12 posts tagged diy
We love this idea! You don’t need a farm to grow your own food. Here are several crops you can grow at home!
Recycle those old colanders!
Upcycling + Home Gardening = Fresh fruits veggies for everyone!
And we’re a fan of this great list that shows us how to grow potatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, and 7 other examples of tasty produce at home and with relative ease.
Buzzfeed collects 41 different ways that you can upcycle broken materials around your home into various highly useful implements. A bit of advice - some of these ideas require a decent level of DIY ingenuity and crafting skill to complete successfully.
Get excellent results without putting toxic chemicals down the drain.
Check out these 3 environmentally friendly DIY cleaning products that you can make at home.
Instructables has quite a few guides on how to make Solar USB Chargers, including the very well done guide on how to combine a Lady Ada Minty Boost circuit with a solar + lithium ion battery. Great, but a bit expensive to make and not a very simple project for the weekend DIY person.
Well luckily for us I know how to make one for under $20 that is better in nearly every way and also completely fits into an Altoids Tin. Covert style.
(If you want a more powerful USB Charger, a Heavy Duty one, I have an instructable for that as well.)
Wow! Read up on these two different methods of constructing a DIY Solar USB Charger that fits into an Altoids box.
Today in #DIY #upcycle awesomeness: Wine crates + Binder Clips = Shelves!
Reclaim your old electronics as planters for your home garden. #DIY #Upcycle
Greening Your Holiday Gift Wrap
Sharing gifts with family and friends during the holiday season is fun and joyous for most of us. Finding the perfect presents for everyone on your gift-giving list is usually followed by carefully selecting bright, colorful paper and bows to wrap those precious expressions of your love. For many of us today, we also want to show our concern for the environment by choosing green eco-friendly packaging and gift-wrap like gift-wrap that is made with recycled paper. That is a great start, but If you are wondering how to make your gifting more environmentally friendly we have a few suggestions.
Wrapping For Reducing the Waste
One way to reduce the pile of left over holiday gift wrap is to choose alternative wrapping materials that can easily be re-purposed after the holidays. You can also salvage large remnants from year to year. By ironing on the reverse side with a low setting, some gift wrap can be restored to a wrinkle free surface, trimmed and used next season. Check out these other fun suggestions.
1. Wrap gifts in kitchen towels, linen napkins, T-shirts or other fabric instead of paper gift wrap. If you are creative you can have lots of fun with this one. Wrap concert tickets in a T-shirts that features the performing artist or group. Use large kitchen towels around cutlery or small, counter-top appliances, bundle favorite cologne and toiletries in a soft, luxurious over-sized bath towel-you get the picture. You can even fill a creel with a nice assortment of fishing gear for the angler in the family.
2. Use the Sunday comics to envelop your literary selection for the avid reader or joke teller in the family.
3. Instead of wrapping your gift of jewelry, present those necklaces, rings and baubbles on a ribbon around the neck of an adorable teddy bear or inside a trinket box tied with a bow and suspended from a branch on the tree along with the other decorations.
Recycling What is Left
Most communities have recycling programs for Christmas trees, cardboard and paper. Foil and other metallic paper is normally not recyclable, but you should check with your local center to find out if they had alternative solutions. Talk to your green co-workers and find out what they do with their holiday left-overs. Brainstorm at the office and offer a free latte to the one that comes up with the most creative idea for recycling. Past creative thinkers have come up with some of the green, crafty, and surprising solutions like these:
1. Create intricate and beautiful origami figures as gifts or to display on your own mantle or side tables.
2. Use gift wrap to create beautiful green pieces of jewelry, note cards or placemats. There are numerous books, videos and online references to get you started. Three links are included here that will help inspire you to get your own creative juices flowing.
Paper earrings: You can use more or fewer sheets of wrapping paper to adjust the shape and weight.
Paper placemats: Consider recycling your excess cardboard for the backing instead of buying foam or cardstock.
Making notecards: Get the kids involved with this project.
3. Trim and iron remnants of paper and donate them to daycare centers or nursing homes that have craft projects on an on-going basis. This facilities are normally excited to receive project supplies. Check with the activity director before you drop off any items.
One solution for recycling the foil papers and cardboard at the same time is to make your own gift trays for New Year celebrations and treat sharing. Crinkle the foil by pressing into a ball and then gently unroll the piece to flatten. Cover a 9 X 13 rectangle (or any shape of your choosing) of cardboard with the remnant. Serve cookies or snacks on the finished tray to give your table a festive touch or use these trays for food gifts you are sharing with neighbors and family.
One quirky and fun way to reuse corrugated cardboard is to tear pieces into shapes about the size of a standard post card. Add a witty note on one side and use the other to fill in the address of someone that could use some cheering up in an unconventional way. The post office has mailed these non-standard post cards in the past, but be sure to check with a clerk to see if additional postage for size or weight is needed before dropping them in the box.
It is easy to make your gift giving greener with a little thought and ingenuity. Finding ways to reduce, recycle and reuse around the holidays is just one more way that you can say you care. Have fun with the holidays and then have fun recycling for the future.
Go Green With Your Gift Giving With These 7 Eco-Friendly Gifts
You can make a lot of impact with the gifts you give to others by choosing environmentally friendly items for the people on your gift list. Green gift giving isn’t just for the holiday season. You can opt for green gifts all year long for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and any other occasion. In fact, eco-friendly options exist for kid, adult, family and even business gifts. A great place to do your shopping for green gifts is the Etsy online marketplace, which specializes in handmade items from people and small businesses from all over the world. Many, but not all, of the items listed for sale on Etsy are eco-friendly products made from re-purposed and recycled materials. If you prefer to buy gadgets or other products either made from recycled materials or designed to be fully recyclable when no longer in use, then you might have some difficulty with that on Etsy but other retailers do offer such items. Take a peek below at seven of the hottest eco-friendly items you can give as gifts this year.
1. Bottle Cap Earrings
A fun re-purposed green gift for women is a set of bottle cap jewelry. A variety of Etsy sellers have bottle cap earrings, bottle cap necklaces and bottle cap bracelets available for purchase. Most of the bottle cap jewelry relies on the drink logo and nothing else is done to enhance or change that in anyway. However, some sellers are modifying the bottle caps by flattening them or adding other designs or fabric to them. Most of the jewelry does feature beer bottle caps, but you can find some that use more child-friendly soda bottle caps.
2. Aluminum Can Art
Both soda cans and beer cans are used by Etsy sellers to create numerous types of art, trinket and geeky gift options. This is a great choice for office gifts as well as those hard to shop for people on your list. Some of the more unique green offerings of aluminum can art include a Bud Light cans train set, Coca-Cola can angel ornaments, magnets, mirror frame and a SODABOT pseudo robot.
3. Wine Bottle Light
A cool gift idea for the office or home is a re-purposed wine bottle light. The lights are available in different styles, including just a single bottle or several bottles, such as a bar hanging light. While many of the bottles are simple and make use of the color or design already on the wine bottle, you can also find embellished bottles where the seller has added paint, stones or other designs to the bottle exterior. You can even find some designed as night lights for children.
4. Sweater Toys
Kids of all ages will love the recycled sweater toys that are available from Etsy. They can even be given as pet toys. A wide variety of shapes and fabrics are available, just be sure to check fabric type against any allergies that the gift recipient may have. Giving a child one of these sweater toys ensures that they will have something unlike that of any of their friends.
5. ATP Earth Drive
If someone on your gift list is into gadgets and electronics, then a portable USB may be the perfect gift. Instead of buying a traditional plastic USB thumb drive, go ecogeek with an ATP Earth Drive. It is made from biodegradable and recyclable materials, which makes it completely recyclable. As a bonus, the company donates a portion of sales towards planting trees with the American Forests organization. Amazon.com, Wal-Mart and a variety of other retailers sell the ATP Earth Drive.
6. GreenSmart Backpacks, Messenger Bags and Sleeves & Cases for Laptops and Tablets
The GreenSmart company makes a variety of different items for carrying around all of your technology in an environmentally friendly way. All of the products made by the company are at least partially derived from recycled plastic bottles. The other materials used in the making of the products average less energy and petroleum byproducts than their conventional counterparts. Additionally, 10 percent of GreenSmart profits are donated to environmentally friendly organizations. The green geek on your list will love these sturdy cases for their gadgets.
7. Reclaimed Rope Door Mat
You can help Maine lobstermen keep old float ropes out of landfills by buying a reclaimed marine rope door mat rug. The lobstermen are converting to heavier ropes as North Atlantic Right Whales tend to get caught up in these float ropes, which are practically indestructible. Sold by Gaiam, the door mats are mildew resistant, durable, and keep the ropes out of landfills.
Regardless of who you have left on your gift list, you are certain to find a great eco-friendly gift for each person that you still need to shop for this year.
Add Green to Your Orange and Black for an Eco-Friendly Halloween!
Though Halloween is a pretty fun day, it can also be a wasteful time of year. We tend to buy costumes we wear once, buy new decorations every year and so on. We think more about the fun of the occasion than about the effect our choices will have on the environment. But there are some simple changes you can make this year to have an eco-friendly Halloween that’s still spooky and fun (and help you save some money in the process).
It’s expensive and wasteful to buy new costumes every year. Instead, here are a few tips to recycle, reuse or create costumes:
1. Organize a costume swap. Your neighbors, friends, co-workers, family members and the community at large probably have costumes their children have outgrown or are tired of, and you probably have old costumes in your closet. Many of these Halloween costumes are only worn once and then tossed aside or discarded. Organize an intimate or community-wide swap program where you get to choose a costume for every costume you bring. Do the same with accessories like masks, hats and wigs.
2. Turn old costume pieces or wardrobe pieces into a “new” costume. For example, a graduation gown could be used to create a Harry Potter character or a judge. A vampire cape could be used for a sci-fi or fantasy character. Add accessories or makeup to create a baby look with your regular pajamas, to turn Western wear into a cowboy or cowgirl, to make a hippie with some bell bottoms, or to create other simple characters.
In addition, you always have the old standbys of turning a sheet into a ghost or a toga. Make them more creative and fun by holding a flashlight under the sheet to make the ghost glow or by painting or drawing a scary face on the sheet in addition to cutting eye holes. Create a crown from simple wire and add a belt to complete the toga costume.
3. Add to simple black clothing to create a costume. You can create many different costumes by starting with plain black clothes by sewing, painting, drawing or adding accessories. Add stitches to the clothes with white thread or paint bones on it with fabric glue to create a skeleton – you could even use glow-in-the-dark fabric glue.
A simple black dress can be used for many different costumes throughout the years when you add accessories. It could work for a witch, a cat, the bride of Frankenstein and more. Boys and girls can become monsters and zombies with a simple black outfit and a mask or makeup.
4. Utilize makeup. All you really need is makeup to create certain costumes. For example, you can wear plain clothing and use makeup to create a zombie with a simple technique or a more complicated and realistic technique, a monster, a simple cat or a more elaborate one, other types of animals, a pumpkin and many other fun Halloween creatures or characters. If the look isn’t quite right, add simple accessories like a homemade mask or an old hat. For example, create simple cat ears with a headband and some felt or construction paper.
Try to be eco-friendly with your Halloween decorations as well. Reuse Halloween decorations from year to year instead of always buying new. Everything will still be exciting and fresh when you haven’t seen it for a year.
But if you yawn every time you see that ceramic pumpkin, buy some used decorations from garage sales, thrift stores or auction websites. Holiday decorations are popular items at these types of venues because they’re used once a year and people end up with too many or they get bored like you. You could also trade decorations with family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors, just as you did with costumes.
One idea to make yourself is a Halloween candle jar. Clean out and strip off the label of a used glass jar that was used for pickles, salsa or other foods. Use glass paint and create a jack-o-lantern, fall leaves, a zombie or any festive design. Add a candle and you have a glowing decoration you can reuse year after year.
You can also make some small changes in addition to the costumes and decorations. Try to promote organic, environmentally-friendly treats to pass out. Think about the packaging, the ingredients and the company values when you buy your treats. As for carrying your treats, avoid throw-away candy bags. Instead, choose a bucket or sack that can be reused every year.
For a jack-o-lantern and decorative displays, choose organically grown pumpkins, gourds and other produce. Organically-grown produce is grown with natural methods, is held to stringent regulations and is processed without un-natural pesticides and preservatives.
Consider changing your candles for your Halloween ambiance. Regular candles are made of a petroleum byproduct so they let off unhealthy toxins into the air. Try electronic candles instead, which will continue to shine without going through endless wax candles. You might enjoy lighting pumpkin and other fall-inspired scents during the Halloween season. If this is the case, try soy candles. They do not have the same chemicals as regular candles.
Overall, try to simply think about the environment when you make choices for Halloween. Small changes can make a big difference, especially when you carry them out year after year. Then, do the same for every holiday!
(Photo by jaybergesen)
What’s All the Buzz About Homemade Laundry Detergent?
If you’re a big pinner on Pinterest, you’ll notice a lot of pins going around on making homemade laundry detergent. There’s a big reason why it’s so popular, when you make your own laundry detergent it costs about 1¢/load! There’s no laundry detergent sold in stores that can match that price! You’re also controlling what goes into your laundry detergent since it’s made with such few and mostly natural ingredients. Many people have commented that this type of homemade laundry detergent is also safe for all high efficiency (HE) washing machines as it contains no sudsing agents. If you don’t prefer scent-free laundry detergent you can always add a few drops of essential oils such as lemon or lavender to the detergent to give your clothes a fresh scent.
- A two gallon plastic bucket, preferably with a spout for pouring.
- 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap (but you can also use Ivory or castile bar soap)
- 1/2 cup of borax (Water softening and laundry booster. It also interacts with ferrous surfaces to form a coating that protects the metal from corrosion. For fun, you and your kids can make Slime with it.)
- 1/2 cup of washing soda (removes grease, oil, and helps soften water)
- Two gallon jugs (old detergent bottles are perfect)
- 2 gallons of water. (Unless you have a water softener, distilled water works best. Tap water can usually contain lime and dissolved metals that can interact with the soap ingredients and reduce their effectiveness. For example, soaps form insoluble salts (soap scum clumps) in acidic or hard water and this can weaken the ability of this soap concentrate to mix smoothly.)
- Grate 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap.
NOTE: Wear rubber gloves when grating the soap! It is very concentrated and will irritate your skin.
- In a sauce pan, warm 6 cups of water. Stir in the soap shreds until they dissolve.
- Add borax and washing soda until they also disolve. Remove from heat.
- Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bucket then add the soap mixture. Stir this in the bucket until it has a uniform consistancy.
- Fill bucket with more water. Let stand for 24 hours to gel. Pour into plastic jugs.
- Use 1/2 cup per load. ALWAYS shake the jug before you use it as the detergent ingredients will separate when left to stand.
This version of this recipe does about 64 loads and is safe for septic systems and high efficiency washers. Your results may differ so tweak the ingredient concentrations until you find the best one for you.
Is there a homemade alternative to fabric softener? Though it doesn’t give you snuggly-soft towels or blankets that you’re used to with commercial fabric softener, you can use distilled white vinegar . It will remove static cling, help fix dyes to new clothes, rinses excess soap from your washer, and breaks down smelly protein-chains (like urine). It also dissolves lime deposits from the rinse water that can make fabric stiff and uncomfortable. Plus, it’s non-allergenic because it doesn’t contain whiteners or perfumes. If you’re worried about your clothes smelling like pickles, don’t fret! The smell dissipates very quickly and all you’re left with is clean, soft clothes.
Have any of you guys tried making your own homemade natural laundry detergent or fabric softener? Tell is in the comments if you loved or hated it! You can also tweet us about your experience with homemade laundry detergent at @BounceEnergy.
(Photo by Magic Madzik)
Repurposed Vintage Luggage