Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I have a new site!


I am excited to inform you that I am starting up a new site. It will be more professional, have tabs, and include a lot of information that can be easily accessed. It will include vegan and raw food recipes, my photography and simple and green living topics. Visit my site at www.theunconventionalvegan.com.

I will no longer be adding to this blog.

Thanks so much for reading!!!
Erica Wollman

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Eco-friendly artwork

1.       Tattoo a banana

Crafting an image on a banana requires no toxic art materials and results in no additional waste. All you need is a banana, a pin and your imagination. If you don’t want to waste the banana you can refrigerate it.

2.       Fruit Art

3.       Green graffiti

Green graffiti is an art form that uses living, respiring material. These are masterpieces crafted in moss and grass.

4.       Vegetable art

5.       Grass art

6.       Leaf carving

Natural leaf carving is actual manual cutting and removal of a leaf’s surface to produce an artwork on a leaf.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tips on Simple Living

The simple life is not solely about frugality, but about making wise decisions that allow you to have the things you care about while cutting loose from things that stress you.

Frugality is enjoying the virtue of getting good value for every minute of your life energy and from everything you have the use of.

1.       Stay behind the times. Many things-books, magazines, fashions, music, electronics, and so on become cheaper if you wait.

2.       Stop trying to impress other people.

3.       Don’t buy prepared food.

4.       Call your local store managers to ask if they need help getting rid of damaged produce or day-old bread and pastry.

5.       The older secondhand products are often better made.

6.       Take care of your health; you will save on doctor bills.

7.       Put some money aside. Poor is not simple.

8.       Little things add up.

Notes taken from “The Simple Life” edited by Larry Roth

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Going green with drinking water

If just one out of twenty Americans stopped buying water in disposable bottles, we’d save 30 million pounds of plastic waste a year!

Why you should stop buying water in disposable bottles:

1.       We’d save the nonrenewable fossil fuels that are used in the plastic. The oil we use for plastic water bottles could fuel 1 million cars for a year.

2.       We’d save greenhouse gas emissions by keeping at least 2.5 million tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

3.       We’d save water. Twice as much water goes into making a bottle as its contents.

4.       Bottled water uses up to two thousand times more energy than drinking tap water.

5.       You’ll save at least $440 a year if you drink tap water.

6.       1.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. When private companies take and bottle spring or tap water they endanger the political stability of poor countries and the health of residents who can’t afford to pay for clean tap water.

Myth: Bottled water is safer than tap water.

*Not true. Tests of bottled water have found many unhealthy contaminants. Bottled water is less strictly regulated than tap. Tests of 10 mainstream brands of bottled water found bacteria and toxic chemicals in many of the samples.

What is in your water:

If you want a water filter, decide which one would be best at www.ewg.org/tap-water/getawaterfilter

Choose the best water bottle:

Choose reusable drink bottles made from stainless-steel, tempered glass, high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene, polypropylene, and tritan copolyester.

1.       Enviro Products www.enviroproductsinc.com

2.       Klean Kanteen www.kleankanteen.com

*From the book, “Do One Green Thing…Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices”, By Mindy Pennybacker

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How we down sized even further...

When we moved out of Stowe, we felt like we wanted to downsize even further.

1.      Clothes/Shoes

a.       Really look through your clothes. Make sure they fit. If they don’t donate them or take them to a consignment store. You may think that you will lose weight and be able to fit into some clothes. Just get rid of it!

b.      I tend to collect free t-shirts. You don’t need all of them. A couple is fine.

c.       I was keeping onto clothes that I could use to do dirty work like painting, working in the dirt, etc. Just keep 1 set of “you can get dirty” clothes.

d.      Shoes: Girls, I know you love your shoes but do you really need 5 pairs of high-heeled shoes? I donated all of my shoes except for my chacos, sneakers, and hiking boots. I did just order some vegan black danskos which I LOVE!!!

e.       You should be left with a couple of jeans, 2 nice pairs of pants, about 4 pairs of shorts, workout outfit, about 4 long sleeve shirts, about 4 t-shirts, about 7 nice shirts, a rain jacket, a medium jacket, and a warm winter jacket.

2.      Nick Nacks

a.       There is no purpose to having nick nacks except to sit on a shelf and collect dust. I got rid of all of my nick nacks. For decoration we have framed pictures, a tapestry, and photographs to hang on the wall. I do have a stuffed elephant that Kyle gave me and a Buddha statue.

3.      Sports/Outdoor equipment

a.       I ended up getting rid of my skis because the ski resorts are terrible in North Carolina and we don’t plan on going on any ski vacations.

b.      Our sports equipment consists of 2 bikes, a slack line, tennis rackets, ice skates, weights, Frisbees, a tent, sleeping bags, and an outdoor stove.

4.      Kitchen supplies/equipment

a.       Think about what you use on a daily basis. Get rid of the rest. We only have two plates, 4 bowls, 2 of each utensil, cast iron skillet, 2 saucepans, 1 baking sheet, 1 muffin sheet, essential utensils like knife, spatula, etc., blender, food processor, hot air popcorn popper, sprouting containers, 4 glasses, a couple of mugs and a  cutting board.

b.      We do not own a microwave or a toaster and we do not have a dishwasher.

5.      Books/games

a.       We only kept a couple of books that we really liked. We figured we can go to a library to get books. We kept our favorite CD’s, movies, and computer games.

We live in a studio apartment which measures 16 1/2 feet by 18 feet. It is the perfect size for us. We have 1 closet, a bed, a dresser, a nightstand, 2 lamps, a couch, a coffee table, a bathroom, and a breakfast bar with 2 chairs. We do not have a television. This is all we need. Even if we became rich and famous we wouldn’t need anything more. We have our basic necessities. We do not need a house. A house comes with a lot more responsibility. There is more to clean, you need to buy more stuff to fill all of the rooms, you have to take care of the lawn/garden, and there is more that can go wrong. Some people may think that this is no way to live and that we are depriving ourselves. However, there is a certain freedom to living simply. We have more time to do the things that we love like taking walks, going to festivals, listening to live music, reading/writing, and watching television shows on hulu.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

11 Cool things made from Recycled Materials

Instead of throwing things out and having them end up in the landfill, reuse your stuff!

1. Thumb-controlled watering pot made from old maple syrup container
Here's how to make it: http://www.funinthemaking.net/2011/05/01/thumb-controlled-watering-pot/

2. Bottle cap necklaces
Learn how to make at: http://www.squidoo.com/bottlecap-necklace-pendants

3. Magazine bowls
Learn how to make at: http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/magazine_bowls

4. Recycled Keyboard Clutch
Buy at: http://www.neatoshop.com/product/Recycled-Keyboard-Clutch

5. Recycled Juice Container Bags
Buy at: http://www.ecocentricbags.com/material/recycled-juice-containers-bags.html

6. Ski Chair
Learn how to make one at: http://www.skinet.com/skiing/articles/diy-build-ski-chair

7. CD Chandelier
Learn how to make at: http://recycletheworld.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=featuredartist&action=display&thread=1249

8. Record bowls
Buy at: http://www.eco-artware.com/catalog/JD2-vinyl-bowl.php?c=tabletop

9. Recycled chopsticks folding basket
Buy at: http://eco-artware.com/catalog/BP1-Chopsticks-Folding-Basket.php?c=bowls

10. Bicycle Chain Frame
Buy at: http://eco-artware.com/catalog/RR13-picture-frame.php?c=desk

11. Safety Pin Cuff Bracelet
Buy at: http://eco-artware.com/catalog/IW2-safety-pin-bracelet.php?c=bracelets

Friday, March 30, 2012

Living Paper-Free

After moving to Vermont, Kyle and I decided not to buy napkins and paper towels. We have never missed them. We also do not own a printer.

Many people will argue that purchasing paper products does not effect their budget enough to warrant seeking reusable alternatives. However, I believe that you can save at least $40 a month by going paper-free.

Tips for creating a paperless home:

1.       Don’t buy it. If you don’t buy the paper products you won’t use them.

2.       Get out of your old habits. Make using cloth and other reusable products as convenient as using paper products.

3.       Getting rid of toilet paper: You have to get over the ick factor. I recommend using a bidet system instead of reusing cloth.

4.       Paper towels: Use old t-shirts, socks, cloth wipes, used bath towels, etc.

5.       Napkins: Use cloth napkins.

6.       Tissue Paper: Use a handkerchief.

7.       Reduce junk mail. Pay bills online. Recycle paper or find another use for them.

a.       Stop receiving catalogs from companies you would never buy anything from. www.catalogchoice.org

b.      Stop the junk mail and advertisements. http://www.directmail.com/directory/mail_preference/Default.aspx

c.       Stop credit card offers.

8.       Feminine hygiene: Use menstrual cups, sea sponges, and cloth pads.

9.       Stop buying paper plates.

10.   Get rid of your printer. If you must print, print on both sides and purchase 100% post recycled content paper to use in your printer.

11.   Use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers.

12.   Go to a library instead of buying books.

13.   For birthday cards and notifications, try sending an e-card.

14.   Empty file cabinets. Scan and store electronically.