Archive for the ‘ Going Green ’ Category

The Last Straw

diy_strawzI not sure why I have such a fascination with straws or when it began but in case any of you share in this odd obsession, here are some of my absolute favorites. Think Geek has a DIY straw where you can fasten and create your own straw contraption. No sense pretending you are going to share this one with the kids, it’s too much fun. Another great find at Think Geek is an ice straw – the mold is made of food-grade silicone rubber and will quickly make six 8-inch straws of whatever liquid you like.

Whether you’re on the go during a hectic day, dining with your family or strawsomerelaxing with a smoothie on the front porch, Strawesome (seriously the name) has a reusable drinking straw to fit your needs. They offer a wide variety of designs from plain to decorative and even a special style just for kids. Angie Papple at Helium gives a great testimony on why you should use glass drinking straws for your own health and the environment.

Not so comfortable carrying a glass straw around with you? Try reusable bamboo strawsbamboo straws from Global Exchange. A little trickier to keep clean but still keeps plastic straws out of the landfill and what a fun gift idea for a host or hostess. My advice … sip into something more comfortable and enjoy.

 


Ewww – what’s that smell?

Sometimes someone else just puts together the perfect article that I know is directly aligned with Life Simplified. Today is such a day that I came across this fabulous piece about PVC Free Shower Curtains. Lindsay from Passionate Homemaking explains the noxious smell from a new shower liner / curtain is PVC plastic (#3 plastic) that leaches out gases & toxic odors that you really want to avoid if all possible. Studies have shown that these vinyl curtains contain high concentrations of chemicals that are linked to shower curtainliver damage as well as damage to the central nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems, some of which can remain around for up to a month after installing.

I had actually read about to possible dangers of PVC a while back and found PVC free liners from IKEA that cost $1.99 (in store only). This one is made from PEVA which is non-vinyl (PVC-free), chlorine-free, biodegradable and affordable. KOHL’S & Amazon both carry PEVA liners as well.

Both Lindsay from Passionate Homemaking and Maureen from The Alternative Consumer also suggest looking past the plastic and into even “greener” options such “organic cotton, hemp, bamboo or linen.  Extra perks for hemp, it’s anti-microbial, doesn’t need a liner, and it’s really durable so it’ll last. Even plain old conventionally grown cotton is a better choice than vinyl.  At least you can wash any these natural fabrics and keep reusing them for as long as you like.”  Pristine Planet is a green comparison shopping site that has many curtain choices in cotton and hemp so I’m sure you’ll be able to find one that matches your needs.

“When You Care Enough…

… To Send the The Very Best” used to be one of the most recognized slogans for Hallmark cards and I used to be really good at remembering birthdays and other occasions to send cards. Now-a-days I wait for facebook to tell me when there’s a birthday (or other important date) and I send a quick one liner but it seems far away from the time and care that I used to take in picking out the perfect card for someone.

So, I’ve come up with a compromise – ecards. There’s more thought than a one liner but I’m saving time, money and the environment but utilizing modern technology. Here are a few of my favorites:

Sketch29StoryPeople has a great site that lets you choose from Quick Cards where you can pick by theme or if you have a little time, you can Create Your Own and find the perfect story, put it with the perfect e-card & send it to the perfect person. Smilebox is another site that lets you create an ecard, add photo, music and email for free. Perfect for Thank Yous, Grandparent’s Day or any occasion!

If your (or the recipient’s) style is more lowbrow, check out Rattlebox that literally has an ecard/video that is called Party Till You Puke – enough said. Finally, my former coworker, Matt, first introduced me to some ee cards with a fantastic (borderline offensive) laugh-out-loud card. Their selection of flirting cards has the potential to make you blush and there is something for absolutely every occassion, including break-ups. So when you care enough to “hit send”, you’ve got a lot of choices in ecards.

Gettin’ Crafty with Lucy

Every morning I get up at 5:00 am to enjoy the quiet before the rest of the house gets up, and to work on adding to my virtual crafty collection filled with over 200 tutorials I’ve picked up from talented, frugal and funny people all over the blogosphere.  This collection includes the complex and useful like this Adirondack chair, 27829_392674644542_613094542_4117298_1175851_nand the quick, easy, and not as useful- like this little knitted mouse, to everything in between.  Which is why I’m loving summer…

Summer  hours seem longer and more plentiful and I’ve been taking advantage of this “extra time” to start crafting.  After one very expensive trip to Michaels, I decided I’d work on using materials I already own.  Here’s what I’ve been up to…

I wanted to start with something easy so I got hooked on making Origami Mommy’s tiny origami baskets, the perfect holder for little toys or a few pieces of candy.  Over at How About Orange,  there is a really good tutorial Magazine-bow-finishedon making gift bows from recycled magazine pages.  I am going to start stockpiling these Read the rest of this entry

There’s Something in the Water

Well, there must be considering the amount of bottled water that we consume every day. Now hear me out, I’m a former bottled water addict and it’s taken a long time for me to change. One helpful shift occurred when a friend sent me this video from the great people who created The Story of Stuff. Give it a look when you have a chance or feel free to jump into other suggestions that I have below that can help ease you out of your addiction as well.

If you’d like to drink more tap water but are concerned about the quality of your water, visit the EPA’s Safewater site to see if your community’s Consumer Confidence Report is available. If you are somewhere that you are unsure of the water quality, try these new Bobbles.  Just one Bobble bottle 86636(with filter) is equivalent to 300 water bottles-that’s 300 plastic bottles that won’t go to a landfill! BPA-free, reusable and recyclable, the revolutionary Bobble offers a refreshingly clean taste with every sip, bottle after bottle. Filter lasts about 2 months.

The other great choice is the Vapur, the foldable, reusable water bottle designed to go anywhere. Unlike rigid bottles, Vapur greencan be rolled, folded or flattened when empty – easily fitting into pockets, purses, packs or briefcases. Read the rest of this entry

Ant Bully

I try to have an informal agreement with all insects … I will not harm you in your outside environment, but if you come into my abode, all bets are off.  However, the best thing for me is to try and prevent them from getting inside so we don’t have a problem in the first place. In the last few weeks, I’ve had multiple friends complain to me about ants. None of us want to get into heavy, toxic sprays so I tested a few organic remedies. formichina_architetto_fr_01

Natrual Remedies For ? is a great site for all things curative in the most natural sense and provides an arsenal of information about ants. After testing a few of their suggestions, I found the most effective (and easiest) to be: Cinnamon – To keep ants out of the house and/or garden, try sprinkling a bit of ground cinnamon about the base of the house & Plant Leaves – Scatter the leaves of penny royal, tansy, mint and/or bay leaves on the surfaces that ants frequent.  

About.com:Frugal Living consistently provides me with money saving solutions, and they also have a great section on ants. From their suggestions, I tried and had some success with the following: Vinegar – Wipe down your counter tops, cupboards and any other places where you’ve spotted ants with a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water. Repeat throughout the day to maintain the efficacy; Coffee Grounds – Sprinkle your used coffee grounds in the garden and around the outside of your house;  Cucumber/Citrus Peels – Leave the peelings in areas of known ant activity.

Let me know if you’ve had success with other natural remedies for the sake of ants everywhere!

Don’t Bug Me!

From where I sit, it’s finally getting warmer and I’m getting to enjoy my beloved outdoors. However, as per usual, the outdoors comes with pesky bugs and mosquitoes. I’m not a big DEET person, nor do I enjoy the scent of OFF which reminds me of  girlscout camp so here are a few of my favorite, more natural alternatives.

Gaiam.com offers these great Geraniol Insect-Repellent Wristbands. “Slip a band around your wrist, ankle or belt; encapsulated geraniol – a plant-based, odorless essential oil – creates an invisible shield around you. Each insect-repellent wristband is effective for up to 120 hours when stored in its resealable container between uses. A breakaway feature makes it safe for children. Set of 4 in assorted colors (let us choose for you). USA.”

Burt’s Bees offers an Herbal Insect Repellent that smells lovely as well as offers serious protection. “Our 100% natural blend of bug-fighting oils repels even the most stubborn of pests. Rosemary, Lemongrass, and Citronella oils mix with 5 other oils that bugs hate, creating an all natural solution for keeping them away. Since there’s no DEET in this formula, it’s safe enough to apply with confidence to children and pets.”

The Natural Store carries the Bite Blocker All Natural Insect Repellent Herbal Wipes. Read the rest of this entry

Going, going GREEN!

Earth Day is just under a week away so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and offer up a few of my favorite green things. Greenfeet continues to be my favorite site for the absolute best variety of green products. Whether for yourself, your home or someone else, Greenfeet should be your first stop. The owner of Greenfeet says it best, “Living green is just a lot of common sense. Stop. Think. Live Consciously. You’re probably more eco friendly that you think. We just help make it even easier”. And with products such as the JOEmo Tea Brew Travel Mug (it will make you want to toss your other mugs in a very ungreen way), Stainless Steel LunchBot Snack Container, Ionic Laundry Ball, and Fire & Light Martini Glasses, going green has never been easier.

Looking for new ways to recycle? Start with your shoes. Nike Reuse-A-Shoe is where you can turn your old sports shoes into places to play. Read the rest of this entry

It’s All in the Cards

I’m in a constant quandry between wanting to be more “green” but still not wanting to give up a few things that mean a lot to me.  One of those special things is sending cards…for any and every occasion. I can hear the trees screaming when I place my Christmas card order or get sucked into a hilarious card from Hallmark that must be sent but these following companies help me feel much less guilty.

Bloomin’ Flower Cards carries cards for absolutely every occasion and the actual cards can be planted to grow the most beautiful flowers. It’s the perfect way to send a card & flowers but for a fraction of the cost. The company is uber earth friendly as the cards are made from 100% post-consumer paper, soy-based inks, and organic pigments. I used this company for my wedding invitations over a decade ago and I still have friends and relatives that have wildflowers coming back year after year. If you are looking beyond cards, Bloomin’ Flower Cards also carries paper sheets, garden tags, bookmarks and you can even get a bloomin’ calendar or “plant me” gift bags.

Another company that is working to keep it green is Slingshot Cards. Read the rest of this entry