Recycled project: Hopscotch rug

image Here’s a green project we did recently. I found several carpet samples for sale at a thrift store and thought they would make a fun carpet for our play area. I originally planned on sewing them together in a rectangle shape but then came up with the idea to make a hopscotch rug. My daughter has been into hopscotch lately so she loves it. This not only added a colorful accent to our floor but is functional too in that Emma can play on it.

At 50 cents a square the rug cost only $5 to make! If you try to make this yourself here is what I recommend: I found it hard to get a needle through the thick carpet (even a thick needle) so I first poked holes in it with an icepick and that did the trick.

My Dream Home

I just found my dream house! For awhile now I’ve wanted to build an eco-friendly home for our family. At this point in our lives it isn’t feasible but hopefully in the future we will be able to. Today I stumbled upon the most adorable and eco-friendly house I’ve ever seen. You should totally check it out! It’s quite amazing! My brother thinks it looks like a Hobbit house from Lord of the Rings.

A Low Impact Woodland Home

The Truth about Bottled Water

Many people assume that bottled water is healthier than water from the tap. What they may not realize is what they’re getting may not be any better than tap water. In fact, name-brand companies such as Dasani and Aquafina actually use just that, tap water. Consumers often pay 1,000 times more for bottled water, an unregulated and sometimes even inferior product. Images of sparkling mountain streams and gushing springs seduce the consumer right into a scam. That’s money being poured right down the drain!

Not only is the bottled water itself an issue, the plastic it’s packaged in is an environmental hazard. 60 million water bottles are thrown into landfills each DAY! Although recycling the bottles is better than throwing them away it still doesn’t solve the problem. Even if everyone recycled their water bottles there is still the issue of all the fossil fuels needed to make them in the first place, transport them across the country and then recycle them. Re-using the bottles isn’t the best option either because they are made from polyethylene terephthalate or PET plastic (Recycle code #1), a plastic made for one-time use only.

Consider a better and healthier alternative, reusable bottles. Stainless steel or aluminum (Sigg brand) water bottles don’t release any chemicals and leave your water tasting clean and fresh. My family uses stainless steel bottles made by Klean Kanteen. You can even purchase them with sippy lids for toddlers! Here’s where I bought mine: Reusablebags.com

While tap water is generally safe many of us feel better taking an additional step to insure healthy water. In-home water filtration is the best option out there. It’s more environmentally friendly, healthier and cheaper than bottled water. I’ve been using a Brita pitcher filter but am looking into upgrading to a Berkey filter. I love that it’s powered by gravity and doesn’t require any fancy hookup to the faucet. Apparently it can even filter straight lake water! That would be fun to try! I will probably purchase the fluoride removing attachment as well. If any of you have experience with this particular water filter please let me know. I’m eager to try it! I’ll be sure to let you know how I like it.

Comparison of Popular Water Filters

Sources: Earth Policy Institute, Bottled Water Blues

To turn off or not to turn off - That is the question

I’d always heard that with fluorescent bulbs it’s actually more efficient to leave them on rather than turn them off. This didn’t really make sense to me but I went along with it. I changed my ways after watching Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel (Air Date: December 13, 2006). The MythBusters crew tested a variety of common household bulbs to see if this is true. They measured both the start-up and steady state energy consumption. They found it’s worth it to leave the fluorescent bulb on for 23.3 seconds if leaving the room but the other bulbs were negligible. So no matter what the bulb, it basically uses less energy to turn the bulb off then to leave it on when not in the room. In addition to bulb energy use they also tested longevity and found that turning the bulbs off and on more frequently does not decrease their life span.

Episode 69: 22,000 foot fall, Lights On or Off

Safe Paint

image This past weekend I painted our living room light-brown. I just love it! This was the first time I had painted since going green so I wanted to choose something less toxic and more eco-friendly. Here’s what I used:
Olympic Premium: Interior Latex Flat
low-odor
no VOCs
Green Seal Certified
Sold at Lowes for about $17 (won’t break the bank)

I’m quite pleased with it and can breath easier (literally) knowing that my family won’t be harmed by fumes and gassing-off. There are other great healthy paints available as well. You can read about them at Ideal Bite.

VOC stands for ‘Volatile Organic Compounds.’ This is one time when ‘organic’ isn’t a good thing. VOCs are known to cause cancer in animals and even sometimes in humans. They can damage the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. In addition, it can aggravate asthma and cause headaches. VOCs can also be found in things like varnishes, gasoline, vinyl floors, carpets, cosmetics, air fresheners and pressed wood furniture.

Sources:
Environmental Protection Agency
Minnesota Department of Health

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