Do-it-yourself Non-Toxic Dry Cleaning (and cheap too)

The chemicals used in traditional dry-cleaning are absolutely disgusting. Here's an inexpensive, extremely effective DIY solution.

If you’ve ever known a theatrical wardrobe mistress, you’ve met someone who’s smart and under-appreciated.  

Without the calm grace of the wardrobe mistress, most theatrical productions would unravel faster than a chorus girl’s virtue on opening night.  

Perhaps you think I’m exaggerating.  But have you ever wondered how you’d keep sweaty actors’ costumes fresh night after night for weeks on end when you can only send out the smelly clothing for dry cleaning once a week?

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The DIY Bug is Gender Inclusive


Goin' Solo Magazine is a cool publication dedicated to self-sufficiency and the Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. A recent post features a few Canadian DIY enthusiasts including Steve Smith (Red Green), me and Lee Valley's Jennifer Hart. The Goin' Solo site is worth perusing - they cover the maverick urge, from DIY film-making to creative new business models for the independent-spirited person. 

Gear Alert: Camping season is almost here...

Wearable sleeping bag...and who can live without a wearable sleeping bag?

PRO:  Limits potential intimacy with unattractive tent mates.  

CON:  Limits potential intimacy with attractive tent mates.

CON:  Difficult to get dressed inside your sleeping bag without loss of dignity.  

PRO:  Attractive loungewear for sitting around the campfire at night.

CON:  Difficult to put shoes on to visit potty in middle of the night.

PRO:  Fun to tighten down hood so only mouth and nose show, then go for a Zombie Walk at 3:00a.m. and freak out other campers.

What did you learn today?

When you're a kid, someone often asks you "What did you learn today?"  You start to expect the question so you're kind of preparing for it throughout the day.  Then when you get home and your mum springs the question on you, you've got some kernel that will satisfy her so you can go outside and play.  Stuff like, "I learned that Einstein was a Pisces" or "I learned that mice sometimes eat their young" or "I learned that stuffing yellow tissue paper up the tap spigot turns the water yellow and then everybody thinks it's pee." 

When you get to be an adult, people stop asking you "What did you learn today?"  I think that's because you're just supposed to know stuff.  I guess you're supposed to have grown up by now.  Well where's the fun in that?

Recently, I signed up for a business course with Melanie Benson Strick.  She gave me a new excercise.  Every night I get my notebook and write, "One thing I learned today is..." and I write down one thing I learned, and then I write down one thing I'd do differently if I had to do it again. 

Amazingly, this has the same effect on me that it used to have.  I go through my day learning things on purpose so I have something to report later.   

Sometimes the stuff I write at night is understated, like "One thing I learned today is that pressing Ctrl-S frequently is the only way to have a happy experience with Microsoft Word."  This is a much nicer way of putting it than the things I said in the white hot rage of the actual learning moment (after 3 crashes and the abject failure, on each occasion, of AutoRecover).

Sometimes I learn stuff about my behaviour.  Like, "One thing I learned today is that I have a lot more energy to get things accomplished when I have the drama of a time limit."  For example, instead of putting on my to-do list "Clean up the workshop" I now write "Clean up the workshop - 20 minutes".  That lights a fire under the old botty*. 

And if I don't get the job totally finished in 20 minutes, at least I got 20 minutes worth of effort into it, and I can do another 20 minutes tomorrow.  But the thing is, if I didn't apply that time limit, odds are good that I would have felt so overwhelmed by the task that I wouldn't even have started the job in the first place.  Cool, eh?

So let me be your mum for a minute.  What did you learn today?

*Botty:  Old English for arse

Search string theory

Burning_questions Because caters to people with eclectic tastes, we have intriguing visitors.  For example, here are some things people were searching for when they arrived at this week:

* How to escape a dull marriage

* Slide rule parts

* IUD earrings

* How do I get my greasy windows clean?

And my favourite:

* Do-it-yourself motorized snowboard

A barn in transition

P1000925The old barn came down in the night, kneeling to the future.

Viewed from the south it now offers the wry appearance of the ship that brought its builders to Canada circa 1850.


One of the barn's inhabitants, probably a raccoon, exited in a hurry, leaving his belly-track in the snow.