Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vertical Farm Project

I recently came across a site promoting the concept of vertical farming.

Of course, it all looks verrrrry interesting, considering the population explosion, the lack of farmable land, climate change and the need to find more sustainable methods of feeding people - this is all very timely and their positive arguments are pretty strong.

It doesn't look like any full-on vertical farms have been built just yet - I suppose really, it's still a concept. The section of the website that shows the various skyscraper farm designs is quite cool, there are so many different ideas. But of course, the actual build of one of these projects would be quite costly - and experimental. I'm very curious about the energy consumption of the buildings - the website claims that vertical farms could produce organic food year-round, which in my head says: energy-sucking-heat lamps, but if there is a way to harness sustainable energy, then wow, genius.

On a smaller level, a vertical farm could be an interesting concept for urban allotments, or even urban gardening, where outside space is really precious.

Photo is a concept by SOA Architects: and

More Make & Do

This weekend I was left only in the company of my kitty & decided to have a go at some sewing projects I've had at the back of my mind, which also served to recycle/re-use a bunch of scrappy fabrics bursting out of my sewing drawer...

The result! A super soft, fuzzy and durable cat cushion/bed. The top is just some fake leopard fur leftover from lining a key-tar carrying case.

Noel the cat was taken away from his mommy a bit early so he has a bit of a 'thing' for anything fuzzy. The moment he steps on anything furry his little purr motors up and usually he begins to knead and suckle. Awww... I knew he wouldn't be able to resist his very own furry cushion/mommy replacement.

The underside of the cushion is actually recycled denim... from old pairs of my very own jeans.

Everyday Objects Print

I just happened upon this amazing collection of wax print fabric someone picked up in Ghana.

view the full collection here:

It's amazingly awesome the way all the designs are inspired by everyday, modern objects such as lightbulbs, mufflers, lipsticks and even first aid kits. Something mediocre turned into something beautiful. If I got my hands on this fabric I'd love to throw together some amazing Shaheen-inspired creation... as if I could actually sew dresses.... In reality I'd probably make some mis-shapen tote bags... but we can all dream a dream.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Laundry Envy

As a follow-on to my previous post, I came across this delightful Laundry Room. Ahhh... to be a time-warp wife.

The original post is here:

"Washdays are sure to be sunny in this colorful laundry. While washer and dryer take over, you can catch up with a favorite TV program or settle down to desk work. Soiled clothing is sorted into hamper baskets to match washer settings."

"The American Home"
April 1959

Although that fiberglass chair is making my arms itchy just looking at it.

Modern Life is Rubbish

The things we impose on ourselves!

So... I've been having a dilemma. I've been a homeowner in Ireland for just over three years. Yep, myself and the fella are one of those lucky people now living in negative equity... which doesn't really matter so long as you've a roof over your head right? And with interest rates so low, we're paying less than we would if we were renting. So, it's not so bad.

Except (and it's a big except to us) we bought our place in a neighborhood we were less than thrilled about simply because there was nothing else we could afford at the time. An Estate Agent would call it central, I would call it inner city.

Wanting to upgrade neighborhoods was always at the back of our minds, and knowing we couldn't sell our house, we slowly worked on fixing up the house with the distant possibility of being landlords. Well... opportunity literally knocked on our door a few weeks ago and our former next door neighbor was interested in renting the house. Grand. Good. Let's do it.

In theory we're supposed to be leaving our home this week... except for one small problem. Our house doesn't have a washing machine. No biggie right? When I lived in NYC, having a washing machine was a luxury. Well, in Dublin it's considered a "Mod Con". It's actually required! Not only do we not have a washing machine, but we've no place to put one. In order to put a washing machine in our house, we would need to fit an entire new kitchen. This whole landlord business is starting to look quite expensive!

So... lucky for us cheapies, Dublin finally has Ikea. I've got the kitchen all picked out using the Ikea kitchen software thingy, but I began to panic as reality set in. Thoughts of all the things that need doing in order to REALLY put in a kitchen. Such as:
Okay, like, BUY the kitchen
buy a washing machine
get the kitchen installed
re-tile the walls
re-tile the floors
get a plumber to put in a washing machine
get a plumber in to take out the radiator
get another heater installed under the units by electrician
get electrician to fix the oven pluggy-thing that is messed up but we've ignored for 3 years.

Ummmm... this is not a weekend event is it? All for a stupid washing machine!

AND... can I really call myself a modern-day-eco-warrior by buying a super cheap kitchen from Ikea? Inevitably imported from far overseas and taking business away from some local kitchen artisan? Okay, well, my bank balance won't allow me to have that argument, but it is something I think about.

I'm thinking I agree with Blur, Modern Life Is Rubbish.

(anyone know any good kitchen installers?)

Friday, September 25, 2009

More Volunteers!

Since I was on the whole volunteer buzz, and since the garden is beginning its annual, colorful journey to winter slumber, I figured I'd take some photos of the locals who have taken up residence in my little patch.

Click on the photos to see more detail.

First, below, a grape vine, grass, and heather:

Then, a willow and some bell flowers:

Finally, my messy pot that was originally supposed to be a peonia, but is really just a shambles.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It you can't find it... Make it!

I've always loved creating projects on the aul sewing machine... I am however, no dress maker - no, my sewing projects are generally limited to purses, bags and other carrying devices. I'm not really sure why, but that's what I seem to engineer as soon as I've got fabric in my hand.

Some of my more successful items include canvas and oil-cloth shoulderbags specifically created to carry two-litre water bottles, and possibly my greatest ever feat of engineering (that still needs a bit of stitching) a bespoke bag I created for my mate Lauren's Roland AX-1 Keytar complete with shiny red outside, adjustable strap, lots of padding and super fuzzy leopard print on the inside. I must get a picture of it for the site.

One of my most recent projects began life as a bag, but ended up as a "love heart knitting cushion". Basically it's a cushion made from hand-dyed canvas that opens up to reveal clever wool storage - just add needles and a couch and you've got a quiet night in. Below are photos of the results.

This weekend, my plan is to develop a couple of bespoke guitar pedal board/cases. Stiff bottom where the pedals can be velcroed-in and left on stage, and then a zipped top turning it back into a carrying case.

Monday, September 21, 2009


No, not the charitable kind, instead the kind you find popping up in your garden. Urban gardening is a strange thing, my neighborhood suffers from a huge lack of greenery, yet despite this, an amazing amount of plants have sprouted up of their own accord in the pots in my little back garden. I have a full blooming heather, a willow tree, some sea grasses, maiden-hair ferns, and loads more that I am yet to identify. Which is sometimes the danger with volunteers - some might be simple weeds, while others are worthy of replanting into their own pots! An eye for identifying plants is definitely helpful in the volunteer arena.

My favorite volunteers? A couple of tomato plants that just popped up into my Clematis pot... They've grown a good bit more since this original photo, and I've since transplanted them to their own home. It's too bad the summer's over - I have a feeling there will be no real activity out of these bad boyz.

Here's the results of the great tomato transplant, we'll see if they survive.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cheap-Chic = Eco-Chic

Angela Scanlon, stylist extraordinaire (whom I have had the pleasure of working with via StyleNation & IMTV) recently appeared on rte's TwoTube - giving tips on staying stylish without parting with too much of your hard-earned dosh. And lucky for us, in another "being good to mother earth without even knowing it" way, many of the tips revolved around the whole upcycling/recycling of clothes buzz.

She's got a couple of tips for the spendthrift fashionista (and fashionistuds as well) including the Crafternoon Tea which I covered earlier. You can watch her talking about her trip to Temple Bar's SwopShop here:
or simply read her tips on the rte website here:

Check em out - Tanks Ange!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

DublinBikes: Tragic Update

I've just read reports that a 51 year old cyclist was killed this morning after being hit by an articulated truck on the Quays in Dublin's City Centre. The RTE report doesn't give much insight into the circumstances, but some of those active on the innnernet are reporting that he was on one of the Dublin Bikes as mentioned yesterday. Either way, it's tragic news and all the more reason for the Transport Minister's cycling path scheme to hurry up and get into place.

Here's what RTE had to say:

**update 16/09/09: the victim was definitely not on a DublinBike**

Variety Reviews 'Colony'

Variety magazine reviews the Irish produced Doc 'Colony' (as mentioned previously on this blog) after its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival

Here's another preview of the film:

Dance on brother, dance on...

RIP Patrick Swayze

By the way, you can watch Mr. Swayze in a previous entry here: The Greatest Story Ever Rolled

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dublin Bikes are HERE!

The new public bike scheme has finally hit Dublin... The Press Release goes something like this:

"Cosmopolitan cities such as Paris, Lyon, Vienna, and Montreal all offer a public bike scheme. Dublin now joins this elite list. On 13th September 2009 dublinbikes will offer locals and visitors a non-polluting, traffic jam-beating form of transport to get around our capital city."

The concept is brilliant: there are 40 stations around the city centre - you pay 10 bucks a year for membership, have a €150 deposit to cover the cost of lost/stolen bikes and the first 30 minutes of rental are free - which basically covers you for taking the bikes most places within the city centre radius. Beware of keeping the bike longer than 24 hours though, or the full €150 will be deducted from your account.

Whether the International capital of binge drinking can cope with the responsibility remains to be seen. The organizers behind the scheme have the right ideas, such as keeping the 40 bike stations in well lit and publicly placed areas, and not allowing the bikes to be taken out after 12:30am (avoiding the inevitable 3am drunk ride home). But I know the nearest station to my house (Mountjoy Sqaure) is often desolate and dark after sunset. Erp.

Any scheme that's trying to reduce pollution, fuel costs and traffic, places high in my "good list"... I just hope it doesn't result in any injuries (or God-forbid fatalities) from numerous inexperienced cyclists on the road.

Aside from their website, I haven't actually checked out the look & feel of the bikes or kiosks, so definitely a full report to come soonish...

For full info about the program, visit their website:

Friday, September 11, 2009


This is what happens when you bring "the good" into someone else's home. Proof that trying to bring the good is not appreciated by eveyone.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Earth Does Not Like Your Party

It's no secret that party decorations are not only expensive... but also have a terrible habit for ending up in trash piles. A new recycling site has just come to my attention via the Thrillist list

It doesn't market itself as a "recycling" site, but rather an online marketplace to buy and sell new and gently used party supplies. It does however hint at its subtle green-ness with the catch-phrase of "Saving the Planet One Event at a Time"... so there. I find the idea particularly interesting as not too long ago I was chatting to my cousin about this very subject. He works on big corporate events and mentioned the amount of waste after the party ends is actually a bit disturbing. Swathes of fabric and flowers and bowls with nowhere to go but the dump.

The brilliance of the idea is in its subtlety: all sorts of people are likely to go here for deals, or to make up for the cost of their big aul party rather than simply to be eco-friendly... extra points for slyly getting people to green up whether they realize it or not. Suh-weet.

How perfect is this? I'm giving it three outta five - considering it looks quite pricey to add an item to the site:

Guerilla Gardening

Hello again after a busy and extended weekend... My joints are still feeling it as I sit here at the computer. Oooh erg.

I just came across the idea of guerilla gardening of which several groups are popping up in cities worldwide. Thanks to these groups, gardens are slowly emerging in some amazing places. Check it out!

These folks find bits of disused/abandoned urban earth and transform it into garden space... illegally! Huzzah for that. Considering helping community groups and spaces seems the last thing on politician's minds these days, it's nice to know there are people taking things into their own hands. I particularly love the idea of the plant donation/recycling - for example, if you're changing your garden and have unwanted healthy plants, they are perfect for inclusion in the guerilla gardens rather than ending up in landfill. Genius points for that.

And don't even get me started on some of the fun and hilarious tools these guerilla gardeners are developing to create their gardens secretly. I'm especially loving the "His 'n' Hers Subversive Gardener Attache Case."

It looks like I'm late to the party and there is already a small guerilla gardening community in Ireland, I'd love to get in touch and start a few of our own digs. Ooooh I feel a documentary coming on. I did recently have the idea that I wanted to convert a large-ish cement patch in my neighborhood into alotments for locals, but knowing all the red-tape that would be involved scared me off a bit. Guerilla gardening could be an interesting alternative.

Who's with me?

My "good person" rating below is definitely on the side of "really liked it" as it's good for community, nature and urban good person projects!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Goin' Green at Leccy Piccy

"Growing" interest in sustainable culture, food & GIY rears its head at Ireland's fav Summer Fest.

Ireland's Electric Picnic Festival takes place this weekend, the last major festival of the summer on this lil Island of ours. I've always loved the fact that there is a "green" aspect to the festival, with their Eco Cup policy, Bin Your Empties Stations and and Energy Efficiency policy amongst loads of other eco-friendly areas, art, stages etc.

This year it seems they're taking it even further with their "Global Green" area, which will be made up of stalls from groups like Cultivate, ReDress, WEEE Ireland, Slow Food and more. There is also going to be something called the "Rethink Tank" which they say includes Sustainability talks & discussions. Perhaps considering the lineup leaves a little to be desired, this will be a nice area to spend the weekend - especially for me, as this year I am actually feeling my age and not half as excited about the festival as I have been previous years.

Some other brilliant things listed on their "Green Map":
  • Bicycle Powered Cinema
  • Body & Soul Stage made from recycled wood sourced onsite
  • Compost Toilets
  • Tents made from recycled cardboard
  • Solar Powered & Pedal Powered Phone Recharging
  • and MORE!

Check out the Electric Picnic's Eco Policy here:
and you can also download their "Green Map" by clicking here.

I also heard some of the folks from Grow Your Own Ireland speaking on the radio today. They will also be at the picnic to give more talks about getting your hands dirty with planting food. I'm yet to check it out myself, but their website can be found at

See yizzal at the picnic! I'll be the difficult-to-age person attempting to clutch on to my youth while watching bands that were around before my youth. And that there is the EP in a nutshell eh?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

And now, a word from our correspondent

My bezzie mate Susie is also owner of a blog with a very similar slant to mine - we have often stated that we share a brain, in fact, I believe we said just those exact words in a Film Board application (shockingly, that film wasn't selected for funding...erm). We've even spoken about her possibly contributing to this blog from time to time. In the meantime I wanted to link to her latest post I discovered a moment ago as it truly fits the remit of this blog...

onwards & upwards - farming in the sky

and Sue... Woolly Pockets? Ummm... Gimme some of those bad boys! That could truly be the solution for mini concrete patches like ours. Imagine a wall full of flowers and lettuces! Imagine how happy that would make the bees!