Shady Lake Trail – Prince Albert National Park

A cool weekend in September my wife and headed out to hike the amazing Shady Lake Trail in Prince Albert National Park. It’s a 1.7 km loop with the option of doing a detour to the height of land tower. The trail doesn’t take long but expect some steep areas as well as stairs. If you have problems with a lot of stairs I would avoid this trail and maybe do the Boundary Bog or Mud Creek trails.

Sign for Shady Lake Trail

Trailhead Sign for Shady Lake Trail

The trail starts out with a steep staircase down. It’s a pretty easy jaunt downwards, however be cautious if it’s wet. It tends to get slippery. Also a word of caution, you will be coming back up once you go down.

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

The trail is a mixture of deciduous and coniferous forest. The fall is amazing as it’s a drastic contrast in colours that make the forest pop.

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

This is the payoff. Shady Lake is a glorious view. You can also access this via canoe on the Amiskowan canoe route.

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

I feel obligated to put rock in. This is the rock that I proposed to my wife on.  I have named it Fred. She does not know this.

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

The lake is usually pretty clear and you can see the bottom quite easily. Look out for minnows!

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Wildflowers litter the edges of the path. You can find yarrow, wild rose and others along the way!

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Another hazard you half to be careful for. The roots make steps up some of the little hills, however they are also extremely easy to trip on. It would be a hard climb back up to the parking lot if you sprain your ankle.

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

The beginning of the approach back up the hill to the parking lot. This is a lot more gradual of an increase then the route down. I’d suggest if you have issues with steep hills you go down the west portion and back up the same way. It may take longer but it’s a more gentle of a climb.

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

This trail is moderately difficult with steep slopes. I believe the view of Shady Lake is definitely worth it and would recommend it to anyone!

Lululemon’s Wasteful Renovation Practices – The Solution?

Lululemon tries to have a reputation for being an environmentally conscious company. You can read about their sustainability plan HERE.  One of their points is that they are “a model for community-led sustainability including our extended lululemon family of ambassadors, vendors, and guests.” Yet they don’t seem to take this very seriously.

Recently Lululemon in Regina started renovations in Regina, SK. In a complete detour from their sustainability model they chose to not only dispose of their old fixtures and mannequins but destroy them first just to make sure that they cannot be used again.  When approached by this fact, the resolution manager blamed the third party company without acknowledging that they get to dictate what occurs with their disposal.

The Lululemon Regina Wasteful renovation The Lululemon Regina Wasteful renovation

On their website they claim “We’re working to be part of an elevated world that operates within nature’s boundaries and provides for human needs—creating opportunities for people to lead happy and fulfilling lives” However this seems to be working in the opposite of that direction. They could have donated these items to the Habitat for Humanity Restore store for them to sell off and raise money for their projects. They could have donated it to small markets that don’t compete with them. Perhaps they could have recycled parts of the mannequins, and lighting. Instead it all went off to be disposed of. This does not seem like they are following their own code.

 

However, don’t despair! Here is a couple suggestions that Lululemon can do to resolve this issue and prevent it from occurring again!

  • Donate an amount to the Regina chapter of Habitat for Humanity that would be equal to what they could have gained from the sales of these items.
  • Change their Sustainable code of conduct to reflect renovations  as well as day to day operations.
  • Dictate to “Third party” contractors that their stuff shall be recycled wherever possible.
  • Publicly promote these changes as a way to get word out there that they actually follow their own code of conduct. This could be a positive way to portray the company and could be an advertising campaign in itself.

To date, despite numerous phone calls, emails, tweets etc. Lululemon has no acknowledged that they have any plans to change their wasteful practices. They passed 100% of the blame on the third party contractor and refuse to take any fault in what occurred.  Their social media people just keep pushing that they value what has been said, but actions speak louder than words.

Lululemon and renovations

Well it’s been a while.
I have something I need to say about a company that boasts about it’s environmental impact. This company is Lululemon.

Recently the Regina, SK location has been undergoing renovations. They’ve moved to a smaller location while they do these extensive upgrades. Upon observance of the progress it was noticed that they were removing perfectly good shelving, mannequins, lighting and other amazing materials that could easily be reused.

Here is a couple pictures for evidence and your benefit.

The Lululemon Regina Wasteful renovation

That is some fantastic lighting there that could probably be reused. Also brilliant PPE but that’s a seperate matter.

Perfectly good shelving being smashed so that no one else can use it. Note PPE is now on.

The Lululemon Regina Wasteful renovation

Look at all those mannequin bodies heading to the dump. Kind of eerie but still annoying they couldn’t reuse them.

There is plenty of places they could have donated these to that would have had a great environmentally friendly impact. The Habitat for Humanity Restore store is one. They sell used everything and the money goes towards home for those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them.

I initiated a twitter conversation with Lululemon online on this matter. After telling my that they value my feedback, they referred me to the acting store manager for the Regina location after a several day wait. Her response was that my feedback was important to them and she would bring it up to the people who make these decisions.

I was looking for an answer on why this decision was made in the first place. After getting nowhere with the manager I reengaged Lululemon on twitter. After telling me again that my feedback is important, they sent me to their environmental policy on their website which reads:

“In 2014, we measured our company-wide waste footprint to learn how much waste we produce globally and how we can reduce it. We looked at all waste streams within our owned and operated facilities, our distribution centres, offices, our packaging, and all damaged and returned products.”

Apparently this is only concerning day to day operations. They apparently completely disregard their renovation procedures.







Finally they had a customer solution individual call me. In that call I was informed that the third party that they hired was in charge of the disposal and it’s their fault it was all smashed and disposed of instead of being reused in other places. They said that they’ve talked to that contractor about it. I did not get a response when I asked why it wasn’t in the contract to reuse what they could. She provided no assurance that their policies would change regarding this matter. Again I’m told me feedback is very important. I informed her that I was unsatisfied with this conversation.

This brings us to here. I would like to further this discussion and get it out there that this wasteful practice should change. Lululemon provided me with no assurance they have any interest in changing it, so I’m hoping by putting them in the spotlight that their attitudes may change.

Thank you.

 

 

 

Link shield from legend of Zelda

My son Damian wanted to be Link from the Legend of Zelda for Halloween.  I would also like to point out that Link is the name of the main male character and not the princess. His name is not Zelda….  Mom.

I did some Googling as I am expertly adverse in the ways of the internet and found some plans from instructables. (http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Links-Hylian-Shield-from-Foamboard/) He made his with foam board. We wanted something we could put up on the wall afterwards so I went with a nice thick piece of plywood. The plans for the cut outs were the same though.

 

Cut out shield shape. I used a jigsaw.  You can use whatever you feel comfortable with.

Cut out Link

Bend into shield shape.  I got the shield nice and soaking wet. I had several options. I noticed a lot of people used the bathtub overnight, fancy expensive steamer machines. I used a high tech device that can strangely be found in a lot of kitchens known as a “dishwasher”  I threw it in on rinse a couple times. Boom. Wet and soaking.

I used my weights (normally used for moulding my bulging muscles) to form it into shape. I put a couple underneath and a couple on the sides and let it dry overnight awkwardly in my shower.

Somehow I missed cutting out all of the pieces with my camera. I spray painted the shield blue first. The pieces were added in smaller forms instead of one large one. They weren’t bent and I found this was easier to attach them. I noted some people used the wooden dowel heads to simulate the bolt heads. I used real carriage bolts as I was using wood. Afterwards I filled in the gaps in the outline with wood filler and sprayed the main outside pieces.

Attaching extra components.

Spray them first.  I used a glue gun that has been passed down through generations of my family to attach them.  

I was running out of time so I cut out the bird thing and just spray painted it directly on the shield with a template.  It doesn’t look too shabby. I was going to a shield that looked well worn. I think it worked out okay.

 

Here is the shield in action on Halloween night. It was heavy and he only made 8 houses carrying it but it still looked awesome! It’s now proudly displayed on his wall.

 

Link shield in action

Link shield in action

2017 Saskatchewan Holiday Gift Ideas

It’s getting close to the holidays! If you haven’t started shopping it’s time to get your butt in gear!  I’ve attached several ideas here that are Saskatchewan oriented to give you some great locally done ideas!



Think I miss something? Let me know and I’ll add it!

Dogs and Canoeing

Dogs can be unpredictable. Especially puppies!  We have recently acquired a new puppy.  Rider the adventure dog!  At the time where we decided to introduce him to the canoe he was about five and a half months.  I acquired a life jacket for him because I am a safe and responsible individual.  Also he’s not a super experience swimmer yet and if he jumped and swam to shore and got tired.  Too much safety isn’t always a bad thing.  To get him accustomed to it, I made him wear it around the house the day before and morning of.  He wasn’t super impressed at first but warmed up eventually.

The first thing on our list was to find a location with relatively calm water.  I didn’t want super big waves for the dogs first time in my canoe.  We found a bend on the South Saskatchewan River at the Fred Heal Canoe Launch. It was perfect with lots of sandbars.

 

I had purchased a cheap bathmat from the dollar store.  I, unfortunately forgot I had a large puppy and didn’t buy a bigger one.  I did this so that he didn’t slip around and had some stability.  It worked well and he was pretty much glued to it.  Initially my wife and I loaded him up and set off just off the shore.  As I suspected he promptly jumped in the water and swam to the shore.  Luckily we were only 15 feet away.  Next on the plan was to let the wife walk along the shore in case he did it again and row around with just him.  I constantly was speaking in a reassuring voice to keep him calm.  Eventually he settled in and laid down.

Once he was more comfortable I pulled over to a sandbar and my amazing wife hopped in.  Note the matching lifejackets.  Aren’t they cute? Completely….  planned..

 

Eventually he was good to go.  He even got back in the canoe after we stopped on an island somewhat willingly.

Problems we had:

It was a hot day and he would get thirsty and try to lean over and drink.  A 60 lb dog leaning over the side of a canoe randomly isn’t good for stability.  Next time I will bring some sort of water bucket for him.  I will try to fashion something that will hang down so that he can’t knock it over.

A lot of the problems we had were because of what my wife calls “Puppy Brain” .  Things like him wanting to swim, so he swims.  Gradually over time this should disappear as he gets older.

A couple more times out and I think he will be good to go for the canoe, furthering his abilities as Rider the Adventure dog!

Here is a picture of him doing his best muskrat impression.

 

Next up…. to teach him to fish.

Small pallet decorative box

For our wedding, we decided to give each of our three kids gifts during the ceremony.   The two boys got amazing multi tools.

I first used one of the knives to measure the size.  I just used spare pallet wood for all this and left the edges pretty rough.

Small DIY Box

I cut several pieces and one by one attached using brass corner brackets. Small DIY Box

More attaching on side two.Small DIY Box

I had also acquired some little brass hinges.  This was the hardest part because I didn’t want to smash the box.
Small DIY Box






Demonstrating they work!Small DIY Box

I used a little clasp to keep it closed.Small DIY Box Small DIY Box

Finished product.  They loved it and the boxes now store the knives when they are put away.  It’s more of a display than anything.  Which is what these boxes are meant for as the corner pieces etc don’t hold them together the best.

Small DIY Box

The inside.
Small DIY Box

Lavender Goats Milk Soap

Yes I know, it  has been a while and I’m sorry!  I have a bunch of updates coming in the next couple weeks though!  Since Valentines Day is here I figured I’d start with what I made for my wife.  I couldn’t post it till Valentines though since that would ruin the surprise! She like’s soap so I made a bunch of different soaps for her.

The first is goats milk soap.  I used:

Coconut Oil

Goats Milk Soap Base

Oatmeal

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender Dried Buds

Freshware Soap Molds

Here is a showing of the ingredients I used. Note the colouring

Here is a showing of the ingredients I used. Note the colouring

I melted the goats milk soap base and coconut oil in a double boiler. You can also melt the soap base in the microwave but I'm better than that.

I melted the goats milk soap base and coconut oil in a double boiler. You can also melt the soap base in the microwave but I’m better than that. Make sure you cut the soap into cubes or you’ll be waiting a while.

This is the lavender essential oil I used. I dripped about 18 drops into the mixture.

This is the lavender essential oil I used. I dripped about 18 drops into the mixture.

This is an action shot of me pouring the lavender buds into the soap and coconut oil mixture. You can tell it's an action shot but the camera blur.

This is an action shot of me pouring the lavender buds into the soap and coconut oil mixture. You can tell it’s an action shot but the camera blur.



After the essential oils and the lavender petals have been stirred into the mixture.

After the essential oils and the lavender petals have been stirred into the mixture.  Once it’s all mixed you pour it into the molds.

After pouring into the molds, I added the colouring. I put a couple drops in and swirled it around with a toothpick. I then proceeded to add oatmeal and do the same.

After pouring into the molds, I added the colouring. I put a couple drops in and swirled it around with a toothpick. I then proceeded to add oatmeal and do the same.  Don’t use quick oats for soap.  Make sure it’s rolled!

A close up view of the soap in the mold. After about 45 minutes I was able to take it out and let it solidify further outside of the mold.

A close up view of the soap in the mold. After about 45 minutes I was able to take it out and let it solidify further outside of the mold.

 

Obligatory dog photo of Weston the super dog enjoying snow.

Obligatory dog photo of Weston the super dog enjoying snow.

Finished product! I hope she likes it.

Finished product! I hope she likes it.

 

Wall Hung Jewelry Cabinet

Do you have a cat?  The Missus has a cat.  The cat likes shiny objects.  Objects like her jewelry.  Thus the lady requested I make her a wall hung jewelry cabinet to counter the mischievous cat. (I suggested just to get rid of the cat but I was informed that wasn’t an acceptable option).  Luckily her birthday was coming up and it worked as a wonderful birthday gift.

Handmade Jewelry cabinetWall Hung Jewelry Cabinet

My parents just recently put wood slats on their ceiling and had a lot left, so wood was taken care of,  I acquired some dowel (two different sizes) and I also used some molding to hold it all together.

IMG_9713

The wood slats had nice little grooves that the wood fit into.  I added wood glue to hold them together like a boss.  Note my amazing G-shock watch that my fiance gave me as a engagement gift. It has a compass and everything!IMG_9714

I used finishing nails for this project. This is the door from the backside.  The moulding is on the front holding the boards all together.IMG_9719

Front side of door.  See how fancy it is?
IMG_9715

To install the dowel for the earring holding area I used a drill press and drilled two measured holes on each side for the dowel.IMG_9717

Then used glue to hold them in and give some extra support.IMG_9718

I don’t have a picture of it but I had clamps on the sides to push the dowel in together.IMG_9720

I installed moulding on the inside for extra support for the sides as well as the top and the shelf. I did use a clamp to hold it all together while I nailed it.  I also used wood glue for extra durability as we have three kids in our house and things fly all over the place.
IMG_9721

The start of the production of the interior shelving units.  I used a large dowel for a watch holder.  I used the same method for this as the dowel for the earring holders. These ones however I also screwed in from the ends since the dowel was much bigger.IMG_9723

Holding it all together with clamps.  If there is one thing you take away from my blog is that clamps are amazing and you should have many many of them.  This is wisdom passed down from my father that I will pass down to my children as well.  Note the shelves I cut a little diagonal chip off the corners to account for the moulding.  In hindsight I think it would have been better to cut the moulding into pieces but this worked.  Nailed it all together again.IMG_9724

The barewood inside.  On the right of the watch holder area I will be putting in something for ring holding.IMG_9726




This is giving you an idea on what it will look like eventually once the hinges etc are all on.
IMG_9727IMG_9728
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also made a drawer for the bottom out of the wood.  It’s not shown here as it somewhat frustrated me a little. I also installed two pieces of dowel sticking out to hold bracelets.  You can see them in a later picture.

I used chalk paint to finish it.  I’ve never used it before. I got it from Mable and Martha’s vintage shop here in Regina.

 

IMG_9740

Painting in progress.  Outside done.  Note the bracelet holder dowels.  They’re exciting! You can also see the drawer in this shot.IMG_9729

Finished painting!  Letting dry now.  Next step is the waxing after the paint dried.IMG_9735

This is the hard to see wax I used. I also bought from the same paint place. It’s made from beeswax and gives a pearl finish.IMG_9737

You have to use a fancy wax brush for this.  When cleaning the brush after use hot water as it will melt the wax right off.IMG_9736

It’s all waxed and painted now.  It is time to install the ring holder cushion. I bought a seat pillow for my cushion and some canvas for my wrap.  I cut the cushion into four pieces and wrapped them in fabric.  I used glue to make them stay in place.   IMG_9741

Here the ring holder is in place.   Note I also made a couple earrings for the cabinet as well.  You can see them in the background (little balls in hoops).  Although it’s been over a week and I still haven’t seen them in her ears.IMG_9742

Time for hinge installation.
IMG_9743

No my hands did not get feminine all of a sudden.  My daughter aided me in this part.  She drilled the pilot holes for the hinges and then screwed them in.  She’s a good little helper for things like this.  By little I mean she’s almost as tall as me by the way.IMG_9744

More proof those aren’t my hands. I don’t wear stuff like that.IMG_9745




Finished, assembled and installed on the wall.  She loved it and my mission was accomplished.  This is after she started to add stuff to it.  I put it on the wall with three screws.  Had to anchor two of them but it’s on there solid.IMG_9749

Closed.  Note I did add a knob too.  You always need a good knob.IMG_9750

I have all the stuff I used (including some jewelry) in my easy to use Amazon store.  Go visit and buy stuff!  I’ve got a wedding and schooling to pay for!  Also this stuff costs money!