Archive for the ‘Green’ Category

Wow. Babies are virtual planet destroyers. With all the stuff that comes out of them and how little time new parents have in between feedings, burpings, diaper changes and laundry washing, it’s hard to sometimes think about being entirely green. But being a new mom and concerned about all the products and stuff that babies seem to consume, I thought I’d do a little posting on some of the things I’ve found to be helpful and are responsible choices.

You’ll also want to read this posting because there is a treat at the end of it!


This is probably the biggest concern area for many parents. I know it was for me. But in my research, I have come across some interesting measures that reduce environmental impacts.

Disposable Diapers
Yes, we use these unfortunately. The convenience of them is hard to beat but we try to choose disposables that are at least green in some regard and have chosen the President’s Choice Green Diaper. They’re more expensive than the regular diapers that are currently on the market, but we do like how well they work and the materials they are made out of. The PC Green Diaper is chlorine-free, fragrance-free and made out of wood pulp from sustainably managed forests. There are plastic components in the diaper, however the packaging states that they are looking into plant-based polymers instead of petroleum-based ones. Even though the diaper is made mostly out of renewable products, it still doesn’t mean that it breaks down in the landfill.

For a no nonsense review, you can go here to Northern Baby.

Cloth Diapers
And we use these as well when we are at home, which is the bulk of our time right now. When looking into cloth diapers before Finley was born, I stumbled across diaper services in Vancouver. What a novel idea……cloth diapering without having to deal with any mess! This was very exciting to me and we signed up immediately with Diapers Naturally, based out of Burnaby. They have a variety of services, it’s easy to order, the customer service is excellent and you can adjust your order at any time. We are currently using the contoured cloth diapers with 5 of  the Bummi’s diaper covers. I do find however that they leak quite a bit into the cover whenever Fin has a blowout. Diapers Naturally also gives a large pail with a deodorizing disk to their clients but I find this difficult to deal with as the smell from the pail is overwhelming midweek and even though you aren’t supposed to clean then perse, I have found that mold can develop fairly quickly, which could damage the cloth. Pick-up of dirty diapers occurs once a week at which time, new ones are dropped off on your door step as well. It’s a simple process and so far we have been quite pleased with it. And best of all, it’s cheaper than buying disposables!

Diaper Free Baby
Now this you might shake your head at or embrace as an incredible opportunity to get your babies out of diapers faster than you can blink. It’s called the diaperless baby, diaper free baby or elimination communication (EC) for those science-y types. I learned of this method from my husband a few years back who had a few friends in Winnipeg that had immense success with this.

The premise is this ~ as a parent, you may become aware of the moments that your child is going to the bathroom. There are particular cues from the baby that lets the caregiver know that it is passing a bowel movement or peeing into the diaper. At these moments, the caregiver makes a particular noise that the infant will learn to associate with the act of elimination to eventually be able to go potty on cue with that same noise. Apparently, babies are keenly aware of their elimination moments and don’t like to sit in their own waste. Would you? And this method also creates another way to be in tune with your baby’s body and reduces waste greatly.

The book I am reading is called The Diaper Free Baby written by Christine Gross-Loh. She explains the history of diaper free baby (namely other cultures that cannot afford the luxury of diapering) and the process to get to success. It is ridiculously simple. Caregivers can practice it consistently all day or part-time. Either way, the outcome will be a toilet trained child well before the age of 2 or 3.

I will be starting this practice as soon as Finley settles down a bit more. It’s difficult dealing with a colicky baby as it is. The great thing about EC is  that you can start it at any point ~ as early as 3 weeks to 2 years of age. And there is really nothing to loose by giving it a shot. Wouldn’t you want to toss out the diapers altogether sooner than later? I sure would….

A lot of these get used as well. Right now we are using the Teddy’s brand which is isn’t green but I have found a variety I would like to switch to from Broody Chick Natural Products. It’s an unscented, chlorine free and compostable, which is pretty neat. The price of these is twice as much compared to conventional wipes, but I think it will be worth it. Diapers Naturally also provides wipes that can be picked up once up a week with the diapers.

The Broody Chick also has a lot of other great looking products that are produced in Sidney on Vancouver Island.


When I started looking at all the things we would likely need for our new addition, I began to realize that a lot of things that are “needed” don’t have to be that fancy or expensive or are even necessary at all. Since I am all over the recycling of “stuff”, here are a number of resources to check out for the new little guy or gal in your life.

Love Craigslist. I love Craigslist so much, I will just hop on to see what’s out there for stuff I don’t even need. You can find anything here and this was where we bought our Chariot stroller for a very good price with a number of attachments (the jogger wheel, the stroller wheels and the bike attachment). Buying used from forums like this not only helps out the seller but could also help you out with items that are as good as new for a cheaper price.

I went to my first one at the Bonsor Community center in Burnaby a few weeks ago and was floored. A swapmeet is where parents who want to sell items they no longer need, rent a table at the venue and sell their goods. This particular one was gigantic with at least a hundred tables selling anything from baby clothes to toddler games. And it’s dirt cheap! This is an excellent place to stretch your bartering skills if you would like, but most of the items are so cheap anyways, there is no need to.

These are all the cute little shoes I got at the Bonsor Swapmeet. Cute, right?

Friends and Family
Chances are you’ve got quite a few parent friends in you life with babies at different stages. This is another great way to share items on the cheap. My good friend Emily has been wonderful in sharing her newborn clothing with me as well as some other items. My crib is borrowed from my cousin. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for an item if you know they might have something they aren’t using! Moms get it I have discovered and sharing things is pretty much a normal part of the process. Take advantage of this because those close to you really do want to help out!

Value Village
I think if I could choose a second home, Value Village would be it. I love shopping here for unique things and once in a while, you really do come across an amazing gem. Thrift store shopping is key for the little ones since they grow so fast and brand new clothing can start getting expensive.

Other Interesting Things

Natural Toys

Another forum I love is Etsy. I am all over supporting small cottage industry types of businesses that are not a part of the regular commercial sector. And one of those that I have found is Eco Tot Toys which are handmade wooden toys and teethers for your kids. Something I would like to try to do as Finley grows into a toddler is limit the amount of plastic items he plays with and opt for toys made out of more natural materials.

Some other sellers on Etsy that I like (and not necessarily wooden toys)…

Woman Woodworker’s Natural Wooden Toys
Floats Your Totes Ring Stackers
The Sewing Bee (felt food and stuffies)
Love Monkey (wooden disc memory game)
db by Design (matching memory game cards)


I like to read magazines because they are easy to get through in one sitting, especially nowadays. I never thought it would come to this, but I am finding myself reading “mommy” magazines for interest sake. I came across this new magazine called Urban Baby and Toddler at my Lactation Consultants office a few weeks ago and really enjoyed reading it. There are often green articles in it and adverts for local businesses.

The Treat!

Now I’ve waited until the end for this. I want all of you Mom (or Dad!) readers out there with 3-year-olds or younger in the Greater Vancouver area to tell me your green baby ideas or practices by commenting here and the one I like the best will receive a free hour-long baby portrait session! I’ll leave this open for a bit to get as many responses as possible. So drop me a comment on how you and your baby are going green!

Well, any day now apparently! Or longer, depending on how keen the little tyke is. I’m holding out a few more days to make it to ImageQuest at the River Rock Casino in Richmond to see Jasmine Star and Blue Olive Photography give seminar talks. I will be attending with two other ladies, one of which is Emily Hoskins of Liberty Tree Photography, who recently covered our maternity shoot at Granville Island. Emily will also be covering the birth as well so we will be packing along cameras and overnight bags just in case!

I was looking over my 90 in 2010 list this morning and have decided that there are a few items on there that no longer work or are possible to accomplish.

#40 - Find a backyard garden-share in my neighborhood and have a summer garden.

The only lead I had for a backyard garden-share ended up being something I wasn’t expecting at all. I was greatly disappointed with the outcome and went back to the City Farmer Backyard Sharing site to see if anything new in our area had come up, but there wasn’t. I think I will try to do some planters in my dad’s tiny backyard area and focus a bit more on attending farmer’s markets this summer and produce shopping just up the road. I have been dreaming about garden-fresh broccoli lately, which is unlike anything you will find in a regular grocery store. Here are some pictures from 2 summers ago in Smithers, the first year I ever had a garden at the Northern Roots Community Garden. I grew everything from different varieties of sunflowers to onions and even tried corn (which doesn’t work outside that far north). The Russian Mammoth Sunflowers were definitely the showpiece of the plot. I wasn’t expecting them to get so large, but hence the name “Mammoth.” I will miss gardening yet another season!

#60 - Have a garage sale with my dad.

Well, this is proving to be difficult already. My mom likes to collect things and as we have been organizing and getting rid of our own personal items for the summer sale, my mom goes through the pile just as fast and incorporates these give-aways with her own things. A major run to the second hand store will happen next week, to keep our clutter and my parent’s to a minimum!

That’s all for this dreary day in the city. Happy Sunday!

Well, here I am. I’m back after a painful week of commiserating over the sad, sorry state of my hard drive failure. I’m pretty much running up to speed on normal production now, except experiencing setbacks due to my loss of business materials ~ so I am trying to figure out how to work around that.

I’ve had to reconfigure all of my editing software from scratch, including finding all my actions, brushes, patterns, papers, shapes etc for Photoshop. I’m sure I’ll collect more as I go again, but for now I have enough goodies to keep me entertained and some new goodies to fritter away the time with. I use the Production Toolset from Kubota Image Tools quite frequently and since I lost that as well, contacted the company to see how I could get this back since my downloading link has expired (I bought the set 2 years ago). They informed me of a trial of their Dashboard 3 Pro containing every single action they produce (there are 250+!)

Um, yes please.

The dashboard is so easy to use and I actually love a lot of their colour/creative/b&w actions. I do use actions in my final edits which helps create some more visual interest in a photograph, however I like to alter them the way I like and don’t often use the action straight-out-of-the-box. I use them as a base from which to work and will pick and choose certain looks I like and combining certain steps from multiple actions. I often find the actions that come directly from the developer are too processed or dramatic for my taste, so I will tone them down a bit and make some customized adjustments. Alas, I lost all those too in the hard drive failure. But for any photographers out there who like using actions, even just a little to bump up the look of a photograph, I highly recommend checking out this trial from Kubota Image Tools. I think you’ll be very impressed!

But back to the main reason for this particular posting….

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to check out the open house at the Yarrow EcoVillage, which also happened to be #45 on my 90 in 2010 list. I did a posting about the open house at the EcoVillage a while back and it can be seen here. I headed out with my 8-month fat belly, my husband, fellow photographer friend, Emily Hoskins and her family and had a pleasant preview of the 8 hectare site on Yarrow Central Road. Folks who lived there were handy to describe their way of life in this live/work community, how their structures were built and what the future vision was for the site. Ultimately, the end result of the Yarrow EcoVillage will be zoned as mixed use for commercial, housing and farming. Their plans were impressive to say the least and work is just starting to expand for more co-housing units in the next few months.

Here are a few shots from our afternoon at the EcoVillage.

There was a little creek at the back end of their property. It was a nice, quiet area.

Blueberry farm next door.

Onion or garlic? Not sure, but things have been obviously growing here for a while!

One stretch of the housing units was made out of stackwall. I really love the look of stackwall.

Entry way to an upstairs unit.

Entrances to two units with more stackwall.

Inside one of the newer places. Very open, focused on lots of natural light and natural materials.

Some of the beams that were waiting to get used in future construction. I loved the lines in these wood cores.

T-minus three and a half days.

So much to do, so little time!

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed right now with everything that has been going on around me. The closing on our house is this Friday. We just sold our beloved Delica van. We begin our 1,150 km drive to Vancouver Thursday night in a U-Haul with two cats in the cab. We are leaving Smithers with considerably more than we arrived with 4 years ago. And neither of us are really stuff-people.

To be honest, I hate packing. I don’t know anyone who does like it. Although it feels really good to be getting rid of certain things and start paring down our belongings. Neither of us are people that like to be tied down by large commitments like owning a home, we have come to realize. At this point in our lives, anyways. It feels really good to be in a more fluid state again. And I hope our kid will be flexible enough to go with it for the first few years until we come to more of a place where we can settle down again.

It’s kind of sad saying good-bye to the first home you’ve ever owned. I didn’t think that it would affect me as much as it is…..or maybe it’s all those crazy hormones. Yup, I’ll blame the hormones.

I won’t have very good internet access after Thursday and I’m hoping to take in a bit of the Olympics over the last weekend. It might be a bit until I get myself all sorted out, but expect a big posting when I do!

I look awesome these days, but very excited! Sweat pants has become a regular clothing staple, even in public. Wow.

On an entirely different note, I have been granted membership to Greener Photography, which I did a posting on last week. I’m pretty excited about this and look forward to learning more as I go along with my business. There are a few small things I have to change so I will be spending some time after our move doing some research into CD/DVD recycling, low-energy desk lighting and reusable batteries.

One of my goals this year was to apply for membership to Greener Photography which is a community of professional photographers that agree to adhere to certain environmental standards in their businesses. On their website, the 4 core values are described as this:

  1. Preservation ~ Conserving the resources that go into creating photographic images.
  2. Reduction ~ The good old 3 R’s!
  3. Local Production ~ Shipping goods can produce an enormous amount of pollution.
  4. Cruelty-Free ~ Fair treatment to animals and people.

The organization has been going through some major changes the past year, including a new membership system. I’m just waiting my turn to apply! I’m really excited to begin networking with other photographers who have chosen to go this route and what kinds of ideas they are coming up with in regards to “greening” their businesses. And it’s not just about making my business “greener” but also a daily reminder to make better choices for the planet.

I’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes as we are preparing to move and waiting for the arrival of our first kid and I can’t wait to start finalizing some things so I can reveal them to you all!

I am really excited to announce this little open house event that my friend and fellow photographer, Emily Hoskins of Liberty Tree Photography, has posted on her Facebook page. I am really happy that I will be in the Lower Mainland in time for this open house. I’ve wanted to visit this co-housing community since I heard about it a few years ago and now have an opportunity to see it!

My husband and I have been increasingly interested in faith-based intentional communities and have been doing some research online into different kinds of models in North America. An intentional community could be anything from en ecovillage to a commune, where people who have a similar vision live and work together. One of the more established faith-based ones that we have found is based out of the inner-city in Chicago called JPUSA (Jesus People USA), where 500 people live together and all of their goods and property are held under a common fund. Their model of living is based on the biblical New Testament way of living where living communally and pooling resources not only benefits those living in the community but can also reach out to others outside of the community. We have been thinking about this kind of living model for a while now and how that would look or what that would personally mean for us. I really love the thought of being a part of a faith-based live-work community that grows its own food and is self-sustaining in many ways.

The Yarrow EcoVillage is not a faith-based community, however its goal is to “build an environmentally sustainable community , with cottage industries and an organic farm based on cohousing and permaculture principles.” A sort of live-work type of situation that is self-sustaining. I could see this type of lifestyle meshing very well in the future with not only being a mom but also a small business owner doing photography full-time. It’s an idea that I’m not sure will pan out for us as a family but it’s certainly something that we keep revisiting and are very interested in.


What: Reviewing the community plans by Chuck Durrett, one of the leading design experts on co-housing in North America and take a look at some of the new buildings on the property. A general information open house on co-housing right on the EcoVillage property.
Where: 42312 Yarrow Central Road, Yarrow
When: March 6th, 1-4pm
Who: RSVP’s are not mandatory but appreciated. You can do that here.

Hope to see you there!

I have a problem.

I am a compulsive website-changer.

You may have noticed that the look of the site has completely changed. There is a good reason for that. Let me explain.

This past week, I have been doing tons and tons of research on green media delivery - meaning how the heck am I going to give my clients their images using materials that could be reused and are made out of recycled products but still look classy, fresh and are high quality. I think I’m getting really close to making some decisions on a few suppliers for custom made USB drives made out of recycled plastics and reusable presentation tins, which I am getting really excited about. Once I finalize that, all I need to do is find some pretty details to dress up the insides of the tins and what you get is a snazzy little package of your digital images using green products from other companies that have established environmentally-friendly practices.

As I was going along this week in my research, I realized not only how much work it is to find the right kinds of products with the quality that I am looking for, but also how much more green principles could fit into the realm of photography. It’s definitely a way of rethinking how things have been done traditionally in the way of wedding albums and other things like leather DVD cases that aren’t as sustainable, but I am really hoping that others can join me on my little journey and start thinking about the products they are offering to their clients and how they could make some changes to their businesses. It’s a lot of work but I think with a little creativity and gumption, you’d be amazed and surprised at what you could find out there.

Soooo, that being said, I was beginning to analyze the current look of my brand and didn’t feel that it was appropriately reflecting “green.” So I changed it. I changed the colours to make it all feel lighter, a bit earthier and a bit fresher. I won’t be surprised if there are some tweaks along the way (who are we kidding, there are always tweaks!) but I think this will work better for the direction that I am heading in with my business. What do you all think? Drop me a line and let me know your thoughts on this new look!

On  different note, I am booking weddings for the summer of 2010! So if you are getting married or know of someone who is and you like my style of work, then pass this along! It’s almost February and summer is just around the corner!

I will be in Vancouver for the summer but am available for some travel dates so if you live further away, don’t hesitate to contact me and ask.

Happy Friday!!

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