Against the Grain: Shiny furniture without the fumes

When the time came to purchase a dining room table, I fell in love with a piece made from stunning, richly grained mango wood. The table was an extravagant purchase, so I listened very carefully while the salesperson recited care instructions. Then I dutifully purchased the recommended furniture polish.

As soon as the table was delivered, I lovingly polished it from top to bottom. However, the polish had a lingering smell. After the job was finished, I decided to read the ingredients.

Read More

Brush It Off: Homemade toothpaste, without the toxins

Story by Leah Troiano

WHEN YOUR CHILD'S DENTIST asks to talk with you privately, it’s never good news. As my little darling finished her check up, the dentist informed me that she admitted to not brushing enough. Although I wasn’t happy about her confession, I wasn’t surprised to hear she was dodging the brush. She’s not a fan of toothpaste—mostly because of the flavor.

The conversation with the dentist got me thinking about making my own toothpaste. But I didn’t start trying recipes until I found out what’s in the store-bought stuff. A few of the ingredients that caught my attention included:

Read More

Solar, DIY: Two Philadelphia handy men take solar into their own hands

story by Bernard BrownYou would think Greg Scott was talking about building bookshelves from a box, not installing a solar array on his roof. “Once you know how to build stuff for a reason, you sort of figure out how to build things,” he explains. Scott, together with his do-it-yourself partner Tom Weissert, thinks we can do it, too.

Scott and Weissert have installed both a solar hot water system, which heats water with solar warmth, and a photovoltaic (PV) array, which converts sunlight into electricity, on Weissert’s house in Narberth, and they are close to installing another PV system at Scott’s house in West Philly.

Read More

Grid's Do-It-Yourself Home Weatherizing Guide

As part of
Grid’s continuing effort to prepare you for the expiration of the PECO rate caps (see August’s cover story), we’re offering you this handy guide to weatherizing your home. The materials you’ll need for these projects, which cost between $5 and $20, are available at your local, independent hardware store. Implement these quick, inexpensive solutions, and you’ll save energy, decrease electric bills and free your house from drafts and leaks.
Read More

How To: Make Your Own Tomato Sauce

Liberating yourself from processed and prepackaged food often starts with the small stuff. For me, salad dressing was a game changer. Once I realized how simple it was to make, and started reading the labels on commercial brands (Canola oil as the number one ingredient? Water as number two?!), I could never go back. A simple process to master, vinaigrettes can be tweaked and custom tailored with delicious results.

Read More