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Archive for Eco-Friendly Crafts

July 18th, 2012

Recycled Robots and Vacation

 

Groovy Green Livin Vacation Green Road Sign

It’s Wednesday and all over the internet you will find photos with no words of explanation. Why? Because pictures say a thousand words and today is Wordless Wednesday.

This coming week I am going to be cutting back on my writing and focusing on some fun with my family. My oldest son is (finally!) home from 4 weeks at sleepaway camp. I can’t stop staring at him and looking for ways that he’s changed.  Of course I’ve been pummeling him with non-stop questions about every detail. I’m getting as much info as expected out of an 11 year old boy. He had a fantabulous time!

Before I sign off for a few days I wanted to share with you what my other two boys were working on while their older brother was at camp.

Recycled Robots

Thank you to the great people of the Flatbread Company for making interesting pizza boxes which are perfect for robot making.

Groovy Green Livin recycled robot

Here’s a closeup of the robots head. Yes, those are broken pencil lips. And it’s a bit hard to see, but he’s wearing an itty bitty hat.

Groovy Green Livin recycled robot head

Have a wonderful few days and I’ll see you back here soon!

Linked up with Crazy About My Baybah, I Thought I Knew MamaDagmar’s MomsenseMy Organized Chaos, Farmer’s Daughter, The Progressive Parent.

Vacation Green Road Sign | Stock Photo © Feverpitch #2329580

July 5th, 2012

5 Screen-Free Activities for Rainy Days

Groovy Green Livin boy in rain

The weather has been strange over the past few days. Intense thunderstorms hit for a few hours and then the sun decides to shine for the rest of the day. During the rainy hours it’s a given that my three boys will beg for screen time and electronics. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to say no.

The times I stick to my guns and say “no screen time right now” the kids seem to rally and use their creative juices to come up with some pretty fantastic alternatives. The next time a rainy day strikes try one of these activities to help keep boredom and begging for electronics at bay.

Toilet paper tubes marble run

Wondering what to do with those old toilet paper tubes? Save them and reuse them! On a rainy day pull out the bag of tubes and let your kids go crazy. We use masking tape to hold them together. The last marble run went down the stairs and around the family room. After using marbles gets old try using Match Box cars racing down the tubes.

Camp indoors-build a fort

It’s amazing what kids can do with a few blankets, sheets and towels. This never seems to get old even as my kids age. After the fort is constructed hand out a few flashlights and let the fun continue. We also have a pop-up tent that has served us well over the years. The kids love to set it up inside with blankets and pillows and other camping gear.

Talent show

Creating a talent show has been a favorite this summer. The kids make up a dance routine and practice over and over until their dance moves have been perfected. The prep work doesn’t end with the dance routines-they also make tickets, serve refreshments and have their very own MC and DJ. The best part-the adults don’t have to come up with their own routine. We were only asked to dance with the cast members in the finale.

Read together

My boys are 11, 10 and 8 and rain or shine we still like to spend time reading together. We don’t read aloud as much as we used to and most of the board books have been tucked away, but we still manage to find space and read quietly together. I hope this tradition will be around for a long time.

Bake cookies

Nothing helps a rainy day pass by like a batch of chocolate-chip cookies. Baking together encourages team-work and independence. My boys love to cook. They make eggs, french toast, pancakes and muffins. All three are pretty self-sufficient and really do most of the cooking on their own. I’m only needed for supervision and an occasional question, but I get to enjoy the final product!

How do you spend rainy days?

Photo #26195170 © Miredi Fotolia

Linked up with Seasonal Celebrations Sunday.

April 10th, 2012

Kid-Friendly Crafts with Recycled Materials

 

recycled art

Kids never cease to amaze me. Not just my own, all kids. They are so innovative and creative. When my three boys turn their creativity on there’s no stopping them. They cruise around the house searching for odds and ends for their masterpieces. They come to me with strange requests: “mom, do we have any fishing line?”, “I’m looking for goggles, preferably blue”, “Do we have any diapers?”.  Once they have secured the items needed one never quite knows what these simple, repurposed and recycled items will become.

Why recycled?

We live in a use-and-toss society where most of the time we don’t give a second thought to using an item once and then tossing it. If we stopped before tossing we might realize that some of those items that seem ripe for the trash could be used by our children and turned into something completely spectacular.  Recycling materials that we already have will also save us a few pennies and prevent more ‘stuff’ from entering our overflowing landfills.

Be green. Create recycled masterpieces

Most of us have access to yarn, fabric, glue, crayons and paper. You don’t need much more to create a recycled work of art.

Here are a few great recycled craft ideas for reusing things commonly found in your home.

Star Wars Star Fighter aka Rocket Ship

recycled rocket ship

  • 4 Popsicle sticks
  • Masking tape
  • Old pen covers
  • 2 Binder clips
  • Paint
  • Extra sticks
  • Something creative for the motor

Finger knitting

recycled yarn for finger knittingYep. My boys love finger knitting. We have an assortment of yarn lying around our house from various projects. Finger knitting has become a big hit and a great way to use up the scraps of yarn. Wondering how to finger knit? It’s very simple. Here are DIRECTIONS.

Recycled car/robot thingy

I’m not really sure what to call this creation, but I love it.

recycled project

  • 6 Jar lids
  • 2 Straws
  • A lot of masking tape
  • Paint

If you are in the market for Safer, Greener Art Supplies and Activities take a peek HERE for some inspiration.

Do you have a favorite art project that uses recycled materials?

February 9th, 2012

Groovy Green Livin on Pinterest

Groovy Green Livin Pinterest

I’ve jumped in head first. Have you? Pinterest is my new hobby aka time suck. I’m spending A LOT of time finding really cool things and in the process discovering great sites that I might not otherwise come across. I have so many ideas for boards that my head is spinning. Today I created a board for Eco Valentines Crafts with Kids.  Let me know if you have any good craft projects to add to the board (or any of the boards).

One of my favorite pins is 10 ways to cook quinoa. It has more protein per ounce than meat!

Don’t know what Pinterest is?

Don’t let that stop you. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Let me know if you’d like an invite-you need one to join.

If you are a Pinterest newbie HERE are a few tips to get you started. If you are a Pinterest veteran HERE‘s a post that will make you laugh.

Follow Me on Pinterest

I’m really having fun following so many of you. I’m amazed at the number of creative ideas out there. So let’s connect on Pinterest. Come and find me and I’ll follow you back.

Are you on Pinterest? What do you think so far?

January 27th, 2012

Groovy Green Friday Round-Up

airplane

There are so many exciting things happening in the green blogosphere. The news ranges from the new USDA nutrition standards for school lunches to a study showing drinking red wine in moderation could reduce your risk of breast cancer.

I’ve been jet setting around the web over the past few weeks and wanted to share a few of the places I’ve landed.

Climate Change

Climate change is a growing concern throughout the world.  In an effort to take action and inspire others to join in, the mighty women of the Green Moms Carnival collectively joined voices to speak out and share what we’re doing to fight climate change.  My post, Four Resolutions to Fight Climate Change, is included among the many other suggestions for fighting climate change.

Wintery Weather

Snow and ice has made an appearance in many parts of the world.  Many conventional snow and ice removal products contain toxic chemicals. These nasty chemicals could end up tracked into our homes on the bottom of shoes and boots. They could also end up in our yards, on our sidewalks and in our waterways once the snow and ice begin to melt.

Thankfully, there are a few ways to keep your driveways and sidewalks clear of snow and ice without using toxic chemicals.  Click HERE to read more.

Ready to Abandon Those Resolutions?

If you need that little extra push to help your resolutions stick, hop on over to the J.R. Watkins Clear Conscience Blog for a few tips to keep you motivated and on track for 2012 and beyond.

Reuse and Repurpose

The saying goes: “One person’s trash may be another person’s treasure.” We live in a use-and-toss society where most of the time we don’t give a second thought to using an item once and then tossing it. If we stopped before tossing we might realize that some of those items that seem ripe for the trash can be repurposed into something completely different for our own use. That trash could become our own treasure.

There are so many creative ways to reuse and repurpose everyday items we find in our homes. Head on over to Healthy Child Healthy World for this week’s round-up of posts on repurposing and reusing. I’m honored that my post, 3 Creative Ideas for Reusing and Repurposing, was selected as the Blog of the Week.

Have yourselves a very groovy green weekend! Any big plans?

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Luis Argerich/Flickr]

January 24th, 2012

3 Creative Ideas for Reusing and Repurposing

Repurposed toilet paper rolls

The saying goes: “One person’s trash may be another person’s treasure.”  We live in a use-and-toss society where most of the time we don’t give a second thought to using an item once and then tossing it. If we stopped before tossing we might realize that some of those items that seem ripe for the trash  can be repurposed into something completely different for our own use. That trash could become our own treasure.

Why repurpose or reuse?

Repurposing something is different than recycling. Recycling is the process  by which old goods are re-manufactured, allowing them to be turned into new products. Reusing or repurposing is taking a product that’s already in existence and lengthening its life by using it for something new.

Reusing can help keep our earth healthy and green.

  • Reusing something keeps it out of an overflowing landfill.
  • Reusing conserves natural resources.
  • When you reuse a product you consume less. This will ultimately save you money over time.
  • Reusing a product reduces your health risks. In most cases, an item already in circulation has  off-gassed its harmful VOCs (that “new” smell).

Many of us are already in the habit of using reusable bags when we head out to the market. This is a fantastic step in the reusable direction. There are many other ways to reuse a product. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Toilet paper rolls for planting seedlings

repurposed toilet paper roll

No need to buy peat pots when you can make your own biodegradable pots out of something you already have in your home — toilet paper rolls. Cut the rolls in half and fold in the bottom of the roll as shown above. Add soil and seeds and you have your very own peat pot.

Wooden clementine box for stuffed animal or doll bed

repurposed clementine box

We go through a lot of clementines in our house and they usually come in a wooden crate to prevent the fruit from being crushed. If you have a few of these crates lying around they can be repurposed into an adorable little stuffed animal or doll bed.

Empty glass jars repurposed for storage

repurposed glass jarsEmpty glass jars can be repurposed into storage containers for nails, screws, bolts and other hardware. Different sized jars can also work well for food and spice storage.

What have you repurposed?

 

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Girl in Gear Studio, How Can I Recycle This/Flickr]

 

 

December 6th, 2011

Eco-Friendly Holiday Crafts to Make with Kids

Groovy Green Livin Holiday Crafts

Unseasonably warm weather in the northeast makes it hard to fathom that the holidays are fast approaching. Many of us look forward to the time off from school and time together as a family-that is until those dreaded words are spoken: “Mom, I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”

It’s like nails on a chalk board and the scenario is the same time and time again. After the words are uttered I spend the next  few minutes suggesting all the incredible options available: “you could build something with one of the 12 marble sets in the basement, or how about working on one of our 300 puzzles?”-but of course none of the suggestions are worthy of their time.

My three boys (ages 8, 9 and 11) thankfully enjoy cooking and doing crafty projects,  so this vacation we will be well armed with plenty to do including a few holiday crafts.

Here are two holiday crafts to keep us all sane and entertained:

Green craft projectOjo de Dios or God’s Eye

This craft comes from western Mexico and is symbolic of the power of seeing and understanding that which is unknown and unknowable.  I have been making this simple decoration since I was a kid. Once my kids get started we usually end up with many.

What you will need:

Instructions:

  1. Cut off a long piece of yarn.
  2. Cross the sticks at the center. Tie them together with the end of a piece of yarn, making an X, but don’t cut the yarn off .
  3. eco-friendly craft projectTake the yarn and wrap it over and around one stick, then over and around the next, over and around the next, and so on. Keep doing that until the color is used up.
  4. Tie a different color yarn onto the old one with a tight knot.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you almost reach the end of the stick.
  6. Tie the end of the yarn in a knot around one of the sticks. Make a loop if you plan to hang the decoration.

Hang them on your tree or all over your home.

reusuable tote bagReusable Gift Bag Craft

We are always looking for alternatives to conventional wrapping paper. Reusable bags make fabulous gift bags that will hopefully be reused again and again. For this craft we take plain beige reusable bags and make them much more festive. It’s a great way to add a personal touch to a holiday gift.

What you will need:

  • Plain canvas reusable bags. I bought mine at a local craft store in a beige color.
  • Fabric markers

Instructions:

Now that my kids are a little older I have them Pokemon reusable gift bagsketch their design on a piece of white paper. Once they have done that they are ready to go.

Do you have any holiday crafts to share?

[Photos used under Creative Commons by Rikkis Refuge, Carissa Rogers/Flickr]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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