Sunday, July 25, 2010

Declutter Bug

Decluttering seems to be a never-ending process for me and every time I go through my stuff I find something I can get rid of. I mean we're hardly at a bare-bones level around here. Luckily, if I'm in a right mood I find decluttering kind of fun. Yesterday I attacked some kitchen cabinets and other drawers that had gotten out of hand and were bugging me.

The dark after photos (forgot to take them yesterday). If you
can't see the difference, that's extra space in there!

the rejects

And here are some of the rejects. Yesterday the following items hit the donate pile:
  1. Ice cube trays
  2. Two snack bowls
  3. Two mugs I kept forever even though I never used them just because they are Bodum. How silly is that?
  4. Sugar pourer
  5. Old travel bottle
  6. Jar
  7. Tea strainer
  8. Two blank journals that I'm never going to use. I prefer to go digital these days.
  9. Facial toner - Most pointless skincare product ever!
  10. IKEA pot - pretty but never used.
I've also created a new page with a list of most of the things I've decluttered during my last two years of concentrated decluttering. Here's the list of the dearly decluttered.

Hide-N-Go Seek

Pig always finds weird places to hang out. This is what I woke up to yesterday and I couldn't resist LOL-ing it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day

The zinnias are blooming, the zinnias are blooming!

I know I'm a little late, but I didn't want to miss two Garden Bloggers' Bloom Days in a row. So without further ado...

Zinnias are one of my favorite flowers. This spring, after I planted my wintersown zinnias, something ate them right up. Dismayed at the idea of not having zinnias this year I direct-sowed the rest of the seeds I had on hand in pots. And they turned out beautifully, so beautifully in fact that I'm putting this on my mental to-do list for next year.

I just love poppies. This is the first time I tried growing the gorgeous venus poppy (winter-sown of course), and I'll definitely do it again. The only thing I long for is to have many, many more of them.


Ditch lily




I'd forgotten about sowing these white coneflowers until they bloomed. I used to not plant white flowers, I thought they blend in too much with my white house, but I've come to love them.

Also blooming in my garden:
  • Balloon flowers
  • Coreopsis
  • Dianthus
  • Gladiolas
  • Lavendar
  • Liatris
  • Snapdragons
Want to see more blooms? Visit May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of every month to see what's blooming in gardens around the world.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is Veggie Gardening Frugal?

You've read it a hundred times: grow your own food to save money on your food bill. But is growing your own food really cost-effective? Sometimes I have my doubts.

Certainly some gardens are worth it, especially if all you had to buy was seeds and garden tools, but when I think about the costs of the containers, plants, potting soil, fertilizer, etc.that went into my small container garden, I have to wonder. I mean when locally grown cukes are only 33 cents each at the grocery, the paltry four cukes I've harvested aren't even worth the water bill. Of course my cukes are completely organic. Which means they're probably worth like 75 cents easy.

I don't grow veggies to save money though, I grow them because of the convenience and it's fun. Oh and home grown vegetables taste better. I love not having to worry about if I have enough cukes and tomatoes for my nightly salad and being able to just walk ten steps outside to pick more. Plus did I mention how awesome homegrown tomatoes taste? It is disheartening though when disease or the dreaded powdery mildew cut my harvest short (like I see signs of this year).

In order to get a better idea of just how much I do harvest in a season, I'm going to try to keep better track of it right here.

Veggie harvest 2010:
  • Cucumbers: 5
  • Lemon cuke: 2
  • Lemon boy tomato: 7
  • Tomatoes: 12
  • Green onions: Didn't count, definitely worth the cost of bulbs.
  • Basil: Loads
  • Cilantro: 5 bunches
  • Carrots:
  • Jalapeno peppers: 3
  • Habanero peppers:
  • Tomatillos:
Veggie count updated 7/17/10

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Small Green Steps

I think one of the reasons I've been blogging less is that I'm thinking much less about home DIY projects and gardening these days. Instead my latest obsessions are simplifying and going green. This obsession is fed by our recent hobby of watching documentaries on Netflix streaming (No Impact Man, Supersize Me, Food, Inc., etc.).

While I'm not about to pull a No Impact Man, or be Green as a Thistle, I have been taking small steps to improve. And part of my love of documentaries and books like Sleeping Naked is Green (great read!), is that I just love seeing what steps others are actually taking and how they live their lives a little more green. So in the interest of passing the voyeurism opportunity, here's my list of new, future and ongoing green steps.

Latest green steps:
  • Slowly switching to less- or non-toxic bath and body products. I'm starting slowly with deodorant and body wash from Trader Joe's and so far, so good. I've also vowed not to step into a Bath & Body Works again until they start making a natural line, which is huge for me! I'm going to use up the remaining products I have first, rather than toss them. There's some things I probably won't be willing to give up, like my much-loved Bed-Head hair products.

  • Switching to recycled paper towels

  • Using recycled toilet paper

  • Going to the Farmer's Market and eating local and organic foods more often. I'm cheap, so visiting the farmer's market has never been high on my priority list. Watching Food, Inc. however scared me enough to take some steps to support local farmers.

  • Buy more organic and local food

Keep trucking:
  • Stopped using pointless products: I've finally started questioning some of the things I buy just because I always have, and some of these items haven't made the final cut. Fabric softner sheets are the big one. These are so pointless. I don't use them and don't miss them, although I haven't been convinced the boyfriend on this step.

  • Growing veggies and herbs: While I hope to expand these efforts next season, I'm off to a good start this year with cukes, tomatoes, onions, tomatillos, peppers, basil and cilantro already growing away.

  • Not using pesticides or non-organic fertilizers on the lawn

  • Buying and consuming less

  • Decluttering my stuff

  • Taking decluttered but still useful items to Volunteers of America

  • Switched to non-toxic and less toxic cleaning products: including baking soda and vinegar. The one toxic cleaner I refuse to give up is something that kills the mildew and nastiness in the shower.

  • Switched to CFLs and put outside bulbs on timers. I've done well with switching many bulbs, but I still need to try to find CFLs for the ceiling fans.

  • Compost and use that compost in the flower garden instead of fertilizer

  • Online banking & switching to e-bills

  • Being stingy with the thermostat. I set the thermostat lower in winter (68) and higher in summer (75-77)

  • Drinking tap water from the Brita filter instead of buying bottled water. Unfortunately I haven't been able to convince the boyfriend to give up buying bottled water completely.

  • Wear clothes and use towels several times before washing. I've been reusing towels and certain items of clothing several times since I was a teenager, a habit I picked up from my Scandinavian friend.

  • Unplug electronics when not in use.-I'm getting pretty religious about doing this with the coffee pot and laptop, but I could go further.

Steps to take:
  • Actually using the freaking reusable bags I've been keeping in my trunk all these months regularly. I did remember to bring them on our last big grocery trip.

  • Try the Diva Cup - I can't believe I'm even contemplating this one but after reading about it in Sleeping Naked is Green it doesn't sound so bad

  • Buy a PVC-free shower curtain

  • Buy only beeswax or soy candles
Have you taken any new green steps lately?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hello Lemon Boy, Nice to Meet Ya

I've read about people that managed to grow a ripe tomato by July 1, but I've never been able to accomplish it. Until now (take that mom!). I've had my eye on this guy for weeks and I knew he was close, but imagine my surprise when I came outside and spotted this tomato has turned yellow overnight. After checking the tag I confirmed, it is a Lemon Boy and it's ready to get in my belly!

I haven't eaten it yet. I'm letting the anticipation build a little longer.


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