Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Conscious by Chloé is a lifestyle blog focused on Zero Waste, Sustainable Living and Ethical Fashion written by Chloé Lepeltier.

Hairpin Leg Bench DIY

Hairpin Leg Bench DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Last week-end was meant to take place a whole different way.

We had a whole road trip planned to the Northwest Overland Rally. But on the way there, Charlie (Octave's Land Cruiser) got a mechanical problem. So we drove back home to fix it.

I guess I must have had a premonition because I hadn't deleted all the events taking place in Portland on that week-end from my calendar. So I looked at the bright side and made the most of these 2 days in the city.

As some of you might have seen on Snapchat, I woke up early on Saturday morning for an outdoor yoga session followed by a (free) açai bowl for the one year anniversary of Carioca Bowls.

Later, I walked to the Woodlawn Farmers Market, which had reopened while I was in Europe, to get a little mint starter for my garden and some blueberries to snack on during the day.

After that, I rushed to one of my favorite shops in Portland, Johan, for its moving sale and splurged on ceramics. I also scored the vintage silk shirt I'm wearing on the picture and an amazing bodycon dress, made in the USA!

Ceramic cup found at Johan by Conscious by Chloé

Then I checked my phone and realized I had forgotten about the book launch of Becoming Minimalist's Joshua Becker. I was happy to see some friendly faces from the Portland Minimalists Group and get to meet Minimalist Baker Dana Shultz who was here on stage with Joshua.

Later in the day, I dragged Octave to Salvage Works to get some wood for a project I had in mind, and the main subject of today's article: a hairpin leg bench.

Hairpin Leg Bench DIY by Conscious by Chloé

So here's our little tutorial:


HAIRPIN LEG BENCH DIY

A hairpin leg bench is a pretty easy and inexpensive project that will immediately add style to any room in your home.

Active time: 1 hr
Total time: 2 hrs

Supplies

Tools

  • Hand file
  • Orbital sander + sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Screws

Instructions

  1. Carve the edges.
    We used the hand file and finished with 60 grit sandpaper.
  2. Sand the wood.
    We used the orbital sander starting with 60, then 160 and finally 220 grit.
  3. Seal the wood.
    We used a polycrylic spray we already had from a previous outdoor sign project. We sprayed 1 coat and sanded after.
  4. Attach the legs.
    We more or less eyeballed the leg placement, but you can definitely measure it properly, and even clamp the legs and flip the bench over to see how it will look.

Notes

You can try different ways to seal the wood. We used what we had on hand, but wood sealer and Danish oil may be better options.


Hairpin Leg Bench DIY by Conscious by Chloé

I love the idea of making something new out of something old. Of course, the project is not 100% made our of reused material, but I'm glad we decided to go to a local shop rather than the usual hardware store. This quick DIY, which happen on the very same week-end Rachel made hers definitely gave me more DIY envy.


What about you? What was your week-end like? Lazy? Productive? This one was definitely on the active side but I promise it's not always as busy or inspired. But my Pinterest inspiration boards are here, in case my hands are itching.

Shopping in bulk 101

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

Shopping in bulk for the very first time can be intimidating. This is the reason why I reached out to my local co-op to host "Bulk Shopping for Beginners" workshops. But I thought I could take advantage of this experience to share it with you here on the blog.

By now, faithful readers, you should know what to put in your shopping bag before leaving for the grocery shop, but let's repeat it here for the newcomers.

What to bring:

  • a tote bag

  • mason jars (for dry goods or even shampoo & body lotions)

  • glass bottles (for oils, kombucha)

  • bulk bags (for dry goods, vegetables)

  • a crayon or Sharpie to write the tare and PLU on your containers

[Most of these items can usually also be purchased at the co-op.]

  • your shopping list

  • your wallet/cash/card

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

How to buy bulk food

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

1. Identify a place to shop
Ask around, reach out to a zero waste blogger in your area or be patient and wait for the launch of Bea Johnson's app. I live in NE Portland and shop at the Alberta Cooperative Grocery, so this article is based on my experience and the products that are available there.

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

2. Write your shopping list
Shopping in bulk makes things so easy. All you have to do is open your cupboards, your fridge or your pantry and identify which containers are empty.

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

3. Get your shopping kit, put the empty jars in it, and head to your favorite shop

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

4. Weight your containers
Put them while still empty on the scale. You shouldn't have to touch any button, unless the screen shows a negative number before you put your containers on the scale, which means you should just press the "clear entry" or reset button.

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

5. Write the tare and the PLU (item number) on the containers
I usually write them like this:
T = xxx
# = xxxx or PLU = xxx
Some people prefer to keep a list of tares and PLU on their phone and tell them at the attendant during check-out. Chose what you feel suits you best. There's (usually) no rule.

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

6. Fill your containers with dry goods

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

7. Use your cloth bags for loose fruit and vegetables

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

8. Fill your bottles with oil, maple syrup, etc.

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

9. Fill more containers with cosmetics

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

10. Cut your own soap
Then put it in a muslin bag and don't forget to write the PLU on it (or enter it in your phone and tell it to the attendant during check-out).

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

11. Bring your own egg cartons or use the ones provided by the coop
I now skip this part, since my hens started laying this spring!

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

12. Fill more bottles at the kombucha tap
This coop is pretty rad, but I'm sure you can fill your bottles at your local café. Also, bring a growler to your favorite brewery!

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

13. Check out!
If you haven't written the item numbers on the muslin bags, don't forget to tell them to the attendant. Same thing for the tare of the bags.

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

14. Put the jars, the rest of your items and your shopping kit back to where they belong.
There's no need to unpack items, transfer them into airtight containers, throw the packages in the trash. Shopping in bulk makes life so much easier!

This seems like a lot of work. And it is! But you don't have to do it all at once. Start with only a couple containers, shop with a friend, look for workshops at your local coop. Once you've done it once, you'll realize it's not that hard and will probably (I hope) want to go once step further. Watch out, it's addictive!


Have you ever shopped in bulk? How did it go? Where do you shop? Who do you shop with? I want to know everything! Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

DIY - Reusable food wrap

Reusable food wrap DIY by Conscious by Chloé

I've ditched plastic wrap and have been using reusable food wrap for close to a year now so I think it's time to review this experience and share my first DIY!

Reusable food wrap not only looks better, smells better but it is just as convenient as plastic food wrap (as long as what you wrap in it isn't too juicy.

Reusable food wrap DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Last year, I bought three pieces of Bee's Wrap, a small, a medium and a large one.

I mostly use them for cheese, avocado or lemon halves, to freeze pizza dough and to cover bowls when I make bread or pizza dough.

After use, I just rince them under cold soapy water (warm water will cause the wax to melt).

Reusable food wrap DIY by Conscious by Chloé

After a year, my wraps had lost a lot of their wax from washing them so much (their description says that they will last close to a year, that's good timing!), so I figured it was time for me to do something: buy some more or re-wax it or even make my own.

Yesterday, I needed a little break from a busy workday (I work from home) and I suddenly decided to look into reusable wrap making. I wasn't sure that I had all the material I needed, but I actually did!

Reusable food wrap DIY by Conscious by Chloé

I had bought a pack of pre-cut fabric squares at Ikea quite a while ago, to practice sewing. They were the perfect size for smaller food wrap pieces! The fabric is not the most natural and organic, but I figured it would be perfect for a test run.

I also had beeswax pellets on hand, as I started experimenting with lip balms (not a success so far), so there's that.

Then, as an accomplished seamstress (sic), I have a good pair of pinking shears.

And finally, since I replaced my plastic toothbrushes quite a while ago, I now have a couple of used bamboo toothbrushes that I use to clean bottles and bathroom grout, so I decided that the next one will have a new role: spreading evenly the melting wax on the fabric.

I still cannot believe I didn't do this in the first place instead of buying some already made. Especially since I had all the material on hand already!

Reusable food wrap DIY by Conscious by Chloé


REUSABLE FOOD WRAP

Active time: 10 min
Total time: 15 min

Supplies

  • Fabric (preferably natural & organic)
  • Scissors
  • Beeswax
  • An old toothbrush
  • A cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper (compostable)
  • An oven + a Timer
  • Pinking shears to prevent fraying (optional)
  • A cheese grater (optional)
  • Thread + a Button (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven at 200°F (90°C).
  2. Cut your fabric at the desired format.
  3. (Optional) Use the pinking shears to prevent the fabric from fraying (and don't be forgetful like me and do this after waxing the fabric, your pinking shears won't like that).
  4. Place on the cookie sheet (add parchment paper underneath if you want).
  5. Cover in beeswax (use a grater if the beeswax does not come in pellets).
  6. Put in the oven and set the timer for 5 minutes (but always keep an eye on it).
  7. Once the beeswax starts melting, use the toothbrush to spread the wax evenly.
  8. Take the waxed fabric out of the oven and let it dry (don't leave it on the cooking tray for too long or else your fabric will start browning/burning, trust me on that one).
  9. (Optional) Double a piece of thread and pass it though the button making a knot. Use it to close the wrap if necessary.

Notes

Use this same technique to re-wax older pieces.


This is my first DIY, so your comments and feedback are more than welcome, do you have any questions? Is this all clear? I have a couple more that I'm planning on publishing, would you like that? As usual, if you want to, do share your progress on social media, tag me or use the #consciousby!