Green Christmas Gifts: Rainbow color-block afghan

My Mother-In-Law gave me a bag full of yard odds and ends. I was thinking I need to do something about this growing stash of yarn! It was great that people kept giving me free yarn because it can be so expensive, but none of this stuff was enough to make a whole project really.I didn’t want to through away useable materials. I tried making hats but not all the colors were appropriate or I simply didn’t have enough of any one yarn. Then, I saw a beautiful designer afghan and inspiration hit.

A rainbow color-block afghan is what I decided to make with all my yarn. First I went through my stash to find all the yarns of like kinds and started looking for my rainbow colors. I tried to keep it balanced using an “S” shaped pattern for the colors snaking in 3 rows to the bottom. Yellow, orange and red in the top row, pinks, purples blues in the second row, blues and green on the bottom. I realized I have quite a bit of green yarn so I didn’t want to get to heavy handed with it.

All the blocks have a 52 row max, so I wouldn’t overwhelm the quilt if I had a little to much of any one color. Many of the blocks turned out smaller as I didn’t have much of many of the yarns. I made 3 strips that are 48 stitches across by 260 rows . I joined the rows to each other as I knit the blanket. This afghan was knitted on a knitting machine, but just as easily could be made using single crochet or hand knit.

Make the blanket smaller or larger as your stash of yarn will make. The one I made was lap quilt/baby blanket sized. You can also add tassels or a crocheted edging to this design to make it fit your home or the person you are making it for.

I love how my afghan turned out and I might try a gradient afghan next time with all the green yarn I have!

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Eco-Friendly Paint Removal

One of the most environmentally damaging aspects of traditional boating maintenance involves the periodic need to apply anti-fouling paint to your vessel’s hull.

The first step in this process usually involves removing the old paint.

Various methods have been used to accomplish this task, and until recently they all had a very negative environmental impact.

Sanding and sandblasting are one of the most widely used techniques to remove old bottom paint. This technique almost always produces a toxic cloud that is difficult to keep from drifting into the nearby waterways, and of course the atmosphere.

Heat guns have been used with varying degrees of success, however, heating a substance like paint to the melting point produces all sorts of noxious fumes.

Applying chemical compounds designed to weaken and dissolve paint so it can later be scraped off is another frequently used means of removing old paint.

Needless to say, these traditional strippers were designed with very little thought to how they would affect the environment. The active ingredient in most of them is methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.

Using good old fashioned ingenuity, however, a group of folks have harnessed compounds crafted by Mother Nature to create a product that works as well or better than the toxic, synthetic versions.

Made in America by the good people at Franmar, SOY Gel™ Paint & Urethane Remover is soybean-based and does a nasty job with ease.

More importantly, it works without causing harm to the environment or those folks using it. hulls. It has no odor, and a very low evaporation rate.

Franmar SOY Gel™ Paint & Urethane Remover is a clean, green, and simple solution to remove Paint & Urethane. Coverage area – up to 200 sq. ft. per gallon horizontally and up to 150 sq. ft. per gallon vertically.

This Solvent based remover with NO Methylene Chloride, Caustics, Acids or MEK’s. Leaves no chemical residue, needs no neutralizing. Stays wet for extended periods of time. Will not harm gel coating. Will not burn or blister the skin. Meets EPA National Clean Marina Guidelines.

A Story of Invention and Innovation…

Soy’s ability to replace highly toxic and expensive petrochemicals provides a safer, more economical world. Using natural products that  do the job, safely and affordably fuels a change- for the better – to cleaning techniques and philosophies throughout the planet.

Today, many call this “Green.”

Franmar has now gained worldwide acclaim for its effective, economical, and safe product lines—all developed to benefit workers and their environment.

Owners Frank and Marilyn are still very involved in the company. They work closely with their executive team to keep the deep-rooted values of hard work and service excellence as a company priority.

Throughout its 25-year history, Franmar has worked closely with the United Soybean Board, even occasionally receiving some USB research and development funds.

Farmers participate in the USB soybean checkoff, whereby they collectively invest a portion of their profits to fund soy research and promotion.

With assistance from USB checkoff funds for R&D, combined with Franmar’s own R&D and marketing funds, Franmar has very successfully increased the market for products made from soy oil.

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Eco-friendly Solutions for Plastic Bag Waste

Eco-friendly Solutions for Plastic Bag Waste

Regular plastic bags take a lifetime, often over 100 years, to begin to degrade.

Less than 2% of plastic bags ever get recycled and those that are seldom ever become plastic bags again.

Plastic bags litter our streets and waterways.

Take an active role in preserving our planet by using Eco friendly products made from corn or other natural products, which can decompose naturally in your compost pile. These types of naturally derived food storage and waste bags provide an alternative to polyethylene/polypropylene based plastic bags.

These corn based bags don’t decompose until introduced to the earth’s elements or micro-organisms in the soil. They are however susceptible to heat and damp, so they must be kept in a cool dry place for storage purposes.

This compostable-bag type of waste disposal is perfect for parks where pet waste disposal is an issue.

New products are coming out all the time like a compostable cling wrap.

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Combatting an Oily Bilge with Natural Beneficial Microbes

Prevention is the best way to stop oily discharges from the bilge. Maintain your engine well, which prevents most leaks of fossil fuels into the water.

Its also a good idea to place an oil absorbent pad or pillow under your engine where any drips may occur. Check the pads often, do not let them clog the bilge pump, and dispose of them as hazardous waste at a marina or local hazardous waste collection center.

The best products to use however, combat hydrocarbon pollution through the use of naturally-occurring beneficial microbes placed in floating foam pads.

The foam acts like a boom, attracting and absorbing hydrocarbons and many other water pollutants — oils, gas, grease, diesel, kerosene, MTBE, nitrates — and our microbes then digest those pollutants through the natural process of bioremediation.

These absorbent foam carriers with pre-measured micro-tablets inserted in them are designed to absorb oil and repel water.

They provide a perfect “microcosm” for microbes to live and digest the oil drawn to the foam.

These pads float and are ideal for boat and ship bilges where oil sheens tend to develop.

The microbes are activated by the water, and use the boat’s natural motion to help provide aeration and promote contact with the oil sheens.

Once tied-off, the pad will float on the water and the microbes will continuously work to consume any oil sheens.

The microbes multiple every 20 minutes so you will be building up a healthy colony of beneficial microbes that will continue to work in your bilge for 3-4 months. After this time, simply replace with a new pad.

The pads are attached to a lanyard that allows for easy retrieval after three months of treatment and disposal in accordance with federal, state and local regulations.


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How can you prevent Marine Debris from ruining your vacation

New discoveries of islands made of garbage in the ocean can cause great concern for everyone over the prevalence of marine debris on our planet. Marine debris can harm the entire ocean ecosystem and can be easily prevented by taking care to dispose of trash properly and by making sure that your gear is Eco-friendly should it go overboard by accident.
Types of Marine Debris:Plastics – Plastics are no being found in icebergs at both poles at an alarming rate. These plastics can impact marine life in many negative ways. These plastics can range from commonly lost items like bags, cups, or plastic bags; to industrial products; or  fishing gear. We can help prevent this by using biodegradable items like a compostable trash bag on board. Or, by using items that are less likely to break and be replaced over and over.

Glass, Styrofoam, and Rubber – Commonly used in our society, these materials are broken down into smaller and smaller fragments, but they never really go away. These can have similar effects in the marine environment to plastic and they are used for a wide range of products. Their occurrence in the marine debris is overwhelming.

Derelict Fishing Gearis recreational or commercial fishing equipment like nets, lines, crab/shrimp pots, and other  that has been lost, abandoned, or discarded in the ocean. Modern gear is generally made of synthetic materials and lost gear will be a part of the marine debris for a long time. Abandoning synthetic equipment for more natural products like hemp rope.

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Going Green with Marine Hardware in an Imperfect World

Going Green with Marine Hardware in an Imperfect World

Most marine hardware can be divided into two distinct groups these days.

Cheap junk made with little, if any, thought to the impact its production has on the environment or the workers involved – or high quality gear made from materials designed to last, by companies that care.

More and more consumers are starting to care too.

Plastic and nylon parts are durable for a while and they satisfy price sensitive shoppers. Their production, however, creates numerous toxins, and eventually enough sunshine or stress will cause them to break.

Chrome, nickel, and zinc plating can protect metal surfaces for years, but their initial production, especially in third-world countries can cause devastating harm.

Painted parts are effective for a while, but paint production is usually nasty, and as it chips and goes over the side, paint carries its own poisons along.

Environmentally conscious companies like choose to carry aluminum, brass, bronze, stainless steel, and occasionally wood hardware.

In an imperfect world, these choices are not entirely without their faults.

However, they satisfy the criteria for high quality, long lasting products that do the job well while inflicting minimal, if any, harm.

Another important green aspect is a lack of a minimum order policy. Restrictive policies that force you to purchase in bulk only produce waste.

After all, if a customer only needs a certain quantity of an item, why force them to pay for something that will sit on a shelf for years or be discarded?

Sure, this might sound like a little thing, but if we can discourage waste, especially of products like hardware that are made almost exclusively from natural resources, we believe it is both good business and good for the Planet.

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Foolproof Earth-friendly Boat Maintenance: Non-Toxic Cleaning

Foolproof earth-friendly boat maintenance: Cleaning your boat

There is a significant impact from recreational boating on aquatic ecosystems. Cleaning your boat in a marine mindful way is one powerful way you can help the aquatic environment. Toxic products in the water can harm fish, shellfish, and sea birds. These and other forms of aquatic life require a delicate balance of nutrients in clean water to survive.

Waxing your boat – Coating a fiberglass hull with wax prevents the build up of dirt on your boat, which also reduces cleaning time and the use of harmful products.

Using non-toxic cleaners – Use phosphate-free cleaning products that do not contain harmful chemicals that are toxic to Marine life. Try using natural cleaners like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice or salt.

Keep in mind that baking soda is an excellent all-around cleaner, but it is abrasive, so use with care.

Mix a paste of baking soda and water. Gently rub the mix into the dirty areas using a sponge or rag.
Spray on lemon juice and wipe-down for shine and a fresh-smell.

Windows and Mirrors
Fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar, lemon juice and warm water. Use old newspapers to wipe down, they are more effective than paper towels and they get reused too!

Rub it clean using apple cider vinegar on a rag. After cleaning, using a separate rag with a dab of baby oil, polish to a bright shine.

Mix together lemon juice and salt into a paste. Rub gently to clean.

Stainless Steel
Dampen a rag with white vinegar to clean.

Make a mixture of cream of tartar and water. Clean with a rag.

Mix one part white vinegar with two parts warm water. Use a rag to clean

Exterior Decks
Mop on a mixture of one part white vinegar and eight parts warm water. Dry completely.

Interior Woods
Polish on natural oils like olive oil or almond oil with a rag.

Keep these non-toxic cleaners in mind when cleaning your house as well to prevent pollution of our precious groundwater at home. If we all do our part, we can make this world a better place!

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How to Prepare your Boat for a Hurricane

Hurricane Irene may be old news, but hurricane season is far from over in the United States. Is your boat protected from severe storms? Use this checklist to reduce the risk of damage to your boat in the event of a hurricane.

How to Protect Your Boat from a Hurricane

Know your responsibilities at your marina. Read your dock contract to find any specific steps you might be required to take in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm.

Limit your boat’s windage, the surface area exposed to the wind. Remove rigging, canvas, and deck gear and turn your bow toward the greatest exposure.

Take the boat out of the water. The safest place for a boat is far away from a storm. This is especially important for smaller boats, open boats and boats with low a freeboard that can be easily sunk by surges and waves.

Find a hurricane hole. If you can’t get your boat completely out of the water, consider securing your boat in a local canal or river.

Get off the boat. Even if you have secured your boat in a hurricane hole, it is not safe to be on board during a storm. Secure the boat and then take cover, remembering that even expensive property can be replaced or repaired while human life cannot.

For more information on securing a boat during a hurricane, checkout this guide from Boat U.S.

Photo Credit

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What Green Boaters Should Know About Tar Sands

Beginning August 20th, more than 1,000 people began to converge on the White House in Washington, D.C. to protest potential legislation that would authorize construction of a 1,600-mile long pipeline between Canadian tar sands pits and United States oil refineries. Protesters have been arrested and released, but the fight against the tar sands is much larger than this single act of civil disobedience. Many scientists and environmentalists say that the results of this debate could have game-changing consequences for the United States and the world at large. Anyone who is inclined to work to protect the environment and slow climate change should have a better understanding of the tar sands controversy.

What You Should Know About Tar Sands

Tar sands oil is not the same as other oil. The oil that is extracted from Canadian tar sands contains a large amount of bitumen. This chemical difference changes excavation and refinery needs as well as the makeup of emissions. Tar sands oil is, basically, even worse for the environment than “regular” oil.

Pipeline would jeopardize fragile lands and water supplies. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would cross the Sand Hills of Nebraska, extremely porous land that would suffer greatly from any spills, and the shallow Ogallala Aquifer, which is a major source of water for much of the Midwest. The company that would be building the pipeline has a history of spills and accidents on past tar sands projects.

The tar sands produce a fossil fuel. Although the pipeline has been promoted as a solution for America’s current dependency on foreign oil, it is merely a short-term solution to a larger problem: ongoing dependency on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are a limited, non-renewable resource and this project is the result of a society scrambling to adjust to diminishing availability.

The fact that we can run out of fossil fuels is becoming more and more obvious, but current plans seem to be focused on looking harder at old solutions instead of looking for new answers. What can we do as individuals?

And of course, spread the word!


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4 Places to Learn More about Green Boating

Being a green boater means learning how to enjoy your hobby without damaging the water in which you do it, but it also means educating yourself about what’s good and bad for the environment and why. The more you know about green boating, the easier it will be for you to make wise consumer choices and to develop earth-friendly boating habits. But where can you go to learn more about green boating? Start with these great resources.

4 Places to Learn More about Green Boating

Discover Boating - this website offers a wealth of information about boating in general, including a great deal of data about green boating.

United States Environmental Protection Agency - the EPA is a great resource for learning more about the environment and how you can work to protect it in all areas of your life. They offer specific guidelines for green boating and preventing boating pollution.

California’s Clean Boating Program – while this site is focused on helping California boaters be more green, the information is valuable for people all over the country (and world) who have an interest in maintaining the environmental health of the waters in which they play.

Your state conservation office – whether it’s called the DNR, exchange office, or conservation department, there is a department in your local and state government responsible for maintaining the area’s natural resources. These agencies are the best source for up to date information about regional concerns and regulations.

Of course, we also provide green boating tips right here every week! :-)

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