The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: home improvements

December 26, 2016

DIY Plastic-Free Ironing Board Cover and Natural Wool Pad

Last November, I decided it was time to get rid of the small, ratty, and possibly toxic table-top ironing board we’d been using for years.  And by we, I mean Michael.  Still haunted by memories of ironing my dad’s shirts in the dank basement laundry room while the crickets chirped and imaginary mice scurried from corner to corner, I avoid ironing as much as possible.  Michael, on the other hand, irons his work shirts every week, and I wanted him to have a nice, full-sized board with a non-toxic pad and cover, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money.

Getting an Ironing Board for FREE

Knowing that I was going to be starting a year of buying nothing new, I decided to look for a secondhand ironing board.  I posted an ad on Nextdoor, a social network for neighbors to stay in touch about what’s happening in the hood, asking if anyone had an ironing board they didn’t want.

I would have been happy to pay for it, but one of my … Read the rest

October 28, 2009

Fantastic Letter from PolarSolar to Fake Plastic Fish

While I was away this weekend, I received this email from a San Francisco company that installs solar water heaters:

from Joseph Wright to Beth Terry date Sun, Oct 25, 2009 at 5:05 PM subject Thanks and Question

Hi Beth,

I wanted to write to let you know what a hero you are of mine and I want to thank you for the positive influence that you have on the lives of others and the environment…I also have a question…I am a fellow Bay Area native and I operate a sustainable water heating business — after reading your recent blog post I have decided to eliminate PVC from our materials list (obviously very common plumbing material) and we will never look back… I have reposted your entry on our blog and was wondering if you would prefer some other way for us to refer to your information. I hope that all is well and I look forward to more of your inspiring ideas and calls to action…

Highest Regards,


Joe Wright… Read the rest

July 15, 2009

Help! I’m buried under paper and I can’t get up!

So here’s the deal. I promised to write a post on about plastic-free organizing tips next week. But I have no business writing any such thing. Just take a look at my desk:

I’ve been trying to organize my office space ever since we moved here in 2005, and it’s just not happening. Paper, paper everywhere. I’ve been working to reduce the amount of paper mail I receive. I get most of my bills online and don’t print them out. And yet, my desk is always full of paper — to do notes, meeting notes, contact information, flyers, business cards — and I just feel overwhelmed. (That photo? I just took it this morning. Last week, my desk was even worse before I went on a rampage and recycled a whole bunch of stuff that had “expired.”)

So I want some ideas. Some systems for clearing the clutter. And if you have a blog and have written about this topic, I’ll totally give you full credit, link to you, … Read the rest

December 19, 2007

Plastic-free yogurt? Well, almost. Plus ways to use whey.

Turns out we do have an almost plastic-free prepared yogurt here in the SF Bay Area. Saint Benoà®t yogurt comes in a reusable, returnable ceramic container and is sold at Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl, and other natural foods stores. As with the Straus milk containers, you pay a deposit which the store refunds when you return the container. The containers are covered with foil tops, which can be reused until the yogurt is gone, and have a small plastic seal around the rim. That’s way less plastic than buying yogurt in disposable polypropylene containers, but I’ve found a better way.

I thought that in order to make yogurt myself, I needed to invest in a yogurt machine. Not worth it considering the small amount of yogurt we eat. But then Melanie Rimmer of Bean Sprouts revealed a brilliant method of making yogurt with only a Thermos in her post, How To Make Greek Yogurt. You should check out her post to see photos of the step by step process. Here are… Read the rest