Want a chance to vacation in Vancouver, B.C. — for free? Now through October 29, Seattle-based Sightline Institute is sponsoring a Great Escapes sweepstakes, which will send one lucky winner (and guest) to Vancouver for a two-night, car-free getaway. All you have to do is sign up for Sightline’s daily email and/or weekly blog and news roundup. That’s it.

The package: Two Amtrak tix (Seattle to Vancouver), two nights at the artsy Listel Hotel, and dinner at both Chambar and Wild Rice (Green Table restaurants, of course). Plus, Sightline has “lined up some of our favorite car-free activities for you, such as biking in Stanley Park, visiting the Museum of Anthropology, and a city tour led by urban planning expert (and Sightline board member) Gordon Price.” Hoo-ee!

The logic: You want to read environmental news anyhow, right? And, if you’re in Seattle or the surrounding area, you definitely want to keep up on local enviro issues, correct? Then this is a no brainer. Here’s the post. Here’s the sign-up form.

Good luck!


Cycling? Tres chic!

October 13, 2008

By now, you may have heard that French people — Parisians in particular — are pretty much the chicest people on Earth. (Sorry, Italians and New Yorkers. Don’t worry, though; you’re awesome in your own special way.)

Thus, it may not surprise you to hear that the Parisians have spared no expense implementing a city-wide bike sharing program, which launched in summer 2007 and sufficiently upped the City of Lights’ green ante.

Inspired by the success of a similar program in Lyon, France, Paris city officials devised a plan through which cyclists can purchase riding credits at any of the 1,450 self-service rental stations, grab a bike, and go. Users then can return their wheels to any station, making one-way trips a breeze (and, incidentally, these short bike jaunts outpace any other form of transport in Paris, according to a city-commissioned study).

The signature bikes, complete with bells and baskets (de rigeur en Paris!), are called Vélib’, a portmanteau of velo and liberte (liberty). The cost? About $1.30 USD/day. The first 30 minutes are free; after that, cyclists pay by the hour. In the first year alone, Parisians made 27.5 million Vélib’ trips.

With motor traffic congestion and pollution on the rise, a bike sharing program sounds positively brilliante! While approximately 3,000 of the 20,600 bikes have gone missing, the program is nonetheless a good investment in the health of both the city’s inhabitants and air quality.

I remember that my former town of Olympia, Wash., once played host to a fleet of shared bikes, which were free to use. And which were hot pink and designed for eight-year-olds. But they were shared, up until they all disappeared. (Likely suspects: a rabid pack of wheel-less eight-year-olds.)

Could a program like this work in your city? Seattle is kinda hilly, so maybe we’d need 21-speeds. Would your hometown people get out and ride, do you think?

Snakes + Acorns = Snakorns

October 9, 2008

That’s right — snakorns!

It’s a lingua crafta mashup in honor of two great DIYs I discovered via ThreadBanger. One, a pair of Martha Stewart-approved snakes made from hardware-store paraphernalia; the other, a fuzzy take on the oak tree’s seeds.

Martha’s Creepy Snakes, manufactured from pipe insulation, nails, map tacks, and paint, are hilarious. Just look:

Can you imagine these in your trees come Halloween? See, I told you. Hilarious.

Betz White’s Felt Acorns — a combo of felt balls and real-life acorn caps — are a sweet tribute to fall:

felt acorns

How-tos on Martha’s and Betz’s respective sites. Have fun.

WHO: Michael Janzen and Kent Griswold — and you

WHERE: The Internet

WHAT: An online community for tiny house lovahs

SIZE: Infinite! (See Where, above.)

Holy Internet, Living Smallers!

Michael Janzen, the mastermind behind Nine Tiny Feet, etc., and Kent Griswold, operator of the Tiny House Blog, have set their collective noses to the eGrindstone to create the Tiny House Forum, a place where peeps who live in tiny homes can dish, discuss and divulge their small space secrets.

The Tiny House Forum features a Show & Tell (share pics of your place!), several threads of general discussion (sorted by topic, of course), and even a place for smallers to share recipes and petit-appliance reviews. Give it a look-see!

Cribbage Crazy

October 7, 2008

We’re all about pint-sized pastimes here Chez Petit Living. From making our own music (no electricity necessary!) to canning our own summer fruits, we’ve got the bug for living Small in our leisure. And thanks to my friend Jill (an LS regular — her dad made the rad recycled Corian pen, remember? Yeah. She’s that cool, too.), we’ve gotten the bug for cribbage:

Yes, cribbage!

It’s true: the game you thought fit for Aunt Gladys and her old lady cronies is basically the awesomest card game ever. It’s a madhouse over here with The Cribb — bedtime, mealtime, anytime’s a good time for a throwdown. All we need is our little board (the pegs nestle inside the bottom of the board; such a feat of engineering and clever storage!) and a deck of cards.

The best part? You can pick up a cribbage board at any secondhand store. I swear on all that I hold dear. If you don’t find a cribbage board at your local thrift shop, I will mail you $1.75 so you can buy one at the thrift shop one town over. Like wreath forms, cribbage boards flock to bargain basements like those proverbial flies to honey.

Why, you ask? Possibly because their previous owners didn’t know how to play the game. So, lest you find yourself in a similar jam, I’m giving you a direct line to The Rules, as set forth by the American Cribbage Congress.

Got it? Now, get pegging. Tell me how it goes.