Friday, December 26, 2014

Re-use Old Pickle Juice, Make Refrigerator Pickles With Kale or Chard Ribs & Stems

refrigerator re-use pickles made from kale stems & ribs
I love pickles and usually save old pickle juice to use in homemade salad dressings, marinades, or sauces, but I recently took minimizing food waste to the next level when I decided not to compost the ribs and stems of the kale leaves I'd just made a salad with and instead snapped them in half quickly and submerged them in the juice of two different leftover pickle juices I'd combined (one of them from beet pickles). I can't believe how satisfying and easy it was to economize, conserve and create in the kitchen! It took not more than two minutes to complete the operation. I will wait two weeks before opening and eating.

I also use kale and swiss chard ribs and stems as a crunchy vegetable akin to celery and bokchoy in cooked dishes, and I freeze it, too, to use later in fruit smoothies, but I still become overwhelmed with how much we accumulate over time, and find myself periodically dumping some of the frozen stems in our backyard compost pile to make room in the freezer, so I'm pleased to add one more way to use this healthy vegetable.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Swedish Door Harp, Door Chimes, Feng Shui for Home Entryway Front Doors

http://amzn.com/B0057AQKU2Said to be inspired by the Chinese feng shui tradition of hanging bells on doors and windows to act as simple, common sense safety alerts, wooden door harps are of Scandinavian origin going back about 700 years.

Tunable if you've got that knack, they usually have 3 or 5 strings. Mounted on the inside of your front door, the instrument serves dually as art sculpture while gently chiming as you or guests enter and leave. The soothing song adds an inexplicable feeling of warmth and assurance to homes.  And they make unique home warming and wedding gifts.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Eco-friendly Pet Care for Dogs and Cats ~ Green Lifestyle Tips

Many of you will scoff at these ideas, but for those interested there are simple changes we can make to lighten our pet's carbon footprints on the earth. Here, are just a few ideas. We'll likely explore this topic again in the future.
  • Leave it to the birds - After brushing your pet, instead of pitching the collected fur in the trash, which ends up in the ocean, a landfill, or is incinerated (creating toxic pollution), simply leave it outside in your yard or a park. Birds will find it and incorporate it into nests, or it will blow away and eventually be recycled by nature. 
  • Get Crafty - Instead of buying pet toys, which are often made of synthetic materials, re-use and up-cycle packaging and other items in your home instead of pitching them. Think about using yarn and fabric scraps, cardboard boxes, plastic containers. A few scissor snips and knot-tying and voila, you have a fun cat toy!
  • Natural Pest Control - Fleas and ticks are real concerns for the pet owner, so finding alternatives to the highly toxic formulas most of us have grown accustomed to using on our animals is a big step toward making healthier pets and planet. Consider using essential oils, homeopathy and anti-pest formulas with less-toxic ingredients. And according to holistic veterinarians, making sure your pet's diet is wholesome and nutrient-rich is the best defense against these pests.
  • Healthy Food, Healthy Pet, Healthy Planet - Though preparing high quality food for your pets may seem up front more expensive and time-consuming than scooping up kibble for them, over time it results in a good investment for your pocket since having a healthy pet with a strong immune system will save you on vet bills. Commercial pet foods, even the best, whether wet, moist or dry, are highly processed, nutrient-sparse. Moreover, preparing their food turns out to be comparably-priced to the natural, high-end commercial prepared pet foods. And it benefits the planet in various ways. The environmental cost of packaging, shipping, storing, and distributing pet food has to be tallied, along with the convenience of using them. Commercial pet foods bear little to no resemblance to the diets that dogs or cats would naturally choose for themselves in the wild, so it goes without saying that they can't be good to be for them, and therefore not good to introduce them into our environment (what goes in, must go out!). Whatever you do, try to favor pet foods made from chicken and rabbit meat and avoid those containing red meat and fish which, by comparison, have a much higher environmental impact.
  • Unplug - If you're able, avoid using electric-powered watering and feeding dishes, and self-cleaning litter boxes. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

How To Make Natural Linen Spray, Room Freshener, Face Toner With Essential Oils & Witch Hazel ~ Eco- Green DIY

I  was dazzled recently by a natural linen and room spray my mom and I bought at her local farmers market.

Misting them on all her linens, fabric blinds and upholstered furniture I effortlessly turned her abode into an aromatic, mood-balanced confection of lavender, rosemary, sandalwood, and tangerine.

Imagine my glee when I finally read the labels and learned the aromatherapy sprays do double duty as hydrating face mists.

Intrigued by their short, sweet ingredient lists, I was inspired to research how to make the sprays on my own. And now you can, too, if you've the time and are so inclined! They make great gifts for housewarmings, bridesmaid parties, and other occasions.

Ingredients: 
Tools:
Directions:
Add all ingredients to glass spray bottle, shake well. VOILA!!! 

Oil Combinations to Try:

It really is anything goes as far as combinations of scents, so have fun, but DO make sure you purchase REAL essential oils and NOT perfume oils. 
  • rosemary and lavender
  • tangerine and sandalwood
  • lemon and vetiver
  • pine and orange
  • vanilla and lime
  • rosewood and patchouli
  • rose absolute and benzoin


 
*photo credits: sandalwood by flickr member sunphlo, witch hazel by flickr member zimpenfish

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

5 Ways to Better Enjoy your Backyard - Sponsored Post

Your backyard is as much of a living space as any other area of your home, but it is often the most neglected. People do not know how to properly enjoy their backyard, and so it is often left to decay, with muddy tracks to and from washing lines or sheds, limp grass, and very few plants. What most people don't realize is that it is possible to enjoy your backyard, to treat it as part of the house and to really live in it. There are a few ways in which you can transform your backyard and take more pleasure in it.

1) Create an Outer Living Space

Rather than just add a few trees or plants, one way to really enjoy the backyard to its fullest is to turn it into a living space. Add a few comfortable chairs, with cushions to ensure that it is pleasant to sit on them for long periods, and then add tables. More important than that, is to add shade. Use awnings, which are easily attached to the house, or gazebo covers to ensure that the living area is protected from the heat of the sun, or from rain.

2) Add Water Features

If you want to relax in your garden, and get away from the rat race in your own little Eden, then one thing you will need is a water feature. They have been used for centuries in Oriental landscapes due to the relaxing nature of water moving softly between rocks, or burbling over a drop into a pond below. Make it easy for yourself by placing it on even ground, and avoid over-hanging trees which will make the water dirty.

3) Add a Fire Pit

More popular now than ever, the fire pit is a great way to get more enjoyment out of your garden. These little areas, either built into a patio, or bought as a furniture piece, will ensure that you can relax in your garden of an evening. With the heat from the pit, and the occasional burst of flame which arouses gasps and laughter, it is not only a great focal point in the garden, but will be a talking point among your friends, too. It is not difficult to find a good fire pit, and as long as it is kept away from plants and flammable items such as gazebo covers, then it should be perfectly safe for you to use.

4) Fencing and Decking

You could change the way you enjoy your garden by adding decking and fencing to the outside area. You don't have to have wild animals on your doorstep to use fencing, as it is now as much of a garden feature as it is a defense. Traditional gardeners might want the white picket fence, of course, but others might enjoy organic fences, or even ones which have been designed with small holes in the wood, perfect for bees and other hibernating insects.

5) Add Gazebos and Pergolas

Adding a construction such as a gazebo is one way to create something original and attractive in your garden, as well as providing a sheltered spot where you can watch flowers bloom, or see wild animals coming to drink from your pond. The gazebo looks attractive, and it is possible to buy gazebo covers from YescomUSA which can be matched to other features, such as painted woods, chairs or landscape designs.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Matching Your Garden Furniture with the Weather - Sponsored Post

If you have a garden or even just a patio that you want to furnish, then 
that’s fine. However, remember that besides your furniture being 
stylish, it also needs to be practical. Outdoor furniture is different 
from indoor furniture in several aspects, the most important of them all 
being the fact that it needs to endure the weather. You should always 
take your climate into account when you are buying new outdoor furniture 
because some pieces were simply not meant to be used in certain 
conditions. If you do not, you will soon discover that your furniture 
will not last long and that you will have wasted your money.

All patio and garden furniture has been designed in order to be used 
outside, so it will be weather-resistant up to a point. However, if you 
want your furniture to look just as good season after season, you will 
have to be careful when you buy it. Basically, there are four main types 
of material used to make garden furniture: plastic, wood, wicker and 
metal. Each one comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks so it 
is just a matter of deciding which one would fit you best, taking into 
account your personal preferences and the weather.

Plastic furniture is a good choice for some because it is inexpensive 
and can withstand the weather for years. However, it does not look very 
stylish and it is always associated with the word “cheap” in a negative 
way. If practicality is the most important quality when it comes to 
garden furniture, then this can be the choice for you.

Wood is usually pretty resistant to the elements, but it basically 
depends what kind of wood you select. Hardwood will be tougher but, at 
the same time, it will be more expensive. The problem with wood 
furniture is that it requires a lot of care and maintenance. If you 
leave your wooden furniture exposed to the weather and not treat it 
regularly then it will start to rot and get sun damage.

Wicker is a good choice as it can resist the sun, but it is very light 
and this is not good if you live in a very windy area. There is also the 
choice between natural wicker fibers and synthetic ones. While most 
people will prefer the natural option, it is less resistant to the weather.

Lastly, we come to metal. Most garden furniture is made from wrought 
iron, although aluminum is also a popular choice. It is the most durable 
material available but, like wood, it requires maintenance. It also 
comes with a hefty price tag, but it will face the weather with no
problem.

You should always remember that any garden furniture that can be moved 
and protected from harsh weather elements should be moved: folded chairs 
can be packed up, pillows can be put in baskets and patio umbrella lights
can be turned off and closed.

If you are on the hunt for top quality furniture that will withstand the 
weather, you can visit www.thelashop.com where you will 
find a large variety of different styles and materials to suit all your 
needs.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lambswool Dusters - eco-friendly dusting with no chemicals

I've recently added lambswool dusters to my dust-busting arsenal. I used to think that damp dusting with soft cloths was the only way to keep on top of these allergy-triggering particles, but I was given a Wool Shop lambs wool duster recently to try and was pleasantly surprised by how well the furry wand grabbed dust from blinds, shelves, books, and fragile knick-knacks with no water or chemicals. And I liked that the wooden handle allowed me to extend my reach for items and spaces higher up, so I could clean from a lower ladder rung.

Because the natural fatty-based lanolin and scaly structure of the wool fibers are so effective at attracting dust, you will need to clean yours periodically in warm water and a drop of very mild soap. Pat excess water out in a towel, then take it outside to roll between your palms to re-shape. Hang it to dry.

Do keep in mind that the damp method of dusting is still the only way to go if grease or grime is mixed in with the dust. But if you've been keeping your home up regularly, a lambs wool duster is a time-saving, eco-friendly alternative.

*Visit Wool Shop to buy a lambswool duster*


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New York City's Best Cleaning Service - New York Magazine & Daily Candy Choose Ms. Green-Clean & Other Press Highlights!

Nearly six years into the eco-friendly business venture, Ms. Green-Clean continues to be featured in New York City and national press, not only for our superior home and office cleaning services, but we are regularly consulted for expertise in all matters related to cleaning green and living sustainably. In 2008 New York Magazine chose MGC as "Best Cleaning Service" and just last month Daily Candy spotlighted Ms. Green-Clean in their flip book of New York City's best repair shops. Here are a few other highlights from our press page:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Eco-friendly Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

The classic gifts for Valentine's Day are store-bought flowers, candies, cards and jewelry. Hoping not to sound the killjoy, I'd like to put a green-twist on the holiday giving this season by offering some suggestions for more eco-friendly gift ideas.
  • Give a gift certificate for a home cleaning!
  • Give a gift certificate for a professional massage.
  • Give a gift certificate for a class - art, yoga, music, etc...
  • Cook a special meal (try to use local grown and raised ingredients!)
  • Bake a confection - cake, cupcakes, pie, etc...
  • Write a poem for your sweetie.
  • Buy a book of love sonnets from your local used book store.
  • Make a handmade card from your paper recycling pile. Throw in some of that wrapping paper you save from gifts!
  • Frame a good photo of the two of you happy.
  • Plan a nature walk for the two of you at a local park or garden.
  • If you want to give chocolate make sure it's fair trade and sustainably harvested.
  • If you want to give a bottle of wine make it organic and from a local vineyard.
  • Instead of flowers why not a regionally native plant or tree for the yard!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Donna Keiko Ozawa's Wooden Chopstick Sculpture & 10 Ways To Re-Use Disposable Wooden Chopsticks


We can't all make as finely conceived art from our used wooden chopsticks as this short video shows Donna Keiko Ozawa does, but we can definitely give second and maybe even third lives to our wooden chopsticks, or refrain from accepting them at restaurants entirely.

When the idea for this entry occurred to me a few weeks ago after eating Japanese take-out I thought I'd write a cute little something on chopstick crafts. I was not aware how critical the implications for our environment take-out chopsticks are.

Ozawa reveals in this video an old statistic from 1994, that Japan used 150 million wooden disposable chopsticks PER DAY. When she searched further she found more recent figures. According to a 2007 statistic she quotes, China then was exporting 14 million trees worth of these utensils to Japan EVERY YEAR and that if they continue at this pace China will be deforested in 10 years. This is not accounting for chopsticks to other countries, only Japan. I was blown away. It made me think not only of chopsticks being wasted and forests degraded, but all the other little incidentals associated with our take-out culture -- sugar packets, plastic utensils and containers, paper and plastic bags, styrofoam containers, aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles, etc...

Now don't get me wrong. I am by no means an extremist on the green-thinking spectrum, but these chopstick statistics are sobering and have made me more aware of how our seemingly small habits can snowball with catastrophic implications.

Here are 10 Ways To Re-use Your Disposable Wooden Chopsticks:
  1. Make a soap dish.
  2. Use as fire kindling.
  3. Make a chopstick wrapper bookmark.
  4. Use as plant markers or stakes in garden.
  5. Make a lampshade.
  6. Sand them and use as beginner knitting needles.
  7. Make cup coasters, placemats or trivets.
  8. Use to test oil temperature when deep frying.
  9. Sand and use as decorative hair sticks.
  10. Sand and paint to play pick up sticks.
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