DIY-apolooza: Sustainable NE Seattle’s Hands On skills fair returns

Sustainable NE Seattle’s second annual Hands On Community Skills Fair takes place on Saturday, February 11.

From the Hands On homepage:

People are recognizing the joy, satisfaction and security of being able to provide for our own needs, shifting from dependence on giant corporations to a healthy interdependence with our local community. Let’s re-learn the skills our grandparents knew!

Over twenty folks from our neighborhoods have stepped up to share skills such as food preservation, grafting, tool repair, and making clothes.

Skill workshops will be held from 11 AM-5 PM at both the Ravenna-Eckstein and Meadowbrook community centers (with vanpool available). A community potluck at Meadowbrook from 5:30-7:30 PM follows (bring a dish to share and your own utensils).

Workshop offerings include:

  • Simple Bike Repair
  • Basic Plumbing Repair
  • Fermentation
  • Basic Sushi Making
  • Basic Trauma Assessment and Splinting
  • Making Cheese I and II
  • Kid’s Realm (variety of quick, easy to learn skills appropriate for kids and teens)
  • and lots, lots more

A few of the workshops (such as Simple Bike Repair and the Kid’s Realm) are ongoing throughout the day, but most have a set time and registrant limit.

Hands On costs $15 in advance ($20 at the door) for as many workshops as you can fit into your schedule.

To register (through the Seattle Parks and Recreation Connection [SPARC] system), follow the instructions on the Hands On homepage.

Wedgwood discusses the 35th Avenue NE business district tonight

Our neighbors in Wedgwood are holding a meeting tonight that has quite a few points of interests for Ravennians, too.

Here’s the agenda for tonight’s general meeting of the Wedgwood Community Council (via the WCC website):

  • CleanScapes will share the fantastic news about the $50,000 the Tuesday collection area won towards a community project!
  • We’ll share a bit about what the next steps are for the $13,000 grant the WCC, Sustainable NE Seattle, and others won for emergency preparedness.
  • We’ll describe the “Donut Hole” and where both “Wedgwood” and “Ravenna-Bryant” begins.
  • We’ll present the land use planning process the WLUC [Wedgwood Land Use Committee] is proposing and describe how you can get involved in shaping the future of 35th Ave NE.

The Wedgwood Community Council meets at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church (8008 35th Ave NE) from 7-9 PM.

Learn Home Weatherization Tips with Sustainable NE Seattle

The days are growing shorter, the air is getting colder, and your heating bill is on the rise.

What a perfect time to learn about home weatherization.

Sustainable NE Seattle‘s November meeting will be held on Thursday, November 17, at the Wedgwood Presbyterian Church (8008 35th Ave NE), from 6:30-9 PM (social time with treats for the first half hour).

Here’s the event description:

There are some immediate things we can do to make our homes more energy efficient. We will learn what to do before replacing windows from our community expert [and Ravenna resident], Joel Gregory. Also, learn about Solarize NESeattle, project to bring reasonable pricing for solar power to our neighborhood. Additionally, SustainableWorks® home retrofitting org, will be here for input and Q&A.

Bring a snack to share, if you wish, and your own utensils.

Sustainable NE Seattle is, via their about page, “a community of citizens dedicated to building a sustainable, resilient future for our locality, which includes Seattle neighborhoods that are north of the ship canal, east of I-5, and north to about 110th St NE.”

For more information on the organization, check out their FAQ (PDF).

Sustainable NE Seattle’s Planet:Home Festival returns this Saturday

This upcoming Saturday, August 6, Sustainable NE Seattle’s Planet:Home festival returns to the Hunter’s Farm lot in Wedgwood (7744 35th Ave NE), from 10 AM-5 PM.

This now annual event features educational talks and activities centered around the themes of sustainability and community.

The "floor plan" from last year's Planet:Home festival.

Upon entering the festival grounds, attendees wander through an outdoor “house” configuration, with activities set up in their respective “rooms” — for example, tool repair is held in the “Garage” area.

Festival-goers are encouraged to bring items for repair (such as bicycles and tools), plant starts to swap, and clothing for repurposing.

Food is available for purchase, on site, from various venders.

If you are not familiar with this event, check out Ravenna Blog’s post about the first ever Planet:Home festival last year: Planet:Home – A Sustainably Great Time.

More information on this year’s Planet:Home (including new attractions for 2011 and the schedule of bands performing) is available at Sustainable NE Seattle’s Planet:Home page.


Audience listening to a featured speaker at Planet:Home 2010.

2011 Speaker Stage schedule:

10:30-11:30 Francis Ayley of Fourth Corner Exchange in Bellingham (Fourth Corner Orientation)

11:30-12:30 Lisa Taylor of Seattle Tilth – Your Farm in the City

12:30-1:30 Candy Castellanos of Cleanscapes – Reduce Your Waste!

1:30-2:30 Marion Maxwell of the Puget Sound Mycological Society

2:30-3:30 Jenny Pel of Permaculture Now!

3:30-4:30 Joel Gregory of King County Housing Authority – Energy Efficiency Throughout the Home

And, remember:

Emergency preparedness and block watch information meeting this weekend

Sustainable NE Seattle is hosting another Emergency Preparedness meeting this Saturday, June 25, from 1-3 PM, at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center (6535 Ravenna Ave NE).


At our second meeting, we are pleased to have Terrie Johnston, the Crime Prevention specialist from the North Precinct, speak to us about the Blockwatch program – an integral part of emergency preparedness – and strategies to get our neighbors together.

This event is open to the entire northeast Seattle community.

Sustainable NE Seattle’s Barter Faire TOMORROW

Sitting around at home this weekend, wondering what to do with those 75 jars of green tomato relish you just canned?

Why not haul it to Maple Leaf, and turn it into raspberry jelly? Or knitting lessons? Or PIE?

I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of PIE -- this is just one of mine that I'm using to tempt you.

This Sunday, October 10, Sustainable NE Seattle is holding their Second Annual Barter Faire and Cider Pressing.  It’s being held in the parking lot of Maple Leaf Lutheran Church (10005 32nd Ave NE; in the church’s basement if it rains) from 1-5pm.

From the event page:

Did your garden produce lots this year? Did you can or preserve the harvest from your garden? Come to the barter faire and trade what you have for what others have. Pies, baked goods, skills and other homemade non-cash items may also be traded. A cider press will be on site to juice apples or grapes.

Some background on the event from Sustainable NE Seattleite Joanne Kerr:

[T]he way this worked last year, people showed up and set up their tailgates or put out a small display on the ground of their wares then strolled around and looked for what others were doing or had and offered a trade. Meanwhile a cider press was there and if one had fruit to crush they could do so and put it into containers they supplied to take home. There will also be somethings that will be just handed out as samples for enjoyment while there.

Aren’t a crafty sort of person? Couldn’t even grow a dandelion, even if you tried? No problem. Skills and time are also barter-able items.

Contact Joanne Kerr (joannkerr [at] for more information.

Planet:Home – A Sustainably Great Time

The short version (from the Ravenna Blog twitter feed):

Just came back from Planet:HOME, the sustainability festival. It was the most adorable, well-conceived, pro-community event I’ve ever seen.

The long version, with LOTS of pictures (all of which are linked to larger versions of themselves):

I arrived at the festival around 2pm, on the downhill side of the event. That’s not to say there weren’t plenty of people milling about, listening to speakers, talking, making tea, etc. I just missed out on some of the events and activities that were happening earlier.

Map of the grounds - Form of A HOUSE!

The layout of the festival grounds (at 7744 35th Ave NE; provided by Hunter Tree Farm folks) was that of a house, complete with rooms. SO well executed. I’ve never been in such a cozy gravel lot.

"Directions," of a sort.

2:30pm speaker Barry Lia (Biodynamic Gardening) in the Living Room.

If you click the above picture for the fuller view you will see that the back of the Living Room (the purple part) is actually three doors fastened together, providing a backdrop for the speakers, as well as a handy place to hang notes and graphics.

Seating here was a combination of chairs and bench seating on the straw bales (the latter of which could be taken home at the end of the festival, with a donation to Sustainable NE Seattle).

The day's schedule in the Garden.

Sessions in the Garden were more informal and smaller than those in the Living Room.

Boundary between the Living Room and the Garden was an informative clothesline.

"Clothes last longer when you line dry. -Where do you think lint comes from?"

"You can reduce the full lifecycle climate change impact of your jeans by up to 50% by line drying and washing them in cold water."


Well-feed, but still VERY curious.

Three goats — mama and two kids — were kept in the back of the garden…although I did see them out on the dance floor once the band started playing.

Sign reminded me of the Las Vegas tourism motto. Sort of.

Behind the Garden, the How to Do Your Lawn In installation (my title).

Sustainable NE Seattle may be most famous for their three videos on YouTube (Lawn Gone, Parts 1 through 3) which chronicle the process of turning one of their member’s front lawns into a food garden.

The Sit'n Room

Sit'n Room AKA Irv's Elder, Sage and Rare Treasure Appreciation Installation Station (my title, again)

I was fortunate enough to meet Irv Thomas at last week’s Ravenna-Bryant Community Association meeting, where he shared some of his writings about the history of Ravenna and more (“Reclaiming the Village Outlook”).

By his own definition, Irv is an Sage, but after having a couple of conversations with him, I’d put him squarely in MY Rare Treasure category.

Can you find YOUR category?

I hope to feature some of Irv’s writings on the Ravenna Blog this fall. Until then, if you have the time — and I mean, snowed into your house with food to get you through the winter in Alaska kind of time — visit his website (

More sustainable seating at the festival

Near the Kitchen, a solar cooking showroom, with samples!

Info on a solar cooker building workshop on Saturday, August 28, at University Heights Community Center

The Courtyard featured ART IN ACTION

The collectively created recycled art piece

The Barker Boys, rockin' out in the Living Room

No, I did not take a picture of the woman dancing with the goat.  You’ll just have to imagine it.

Fixing tools is Joel's vice.

Something I didn’t take enough pictures of (I’m realizing this now, in retrospect, darn it) were the events in the Garage area, two I’ll mention in particular.

Had a tool that was broken or dull? Needed help with the fixing or sharpening? A coupla handy guys in the Garage were there with tools of their own to help you out.

Had a bike that needed some repair? Or had a question about fixing bikes in general? A volunteer from the bike shack ( was there to help out.  He also had an oldie-but-goodie from the 1960s for sale.


I ended up a staying at the festival for nearly three hours. I couldn’t help it!

Sure, I happened to know a lot of the people there, but I ended up meeting quite a few that I didn’t.  I may have volunteered to start a group that gets together in the winter to make big batches of stock to share.  I certainly want to check out the bike shack as I try to get my own 1969 Sturmey-Archer cruiser in riding shape.  A lot of good take-aways from this event, and I didn’t even make it to any of the workshops.

The folks at Sustainable NE Seattle who put together this event did a fantastic job (in my humble opinion). As tired as they all must be right now, I hope they’re already thinking about Planet:Home 2011.

Planet:Home – A Sustainable Living Festival, this Saturday

Did you know that we have one of the best sustainable living resources in the city right here in Northeast Seattle?  Well, now you do! And they’re having a festival this Saturday, chock-full of green learning opportunities.

Sustainable NE Seattle is hosting Planet : Home – A Sustainable Living Festival this Saturday, August 21st, from 10am-5pm at the Hunter Tree Farm (7744 35th Ave NE).

Event description, from the Sustainable NE Seattle website:

Free workshops, speakers, food, live music, demonstrations, hands-on science and art activities for kids! Come learn how you can reduce your environmental footprint and share your experiences in trying to live more sustainably! Learn about solar cooking, bicycle repair (bring your bike!), cheese-making, weatherizing your home, growing your own tea (bring a cup!), sod replacement, worm bins, bee-keeping, tool repair (bring your tools!), edible landscaping, knowledge-sharing with community elders, rain gardens, and much much more. Take home ideas for environmentally-friendly living and maybe win some eco products to help you on your way.

Morning schedule includes:

Afternoon schedule includes:

Cheese making? Fixing your own bike? Live music? FOOD? PRIZES?!

Eh, they had me at “cheese.”