Monday, August 17, 2009

Super Efficient Top Loading Fridge

This is the best idea I've heard of in a long, long time: an eco-friendly Austrialian guy modified a top-loading chest freezer into a refrigerator by tweaking the thermostat on the thing.

It's so simple, it's almost stupid; but the fact is, cold air sinks, so every time we open our fridge, all its cold air falls out and it has to make more when we close it. It's seriously a mystery to me why we haven't thought of this before - I mean, I know humans are creatures of habit, but this is silly.

Apparently, a regular house fridge expends 1 whole kilowatt hour (1kWh) every day - a chest fridge uses 90% less energy, costing only $5 to run for a whole year. A regular fridge in New York, for example (where electricity costs about 14.3 cents per kWh) would cost$52 to run for a year. If you think about your own fridge, or your parents' fridge, and how long they've had it, imagine how much money they would have saved; since they have 2 fridges, my parents would have saved at least $860!

Obviously the key problem boils down to home architecture; if architects became savvy about this top-loading fridge, they could easily become the new standard. If you know any architects (you know who you are), pass the word on.

Monday, April 13, 2009

How to make a Beret out of an Old Shirt or Sweater

Have old clothing that you can't find a use for? Have the feeling no one would want to buy that old shirt or sweater you own from the secondhand store? Turn it into a cute beret for you, a friend, or a little one!

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 1-2 hours
Need: old clothing piece, sewing machine, scissors, thread. Optional: elastic.

1. Cut out the fabric pieces shown in the image above: a circle with a diameter of 40 cm; another identical circle but with a 27 cm hole cut out of the middle; and a band 15 cm high by about 56 cm wide (you should measure your own head for this number; leave room for a seam but not too much room or else the hat won't be snug enough. If you want to use elastic, cut a longer rectangle.)

2. Sew the donut-shaped piece to the circle, right sides together (the right side is the outside)

3. After you sew these together, you will have a seam on the inside of the hat. Go through and cut little triangles out of it, making sure not to hit the seam line. This helps the hat bend properly.

4. Sew the head band piece (the rectangular one) into a loop, making sure you sew the right sides together with a 6 mm stitch. Now, fold the band in half, right sides out, so that it is 7.5 cm high.

5. Sew the band to the rest of the hat, right sides together; the circumference of the donut will be longer than the circumference of the head band, so you will have to gather the donut piece; you can either gather as you stitch it onto the band, or baste the donut-shaped piece and gather it that way, proceeding to sew the band on afterwards.

Note: If you like, you can cut a longer band in the beginning and add elastic to the band to make sure the beret fits snugly.

Here's a short tutorial on gathering if you don't know how.

Want more?

Alternative beret tutorials can be found here:


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bubble Dye Origami Paper - Rescuing the Recycling!


Newspaper (to lay out)
Dish Soap
Food Coloring
Paper headed for the recycling bin
Big Spoon

1. Lay out the newspaper so that you don’t make a mess.
2. Lay out your supplies.
3. In each bowl, put 3 spoonfuls of water, 1 spoonful of dish soap, and 2 pinches of salt.
4. Then, add the food coloring. A few drops should be enough.
a. For our purposes, we want to have pink, purple and yellow. For purple, we’ll need to have a few drops of red and a few drops of blue. Yellow comes straight out of the bottle. And for pink, I think we should use red, add another teaspoon of water, and then a tiny, tiny drop of blue.
5. Here comes the fun part. Using straws, mix all these ingredients together and then blow bubbles, mixing them up to get small and big bubbles together. Don’t let the bubbles overflow!
6. Now that you have bubbles, get out your paper and put the bubbles on the paper any way you can! You can press the paper onto the bubbles, or you can use a spoon to scoop the bubbles onto the paper.
7. You can get multiple colors by simply putting all the different bubbles onto your paper. All you need to do now is let the bubbles dry up on the paper, and you’ll get lovely paper like this!

Pringles Can Buttons and Hairclips

Step 1: Cut out the bottom of a Pringles Can
Step 2: Recycle the cardboard remainder
Step 3: Cut out and glue a picture onto the disc.
Step 4: Hot Glue (or use E6000) a barrette or pin onto the back of the disc.

That's it!

Friday, February 27, 2009