Donating Used Household Items

Cleaning out our double garage recently so we can fit at least one vehicle in there this winter, we realized we have lots of gently used household items that could be donated.  From bikes to furniture to garden supplies, donating these items is easier than ever.  I googled each item to find out where to drop them off, discovering lots of options for each.

 

Bikes

Three sons and two adults can accumulate a lot of bikes over the years.  These bikes have been in our garage for many years although I’m pretty sure we didn’t purchase all of them.  So now we are donating other people’s used items too.  All to a good cause.

I learned there are several places in the Ottawa area that accept donations of used bicycles.  They repair or recondition the bikes then sell them keeping them out of the landfill sites.  Check out their websites for donating rules and hours of operation.

  • Cycle Salvation is located at 473 Bronson Avenue at Gladstone
  • Heartwood House is located at 404 McArthur Ave.
  • Recyclore is located at 275B Britannia Rd.
Furniture

Gently used furniture is another popular item for donating.  I discovered Matthew House, a wonderful initiative offering furniture, support and even shelter and a sense of community to refugees.  Their furniture bank is located at 340 Leggett Drive in Kanata, door #53.  Check out the website for hours of operation, drop off and pick up schedules and other ways to help.

Donating

Other Donating Options

Previously I donated most of my used items to CP, CDA or Value Village.  Recently though I have found both CP and CDA frustrating in that they never picked up my items on the scheduled days.  There was always an excuse, but after a while I gave up.  When I decide to donate (or my husband agrees to part with) an item, I want to do it in a timely fashion, before either of us change our minds.

Another place I have donated items to previously is Value Village.  Mainly because they have a drop off location conveniently close to our home.  However, my brother recently pointed out some suspicious details regarding their business, so I thought I would look elsewhere.

Regardless of where you choose to donate your used household items to, it is easy to do and beneficial to many.

 

Please take an extra minute to visit my other blog where I make everything garden related my business.

Sweet with Me Christmas Baking Auction

It’s almost time for the annual Sweet With Me Christmas Baking Auction!  Anyone in the Ottawa area can participate as a baker, bidder or both, so no excuses!  Please feel free to share this event with all the baking buffs and Christmas goodie aficionados in your life, not to mention the dog lovers!  All proceeds go to Sit With Me Shelter Dog Rescue.

If you are interested in donating Christmas baking or homemade goodies please send a personal message to the Sweet with me Christmas Baking Auction Facebook page. Click on the blue “send message” box at the top right side of the page and send the following information :

  1. A description of what you will be baking/making and the amount (eg. one pan or one dozen)
  2. A list of the ingredients (no measurements necessary)
  3. A picture of what you plan to bake/make.  This can be from a cookbook if you don’t have your own picture.

The process is pretty simple:

  • offers of donated goodies will be accepted until November 30th by private message to Sweet With Me Facebook page (link above) This is just a promise to donate, actual baking is not necessary until later. Of course you can bake ahead and freeze for later.
  • the auction will go live on December 1st on the Facebook page
  • To bid on an auction item, scroll through the available items on the Facebook page. When you see something you are interested in, type the dollar amount you are willing to pay for the item as a comment.
  • A word of warning; comments are not always in order so keep a close eye out for the highest bid. And remember, the bids can (and do) change right up until the last minute!
  • there is no limit to what items can go for.  So, keep bidding to raise money for a great cause!
  • the auction will close on Thursday, December 19th at 7pm
  • winning bids must be paid for via etransfer or paypal through Facebook messenger, ASAP after auction closes (before delivery)
  • all items must be baked and ready for pick-up by December 21st
  • please choose a sturdy, disposable container with a tight fitting lid to pack your donated goodies in. You will not get your pan back and drivers are not responsible for flimsy containers that wont hold up in transit.
  • all items will be delivered to successful bidders on December 22nd and 23rd

Gluten-free baked goods are welcome and popular, but be sure to include a disclaimer with the ingredient list. Here is a good example of such a disclaimer:

“As a gluten intolerant baker, I bake with gluten free ingredients. However, I do not bake in a dedicated gluten-free kitchen, so I can only provide a 99.9% gluten-free product.”

Sweet With Me Christmas baking auction is a terrific upcoming fundraiser for Sit With Me Rescue Dogs in the Ottawa area.  In the meantime, a fall auction is currently underway with hundreds of items up for grabs. Please read the rules BEFORE bidding on this fall auction. lt closes Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.   All the proceeds of both fantastic fundraisers go to Sit With Me Shelter Dog Rescue!

Sweet With Me

Please check out my other blog called Gardens4u about all things garden related.  And my business website with the same name.

 

Women in Philanthropy

Home early from fall cleanups in my gardens due to the cold, rainy weather today, I came across this unique idea for fundraising within the hospital I worked at for thirty years.  Women in Philanthropy is a group of, you guessed it, women, who donate money then collaborate on how to spend it for the benefit of the hospital.

women in philanthropy

I spent a good chunk of my adult years at Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) in Nepean (a suburb of Ottawa) so have always felt a connection to it.  Hired there at 22 years of age, I retired at 52.  At the time the laboratory I worked in (several departments over the years) was switching over to a regional format (Eastern Ontario Regional Lab Association or EORLA), offering severance packages to those employees wishing to opt out of the switch.  I left one day, started my gardening business (officially) the very next day, and never looked back.  Although I did spend many hours gardening there before the expansion made it impossible for one person to keep up with the landscape demands.

Women in Philanthropy

It was this connection to QCH that first drew my attention to the Women in Philanthropy article.  As a female business owner I was intrigued so read more about the idea.  Making a difference in healthcare has an enormous appeal to me, especially at the community level.   I recognized the chairperson of Women in Philanthropy as someone I used to work with; in those days the hospital was small enough that most employees knew each other.  I messaged her to see if she remembered me and to express my interest.  She answered within ten minutes that of course she remembered me and would love to have me on board.

I am excited about this new adventure, a combination of my gardening business and my healthcare background.  Especially as gardening season is closing down with the threat of rain turning to snow only too soon.

If Women in Philanthropy appeals to you too, sign up and join us!

Please check out my other blog called Gardens4u about all things garden related. And my business website with the same name.

New Insights into Mental Health

If you or a loved one suffers from anxiety disorders, PTSD or Autism Spectrum Disorder, mark your calendars for this mental health conference. Join Dr Douglas Turkington and Helen Spencer, both world-renowned experts from the UK, this coming (2019) October, here in Ottawa. They promise to share new insights into these increasingly common mental health issues.

It has taken years, but people are finally realizing that mental health is just as important as physical health. The stigma associated with mental health issues is subsiding and those affected are seeking the help they deserve. Research and information on the subject is changing constantly, but sometimes the medical jargon is hard to decipher. A conference like this, featuring respected experts, helps to demystify the information, sorting the facts from fiction.

TIPES (Teaching in Pictures Education System) is proud to support this “New Insights into Mental Health” conference; I in turn am proud to support TIPES and their incredible, devoted staff.

new insights into mental health

If attending this conference does not appeal to you, TIPES is also involved in another fundraiser in support of Ottawa’s autism community. Geared for family fun, this one collaborates with the Ottawa Redblacks football team…

If you were already thinking of attending the game or are looking for something fun to do Saturday, September 7, please order your Redblacks tickets through this link to support Ottawa’s autism community. Be sure to choose TIPES as the autism charity you wish to support.

Garden Makeover in the Rain

Rainy days are good for a garden makeover, except for the mess that is inevitable. Today was such a day. Gardens4u got this project going early this morning before the rain started, but a drizzle started a few hours in, followed by a torrential downpour. Downpours to me mean lunch time, sitting in my van. Luckily, the rain subsided enough for me to continue until the job was complete. Well, except for the cleanup. Trying to sweep up my mess on the wet stone was not very effective. Nothing a hose down won’t fix though, a job I left for the homeowner when the rain stopped, long after I left.

These are the “before” pictures. The tree is a dead maple that was removed with the stump ground down before I started the makeover.

The burning bush (far right in third pic), lilac (center in center pic) and hydrangea (right corner in center pic) were salvaged, with the lilac getting a good pruning to whip it into shape. Everything else was removed. New shrubs and perennials were strategically planted and composted manure, my new favourite soil amendment, was added.

Here are the “after” pictures…

New plantings in this garden makeover include a pink magnolia (center of bed), a “Wine & Roses” weigela, several ornamental grasses, coneflowers, pink and purple sages and lavender, as well as several varieties of sedum and stonecrop to spill over the edges of this sunny garden. Once the new plants are established and well watered, I will add mulch to complete the job.

A second bed, between the sidewalk and the garage, is next up on my garden makeover list. Stay tuned for more before and after pictures.

Flowering shrubs scream “Spring is Here”

It’s a good thing the flowering shrubs know it’s spring. Mother Nature on the other hand, has forgotten that the weather is supposed to warm up. The sunny yellow blooms of my neighbour’s forsythia are a beautiful sight from my bedroom window…

and my own magnolia is also screaming “spring is here!” with its fragrant blooms…

with the blossoms of plum trees not far behind…

My roses (at least the ones in my front yard that are protected from the north winds) are also showing signs of spring…

flowering shrubs
climbing rose
flowering shrubs
shrub rose

Now, if the cold and wet weather would clear up, spring would be awesome!

Journey and Pat Benatar Tribute by Fire and Ice

The Brass Monkey on Greenbank Road in Ottawa was rocking last night thanks to vocalist and drummer extraordinaire Roy Nichol and his group of talented musicians known as Fire and Ice. Guitarists Mark Day and Don LeCompte flanked Nichol and his drums for the set of Journey songs with Tammy McRae joining in as lead vocalist for the Pat Benatar set.

Journey and Pat Benatar Tribute
left to right: Mark Day, Roy Nichol (drums) Tammy McRae and Don Lecompte

The music was a walk down memory lane in more ways than one for me. I grew up two doors down from Mark Day in Cornwall. As a tomboy, I spent many hours with Mark, his oldest brother and my own brothers playing everything from hide and seek to flag football. We lived on a dead end, small street, a safe haven for all the neighbourhood kids. As we hit our teenaged years, Mark moved on to spend more time with his guitar and rock band friends, so we lost touch. We reconnected recently on Facebook with other members of the McGregor Avenue gang.

In my late teens I met Roy Nichol at a friend’s cottage where she hosted many a summer party. Roy often played the drums and occasionally sang at these parties. His speciality (as I remember it) was Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Every time I hear that song, even 40 years later, it brings me back to those days.

Enough of the nostalgia and back to the present where Roy is currently the drummer and vocalist for a few different bands, including Canada’s April Wine. That skinny boy on the drums from my 70’s memories has certainly done well for himself.

Currently, and especially as this was a tribute to Journey, Roy’s vocals share an uncanny and remarkable resemblance to those of Journey’s Steve Perry back in the late 70s and 80s. Not that I am an expert of anything rock related, but must one not be incredibly talented (not to mention coordinated) to excel on the drums and the vocals at the same time? Obviously the crowd gathered last night agreed as they sang along and danced the night away.

While reminiscing for a few moments with Roy between sets last night, I did ask him if he still performed Stairway to Heaven. His reply was “not for many years, but maybe I should get back to it”.

Yes Roy, you should!

Journey and Pat Benatar Tribute
Mark Day on guitar, Roy Nichol on drums

Owner’s Commitment to Winning

The owner’s commitment to winning (or lack of) says it all. Another top player is leaving the Ottawa Senators; it was just announced minutes ago that Mark Stone was traded to the Las Vegas Knights. Stone is the third player within the last week to announce they are leaving, with Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel the two other Senator stars we would have preferred to hold onto. After all, these three players rack up the majority of the team’s points.

The (most telling) reason for Stone’s decision was the “owner’s commitment to winning” in Vegas. Without mentioning Ottawa Senator’s owner Eugene Melynk by name, Stone implied that personal relationships (or lack thereof) make the difference in the locker room and on the ice.

As well as the top three performers on the ice this season, the Senators traded Erik Karlson and Mike Hoffman recently as well. All Sens fans suspected that the Senators owner’s commitment to winning was obviously absent. These last few trades made it painfully obvious. If the owner is not willing or not able to finance these top players, why not sell the team?

I cannot wrap my head around trading an excellent player for a possible draft pick. Take Erik Karlsson for example. Opinion within the hockey world is that Karlsson is the best defenceman in the league. So, trade him to get a draft pick for someone that may be as good, someday? Sounds counterproductive to me, even for a team in “rebuild” mode. Giving away your top five players leaves your team pretty depleted.

Senator fans are quickly losing faith in their team. And what about the (predominantly) rookies and few veterans left as the dust settles? They must be absolutely deflated and discouraged with the changes.

I can picture the Senators players currently left in the dressing room, all wondering if they are back in the minor league.

Kitchen Tower by J.L. Woodworking

A kitchen tower is an awesome idea for those of you with small children (kids or grandkids) that love to “help out” in the kitchen.  The ingenious design allows toddlers and small children to be safely at counter height for baking, snacking or just watching (as my grandson loves to do) you cook.

This kitchen tower design can be adjusted for height and folds up for easy storage too. Constructed of painted or unfinished (your choice) wood, they are made just south of Ottawa (North Gower). Scheduled deliveries are currently available to Toronto and Montreal.

My neighbour and friend has one (the original prototype) for her grandson.  Her nephew-in-law makes this line of children’s furniture in his spare time, over and above his day job.  Recently moving the start up business from a single car garage to a more spacious workshop, he and his wife are on their way to their ultimate goal of a full time family business.  The demand for these kitchen towers in particular has skyrocketed.  Please check out their website at JL Woodworking for more information, pricing and ordering.  This hard working couple would appreciate your business, so please be sure to like and share their info

This Grandma has ordered hers!

FROST, isn’t it too early for that?

We have frost in the forecast for the Ottawa area tonight.  Isn’t it a bit early for that?  To me, it’s a nasty “f” word…

3:24 PM EDT Thursday 04 October 2018
Frost advisory in effect for:
Ottawa North – Kanata – Orléans
Ottawa South – Richmond – Metcalfe
Frost may damage some crops in frost-prone areas.

To us gardeners, that means our annual plants and crops will be dead tomorrow morning.  Fortunately, I have already moved any I wish to preserve inside.  Other than this one night of near freezing temperatures, the weather looks pretty mild for the next few weeks, meaning my gardening season isn’t over quite yet.