Re-purposed Wood Pallet Turned Into Kitchen Artwork

Earth Day is today and it came so quickly.   Usually I try to find some new way to “be more green,” but I just hadn’t had the time due to the craziness at work so instead, I thought I would reflect on the things that I have done to become a more earth friendly inhabitant and maybe a few things I can do better.

Earth Day happens during the best part of the year, SPRING!  I love when trees bloom, grass turns green and the temperature improves.    It allows me to get out my bike and get it ready for my work commute.  I do pride myself on how little I drive in the summer.  Biking actually takes less time than driving, but I mostly bike because  I don’t like adding pollution to the air.  It is also great exercise and saves me a bunch of money!  Not only in gas but also maintenance costs.

My husband and I have cut back the amount of meat that we consume.  I just finished reading the book “Eating Animals,” by Jonathan Safran.  This book provided research on what factory farming has become and I don’t want to associate with that.  We have cut out almost entirely all factory farm meats and actually found some soy products that are actually great replacements.  Beyond Meat has a great chicken for stir fry and a beef crumble for spaghetti or any similar recipes.  I actually prefer these over the real thing.  On occasion we will find clearance meat at the grocery store that we will buy.  It’s better than it getting thrown away.

We have composted nearly 100% of our food scraps.  Only meat bone and fat are thrown in the garbage.  I have an awesome compost pile that I actually have lots of fun mixing and seeing it turn into black gold.

I have started making a bunch of homemade food goods like ketchup and peanut butter for example.  Also been buying a lot of things in bulk.  Much of our food purchases usually come from the produce section which means a lot less plastic waste.

One of our biggest trash component, is our cat litter box waste.  I have tried using the World’s Best Cat Litter (which can be flushed) but my cats have refused it.  They had decided to not use the litter box so I had to go back to the clay.  They are old and set in their ways.

A couple of other things I can work on it cutting back on TV time and shower time.  There is so much more to do than watch TV, but some days, you just need to veg and unwind; like after a long hectic day at work.  We ended up getting in a rut where that’s all we did so this week we cut it back to one show.  This is a massive cut back for us!  Shower time, this will be more difficult to cut back on.

That is enough reflection for now.  On to my most recent re-purposed art project.

Every spring our city allows you to put anything on the boulevard for trash pick up during the first week of May.  During this same week you will find all of the metal scrappers coming out to pull out any metal they can sell.  I will randomly find things that I really like too.  In the past I have pulled out a desk chair, laundry baskets and old wood and have been able to put to use for years.

One thing that was destined for the boulevard was a couple of wood pallets.  However, I found a use for one that I just adore.  When I start a project that I plan end up blogging on, I usually forget to take pictures until I am half way done.  So I don’t have a beginning picture of the pallet, only an after it was taken apart.

Reused Wooden Pallet

The were cut without measuring so they would have an uneven look.  This is the look I was going for.  I picked the side that looked a bit dusty because I liked the gray tones.  Once the boards were cut, I sanded down the sides and pulled any splintered edges.

In order to attach them together, I flipped them over to the backside, and nailed in a couple of strips of plywood pieces.  This looked pretty hodge-podge so I won’t share a photo of it.

Originally I wanted something that I could hang in my kitchen/living room area because we have bare walls.  I decided to paint a pear, so it would fit in with the kitchen, but when I hung it up, it actually looked so out of place.  I will need to find a new place for it.

I actually had a lot of fun painting it.  I had a set of acrylic paints I had for years but hadn’t opened yet.  I like acrylics because you can use water to thin it out instead of turpentine.  It got me motivated to get back into painting and art.

Below is the final project.

Repurposed Pallet Art

I think we will end up hanging it in our remodeled garage area; we have a 2nd story to our garage that we only use for storage.  Please see ugly before picture below.  We have just started the demolition part.

Garage Remodel

I would love to hear what changes you are making in order to be more green.  Please leave me a comment; I need more ideas!


DIY Toothpaste

Every year around Earth Day I get inspired to make a change to be more environmental.  I happened to find this awesome website Trash is for Tossers, which is just what I was looking for this year.  I have always been intrigued at creating Zero Waste so to find this website right before Earth Day was perfect timing.  I am going to try making my own stuff to eliminate packaging from entering the landfill and also to save a little money and control the chemical ingredients that come in contact with my body.  Below is the recipe for making your own toothpaste right from Trash is for Tossers:

Toothpaste Ingredients: (feel free to double or triple recipe)

2 Tablespoons organic coconut oil

1 Tablespoon baking soda

15-20 drops food grade mint extract

Directions:  Mix it all together.  Store in your medicine cabinet in a cute mason jar.  Run under warm water if too hard, or put in the fridge if too soft.

Happy Earth Day

In celebrating one of my favorite days of the year, I intend on being the ultimate green person.  I feel like I celebrate Earth Day every day, but today I will take it to the max.  This is how I intend on celebrating:

  1. Not taking a shower – I have no where to go and no one to impress.  Taking a shower uses a lot of water, electricity to heat the water and down the line energy to clean to water for reuse.  Not to mention the shampoo and soap you will be using that need energy to make.  I do use BWC (Beauty Without Cruelty) shampoo and Grandpa’s soaps which are healthier and better for the environment so I do feel a bit better about that.  I hate pouring scented chemical laden products on my body so it can absorb and cause damage. – No thank you!
  2. Not driving anywhere – I will walk over to visit my folks since they are in walking distance.  Like I said above, I really don’t have anywhere else to go so driving somewhere, like the mall, just to kill time is un-needed today.
  3. Conserving electricity – I do this every day as it is.  I even do it for my husband (by turning off the lights after him).  Today I will unplug electronics not in use, not turn on the TV just to entertain myself and be efficient when I am using electricity.
  4. Prepare a donation to the local thrift store – This may not be the most green thing, but by donating stuff to the thrift store that is still good quality will prevent garbage.  In completing the cycle, I also shop at the thrift store.  I rarely buy books brand new, nor furniture.  I love going to thrift stores or even antique stores in order to find what I need.

So what do I intend on doing today?  I have a few things on my agenda:

  1. Knit – Last night I went to a knitting party and got reintroduced to knitting.  I gave up when 2 of my scarves turned out like crap.
  2. Read – I have a great book I am reading that I can get some good quality time catching up.
  3. Organize/prepare donation – I want to de-clutter, get rid of stuff that I don’t need that is causing me stress and give it away.
  4. Go for a walk – Enjoy the fresh air and a bit of exercise with my husband and our dog.
  5. Visit with the folks – Doesn’t require any electricity.

I have my day busy with green things to do.  It is almost impossible to completely live without electricity but I will try my best to conserve and be creative with how I use my time.  Please share how you are celebrating Earth Day today!


Earth Day 2012

Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd and it is always one of my favorite days out of the year.  I hear about companies making a switch to operating in a more green fashion and it gives me hope that some day we will change our behavior as a nation.

I have been green since I was a kiddo.  I used to help my dad crush cans, and my parents always separated recycling.  My dad would compost grass clippings and we would always have fresh veggies from our own garden.  And my mom has also passed on her canning knowledge to me.  I have only expanded my desires to seek a more green life.

Somethings that I do to reduce my impact (and now seem unnoticeable):

1.  Bike to work once in a while (when it isn’t cold, raining, snowing or windy).

2.  Hang my clothes on the line to dry.

3.  Drive more efficiently (keep the car empty, I don’t gun it on a green light and I break efficiently).  See this post from an article I posted on driving more efficiently.

4.  I eat garden fruits and veggies.  We subscribe to a CSA for organic veggies and can what we can to save our extra share for the winter months.  It helps support the local economy and we are also eating organic.

5.  Turn off the lights.  I usually end up turning off the lights for my husband too.

6.  I use organic products.  I do not slather on lotions or hair sprays.  I find them un-useful anyways and very un-green.

7.  I keep things as long as they are still useful.  I keep my cellphones until they either don’t carry a charge longer than an hour, or don’t turn on any more.  My car is 12 years old and I don’t intend on upgrading.  I barely drive it anyways.  If things still have use, why throw it away?

8.  I recycle EVERYTHING.  More than just plastic, metal and glass.  I recycle all cardboard, magazines, phone books, clothes (donate to a thrift store), paper, junk mail,  batteries, light bulbs and electronic equipment.

9.  I survive on less.  I don’t like clutter and if I think I want to buy something, I put it back and think about it over night.  Usually I forget all about it, which means I didn’t really need it.

10.  Instead of using garage bags we use our pet food bags when they are empty.  They have a lining that is water proof and instead of throwing them away without using them we repurpose them into garbage bags.  I even ask my parents to save their pet food bags for us.

11.  I spread the word.  I like to get other people to understand the importance of recycling and living a simpler life.   I was told about “The Story of Stuff Project” from a friend at my Toastmaster club.  It gives a visual story of the life cycle of products and shows how wasteful we as humans are.

12.  I bring my own bags to grocery stores.  Or else if I can just carry it out I will just ask for no bag.  I also use a reusable lunch box and plastic food storage.

13.  I make my own laundry detergent.  We use green cleaners when we can.

14.  We buy in bulk whenever it is possible.

15.  I lean to purchasing green products and products that uses less packaging.  I love shopping at thrift stores because it is re-purposing goods that would otherwise be discarded.  I also bring in my unused retail hangers and shopping bags because they can use them.

I want to keep expanding on this list because there are so many ways that I live green in my daily life that I don’t even notice any more.  These things have become such a habit for me that is just routine.  My husband needs reminding on what can be recycled and such but he supports me in my desire to live a green life.