31 Days To Greener Sustainable Living

Tomorrow is the official first day for my new blog series 31 Days to Greener, Sustainable Living!! I am super excited to get it started (as you'll notice from all the ! In this post...)!

<a href="http://colormedomestic.blogspot.ca/2012/09/31-days-greener-living.html" target="_blank"><img src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEje-ZOHvQt28M1otfAz5pahyab4qKdh4_EiGho9H0qbrprF_c2JguNkNaJXB8VNqPHrgsSaFMotQyDV1-wsv-cBe_bnm-e2Lbx0VuocuECCtkw0fJf8lj0eRarZenRLFuvCMXp9_YExJlY/s450/button02-450.png" width="150"></a>

It's not too late to pitch-in! There's more information about what I'm looking for from YOU in this post (at the end). I would really appreciate having your input!!

So here's a little bit of what you can expect in the next 31 days: lots of ideas and inspiration!, tutorials, guest posts, testimonials, recipes, saving money, crafts and DIY, organization, and lots more!!

Oh wait, I'm missing a very important one: linky parties!! Yeah!! Cuz I want to see how YOU live a greener more sustainable life :)

Mark your calendars for October 16th, which will be a linky party about reusing materials to make arts, crafts and DIY projects. And then on the last day, October 31st (aka Halloween), there'll be a second linky party and you can link up any post pertaining to green living!

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I'm also opening the invitation to anyone who would like to co-host with me!! I would love to spread the word even more :) Just email me (<-- clicking opens in your desktop email client, or right click and copy) with subject "green linky co-hosting" and I'll add you to the list and send you the code the day before. For any non-bloggers, if you'd like to share your creations made with recycled materials, just email me a picture and I'll make a special picture list just for you guys. It was brought to my attention a while ago that you non-bloggers are always left out at linky parties, but this is a special themed linky party and I want to include everyone! You can send me your pictures any time starting now :)

Alright, so this is the master list for the series, I'll keep adding the new posts here as I go, so you can reference this post later on, or share this post with others, sound good? I might also post the title for the next day, so you get an idea of what's to come. I'll be adding a link to this post on all future series post so you can find your way around easily.

Must be on blog to see the list. Hover over image for more detailed description.

For my blogger friends, I would SO appreciate if you would mention my series on your blog, and/or maybe put the button up? Thanks a bunch if you do!!

I must say I'm a little nervous, about actually posting every single day for the next 31 days... I've been working really hard the last couple of weeks getting everything organized! Though I'm not where I wanted to be :( I think that will be the key to me sticking to it. The calendar is all set-up, all my ideas are there, some of my posts are written, so hopefully I'll be able to keep up.

Oh, and I must say, if you expect that because I'm gonna be writing a blog post every day that they are gonna be short and sweet, well sorry to disappoint, but that's not really how I roll. There is just WAY too much information for me to do short and sweet; it will be sweet though! Are you ready for the ride?!

Don't want to miss a post in this series? Consider susbscribing (GFC widget in right sidebar) :

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There's nothing like a fresh coat of paint

We were pretty lucky when we moved into this apartment a year ago to have most of the apartment painted already, and nice colors at that! It was also pretty great that the previous tenant left us the leftover paint!

That gave me the chance to add a fresh coat of paint in our bedroom last spring. It really needed it. I have no idea what they did in the bedroom, but there were grease and splatter marks all over the place. With the paint being matte, the greasy/splashed bits reflected the light and it was not a pretty sight. I am NEVER buying matte paint...

Here's what I'm talking about:

It was way worse in real life.

It looked like people had spit all over the walls and no matter how much I scrubbed it wouldn't go away. So I painted over it, and that made me SO happy! The way only a new paint job can!

The only room that wasn't painted was the bathroom. I had to do something about that to boost my happy moodlet (a la Sims :) ).

I know the previous tenants had tried at some point but there was a problem with the back wall. I think that wall is made of cement, and for some reason paint keep bubbling and peeling off there. It wasn't even mold or anything... Every year they would try to cover it up again but it kept coming back, they said.

This is what it looked like:

I didn't take a closer picture of it. I know it kinda looks like it was spackled and then not covered up, but it was worst than that.

When we moved in, my dad took a look at it, and said we could just spackle over it, prime and paint. So that's what we did, first thing when we moved it. I still wanted to wait some time to see if it would come back or what.

Finally, a year later, it hadn't come back (much). There was a bit of crackling in some spots, but really not that bad. I did patch it up with a little bit of spackling. And then I could paint a color I liked!! It was white before... way too blah for my taste!

I knew I wanted a blue, and it had to match with the shower curtain, which was the only color in the room. I had these paint swatches on the corner of the wall for almost a year.

I couldn't decide which shade I wanted. I also wanted to look around and see if I could find a better color. In the end I went with my original paint swatch, in the lighter color (Sky High Blue on the right second from bottom), cuz when in doubt always go with the lighter color, it'll be darker on the wall. I'm so happy I didn't go darker!!

I did everything in 1 day. And by everything I mean spackle some more, sand it, prime it and finally paint (probably twice).

I think I went a little spackle crazy... First, I'm still learning, and it's never good after the first spackle and sanding, and I kept finding new spots I wanted to make better. In all, I spackled 5 times! And for some reason I got obsessed with doing it behind the toilet, which was really not easy (4 below)!! But I noticed that area every time I brushed my teeth, cuz the toilet is a little further from the wall than normal.

I removed the switch plate and did a little bit of "surgery" around it (1), cuz people over the years never removed it to paint and it was like buried around layers of paint... I also removed the towel ring beside/in front of the mirror, which peeled a lot of paint (2). We installed a towel bar when we moved in, on the bare wall, so it felt redundant. Annnd I removed the towel hooks on the door. Again with the towel bar they weren't needed, and they were just an eye sore, cuz they were loose and people had previously painted around it too so it was super uneven.

I had seen this trick on Pinterest where they covered the toilet with a garbage bag to protect it. I have no idea what size garbage bag they used, but mine weren't big enough! So I had to use 2... (3).

I had already repainted all the trim and door of the bathroom white a few weeks back, so I made sure to tape everything up so that I wouldn't mess it up.

For a tiny little bathroom, there is a LOT of trim to tape up. There's the normal door trim and bit around the toilet, but the biggest and weirdest trim is around that big window (which is just a chute in the middle of the building to aerate the bathroom so it doesn't get moldy since there is no ventilation), but also all around the medicine cabinet. There isn't much wall left after that, really...

I was also prudent and put a drop cloth over the sink, toilet and bath. I'd rather do that and go crazy while painting rather than having to be super careful while painting. That's just my preference.

While painting the first coat, I thought it had awesome coverage and I wouldn't need to give a second. But after it had dried I knew it needed an other one, there were still some white dots showing through. So the second coat went up at 10pm. I was rather exhausted at that point.

I finished removing all that tape the next day. I didn't really care if it would lift the paint, but it didn't much! Still have a couple touch ups to do though, where it did peel off bad.

I LOVE the color! We barely get any natural light in here, so I'm glad I went with one of the palest colors. It's a little darker in real life, I think, and a tiny bit less green.

If you noticed that that little basket on the toilet used to be on my laundry shelves, then you get 2 brownie points!! It was way too short on the laundry shelves, but it works fabulously here, and adds a bit of much needed texture!

You know what my boyfriend said when I asked him his opinion on the color? He said it was too much a girly color. Blue, girly?! And an almost baby blue, girly?! Whatever, that is why I don't ask his opinion beforehand. If it were up to him, all the walls would be bare and white, and minimal furnishing. I just can't do that. He "complains" for a day then let's it go. He knows it makes me happy :)

So the next step was figuring out the accent colors. I had a hard time with that one. I don't have a lot of space to put accent colors, but I would like to put an other painting maybe (that I'd do myself), and paint the soap dispenser, toothbrush holder and garbage can. And anything else I so wish to add ;)

After a couple of days I had an idea, but I wasn't totally sure it would work. So I went to the CIL website (that makes the color I picked) and played around with their color coordinator. After picking my Sky High Blue, they gave me a choice of 5 different moods. I was relieved to see my idea was one of those choices, confirming that I'm not crazy!

Which one do you perfer, and can you guess which one I like best? I'm not gonna tell you right away, cuz I like to surprise you! And I want to know your unbiased opinion!! I'll reveal my accent colors when I do my first decorating project.

So this is where I stand with the bathroom makeover

And here's the To-Do list for this room, with stuff that's been done/ changed crossed off:
~ Change the toilet seat(it was wobbly, and for 10$, it was an affordable upgrade)
~ Add a plug (I'll never understand how bathrooms here don't have plugs)
~ Add a towel bar
~ Remove towel ring
~ Remove hooks on door
~ Paint trim and door white
~ Paint walls YAY!!
~ Wash floors (in progress); seriously, when I show you the before and after picture, you will understand. I'm spending 10 minutes PER TILE to scrub as hard as I can and remove the embedded dirt. About 5 tiles left, of 19.
~ Recaulk around toilet, sink and tub (in very beginning stages); Whoever did the caulking job was horrible at it. It's unbelievably uneven and not smooth. I need a better way to remove the old caulking to continue.
~ Lay down new tiles? I must ask the concierge if the owner would pay for the 20 tiles I would need to redo the bathroom, or if I just do it anyway, it wouldn't be expensive and would be the best upgrade ever, and I could stop scrubbing!!
~ Add a piece of melamine to hide the space between the wall and the vanity.
~ Get something to hide the electrical cording my dad installed for the plug.
~ Patch up the ceiling; wasn't sure how to go about doing it, so will ask my dad this weekend
~ Decorate!!

And yes, this is a rental apartment. I figure the owner can't get mad at me for making things look better, right? Not that he would ever notice since we've only ever dealt with the concierge...

Do you think I'm crazy for putting so much work into a rental apartment? Especially in renovating the bathroom? We've been here 2 years, and planning on staying for an other 2 years. It gives me good practice for when we will have our own place.

I party at these parties.
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An Announcement and Request

It's time for a special announcement! A BIG announcement!! Well, it's pretty big for me...

A few years ago, The Nester started this tradition (that's a link to this year's explanation post). She decided that for the whole month of October, she would post every.single.day. on ONE topic. Every year, more and more bloggers join her.

Last year, I followed Organizing Made Fun's 31 days series on how to cheaply organize your home; it was how I found out about the tradition. I thought it would be an awesome challenge and experience.

So I've kept the idea in the back of my mind for a year. Thinking if maybe next year (now this year), I could do it, too. Well, I'm gonna do it!!

I know my track-record isn't all that great. I've posted, on average, less than once a week this past year. BUT I'm up for the challenge, and maybe this will be the kick in the butt I need! I'm announcing it now so that I don't back out!! Because I've already thought about backing out a few times this month. It's a scary adventure, posting every single day for 31 days on 1 topic!

I knew I needed a topic that was really interesting to me. Something I was passionate about. Honestly, I'm only passionate about a few things. And this is one of those things. Something I haven't really advertised much on the blog, yet!

You ready to know the topic? I've already made the series' button!

31 Days to Greener Sustainable Living!!

Yup, I'm a green junkie. Can you even say that? I don't really know how I got so passionate about it. Sure my parents taught me to recycle when I was a kid, and then eventually compost, but it's grown so much more than that since. But I'm also not a complete green maniac, still lots of room for improvement, I assure you!

I actually sat down at the beginning of the month and wrote down everything I could possibly talk about on this subject. And I had A LOT of points! More than 31! Like, double. So I've condensed and pooled as much as I could. I want to make it as comprehensive as possible.

I've got some out-of-the-box ideas I'd like to try out, too, and I'm taking the opportunity now to do it and share with you guys!

So, because this isn't even the introduction, that's as much as I'll say about it ;) Can't spoil all my secrets right away.

BUT, I need you help! I know I'm not the only one who has this greener, sustainable mentality. I'd LOVE to hear from you!! This is what I'm looking for:

1. If you've got an out-of-the-box idea/solution to being greener. A novel way to reuse stuff that was going to the dump (ex how to use those non recyclable yogourt cups), a way to make being greener more fun and easy, a new reusable product (ex reusable cotton make-up remover rounds) anything along those lines!

I'd like to feature you!! If you've already done a post(ex rain water barrel) or tutorial (ex for reusable bags) about it , just send me the link, I'll include it on the relevant day if I haven't already published it. More info for how to email me below.

If you're not a blogger, or haven't blogged about it, I'd love to hear about your ideas anyway! You could send me a (or a couple) pictures, or else just a little snippet of information is good, too!

2. There are some areas that I am not familiar with and haven't had the opportunity to try out yet, but I'd really like to include it in my 31 days series. I can just mention them and link to other posts, but it would be really great if I could get someone to talk about it on my blog, kinda like a guest post. A new fresh set of thoughts! Again you wouldn't need to be a blogger to help me out here, I would just need a few people to talk about their experiences doing these green solutions.

Here's what I would really appreciate input on: tips and tricks for involving kids to recycle and reuse (I don't have kids yet... I've got ideas, though!); cloth napkins; feminine hygiene products like venus/diva cup and reusable panty liners; making your own cleaning products or beauty products; maybe also some thrifting tips; and would be cool to have a refashion guru.

Now, those are the subjects that I REALLY want input on, but if you've got some thoughts on other subjects, that's good, too!!

If you want to participate either comment on the blog (make sure I can reach you by email!), or send me an email(<--- clicking will open up your desktop email client, or right mouse click and copy email address to paste directly in the TO: field of the email ;) ) with subject 31 days to greener living. Please contact me ASAP. It doesn't need to be all ready, but as long as I can know that I have some people who can talk about these things, it'll appease me! If you're not sure about a topic, we can brainstorm together, too.

And that only covers the surface of what's to come in this series!! Writing this psot has really gotten me more pumped for it! And I'm getting more and more ideas as I think about it more.

I'm trying to have as much of it done and ready before October even starts, that way I don't need to stress about being able to post. I think I can do it! That way I'll still be able to post other fun projects throughout the month on top of the series. Because Halloween is coming! Can't wait to start decorating! Have you put out your decorations?!

Want to join me and blog for 31 straight days on a topic? The more the merrier!

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What I have learned: a Year in Review

A quick note, I have turned OFF word verification. I am SO SORRY that it was on, it shouldn't have been. I'm sure I had it off at one point and it magically got turned on again. Please leave me sweet comments again! Thanks Amy for pointing it out to me! And if it happens again, do let me know! Ok, onto the post...

Did you know that I didn't really do crafts before I started this blog? It's true. I'd like to say I'm a crafter who blogs, but really I'm a blogger who crafts is more appropriate.

I have, however, always been a DIY-er at heart, because of my dad. I just never had much excuse to do stuff before I moved out of my parent's and got my own place without a roommate.

Before coming to the crafty/DIY bloggy world, I wasn't much inspired, nor motivated. I didn't know where to get stuff, or what stuff TO get. I didn't know HOW to make the crafts. I never realized I COULD make so much fun crafts, either!

So in the past year, I've been experimenting A LOT. I've learned SO much. Some of it I learned from others, but really it's easier for me to learn if I make the mistakes myself. I'm stubborn I suppose.

So as a little celebration for my 1 year Bloggiversary, here is a compilation of the trial and errors, and just general experiences, that have helped me grow as a crafter, DIY-er, and blogger in the past year.

click on the picture to be taken to the post

When you start blogging, it's not gonna be as easy as you think
My first post! I've made a few of the things I had set out to make when I wrote that post, and some are still on my to-do list lol I have 49 published posts as of before this one. That's not even 1 a week... Blogging takes a lot of time and effort, which I wasn't entirely ready for!

You need to learn to take good, flash-less photos!

Still one of the most google searched of my posts, really wish people had nicer pictures to look at once they find my contact paper backpslash... Still thinking of updating the pictures... And don't mind the picture corners I tried out for this one post. That was not a good idea.

Anyway, I still have room for improvement here, and I think my stupid camera is stupid and part of the problem. Oh and also my dark apartment doesn't help...

You might be a tad embarrassed looking back on some crafts you have made

Seriously, what WAS I thinking? They look SO childish! They were even featured on a child-made site (which got me some nice traffic when I started out...). But now, I'm just a little embarrassed that I actually posted this.

Stenciling: Do NOT use a brush, use sponges/dabbers and DAB.

In the end, I still LOVE my handpainted chandelier, and people always mention it when they first visit, which makes me very proud.

Hot glue does not hold anything and everything together.

The little saw-tooth hanger I used at the back for this project kept peeling off from the hot-glue. I think it must've fell about 4 times (some spikes are a little damaged because of it...), and finally after that 4th time I had enough and used epoxy glue. It hasn't fallen since :)

DIYing your own blog design is super fun, but takes a lot of time and patience
Every design element on the blog was made by me. Well, I did use Just So Scrappy's scrapbook kit Tweet Tweet, but the actual blog header image, menu bar, sidebar titles, footer, background, I tweeked myself. I kinda like playing with html and css :)

Linking up to linky parties will really pay off once you get featured

And boy did I get featured with this one! Most featured post (but not most viewed...). Still want to make myself one of these.

Persistence can pay off and Not all crafts work how you imagine

Took me one month to get this simple thing right, but in the end I finished it and love it!

Painter's tape is not vinyl
Pictures can only describe this one:

What you think is common knowledge might not actually be common knowledge

Seriously, if you have not yet read this post of mine and don't know what hotlinking or bandwidth theft is, please read!

Things don't need to be complicated to be popular and Getting featured on a big blog will bring you lots of traffic, for a long time!

I never thought this one would be so big. It's so simple, yet very effective, and I still LOVE and enjoy the end result!

I'm still not a very good seamstress, but I'm not giving up!

Seriously, you'd think I would be able to do straight lines easy enough, but no...

Start seasonal/holiday crafts EARLY

I got so many comments saying if only they had seen this craft earlier, they would have loved to make one! I really bit myself in the butt for that one, could've had lots more traffic if only I hadn't procrastinated making this once I got the idea to.

Paper punches can hurt, when you need to punch a LOT of little flowers!

BTW, most viewed post on the blog! And one that must have taken the longest to make. I am going to think twice about a craft that I need to use paper punches so much.

I still LOVE playing/crafting with wood!

My first, very small scale, distressing adventure! I can't wait to get a big piece of furniture to redo one day! Will be looking for a new desk and buffet/dresser in the near future!

Sometimes having a blog pushes you to do some much needed cleaning

Seriously never would have deep cleaned my kettle had I not wanted to show it for this post (alternative use for electric water kettle: hard boiled-eggs). Speaking of, it needs a cleaning again... It's not as bad as in this picture, so I still got some lee-way ;)

You can find really fun stuff for free if you shop your parents' home!

With just a bit of spray paint, this pretty frame now fits into my decor. Oh, and you'll want to ask your permission before snagging anything from them lol.

Blogging without internet is really hard and no fun
Read more about that here.

When building stuff out of wood, take the time to properly protect and seal it

Especially, if it's gonna be in the kitchen with flying oil everywhere. The wood turned darker where there was nothing covering it...

Dads are awesome. and When a space doesn't work for you, make it

I'm seriously so lucky to have a dad who can build stuff, and who passed on that love to me. I just lack the experience, but it will come! I gained so much space with this unit, it was so worth it!

All in all, I'm still very happy I started a blog. It gave me a purpose. Sure there are days that I want to throw in the towel, but then I just give it a rest for a week and then I want to come back. I'll continue doing it for as long as it's feasible and I enjoy it.

I'm really not expecting to ever be a big blog. After all, I only reached just over 100 followers in 1 year... I'm just not able to put that level of commitment to the blog at this point. And I'm really ok with that.

Still, I'd like to do more next year. They key, I think, is planning, and not procrastinating!! A little at a time, right?!

Thank you to each and every one of you! I know a lot of bloggers go a long time before they are ever noticed and have followers. I don't think I would've stuck to it if you guys weren't there. I've really enjoyed getting to know some of you, and I would really like to get to know some new faces :) So don't be a stranger, say hello once in a while!

Oh, and I've got a big blog announcement coming this week! So stay tuned!

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