Plastic Lids – make art not garbage

I admit I’ve gotten a little obsessed with plastic lids – egged on by friends who are literally going through recycle bins to remove them and collect them for me.

Several artists have created art and I’m incubating what I’ll do. The most likely focus is rangoli for Divali and/or Holi.

Here are links to some  artists I’ve found who have created art exclusively from tops:

George Sabras Columns and sculpture

Mary Ellen Croteau Self-portrait etc. includes a”how-to” section

Molly B. Wright – Portraits

Satoshi Hirose  Island interactive conceptual sculptures

If you google “plastic bottle cap art projects” you might find some projects to inspire you.


The Demise of PETE, the PolyEthylene Bird – RIP Good Bird

IMG_0897[1]Early Tuesday I had a call from Bruce who lives at Heritage Harbour: The bird has flown away home. And not long after,he’s at the beach behind the parking lot near the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

We were surprised at how scratched up and torn apart his “bones” were.

Here are some photos of PETE laid to rest.

He is being recycled –  a green burial.


IMG_0901[1] IMG_0903[1]

PETE, The PolyEthylene Bird, is a bit lower in the water

peteLOW IN WATERPETE, The PolyEthylene Bird, is a bit lower in the water but he’s afloat and moored to the hula hoop on the piling in Heritage Harbour.

His beak is down – feeling a little sad not to have his friends around, or perhaps just looking for something to eat.

Once these very blustery days are through for a while, we’ll organize a work party to go down and see what we can do to get him riding high again.


PETE, the PolyEthylene Bird, is Swimming in the Harbour

PETE. the PolyEthelene Bird, is Swimming in the Harbour.

IMG_0112 IMG_0113 IMG_0118 IMG_0124





PETE the PolyEthylene Bird – Launch Minus One Day

Pete2013-09-28 (3)Here are photos from the basement of the Vancouver Maritime Museum on the day before the Launch Date/Worldwide Bird Art Installation Day.



Pete2013-09-28 (2)


It’s been quite the time trying to make a large, floating bird art installation without using anything except #2 HDPE plastic so it can be recycled after the fact.




Want to see PETE? He’ll be at the Heritage Harbour, back of Vancouver Maritime Museum for the month of October.

Pete2013-09-28 (5)Pete2013-09-28 (1)

Clean Bin Jen Tells Us How to Reduce Plastic


clean bin project jen grantFor our 4th and final Thursday night workshop, we’re pleased to present The Clean Bin Project.
In 2008, Jen got tired of taking out the trash and decided to live waste free. And she learned that sometimes less really is more. Is it possible to live without producing garbage? What are the recycling and reducing options in our area? Come hear practical tips to reduce your household waste, save money, and have fun at the same time.

Jen Rustemeyer

A spatial analyst by trade, Jenny is also a writer, producer, and zero-waster. She is the woman behind the clean bin project blog, and she produced the 2010 film of the same name which documented a year living zero waste. She has spoken around the world on the topic of recycling and waste reduction including a tour across Canada by bicycle with The Clean Bin Project documentary film. Jen spends her fair share of time both in front of and behind the camera, and can be found researching, recycling, and making things from scratch. She’s currently working on her second feature film called Just Eat It.

The Clean Bin Project -one year: no buying stuff, no producing garbage-
Thursday, September 26  7-8pm Vancouver Maritime Museum
Come early to help create a bird from recycled plastic and tour the gallery (by donation on Thursday nights from 5pm on)

Slugs eating the fall lettuce plants

Last weekend, after an alert from David Hunter’s gardening centre I spread seeds of kale and green onion. I planted the organic purple max garlic I’d bought on Hornby Island (ate 8 of the 10 I bought and was saving the two for planting).
And to make it look a little prettier I bought some green onion and red sails lettuce bedding plants.
Urban wild life (slugs) and not so wild life (cats) have made a mockery of my efforts.
I turned over the rich soil that I’d “made” through planting potatoes and putting sod etc on top, and added extra compost to this little patch that had not been very fertile in the past.
3 Days later I noticed one of the 4 lettuce plants was in distress, so I put slug stuff (David Hunter tells me it’s eco-friendly) around the other three. Actually as an optimist at heart, I put it around all 4, but I knew one was done for.
Now this a.m. en route to Wired Monk for morning cuppa, I see there are TWO lettuce plants with lots of slug stuff around them. The third has disappeared.
And one of the co-op cats, exited the patch with a guilty look on his face as I walked by.
However, there appear to be teeny, tiny little kale sprouts emerging.
Gives me hope.

On a different gardening front, thanks to Doris Anderson, one of the Neighbourhood Small Grant recipients in Kitsilano, I learned about microgreens and ordered a year’s supply of seeds from Saskatchewan. After various places and systems in my tiny apartment, I think I’ve found a winner. I’m planting the seeds directly in the two south-facing window boxes and covering with the lids of organic greens (the tall boxes). I can spray the seeds, or just water and this seems like a low-maintenance approach.
I’m wanting to believe the people who say you can just leave the little rootlets in the soil and add more seed as time goes on.
I’m curious about why it seems the seeds farthest from the building (therefore 2 inches closer to the sun) seem to be doing better than the part closest.) It’s nice to have an autumn gardening experiment.


MEDIA Release


Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC – Bird On The Beach, a community eco-art project initiated by a group of Kitsilano residents and supported by Vancouver Foundation and City of Vancouver, aims to get a giant bird sculpture built for the World Wide Bird Art Installation Day on Sunday, September 29 in order to create awareness on the dramatic increase in the amount of plastic found in the West Coast sea-birds.

A 2012 study showing the dramatic increase of plastic found in sea-birds that were washed ashore from Alaska to Oregon alerted the local artist/activist Mary Bennett and a group of Kitsilano residents to get together and plan Bird On The Beach. “Working with recycled plastic that could otherwise be in the ocean, we’re creating birds in honour of the Northern Fulmar, a sea-bird that has the unfortunate honour of being proposed as an indicator species for the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans,” says Bennett about the motivation behind the project.

Bird On The Beach will take place during the month of September and bring neighbours together for a series of workshops that will explore the effect of plastic pollution on seabirds. Each session will include a talk about the issue and art-making activities. Participants will collaborate to build a sculpture made from recycled materials, which will then be displayed at Heritage Harbour, behind the Vancouver Maritime Museum for the World Wide Bird Art Installation Day on Sunday, September 29.

For more information on World Wide Bird Art Installation Day:

For registration and more on Bird On The Beach:

Contact: Mary Bennett (Kits Eco-Arts) – 604 617 0142 –

In partnership with Vancouver Maritime Museum
Funding through the Neighbourhood Small Grant Program funded by Vancouver Foundation and City of Vancouver and administered through Kits House

BC Beached Birds: Indicators of Plastic Pollution and other Environmental Conditions

BC Beached Birds: Indicators of Plastic Pollution and other Environmental Conditions

KarenBarryPhotoKaren Barry works for Bird Studies Canada ( and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from University of Waterloo and a Master’s Degree in Biology from University of Victoria.  At Bird Studies Canada,  Karen coordinates the BC Coastal Waterbird Survey and the BC Beached Bird Survey and manages other regional programs. She also helps coordinate the BC Important Bird Area program.  Karen lives in Nanaimo and is an avid birder with an interest in native plants, habitat restoration, and all things natural history.


Karen Barry will be the featured speaker this Thursday, September 5 at our first Bird on the Beach workshop.

Come at 6pm for an hour of art-making and to hear about the project. Karen will start her presentation promptly at 7pm. 

Tea and cookies by donation. Workshop free thanks to a Neighbourhood Small Grant. 

FREE – but please register here.


Walk RoundAbout Kits Sunday, August 25

Have you wondered who are the people that look after the roundabout (traffic circle) and corner bulge gardens in our neighbourhood?

You can meet several of the Green Streets and boulevard volunteer gardeners on this walk “roundabout” Kits!


The walk route is as follows
2pm Wired Monk -2610 West 4th –  chat for gardeners who have received Neighbourhood Small Grants for their gardening projects. Hear about some upcoming projects too,like the boulevard near Wired Monk and a bench and Little Free Library coming to 2nd and Trafalgar.

Check our my neighbour’s Pallet garden on Trafalgar between 5th & 6th -en route to the (famous!) Mary Go-Round About: Bring a bag and scissors – and help yourself to herbs!
We’ll serve you a glass of lemonade made from herbs (and lemons!)

We’ll head to Lord’s Grace church 8th & Balsam where they’ve made a free herb garden from pallets (and some ingenuity). We’ll provide cheese and crackers and people can snip herbs to add.

We’ll make a short stop at Broadway & Balsam . Elayne Armstrong’s garden won best
bee and butterfly corner bulge and best composition.
Then we’ll head to Verdella and Gabriel’s garden at 10th & Yew.
Around 3:30, we’ll wind up at Linden Tree Place – 8th & Vine – Jacquie and Ray will greet us and
take us to rooftop garden. More snacks to enjoy while chatting with the Gardening Committee.

Register here.