Tag Archives: green

This California Summer

This heat and drought in California is truly something else. I’m sure many of you have seen the “before and after” photos of bodies of water in California that have experienced devastating consequences from this drought (if not, check it out here). We are particularly feeling the effects of this drought here in Southern California. On top of that, we’re in the middle of a really horrendous heatwave right now that has led to some planned (and unplanned!) power outages around this region. I’m saying this in part to highlight a lot of the important issues that we’re facing in California, but also to really show that we don’t always have perfect, 75 degree temperatures in Southern California! In the Orange County area this past weekend, there was a fire burning over 1,000 acres of land in Silverado Canyon. This particularly hits close to home because it literally was close to my parents’ home in Orange County. Interestingly enough, this fire was started by the metal roofing of a vegetable garden! What a small way for such a devastating fire to start! You can find out more about the story here. Okay; end rant!

As a result of all of this, I have really made an effort to conserve as much water as possible. One way that I’ve been doing this is by choosing more drought-tolerant plants for my balcony garden. Of course, my small, unassuming balcony garden probably wouldn’t use up much water in the first place, but every drop counts, right? On top of that, keeping plants alive in this summer heat is a whole different ballgame, particularly regarding plants that are not suitable for high temperatures. As a resident of the top floor of my apartment complex, my balcony experiences inexplicably high heat. So instead of planting snapdragons and basil as I have before, I’ve planted succulents in my overhanging balcony planters! I feel like it’s a bit of a non-traditional way to use planters, but I love it!

Succulent Planter #1

Succulent Planter #1

Succulent Planter #2

Succulent Planter #2

This is a really great way to also use cuttings of succulents, propagate more succulents, and also, to minimize how many pots you use. I was tired of having so many separate little planters so I threw them all together.

Here are some photos of the rest of the balcony! It’s slowly but surely coming together!

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Balcony Gardening @ www.ecospired.com

What are you doing to keep cool in the last few days before fall begins? Leave a comment! 🙂

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Santa Monica: A Bicycle Safety Analysis

Today, I’ll be focusing in on a beautiful, vibrant city in Los Angeles: Santa Monica.  For several of my classes, I have focused on Santa Monica’s sustainability initiatives and have made a bike-safety map, done neighborhood design analyses on the City and its initiatives. Believe it or not, Santa Monica is one of the greenest and most sustainable cities in the US  I was amazed by how much progress they’ve made as a city and how seriously they take being sustainable.  For more information, take a look at Santa Monica’s Sustainable City Report Card and their Climate Action Plan. They have an Office of Sustainability and the Environment  as well!  Frankly, their initiatives are impressive and inspiring.

However, I wanted to further analyze their bicycle safety initiatives.  In my research, I discovered that biking in Santa Monica actually wasn’t as safe as I had previously thought. It’s easy to see how it could be dangerous- millions of tourists, pedestrians, cars, buses, and bikers all convening into one city could easily cause many problems.  Today, I’ll be posting a bike-safety map I made using ArcGIS (Geographic Information Systems), a program that allows you to make maps and overlay important information in a visual way.  In all of my research, I was not able to find a map of Santa Monica’s most dangerous intersections and roads, so I created one myself.

I used the top 10 most dangerous intersections from the collision statistics collected by the Santa Monica Police Department from 2006-2011 and hand-digitized them onto the map as well. The top 10 intersections most dangerous intersections for bicyclists in Santa Monica are listed below.[iii] 

Top 10 Most Dangerous Intersections for bicyclists in Santa Monica

Top 10 Most Dangerous Intersections for bicyclists in Santa Monica

The datasets I used to map Santa Monica were bike routes, bike paths, street centerlines, truck routes and city-block boundaries. I was able to download the bicycle data for this project from Santa Monica Government’s GIS data website,[i] which I downloaded as a shapefile and integrated into my project. For bus routes, I used the Big Blue Bus routes [ii] and hand-digitized them onto my map.

After adding the layers from Santa Monica’s GIS data (bike routes, bike paths, street centerlines, truck routes and city-block boundaries), I hand-digitized the main Big Blue Bus routes to provide a layer that can shed light on the most congested streets. Buses often drive on the most ‘popular’ and likely places for people to be, so this can substitute for a traffic layer that I was not able to otherwise find. The blue circles on the map account for the top 10 most dangerous intersections in Santa Monica. (Hint: click on the map to see a larger view).

Santa Monica Bike Safety Analysis Map.

Santa Monica Bike Safety Analysis Map. Please feel free to share, but give credit to http://www.ecospired.com

As evident in the map, the intersections of bus routes and truck routes undeniably are the most prone areas to bicycle accidents. This is evident by the intersection of yellow and red lines through a blue circle. For a majority of the top 10 most dangerous intersections, it seems to be clear that they are 4-way intersections that are wide, packed with cars, trucks, buses, and have the potential for serious vehicular accidents. Additionally, within 6 of these intersections, I noticed that there were no bicycle lanes or paths on the intersecting streets. These intersections included Wilshire and 4th St., Lincoln Blvd. and Pico Blvd., Pico Blvd., and 17th Street, 4th Street and Santa Monica Blvd., Broadway and 4th St., and Colorado Ave. and 2nd St.

I have done a much more extensive analyses of this map with policy recommendations  in my courses at USC, but I will include that information in my next post.  What do you think? Are you surprised? Leave me a comment and let me know!

[i] http://www.smgov.net/departments/isd/gis.aspx

[ii] http://bigbluebus.com/Routes-And-Schedules/Routes—Schedules.aspx

[iii] http://www.santamonicainjurylawfirm.com/Personal-Injury/Bicycle-Accidents.aspx

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Spring Renewal

Spring in Southern California is kind of a joke. We have “perfect” weather year-round. California’s subtleties in seasonal cycles can make it difficult to differentiate between the months. You have to go through the darkness to see the light, right? Figuratively, we don’t have that “darkness.” At the risk of sounding unappreciative, sometimes it’s hard to appreciate that beautiful day outside because we can trust that it’ll be there tomorrow and the day after. At least that’s how I feel.

My point is, it’s easy to fly by the seasons doing the exact same things when you live in a place that doesn’t obviously display its seasons. But I’ve made it a point of mine to change my actions/attire/perspective seasonally. That’s why I’ve planted a colossal amount of seeds. Even if spring is practically year round, it’s finally that time of year! So I went a little overboard at Home Depot and Orchard the other day. I always feel so dorky when I talk about plants, like I’m “too young” to be gardening. Then I realized that it doesn’t actually matter because at the end of the day, you’ve got to be unabashedly YOU.

Seeds

Yep. This happened. I usually never buy/plant any thing other than herbs, succulents and ferns. I’m branching out (puns)! I’ve decided to grow more vegetables and flowers. I used to think flowers were frivolous on such a small balcony but I’ve changed my mind. Flowers are awesome. Some flower seeds I got were Foxgloves, which are TREMENDOUSLY BEAUTIFUL and definitely too big for my balcony, Zinnias, Poppies, Baby’s Breath, Lupine and a few more. I also got more vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, swiss chard, lettuces, arugula, malabar spinach, etc. AND herbs, as usual. Here are some herbs I cut today from my balcony.

Rosemary, grapefruit mint, chives, dill and parsley

Rosemary, grapefruit mint, chives, dill and parsley

I bought the 72 pod Greenhouse Jiffy kit from Home depot and put some seeds in! I was wondering how to label the seeds so I used some plastic-y tabs and wrote on them with permanent marker and devised a little organizational system to make sure I don’t mix them up.

seeds at www.ecospired.com

seeds at www.ecospired.com

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At first, this was the container I was using. Jokes! It’s too small. So that’s when I bought the 72 pod container and transferred these guys over (that’s why you’ll see that there are a couple of already-sprouted rows).

seeds at www.ecospired.com

What do you think? I’m so excited for these little guys to grow. My balcony/apartment will be a complete jungle. No complaints here!

Sushi, my little parakeet

Sushi, my little parakeet

This is my bird, Sushi. Don’t ask about the name. Named her 13 or so years ago! Ironic that I never had tried sushi at the time that I named her, and no longer eat sushi now…

terrarium at www.ecospired.com

Also, I got bored with the moss terrarium so I took some of Sushi’s bird seeds and just threw them in the terrarium. They’ve sprouted. Surprise!

Lastly, this is some seaweed concentrate that I got for the plants from Orchard. It’s apparently really great for the soil and foliage of plants and apparently keeps bugs from infesting your plants because they don’t like the taste. We’ll see!

seaweed concentrate for gardening!

seaweed concentrate for gardening!

Have you started planting yet? Spring cleaning? Let me know!

-Daria

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My Recent Ecospiration

Hellooo! It’s been too long since I’ve written. There are really no excuses. I guess you could say that I wasn’t very ecospired in those long “dreary” months. That’s not true. And actually, I don’t even have the weather excuse because California’s “fall” and “winter” look exactly like its spring and summer this year. It’s actually an extremely dire problem here in California; we’re in the middle of a bad drought with little to no rain. As much as it sounds crazy to complain about the sunny days when the rest of the US has been in the middle of a polar vortex, our problem is real too.

I wanted to let y’all know that I actually HAVE been ecospired lately. I’ll be talking in more detail about these concepts in future posts, but I wanted to lay them all out on the table today.

Here are the things that have really ecospired me lately (if I say ecospired enough, and in enough ways, will it become a word? Will it become a thing?! I’m determined to find out.)

1. The website, Conscious Commerce

I found this website in a funny way. I was on a Netflix binge, and I watched the movie “Drinking Buddies,” starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston. Olivia Wilde was fantastic so naturally I stalked her on the interwebs…that might just be a thing I do. Anyway, I found out that she co-founded this website with Barbara Burchfield. I LOVE IT. And I officially love Olivia Wilde. She’s a passionate activist, hysterical, environmentally conscious and an all around decent person. (On a side note, Olivia has been writing articles for magazines that are hysterical, spot on and support the environment and women’s rights. Read Olivia’s “commencement speech” for 75 years from now in Glamour magazine. I promise it is worth the read!)

These quotes from Conscious Commerce’s website perfectly summarize what they’re all about:

Know what’s not fun? FUNdraising. This is a tragic misnomer.

Whoever thought of this word has never begged donors for money, regardless of how worthy the cause. We spent years in the non-profit world trying to scrape together funds for incredible causes, and have the battle scars and deflated dreams to show for it.

We thought it was high time to create an alternative form of raising cash for good, and why not tap into the dollars already being spent by the billions every single day? We will select the purposeful products that we think you’d buy anyway (this is not your source for recycled gum tampons) and organize them for your perusing pleasure.”

We vote with our dollars. In a time and age where political activism seems to be at an all time low and shopping is probably at an all time high, we can vote with what we do or don’t buy. It’s really the least we can do. What are you voting for? I’d like to vote for the environment, animals, justice, and…peace. Cliche enough? I don’t care. They’re worth “buying” for. It’s worth looking into the background of the products you buy. Is it natural? Free of animal testing? Is it organic? What type of organic? Is it sustainable? Is the product greenwashed or actually green? The concept of “greenwashing” is when a company uses “green PR” or green marketing to make a product or service seem more environmentally-friendly than it actually is. Be careful for these products. Greenwashing is really trending now, and it’s difficult to differentiate between what’s “good” and “bad.” Organics are mislabeled a TON. There are also so many different “versions” of organics that you can never really be sure until you do your research.

2. Portlandia

Not much to say about this show other than the fact that it is HYSTERICAL and so weird and I love it. As much as it pokes fun at Portland’s stereotypes, it really does provide social commentary and, in my opinion, supports a good cause, albeit in a satirical way.

My favorite episode (I believe it’s season 2 episode 7) with harpist Joanna Newsom. I DIE.

3. Minimalism

This is a BIG one for me lately. I’m tired of owning so much. It’s gluttonous. It’s environmentally degrading. It’s excessive. I can keep going. I’m tired of spending half of my time cleaning my apartment and the other half messing it up, because I have so many THINGS all over the place. The more things you have, the messier your stuff will be, even if you’re super organized. I actually love to organize (understatement of the year), but sometimes, organization can mask how much crap you actually have. Do you need 10 lotions? Do you need all those scarves? I’m not trying to go “bare-bones” here, but I’m trying to make a more conscious effort of how much I own. I feel heavy with all the junk I have. I’m tired of the need to buy more crap to be happy. Retail therapy, anyone? I’m totally guilty of it. But it never ends up making you happy in the end.  I’ll be doing a post about minimalism soon. I’m aiming to get rid (or “use up”) of 1/3 of my things, and to only have things that are beautiful, useful and ideally “green”. We’ll see how that goes! I’m hoping to make the transition into really researching the products I use, in order to truly support these causes with my dollars.

Plus, we never really stop to think of how much water it takes to make clothing. Check out this video by the National Geographic and the World Wildlife Fund. The video’s under 2 minutes. Apparently, it takes approximately 2,700 liters of water to make ONE shirt. They state that this is enough water for a person to drink for 900 DAYS.

Even if you think your choices don’t matter, they really do. Since switching to a vegetarian diet a year and a half ago, few of my closest friends have too. Meat is so energy-intensive to “produce” and requires so much water. And so many less animals are dying each day because of the food that one vegetarian/vegan chooses to eat. It’s worth it to me, and since I made the decision to become vegetarian, I’ve never looked back. Your choices make a difference.

4. Trader Joe’s Soy Creamer

Trader Joes Soy Creamer

Trader Joe’s Soy Creamer

This soy creamer is crack…I’m positive of it. I rarely buy coffee from coffee shops anymore because no one ever has soy creamer and soy creamer MAKES my coffee. I cannot rave enough about this. I’m vegetarian, and I buy my groceries as vegan as I can. So, being able to drink this soy creamer gets me out of bed in the mornings. I literally buy 4 cartons every time I go to Trader Joe’s. Speaking of Trader Joe’s, I have been fortunate enough to perform the harp for Joe and friends at the original Trader Joe’s house. Original Joe’s name is Joe Coulombe. Although he has long since sold Trader Joe’s to a German billionaire, he and his wife are really great, philanthropic people. Fun fact of the day!

What has ecospired you lately?

xo,

daria

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I’m back!

It’s been too long. I have nooo excuses other than the fact that so much has happened and changed and it’s finally all settling down. To recap- two very close people in my life got married, I got to play harp in Capital Cities’ new music video “Kangaroo Court” (check it out here) and I’m officially a grad student at USC! So that’s nice, because I’ve felt like one for the past 4 years so now my life finally makes sense. Let’s be real, I never experienced college like most people did. For heaven’s sake, I have a blog about PLANTS. Welllll it’s more than plants, and sustainability is what I’m passionate about, so what gives, right?

A lot has changed over in my little apartment. The decor, for one. Here’s some of my most recent pictures:

www.ecospired.com

my place!

another blurry image of my place!

I’m not sure if I ever showed you before pictures. I’m not brave enough yet. One day I’ll gather up the courage.

Here are some more pictures of what I’ve been up to.

my sea glass chandelier at night.

my sea glass chandelier at night.

I put an exposed filament light bulb in my sea glass chandelier that I made. My tutorial is here and I seriously suggest you do this project. It’s so stunning during the day and night, and it’s totally doable.

manzanita branch!

manzanita branch!

An orchid from LA’s flower district.

The above tree branch is a Manzanita branch. This is one that hasn’t been sand-blasted– the ones you see as decorations are sand-blasted, which gives them their light color. I personally loooove the natural smooth texture and red color of the manzanita, so I bought one that wasn’t sanded. I got it from the Los Angeles Flower District  for $10! It comes assembled with a wooden box at its base. I personally wanted to hang my jewelry off of it, but you could just use it as a decoration or hang little jars with LED (battery-powered) candles inside it (I wouldn’t suggest real candles because it turns out, wood is flammable. Weird.) I also got the orchid at the flower district. I totally suggest going one morning if you’re local! I went with a friend of mine and we had a great time. The flowers are reasonably cheap and you can find any type of manzanita branch imaginable (think- pink glitter…). I wasn’t very impressed by their succulent collection, but they have a lot of great cut flowers.

This is what’s been happening on the balcony:

www.ecospired.com

Getting up close and personal with some dill…

Trader Joes’ herbs! I totally suggest buying them. Only $2.50 and healthy. Love it.

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Malabar Spinach! I bought it from my local farmers’ market.

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I love farmers’ markets.

These are some of the things I love. What about you? What do you get to make your place “home”?

-D

PS: I almost forgot! I harvested my worm compost. It is messy. And gross. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted or for the easily-grossed-out-type. BUT once you get over the fact that you’re touching worms and their sht, it’s great! My plants are so happy with their compost! And I started another vermicompost.

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DIY: Chalkboard Pots Tutorial

Chalkboard Pots at Ecospired.comChalkboard-ing has been around for a while, but I hadn’t really hopped on the bandwagon until now. And the reason is pretty silly. I got this chalkboard pencil that literally screamed “ecospired” so loud, that I bought it just to shut it up. That might just be me justifying my purchase. Regardless, I figured that I had to get a chalkboard in order to actually use the pencil, but chalkboards are just soo traditional. Let’s think outside the box, shall we?

Chalk pencil at ecospired.com

I’m obsessed with plants, which is glaringly obvious to anyone who has read a line of this blog. So I decided to paint the rim of my clay pots with chalkboard paint. Clay pots are a lot better for plants than a lot of other pots. They let the plant breathe, and it’s harder to kill the plants if they’re in clay pots (I’ve learned from experience). Also, instead of buying new pots because you’re bored of your decor, you can simply paint them. Woo! So now, I can write obnoxious notes, informational notes, or just reminders. Or inspirational quotes. Allllll over my plants.

This is extremely easy, so run out and get the materials ASAP!

Materials:

  • Chalkboard paint- I got Martha Stewart’s chalkboard paint from JoAnns. Good ol’ Martha.
  • Foam Brush
  • Clay pot
  • Chalk
  • Towel or paper towel
  • Optional: Steel Wool

Chalkboard Pots at Ecospired.com

Directions:

  • Make sure your clay pot is dry and clean.
  • Paint the rim of the pot.
  • Let dry and wait for an hour.
  • Paint a second coat on the rim of the pot.
  • Let dry another hour.
  • Optional*–Rub the dry, painted area with steel wool.
  • Lightly “chalk” the entire painted area to prep it for chalking, and wipe it off with a dry towel.
  • Write messages! Be awesome!

Chalkboard Pots at ecospired.com

 

Chalkboard Pots at Ecospired.com

And…. drumroll…. my favorites!

To-may-to and to-mah-to

To-may-to and to-mah-to! 

 

Whaddya think? Leave me some comments, at the top left of the post!

-Daria

 

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“Your Style is Just…Ecospired.”

Hi there! It’s been a few days! In my excuse, it was a national holiday (4th of July!) and I was busy buying furniture. So the little break is completely justified, right?

I was talking with my mom and she was trying to explain my furniture style to me–which sounds weird in retrospect–but she made a good point. It’s going to seem super obvious. She said: “You’re style is just… ecospired.” First of all, it’s adorable and sweet of my mom to use the word I made up, (#1 fan, thanks Mom) and second of all, she’s totally right, although I’m afraid that my ecospiration may result in my place looking like the inside of a Goodwill. I seriously hope not. But, I have a few DIYs coming up, and some new furniture, in which case the fact that I am “ecospired” will become glaringly obvious. Get excited!

This is my newest beauty in my apartment. If this doesn’t scream “ecospired,” then I don’t know what does:

It’s a driftwood coffee table that I bought off of craigslist!

Driftwood Table on Ecospired.com

Driftwood Table on Ecospired.com

Driftwood Table on Ecospired.com

Driftwood Table on Ecospired.com

My best friend (the one who endured high school with me) came with me to buy it. I’m always too chicken to go to random people’s houses via craigslist by myself. It was 25 “LA” miles away (which is the equivalent of at least 2 hours) and extremely heavy. But as my best friend said– “We’re women, we can lift this”–which was inspiring enough to sacrifice potentially throwing out our backs and bringing it into my apartment. But as you can see, we are women because it is now sitting comfortably in my living room. 😉

Love it!

Love it!

Um. Gorgeous, huh? I’m getting a bunch of new furniture because I need to love to (my roommate’s moving out). I was fishing for compliments on the table and asked my roommate, “isn’t it prettttyyy?” to which she seriously responded: “Mmhm, my grandma used to have one too.”  Thanks for that, roomie!  Apparently all the stuff I buy was once owned by someone’s grandma, so no hurt feelings here.

I also bought a chest/armoir/desk/I’m-not-really-sure-what-it’s-called a couple days before the coffee table. I’m like 107% sure that someone’s grandma owned this. I bought this at a thrift store, the second someone donated it. I literally followed the worker as they wheeled it into the store and claimed it as mine as the rest of the thrift store jealously glared at my new purchase (or something). I took it to my parents’ house because I’m considering painting it a grey/black or grey/taupe color. Or burnt orange. The white paint of the shabby-chic isn’t really my thing, but it’s growing on me. That might be the laziness in me talking. What color do you think I should paint it? Should I leave it white? Please leave me a comment and let me know!

Here’s an extremely unflattering photo of the “thing” while I was at the thrift store, which is evidently the only photo that I have of it:

ecospired.com

The theme of this post is: thrifting!

Buying used is buying green.

I know that I say this all the time, but it’s really true. The more you can imagine different possibilities with a piece of used furniture, the better off you (and the environment, and your wallet!) are. Buying used ensures less production of precious renewable and inefficient nonrenewable resources, and cultivates the mentality that you don’t always need to buy NEW things to have nice things. I’m really into home decor, but I firmly believe that it’s important to recognize your carbon footprint in all that you do, and to do something about it. A huge proponent of sustainability is simply buying used. Try it out!

By the way, am I the only person whose home decor resembles the jungle? If you’re out there, holler!

-D

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I’ve Got Worms… in my Compost! (DIY Vermicomposting)

You saw that title coming, didn’t you? Well, I’m finalllly going to be writing about Vermicomposting today.

Composting is very environmentally friendly and great for your garden. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • It reduces the amount of trash we’re sending to the landfill while using up organic waste.
  • It helps the soil hold onto water more efficiently–poor quality soil leads to higher amounts of water runoff. 
  • It is a natural form of fertilizer for your garden, reducing the need for artificial chemicals and fertilizers. Fertilizer runoff is a huge issue for bodies of water, leading to eutrophication. Simply said, it can lead to algal blooms that deplete the oxygen levels in water, which kills off life in the water, leading to dead zones.
  • Plants need nitrogen in order to properly function. Composting provides these nutrients and microboes to help the plants grow.
  • Composting helps to prevent soil erosion, balance pH levels and promote healthy root and overall plant structure! 

There are a lot of different kinds of composting, but I wanted a type of composting that was urban-space friendly, compact, and didn’t smell/attract other bugs. Vermicomposting is faster than regular composting because you have more concentrated forces of nature decomposing and “processing” the composting material (ie: the worms). It’s super easy to do. Also, I wanted some pets for the apartment. 🙂

SO! I went to this awesome Vermicomposting workshop put on by USC’s Sustainability Office, via their Urban Garden.  If you’re around the LA area and you’d like to be a part of an awesome project, volunteer at their garden on Fridays from 9am to 1pm!

Materials needed: 

  • 2 buckets (from a hardware store) 
    • Home Depot’s 5 Gallon Bucket works for this. I originally used 2 of the 5 gallon BPA-free, food safe containers, but it didn’t fit under my sink! I went back and bought 2 of the 2 gallon buckets instead. 
  • 1 bucket lid 
  • Red Wriggler worms 
    • Most nurseries will have them, or you can buy them online. This worm in particular is great for vermicomposting. You can get a huge amount of them for about $20.
  • Something that can be used to poke holes into the plastic
    • I HIGHLY recommend using an electric drill for this. I will take only 2 minutes to poke the holes in the bucket, as opposed to 45 minutes with a hammer and nail. Trust me on this. 
  • Shredded paper (just make sure it’s not glossy paper)
  • 1/2 a cup of water

Directions:

  • Drill/Poke about 15-20 holes in the lid of your bucket
  • Drill/Poke about 15-20 holes in one of your buckets (only 1!)
  • Stack the bucket with holes in it on top of the bucket without holes. 
  • Place the shredded paper in the top bucket with the holes. 
  • Pour enough water on top of the shredded paper to make it slightly moist. 
  • Dump the worms on top of the shredded paper
  • Add scraps! (Read here for more information about what scraps to put in your bin… this part is important!)

Here are the buckets! I also made a smaller version:

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These are “Food grade, heavy duty, BPA free” which I liked. The smaller buckets aren’t.

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Here are the holes on the lid.  I’ll trust that you can imagine how holes will look in the top bucket.

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Here are the 2 gallon buckets stacked on top of each other with the lid on top.

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Here’s how it looks with scrap material in there.

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Here’s the great part. Try to not be grossed out by this entire process because the compost is seriously good for your plants and for the environment. The holes in the top bucket will allow the worm’s pee to go into the bottom container. Whenever you feel like it, take this pee and dilute it with water in your watering can and feed your plants! Your plants will grow like weeds and be more vibrant. After a couple of months, you’ll get composted material in your main bucket to add to your garden!

If you get mold at any point, add more paper scraps, and let your compost air out a little. If it starts to smell, it may mean that you’re putting too many scraps for the worms to handle- so either add worms or lessen your scraps!

Let me know if you have any questions, and let me know if you make one too! It’s such a great way to compost in a little apartment. I love feeding my new pets with my trash!

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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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Annnnd Another Terrarium

Sooo.. on this beautiful Saturday afternoon, I decided to make another terrarium. This time, I wanted to experiment with mosses and lichens. I’m prettttty sure that what I used included lichens, too. I bought this bag of “moss” at JoAnns, but I’m just not sure. Does anyone really know the difference by looking?

Check out my other terrarium tutorial for more info about how to assemble it. But seriously, it’s so freaking easy, I trust that you won’t mess it up. 😉

So here are the materials I used (except I forgot to include the soil, which isn’t actually 100% necessary):

Image

Here’s a really janky picture of the selection of mosses at JoAnn (does anyone else think it sounds stupid as JoAnn Fabrics? like it should definitely be “JoAnns” and everyone says JoAnns anyway. Kind of like “Nordstrom” vs “Nordstroms”…) BTW- download the JoAnn app for your phone and you can get all the deals there. I got the moss for like 3 bucks (I felt like an ass taking 40% off the one item I was buying at the store, but whatevssss). I learned the app tip from the blog www.radicalpossibility.com which by the way, is HYSTERICAL so you should definitely read it. I want to be friends with her like… sooo bad.

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And this is the one I specifically got:

IMG_2335Soooo- put the activated charcoal first (or gravel first), then the gravel, then the soil, then the moss. Add water and BOOM– you’re done.

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Make sure not to put these babies in direct sunlight or you will have fried moss and I’m pretty they’re not edible soooo what a waste hmm?

Send me photos if you’ve made one too!

-Daria

 

 

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