Archive for February, 2015

The Unseen Benefits of DIY: there is more to DIY than saving a few bucks

When I poured my first beer from my beer keg made out of an old fridge I was pumped! Do it yourself is a great way to be creative, change your perspective and re-use/re-purpose items that would otherwise be trash. That said, not everyone is a DIYer, believe it or not, some people would rather have a root cannel than trying to build something in their own home. To those people I say – branch out, get out of your comfort zone, try something new! If that doesn’t convince you, keep in mind there are many unseen benefits to being a DIYer. Check out the short list of great reasons to try something new.

A chance to use your hands AND your brain. Human beings evolved opposable thumbs for a reason. The sense of reward you get from making something with your hands can’t be earned any other way. It’s obvious that people learn faster from “hands-on” experience than they do watching someone else do something.

Psychological benefits: DIY and home maintenance projects are said to benefit overall well being. For instance, frequently DIYing helps you gain confidence and establish a sense of self. This self-reliance helps better equip you to deal with bad situations calmly.

Gain Knowledge: The more you use certain tools, the better you are with it. Home maintenance projects often lead to learning more about how home appliances actually work. For instance, after sanding a floor you walk away with a better understanding of the importance of solid flooring.

Improve Air Quality: Painting can allow you to unleash your creative mind and benefits your health as well.  According to Yahoo! Voices, painting interior walls with “quality, low VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes can reduce odors and fumes, and promote healthy, indoor air quality for you and your family.”

Barter Better: According to The Simple Dollar, learned DIY skills “will allow you to barter for other needed items or skills.” The blog believes that if you learn how to do a home maintenance project, such as plumbing, you have a better awareness of the time and costs. Though you might not save the first time, the more times you preform that maintenance task you’ll know what is considered a good deal or a bad deal.

Built-In Work Out: One thing to definitely count on when DIYing is it can be considered an exercise workout! For instance, painting your deck burns about 340 calories and leads to a gorgeous deck! Expending that kind of energy can help to keep your home looking its best and your health on track.


DIY tape dispenser







pallet stairs

DIY pallet stairs


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UnTapped 2015 – In 2 weeks, get D&I working for your Bottom Line

As many of you know; one of our goals at Fresh Start is to work with people with employment barriers helping them find meaningful employment.  To that end we are proud sponsors of Untapped 2015!

This March, join HR professionals and other Business Leaders from across BC for a day of learning how to attract talent from within the fastest growing skillsets in the province!

UnTapped 2015 – the 3rd annual BC Workplace Inclusion Awards and Conference – helps BC Employers develop strategies to access skilled talent from an often hidden workforce;  persons with disabilities, Aboriginal job-seekers, youth, women, older workers, recent immigrants, and others.  Check out this month’s HR Voice article on how companies are using inclusion as a driver of workplace culture and results.

If diversifying your recruitment and retention practices to attract top talent is an important aspect for your business, join us in Vancouver for the conference on March 10th and get D&I working to your organization’s strategic advantage.

  • Register to take advantage of the Business 3 for 2 Promotion (a sweet deal where 3 people can attend for the price of 2),
  • Enter our promo code  6N2fNt86 and receive a 10% discount off registration, courtesy of their partnership.

I hope to see you at the conference next month!

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Your Shoes are Rubbish

Big props to Charles Duffy, Williams Gubbins and Billy Turvey for bringing us “Your Shoes are Rubbish”. This short video illustrates a few key issues with amazing clarity.

  1. Everything is Rubbish.
  2. Mass Production and its best-friend Rampant Consumerism will do us in if we don’t make fundamental changes to the way we live.
  3. When you take the time to engage in a hands-on way with the world around you, you will be more connected to the reality of what is happening, more encouraged to make a change.

And lastly,

  1. Man, to be an artisan takes real love and skill and TIME!

Take a few minutes of your time and check out the website and video.

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Flat Pack Products: the future has arrived!

Flat Pack:
Definition of flat-pack in English:


1[OFTEN AS MODIFIER] British A piece of furniture or other equipment that is sold in pieces packed flat in a box for easy transport and is assembled by the buyer: a flat-pack bookcase

It seems pretty self-explanatory, but man, was I in for a surprise when I clicked a link to see the top new designs in flat-packs. I was expecting “improved” tetra wine packs, instead I found a world of intricately designed items from chairs, desks, shoes, heck even bomb-shelters and water butts!!

The items are very unique and futuristic looking, which, considering they are designed to arrive at your door flat, isn’t really surprising. The added benefits are great too. You have to put everything together yourself which means you can now legitimately tell your mates that you built your furniture yourself! If you are moving or just rearranging your furniture, this stuff is MADE to come apart and go back together – gone are the days of needing to purchase a new bed every time you have to move the frame! And not for nothing, but flat pack items are easier and cheaper to ship, so less fuel!


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Palm Oil: Cheap, Versatile, Everywhere, Seemingly Innocuous, and greasing the slippery slope to total rainforest destruction

Sum of Us created a great commercial (anti-commercial) on palm oil, focused on Doritos. Check it out – it is awesome. I loved it so much I wanted to share the joy with all of you. I think the best part of this commercial is that it really does make you think, which in this world of high-tech options, make me dig for more information. Here is what I discovered.

  1. Grown in tropical areas of Asia, Africa and South America, it’s found inside food products, household cleaners, toiletries and cosmetics – around 50 per cent of all packaged products in a typical supermarket, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.
  2. Because it’s a highly versatile oil derived from a very productive tree, and the demand for products containing it is rising, production of palm oil has doubled over the past decade – and is expected to do so again by 2020.
  3. As a result, huge swathes of tropical forests are being cleared to make way for palm oil plantations.
  4. Diverse, important ecosystems are being destroyed; human populations are being displaced; endangered animals such as orangutans could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years.
  5. Deforestation heavily contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly when clearance occurs on deep peat soils.
  6. The establishment of oil palm plantations is often promoted as a way of bringing development to poor, rural regions of Borneo and Sumatra. In reality, the industry often has devastating impacts on the people in these areas.

Some frightening information, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There have been some attempts to create a sustainable palm oil movement; however, it looks like mostly a green washing marketing campaign. That led me ask the same question new and frightening information always makes me ask, “What can I do”. It turns out that what I, what WE can do is help spread the word and make an effort to buy palm oil free products aka vote with your feet.

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