Monday, April 25, 2011

Lez Build Acoustic Panels - VIDEO

LL says:

Guess what? I like music. So much so that I have pretty much dedicated my life to it. Ask anyone I know. They will concur. I have played in bands since the early 90s, recorded many albums and set up a home studio to record my various projects. Check out my stuff here:

In the various different rental houses/apartments I have lived in, I have transformed a room into a small mixing/recording room. This is quite popular thing these days. Back in the 90s it was rare. You had to go to a professional studio to record. We didn't have personal computers with software and numerous ways to record audio. Well, they existed - but with a hefty price tag. For a struggling indie rock musician, Ichiban and Snapple was the priority.

Now, years after the grunge era, I have afforded myself a home studio. Working in a little room, packing it with furniture and carpet to help with sound. But that trick just won't do anymore so I decided it was time to build some acoustic panels! Check out the latest Afterellen video to learn more.

So I had my friend Lou come out (haha) and help with the building of said panels. It was fun! But measuring is not my strong suit. I'll be the first to admit it. Thank goodness Lou was there to figure things out for me! 

Stayed tuned for a follow up video showing the finished project! 

Hope you had a fantastic Easter weekend. I know we did. Especially since we found out that the party neighbour house has been sold and the owners moved in! No more crazy late parties next door. Phewww! Last Easter we made a video after one of their parties. Remember this gem?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Something's fishy. Lez grow!

Q: What do a salmon head and a reciprocating saw have in common?
A: They are KEY to coolJ's gardening plans!

Here at Lez Renovate, not every day is Earth day, but today was very earthy indeed. Cool J mucked about in the bucketing rain, planting raspberry bushes sourced from a gal who had too many in her community garden plot, blueberry bushes delivered in a sports car, and strawberries impulse-purchased on a trip to a Box Store for another project.

But back to the salmon head...
According to local lore, burying fish guts in one's garden adds nutrients to the soil. So, having bought a salmon in the great run of Fall 2010 and my roots in Ktown not having provided me with a ready recipe for salmon heads, I stuck it in the freezer after hacking it off with a our biggest house warming knife. Sadly, I do not own a japanese pruning saw, or I could have used my Dad's secret method of fish cleaning: nail the a frozen whole fish to a wooden table (outside!), so it doesn't move around. Select a robust saw of choice, and proceed: "Those japanese saws give you lots of power on the pull", says my dad. Clean the saw so the dog doesn't cut his tongue when licking up the sawdust from the picnic table. Invite family to summer bbq at aforementioned picnic table. Serve salmon, of course.

Anyway, sometime in February, I pulled that salmon head out of the freezer & buried it. In the dark, in the rain, in the stripe of dirt I like to call my kitchen garden.

Raises an interesting thought...what sort of fertilizer do vegans use? Do they stick strictly with vegetable compost? Does manure count as an animal product? Does this mean vegans won't eat my salad? Hmmm.

Ok, so I fertilized well in advance. Then had to make room for the urban blueberry farm. So I chopped out a rose bush with my favorite tool. The reciprocating saw is good for cutting almost anything!

Then I mucked about for 2 hours in the bucketing rain before coming inside to drink coffee & blog.

Let's take a look at the figures
10 blueberry bushes = $70
10 raspberry bushes = $35
15 strawberry plants = $45
Fish head = 0
Labour = 0 (luckily for LezRenovate, I don't bill out at the same rate I get paid at the day job)

So, I'm looking at $180 worth of berries here! And that doesn't even count the aluminium pie plates that I'm going to have to string up to keep the birds away!

We'll keep you posted on how we go with the Lez Renovate Berry Patch. In the meantime, we're very excited for our friends over at the Edible Garden Project in North Vancouver. They have a great project that involves folks in this (sub)urban area working together to create local food security, and they are hosting the grand opening of their urban farm next week April 30. Sweet. CoolJ is going to get up there & get some gardening tips from the pros!

Lez grow!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lez renover une maison veille en maison verte

La belle Cool J ici!

Last weekend the women home owners of Lez Renovate were featured in a cute lesbian lifestyle piece on CBC French TV - le telejournal Columbie Britanique pour Radio Canada! The clip is now online here. **Note to find our segment: select April 3, (3 Avril) then skip to about 7 min (right after a story on the Vancouver International Wine festival, which I also very much enjoyed with a few local lezzes!).

We hosted a charming telejournalist on a tour of our basement renovation, and CoolJ explained in Franglais & LL in english how two lesbians as DIY beginners learned from renovation videos, Askthebuilder, our Dads & brothers, and our contractor friends how to do all manner of DIY home renovations (and create thrilling videos you'll want to watch again by clicking these links); from build a pony wall, to patch drywall and install a bathroom fan. J'ai appris beaucoup de nouvelle vocabulaire Francais! Comme 'bricoler' et 'system de chauffage' et 'petit rabais du governement'.

Fun and embarrassing - I understand from the Francos in the know that Radio Canada here in BC will interview anyone with highschool Franglais to go for it in french. Yikes.
The lifestyle angle on the story was 'green home renovation" and energy saving renovation tips. So here are our best energy-saving home tips, ranked from cheap to pricey- too bad it is now spring in most of Canada, so it is a bit too late, but come back next fall!

1. Cover your windows with plastic.
When we lived at the rental house, we used heavy-duty clear plastic that I had on hand for some art project. We taped it over the window frames with packing tape
Cost: CHEAP! $3/meter for plastic. $2/roll for packing tape. Better to use one of the insulating window film kits, though, as it uses 2-sided tape that won't wreck the paint.

Green benefit: Goodbye drafts & cold air leaking through windows. The guy who came to do our energy assessment as part of the Eco Retrofit program pointed out how the airloss through the windows was as good as you could expect without replacing all the windows.

2. Remove the electrical outlets & switch covers on every exterior wall & insert draft-stopping gaskets
Cost: $5 for 10
Again, stops airflow. Unless you are drying your fingernails with the draft?

3. Get a composter
In Vancouver BC you can dump all your vegetable food waste into a green bin, if you live in a house. If not, you can get a worm bin indoors. More on that another time. Free soil for indoor plants

4. Try a rain barrel. Look how nice ours is. I connected a hose running directly into my garden. I may need to make some adjustments, as the freaking downspout leaks & most of the water is not going into the barrel. And the set up may be counting water flowing uphill... i...

5. Add insulation to your walls & attic
Cost: As if I can remember. We were buying insulation at 6:30 am at Dicks lumber before going to work... we re-insulated the basement exterior walls (mostly). And we have a lot of junk in our attic. Does that insulate?

6. Replace your toilets with low-flow.
Cost: $120 for the ones we got. One of them does the dual-flush game "which button do i need for this job?". Fun for everyone!
We got a rebate for each one

7. Replace your 1950 furnace with a high efficiency furnace. Ours runs the fan a lot, even when the furnace isn't on. Not cheap. Better dang well pay for itself in gas savings. Just wear sweaters & sock in the house

I must admit I can't remember all the new French vocabulary I learned for the CBC shoot, but I can urge you to try some of these yourselves, whether in english or french or any other language you like. We at Lez Renovate do all our green renovations in the language of love!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lez Uninstall a Dishwasher - VIDEO

LL says:

So remember I was talking about our appliances and the fact that 2 of them broke within a year? Well, the stove seems to have fixed itself but the dishwasher was acting up. We installed it a year ago and had to uninstall it last week to have a repair guy take a look at it. Take a look at what we did:

I don't know about you but I hate washing dishes! So much so that without a dishwasher, the dishes pile to ceiling and of course it takes waaaaaaaaay longer to wash them because of all the scrubbing of dried food that has congealed to plates and pots. Having a dishwasher is a luxury, I know. I got used to having one for the first time since I left home at 18. Can you imagine how many hours I could of saved using a dishwasher? Many. But, I digress.

The dishwasher is finally fixed and now we can back to our lives. What appliance can you not live without?