Category Archives: fun


According to Wikkipedia, “Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.” I think this is a much better option than recycling (which you have probably heard me rant about before). When Kyle and I started the no garbage project, we tried to make every piece of garbage into something else. Later we decided it had to be made into something useful or beautiful or both, or it was just garbage made into garbage. I didn’t know about the term “upcycling” then, but that’s exactly what I wanted to do. There’s a great book (that I haven’t finished yet) called Cradle to Cradle that talks a lot about this on a bigger level.
Basically I am doing this post so I could share my newest favorite craft with you (and I will do so in a moment) but I thought I needed more and I started researching a bit about upcylcing and I found this site.
So now onto the real reason for this post: Sweater Pants for Toddlers. Aurora needed stretchy warm pants for winter. Jeans are cute but pretty useless for a toddler. One of Aurora’s first full sentences was” Help. I can’t do it in my blue jeans”. I believe her first sentence was “this poo stinks” but that’s neither here nor there. I bought an old sweater from a thrift shop. It wasn’t really wearable anymore as it had some holes worn through but the sleeves and a big chunk of the body were still good. After consulting some crafter friends for advice, I cut off the sleeves of the sweater and sewed them together in a circle where I had cut. Then I cut off the top and added another piece of sweater for a waste band. It was easy and fast and the result was super cute fuzzy elf pants! I made a really tall waste band so they come up over Aurora’s belly and she looks very elven (the McGaughey ears help the look too). Here is a photo.
And here are some links to tutorials in sweater pant making.  Neither are exactly like the ones I made, but they do a better job of explaining than I did.
green kitchen
I am collecting old sweaters to make more of these in different sizes so if you have old sweaters please contact me.
Another upcycling idea we are working on is a castle out of toilet paper rolls and a cardboard box. I also saw a friend make a guitar out of the same things.


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Filed under art, baby, clothing etc., fashion, fun

Hip Hip Horrah!

I have a really good excuse for not blogging for a month and here is the photo evidence! I have been crafting like crazy to get ready for the Mulberry School Winter Fair.

All of these things were inspired by a need/want to reduce trash and have a creative outlet. I started making deodorant, toothpaste and cream for me and my family as a way to avoid getting containers every time, and also so I knew exactly what was going on and in our bodies. Unfortunately, now that  I am selling it, I am creating trash again. I ordered containers and some raw ingredients for New Directions Aromatics. Each little tin had a small Styrofoam circle in the top and everything came in bubble wrap! Almost all my other products are in mason jars, which only come in cardboard, but labels (that I don’t use) come with them in little plastic sleeves. I am offering a dollar off if you bring your container back to me, but I’m not sure how else to solve the problem. I have had people ask for the bubble wrap for felting,  so at least it will be used again. To be honest, I let Aurora dance on it and she loved it, but it feels like it’s a bit of a waste.

The sewn goods are made from a combination of new materials and up cycled clothing, curtains etc. I am never going to make hankies again because I don’t have the patience, but the gift bags are easy and fun and can also be used as produce bags at the market or grocery store.

I sold out of most things at the Mulberry School Winter Fair and I made more to sell at Made 4 You. If you are not in Kingston and would like something,  please e-mail me.   I can’t sell the owl pillows here because there is another crafter already doing so and everyone is afraid to buy mine, so if you want some owl pillows, let me know! If you are in Kingston, buy stuff from Made 4 You and talk about how great it is. I am sort of on probation for the first month, and I really want to stay on there!
Here are some recipes for some of the most popular items, if you are so inclined to made them for yourself.

Cocoa Velveet (1 jar)

2 tablespoons beeswax
2 teaspoons water
4 oz. cocoa butter
4 tablespoons oil (olive or almond)
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Melt the beeswax over low heat with the water. Spoon in cocoa butter and blend. Gradually blend in oils. Pour into glass jar.
Will thicken as it cools.

Mint Toothpaste
Approximately equal amounts of Vegetable glycerin and baking soda, a very small amount of salt, about a teaspoon of organic peppermint extract(to taste). Mix well will hand blender or whisk.

Sanchouli Deodorant
Use a mixer, like a kitchen Aid to mix 1.5 parts baking soda to 1 part coconut oil. I adjust the amounts until the constancy is like a thick cream. Add 1 teaspoon of Vitamin E oil, and a few drops of both patchouli and sandalwood essential oil. The sandalwood I get is mixed with jojoba oil because it costs $10 that way as opposed to $50 for pure sandalwood.

That’s all the time I have, but I have about 5 other posts brewing so stay tuned!


Filed under fun, gifts, holidays, personal products, Uncategorized

What’s happening in TO.

It’s Harvest Season! MMMMMMMM. There are two Harvest festivals in Toronto I think you should know about. I probably won’t make it to either, as we are awaiting the arrival of the baby and they fall exactly on the due date, but I think they will be good enviro fun!

The first is at Colborne Lodge in High Park. You can buy old fashioned preserves, and do all sorts of activities or watch people in the old house (19th century) do all sorts of activities, many of which are cooking that you can taste the product of. That’s on September 29th.

The second is at Greenest City. I think I’ve talked about them before. They are an awesome organization that trains young people how to involve the community and start various environmental programs. One of their projects was the HOPE community garden. Here’s the invite to their festival.

Dear all,

As the summer winds down with every wistful sunset — the snap of a breeze getting chillier everyday — and the looming fall peers from within every tree, we here at Greenest City would like to invite you to an occasion of great merriness and gratitude. As you are aware, our beautiful HOPE Community Garden has been resoundingly successful from the bounties upon bounties of lush produce that we have managed to procure. On Sunday, Sept. 30, we will be hosting a festival that celebrates not only the arrival of the harvesting season, but also the memories, joys and the connections that this garden has fostered. And we would like to invite you as well, in celebrating and thanking the garden and all the people involved; through music, food, games and entertainment for all ages.

What: Parkdale HOPE Community Garden Harvest Festival
When: Sunday, Sept. 30 from noon till 3pm
Where: Masaryk Park, beside the garden, on 220 Cowan Avenue.
For: Everyone!

I will try to update Trashless Toronto tonight to include the Linux Cafe on Harbord St. They are trying to Green their cafe so they are charging a 25% take out fee on disposables. They are also open to suggestions on Greening their cafe, so feel free to send them along.

In my own life, everything is about the baby. He/she hasn’t arrived yet, but could any day now. Today I took some gift money to Grass Roots and bought Bamboozle diapers as well as Sage Mama Hermit diapers, some Wipe Solution and a few organic cloth wipes. We are almost ready. Oh! I just discovered I could have saved money if I had ordered the Sage Mama diapers from the internet, but Grass Roots is a good company to support so I don’t mind too much.


Filed under baby, fun, groceries

Making jam at Harvest time.

Last night I made jam for the first time ever. It was a lot easier than I suspected. If you get the crystal pectin that comes in a paper package it can be composted and it is a garbage-free event. You can also make it the old fashioned way without any pectin, by boiling the crap out of the fruit. We reused old spaghetti sauce jars and sealed them with wax. I’m not sure what will happen to the wax after. I think when I make it myself, I will use real mason jars-they can be used over and over and it eliminates the wax, which may be garbage.

We made peach jam first, with local organic peaches (mmmmm) and we followed the recipe to a tee. It worked out very well. Then we decided to experiment and made plum blueberry jam (again with local fruit-the plums were organic but not the blueberries). It was a bit of a crap-shoot ( wow, I said crap twice in this post already!) because the ratio of fruit to sugar and pectin is drastically different for blueberries and plums. It turned out wonderfully! It’s a great consistency and very yummy, although it tastes like blueberry jam because the plum flavour gets lost. It’s a beautiful colour though, which is a good thing because I spilled some on Susan’s floor, so if it stains, at least it will look nice.

On a slightly different topic, if you live in Ontario, get your butt out to a farmers market now! It’s harvest season and the produce is amazing! On Thursday I went to the Dufferin Grove market and it was the best I have ever seen it. I was able to purchase my groceries for the week (except for oranges and lemons which I need for the vitamin C, but they don’t grow around here). Here are some of the highlights of my shopping trip.

-a small water melon that had yellow flesh

It tasted divine and it was possible to carry home (where as the grocery store sized ones are toooooooo heavy). My friend Blair and I closed our eyes and tried to test if it tasted different than a pink watermelon. It was hard to tell. It tasted better because it was picked that morning, just a few miles away and it was organic, but it didn’t necessarily taste yellow.

-Chard with pink and yellow stems

You can’t actually eat the stems (or at least, I don’t), but it was very pretty

-Carrots of all colours! red, orange, yellow, purple etc.

I didn’t realize carrots came in anything but orange. Apparently at some point someone from Germany decided orange carrots were best and now that’s what we get. Purple carrots look very pretty in salad-the are orange on the inside so when you grate them, you get an aesthetically pleasing orange and purple striped effect.

-delicious organic peaches and plums, which other people had tried to convince me didn’t exist. They do exist and you are far better off knowing so. Yummmmy!

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Filed under fun, recipes, tips, Uncategorized

2 for one!

Today you get two posts for the price of one! The first is…dun dun dun dah:

Corn Patties

We bought 4 cobs of corn and then got given 12! There’s only 2 of us and it’s been too hot to cook. Yesterday we cooked some corn at the neighbors (they’re away and we’re fish sitting). Today it cooled down so, I’m making a delicious supper out of corn, of course, and it’s garbage free! Here’s the recipe and how to make it garbage free. It’s not my own, I got it from recipezaar and altered it a bit.

time to make 20 min 10 min prep

makes about 10 patties


4 cobs of corn, cut off the cobs
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bunch of curry powder
2 cloves garlic, crushed or pressed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 chopped scallion
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 bunch of salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons oil

All of the ingredients can be purchased garbage-free. Compost the cobs and “clothing” off the corn, or make art from it. The other veggies can all be bought loose, and the extra parts composted or put in the freezer to make soup stock with. Spices can be bought at bulk stores like: Etherea, Tutti Fruiti, or Essence of Life. Don’t forget to bring your own container and get them to weigh it first! Olive oil can be purchased in bulk at Dufferin Grove Market on Thursdays and so can eggs.

Ok here’s how to make the yummy corn patties.


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mash the corn lightly.
  2. Add each of the remaining ingredients except for the oil, one at a time, mixing each one thoroughly with the batter.
  3. Blend a bit with a hand held mixer if you have one.
  4. Heat oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Drop patties by spoonful into skillet.
  6. Allow to cook 5-10 minutes, turning once, or until golden brown on each side.
  7. (Do not turn over too early, or they will fall apart).
  8. Serve with a little salsa or sauce of choice.
  9. Enjoy!

And now for the second Exciting topic…..(drum roll) ….

Treasure Hunt!

Yesterday we had a lazy day and then went treasure hunting. We found a kids book in someone’s yard with a sign that said free, then we found a cart for $4 at a garage sale. Now I can push or pull my groceries home. It’s getting too heavy to carry groceries and my great big belly. I love getting stuff free and at yard sales because there is no packaging at all, no even price tags!

Then we went on to some thrift stores, got rid of a bag of stuff we weren’t using and bought 5 pairs of pants (4 for Kyle, one for me), 2 dresses(for me), a teapot ( I broke our old one), and a great book for collages, all for the low low price of $47! It was a good day. The only garbage we got were the little plastic doohickies that hold the price tags on the clothes, only there weren’t any price tags on the clothes (mystery?).


Filed under fun, recipes, shopping(not groceries)



Yaaay! It’s summer time! I have been making smoothie Popsicles so I can have yummy treats, garbage free. The best part is that it is strawberry season. Here’s the sort of recipe:

A bunch of Ontario Strawberries

Yogurt (Pinehouse farms brand in a glass jar that I take back for deposit)

peaches or other fruit, chopped

milk(Harmony organic in glass bottles) or juice

Blend it all up, save some to drink, then pour the rest into plastic Popsicle makers.

If you are vegan, try banana instead of yogurt and almond milk or juice.

I also had the best icecream in the world at Dufferin Grove Market on Thursday. It is way better than Hagendaas and because it’s a local farmer, there is no extra packaging and they may even reuse your containers if you ask them. I just had a cone so I ate my “container”. It was $3.75, but that is a small price to pay for heaven in your mouth. Here’s the scoop on the company:
Bestbaa Farm: Peter Bzikot offers Plain Yogourt, Maple Yogourt, Fresh cheese, Feta, Ramembert, Brebettes, Eweda & Eweda Cru. Of course all from Sheep milk. Lamb pies, too. Best Baa will also be scooping cones of Mapleton’s Organic Ice Cream as well as their own sheep’s milk ice cream from their new cart.

Contact: Phone: 519-848-5694 |Email: Peter Bzikot at

In other news, I gave my garbage talk to the city of Toronto on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Everyone who was there said it was great, but there was only one person who came on their own accord. The other 6 people were: my boss, her boss, the documentary film maker who was following us around, Kyle, a photographer from the villager, and Gord Perks (who came to speak as well). Oh well, the one person seemed to enjoy herself, and hopefully more people will see it when the documentary comes out.

And now for an update on the bees. We visited friend who are beekeepers a few months ago and they have not been affected by the strange bee epidemic at all. They are also totally natural, organic bee farmers who use no medications or pesticides. It seems that my theory is right and the problem is cause by a new ingredient in a popular pesticide made in the states.

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Filed under fun, recipes

Barbecue and Picnic Season is here!

I love eating outside! Barbecues and picnics are the ultimate fun, and very easy to do trash free. Instead of using disposable napkins, I usually bring hankies. I also saw some awesome home made cloth napkins on Glitter and will some day make my own. Then we bring our own plates or dishes, chopsticks and or cutlery. Chopsticks are the easiest to pack, but even metal cutlery can be wrapped in the cloth napkins or thrown into a stiff plastic bag (like the zip-lock kind that frozen berries come in). And now for the best part….food! Here are a few of my favorite recipes for picnics or barbeques.

Veggie Burgers (vamped up Zucchini cutlets from Jean Pare’s Meatless cooking *)
*Jean Pare lived behind my grandmother in Vermillion Alberta.
Her cookbooks are very popular but I find most of the recipes to be quite bland. Typical spices for Alberta cooking are salt and pepper, so I use the recipes as a base and add my own flavourings.


125mL or 1/2 cup Grated Carrot

125ml or 1/2 cup chopped onion

60ml or 1/4 cup chopped red pepper

60ml or 1/4 cup chopped green pepper (*we don’t like green pepper so we use orange or yellow)

2 Cups of fine cracker crumbs or bread crumbs

60ml or 1/4 cup All purpose flour

1tsp. baking powder salt and pepper to taste

oregano and cumin to taste

750ml or 3 cups Grated zucchini with peel (this is approx. 1 big zucchini) 2 large eggs, fork beaten (or egg replacer, if vegan) 30ml or 2tbsp. cooking oil

Measure fist 11 ingredients(everything except zucchini, eggs and oil) into large bowl and stir. Mix in zucchini and eggs. Shape into patties using about 1/4 cup for each. Heat cooking oil in frying pan. Brown patties on both sides. Makes about a dozen. Can also be grilled on the barbecue.

Veggie Kabobs

Wooden scours soaked in water for at least an hour. Assorted veggies of your choice (pineapple is lovely too) , soaked in marinade for a few hours or over night. Put everything on a stick and cook on barbecue.

Ideas for marinade:

Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey, lemon, oregano

olive oil, ginger, peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, honey, ginger

Quinoa Salad
1 1/2cup quinoa
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup flax oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar(or apple cider vinegar)
1 bunch spinach stemmed and cut into thin strips
1 cup green onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/3 cup feta cheese ( 1 avocado)
Salad greens (cilantro)

Rinse quinoa under cold water in a fine meshed sieve. Let
drain for a few minutes. Heat skillet with a lid over
med-high. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil. When oil is hot, add quinoa.
Cook it, stirring often for 2 minutes or until the quinoa is
toasted. Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and
reduce heat to low. Let cook for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, combine vinegar and flax oil in a large
bowl. Add spinach, onion and tomato (and, or avocado). If using
cilantro, add now.
When quinoa is cooked, add it to the bowl. Toss well, add
feta and more sea salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or
chilled on a bed of salad greens.

For drinks, home made lemonade with frozen strawberries instead of ice cubes is a big hit!

If you have any questions, about how to make these recipes without creating garbage, just let me know. I did it so it is possible!

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