Latest posts in Queen of Green

How to reuse silica gel packs, part two

May 30, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to reuse silica gel packs, part two

Add silica gel packs to containers of homemade kale chips (or apple chips) to keep them crispy. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

I gave you six ways to reuse silica gel packs —- found in vitamin bottles and seaweed snacks —- and you gave me another 10.

Add silica gels packs to your:

  1. Toolboxes to prevent tools from rusting. Thanks, Adam, Ella and Chuck!
  2. Musical instrument cases. "They're great. I offer them up to customers at my guitar shop." ~ Adam
  3. Watch (or smartphone) if it takes on water. "If you get your watch wet and the glass fogs up, put it in a sealable plastic bag with a few of these bags." ~ Michelle (and thanks to David, too!)
  4. Containers of homemade kale chips (or apple chips) to keep them crispy. Thanks, Laine!
  5. Recycling cupboard to absorb excess moisture (and cut down on funky smells that can result). Thanks, Laurie!
  6. Seed packages. Thanks, Jim!
  7. Car in the winter to remove moisture from leaky windows. Thanks, Dana!
  8. Camera case and bags. Thanks, Kellie!
  9. Jewellery box. Thanks, Showey!
  10. Night-guard container. Thanks, Gail!
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How to improve your work life, naturally

May 30, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to improve your work life, naturally

Getting outside makes employees happier and healthier. These 30×30 Nature Challengers are taking action to protect nature by pulling invasive English ivy in Stanley Park.

More than 1,500 workplaces and schools spent 30 days in nature this May participating in the David Suzuki Foundation's 30×30 Nature Challenge. You can cultivate a "nature habit" where you work, too — starting any time of year!

I quizzed representatives of three companies — Interface (@Interface), Genuine Health (@GenuineHealth) and Aimia (@AimiaInc) — about why they get into nature at work.

How can staff let bosses know they need Vitamin "N" (i.e., time in nature)?

Interface: Encourage your employer to walk the talk. Reference research on the benefits of being in nature (download the 30×30NatureChallenge Workplace Toolkit) — improved performance, productivity and creativity and less absenteeism!

Genuine Health: Pitch it based on your company's core values and share testimonials with your employer. Getting outside makes employees healthier and happier.

Aimia: We made it a friendly competition, a weekly nature photo challenge that added some fun to the office and gave employees a chance to take a break from busy routines, share how they enjoy the outdoors and fall (back) in love with nature!

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How to make dish soap

May 10, 2016 | 5 comments
Photo: How to make dish soap

Add soap nuts to a jar of water and shake to make eco-friendly dish soap! (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

A DIY dish soap recipe that really works was impossible to find...until now!

(Like me, many of you probably tried to use liquid castile soap or boil up soap granules without success.)

Queen of Green liquid dish soap recipe


One handful soap nuts (a.k.a. soapberries)
Half a litre (2 cups) tap water


Add ingredients to a glass jar with a tight lid. Shake the jar before each use. When you get bubbles, pour about 125 ml (½ cup) of the solution into your sink. Refill the jar with water. Use this solution until the soap nuts stop making suds or smell bad. Then throw them in the compost and start a new batch.

Personalize this recipe by altering ingredient ratios for desired results — success will depend on the hardness of your water and dish grime. You can even add the solution to a pump soap dispenser.

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How to write a love letter to nature

May 5, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to write a love letter to nature

David Suzuki Foundation staff wrote letters to nature.

We're partnering with the Love Lettering Project during our annual May 30×30 Nature Challenge. (Even though nature takes mail all year round...)

Reflect on what you love most about nature.

I told nature I think it makes the best babysitter, picks me up when I get down, smells better than the city and looks great in the dark.

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How to get to know nature

April 26, 2016 | 15 comments
Photo: How to get to know nature

Be quiet and seek solitude. (Credit: Jennifer Rodriguez)

You love nature.

Together we even coined a term to describe what happens when we're not getting enough of it: "Treeprived".

For a fifth year, I ask you to immerse yourself in nature for 30 minutes a day for 30 days. We call it our 30×30 Nature Challenge. You might call it walking or biking to work, a lunch break outside, a walking meeting, a hike or time in the garden.

What else might you do for 30 minutes (minimum) a day? Well, there's a book for that: The Big Book of Nature Activities: A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Learning, by Jacob Rodenburg and Drew Monkman. (Win a copy by commenting on this blog.) Here are 10 tips from the authors:

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