Eco•Ideas: Holiday Gift Wrap

It's that time of year again, time for the rockin' Jingle Bash featuring lots of Etsy Dallas members - check out the full list of Bash artists here!

Below are some holiday gift wrap items brought to you by three Etsy Dallas members. Click on the pictures below for all the deets on these great handmade items. La Alicia and design roots will be at the 2009 Jingle Bash, so check them out in person on November 21st at the Sons of Hermann Hall!

Check out this beautiful reusable gift wrap option from WrapCouture,
suitable for any holiday:

And don't miss out on this fun assortment of cutie gift tags for any occassion
from designroots printed on recycled stock.

Give these recycled magazine and junk mail ornaments a once over from
LaAlicia -- great on the tree and to dress up packages.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the Jingle Bash -- November 21, 1-7p at the Sons of Hermann Hall. We'll see you there!

posted by Alicia

Eco•Ideas: Furoshiki

Furoshiki is a special cloth that originated in Japan that is used over and over to wrap gifts and plenty of other goodies.

These can be made out of any kind of fabric -- any fiber, solid or patterned. The most common sizes are 17.7" wide by 26.7-28.3" tall.
You can even make your own furoshiki using this tutorial and watch a video on how to wrap it up. For beginners a square shape is suggested -- it's easy to experiment with a bandana. Check out this guide to how to tie your own furoshiki.

Furoshiki means "bath spread" in Japanese. It is thought that these were originally used to bundle up clothes and personal items during the time of the public bath house. Over the years people began using the furoshiki for gift wrap, groceries, carrying books, purses,and accessories. Use of the furoshiki declined dramatically because of the popularity of plastic bags. There has been a renewed interested in furoshiki since it can help reduce our use of plastic and paper bags and reduce our impact on the earth.

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Eco•Ideas: Back To School

Many students here in North Texas are going back to school the last week of August. With that in mind, here are some ways to make the return to the classroom more eco-friendly and fun.

This adorable bag from Nerdbomber would be great for carrying your lunch. It's totally reusable and will save brown paper bags. Save plastic bags too. This bright colorful bag from b.licious is great for books and easy to recognize as your own. Fabric sandwich/snack bags are cute, functional and washable from BlackandWhiteAffair and Gnomeclothes. Reduce your use of plastic bags for lunch and snacks.

Ever notice how writing tools seem to disappear? They all look alike and you couldn't pick yours out of a line up? With this unique, fabulous, hand-beaded pen from mandibeads-- chances are that this pen will become a personal favorite and rarely leave your hand.

A home for all those brand new supplies is a great way to keep up with them. CutOutandCollect has beautiful little pouches in tons of fun patterns to choose from. (There is a combo to suit your personality.)

Colored Pencils? A geography class favorite. Here's a great way to get the pencils and a home for them. Check out this fun pencil wrap from thegreenlizard.

Keep those extra curricular activity schedules organized throughout the year. BrendaSWhite has some fun embellished clip boards to help you do just that.

This is a great opportunity, whether you're a student or not, to work on adding some more green habits to your daily routine. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

posted by Alicia

Eco•Ideas: Aluminum Foil

Have you noticed that your scissors aren't cutting like the used to? Have your favorite pinkers built up some gunk on the blades? Aluminum foil to the rescue. (Something you probably have in your kitchen already.) Who knew it could be useful to sharpen your craft tools?

Just use a small piece of foil and cut it with your not as sharp as they used to be/gunky scissors. Cut the foil several times with the scissors the same way you cut paper or fabric. The foil will sharpen them a bit and get the gunk off. It works the same way for paper punches. Put a single ply of foil in the punch at a time and punch away. Best thing about it all? When you get finished -- the foil is recyclable. Happy Cleaning and Sharpening!

Posted by Alicia of LaAlicia

Eco•Ideas: Bookmark

Today is exactly two weeks until Father's Day. Here's a fun little project to do with the kiddos for dad for Father's Day - create a fun book mark from things from around the house.

Some things to start with;
• a couple paint chips (these are around the house from selecting colors for those DIY projects)
• a map from a family vacation or adventure
• glue
• ribbon, string, odd shoelaces or cord
• scrapbook punches
• markers
• scissors
• stickers
• stamps

Start by picking a couple paint chips with fun color names or dad's favorite colors. Use punches and markers to decorate, glue the two chips together back to back. If you'd like to add a tie to the bookmark, punch one hole at the top and run your tie through and knot. Add a little note for dad wishing him a Happy Father's Day or telling him why you're happy he's YOUR dad. Embellish more with stickers, stamps, doodles, or fingerprints.

No two could possibly be alike and it's customizable depending on what you have around the house. No trip to the store and you're putting things that currently have no purpose to fun use.

Happy Crafting!

Posted by Alicia of LaAlicia

Eco•Ideas: Bead for Life

It's always feels good to purchase something beautiful that can help someone else in the process. This is part of what makes Bead for Life such a great idea. It's a program that connects U.S. consumers with a group of women beaders in Uganda who are working at escaping poverty. Check out their site and be sure to read the "meet the beaders" section of the site to get to know those multifaceted hard working beaders.

Before the Bead for Life program, many of the beaders were unemployed or worked for very low wages in rock quarries -- living on less than a dollar a day. This program provides a way for them to make a living and afford things we take for granted like a home and uniforms to send their children to school in. These women undergo training to learn how to make paper beads as well as how to run a small business. Bead for Life is a Fair Trade Federation member working toward equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and creating opportunities to alleviate poverty.

Check out this how-to-roll-paper-beads tutorial on their site - learn to recycle magazines and out of date calendars into beads.

posted by: Alicia of Alicia Colina-Ashby

Eco•Ideas: Finding Green Inspiration

Green crafting sometimes needs a little inspiration to get things percolating. The use of ordinary things in unsual ways to give them a second, third or fourth purpose.

This book, Cool Green Stuff by Dave Evans, is the perfect place to start. It's a picture book of inspirational material for crafters and artists -- eye candy. It's even printed on FSC certified paper. It has everything from computer keyboard purses to grocery cart chairs to measuring tape brooches. Some of the artist's are even fellow Etsians.

Although this book does not have DIY instructions for specific items, it has excellent photography on the majority of pages and even better upcycling ideas. Each page has a link to the artist's web page where you can read about the people who created these cool things and see what else they're up to.

Happy Reading!

posted by: Alicia of Alicia Colina-Ashby

Eco•Ideas: Get Organized The Green Way

The time change has happened, spring is approaching and it's a great time to give your crafting corner a green spring cleaning. Begin by thinking about how you'd like to organize your tools and supplies. In many cases you can reuse things like shoes boxes or cereal boxes and other everyday packaging to organize your work space. Reusable gift bags can come in handy for storing projects in progress. Small gift boxes are great for storing things like beads and jewelry findings while glass jars from food products can be washed out and reused to store spools of thread, buttons, sequins, etc.

As you clean up consider donating things you haven't used in the last year to a charity or trading with a fellow craftie. This is a fantastic way to redistribute the things you haven't used while letting someone else enjoy something new to them.
As the tidying continues, keep a shopping list for supplies that are getting low.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

posted by: Alicia of Alicia Colina-Ashby

Eco•Ideas: "Green" Valentines Day

Each year at Valentine's Day there are millions of cards bought, given, mailed and received. That’s a heck of a lot of virgin paper that eventually goes to the land fill. Instead, read the back of cards before purchasing -- look for cards that are FSC certified or that contain post consumer paper. By doing this, you are purchasing paper products that are recycled or made from trees harvested by entities that have a tree replanting program. This helps us all be a little easier on the earth.

Flower giving is wide spread tradition on Valentine's Day. Check out the beautiful organic flowers available at Organic Bouquet and be sure to compost them after you've enjoyed them. Their flowers are sustainably grown and certified organic. They have several bouquets available that donate 5% of the purchase price to charity. A definite win-win. Chocolate is another popular gift for Valentine's Day. This year try giving Endagered Species chocolates which are ethically traded, kosher and come in a reusable box not to mention delicious.

article by Alicia of Alicia Colina-Ashby

Eco•Ideas: Green Packaging

When you receive a package in the mail, what do you do with the packaging after you've opened it? Unfortunately, lots of packaging materials get thrown away.

Recycling and reusing can help save space in our landfills as well as save time and money going to buy new packaging materials. If still in usable condition, all these items work great a second and third time;
• boxes
• padded envelopes
• bubble wrap
• packing peanuts

These materials would also be appreciated and recycled by someone you know who is moving in the near future. Happy Recycling!

article by Alicia of Alicia Colina-Ashby

Eco•Ideas: Green Gift Wrap

Green Gift Wrap

Have you thought about making an effort to use green gift wrap this year? It's unusually pretty and you'll feel good about using it.

Using the newspaper after you've read it for gift wrap is great -- it gets one more use before it hits the recycle bin. Newspapers in other languages are good for this use -- since you can't read the words, they kind of form a pattern. The cartoon section is also good for this use since they are generally the most colorful pages. For small packages, using a page from a magazine can make a beautiful gift presentation. Just pick a page with a pretty picture and get to wrapping.

Click here for a tutorial on how to make your own gift bows out of magazine pages.

Set aside that sturdy little box that previously contained soap, a box that once housed cookies and perhaps a couple jewelry boxes before they get to the recycle bin. Hoard those little white plastic inner seals from juice and milk. Used in a group they make a cute little "bow-like" decorations for packages. Ornaments can also make beautiful package decorations.

There are so many gift items that can be used as the outside wrap and contain another gift inside. Just be creative! For instance, a fun little evening bag could be great gift wrap for opera/symphony tickets. A large glass storage container could contain a gift certificate for a cooking class and be disguised by a lovely set of kitchen towels. A gift card can easily be disguised in a box or other container. For those items that are just too big to wrap or have a shape that would be a giveaway, treasure hunt hints can be left to lead the recipient to a closet where the items are waiting.

article by Alicia of Alicia Colina-Ashby