Thursday, August 13, 2015

Homemade Soap - Updates

One of the best workshops I attended was a soap making course put on by Homesteaders Emporium. It was an evening workshop and it gave me all the confidence (lye can be scary...and I respect it very much) and skills I needed to make my own soap! 

This was near the end of 2013 if I remember correctly. Below are photos from my most recent batch (batch #3). This time, I did the cold process, but didn't add anything - just left it as is to harden into mold (see below). It has a bit of a green tint to it and I'm not entirely sure why....perhaps the olive oil since it's yellow-ish but I have not yet looked it up.

Then, I grated it down, re-melted it on a double boiler and added essential oils, and spices for colour! All direct from nature :)

 Actually, I first tried to melt without the double boiler, and I added too much water (because I didn't want it to burn/stick) and it was a foamy mess! But, still turned out okay (see below) just a bit more water in it so it will take a while to "set" and be ready for use.

This is a minty bar (though it looks a bit fruity!), peppermint, spearmint, tea tree ground oatmeal/bran/clove.

I could use it now's soft and would disintegrate within a few I'd rather wait and prolong its life.

 I used old almond milk/hemp milk containers as molds and they worked great! #upcycling  and a container I had lying around (made with silicone) - not actually a huge fan of it for food so glad I can use it for soap making! 

A few more pictures of the process.

This has rose flowers (which were rescued on their way to landfill)
plus essential oils of jasmine, ylang ylang, and patchouli. 

Tumeric is what I used to get this colour!

I added poppy seeds to the yellow one for exfoliant awesomness (they were poppy seeds I rescued from their way to the landfill, so it seemed like a good fit!) The scents in it are tea tree, lemon grass and a bit of patchouli

I actually had help in making a video while doing the cold process - and at some point I will edit it and perhaps post it was made for my cousin, and is super low key....but maybe will be helpful. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Swap Shelf 101 - Sharing and keeping stuff out of the landfill - WIN WIN!

What do you do when you find a perfectly good shelf in the alley, whilst walking home from work? 
....And when you've been racking your brain for months on how to have a good system so that people waste less...and give/share more? 

Why you implement a SWAP SHELF - that's what! 

Found these in the Landfill bin...all still perfectly usable - heart breaking...but it was time to no longer sit by idly as I watch people toss perfectly good stuff! While diverting head was racing.

......found in bin - once destined for landfill

I was a bit weary because I had been burned in the past....I tried to start something similar before, a year or so ago....and was met with a bit of opposition i.e. someone ripped my sign down, still unsure where it perhaps a bit more than a bit of opposition.

This was my first attempt - perhaps a bit too much writing....
and there was never any shelf set up...
I had placed the sign on wall, to the right of the landfill bin.

But I figured, it was worth another shot, and I finally reached the point where the pain of not doing it and watching what goes into landfill was now greater than the pain of being shut down when I had tried before. 

So I figured, I'd take what I learned, and make it different this time, and hopefully people will use it and benefit from it.

This time I decided to keep it short, and sweet....but with my verbose nature was hard to keep it simple. After a few iterations, I opted for this....a play on "have a penny leave a penny.." that reminds me of my childhood and sharing our cents to make peoples lives easier at the check-out. :)

The sign on the right placed on the door to the "recycle room" (formerly know as "waste room" and renamed (not officially but I refer to it as this) yours truly...language is important....many subtleties) - it lets people know if they have stuff - they have THREE options 1) Swap Shelf 2) Location of nearest thrift shop (5 min walk, if that) 3) Diabetes Association - Clothesline Program (offering free pick-ups!) 

Minutes after it's set up....the stuff on here is all stuff I found in the bin....but soon enough (same day and day after)...the items change! 

Yay!! Someone added their boots! 

Some items gone, some more items placed....a beautiful ebb and flow
 - keeping it out of the landfill low and our hearts full! 

If you have any questions or want to chat about starting something like this in your building....I'd be happy to help! 

Soon we will have electronics recycling, battery recycling, light bulbs, and soft plastics....can't wait! It's been a looooooooong time coming. But sometimes, things can only work best when the people are ready to have them.... it's a bit of an ebb and flow itself. 

I'm feeling super grateful for the positive feedback both verbally from folks in building, including our security staff, and in action (by placing and taking items), I've received.... yes to everyone! 

Giving your shoes a new life, and keeping them in circulation - drop them off at Quick Cobbler instead of the garbage!!

We all get to a point where our shoes  have so many rips/holes they simply can no-longer be worn.

But what happens if we're unable to repair it ourselves or with the local repair groups ( here in Vancouver we have....Vancouver Fix It Collective & Repair Matters)? Donating them is of course not an option since they are not really wearable at this point (at least for me). And more often than not, paying to have them repaired costs more than the shoes! What do we do?

I'm a huge fan of fixing....ourselves, but supposing we simply don't have the time or whatever else may be the case.

Are they destined for the landfill???

Nope! (phew!)

If you are close to Vancouver BC, you can take them to the Quick Cobbler - when you walk in you'll see a black round container that says "Shoes for Donation" (Or something like that) on it.

Quick Cobbler
Located at 430 W 2nd Ave
unceded coast salish territory

Place them in there, and they will mend them then donate them.

This is a win win because it allows their staff to get practice, and train, it gives shoes a new life - keeping them in circulation for those who want/need them, and it keeps stuff out of landfill.

I'm a big fan of Win-Wins! :)

Don't live nearby? Call around to your local shoe repairs and see if they might like to implement this awesome initiative!