GoldieBlox is a toy company that believes girls deserve more choices than dolls and princesses. They support that girls will build the future — literally.
Founder Debbie Sterling is a Stanford engineer who decided last year that girls need more choices than the pink aisle has to offer. She developed GoldieBlox, an interactive book series + construction set starring Goldie, the kid inventor who loves to build. Find more information about Goldie Blox here – and watch this fantastic video as well.
Posted in Business, Heroes, Media, Stewardship, Tech
Tagged Book, Do-it-yourself, Economics, Family, New idea, Science, Sustainable
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson, is a book of fun and practical ideas written by a frugal French mom living in America with her American husband and 2 boys. While several of her ideas I already have in practice (she details composting, de-cluttering, simplifying), I found many new ideas such as a simple multi-purpose balm, techniques for waterproofing leather, and special towel folding techniques to carry food to picnics and wrap gifts. So far I’ve tried her cocoa powder eye shadow, where I brushed cocoa powder on my eyelids. I then asked my 17 year old son what he thought. He was like “Mom – it makes you look old and wrinkly!” I put on my glasses and sure enough even though I liked the color, this is a tip for someone much younger…but it was fun and simple to try!
Bea gives a list of houseplants that clean the air, tips on travel, recipes, stories from her own family, decorating, cleaning, wardrobe, gift wrapping, simple home building/craft projects, holidays and more. It was a fun read, a cross between homesteading and housekeeping, humor and practicality, simplicity and relaxation. Instead of making me feel overwhelmed, she made me feel comfortable and curious to try new ideas.
Check out Zero Waste Home By Bea Johnson from your local library or bookstore.
Posted in Health, Media, Stewardship
Tagged Book, Do-it-yourself, Economics, Family, Frugal, health, holidays, Humor, Sustainable
FallingFruit.org is an an urban harvesting map that brings together community and city data bases from all over the internet/world. Find, add, and edit information on the wild edibles growing in your neighborhood. Check out http://www.fallingfruit.org/
to find and share free urban fruit that otherwise would go to waste.
Rare earth elements are an integral part of many of today’s electronic devices, serving as magnets, catalysts and superconductors. Recently, scientists discovered that some of these pricy minerals can be reclaimed from industrial wastewater instead of being mined from the earth.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences knew that a nanomaterial known as nano-magnesium hydroxide (nano-Mg(OH)2) could remove some metals and dyes from wastewater, but that rare earth elements in wastewater tend to be diluted and thus difficult to remove in a practical, inexpensive fashion.
After studying the manner in which nano-Mg(OH)2 works, the scientists proceeded to produce flower-shaped nanoparticles of the material. In lab tests that replicated real-world conditions, these particles were able to capture over 85 percent of the rare earth elements diluted in water samples. By subsequently adjusting the pH, it was possible to then separate the captured minerals from the nano-Mg(OH)2.
“Recycling REEs from wastewater not only saves rare earth resources and protects the environment, but also brings considerable economic benefits,” the team stated in a paper on the research, which was recently published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.
Source: American Chemical Society
Thanks to Gizmag for this article.
The future of debt collection is customer care. In this video, an innovative business leader carves out a practical way to not only make more money, but make a difference.
Hate peeling garlic? Here’s a totally better idea on how to make the job painless.
This do-it-yourself furniture design can be downloaded for local manufacture, and is the start of a very cool idea. In it’s current rendition, there’s a fair amount of wood waste, but what if future furniture designed created less waste because it was square instead of round? I like that the pieces fit together in such a way that you don’t need other tools. I like that you can use whatever is your favorite local material, and give local business a leg up, instead of manufacturing in far away countries and then $hipping the products to you. Maybe this software and technology could be used to create components for my Build-a-Building idea?
Thanks to Gizmag for this article.
The library is one of my hero organizations, and here’s yet another reason to love it: Free online tutoring. That’s what the Multnomah County Library in Portland Oregon is offering to it’s library card holders.
Get free online homework help from Tutor.com — all you need is your library card. Live one-to-one help is available from 2-10 pm daily in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. This service offers writing help and academic support in math, science, English and social studies. It also provides resume review, certified career tips, college prep, GED and Citizenship test help. So now all those questions your kids ask you that you don’t know, you can have them call the library. Or you can call the library yourself.
Now, back to reading my latest book…:)
This is not a genetic hybrid, but created with the age-old method of grafting by hand the top of a cherry tomato plant to the roots of a white potato plant, so that a single plant produces both tomatoes and potatoes at the same time.
UK Horticulture company Thompson and Morgan states that the Brix (sugar content) of the TomTato’s fruit is higher than most supermarket tomatoes, and the potatoes are fine for boiling, mashing, or roasting. At this time the TomTato is only available in the UK, but the BBC reports that another such plant has been released in New Zealand, made by the company Incredible Edibles, and known as the Potato Tom.
Can’t wait for the US to develop such a plant – I’ve always had good luck with cherry tomatoes, but never with potatoes. Maybe if I had a plant like this I could easily grow both on my little city lot – or better yet in a pot?
Thanks to Gizmag for this article.
With electricity becoming more expensive, here’s a way to save resources and get free lighting. The Moser Lamp, invented by Alfredo Moser, is simply a clean empty plastic bottle filled with water and a little bleach. Using the natural science of refraction, the lamp puts out the energy of a 40-60 watt bulb depending on how strong the sun is. In areas where power outages are common and in areas of poverty, Moser Lamps are becoming a great way to provide light to homes cheaply and efficiently.
How much energy do Moser Lamps save? Since plastic bottles are recycled/up-cycled from local communities, there’s no energy needed to gather, manufacture, or ship new bottles, whereas it takes 0.45 kg of CO2 to manufacture one incandescent bulb. Plus, a 50-watt light bulb running for 14 yours a day for a year has a carbon footprint of nearly 200kg of CO2…whereas Moser lamps emit no CO2 at all! Even in first world countries, this would be a fun idea for playhouses, garden sheds, pump houses, etc.
To learn more and to see a Moser Lamp in action, check out this article from the BBC.
Having your own website, analytics, social media, etc. is a great resource if you’re looking to start your own business. With wordpress.org, not only can you get a website free, but the e-commerce plug in is free, so you can make money off your site immediately as well.
If you’ve got more time than money at the moment, why not download a few free themes and play around with them? There’s plenty of youtube videos on how to create your own customized website with these free tools. This is a great resource not only for current business owners looking to upgrade their sites, but also a resource for hard working people who just happen to be at the moment unemployed or underemployed. This free technology helps level the playing field by bringing more people back into the game.
LED light in the shape of the Enterprise!
Not only is this a great energy saving practical idea for a light bulb, IT’S IN THE SHAPE OF THE ENTERPRISE! Here’s the whole article from Gizmag:
Not long ago, we took a look at Cree’s new LED light bulbs. At US$12.97 a pop, the 60-watt-equivalent model sounded like a pretty good deal. If NliteN’s disk-shaped 2D-Lite reaches production, however, it could make the Cree product look downright expensive. Initially slated to sell for $10, the dimmable 60-watt-equivalent “800 lumen-class” bulb is planned to drop to $6 by 2015, and to $3 by 2017.
Despite its rather unique appearance, the 2D-Lite has the same profile as a much more power-hungry and short-lived standard incandescent bulb, and Continue reading
Aronia Berries, also known as Choke Cherries, are a native American fruit. They are full of antioxidents and make great juice. So why don’t more people grow them? Well, for one, they taste puckery/mealy if you eat them fresh. The juice stains your skin. They don’t cook down all that well because of the tiny bitter seeds and skin, and they are terrible dried.
So what do you do with them? I enjoy them two ways:
1. I wash the berries, take off the stems, and put berries in the blender with about 1 part berries to 3/4 parts water. Then I strain and keep the juice, composting the remaining seed/skin sludge. After the juice settles I strain it again to get the second smaller wave of sludge off. I do this over the sink wearing an apron so I don’t stain anything (the stains scrub out of the sink and off your hands eventually). I put the juice in bottles in the fridge and Continue reading
If you like the idea of having fresh eggs straight from the backyard, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to commit, RentTheChicken.com lets you rent some chickens!
Here’s how they pitch their service:
Thought of Raising Backyard Chickens? Every spring, thousands of chickens are sold at local farm supply stores. Often these chickens die before they are ready to start laying eggs (16-30 weeks). Children quickly realize that chickens are not as fun as the Xbox and parents find out that chickens cannot be house broken! The costs quickly start becoming more and more, then chickens are “sent to the farm”. Other people think about chickens but think they don’t have the space, worry about regulations, or just don’t know what they need. Do you build or buy a coop? Do you buy peeps? How do you raise an egg-laying hen if you buy a peep? Did someone tell you about a heat lamp? It can all be overwhelming and we take the guesswork out of all of the questions by offering a portable coop, the food & supplies, and the egg-laying hens!
RentTheChicken.com is based in Continue reading
Posted in Business, Stewardship
Tagged Animals, Community, Do-it-yourself, Economics, Family, Food, Frugal, Garden, health, New idea, Sustainable
This creative community created instruments out of garbage found in their landfill…and created an orchestra called the LandFillHarmonic. Give a listen.
What kinds of creative ideas can we generate from what our society deems as garbage? Can this same loving creativity help us see people in a more valuable light as well?
Kindness pays. You’ve heard in the news about what a great business Costco is, how it pays it’s employees well and has kind and sensible business practices. Well, here’s a tribute to the employees who work at Costco.
Read the story here:
If you are a kind person who respects yourself and others and goes about living life in a sensible and enthusiastic fashion, you’ll fit in with this paradigm of better living – no matter where you live or work.
Here’s a great Labor Day story: Pat McConlogue, a NYC programmer and entrepreneur, offered Leo, a homeless man, either $100 or the chance to learn how to code. Leo chose learning to code. After only a few days of tutoring, Leo now has a facebook page and wants to design a website or an app featuring social environmental change so others can make small changes for the greater good. Leo is concerned about greenhouse gases and deforestation, and wants the U.S. to lead by example to create a better world – and Leo wants to play a part.
Pat has gotten a lot of flack for offering to help a homeless man. I think a lot of people with new ideas get flack (to start with), and I’m happy to say that Pat went through with his idea, even though naysayers were trashing him.
Pat and Leo’s story encourages me not to give up on my ideas, even if others say they won’t work or aren’t good enough. Because how do you know it won’t work until you give it a go?
How might your small ideas and what you have to offer help give someone a leg up or begin positive change in the world?
Thanks to the Good News Network for this story on Patrick and Leo.
For a unique vacation experience, try a tiny hotel in Portland Oregon, where you stay in a tiny house in the Alberta Arts district. There’s lots of sights to see and things to do, plus local food shops will even give you room service!
Learn more from this article.
The Chinese name for Schisandra is wu-wei-zi, which means “five taste-fruits” or “five flavor herb” because the fruits contain all five flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and salty. Sucking on a dry fruit is an interesting experience because of its many flavors. Chomping into a fresh one you don’t quite get the ending sweet note, so are left with a funny look on your face due to the mouth gymnastics. But the after effect is a zing of energy, at least for me. Maybe it’s just because my taste buds get a good work out.
Since I’m working towards an edible landscape, and this is a berry/vine that grows in the shade, I’ve got it growing next the north side of the house in full shade on a wooden trellis. It’s an easy-care vine, and likes well-drained soil with Continue reading
This urban farm in LA shows how one couple is growing their own fresh vegetables and fruit trees, raising chickens, and composting. They also have a solar food dryer, show how to make your own outdoor emergency toilet using a milk crate, and how to make a stove. Since they live in earthquake territory, these items have been used in the past when the city systems have been down. Many of these ideas can also be used when camping.
Thanks to Upworthy for this article.
Posted in Health, Heroes, Media, Stewardship
Tagged Community, Do-it-yourself, Family, Food, Frugal, Garden, health, Sustainable