Photography enthusiast, novice runner and wannabe homesteader. I wish I could find time to continue my yoga practice, keep travelling the world and spend more time in a hammock but right now I'm a stay at home mom who prefers to cook, garden, write and watch my babies grow.
I'm going greener one day at a time.
I took a little road trip with my girls recently and we had a blast.
Now that my youngest is two, and much more manageable than she used to be, overnight trips are becoming much more interesting.
Not only did we have a blast hanging out with family and friends that we hardly ever get to see, but I managed to squeeze in two refinishing projects that my mom has wanted me to do for a while.
The first project was a pair of two beautiful tall end tables from Pier 1 a couple of years ago and wanted to change them up a bit.
I have to admit, I was hesitant. The wood was still quite pretty but she felt they were bland and needed updating.
Off we went to a local crazy huge box store for paint.
The two ladies working behind the cash might have been new to the paint department and kinda messed up my request for “black” paint. Instead I got a deep charcoal in an eggshell finish, rather than my usual flat finish.
The first coat was meh while the second coat was absolutely glorious.
It didn’t take long for the paint to the dry on a deck on a hot summer morning. Before long I was sanding the sides and corners with 220, 400 and 600 grit sandpaper.
A coat of wax with my newly acquired (and luxurious!) wax brush quickly sent this project to a beautiful finish line.
It was my first on the road project and it was so fun.
I wanted a clever and cute way to monitor just how fast my own girls were growing so I set out and bought number stencils when my second born was six months old.
Apparently, having a baby and a toddler delays plans.
About a year later, still busy as can be and with the kids growing faster than I could ever imagine, my growth chart ideas never materalized.
Luckily my sister was going to three baby showers this past spring and needed gift ideas. The notion of growth charts re-emerged.
I did three for her and (finally) one for me.
Hers have been long since delivered, as well as the babies who received them, while I still haven’t settled on a final location for mine. Lol. Such is the life of someone who has far too many ideas for her own good.
However, now that I’m making these like mad, they’re happily hanging in other families’ homes.
They’ve become one of my favourite little projects and allow for a spectrum of creativity.
I have rustic growth charts in-stock growth charts and can offer custom made charts too. These are amazing birthday, baby shower or anytime gifts!
My hang up with ads, flyers and junk mail is long standing.
They are a misuse of resources.
“But Jill, they’re recyclable,” I’ve heard.
Yes, they certainly are.
What’s better than recycling? Not having to recycle.
The junk that shows up in mailboxes and doorsteps is a waste of resources, plain and simple.
Junk mail is a waste of trees, paper, water, ink, tiny plastic windows in envelops, thick plasticky bands that bind the piles together in distribution centres, gas, exhaust fumes and time spent on getting them out to households.
Ads, flyers and junk mail often contain information on services I don’t want, stores I don’t spend my money at, products I’ll never buy and political faces I don’t want to see in my mailbox.
Living in this technological world means easier access to the products we do want, at stores we frequent and for services we need.
We have apps and websites at our fingerprints that allow us to cherry pick what is of interest to us.
Stopping junk mail distribution is easy.
If you’re getting a pile of flyers on your doorstep at the same time as your free weekly local newspaper, call the distribution department and ask them to stop delivery.
If it’s in your mailbox, put a sign on it (or on the inside of your community box) asking for no unaddressed mail.
Two local ladies are helping Ottawa’s pets in need by recycling and upcycling just about anything they can get their paws on.
Barbara Poulin and Melody Lachance run Empties for Paws – Barrhaven & Area, a not-for-profit group.
They turn appliances, textiles, empties (including wine box bladders!) into cash and supplies to help rescued cats and dogs.
The duo pick up, collect and sort broken Christmas lights, power cords, coffee makers, telephones and e-waste.
They bring what they’ve collected to the scrap yard, where they are paid by the pound.
Local groups that benefit from the Barrhaven chapter of Empties for Paws include Adopt Me Cat Rescue, Safe Pet Ottawa, Pet Resource Bank and Vanier Street Cat Project.
The money helps the groups to get animals spayed or neutered, provide young kittens without their mothers with specialty food, assist seniors and low income pet owners with transportation to get to the vet and foster animals that need a home while their family members leave abusive situations.
The ladies have raised nearly 2,000$ since March 2015.
But it’s not all about the money.
Donations are another major factor in their achievements.
They pick up, collect and distribute donated carrying cases, cages, crates, beds, food, cat litter, litter boxes and toys.
These ladies are also crafty and creative. They upcycle gifted textiles, fabrics, towels and bedding; transforming them into animal beds, pads, toys and tuggs.
I love this program. Helping local pets in need through a recycling and upcycling program has my two thumbs up.
So don’t throw out those random cords or telephones that don’t work! Don’t stick your beer cans in the recycling!
They have another purpose to serve: helping animals in need.
If you have anything that could help Barb and Melody on their mission with Ottawa rescued cats and dogs, please send me a message or be in touch with them directly.
The Living Local Fair is a must do event for locavores, foodies and craft lovers in and around Ottawa.
It was my first time attending this fast growing fair and it did not disappoint.
I headed out to St. Thomas Aquinas high school in Russell, Ont., yesterday with my 3.5 year old for some mother-daughter time.
She loves going to fairs and markets with me because she sometimes gets her face painted and always ends up with a tasty treat (or two).
I love it because it’s a wholesome approach to shopping that is unparalleled by any other shopping experience.
By taking my girls to community events like these, they will learn the value in meeting the growers and vendors whose very hands produce and provide top quality goods and edibles. They will see how people use their resources, skills and talent to develop thriving businesses. They will cherish the community in which they live. They will know where their food comes from.
Plus, it’s a really great social event and the cheese is always so amazing.
So off we went to the Fair in Russell, a quaint rural(ish) municipality, only 30 minutes from the capital.
It drew a large crowd of people from all over the region and there is something spectacular about a large group of like-minded people gathering to support local artisans, food producers, farmers, businesses and organizations.
There are so many vendors and exhibitors that the the lower level classrooms are transformed into vendor rooms. The gym, cafeteria and hallways were filled with wonderful products and people.
From locally produced cheeses, meats and honey, to organic seeds and teas, and a theatre group painting youngster’s faces, there was something for everyone. Including this little one.
It’s always nice to see familiar people from farmers markets around the city and to meet some some new faces.
Including this guy.
How I love this guy.
He is an eco exhibit created to bring awareness to the waste we produce.
And what a great lesson he teaches and a perfect place to be displayed.
Pods are not recyclable, compostable, reusable or biodegradeable.
In fact, Keurig’s Green Mountain fiscal report for 2015 states that it sold more than 10.5 billion pods that year alone.
Ann, the very kind volunteer who greeted us on upon our arrival, and who later directed us towards the face painting booth, was the teacher behind this eco project.
She also brought a greenhouse and garden to the school.
I am a firm believer that schools (and parents and caregivers, too) should teach students the importance of gardening and growing food and here is Ann, doing it.
I hope that my own children have teachers like Ann. I wish I would have had teachers like her.
A lot of people truly care about eco matters and it’s refreshing to see them educating the young and the not so young.
I’m sure she and her pod monster inspired a few people at the Fair to rethink the waste they produce. She undoubtedly inspires her students and colleagues everyday.
The Living Locally Fair was a great experience on so many fronts and I picked up some delicious treats along the way.
I just wish it happened more than just once a year!