I like learning new things, especially for free. I was researching online about how to repair jewelry and came across a website by Esslinger, a company that sells watchmaker and jewelry supplies, explaining how-to tips for beading, identifying your birthstone, do-it-yourself jewelry, watch repair and more. This site is full of tips about gems and jewelry for the curious and frugal.
For example, here’s a video that shows how to change a watch battery:
According to the website, Esslinger has been around 90 years, which is pretty darn impressive. You can learn more from their ‘about us’ page.
Why have brown grass when you can be feeding people? This gentleman planted a food forest in the parking strip in front of his house. Neighbors come by to walk the paths. What a great community builder, sharing food, peace, and care. Here’s Ron Finley talking about the Food Forest in his yard:
Thanks to Upworthy for this story.
Posted in Health, Heroes, Media, Stewardship
Tagged Community, Do-it-yourself, Economics, Family, Food, Free, Frugal, Garden, health, Relax, Sustainable
A new business model – Beast Fit Nation – offers free grueling workouts with one catch – you have to promise you’ll do three random acts of kindness after you leave. Local sponsors pay for the gym. If you’re not from Portland, they’ve got free workout videos on their web site, music playlists, sports news, and more for you to enjoy.
Thanks to the Good News Network for this story.
Toymaker, adventurer, and philanthropist Sir Torquil Norman is designing a lightweight flat-pack truck for developing nations (and others interested in simple, easily repairable truck design). Manufactured by UK-based Global Vehicle Trust (a charitable subsidiary of Mr. Norman’s), most of the truck’s panels are interchangeable and the parts are quick and easy to repair/replace. They are being designed to use the fewest possible components so they’re quick and easy to ship and build at location as well. The truck can motor through up to 30 inches of water, has good stability, runs on diesel, and the engine can also be used for pumping water, sawing wood, or running a generator. Sounds like a workhorse for farms, too. See this Gizmag article for further information.
Recently, Portland-based grocer New Seasons Market introduced colonies of honeybee hives on the roof of its Happy Valley store. Aware of the honeybee’s plight and decrease in populations, New Seasons Market wanted to be part of the solution by raising bees and educating customers. This team of 50,000 bee workers forage for nectar and pollen, and produce honey, which will eventually be available in stores.
This project is a team effort: The hives were donated by New Seasons Market’s longtime partner Continue reading
Posted in Business, Health, Stewardship
Tagged Animals, Community, Do-it-yourself, Economics, Food, Frugal, Garden, health, Sustainable
Teaching and learning from each other has never been easier. Skillshare is a global marketplace for classes, where you can learn real-world skills from anyone, anywhere. Skillshare powers thousands of creative, collaborative classes on everything from programming to design to crafts.
If you have knowledge to share- Become a Teacher. If you want to learn something- Browse Classes.
Here’s how it works.
1. Post a Class: Posting a Skillshare class Continue reading
Posted in Business, Stewardship, Tech
Tagged Art, Community, Do-it-yourself, Economics, Frugal, health, New idea, Spirituality, Sustainable
A new invention water heater system will improve hot water heating efficiency by using cold water. It works similar to a heat pump, but instead of using the air temperature difference, it uses the water temperature difference of fresh cold tap water. Inventor Hal Slater and a research team from the University of California tested prototypes in three home areas with different temperatures of cold tap water: a coastal home, a mountain home and a desert home, then compared the performance of the monitored machines for a year. They found the warmer the outside temperature, the more efficient the heat to extract. When the inside and outside water and temperature were similar, the system basically reverts to an electric water heater.
Test results showed an improvement in water heating efficiency by as much as 50% over leading heat pumps, and believe that with a few tweaks efficiency could be increased by 100% – as efficient as the best solar water heaters, but without a solar panel.
Thanks to Gizmag for this article.
Maybe you’re looking for a new job. Maybe you’ve been out of the work force awhile and aren’t sure how your skills might transfer to today’s workforce. If so, the site My Skills My Future might be a fun little foray into seeing possibilities. You just type in a current or past job title, and then push the Find My Career Matches button. You can search by zip code, state, etc. to narrow down your job search. I sent the site link to a few of my friends, and then thought I should post it here as well. Even if you’re happy in your job, it’s fun to see what other jobs are available in your skill set…it might remind you of how valuable you really are. The U.S. Department of labor sponsors the site, which probably explains why the jobs are for the most part good paying and provide benefits.
A few years back we found cute black cowboy boots for my teen daughter at a thrift shop. They were in great shape except for the heels – which were trashed. We found an unassuming little cobbler shop nestled in a basement in our neighborhood. Hollywood Shoe Repair is owned and operated by Alex. Not only was he kind and helpful, but his repair work was quality and reasonably priced. He replaced the worn boot heels, but he went the extra mile and shined up the entire boots so they looked brand new!
Recently I was shoe shopping for waterproof walking/hiking shoes. Although my Continue reading
Inventor Peter Dearman of London has invented a car that is powered by liquid air: no gas, no batteries. He says the technology has been around for a while, and that since we’re running out of fossil fuel, it’s time to offer a non-toxic solution. It won’t produce any emissions because it’s only air – just using heat from the atmosphere and liquid air. An engineering company in Europe is creating a state-of-the-art version of Inventor Dearman’s prototype car later this year.
Liquid air can be used for more then powering cars. It is currently being used on the outskirts of London in a power plant storing wind energy at night to be used during the day to power local houses. The United States has more than $100 billion earmarked for investment in energy storage over the next 10 years, so this technology could be coming to a town near you.
When asked why he has spent 40 years inventing various technologies that he hopes will help save the planet, Dearman shrugged and said “Why not?’
For more information, check out this ABC news article.
One of the fun goals for my little urban yard is to feature as many edible plants as possible. I try to go for trees, bushes, and groundcovers that are also somewhat ornamental as well.
We were looking for an evergreen tree to block a backyard view, and discovered the Bay Tree. You may be familiar with using Bay Leaves in cooking, but the tree itself is rather nice in it’s own right. And yes, it is a tree, although it can be kept small by keeping it in a pot, or with regular pruning. In fact, you could prune off the ‘extra’, dry it, and give it away as gifts to cooks, turn it into potpourri, or create a Laurel Wreath Of Victory for the athlete, poet, or high ranking official in your life.
International Happiness Day is TODAY March 20th! Find out more about it, and ideas on how to celebrate, here.
Posted in Media, Stewardship
Tagged Community, Do-it-yourself, Economics, Family, Free, Frugal, health, Love, Science, Spirituality, Sustainable
When we were kids we lived in a rural area where my dad used to take regular dump runs to throw out our trash. We kids sometimes would go along for the ride and help dad toss stuff from the back of the truck into the heaping pile of steaming garbage, and occasionally drag new junk home in it’s place (much to mom’s disapproval). Well, the Freecycle Network is a present day version of dump recycling – except it’s much cleaner and you dig through a computer site instead of a junk pile. The Freecycle Network is a world-wide phenomenon where people give away stuff – stuff they don’t need/want/use, or they otherwise might throw away – and other people who want it come pick it up. This recycling allows less Continue reading
People want to be in control of what they put on and into their bodies. Now, Whole Foods Market supports consumer’s right to know by setting a five-year deadline for labeling GMOs. We can each do our tiny part to keep our food stream safe and healthy and that makes a huge difference in and of itself. But it also brings me joy when one of the biggest natural foods chains does its part. Read the whole story here.
And speaking of Whole Foods, my husband Chris Taylor is performing in his band HDuo at Whole Foods in our neighborhood as I write! Whole Foods strives to be involved in their local neighborhoods, yet another better idea in creating community and fun.
The city of Lima Peru doesn’t get much rainfall, but they can get humidity as high as 98%. The University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) has partnered with advertising agency Mayo-Draft FCB to create a novel way for residents to not only get unpolluted drinking water (their local wells are often polluted), but also to show prospective students that they could make the world a better place by becoming an engineer. The billboard catches humidity in the air and turns it into filtered drinking water, and is capable of producing 96 liters (over 25 gallons) of water every day for the locals or travelers needing a drink. This video outlines the project:
Thanks to Gizmag for this story.
Posted in Health, Stewardship, Tech
Tagged Clean water, Community, Economics, Free, health, New idea, News, Science, Sustainable
You’ve heard about 3D printing, right? It’s not just for industry anymore. Anyone can now design and print their own custom items. If you have an idea for a new product, Shapeways 3D Printing lets you model your design with their software, upload it to their site, choose the materials you want your item to be made of and what price you’d like to sell it for. Then Shapeways will SELL your item for you on their site, and you’ll get a cut from the sale. How cool is that? Check out the site to see examples.
This is our garden sage plant in February. Granted, we’ve had a fairly mild winter in the Pacific Northwest, but this just goes to show that garden sage can provide edible herbs into the winter months during mild years even without protection from the elements. If we do have a big freeze it will die back temporarily if it’s not covered, but always comes back when the temperature warms up.
To harvest, I cut off the ends and put them in the food dryer. When they’re dry Continue reading
Low tech farming in India is far outpacing GMO and pesticide intensive farming. The super yields are from a growing method called System of Rice (or root) Intensification (SRI). This method has also dramatically increased yields of wheat, potatoes, sugar cane, yams, tomatoes, garlic, and many other crops, and is considered one of the most significant developments of the past 50 years for the world’s millions of small-scale farmers and the two billion people who depend on them.
Nobel prize-winning economist Jospeh Stilglitz visited the area in India using this system and was amazed, saying “If any scientist or a company came up with a technology that almost guaranteed a 50% increase in yields at no extra cost Continue reading
The stories we pay attention to are what form our ideas of what’s possible. The stories we pay attention to help show us what choices we have. Sarah van Gelder discusses in this short Tedx talk “Solutions Journalism”, or “Appreciative Journalism”: news that focuses on what matters most, what’s possible now, and what’s working.
Check it out here:
Posted in Business, Health, Heroes, Media, Opinion, Stewardship
Tagged Community, Economics, Family, health, Love, New idea, News, Spirituality, Sustainable
If you’re low on money and looking for a way to bring in a little more to make ends meet, take a page out of this 13 year olds workbook. Shelby saved her parents from medical bankruptcy. She got a loan from her grandma when she was 9 years old and purchased chickens. She not only takes care of them, but she does personal delivery of the eggs as well, earning about $15,000 a year. She’s also the youngest farmer to be awarded the Animal Welfare Seal Of Approval – meaning her chickens are very happy. Shelby used her compassion for her family, her care for animals, and her work ethic to make a positive difference for herself and her community. Maybe her example can spark ideas for us on how to use our simple skills in creative ways?
Here’s the video from CBS news:
Thanks to the Good News Network for this story. (P.S. above photo is of our backyard chickens, not Shelby’s.)