Tag Archives: diy

E(ART)H letters

Today we’ll talk about 2 of my favorite things. In one word. Although I’ve seen the concept of “Art” in “Earth” before, it seems perfectly fitting for me and all that I’ve been studying. The harp (my art) and the environment (…the earth). Plus, it’s so freaking hard to ever decide what word you’re going to spell out when you’re picking out letters at the store, so when I came up with “EARTH” I knew that I had to put it up on my wall.  Is it cheesy? Yes. Do I care? Not even a little.

First of all, I really believe that just seeing the word “EARTH” will remind me that:

1. I’m a miniscule, teeny-tiny, itty-bitty part of a huge planet so:

2. My problems are not that big of a deal and therefore:

3. Take care of the earth because you’re only a constituent of it, not the freaking owner.

and “ART” is one of many experiences that makes my existence meaningful.

So let’s begin! This is extremely easy. I’ve actually been holding onto these letters for a while–I was meaning to do a different project with them (ie using mosaics) but decided to just paint them because honestly who has the time for mosaics nowadays?

E(ART)H at www.ecospired.com

E(ART)H at www.ecospired.com

In progress!

Materials:

  • Paper Mache letters. Made out of 100% recycled paper! You can buy them here (or at any craft store, really).
  • Paint Brushes
  • PAINT!
  • Optional (for easy hanging): elmer’s glue, nails and a hammer.

This project is extremely simple but fun, and also ecospired (naturally! [pun intended])

Materials for Letters at www.ecospired.com Materials for Letters at www.ecospired.com

Directions:

  • Paint letters.
  • Optional: If you’d like to hang the letters like I did, a really easy way is to take off the plastic tab that is glued on the letter. Then, move the tab down half an inch (so the tab doesn’t stick out from the top) and glue it there using elmer’s glue.. Then, you can just hang it from there (using nails and a hammer). I would’ve taken a picture but because the tabs are clear, they don’t show up well.

E(ART)H at www.ecospired.com

E(ART)H Letters at www.ecospired.com

E(ART)H Letters at www.ecospired.com

I’d paint everything gold if I had the chance.

I painted the sides of the “ART” off white to make the letters “pop” off the wall and to give them definition. Don’t ask why I painted “X”s on the E and the H. I wanted to paint polka dots instead but I was too lazy.

E(ART)H Letters at www.ecospired.com

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E(ART)H Letters at www.ecospired.com

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What do you think? Have you jumped on the letters bandwagon yet? Leave me a comment and let me know!

-Daria

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Staghorn Fern Tutorial!

I’m happy to be writing this post today. So many exciting (and terrifying) things have been happening lately and it’s been hard for me to find time to do a tutorial. For example, I’m playing harp in a Capital Cities‘ music video tomorrow (woo)! But, on the other side of the coin, my grandma had a heart attack last night, but thankfully, she’s doing well now. We were extremely lucky, and my world is back in order. When it rains, it pours, right? I wish it’d actually rain here in Los Angeles to spare us from the agony of perpetual sunlight, which I must say can seriously be annoying. I guess I sound like an ungrateful diva, but when you’re born and raised in a sunny place, rain is a luxury. Forgive me!

Back to the post. I love houseplants. First of all, they help clean the air in your home. Did you know that there are likely more toxins inside of your home than out? So much for escaping the pollution by staying in, huh? So today, I’m going to be posting about mounting a Staghorn Fern to the wall, to have a cool way to clean your air (and to have cool, living decorations).

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

I’ve also always liked the idea of “antlers” on the wall but not the actual idea of taking antlers from an animal and putting it on my wall (vegetarian over here!). So, the Staghorn Fern is an great environmentally-friendly option for those of us who like to keep up with the American tradition of antlers on the wall without necessarily harming something in the process. Anthropologie recently had Staghorn ferns on their wall, too. We all know how much I love Anthro!

Another cool, environmentally-friendly option is cardboard cutouts of animal heads or antlers, which you can get on Etsy.

Image Courtesy of Etsy shop "Cardboard Safari"

Image courtesy of Etsy shop “Cardboard Safari”

Apartment Therapy has a great tutorial for this project. I referenced it when doing mine, although I deviated a bit, mostly because I was determined to not have to buy extra supplies (aka leave my apartment).

Check out their tutorial here!

Materials:

  • Staghorn Fern- Check out your local nursery for this. I bought mine for 5 dollars from Sunset Nursery on none other than Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles.
  • Wooden Plaque- I got mine for 3 dollars from JoAnn Fabrics.
  • Wire
  • Sheet Moss
  • Hammer
  • Nails

Total time: 15 minutes

Total cost: Under 20 dollars

Materials for Staghorn Fern  Tutorial

Materials for Staghorn Fern Tutorial

Directions:

1.  Hammer 2 nails into the back of your board and secure wire in-between the 2 nails, as pictured.

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2. Soak your moss in water.

Moss!

Soaking Moss!

3. Hammer 5-6 nails in a “circle” (epic fail pictured below).

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

4. Place your moss on the plaque and secure it onto the plaque with wire (so it won’t fall down).

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

5.  Take your Staghorn Fern out of the pot and gently “break apart” the roots. Basically, you want your fern to be able to attach to your moss. Staghorn Ferns are epiphytes, so they grow off of other things, hence why we can hang them up on the wall.

6. Place your fern on the moss “bed” you’ve created. Then, wrap it in more moss, so the soil/roots are covered. Then, wrap the wire around the plant, while remembering to secure it to the nails too. This will ensure it stays on the board. I don’t have a particular picture of the step, but this is the finished project because it’s the last step!

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

Caring for your Fern:

Staghorn Ferns like to “dry out.” In other words, don’t overwater your plant! They’re similar to orchids in this way.  Spray it with water (from a bottle) once a week, or when the roots are actually dry. They like warm temperatures and high humidity. So feel free to hang them inside and spray the leaves with water whenever you feel like it. They’ll love you for it.

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What do you think? Are you tempted to create some living art for your place? Leave me some comments and let me know!

-Daria

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DIY Sea Glass Chandelier!

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

This is by far my favorite DIY that I’ve ever done. I made it by upcycling and using renewable materials, which is how we do it here at Ecospired! I originally saw a sea glass chandelier at none other than Anthropologie (surprise.)but it was about 10 times my budget and not exactly my style. When I find the original picture, I will definitely post it. It’s been a couple of years since then!

I first made a smaller version which you’ll see later on the in post. I like it, but it doesn’t have the BAM and grandeur as the larger chandelier. I’ve kept the small chandelier in my balcony and kept the large one inside.

Warning: This project is very time consuming, but definitely worth it!

Materials:

  • Sea glass! If you don’t have access to get it from the beach, check out Target. They have a bag of sea glass for about 5 dollars. I’d suspect that you’d need 1 of their bags to make the small chandelier, but more for the larger one.
  • Wire: I bought 24 gauge steel galvanized wire from Home Depot. 24 gauge is sturdy yet easily maleable.
  • Pliers: not completely necessary, but will make your life easier.
  • Wire cutters
  • Metal hoops (1 or 2, depending on size of project- look for picture below)
  • Beads, fake crystals, real crystals, whatever!
  • twine, rope or yarn–whatever you prefer.
  • mason jar
  • candle to fit in mason jar
  • Optional: hot glue gun
  • **If you plan to hang it, make sure to get a sturdy, appropriate ceiling hook.  If you go to your local hardware store, they can help you find the right one. 
Some of the tools you're going to need.

Some of the tools you’re going to need.

Metal hoops from JoAnn Fabrics.

Metal hoops from JoAnn Fabrics.

Here's the ceiling hook I used, as well as how I made the top not.

Here’s the ceiling hook I used, as well as how I made the top not.

Directions:

The trickiest part is getting the sea glass to stay secure within the wire. This took me a while to get! I don’t happen to have any extra sea glass hanging around or I’d show you. One trick I do have is to use your hot glue gun to glue the wire to the glass on the back (don’t do it on the front- it looks pretty ghetto). Leave me a comment and let me know if you’d like me to make a little video about how to secure the pieces on the wire. Here’s a picture of the front and back of one piece. See how I created two loops on either side?

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

Front

Back!

Back!

Basically, the point is to create a string of sea glass and beads, crystals, or whatever else you choose. However you manage to do it is great! You might consider drilling holes into the glass..which might be difficult too. Let me know if you have other ideas!

Once you’ve made one link, you need to make a few more. For each strand of mine, I have 3 white sea glass pieces, 1 green piece, one green bead and a “crystal”. Make a LOT of these strands. For my large chandelier, I have about 40 strands!

Secure the top of the strand of sea glass to the hoop, working around in a circle. I didn’t like the look of the bare metal (also one of my hoops happened to be gold, and the other silver) so I wrapped them in twine. Space the strands as close or far apart as you’d like. I wanted mine to be less of a wind chime and more of a chandelier, so I made sure they didn’t touch.

Once you’ve created a basic round of sea glass strands for one or both of your hoops, it’s time to secure the mason jar and candle. Wrap the top part of the mason jar with wire really tightly with 2 different pieces of long wire. Make 2 wire “handles” (or wires sticking out) so that you can secure them to the hoop.Then, secure it onto the smallest hoop and let it hang slightly lower.

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

Your last step will be to take three or four long pieces of string (or wire) to hang up the chandelier. I picked three strings because it looks less cluttered. Make sure your chandelier is even and not lopsided!

View from the top!

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DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

Here’s the baby one! It hangs out outside.

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

View from the bottom

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

That’s all there is to it! I realllllly hope you try this project out yourself. It’s seriously one of the big reasons why I chose to start this blog in the first place. If you do try this DIY, please provide a link to my blog and send me pictures too! I’ll post them for the world to see. 😉

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I want to give a special thanks to one of my best friends, Melanie Lancon, for giving me every single piece of sea glass that I’ve used for this chandelier  She used to live in Santa Barbara and spent years collecting all of these pieces. When she moved, she gave me a sht ton of them! Thanks Mel! 😉

Please feel free to pin it, share it, and try it out yourself! To leave a comment, look on the top left corner of this post, next to the title.

-Daria

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Books and Coasters

I went to Santa Barbara this weekend, to hear the Music Academy of the West musicians perform on Saturday night. If you’re around Southern California and need an excuse to go to a beautiful place and be inspired, you should seriously hear one of their concerts. Check out their website for more info! I’ve played harp at this festival in past years and I’m so nostalgic for that place. I love it.

Anyway, I also went to hang out with friends who are working and playing there, and it was a ton of fun. I hit up my favorite Goodwill thrift store there too, and shopped in downtown on State st.

Me and a friend stumbled upon a used book store in the cute little town where the musicians stay (Carpinteria). We went in and bought used books for $2 each! Books aren’t necessarily the most environmentally friendly things ever, but I don’t think they use quite as much paper or trees as you’d think. But buying used is still better.  I love reading hard copies of books and having them around, and buying used ensures less paper production, and is a great way to justify buying superficial & trashy books without feeling guilty about the paper or the price tag.

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Anyway, I have an overhanging planter that’s filled with basil. Basil is a really easy herb to grow. It’s perfect for those starting out doing urban gardening or gardening in general. Basil doesn’t require a lot of space and it grows ferociously, so you’ll gain the confidence of thinking that your thumb turned from black to green. 😉 So with that said, I made vegan pesto last night! Here are some pictures of da babies.

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Of course, no picture of food is complete without a mason jar.

I got the pesto recipe from this really awesome book called The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet. Try it out!

Simple Pesto (recipe adapted from The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet by Joni Marie Newman)

Ingredients:

  • 14 large fresh basil leaves (No need for precision here)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic (I wouldn’t use that much garlic though!)
  • 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon raw walnut pieces
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil

I just combine all of the ingredients in a blender. The author suggests blending all of the ingredients in a food processor except for the olive oil and then pulsing it a few more times at the end with the oil.

This should all give you about 1/2 a cup of pesto. It’s soooo good!

And lastly, here’s a new upcycling idea–I used a clay plant saucer as a coaster! I LOVE IT. It’s so simple, cheap, (environmentally friendly) & the perfect size for drinks. You can take the ones from your pots (as I did) or buy them at a hardware store. You can paint them too, but I like the clean and traditional look of the plant saucers without paint.

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I painted this mug at Color Me Mine years ago, with one of my closest childhood friends. I know it looks like I was 5 when I painted it, but I was more like, 18 years old. No judging

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And here’s another look at my water. It looks more like a fruit bowl at this point…

I should mention that I gave up Diet Coke in December, which is a miracle for me that I’ve been able to last this long. That sht is unhealthy and my addiction was using up a lot of plastic and aluminum, recycled or not. So now, I’m trying to have fun drinking water, which is really only fun when you put plants in it, and take pictures of it.

-d

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Decorating the Apartment. With Difficulty.

My little 2 bedroom, 2 bath rental in LA needs some work. Okay…. maybe a little more work than I’m letting on. One day I will be brave enough to show you a picture. My good friend and I live on the top floor of an apartment building in a very cute neighborhood…but–it’s difficult to decorate a rental. You know it only yours for tiny bit and there’s really only so much you can do, right? And obviously, it’s a lot more challenging to decorate on a student budget!

source: radicalpossibility.com

source: radicalpossibility.com

Let me describe my apartment to you. When you walk into the kitchen and family room, we have white walls, with white tile, with off-white cabinetry and white appliances. We have 3 off-white leather sectionals (the roommates’) and a white bookshelf. Oh–and white vertical blinds. CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW HIDEOUS THAT IS? That’s some serious drab sht right there. It needs serious help. In fact, when I was inquiring about renting this place, the manager at the time said: “I mean, I don’t think you’re going to want to rent this place if you like to spend a lot of time at home.” Whoops.

So a lot of what I’ll talk about is making my apartment truly a reflection of my life (and my roommate’s life too)!  This is difficult to do when you and your roommate bring your own furniture and have your own tastes.  Luckily, my roommate is easy-going about these things (she hasn’t yelled at me for having 30 potted plants in our apartment yet so I think we’re good).  I firmly believe that you should always make your place perfect for you.  Not in a Pottery barn kind of way, but just… you. I have so many weird things around my apartment that I’ve wondered if I should just hide when I have visitors but then I realized- who really cares? We shouldn’t have to justify our choices, in anything, really. Here are a couple of pictures of some embarrassing frames that I own:

Happiness is still Homemade. And embroidered, apparently.

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(That’s some serious embroidery, huh?)

So there! I absolutely love thrift and antique stores. I love upcycling. I refuse to buy anything at Anthropologie for full price even though I think they have some seriously good sht. Sorry bout it.

And. Ladies– we gotta get more comfortable with shopping at Home Depot. And using hammers, and screwdrivers, and tools other than the ones that come in our makeup bags. Like– if I step in Home Depot one more time and have one more dude worker ask me quizzically if I’m lost, I’m going to scream that REAL WOMEN SHOP AT HOME DEPOT, because I mean it.

Alright, getting back on track.  I also want to make my place look refined and ME. And as you’ve probably figured out, I wanna be ECOSPIRED babes!

What have you done to make your place “you”? Comment below and let’s talk!

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DIY with Glass & Mod Podge

This is a super easy DIY project!

More Jars

All you need is:

  • Mod Podge (matte or glossy)
  • glass jars
  • magazine/paper cut outs
  • foam brush or paintbrush
  • Optional:
    • glitter
    • hole puncher
    • twine/string
    • hot glue gun

If you haven’t read my longggg ordeal about how cool and recyclable glass is on my Terrarium Tutorial Time post, I’ll briefly mention it here.  Basically, glass is infinitely recyclable and a great way to package foods because glass doesn’t interact with the food in the way of giving off harmful chemicals to your food. Glass recycling is a closed-loop system that doesn’t give off waste by-products. Another bonus!

So take your empty marinara and jam jars and let’s upcycle them!

First of all, here are the basic materials you’ll need to start this project:

Materials for Mod Podge and Jars

Directions:

  • Dip your brush into some Mod Podge. I decided to use glossy Mod Podge this time around so the cutouts looked more like a part of the glass.
  • “Paint” a large portion of the glass with a thick layer of mod-podge.
  • Place your cutouts on the wet Mod Podge and try to carefully smooth out bubbles with your fingers
  • Paint over your cutouts with Mod Podge (don’t worry, it will turn out clear, I promise!)
  • Let it dry! If you’d like, you could do another coat.

I made this one by hole-punching magazine cut outs. Loooove polka dots!

Polka dot jar

This is the other side of the goldfish jar. I love goldfish. The text aptly says “Lighten Up.” I used string to hide the screwtop-jar opening for this one.

Lighten Up

I made these two a while ago. They’re a bit cheesy…

Other jars

Tips:

  • Mod Podge dries really quickly, so work fast! Don’t attempt to paint the entire thing, but work in parts.
  • Stick your hand in the jar to hold it in place as you work.
  • Let it dry in between coats
  • Mod Podge is water resistant but not water proof. AKA, it can get wet, but don’t soak it! That’s why it’s important to really clean out your jar beforehand.
  • Magazine paper is really thin, which can make the cutouts translucent in the light. If you’re not cool with this, back them with solid color paper.

Other Ideas:

  • You can print out your favorite quotes and stick them on. Also, try layering your cutouts for a cool effect.
  • You could use this to label your jars for organizing or decorations for a candle jar.
  • You can Mod-Podge the lid too!
  • If you don’t like the screw top of the open jar, try wrapping it in twine or rope with a glue.

Send me pictures of your projects! Have fun upcycling!

-D

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Terrarium Tutorial Time!

I LOVE plants. Adore them. Very much an obsession of mine (I think I’ve made my point). Have you seen my instagram? It’s literally all I talk about and I’m pretty sure no one cares. Whatevs. So that brings me to…

…Terrariums, as they’ve become popular over the years, are great ways to bring green into your place. I especially like having plants in my apartment because I live in LA, and the only outdoor area attached to my apartment is a little balcony. And trust me, every inch of it is already filled with plants.

Succulents, as well as mosses and ferns, make great plants for your terrarium. As much as I love succulents, I REALLY like mosses and ferns, so that’s what I’ll be doing today.  This is my way of bringing aspects of the Pacific Northwest to my LA apartment. Feeble attempt, but what’s a girl gotta do?

So for this terrarium, I decided to go with a closed container, which creates the humid environment that is ideal for mosses and ferns.  An open container (so, one without the lid in case that wasn’t obvious) is ideal for succulents that prefer drier environments.

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I forbid you for judging me for using instagram for these pictures. The coolest thing about my camera is that is attached to my phone…sooo- sorry blogosphere, for not having a Canon 239439848 NADFSDF or a Nikon 454935455 WFDSx (I’m such a newb, I can’t even properly BS this subject…)

So this is what we’ll need:

  • Gravel/pebbles
  • Soil
    • Make sure it doesn’t have fertilizer (or at least not a lot). You don’t want your plants to outgrow their container!
  • Activated charcoal/carbon– you can find this anywhere that they sell fish/fish supplies (not the kind you eat…)!
    • Why activated charcoal? The charcoal helps lessen the chance of buildup of microorganisms (such as algae) and helps clean the air in the terrarium for your plant to breathe. It provides a minimal amount of carbon for your plant, because plants need CO2 (flashback to biology class). Activated charchoal is particularly necessary for closed containers.
  • A glass container
  • Moss
    • You can find this at Home Depot/Lowes. I actually got a mixed bag of all different mosses from JoAnn crafts.
  • Plants, such as ferns
    • I found mine at Home depot, and mine is a maidenhair fern, which cost about $3. Ferns & mosses do really well in highly humid environments and they grow pretty slowly. You could also do succulents. I wouldn’t choose fast growing succulents (such as Jade), but focus on small ornamental succulents that you can find at Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart, etc…

Here’s the activated charcoal/carbon I bought from Petco. It’s $7 and more than enough.

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TADA!!!

Terrarium

Care for your terrarium:

For your closed terrarium, you rarely need to water it! Like… once a month. For a succulent terrarium (that’s open), like… once a week.

That’s a relatively large container as far as terrariums go, but I wanted something that was tall enough for the Maidenhair fern that I’m using.  This container is also made of 100% recycled glass. Glass is quite possibly one of my favorite materials for DIY projects.  It’s pretty, long-lasting and cheap. Loves it!

Did you know…?

  • Glass is infinitely recyclable. It doesn’t lose its quality over time, which is what makes it so environmentally friendly! HOW COOL!!! 
  • Glass if made of quartz sand, soda ash and limestone. It is made naturally in the environment by things like lightning & volcanoes.
  • The turnover time of recycling glass & having it out in stores can be as little as a month! That’s awesome and very efficient.
  • A glass bottle that is sent to a landfill can take up to a million years to break down. Recycle that sh*t!
  • For every ton of glass recycled, 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash, 380 pounds of limestone, and 160 pounds of feldspar are saved.
  • Recycling glass produces NO by-products because glass recycling is a closed-loop system. This means that it creates no waste, which is definitely environmentally friendly.
  • Glass has a longer shelf life than any other packaging material. Beat that, plastic.

Side note: When I was picking out this glass container, I clumsily dropped on the floor, like an idiot. It literally BOUNCED on the wood floor, and didn’t break or even crack! I figured that buying this jar was fate, a fool-proof choice and perfect for my idiocy.

Wasn’t that FUN? I’ll keep you all updated, unless of course, my whole terrarium rots and in THAT case… jk it better not.

It’s so easy, you’ve gotta try it. It’s seriously fool-proof. Send me pictures of your final project!

-Daria

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Hi world!

Hi world! First post! So exciting.

So I guess I should introduce myself now. 🙂 I live in LA and I’m a student at USC. I’m a female by the name of Daria, (like the MTV show in the 90s–and although I’m admittedly as sassy as Daria Morgendorffer, but I’m also REALLY ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT LIFE). Anywho, I graduated yesterday (AHH!) with a Bachelor of Music in Harp Performance (weird, I know) and a minor in Environmental Studies. However, it’s not the real world for me quite yet, as I’ll be continuing with my master’s in Environmental Studies at USC.

SO– here’s my deal. For this blog/website/whatever I’ll be talking about different DIY projects and my feelings.  I’m obsessed with DIY, and with home & outdoor design. However, my main focus is DIY with an environmentally-conscious focus (hence- “ecospired”). I like to upcycle things that have little value and are probably going in the trash anyway- or something that just needs some extra TLC.  I’m also planning on writing about different environmentally-friendly options and practices. You know, whatever.

Let’s DO this!

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