Lemon loving for my love seat (Day 351)…

February 14, 2008

As some of you might remember, I bought this wicked-hideous love seat a little while ago from a U-Haul dealer, which I’ve put in my new office to go with the retro theme. The arm rests needed polishing but I didn’t want to get any neurotoxic crap like Pledge and couldn’t really buy any new product without running into plastic, so I looked on the World Wide Interwebs for a good homemade recipe.

This site had some pretty cool suggestions, so in the end, I decided to whip up a concoction of lemon juice, jojoba oil and a splash of white vinegar, then took a dish rag and gave it a rub.

I’m not sure it did very much. Here’s the before photo:


(Excuse my feet). And here’s the after photo:


I don’t know. I mean, I guess it looks cleaner — and there was definitely a lot of dirt that came off on the rag — but it’s not exactly shining. Maybe I should put more oil? Or use olive oil instead? But apparently that can go rancid in the summer or something.

Well, either way, it’s still better than spraying it with petroleum.


P.S. Happy stinkin’ Valentines Day. Remember, coconut oil before K-Y!

It’s better than bad, it’s good! (Day 343)…

February 6, 2008

fireplace channel

I’m currently staying at a friend’s cottage, where they have satellite TV and this thing called The Fire Log Channel (do you not immediately think of this when you read that?). Now, I’d actually heard about pyro-television a couple years ago, but kind of forgot about it, figuring it was one of those ridiculous fads that would never last.

But according to StarChoice, demand for the fireplace channel was so great, they practically had no choice but to bring it back, extending its season to the end of February. As they so seductively argue, “it only takes a second to ignite your glowing fire” — just click on channel 238 or 299.

I have to admit, at first I thought it was the stupidest thing ever, but eventually it sucks you in with its hypnotic glow. It’s no different than any other fire, but because it’s on TV, you can’t help but be a little more entertained — wondering if that smaller log over to the left of the screen might topple at any second, a victim of the bigger logs’ alliance, or maybe there’s a hidden message in the pattern of the sparks…

Anyway, the David Suzuki in me was finally fed up and demanded I turn the thing off, so I did. But I would love a fire, now that I’m in a house that can accommodate it — the only decision now is whether to use the gas-powered one or the real thing.

Automatically, I’m going to assume making a real fire is more eco-friendly than using a remote to turn on the gas-fuelled one — at least providing there’s real wood involved, not those easy-light firelogs; or then again, maybe the “green” Duraflame logs aren’t so bad? — but I could be wrong. Maybe this will be like the microwave post.

So while I tentatively pledge to only light my fire the old-fashioned way, please let me know if I’m mistaken — certainly it would take less energy from Yours Truly to press an “on” button.

Image courtesy of AP on Flickr

The environment can’t afford to be picky (Day 250)…

November 5, 2007


The other night, at a party, my friend and I were loitering around the food table because we didn’t feel like dancing. After stuffing various victuals in our mouths, she went to grab a toothpick and offered me one. I grinned and asked if I had any stuff in my teeth — she said no — so I declined.

This is, I’m realizing, precisely what any eco-minded person would do. It’s become a natural reaction for me now; unless I really, truly need to use something, I just don’t.

However, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to use this as my green change for today! Yup, no toothpicks it is. I have my vegan-waxed floss if I really need to dig something out of my chompers, as well as some natural mouthwash, and if I’m desperate there’s always my fingernails.

There are some environmentally friendly toothpick options out there: Preserve has a line of them made from sustainably harvested birch, and you can get bamboo ones, too. However, it’s always better to reduce, so that’s what I’ll be doing (but please do tell me if I’ve got broccoli in between my teeth).

Photo of multicoloured toothpicks from this photog on Flickr

Not hanging onto hangers (Day 219)…

October 5, 2007


I hate, hate, HATE wire hangers. Not only do they look ugly, they leave annoying little pockmarks on whatever you’ve hung on them — especially nice cashmere stuff — and they always rattle around and fall down to the closet floor at the slightest provocation, usually to someplace you can’t reach that’s covered in lint and cat hair and cobwebs.

Although some cities recycle wire hangers, Toronto doesn’t. And while my eco-friendly dry cleaners do take them back, there’s still a part of me that feels these things should never have been invented in the first place.

Plastic hangers are better in terms of form and function, but plastic itself as a material isn’t very eco-friendly, which is why I’m going to try to stick to wooden hangers from now on — hopefully used ones from Freecycle or Goodwill. Made from a natural source, they’ll last longer and apparently they can help prevent moth infestations, too!

Photo of wooden hangers nicked from this website.

Slice, dice and make nice (Day 210)…

September 26, 2007

cutting board

Now that I’m making an effort to eat only local, organic produce, I figured I should start treating my fruit and veg with more respect — so I’ve been washing everything carefully and bringing out my fancy chef’s knife to make sure it all gets sliced and diced with expert precision. Unfortunately, expert precision isn’t so easy when you’re working on a wobbly, splintered, dried-out, five-year-old cutting board from Ikea.

I decided to get a new one, but wanted to make sure I made a good, green choice. Plastic ones meant no trees would be chopped down, but then plastic isn’t exactly an eco-friendly material. I’d read a lot about bamboo cutting boards, but they can be expensive, plus I couldn’t find any near me and didn’t want to order something online to be delivered by truck.

Then, my culinary guardian angel — Tony Vrbanatz of the Kitchen and Glass Place — came to the rescue.

He recommended the Epicurean Natural Richlite cutting board (above), which has been popular in restaurants for over 30 years and is made from an environmentally friendly wood fiber laminate.

It’s lightweight, dishwasher safe (not that this matters to me, at least until March), won’t dull knives, is temperature resistant to 350 degrees, nonporous and prohibits bacteria, odors and staining (although I have yet to administer the final test: beets).

Most importantly, it seems as though it’ll be incredibly durable, which means it won’t need replacing for years and years to come. Of course, there are plenty of other options out there, and if you’re lucky enough to have a granite countertop, you don’t even need a chopping board. Still, I’m enjoying my new cutting surface, and I think my carrots are, too.