Posts Tagged ‘eco-friendly’

Let’s Wrap This Up: Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping and Etsy Finds

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Inspired by Karen’s Christmas pledge over at The Art of Doing Stuff I am trying my hardest to stay ahead of the holiday madness and not over commit myself this year. She’s pledged to be done (DONE!) her christmas preparations by December 4th so she’s free to enjoy the holidays.

I’m inspired, but as the earliest we can put up our tree is the 12th, we’re doing it a little differently.

Around here the promise is to not leave things to the last minute along with not starting any new projects this year. We’re ploughing through the list and nothing anyone can say will entice me to host anymore meetings, make anymore crafts, or host anymore dinner parties than I’m already committed too. Sorry but this doesn’t mean I’ll finish my Christmas cards on time, it means I’m simply not sending them.  Also, we’ll be breaking tradition with no Christmas renovations.

So, on that note today we starting wrapping and wrapping might be my favourite part of Christmas.

Wrapping is serious business round these parts.  It typically involves folding bones and guillotines.

After coming across a really nice download for these little birds from Lisa Rupp over on thatshappy I printed some off on the kraft paper all the Cubit’s seed packsare made of and we were off!

Some cutting resulted in a nice pile of kraft paper birds that was mounted on black mi-tients paper (I’m a total paper nerd if you don’t know that already). All our supplies came from the local Danforth location of Deserres Art Supplieswhere I worked for a few years in my former life of working with/for other people.

Then some more cutting and voila! Bird tags.  Nice black backs to write on with a white pencil crayon. Preferably the omnicrom water soluble ones, but I’m also a pencil nerd so feel free to ignore me.

Our shopping this year has been pretty enjoyable.  We’ve been able to do a ton of it on etsy and some coworkers from another gig in my former life have opened a fabulous toy storejust down the street from us and right beside the art supply store.  This could be dangerous.

All the little girls on our list are getting skirts that were handmade in Alaska by Bohdi Handmade along with the some critters from Tracey and Shamie’s great new Danforth toy shop Silly Goose Kids.

I love how so many etsy purchases come wrapped so beautifully.  This is Rebecca’s new apron from local etsy seller BirdbyJill and something special from Leah Duncan. Almost seems a shame to wrap them.

Good bubbles are important (also from Silly Goose Kids).

Here’s some of the Good Earth’s Good Jam all ready to wrap along with some nice tea and Leah Duncan’s gorgeous designs.
Combined with oodles of rick rack and a stack of washi tape (also from Deserres) I’m pretty pleased with it all. Cute and environmental friendly what with the 100% recycled paper, reusable cotton rick rack, paper tape and reused bags.
That’s that’s a wrap.  I’ve wrapped quite a bit and am almost feeling on top of it.  Now to host that one last party, meeting, pack these orders and finish the renovations so I can show you my pimp that preserve entry and get on with Christmas.

Cheerful Cloth Napkins and a Giveaway So You Can Have Some Too

Friday, August 26th, 2011
Sometimes the simplest things can make you happy.

 Like 20 year old cloth napkins stolen from your mother.

 Or actually using all those vintage handkerchiefs for something.

 Trading seeds for napkins on etsy is also nice.

 As is receiving kitchy gifts in the mail from Rosa.

 Matching dishes with napkins is strangely satisfying.

Gillian of Craftzilla agrees and she’s whipped up these charming summertime cloth napkins for one of my readers. Simply visit her new etsy shop and then come back here and share either what you like best in her shop or one of your simple summer pleasures.  Like napkins, or mismatched spoons.  Don’t forget to include your email or twitter handle so we can find you if you win. We’ll pick a winner at random on Friday September 2nd, 2011.

How to: Recycled Wool Felt Christmas Wreath

Sunday, December 12th, 2010
Our new wreath gets quite a bit of attention.  But I have a secret, it wasn’t hard to make and it’s really just an old jacket and took one long baby nap to make.
Here’s how to do it:
First you need some felt.  This is wreath was formerly an old wool jacket that I felted in the washing machine.  Wool scarves and sweaters will also work well.  Really felt them by washing in hot and cold and drying a few times.   They should shrink and firm up.  If you don’t use wool you could totally use another fabric, just try and find something thick and be mindful of how much it will fray.

Next cut out all the seams so you have some nice flat pieces of fabric.
Then you’ll want to cut your fabric.  Experiment with a piece of paper first if you want to know what shape will turn into what sort of flower.  I mainly used squareish spirals but C and L shapes worked really well especially for smaller ones.  You’ll want a variety of sizes.
Now we make the flowers.  Start winding up your felt by wrapping it around your thumb while pinching it.  How tight or loose, how fat or skinny, how long, these will all effect the final shape so enjoy yourself.
To finish them off, take a big needle and thick thread, yarn or floss and make a few big tight stitches.  This will not show so it’s a great time to use up your odds and ends and leftovers from past projects.  Leave the tails long as you’ll need then to tie the flowers to the form.

Now you need to attach they to the wreath form.  I used a reclaimed floral one, but there are many options, I suggest using one from a hideous old wreath.

Paying attention to the composition start tying on your flowers.  You’ll want to do this as tightly as possible.
Once everything is tied on you’ll notice that there is still quite a bit of movement so grab that needle and thread and stitch each bud to its neighbour.  Do this from the back and pull your thread tight.  If you have the time and energy you can use the needle to pull the thread’s loose ends back into the flowers. Otherwise just cut them off short.
And that’s it!  A 100% reclaimed, recycled wreath that is weather proof and will last for years.

How to: Night Time Cloth Diapering

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

We have a bullet proof over night diapering combo we’d like to share.  We regularly go 12 hours over night without a change and we have never had any leak issues. None.  I’d actually never given in much thought until last weekend when talking to some moms who use disposables and hearing some real horror stories.

Our nighttime solution consists of three parts; A fitted, a doubler and a soaker.

We start with a bambozzle.  Funny name , but these are great bamboo terry fitted diapers carried by Bummis.  They are really soft and extremely absorbent.
SInce Rebecca nurses at night she really soaks them.   Therefore we add a hemp booster.  We have had a few different brands but there’s little or no difference between them.  Last but not least, we cover it all with a gorgeous sbish interlock wool soaker.  Wool is fantastic since it is breathable, antibacterial and looks great.


Here’s the Bamboozle in action.


Just because you’re wearing a nighttime diaper doesn’t mean you’re actually going to go to bed.


Here’s the whole ensemble with the sbish wool cover.

How to: Cloth Baby Wipes

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
I tend to be asked lots of questions and quite often these questions are ones that I get asked again and again.  I really enjoy being able to share what I’ve already figured out so one of the things I’m hoping to use this blog for is as a platform to give some good clear answers and to have a place to keep these answers for the next person who asks.

We use cloth diapers for Rebecca and although we get asked about the diapers all the time we also frequently field questions about wipes.  We do buy disposables from time to time but 99% of the time we use cloth wipes.

We prefer cloth wipes for a quite a few reasons.  For an investment of about 5 minutes every week or two, we have a cost effective and greener choice than disposables.  Disposable baby wipes are actually made of a plastic product that is not biodegradable, will do a number on your plumbing if you flush them and unlike diapers are generally not accepted into city organics disposal (like Toronto’s green bin).  We also like that we don’t have to do any sorting while changing a diaper, all the dirty laundry goes into the same wet bag and then it all goes into the wash together.  Last but not least, even the unscented-sensitive wipes can cause reactions in an allergic baby or caregiver and as our midwife said, “wipes are an invitation to diaper rash and yeast”.

Here is the break down:

We use the little cheap face clothes and have about 4 or 5 dozen.  We don’t need anywhere near this many these days but we certainly did for the first few months.

If you don’t already have one (they multiply in your house even if you don’t use them), ask a friend who uses disposables to save you a container.


Start by folding your cloths neatly in half, and then simply roll them up.  They should look just like when you first got them.


Then stack in rows in the wipe container, we do 3 rows of 7.  We normally have one box upstairs and one box downstairs and I make them up at the same time.


Once your box is full, its time to add the liquid.   This is not an exact science.  Combine ¼ cup white vinegar and ¾ cups warm tap water. Sometimes I add a drop or two of tea tree oil.  Franny decided to help out.


Pour it over the top of the rolled cloths.  Close the lid and give a little shake and you’re done.


The liquid will even out an
d make each cloth just damp.  We use them at room temperature but here are some great instructions on how to use them in a wipes warmer from
the feminist breeder. 

They will look like this:


We just wash them with the diapers and keep them in a little stack until there are enough clean ones to start again.  We use them for everything, just like the disposable ones, diaper changes, washing hands and faces, dusting, wiping off sticky keyboards and telephones, and they’re also really great if you are treating the dreaded thrush.

They will last up to two weeks with out any issues.

A ziplock bag is great to take some out with you but even better is a tiny wet bag.  We just received a free itzy ritzy reusable snack bag from renewing our subscription to mothering magazine that is absolutely perfect for this.