Monday, June 30, 2008

Cycle Blood

I have a friend who has an unlimited number of very useful skills, one of them is bicycles. He is an avid, enthousiastic and skilled rider and is also mechanically inclined. He takes apart, repairs, cleans, alters his bikes with the ease of making a sandwich. Just recently he took apart his whole bike, cleaned (with a sonic cleaner) all the parts, buffed out all the scratches, waxed the frame and then proceeded to put the bike back together. It took a total of 7 hours, and while he thought this was a great use of time, his girlfriend informed me of a new term... his love of bikes is making me a bike widow!! I can see how one would think that after 7 hours!
So on that note, I would like to dedicate this post to my two biking friends, lover and widow - if he makes you a widow, get him to spruce up the house while he is at it!

These are from Bike Furniture Design and are just some of the many forms they have - all with recycled bike parts!

These designs are from Swedish designer Frida Ottemo Kallstrom which I saw on Inhabitat

City Scorcher

We just had the most beautiful weekend of the year. Sunny, hot and no breeze. I was outside enjoying the weather and water so have not posted. Here are some pictures from the weekend that I found on Flickr. I'm loving the beauty of the city.
Looking north from underneath the Lions Gate Bridge.

Taken a couple months ago for a photo contest - Vancouver's North Fairview.

Spanish Banks, (where I spent some of my weekend) Looking back towards downtown and the north shore.
The new addition to the "white flags" (the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center) At the bottom of Howe Street.

Friday, June 27, 2008

On lookers

So we had new observers today at beach volleyball. These were not the normal observers you would expect (friends, family, lovers) - they were two (assumed) homeless guys. They had a system down. Each had a shopping cart, but not the normal kind, they had ones that specifically met their needs. On the back of the carts they had made little holders to hold bottles and other necessities. They then proceeded to produce makeshift stools and a table in which they laid their night meal. The food was plentiful and varied and they sat together quite satisfied. They watched our games with only a chain link fence in their way of perfect sight lines.
They sat eating and watching the teams bump, set, spike before they capped off the night with a joint. Really quite an enjoyable night, if you ask myself. I am so impressed with their resourcefulness and their they way they engineered a way to satisfy all of their needs. It really made me realize that you don't need a cent to be satisfied. Not one.
This might just be the inspiration to try a real fiscal fast sometime.... until then I will be taking notes from our spectators.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

OTP - Inspiration

I have little time to write today since I got into work late - I was climbing Grouse instead. So to tide us over until I do have time here is some inspiration about something that is very relevant to me. (And apparently not just me - challenges have been posted everywhere -over at Creating Passionate Users and at Diary of a Self Portrait and at Trying to Find the Words)

"Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt

On a personal note:
I often don't see the beauty because I am concentrating too much my inner fear. Fear immobilizes me in taking steps to achieve my goals because I am too fearful that I will fail and the goal will be lost forever... So here's to pulling up my socks and just doing it! (and getting great friends to suffer with me on the way up!)

Monday, June 23, 2008


Okay - major lack of posts - I have been away for a cousin wedding - but man did I get some inspiration!! I am looking forward to exploring all the ideas that were touched in that short visit home... Until then I will stay on the past posting track.... Apartment hunting - so lets say you found the best place ever but it is only 600 square feet - for two bedrooms! What do you do when you want to have people over? Well you have paper furniture!
I first saw these expandable paper seats at Inhabitat - they are from Vancouver based Molo Design. As you can see from the image below their versatility allows you to do anything with them .If you want to snake around like this - you will need more than one unit - but it's easy to connect them - they have magnets on the ends! I was still doubtful of the strength of this design (I thought that those models were just really good at looking comfortable in a squat!) So I did a little looking up on the honeycombed structure and I was wonderfully proven wrong - as it seems - honeycomb is used in many applications that need and high strength to weight ratio such as skis, and planes!!! If it is strong enough for the wing of a plane, I am sure it is strong enough for me! Molo also has expandable screens and room dividers as Jackie Von Tobel wrote about it on her blog. he Softseating collection was just acquired by New York's Museum of Modern Art for its permanent collection

Molo aren't the only people with this idea as you can see in this video.
Expandable Honeycomb Paper Furniture
"This piece was created by industrial design students from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology. The honeycomb material is made of recycled paper, and can stretch from 30 to 720 cm (almost 24 ft.), seating as many as 16 adults." - Centripetal Notion A frugal note:
If you don't want to buy these expandable pieces of furniture take some inspiration from Charles Kaisin and glue some newspaper together for those extra guests... just make sure you have some warning time before they show up!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

House Hunting

Looking for a new place to rent is never fun. I used to think it was amusing but the illusion has worn off for me - I have just become a craigslist junkie.... Below is a little compilation of great room finds... to keep me going!

This is a basement suite, but they did such a good job with the mirror on the right side and the lighting that I actually would like to live here. I also love the brick.

Who doesn't love industrial buildings converted into apartments? The cement, exposed brick, and wood ceiling make me want to take out my checkbook right now - If only they made more two bedroom lofts!

Even dated can be great - sooo much storage, and that light over the table is great with the 60s decor - notice the wood on the ceilings - a great contrast with the white cabinets and accents the vaulted ceilings - cottage cozy feel for sure!... imagine if there was a wood burning fire place?

This is one of those things I would never put in my own house, but how much fun would it be to have a focal point like that? The wood paneling on the ceiling with fluorescent (i think) lights are classic as well - great way to get the friends out at the end of a party - turn on the ugly lights!

I love retro - but am I ever going to put in wood cabinets like this? Probably not. Might as well enjoy someone else's! I imagine that they look a lot cleaner than the white ones that most rental places have = less cleaning = happiness.

Of course this is way out of my price range, and no where I want to live - but hey you can never say a) there is nothing nice out there, b) rentals as so plain c) they just get the cheapest stuff out there. You just have to become house poor to get it!

And so the search continues......

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wedding Wood

So my cousin's wedding is coming up this weekend, and I am stuck on what to get her for a wedding present. She has registered at The Bay and Home Evolution, however I don't know if my budget reflects my desire to get her something "just so". I really want to find something that comes from the heart, is compatible with her soon to be kitchen design theme, is useful, and will be used.

I looked over her registration at Home Evolution and she has chosen very simple, classic white tableware. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing! It means that nothing I give her will clash, but I have a feeling that she has a colour scheme in mind, but I am not going to know what that is.

So here is the best think I can come up with: A cutting board. It sounds lame when I say it like that, but I was thinking of getting a handmade cutting board that you can sometimes get on Granville island. The pieces of wood are original and have interesting knots etc... I headed down there to find my man, but I found out that he is not around for the next few months!!

Up a creek, I needed a plan of action - and I made one: I am going make one. Initially I just thought about going into the forest and finding a dead tree and hacking it up. But I think that is a little beyond my abilities, not to mention illegal in most places and unpractical (since I would also need a professional wood kiln.I followed a lead to go look at Lee Valley however they didn't have anywhere near the wood I needed. They would have the tools, if I were to do something special. I then stumbled upon the Vancouver Wood Arts Society website and emailed the President Jeff Trigg, where he directed me to Windsor Plywood, my new favorite place. The people in there are great, and it seems so low key and relaxed. I would be hanging out in there this weekend if I wasn't going home for this wedding!
So I now have 4 x 1 x 18 inch boards that I need to sand, glue together and make pretty by Saturday. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vantivity - Buntzen Lake

I have been introduced to a new little watering hole Buntzen Lake. Just north of Port Moody BC Hydro damed a river and then made the area around the reservoir into a recreational facility. A pretty dam good place for that might I say, although I can only speak from one visit.
Saturday's adventure took me around Diez Vistas loop - a trail to the west of B. Lake. The trail takes you up to a ridge between B.Lake and the Indian Arm. As you can see below one of the Diez Vistas allows you to look back down the Indian Arm back towards downtown Vancouver. It is pretty surreal to be looking upon all those lives going about their daily activities. Views like this give me the bi-polar feeling of being different and removed from the world, while also being one of the many disposable worker ants in the Vancouver colony.

Days Five Six and Seven - the end

Day Five Spent = $25.00

So the day started off well, no cravings for a latte, well planned meals and then an invite to a pot luck that night!! I would have planned a large extravagent item to prepare - but this time I had to use my imagination to think up something out of what I had in my fridge. The only thing I could make was salad, and offer some of my hamburger patties, if someone else could bring some buns. It turned out perfect, a friend of mine and I went in on a large delicious salad. We had more than enough very tasty food to eat (there were only 6 of us) and it was a really fun time - we even had a great discussion about my fiscal fast and if it was a valid fast! (more on that later)
That is when things started to go down hill. Everyone was in a pretty good mood and I was really enjoying myself. Everyone was heading out to the bar and I really wanted to join everyone. It has been a long time since we had all been out and we were meeting some more people at the bar. Luckily they picked a bar with no cover so I thought it was a safe enough bet! Well I forgot about a few things like - cabs, and joint tabs. We cabbed it down there and while I didn't pay I felt really bad for allowing my housemate to pay for me. In order to help me from spending any money at the bar my great friend took my cash for the night so that I wouldn't be spending the cash. But I can't lie and did end up giving her 25 dollars which was my contribution to the tab. I did x-nay the club (with cover) because I felt like that would just be breaking the fast too much! haha A positive is I walked home - only a 30 minute walk- and a blister long! (I must admit going out on Friday was worth every penny. I had some great times, saw some people I hadn't seen in awhile, and just generally had a blast!)

Day Six - Spent = $21.53

Saturday I went hiking to Buntzen Lake. A city bus even goes up there. Hiking was a great trip that day - it was challenging, beautiful, rewarding and cheap! I packed the left overs from the pot luck the night before and headed up. A great free day! (Minus dinner)

Day Seven - Spent = $10.50

Weekends are hard! Getting together with friends is a difficult thing to do without spending money especially if you don't want to be a downer and make your friends do out of their way just to hang out. I went for breakfast with some girl friends(Paul's Place) and then went back to one of the girls places and had a great long chat. I calculated it and it cost me 2 dollars an hour for that activity - well worth it!

Phew it is over. I know it wasn't a real fiscal fast, and I did cheat a LOT, but it did make me think about all the small purchases I make on a weekly basis and don't even think about it. I also realized that stress and tiredness makes me more susceptible to purchasing - and believing that I NEED it!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Free Fun- Car Free

This Sunday, June 15th is CarFreeVancouver day. There are several street parties going on around town (Kits, Commercial, Main and Davie) where the whole street will be blocked off to cars and will be full of preformers, and artists instead. This events motto is Less cars -> More community. What a true statement, I always feel so removed for life and society when I am in my car - this metal box of seclusion. Going off on a tangent, that might be why there is less of a sense of community in suburbs, which are designed for drivers (where the stores are all at the entrance to the community - driving distance away - instead of dispursed throughout the area.) I wonder if there is more obesity in suburbs as well?

Anyway - I am super pumped to check out these street festivals - I think I might check out all four - by bike of course! (Listen while you pedal with these tunes!)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Day four

Day 4 - Spent $3.95
9:00 am This morning was a rush of activity, with me trying to get into work early, my boyfriend forgetting his cell phone at my house, and I forgot my lunch.  Luckily I had those oatmeal backups. 

2:00pm  Another lunch provided by my company.  I might have arranged this meeting and ordered food for it, but I did it before I knew I was doing this fiscal fast.  I am still thanking my lucky stars that I picked this week to do the fiscal fast. 

5:00pm All this free food is great, but it isn't very healthy.  I think I should think twice before just taking because it is free. Ugh. I don't feel so good. 

9:00pm I went to volleyball tonight, and then went to the community center to work out.  I know that earlier I said I wasn't going to go because it did cost me money, but I over-ruled it with the importance of feeling good, and making healthy decisions. Although I did record the cost in my daily spending. The workout was worth every penny!

Creative inspiration - Recycled

Inspiration on how to re-use and will maybe convince me to grab that chair I have been eyeing on the side of the road and do something with it!

For some reason when I think recycled I never really think modern. I tend to think more country, eclectic, vintage and rustic. I have been proven wrong. Above is the Zulu Mama chair from ABChome. It is made out of recycled plastic and steel.

Above are two custom pieces from Industrial Art here in Vancouver, the top one is using an old propeller while the bottom one is a chandelier made out of an old gear. Industrial Art's mission is to "utilize materials and technology, normally considered waste as raw material for innovative and functional design." I just love how they incorporate something so old and used into a sleek beautiful product.

This is one of my favorites (I found it on inhabitat.) not only because it incorporates booze but because I have always loved these barrels. My parents actually have a side table made from one, but it is very rustic. I love how Uhuru design has totally re-invented the idea of using barrels and that chair is so modern! On a side note I love Uhrur's logo -its on the website.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day Three - Breaking the Fast

Money Spent - $75.00

10:00am - So I had to break the fast. I had a physio appointment and was in dire need since hurt my back last week. I do have one consolation though, most of it is covered by my health care plan. However I am still putting down the plastic and consuming.

2:00pm - I love free lunches, I was a part of a meeting today where lunch was provided. I did, however, have to present at this meeting, so it wasn't all pleasantries, but none the less I got some free food. I am however at a loss tonight on what to do. I don't just want to sit about being a bum because I can't spend a sent, however not a cent does limit things when the weather isn't stellar.

9:00pm - I almost had a breakdown on the way home from work, I wanted to buy anythying - sushi, coffee, i probably would have bought an elephant riding a bicycle if I could have. And then I went by a bus stop with ING's ad - There is no such thing as saver's remorse. (There website has more) I have always loved that billboard, and now it seems to resonate even more! I now love ING!

I found a movie I rented a couple weeks ago but never watched, great night for movie watching too since it's grey outside. I have been getting a lot of invites for the weekend so it should be interesting to see if I will be able to keep it up - it might have to be a weekday fast!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Day Two

Dollars spent - 0.00

5:00 pm Everything so far today has gone well. I didn't even bother to hover around the meeting room doors at 1:00pm when the lunches from the meetings are being released. I've come across a dilemma however- I bought this 10 times pass to the community center, so technically if I use that pass I will not be spending money the moment I go in, but every time I use the pass it costs me money. So can I use it this week? I don't know. I have been craving to go for a swim for about a week now, so I really want to say that it doesn't count, but I think I would be wrong, and so I can't swim tonight... or for the rest of the week.

9:00pm Alternate swim - So I really really wanted to go swimming, and well, since there is an ocean 3 blocks away, I thought I would try it. Donning my housemate’s wetsuit I headed for Jericho beach. To my surprise there was a lifeguard there. The water was not as cold as I thought, but it was littered with garbage and opaque with silt. I was afraid that when I put my head under the water I would be able to see the bottom with my goggles on, but nope, I just saw brown milkiness. The swim was cut short since I freaked myself out thinking a big gross fish was going to come nibble at my toes. I was only in the water for 15 minutes! So much for a workout! I will have to find a different type of activity for the rest of the week!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Worth the Money

I have recently been turned on to The Ting Tings, their song "Shut up and Let me Dance" is featured right now in an Apple commercial and they are playing tonight (right now!) at The Plaza here in Van. If I were not on this fiscal fast I would most definitely would have put down the 13.50 and gone to this concert. I guess there are some things that you have to give up on a fast. I will just have to keep on listening to them at work and wait until they come back and I can buy tickets for 50 dollars!

The last shop

Yesterday I went for my last grocery shop before my fiscal fast. It tried to keep to tip # 3 from Jeff Yeager but after all the comments on the article I didn't know if it was possible at all. With store specials I was surprised by how many things are less than a dollar a pound. Carrots, celery, bananas, cabbage, potatoes, bok choy, cantalope, honeydew, potatoes, onions, kale. My grocery list wasn't even close to perfect, but I did manage to get milk, yogurt, apples, oranges, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, bananas and raw rolled oats for $20.93. I didn't buy locally or organically though....

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fiscal Fast

What better way to start off this blog then to spend the first week describing my life while on a Fiscal Fast?  It all started when I came across this article in the washington post called "Can you give up the goods and buy less?".  Now I am not crazy and going on a year long fast, it is just for a week, so really how difficult can it be?  Initial thoughts make me think that I have not spent anything for weeks on end, but when I look at my visa bill it proves me wrong.  I make on average 5-10 purchases a week, that does include food and "necessities" but is also includes a lot of "other stuff.  
I have set out a few ground rules:
- The three things I can do before the week are:
Go for a grocery shop, fill up my car with gas, and buy a packet of bus tickets. 
- If I owe anyone money from earlier, I can pay it
- If any bills deadlines come up I will pay them
- I can purchase items for my cousin's wedding present (she is getting married June 21st and I am trying to make her a cutting board)
So I have already bent the rules a lot, but if this week is successful - I will try it again without many of those caviates.  I guess all there is to do now is go shopping before the clock strikes 12!