Thursday, August 28, 2008

Charge away....

How many items do you charge on a regular basis? I charge 3, my phone, ipod and camera. The sight of those tangled cords lying on my floor gives me anxiety! (And apparently I am not the only one) To combat this, against my better judgement to live minimally, I have done some charging station window shopping. Here are my top 5 choices (FYI – my choice criteria was based on - like most things in my life - beauty, cleverness, and functionality….)
  1. Bedford Smart Recharge Station: This is the first charge station I ever laid my eyes on(while browsing Pottery Barn)! Despite seeing many other choices, I am still drawn to this one because of the clean lines, the detail in the handle and the functionality of the drawer. I just love the thought of having a drawer to handle all incoming mail etc. It is a nice little unit which I think would greatly decrease the clutter at the front door!

  2. The Sanctuary by Blue Lounge: This modern super sleek charging station was featured in Azure Magazine. I like that it’s compact, sleek, modern, and functional. There is extra storage level below the top shelf, and the felt top keeps your gadgets from sliding around. It also has built-in adaptors which are compatible with hundreds of different gadgets. This frees up your charge cord for somewhere else, like your travel bag! The only downside is if you own a device that they don’t have an adapter for!


  3. Ikea – DIY: This one by lifehacker makes my list because I love that it is only 3 dollars and it actually doesn’t look too bad! You could eve style it up a bit (glue/tape some fun paper on the sides) and it would be awesome! I would probably drill a bigger hole in the bottom corner for the power bar to go through. The larger hole might also add some needed ventilation.


  4. Stelton Super Charger: This small sleek unit was featured in Style at Home (September 2008). I like the compact format – it would be great for taking with you and the sleek silver trim adds some nice style. I am worried that it might be too small, and the circular shape might make the square devices being charged look messy.


  5. Charging Bulletin Board: If you have enough room on the wall this is a great multipurpose unit to not only to organize your gadgets but also keep yourself organized. I could totally see this between my entrance and kitchen. Listen to some tunes while cooking, while also not having a long distance to write down a grocery list! I would probably cover the cork with some pretty fabric or paper...

Here is to many years of stress free charging!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Room Inspiration

Since I soon have to make my inspiration board for my room, I went browsing flickr for some room inspiration boards....

70s with an Asian flare!


I love this ( it was described on Flickr as above.) I would love to remake a room in 50, 60 or 70s design but with a modern twist!

Paper Pony

Hello Black and White!!

The light grey/blue background really softens this black and white theme. I also like how Blackkat drew from everything - jewellery, photos, food!

Black_kat1

Vintage Glam

Self proclaimed and right on the mark this vintage glam is such an amazing look. I wish I could not only have a room like this, but also a wardrobe


kristin&kyle


Simple bold elegance


What a great dinning room to have. The black and white is stunning and modern, while the wood creates a calming and inviting room. I also like the way the inspiration board is minimal - it is how I imagine the room will be!


Maui Designer


Grasses by the Sea


Nova Scotia? What I really love here are the textures. The pieces of carpet, the wallpaper, the layers. Some elements of sea, but really very grassy. So calming.

Daily inspiration

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Inspiration Boards

I need a little inspiration today.... (all from Flickr)

Mischievousmeg

Stephanie's at hd _ducf

Bitsandbobbins


ErinLangNorris/yellowcanoe



Heather Espana

I love seeing what inspires other people... I can hardly wait to get home and make mine!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Easy Eco Mondays - Grocery Bags

If you are like me, you always buy too many groceries for the week and end up throwing out food because fresh items have gone bad…. I have been trying to curve my shopping in order to avoid this unnecessary waste. Here are the three ways I have found help – Please send me any ideas you have!

  • Bike to the grocery store. I always think twice about buying too much when I know that I have to carry it back home with me. If I bring the right backpack, I can use it as a basket while I wander around the store. That way I know that I won’t buy more than I can fit into my backpack. I have also seen baskets on the front or back of bikes which are detachable so you can take those in with you.
  • Remember that shopping baskets are deceptively large. I think I usually need 2-3 cloth bags when I show up at the counter with a full basket. Sometimes I just use the cloth bag as my basket (like above with the backpack).


  • Buy in Bulk: If you are cooking/baking for a specific meal then try to buy all the out of the ordinary items in bulk. I read somewhere that a lady took her measuring cup to the store and would use it to make sure she didn’t buy more than her recipe called for! Save-on-Foods has a pretty great bulk section.
  • If you want to save money too - check out one of my first blogs... I couldn't by anything for more than a dollar a pound - it also made it difficult to buy too much!
  • Lastly if you do buy too much, try to freeze some of the perishables. Berries and fruit are great to freeze and then use in a smoothy, but even cooking the slightly off looking spinach and then freezing it works. If you have the time that is….

Here's to less wilted lettuce!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Easy Eco Mondays-Take a break from work, not from eco consciousness

August is prime holiday time – anyone have some great trips planned? I was away last week, but with work. I noticed how my ecological footprint rose when I was out of my regular routine. So how would we minimize the traveling footprint? I am not suggesting to not fly, which in itself is a great option, but sometimes not feasible and not Easy Eco! I thought I would make a green packing list – to include some things that might help us maintain the eco savvy habits we have at home.

Easy Eco Travel Items:
  • Travel Mug
  • Water Bottle
  • Tupperware
  • Tape
  • Small bottles
  • Compact Cloth Bags
  • Packing list

Water Bottle. It’s cheaper than buying a bottled water (unless the water in your location is not potable – but even then you can use iodine drops) and will remind you to keep hydrated during the day.

Travel Mug. We diligently take our mugs to work everyday, wash them out, take them home, put them away, and then do it all again the next day. But when it comes to traveling, we opt for the paper cup. Why not take that Travel mug with us when we travel and use it! In Korea, you can’t get a paper cup in many fast food/take out restaurants (see here). Hopefully this will reduce our 14.4 billion disposable cups used annually.

Tupperware – Okay this one people are going to laugh at, but when I go to a restaurant, there are many of times where I want some of my meal wrapped up. Why not just supply your own Tupperware and save all that packaging?

Tape: No matter how I pack it, my shampoo, or conditioner, or cream, or body wash manages to leak. I have them in Ziplock bags so I am safe that way, but it always seems like such a waste. I find it mainly happens with bottles that have a pop top. A little piece of tape over the pop top saves precious mL of shampoo being wasted every trip!

Small bottles – Conversely, find small bottles that have not leaked on you. You can find some at MEC if you want to buy new, or else you reuse some that travel size container you bought last time you forgot your shampoo. Transfer your shampoo, conditioner, body wash into these smaller bottles to avoid leaking, and reduce how many times you buy those travel size containers. Bonus: With the decreasing baggage weight limit these will help to keep your bag under that pesky 50kg!

Cloth bags: Who doesn’t shop while traveling? Plastic bags are bad no matter where you get them from. And we are less likely to reuse them while traveling than at home!

Packing list: Not to remind you what to bring (although one of those is also handy), write down everything you have brought with you. It only take a few extra minutes as you pack, and it will help you to remember to bring everything home with you…

So that is all I can think of… anyone else have any great eco travel ideas?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Easy Eco Mondays

Little addition for the rest of summer - a weekly post to plump up the conscious part of Free Form. Easy Everyday Eco Ideas.
Since moving into the new apartment I have noticed a rusty - orange residue (sometimes slimy and always smelly) between the tiles in the shower. I don't know exactly what it is, but I am taking a guess that it is Mildew or Mold. So how do I get rid of Bathroom Mildew and Mold naturally?
Eva Maienchild over at Do it Yourself wrote a good article on Natural Household Cleaners for Everyday Chores
To summarize her article, for Mildew (and also an all purpose cleaner) mix:
1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons of Borax)
1/2 cups white vinegar

Via Blabble

I would consider reading up on Borax a little more before using it, especially since I was told to lay out Borax when we had some ants coming in our back door at my last house.

If what we have is Mold then mix:
2 parts water
1 part Hydrogen Peroxide (check out its many benefits)

The greatest part about these things is that they are super simple, and I don't even have to spend a cent! I might have to buy a good brush to get into that depression between the tiles however...... I wonder if there are any bamboo brushes out there?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Shut eye

It has been an exciting weekend here. People I love and know won Gold at the WUGC. My emotions have ranged from extreme anxiety to elation, which on top of celebrating can cause some extreme exhaustion... so for this week I will be working on gaining back some of this....
Sweet dreams

Via Cherrieland

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hanging Jewellery

Storing jewellery is difficult. My necklaces get knotted, I lose one earring to 'the void', while other earrings cling to on another and rings get scraped and bumped around at the bottom. However I love my jewellery, and wouldn't leave it for all the tangles in the world! Thanks to a Style and Home magazine and my friend Megan, I managed conjure up a plan to banish the jewellery box blues.

Below is an image of what I did. Super simple, since my crafting skills are still novice at best! Sorry I don't have any real before and during photos...

Need:

  • Paint
  • Cork board
  • Wallpaper sample (you can usually get a large sample if you look interested)
  • Wood Glue
  • Exacto knife and cutting surface

Steps:

  • Paint the trim of the cork board (I sprayed urethane on the trim as well it because the paint was water based) I would also paint a little bit of the cork around the edges, in case you cut your wallpaper a little bit too small
  • Measure and cut the wallpaper to the inside of the trim
  • Glue wallpaper in. Make sure to remove any bubbles, or wrinkles. Make sure to get the glue all along the edges of the wallpaper to prevent peeling too.
  • Let dry
  • Add pins (see top left corner for two that I added) in desired places, attach to the wall and hang jewellery.
Pretty simple hey?

If you want to add some detail, you can add some string or ribbon which can also make it easy to hang your earrings.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Living Space IT Factor

Wow! I can't believe it is already Wednesday. I feel like it is still the weekend! What did everyone get up to this weekend? Any fun trips out of town?

I stayed in town over this last long weekend - the second time this summer too (I was in town for the July Long Weekend as well). I have always made an effort to go away over the long weekend - that extra day just calls me to travel a bit farther. This year things just seem to pop up around the long weekend that end up keeping me in town. Last weekend it was moving that kept me here. I moved into my new place - remember that one I incessantly talked about last week? This weekend also marked the beginning of my bf's big tournament: The World Ultimate Championships (Ultimate Frisbee that is) right here in Vancouver!
Leading up to this weekend, I wasn't too keen to spend my long weekend just unpacking boxes. So I made a plan to take one day off and take a trip out of town - just to escape. But I didn't take that day. It wasn't because packing/unpacking took too long, it was because once I moved into my new apartment I just didn't want to leave. I don't know what that IT factor is when it comes to an apartment - but this one has it! Could it be the south facing windows, the open spacious living area, or even the weird feeling you get by having neighbours across the alley in units just like yours? I really don't know. So really what makes a great apartment? Does anyone have their own personal IT factors when it comes to your apartment/home/living space?
Added Note: Sitting in my apartment last night pondering the IT factor, I confirmed my suspicion that IT has nothing to do with amenities. As seen from the example image below, granite counter tops are not the it factor for my apartment. Actually, in moving into this new place I have down graded in terms of space, kitchen appliances, outside area, and size of my bedroom. What I guess I am trying to say is I think this IT factor goes beyond the physical items.... which is wonderfully liberating.

Via flickr - Jeanhclee

My apartment - not unlike this one, is old and has not had any major updates since inception, but for some reason it has that it factor, despite the wood cabinets, pink toilet and metal window frames!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The winner: Black and White

So I know you have been dying all weekend to find out what my choice of room colour was.... I kept it to myself to maintain the suspense! (And I also moved in, unpacked and tried out a few colour patterns in my room.)
But seriously, was anything other than black and white really an option? I was pretty set on it, if not because of my competitive nature (I couldn't give up until I got it right!) but because I really like the mood crisp black against white makes me feel. For a moment there I thought that maybe light yellows and blues were the answer - but then my fear of colour choice kicked in and back to black it was. Maybe one day in the future I will bound into colour without hesitation, but for now, I'm sticking to the tried and true!
So now that the decision is made, I am off to make a storyboard. Has anyone seen some great black and white lately?
Below are some images that might find there way onto my storyboard.....




Friday, August 1, 2008

Pros and Cons

So before I ever make a big decision, I like to write out a pro and con list. I'll full admit to this supra geeky habit, but only to you! :) I hate when a decision comes down to the P&C list - and they usually do because I am so indecisive! So here I am pulling out the ol' P&Cs....

PRO

Black and White
- I already have a lot of black and white material.
- My furniture is already black and white
- I love the crisp clean contrast between the two
- I have failed once at designing black and white - I wouldn't want to end on that note
- I can make bold statements but if can soften it up with grey
- I can change the mood by simply changing the accent colour ( I can't paint the walls an accent colour)
- I have a B&W fabric/paint idea
- I really want to see how some of my pictures look in B&W
- I have a furniture resurfacing project for B&W
- I have picture frames, a lamp, shelves, accessories all in B&W
- Will possibly encourage me to be cleaner/more organized.

Colour
- Usually warmer feeling
- Hides dirt better
- Won't look as bad when I am messy
- I can display a lot of personal items that are not black at white
- Can be more romantic and whimsical
- Could create a more warm and welcoming feeling
- Less formal, possibly younger feeling
- Can use more natural wood tones (which I also like)
- I could resurface at least one piece of furniture in different colours

CON

Black and White
- White will get dirty easily
- Bold colour statements can be a bit too strong for a bedroom
- If don't decorate well I could not like it again
- I have already had B&W for a year and a half
- I have a lot of personal items that are not Black and White
- Will need to be kept clean and tidy in order to look good
- Will it be inviting?
- I have wood floors and wood closet doors

Colour
- Expense - I will need to get new almost everything
- What colour to choose?
- I can't do many of the craft ideas I have thought of
- I will give up on Black and White

Hum..... It looks like this is going to be a tight race. And time is ticking - the week is almost over!
Anyone else have any pros and cons to add?