DIY: Celebrate Earth day by sprouting your own seeds

Around this time of the year, kids get to learn a lot about recycling, planting and trash clean up in celebration of Earth day. I think it’s important to let them know we must do these things all year around and Earth should be celebrated every day.

So, it doesn’t matter if you do this project on Earth day, this week or next month as long

as your kids experience the joys and wonders of watching their own seedlings emerge. Plus, they’ll get a little lesson on recycling and composting on top of it all!

You will need:

* An empty egg carton (the

molded pulp

ones, not plastic or


* Potting soil

* Seeds

* Plastic wrap or bag

* Pen or pecil

* Tooth picks and paper to make labels

Tip: to make the germination process a breeze, pick seeds that germinate easily such as beans, pees, carrots, squash, cucumber and pumpkins. Hard to start seeds might not even sprout and you’ll end up having a frustrated kid!

Get started:

1. Separate the bottom part from the lid of the egg carton. Take the bottom part and poke holes in each cell using the tip of a pen or pencil.

Those will be the drainage holes. Place the lid of the egg carton under the bottom part, nesting one under the other. Now you have your seedling tray.

2. Place small amounts of soil in each cell and plant the seeds making sure the seeds are lightly covered by soil (follow package directions)

3. Water each cell. Be mindful not to over water the seeds, a spray bottle comes in handy.

4. Use tooth picks and paper to make labels.

You can also use rocks or clothes pins to label the seeds.

5. Cover your tray with plastic wrap or a bag to create greenhouse conditions.

6. Place the tray by the window and watch your seeds grow! Keep soil watered and remove the plastic wrap when the first leaves appear.

7. When your plants have more than two leaves, separate each cell and plant it directly into the ground (or pot). The pulp that the egg carton is made of will decompose and become



Doing this project is a great way to teach kids about the importance of planting and re-planting, recycling and composting. Explain to them why we should plant trees, how you are recycling the egg carton and how it becomes plant food. Let them have fun while you guide them.

Make a photo journal, they’ll enjoy comparing the growth of the plants and making observations later on.

 I know I did when I was little and now I pass the experience on to my kids.

Natasha K.


Tutorial: Recycle those grocery bags into terrific envelopes

Today’s post is tutorial on making recycled envelopes from guest {NewNew} blogger Sara Stroman of S2 Stationery and Design.   Thanks for helping us celebrate National Craft Month Sara!

I’m Sara Stroman from S2 Stationery and Design and as promised I’m sharing a video (gasp!) showing how to take those brown bags you get when you shop at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or anywhere else they may pass them out, and turn them into envelopes you can use to send your personal letters, notes and maybe even small invitations.   
It really is easy to give a new life to those bags, so save them until you can sit down for an hour or two and create some envelopes.  Not to mention, you’ll feel really proud of yourself for taking the time not just to recycle, but to send your loved ones a handmade object.

The video is 9 minutes long, I hope you find it easy to follow.  I go over envelopes sized known as A2, or 4 3/8’ by 5 3/4’.  Remember that those are only the width and height of where the card will sit in the center of the envelope. The other dimensions are: 2 ¼ for all three flaps and 3 ¾ from the top of the rectangle to the tip of the flap. A copy of the pattern is available for you to print out, to show how to create the actual pattern using a ruler. I just gave you the dimensions on the video and showed you how I opened an already existing envelope to help create the pattern I use.

Having trouble? Click here to view on YouTube

These envelopes really take minutes to make once you get used to the shape. Just remember the supplies you need are scissors, glue and a ruler. A bone folder is optional (but good to have should you decide to make envelopes out of heavier weights).

And that’s it! If you have any questions, or want to share some of your envelope making stories/designs with me, feel free post your comments on the blog or convo me on Etsy
Oh and somewhere toward the end, I mentioned decorating the interior of the envelopes. Maybe The {NewNew} blog will host another video session with me showing how to create linings for your handmade, recycled envelopes.  
Until then, happy recycling and envelope making!
Sara / S2 Stationery and Design

Thanks for sharing Sara.  
We will most definitely want you to share that next tutorial -- Holly / EllisDesign

Book Review: 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse by Garth Johnson

Book Review:

by Lorina Pellach-Ladrillono
of The Original Beadscarf

1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse by Garth Johnson
pub. date: Nov 2009 / 320 pages

'Inspirations' might be a better word than 'Ideas' for the title of this book. I would imagine that most crafters, myself included, have experienced what would be akin to writer's block. One flip through Garth Johnson's '1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse' could inspire at least several weekends of creative energy.

Inside this beautifully curated and photographed book are images of items whose parts would have likely found their way to a landfill. Instead, they have been fished out of a junk drawer of extra castaways and recycled/ repurposed into jewelry, objects d' art, bags, couture dresses, clocks and even furniture.

Amazingly, no parts or refuse are rejected!

The impressive collection includes playing cards transformed into butterflies and attached to pearl necklaces; single bud flower vases created from empty toothpaste tubes and Full scale art installations. Fabric, glass, even ice is recycled! Postcards in place of wallpaper; Tea carton wallpaper and furniture; Bottlecap mosaics to mimic famous paintings; a sugar packet table cloth in a pretty flower motif; money chandelier made of US $1; and most striking, if not downright gruesome-, jewelry made entirely of dismembered Barbie doll parts- again, no part spared!

As I thumb through 1000 Ideas, I couldn't help but notice the works of many crafty colleagues I know featured from TheNewNew and beyond.

Although the works included in this book are mostly from USA, there are also adaptations from Canada, New Zealand Germany, Finland, UK, Spain, Australia, Israel and Sweden to name a few.
So next time you are feeling crafty but can’t seem to get going, pick up this book, grab that remnant you’ve been saving for ‘making something someday’, and get inspired.

Be warned though: I have a feeling this book may just spawn a new generation of crafters!

Crafts and Craft Selling for Kids

Crafts & Craft Selling for Kids

If you are a crafter parent it won’t be long before one of your children asks, “Can I make things to sell too?” Then your quandary is, what can a child make that actually looks good enough to go in your shop or display? Fine craftsmanship is not exactly something your average ten year old is capable of. My daughter tried making pins in felt, which were adorable but were too much work for the price point they would sell at. She tried crochet, but couldn’t master anything beyond a chain. Finally what worked was “Jessamyn’s Button Hairbands,” which consisted of large cloth covered buttons (re-using fabrics from thrift shops) with elastics tied to the shanks on the back. Moreover, making them was a process she could do virtually by herself. I bought the supplies, designed her card, and she pays me back 50 cents for every button she sells. And she does very well--selling them at fairs at a low price point, yet earning enough to be the envy of all her friends.

Here is another idea for kids wanting to earn their keep, or like mine, to sustain their addiction to Pokemon cards.

Recycled Bag Tags & Bookmarks

Supplies & Tools:
Old Magazines
Glue Stick
Paper Cutter
Mylar or Acetate sheets or any kind of flat, clear plastic
Colored paper (if for business it should be non-fading)
Laminating Sheets
Hole Punch
Plastic Lanyard or other string or yarn

Let the kids go through the old magazines cutting out all the headlines that are over 3/8” tall. Remember the letters must fit comfortably on a 1.25” strip of paper. If this will be for a “business” they can cut out all the letters individually and put them in marked envelopes for each letter, number, and one for symbols. Some of these headlines were funny enough to use all by themselves, come to think of it.

Using the paper cutter, cut 1.25” wide strips of colored paper (I had old scrapbooking paper the kids had been cutting up inefficiently for the last 6 years) or magazine pages with great color or texture for the background. If you don’t have a paper cutter you can use a scissor but the rolling cutter is more efficient and far safer than things like x-acto blades.

Now they can choose the letters they will use. Names are good, as are cool phrases and sports. Run the glue stick along the length of the strip of colored paper. Arrange the letters and press into the glue. Leave room on one end for a hole if a lanyard will be attached.

Cut a larger strip of acetate and glue the back of the colored paper onto it, so the tag will have some firmness. (We actually used the heavy plastic from a box of Pokemon cards for the strips, so we felt very virtuous and green.) Cut a strip of laminating paper and use it to carefully seal the front of the tag to the acetate, leaving at least 3/16” extra space all around the colored paper. This is undoubtedly the trickiest part of the whole process and your kids will need some practice to master it. You need to fold back just a corner of the laminating paper and then position it atop the tag. Then you slowly peel off the backing while smoothing it down at the same time, starting from that first corner. With the paper cutter trim the sealed edges. Punch a hole (you will need a good quality hole puncher, like McGill or Fiskars, available at craft stores) in the tag and add a lanyard or string.

The fun, hip, professional looking results can be used as a bag tag, a book mark, a backpack decoration, a necklace, a party favor, a seating tag, and I've even been thinking, earrings, if you want to work really, really small. The process can be used for children’s parties, school fair fundraisers, for starting your child’s own Etsy Shop, and of course, a few hasty Father’s Day gifts.

Jody Lee