Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Celebration Flags

I wanted to make reusable fabric flags for my children's birthday parties. After looking at many different tutorials I made these.

I started by buying 4 different types of fabric. I went with a light blue, green, and blue and green plaid, and a pink. I bought 2 yards of each fabric. I also bought about 8 rolls of an off white 2 inch ribbon.
I then cut out a triangle from cardboard. I decided on the size I wanted my flags and then made my triangle 1/2 inch bigger on all sides. Using chalk I traced the triangle on the fabric.

I then used my pinking shears to cut the triangles out.

Next I place two of the fabric triangles back to back and sewed around the bottom two sides of the flag. Leaving the top open.

Flip the triangle rightside out. It is helpful to cut the bottom of the triangle before you flip it so that there is less fabric on the inside, this will make the bottom point sharper. Next iron the triangle flat.

Next I folded the ribbon in half and ironed it. I then cut it into 3 foot sections, this was just long enough to cover the top of three flags side by side with enough extra to tie to another strip. I then burned the edge so it would not fray.

Next I placed three flags in the fold of the ribbon and pinned them there. I sewed across the ribbon to attach the flags.

Finally I tied three sets of flags together and placed them across the fence in the yard.

A not on why I put three together at a time. After finishing the individual flags I decided to put them in groups of three so that I could change the color schemes as needed. I can connect green and blue, or pink and green, or any combination that went with the party theme.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Eco Paint

A while ago I bought this eco-friendly finger paint. It is made by eco-kids they also make dough. All of their items are made from plant extracts. I was excited to find paint for the kids that was not made from chemicals.
While out one day I found little spill proof jars with paint brushes I had used them before when teaching and they work great. These were extra small ones so they work perfectly for Bry's little hands.
It has been a while but I finally took some time to try them out. They come in powder form and you add equal parts powder and water. You have to mix them really well and they are still a little powdery but they paint well. The kids had a blast and they both made great artwork. I would recomend these paints for anyone who has kids.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Eco Art

We recently bought some eco friendly art supplies from Stubby Pencil Studio. They have many good for the earth items made especially for young kids. My bought soy crayons, crayon rocks, and some natural play dough. The prices were very reasonable and I am incredibly happy with everything we got. Andon thought the crayon rocks were pretty cool and they both loved the play dough. We will be ordering more stuff very soon.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Toys and Gifts for Kids

Over the last few years there has been a huge amount of green toys hitting the market. Here are some that I love. These toys are made by companies dedicated to ecofreindly production. The best thing about these toys, besides being green, is that they are all kid powered. No batteries, which are an extremly wasteful product, only kids imaginations are needed. For now most of these toys can only be found online, but hopefully we will be finding more of them in the local stores. Think ahead to all those kids you buy for throughout the year (especially if you are buying for my little angels) and order some great toys you will feel good about giving.

Green Toys
I bought the kids the Sand Play Set and the Tea Set. We love them not only are they made from recycled milk jugs but they are ultra sturdy and made entirely in the USA. I would recommend these to anyone. We take the sand set to the park with us and I am always getting comments about how nice they are.

Plan Toys
When we buy Bry her first doll house it will be a Plan Toy. These are great wood toys made in a very ecofriendly way. I am loving some of the new designs. What child does not need a dollhouse with a solar panel roof, a wind turbine, rain barrel, recycling bins, and many other great green building elements.

I am getting a bunch of these for Andon. They are great for keeping in my purse for pretend play anywhere and they are just so cute. Anamalz come in four catagories wild, farm, austarlian, and prehistoric

Sprig Toys
These cool toys are paint free, ecofriendly, and battery free. Thay are made from a bio composite made from recycled wood and reclaimed plastic. I know Andon would love these construction vehicals.

I have also bought many items from Etsy, in particular those in the teams EcoEtsy and EtsyOrganic. Handmade pruducts are unique and often ecofriendly. (Although you may have to do some questioning to find out if they are indead ecofriendly products.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Meatout Mondays

I heard about this through a blog of a friend here.
I would love to see more people go meatless and Meatout Mondays is a good way to start. TO learn more about why meat is unhealthy for both you and the environment click here and be sure to sign up for Meatout Mondays. If you need any suggestions for good meals try these check out my recipes here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Eco friendly colds

With two little ones someone always has a running nose around here.
I do not like tissues for many reasons
1. I hate going through boxes of tissues
2. they always end up in the laundry and all over my clothes
3. babies tend to find the tissue box, pull out tissues, and rip them apart

I decided to do something about the tissue problem at our house. I did not want to go buy a ton of handkerchiefs so I looked around the house at what we had. We have a lot of receiving blankets that we are no longer using. Instead of just giving them away I thought I could use them. I have started by just cutting up a few with pinking shears. It is great. We now throw them in the wash instead of the trash. If they get left in a pocket there is no mess in the laundry. Bry can not make a mess with them.
I might sew some up into nice squares but for now the pinking shears work.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.

The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.
Article from the American Library Association

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:
Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:
Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.”

To the American Economy:
Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:
Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2008 in review

Well I have now officially been on the green bandwagon for 2 years now. I have learned a lot and I have found that I still have a long way to go. I thought I would record my big changes from 2008 and think about what I want to accomplish in 2009.
I accomplished most of my goals for 2008 but I did not get to all of them.

Here were my goals for 2008
1. Order natural nail polish. So I can paint my nails again.
I did not do this but my mom did and I tried hers it works great with no smell.
2. Use less paper towels and more washable towels instead
I bought cloth napkins and dish towels. I rarely ever use paper towels. In fact I this year we never even bought paper towels this year.
3. Find a way to stop buying bottled water. I hate the taste of our tap water.
We are now using a Brita to filter our water and it tastes much better this way.
4. Get reusable non plastic water bottles for the family
Done we LOVE our Klean Kanteens
5. Buy non plastic storage containers for leftovers
We use mostly glass for freezing food and BPA free plastic for storing food other foods.
6. Change the cats litter to something better for the environment
Still working on this one
7. Buy more organic cotton and eco friendly fiber clothes, towels, etc and less conventional materials
I buy organic when ever I can although I still buy conventional materials sometimes.
8. Work on a plan to produce more veggies from our garden and store them using my new food saver.
We have over 15 peppers from our garden in the freezer right now (around here that should last a month or two).

Other things I have done in 2008
Got a bread machine so I can make organic bread and pizza crust.
Bought mostly only eco friendly and handmade gifts for Christmas.
Bought these reusable produce bags for when I buy fruits and veggies.
Started making and freezing my own beans so I no longer use canned. HEB has organic pinto and black beans in their bulk section.
Made playdough for the kids instead of buying the chemical filled stuff.
Purchased reusable plates, cupcake holders, and other party supplies.

Saved power by not using it for 2 weeks after Hurricane Ike :)

Goals for 2009
1. Try the everlasting vanilla
2. Work on the garden to produce enough veggies that I do not have to buy them any more.
3. Give eco friendly gifts
4. Make reusable fabric gift wrap
5. Change the cats litter to something better for the environment
6. Buy only what I need and donate everything we do not use.
7. Give my kids eco friendly birthday parties.

I am going to keep thinking of other goals. Let me know if you have any suggestions.