January 8, 2017: Recycled “Soda” Bottles

While recycling is part of our daily routine, sometimes we acquire products made from recycled materials that have all the elements that excite us (Function and Form as well as being aesthetically pleasing).  And, if the recycled products also provide jobs to the area and people who make the products, then it’s even better.

Beautiful Glass from Recycled Soda Bottles

Beautiful Glass from Recycled Soda Bottles

These glasses are hand-made from “soda bottles rescued from the landfill” by Bambeco, a company committed on being environmental friendly and sustainability focused.   Each glass, hand-made and hand blown by master glassblowers (click here, then scroll down for a fascinating video of their process), has its own individual flare, they’re wonderful to hold and drink from, and stunning in their beauty.  I particularly like the rounded edges of the tumblers when drinking from the glass.  Yes, you really should watch the video, its very informative and , if for nothing else, just to see how they get all those wonderful colors in the glassware.

An added bonus is that all their packing materials are made from recycled materials, including an unusual paper they wrap each glass in that they encourage consumers to reuse in art projects as well as send in photos of their completed products.

Disclaimer: While it’s very obvious we truly like the glassware and would encourage others to look into this product, we receive no compensation of any sort from Bambeco.

Technical Details:  NikoBron (Nikon Df with Bronica 50mm wide-angle lens) and hot-shoe mounted flash



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January 5, 2017: SSD Upgrade = Super Speedy Six Year Old Laptop

I’ve been considering how to approach the “technical” reuse, upgrade or retro fit existing electronic products I’ve been using to make them more functional.

For example I’m typing this post on a six-year MacBook Pro laptop.  When I purchased the laptop my intention was to use it as long as possible given the cost.  As time went by, the laptop received multiple OS X upgrades, software upgrades, and the once blazing laptop of 2011 was showing its age.  It was either consider a newer laptop or upgrading the 2011 one I’m using on a daily basis.  I did a lot of research and decided that replacing the existing hard drive with a SSD was the route to go.  Something had to give as the boot up time with the hard drive was taking “forever” from the time I pushed the power button to I could begin using a program.  “Forever” is a bit of over exaggeration but in reality, the hard drive boot up sequence easily took seven to 10 minutes.  Plus, the laptop ran hot and when the fan came on, was very noisy.  However, as it still did everything I asked of it, I decided to go the SSD route.

My sons gave me a SSD for Solstice and I was looking forward to putting the 2011 laptop through its paces once I had the SSD reformatted to OS X  and reinstalling the OS, programs, and files via Time Machine backup.  As the backup installation was being accomplished via the hard drive, it took a very long time before I could install the SSD into the laptop.

Once the backup install was complete, I opened up the laptop, replaced the HD with the SSD, put the laptop back together, fired it up and was absolutely shocked at the performance increase.  By replacing the hard drive with the SSD the boot up sequence went from seven to ten minutes to less than 45 seconds from power on, typing in a very complex password to application first use with the SSD.

By replacing one component in a six-year-old laptop I essentially have a brand new machine running the latest version of OS X and current programs.  The boot up time of 45 seconds is consistent, applications launch lightening fast, the machine is consistently running cooler and if the fan comes on, it’s a much more muted sound, and shutting the laptop down takes seconds instead of minutes.

The laptop is a joy to use again.  Yes, I know at some point Apple will phase out support but as I use the machine primarily for writing, as long as it turns on with the current s/w I have, I’m OK with this!

A wind chime made from erased hard drive platters that make a lovely sound when it's windy

A wind chime made from erased hard drive platters that make a lovely sound when it’s windy

So, from a recycling point, what do I do with old hard drives that now needing disposal?

The first thing I aways do is erase the drive before taking it apart.

Once erased, I take the drive apart, put aside both the magnets and platters for reuse.  All metal parts are recycled, the non-metal parts containing environmentally hazardous parts are taken to an authorized recycling center for proper disposal.

The magnets are reused elsewhere in the house and the platters are added to a wind chime I made last year.  It took me a while to think of the platter wind chime but when it’s breezy they have a very nice sound and as the platters move in the sunlight they throw wonderful reflections as they spin around.

Image taken with the iPhone 6 and processed in Snapseed and Carbon







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January 4, 2017: Hurrah! 2017 is Here!

Looking Forward to the Future

Looking Forward to the Future

“Out with the old and in with the new” as the old saying goes!  A good intro to my first post for 2017, especially given that I’m experimenting with additional categories to post in 2017.

Infrared converted to b/w - Graham marsh 2007When I wrote about what I was considering for 2017, I struggled for the right image to convey my thoughts.  While I  thought the B/W image above would best set the tone, my wife commented that it represented a closed gate, a gate that even if opened, led to a closed environment.  As I thought about her observation, I realized she was correct – the image I choose did not truly reflect what my vision was for 2017…so, this morning I selected an image I took in Ankara, Turkey when I visited in 2010, an image that reflects all the elements of my vision: the past, where I am today, as well as what the future could be.

When I took this image, I took it primarily for the partially opened gate as to me, that was the soul of this image, a glimpse of what could be from where we are today.  Yes, there are other elements in the image that are intriguing but it was the partially open gate that captured my imagination, to be curious of what could be.

Time, politics, religion and technology has impacted humanity over the centuries: good in many aspects, not so good in many other ways.  The constant struggle for advancement is always fraught with compromise whether to humanity.

While I, and my family, cannot change the world, we can do our individual parts in what we can to help the environment, recycle to reduce waste, and re-use what we currently have for another (both form and function) use, whether old wood, electronics, glassware, in the garden or yard, or for personal use.  We look at everything from a recycle or reuse purpose, try to purchase new items when needed) that are packaged in environmentally friendly materials, keep our 1/2 acre property as environmentally bee and bird friendly by not using harmful pesticides, and generally do our best to be earth friendly as possible.

More on reuse tomorrow!




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December 31, 2016: The Last Solstice Post

It is New Year’s Eve and the end of this year.  This has been a tumultuous year in many aspects; events have happened that we wish had not.  At the same time, this year has seen good as well.  It has been a year of joy, of pain, of happiness, of sadness as each day brought new hopes to each of us throughout the world.  This year has seen very difficult times, events that cannot be easily understood, small things that bring us joy, the loss of those whom we’ve grown up with, heard their songs, read their stories, shared in each other’s success or heartbreak, waking each morning to do our best to make this a better world in spite of difficult times or circumstances.

Yes, overly optimistic perhaps…but I choose to believe in humanity, that in spite of all the wrongs this year, and the world, has seen, we as a people of all nations will come together to right the wrongs, to make the world a better place for all, to see the planet thrive once more, to joy and peace, to live without conflict with one another.

I choose to make each day count, to live in a better world, for humanity to flourish, to improve our world one step at a time…environmentally, with each other, individually and collectively, to embrace a world culture that views hate, violence, discrimination, hunger, war or destruction of our planet as unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated.

My final two Solstice images are of Solstice shadows and the warm glow for the year ahead…

May your New Year be all you wish and hope to be!

Shadows of Solstice 2016

Shadows of Solstice 2016

A Glow in the Darkness

A warm glow for the year ahead


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December 30, 2016: Hearts, Rose, a Cat and Cardinal

More of our favorites….

A red rose and cinnamon heart

A red rose and cinnamon heart

Cardinal and Blue Heart

Cardinal and Blue Heart

Orange Cat and Wooden Snowflake

Orange Cat and Wooden Snowflake


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December 29, 2016: A Solstice Sun and Seattle on our Tree

Our tree can only hold so many decorations yet each year we manage to festoon the tree with our favorite decorations including sun decorations and special ornaments we’re picked up as time as passed by.  Here’s Seattle and the Sun this year….

One of our sun decorations

One of our sun decorations

Seattle in Blue

Seattle in Blue

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December 28, 2016: Solstice Hearts

Over the years we have picked up, and made, many different types of heart decorations for Solstice decorating, whether on the tree or elsewhere in the house.  They’re among our favorites.  Here are a few of the many…

Cinnamon Heart - they look pretty and smell like cinnamon

Cinnamon Heart – they look pretty and smell like cinnamon

"I Love You" Heart

“I Love You” Heart

A Heart of Ribbons

A Heart of Ribbons

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