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Category Archives: crafts

Spring is in the Air…

Spring is finally here! After an unusually bizarre winter with the “polar vortex” swirling around the east and the dry skies in the west, we’re all ready to enjoy the pleasures of springtime. The sun is shining, maybe a little rain is still falling, but warm weather is here, hopefully to stay!

 

Here is a list of 10 things to do, get outside… enjoy the weather and your family and friends.

1. Read outside on a blanket in the sun

2. Go fishing with your buddies

images-13. Do some spring cleaning to fun music

4. Make these beautiful spring centerpieces, using simple glass jars and lemons for a touch of color!

20893414909de221e35e3b2d0ff7b1fa-15. Fly a kite on the beach

6. Plan a “staycation” with these cool ideas

7. Take pictures of wildflowers

5847087633_598af01050_z-18. Make this delicious “dirt cake”:

6309663259aac1a07cbdb3f4d3e9cf879. Walk barefoot on cool grass

10. Make a fairy garden like this one!

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Home for the Holidays

This is a great time of year, when families get together and celebrate the holidays.  Here are some eco-friendly tips to get your house ready for the festivities.

Have old ornaments that don’t make the cut to be used on your tree?  Use your vintage or extra ornaments to create a sparkly wreath for your front door. ChristmasWreath1

Centerpieces on your table are a great way to add decoration with a variety of materials.  Let nature be your guide.  Use things your can find in your own yard such tree branches, oranges, apples, pinecones, and more.

Creative-Eco-Friendly-Christmas-Decorating-Ideas-Green-Orange

Or you can use edible treats in clear vases to add color and fun to your tables.

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Are you getting a Christmas tree? Rather than getting a tree that was grown on a tree farm or one made of plastic try making one out of reclaimed wood to add a unique and fun look.

upcycle-eco-friendly-christmas-tree-fun-cute-rustic-decoration-idea-wood

Even the holiday cards you receive can be used as decoration, by simply hanging them on some ribbon.

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So whatever you chose, have fun decking your halls!

Fall Changes Bring GREEN Decorations

There’s no need to spend money on elaborate centerpieces when you can find beautiful décor in your own backyard. Pinecones and fall leaves, or even evergreen branches can be used to add holiday color and fragrance. Here are my top 4 favorite tips:

1. Gather things to make a wreath that can be placed around a candle or vase, then reuse it by hanging it on your door for the holiday season. If you have never created a wreath HERE is an easy tutorial.


2. While shopping for holiday meals at a local farmer’s market, keep an eye out for edible items such as colorful squash and gourds, apples, pears, berries and much more. These can be used as centerpieces, or if you cut out the center and place a candle inside, can be used as candleholders.


3. A clear vase is great for centerpieces! Since you can change its contents to fit any holiday, you can find many items around your home to add to it. This Thanksgiving, try adding fall leaves or some citrus. Simply cut up and set in water with a floating candle. Add cranberries for a bit of that holiday red!

4. Round discs cut from large tree logs can make unique pie or cake plates, candleholders, or even chargers. When cutting firewood, my husband slices ½-1” thick discs off the end of a log for me. And if they get spilled on at dinner, I just toss them back in with the firewood.

Make your holiday as eco-centered as possible this year by using what nature provides. Have a colorful and conscious holiday!

Pumpkin Fun!

With Halloween right around the corner, I’ve got pumpkins on the brain. We all know the tradition of carving pumpkins with scary faces, but what do you do with the goop on the inside?  And what do you do with the pumpkin after Halloween is done?

Here are some ideas for pumpkin fun:

1. Pick your pumpkins at a local organic farm to minimize transportation while helping support your local farmers. Picking a farm that is pesticide-free ensures that the pumpkin you pick won’t introduce armful chemicals to your family.

2. Be sure to save your pumpkin’s innards while you carve it. The innards and the seeds can be used to make many things, from pumpkin bread to pumpkin soup and even a healthy alternative to potato chips.  For recipes ideas, click HERE.

 Even if you are not that much of a cook, pumpkin seeds roasted in the oven and sprinkled with sea salt make a great fall snack as well as a healthy option for kids.

3. Carving your pumpkin allows for your creative side to come out! Allow your creative side to come out when carving pumpkins this year!  Print out a scene and trace it onto your pumpkin before cutting.  Whether you go traditional or modern, carving pumpkins helps you get into the spirit of the season, and makes great décor for your front porch. Here are a few of our favorites.

4. When it’s time to retire your carved pumpkin, don’t throw it in the garbage. Cut up your gourd and turn it into compost or feed it directly into your garden. If you’re without a yard, many cities offer programs that help you collect these materials, such as New York City Greenmarket . Or see if your local community garden can add it to their compost bin.

Have a Happy Halloween!

How to Create an Eco-Friendly Halloween

Going green doesn’t mean you have to compromise the funny or yum factory of Halloween. Make your holiday fun, unique and an Eco-Friendly event.

  1. Participate in a Costume Swap

Gather a group of your children’s friends or parents from school and bring costumes to swap and trade. Your kids will be excited over having a “new” costume without having to purchase a whole new one and it will  eliminate waste.

  1. Give Out Healthy Candies and Treats

Pass out candy without harmful ingredients that still taste yummy and wont get your house egged.  See the Trick Or Treat OMI Blog from 2011.

UNREAL Candy offers chocolate treats that taste as good as major commercial brands but without the articial colors, dyes, sweeteners, preservatives, hydrogenated oils and GMOs.  Check out their goodies HERE.

Surf Sweets offers a variety of gluten-free, organic gummies, sour bears and jellybeans.   They even have treats in spooky spider shapes for Halloween!

  1. Use Reusable Bags for Trick-or-Treating!

Any bag can hold goodies, from baskets to bags to old purses and more.  Old pillowcases make great bags to collect candy and can be easily decorated or customized for your child.  A simple white pillowcase can be turned into a “ghost bag” by drawing, sewing or gluing on eyes and mouth.  Or simply add your child’s name.

  1. Decorate with Nature

Use natural items to decorate this year, such as hay bales, leaves, branches, gourds, pumpkins, mums and more.

  1. Light up the Night

If you string up lights to keep your walkway safe for trick-or-treaters, be sure to use LEDs or solar-powered lights.  LEDs use less energy than conventional holiday twinklers.

  1. Let Kiddos Decorate

Forget store-bought window sickers and skeletons. Help your kids cut out bats from recycled paper or make hand print spiders for walls and windows.  Carve or paint pumpkins for more decorations. White sheets can be hung as ghosts.  Get creative!

How will you keep your Halloween more Earth friendly?

Seven Earth Conscious Tips for an Awesome Dorm Room

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  Every year students all across the country make the big move to college.  This move is often the first chance to live away from home.  Setting up a dorm is no small task, especially for the first semester.  It is important to make your dorm room a comfortable place to study, sleep and hang out.  Why not make your room into a more earth-friendly place by making conscious decisions?  All it takes is a little creativity, effort, and a few tips and tricks.

1. Moving

Use reusable packing materials.  Transport clothes and other items in laundry baskets, bags and suitcases.  Be sure to recycle any boxes you used for moving.

2. Electronics and Appliances

Dorm rooms are usually stuffed with all types of electronics and appliances: Computers, printers, TVs, DVD players, sound systems, alarm clocks, mini fridges, microwaves and more.  Talk to your roommate about who brings what so you aren’t doubling up.  When buying electronics or appliances look for higher ENERGY-STAR-Certified ratings.  ENERGY-STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that rates electronics and the amount of energy that they use to help consumers purchase items that do not use excess amounts of electricity.  Be sure to turn off all electronics when not in use.  Also, plugging electronics into power strips is a great solution to easily turn off multiple electronics at once. Choose electronics that serve multiple purposes, such as an alarm clock that’s also a speaker and charger for an iPod or iPhone.  A laptop with a large screen that can act as not only a computer but a TV and DVD player, too.

3. Furniture

Most dorm rooms come furnished, but can often be lacking key pieces such as chairs or bookshelves.  If possible, look for second-hand or recycled products made from sustainable processes and materials.  The typical particleboard furniture found in dorms can contain formaldehyde and other chemicals that can offgas and pollute indoor air so steer clear of them when you can.

4. Lighting

Replace standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bubs or LED lights, which consume less energy and last longer than standard bulbs, as well as giving off better light to allow for the better studying.

5. Air Quality

Improve air quality in the dormand add some appeal by having a green plant or two.  The plants help to absorb unwanted airborne gases and brighten up your surroundings.  A trip to your local nursery can help you pick out a plant that will thrive indoors in low-light conditions.

6. Bed and Bedding

It is essential for students to have a good night’s sleep to help keep the brain fresh and ready to learn.  To make a good night’s sleep possible, be sure to have a comfortable and natural mattress and bedding that doesn’t offgas toxic chemicals.  We offer several economical options of organic mattresses, including the Midori – one of our classic mattresses – available in Twin XL, which fits most form beds.

OMI Midori

MSRP (mattress only): twin $1495• twin XL $1595• full $1895 • queen $2195 • king $3095

Foundation sold separately

If you can’t change out your mattress, invest in a Mattress Barrier Cover, which encases the entire mattress to protect from bed bugs and dust mites, reducing allergens.

OMI Mattress Barrier Covers starting at $220

 Bedding is just as important as a mattress, since it needs to be comfortable and made without the use of chemicals.  Pick soft and luxurious organic cotton sheets and all season wool comforters.  You can choose a duvet made with color grown cotton to add some color but make sure it is organic.

OMI Eco-Wool™ Comforter starting at $475

Click HERE for more information on OMI mattresses and bedding.

7. Decorations

Many students want to make their dorm rooms comfortable and homey.  Rather than buying all new decorations, choose items from your bedroom at home and revamp them to better fit the dorm.  Use material from a favorite shirt or old curtains to cover corkboards, creating an area to hang pictures, notes and other items and add color.  Coordinate with roommates to get complimentary organic duvet covers and cover you thrifted loveseat with matching sheets.

 

Find more tips and useful ideas by going to Teens Turning Green’s ‘Project Green Dorm’ website HERE.  Enter their challenge for a chance to win OMI products as well as many other fabulous and green prizes!

12 Fun Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

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Outdoor activities

Cold Potato

Rather than Hot Potato, try Cold Potato for a refreshing game. Use a pin to poke a hole in a water balloon, then fill it with water and make sure the balloon has a slow but steady leak.  Have everyone get into a circle and toss the leaky balloon from one player to the next, spraying everyone in the process. Be sure to toss it quickly, as the goal of the game is to pass the balloon before it runs out of water.

Play Marco Polo Without a Pool

Don’t have a pool? No problem.  Put a twist on this classic and it becomes a cool backyard game on a hot day. Decide who will go first and blindfold that person or have them keep their eyes closed. The searcher should be armed with a water gun.  Have the searcher turn around and count to 10, while the other players silently move to new locations in the backyard. When the counting ends, the searcher calls “Marco” and the other players respond with “Polo” while moving about the yard. When the searcher successfully shoots a player with water, it’s time to switch roles.

Play a Game of Splat

Fill a dozen water balloons and then draw a large target on your sidewalk or driveway and mark the rings of the target with point vaules.  Take turns throwing the water balloons at the target and calculate the points to see who can get the most points to see who won.

Create your Own Water Park

Get out the hose and fill up the plastic pool, spread out the Slip ’N’ Slide, or turn on the sprinkler to turn your back lawn into your own private water park. Set up an obstacle course with pool toys, lawn chairs, baby pools and sprinklers, and let the games begin! Have people on the sidelines of the obstacle course toss water balloons for an extra challenge.  However you play, just have fun!

Have a Car Wash

Put on your bathing suits and have kids wash the cars or their bikes.  Have a couple of buckets and plenty of rags.  Let the kids go to town and hey, if a water fight breaks out, it’ll be a great time to bond.

Visit your Local Farmers Market

This is a fun way to purchase produce that allows you to visit and talk to farmers that grow the food. Buying locally not only helps sustain your local economy, it lessens the impact the shipping industry has on the environment.  Farmer’s Markets tend to have local artisans and activities for children, making it a fun trip rather than a boring trip to the grocery store.

Indoor Activities 

Serve Up Indoor Volleyball

Or more accurately, volley feather. Give everyone a large feather (you can find them in the craft aisle of major superstores or even outside, if you’re lucky) and see who can blow the feather overhead for the longest time. Once you’ve got the hang of making the feather float, play as a team and try to pass a feather back and forth between players without letting it fall to the ground.

Play Hide-and-Seek With Stuffed Animals

In this new edition, stuffed animals do the hiding while you and the kids do the seeking. Everyone gets one stuffed animal.  Split up and hide the stuffed animals anywhere in the house (or pick one room if you’re playing with younger kids). Then, each searches to find the others’ hidden objects. When you’ve found a hidden animal, take it and put it in a new hiding spot for them to find — the kids should do the same with yours. Continue playing for as long as you all are having fun.

Act it Out

It’s easy to pop in a movie and relax in front of the tube, but that’s not how memories are made. Instead, take turns acting out your favorite flicks as one-person plays. Set a five-minute limit and watch the plot unfold.  Help the kids dress up using clothes, blankets or objects around the house.  Wait until you see an imaginative 6-year-old perform Shrek. Better have the camera ready!

Have an Indoor Picnic

We all love picnics; there is something about eating on the ground that makes it special.  Keep it inside to enjoy the air conditioning and spread out on the living room floor. Lie on a blanket and enjoy a healthy lunch like turkey and cheese roll-ups in a whole-wheat tortilla, fruit salad, and “ants on a log” (celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins).

Make Smoothies

Skip the ice cream treat and make something healthier. Blend a nutritious, delicious frozen fruit drink. Let your kids help load a blender with a half cup of ice cubes and whatever fruit they select (mangoes, strawberries, bananas, and pineapples work best). Add a little water or juice to allow it to mix smoothly. Then help the kids blend until the mixture is smooth. The natural fruit is sweet enough that no extra sugar is needed. Garnish with a straw or paper umbrella and enjoy.

(You can use the fruits you picked up from your local farmer’s market from Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market tip)

Make it a Game Night

Bingo! Sorry! Yahtzee! What do these exclamations have in common? They’re all popular games that are perfect for playing with your family.  A family game night is an excellent way to stay connected with your kids. Choose games that are age-appropriate and of interest primarily to the children. That way children can feel successful playing with family members who are older, are more experienced, and have a competitive advantage. So pull up a seat and let the games begin!

Whatever activity you choose make sure to have fun and enjoy the summer!

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