LOVE these felt fruits and veggies.
LOVE these felt fruits and veggies.
By Marisa Belger for Green Goes Simple
The jars came first. Instead of sending my growing collection of empty glass receptacles to their usual fate at the bottom of the recycle bin, I did something unexpected — something wild. I peeled off their labels and plopped them in the dishwasher.
I wanted to see just what would happen if I gave these jars another chance. Full disclosure: I was motivated not only by the thought of transforming trash into something new, something useful, even something cool, but also by the fact that jars were clogging up my kitchen. You see, we’re a jar-centric family, tearing through what I’m starting to believe is an abnormal amount of pickles, mustard (the spicy French and yellow varieties), sauces of both apple and tomato, and jams and jellies.
Bright and sparkling, fresh from a wash, empty jars were exactly what I was missing. Without their labels and sticky contents, these vessels found instant new homes as beverage glasses (drinking jars are big on rustic charm), loose-change receptacles, pen holders, and — my all-time favorite — vases. Nobody can resist a mason jar filled with daisies. Nobody.
Not a fan of pickles? No problem. Jars aren’t the only way to reuse that which you’d otherwise throw out. Paper towel tubes, shoe boxes and detergent bottles are all contenders for a useful second act.
Paper Towel Tubes
Pulling the last paper towel from the roll used to signal the end of something, but now it’s the start of something new. Paper towel tubes in their natural state are the ultimate building blocks for art projects — they provide hours of rainy day entertainment with kids — and they serve practical purposes too. Try these ideas:
Detergent/Fabric Softener Bottles
Empty, clean detergent and fabric softener bottles can be transformed into hand-held shovels or scoops (simply use a utility knife to cut off the bottom off the bottle). Adults and kids can use these in the garden and at the beach. Bonus: remove the cap and you have a funnel!
Yes, shoe boxes are ideal for household organizing (think: recipe cards, old love letters, office items, sewing supplies, Legos, electric cords and much more). But they’re even more versatile than that. Moving? Shoe boxes are ideal for packing smaller, loose items like tchotchkes, silverware, medicine bottles and the like. Gifting? Cover them with decorative paper, and you’ve got a homemade (and let’s admit it — more meaningful!) present package.
Marisa Belger’s work has appeared in Travel + Leisure Family, Natural Health, Prevention and on the TODAYShow.com. She was a founding editor of Lime.com — which specialized in wellness and sustainable living — and she collaborated with author Josh Dorfman on his bestselling books, The Lazy Environmentalist and The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget.
One of our favorite mediums is crayons on cardboard. I love the way the colors look on the tan cardboard.
Lately we have been going through more art supplies. Crayons get broke into tiny pieces and become unusable. Play doh doesn’t get put away becomes hard. We paint on the front and back of everything possible.
I am keeping all of the bits of crayons thinking someday I will melt them together and make one big crayon or some cool shapes like these.
I have seen a lot of recipes for homemade play dough but I haven’t tried any yet, Do you have any that you recommend?
Here are a couple great websites I have came across while looking for eco art supplies :
Clementine Art -Natural. Fresh. Real. I am going to have to check these supplies out. I am especially curious about the paint(especially for my art projects)
Eco-kids eco-kids is dedicated to offering art supplies for creative play the natural way using only the most natural ingredients and eco-friendly packaging.
Check out this “GREEN” toy . I love the company that makes it, Green Toys Inc. – Environmentally Friendly Eco Toys, Safe, No BPA or Phthalates – Made in USA.
I have been thinking about what it means to be a Green Mom today. Of course it means you recycle and reduce your footprint as much as possible. I am trying to be a little more “green” everyday but I am far from perfect or “certified green”. I still drive a car that uses gas, I eat meat, we use papertowels, etc… but I am making a conscious effort everyday to be greener. I believe every little bit helps and that is why I started this blog. I want to find cool green toys, green activities, and other green kids products and share them here.
Here are few things I am doing to be more “green”
1. I try to buy organic sustainable food for my home. I have also started looking buying local whenever it’s an option, farmer’s market are great for this!
2. Try to buy green products for us whenever possible, including toys and clothes(my two favorite things to buy) I have also started passing on products that come with a ton of packaging. Is it really necessary to have things in so many boxes just to do more advertising?
3. Seeking out green, cool, earth friendly clothes for the whole family.
4. Teaching my son about recycling, conservation, composting, and reducing waste.
Please tell me what it means to you to be a “Green Mom”?