Earth Day Reflecting

Happy day-after-Earth Day!

Two weeks ago, I had promised photos and a recap of the Etsy craft event on making terrariums, but I didn't make it. I had to rush home to dog walk. Yep. I was dog sitting that week and had to make sure the rascal was okay.

Needless to say, I missed the event, but heard many, many great things about it. I've even seen a few of the terrariums made that evening and am full of envy that I don't have my own to share with you.

Alas, Etsy's events section of the website offers two video tutorials to make your own:
and, make sure to watch the "Hands On Dirt With Red Rose and Lavender" under the Etsy How To section.

Both videos are great and I intend to use them when I make my own terrarium, if I ever find the time!

Terrarium by Red Rose and Lavender

Earth Day for me has always been a day of reflection. I recently became environmentally aware- I'd say in the last 8 years. When I lived in Virginia, I used to frequent the farmers market and the artisanal cheese monger in my neighborhood. It was an amazing world and yet I didn't appreciate my then roommate trying to make me use non-chemical based detergents and soaps to wash our dishes. In fact, I had my own stash of chemical laden products to use when she wasn't looking.

Six years later, I've completely changed. Now, I'm the roommate that requests we use chemical-free dish washing liquid (I even pay for it) and I use vinegar, baking soda, and water as my main cleaning agents. I've become sensitive to chemical based smells. And my goal is to help educate as many people as possible on the ways in which they can also live greener lifestyles. Of course, it is up to the person to enact these changes, but if we share what we know with each other, we now have a choice and that's the key to most life style changes after all. 

Yesterday, I didn't do very much. I didn't volunteer and I did end up buying a pair of leggings from Sears. That one purchase threw me into a spiral of thought about packaging and products and my own company. It made me think about my responsibility as a crafter, maker, seller, and business owner to make responsible choices not just for myself, but for my customers.

My rational has always been that if I can't figure out how to recycle or reuse a piece of the item I purchased, than I shouldn't expect my customers. It is the main reason why I don't wrap cards in plastic. Do you know how to recycle the plastic sleeve most cards come in? 

A hint- Whole Foods recycles plastic bags, sleeves and cling wrap. Next time you visit one, check and see if they do. The one by me does and it has helped make my life a bit easier.

This month, I already reached out to a printer who uses eco-friendly paper sources and inks for orders. I've been stuffing my boxes to ship with old magazine pages instead of using bubble wrap or any other non-recyclable stuffing product. I even found out that Uline sells biodegradable bags and burlap that biodegrades as well. Amazing!

We have so many more choices these days on how live green lives. A part of me thought, yesterday, that I do enough-I compost, recycle, volunteer with my local CSA and therefore could take an Earth Day off, but the reality is I can do more. I don't feel guilty about not celebrating Earth Day in the rain, in fact, I did a ton of things I needed to do, like finish knitting a blanket that's been on my to do list for some time now, but it means I can integrate more ways of greener living in my life and it's why I am writing this extremely personal blog post today.

If you've made it this far into my posting. Hooray! Thank you for reading.  If you didn't, I promise the next posting won't be so long and drawn out about my thoughts on Earth Day and green living.

In the mean time, I want to share another creative project off of the Etsy website. I'm completely excited about this. It is part of the How-Tuesday series on the website and it's a tutorial on how to make a cardboard chandelier. Talk about recycling packaging!

Cardboard Chandelier by Kayte Terry

I can't wait to be able to make this for my own home one day. This project is definitely going into the "Future To Do" folder.  Also something for YOU to add to your own to do folder is saving the date of May 7th, for a hands-on evening with Kayte, the woman who shared the cardboard chandelier and wrote the book that it is featured in Paper Made! More details will be shared soon on the Etsy website.    

On that note, I'm off to do some more green discovery. Stay inventive and creative!


April Is Earth Month! Let's Celebrate!

Happy Earth Month, Crafty Readers! 

I have to be honest with you though, there is many a day where I sit in front of this space and scratch my head not knowing what to write.  I know, I should an editorial calendar, but I've been slacking (and I admit it) and therefore don't.  For me, the basics are simple- feature helpful environmental, crafty, artisanal, and accessible tips, projects, artists, products for those looking to make an impact whether large or small in their own art, craft and/or business world. At least that is my mission; I hope you find it agreeable and that you've been inspired thus far.

Anyhow, I share this with you so that you can imagine me sitting in front of my computer blank, scratching my head not just in the time before the article is due, but in the days leading up to it.  Don't feel bad though, usually, when I've reached peak frustration, something amazing happens- I am inspired!  Which means when you view my post the next day it is fresh off the brain.

For today's post, I was stumped. See,  I was planning to discuss my new favorite recycling option I just discovered, but didn't know how to loop it in without it seeming like a red stain on a white blouse.  But then something even more magical than just being suddenly inspired happened-I got an email from the Etsy Gods reminding me that it is Earth Month!  I mean "duh, Sara! How could you forget Earth Day is April 22nd?!"

In the spirit of the Etsy reminder, I've decided that this article should be about ideas to celebrate our incredible planet with ways to celebrate and add my tip to help conserve/reuse/recycle. This post will get you through at least the first two weeks of April, although my favorite tip at the bottom, I hope you incorporate in your life, especially during spring cleaning periods. Without further ado, here are ways to celebrate and make with the help of Etsy and my favorite tip:

Etsy Events and How-To's: 
How-Tuesday: Embroidered Cork Jewelry- Online
Craft Night at Craft and Folk Art Museum in LA  - Thursday April 5, 2012
Etsy Hands-On: Dirt in NY - Tuesday, April 10, 2012 

Favorite Earth Month Tip: Recycling Plastic Cards (Gift and Credit): 
My purse is swimming with those plastic cards. You know the kind- the ones you get in the mail for guest reward programs, or at holidays to use at shops. In many cases, you use the card and then throw it in the trash, never wondering where that little scrap of plastic is the landfill where it won't disintegrate for millions of years.

However, now there's an alternative, and boy, am I excited about it- a company called Earthworks recycles your old/unused/expired cards and turns them into reusable sheet stock for future plastic coated cards. Amazing, right?!  Even better is that by recycling these cards, you're helping reduce the demand for virgin PVC plastic that is used each time a new credit or gift card is made.

I went ahead and registered my email because I have quite a few cards that could stand being recycled. The address and instructions for recycling the cards is as follows:

       Earthworks c/o Halprin Ind.
       25840 Miles Rd.
       Bedford, Oh 44146
  • Please just send plastic cards, no rubber bands, paper clips or paper
  • Please put a label or hand write the name of your organization on the package so we can track it.
  • If sending credit cards, please make sure to call and cancel the card so that the card is no longer active
The other reason why I share this tips is in the case that you begin to offer PVC coated gift certificates, you know an alternative that is healthier for the planet.

Which reminds me, I'll have a follow up post to Earth Day on the 23rd, that hopefully includes a first hand account of their event Etsy Hands-On: Dirt, where participants will get to make their own tiny terrarium and seed bombs on April 10 at the Etsy Labs with the expertise of Kimberly Sevilla of Rose Red and Lavender.

Oh and if you have any tips or want to share how you are celebrating Earth Day/Month please do so. I'm interested. I may even want to join you, or feature you in a future blog posting!

Enjoy your Earth Month!


What does Earth Day mean to you?

...It comes only once a year, is celebrated by millions of people around the globe and creates environmental awareness.

You guessed it - today is Earth Day! ...and what makes this year even more special? - it's Earth Day's 40th anniversary!!

I think of Earth Day as a time to celebrate, a time to reflect and a time to take action - to be a part of the solution.

What does Earth Day mean to you? Does it strike a chord with your inner do-good self? Maybe you already know the ropes and are a whiz at recycling...or maybe you are a casual recycler and want to get more involved? Small acts of change add up...everyone can do something to help!!

{NewNew} member Groundsel uses up-cycled suits

to make her gorgeous earth-friendly bag

New York City and the 5 boroughs are home to hundreds of events, workshops and fairs for Earth Day fun.

Want to get involved? One of the best places to start is the official Earth Day website where you can find all sorts of fun things to do, from parties in Times Square to street festivals at Grand Central Station. Brooklyn is even throwing a few block parties and events at the local farmers markets.

{NewNew} member RueRenee up-cycled a flower calendar

to make her beautiful earth-friendly note cards

So then why not make it a whole week of celebrations? On Saturday April 30th, McCarren Park in Brooklyn is hosting the Go Green! Greenpoint Earth Day festival and market...featuring many talented members of The {NewNew}! (...go ahead, click on the link to find out more!)

So whether you will be out in the crowd celebrating in style, even if you're not one to march with the masses in Times a little good today, show your Earth Day spirit....

...make today count, make a pledge to do one more new thing this year and do the right thing for our know you want to let your inner do-good shine :)

make the earth happy today, and every day....

...because we all {heart} New York :)

by {NewNew} member virginiakraljevic


How-To: Turn Bags into Beads

I've become somewhat of a curator of plastic bags. In fact, there are some doors you shouldn't open in my house because you will be buried under an avalanche of interesting plastic. Primarily, I fuse these bags into collages and turn them into other things like: BEADS.

If you would like to transform your own collection of plastic bags into beads, follow these instructions:


  • Clean plastic bag

  • Parchment paper

  • Iron

  • E6000 or similar glue

  • Toothpicks

  • Scissors

  • Ruler
Fusing the Plastic

Place two layers of plastic between two sheets of parchment on a hard surface and iron them together using a low setting with the steam set to off.

That will leave you with a sheet that looks like this:

Making the Bead

Cut out a triangular shape that is about 4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide at the bottom. You can play around with the sizing. The wider the triangle, the longer the bead and the longer the triangle, the fatter the bead.

With a toothpick, apply a thin layer of E6000 or similar glue to one side of your triangle. Leave a small strip free of glue at the base of the triangle. Place a clean toothpick at the base and roll up the triangle around the toothpick so it shapes an oval bead. Jiggle the toothpick a little to make sure that it doesn't stick to the bead.

Leave the toothpick in the bead and stick it into something to dry overnight. I used a dried out bit of Model Magic clay, but any kind of Styrofoam, etc. will work as well.

Once your bead is dry you can lacquer it or leave it as is and use it in a project like this:

or this:

Happy Recycling!