the trash can.”  Imagine the impact of 100 people doing just that.  However, what is in our hearts, comes out through our mouths, eventually.

We are not perfect, we are human, but we have been given a little gray matter to use it from time to time.  I know that the idea of a message in a bottle has been romanticized, and we humans fall for romance.  I am learning to live more eco conscientious and have much to learn; however it saddens me when I see people who should know better encourage dumb and irresponsible behavior.  Don’t complain when the planet’s resources start lacking or when Mother Nature’s fury unleashes near you – we have created this environment and as we give we get back.

Next time you think is cute to send a message to the other side of the world, think of the possibility that a marine animal may get injured with that same message – not so romantic.

I know that I sound as a preacher, but when I see educated people making these silly and irresponsible statements, which may encourage others to do stupid things , I have to wear my preaching gown.

Uranium Mining and Milling in Virginia is a Dangerous Idea

If the moratorium that has kept a ban from mining Uranium in the Coles Hill area of Chatham – Pittsylvania County, VA – is lifted, may God bless VA weather and the residents who live there (including me when I finally get to move there after restoring the old farmhouse – just five miles away from the proposed site).

Instead of writing  a list about why it is a bad idea, let me leave the reader with a few YouTube videos that I found, which will give you an idea of how dangerous lifting this ban is, and mostly it is all about VA type of weather and hydrology.

The first video will give the reader a bit of history on how this all started.

About what residents living there will loose.

Huge flood in Coles Hill area – 1996

North Carolina joins to support the ban and this is why this affects NC.

The last speaker on this video makes a good point

The people from Pittsylvania County and beyond do not want the ban to be lifted.

And I leave you with this last video.

If this ban is lifted, living in this small town would be hell.  Just think of the pollutants, the noisy equipment, constant movement of mine vehicles … and just picture the worst case scenario …  May God bless Pittsylvania County, its residents, and all the people beyond this area who will be affected.

Please sign the petition to keep the ban.

The Vintage Solution

I love vintage; to look at, use, and wear old or antique pieces gives me pleasure, and yes, it makes me happy.  I’ve always had a passion for vintage items, however, it wasn’t until I became more eco conscientious that I embraced vintage as a way of living.  I try to consume in an earth friendly way and find what I need, either vintage or handmade, even fair trade.  I also understand that if everyone embraced this lifestyle, the worldwide economy would suffer and the many industries would stumble/crumble – we have created that type of society, but it takes all kinds to make up this planet.

To me, vintage represents a great solution for anyone who wants to do a few minor adjustments in his/her consumption habits.  Starting by appreciating a few vintage items,whether furnishings or clothing, is a great way to help the planet.  Leather is a good example – there are plenty of vintage leather items that are a great way to prevent the killing of more animals, for fashion purposes.  If you – like me, love the leather look and durability, you can look into vintage leather items as a way to save a few animals, and the ones who were sacrificed, would have not died to become an item on a landfill, thus polluting the earth.  When I talk about vintage to some people, I find that there are big misconceptions about the term.  Here are a few misconceptions.

  • All vintage items are old or used – Not necessarily, there is plenty of NOS (new old stock) that has never been worn and has the tags attached.  Some of it is stock from stores that closed long time ago or from warehouses.
  • Vintage is dirty and smells funny – This is another big misconception and it depends on where and from who you buy the items.  There are plenty of vintage boutiques, shops, even upscale ones.  Many online shops which cater to vintage fans make sure that these items have been cleaned, laundered, pressed, and given the royal treatment before presenting these items to their customers.  When you think about it, these items are probably cleaner than the new blouse hanging at your local department store, as this blouse may have been tried on many times and hanged up in the racks over and over.
  • Vintage items are dated, and I will look as if I stepped out of a time machine – Again, it is how you wear and combine these items.  If you wear a complete ensemble from the 20’s of course you are going to look as if you stepped out of one, went to a costume party, or are starring in a play.  The key is to accessorize vintage or mix and match with more current items.  Although, if I happen to like the look (time machine look) I don’t care what anybody thinks of it; I wear it.
  • Vintage is dirt cheap and passe – Some pieces are very inexpensive, but others will cost you a pretty $$$, and where do you think designers take their inspiration from? – vintage pieces.  Just look at what is being highlighted now (at the writing of this post) on the runways, and get a hint – pleads, 70’s …
  •  I might pick up germs from wearing vintage – I think microbes and viruses might have died long time ago, besides, it comes down to where and from who you get your pieces.
  • I don’t want to look like my grandma – You will not, if you know how to wear vintage, and besides, what’s wrong with the granny look?  I see many online sites that cater to the young market carrying the “granny look,”  however, they know how to accessorize and mix it up.  You can do the same and learn a few tricks from those sites – Ruche, ModCloth … for example.
  • Why buy vintage when I can buy new and spend the same?The answer is a personal one and it comes down to taste and how eco conscientious you want to become – and I say become, because in the end, it is a choice that you make – no one is eco conscientious, you become that way and you choose that lifestyle, in degrees.  At first, you start learning and educating yourself, trying a few things and later, you might want to do much more.  If you don’t like the vintage approach, you can always buy new from eco-friendly companies that manufacture items using sustainable materials, or you can also buy handmade, fair trade products.

I hope that after reading this post you have a better understanding of what vintage is and can find a new spot in your heart for it, or at least,  a new appreciation of it.  I hope that you enjoy this post and I leave you with a few pics of my vintage favs.

I call these midcentury shoes my Hemingway shoes.

 These vintage dress is circa 1970’s, maybe late 60s.

Circa 1970’s pleated dress

New old stock tortoisse sunglasses

40s/50s luggage