DIY: mini scrapbook by upcycling toilet paper rolls | sustainability

DIY: mini scrapbook by upcycling toilet paper rolls | sustainability

Materials/Tools:
-Scissors
-Toilet paper rolls (however many you like)
-Hole Punch
-Decorative materials like scrap paper/old greeting cards/magazine cutouts/fortune cookie words of wisdom/washi tape
-Binder clips (optional)
-One shower curtain ring
-Glue/Tape

Directions:

  1. Gather some toilet paper rolls.

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2. Fold them down flat.

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3. If they are being stubborn, you can clip the edges with binder clips.

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4. Decorate! Below are some closer views of the ones I liked most. The one below is made out of an old thank you card, mini film versions of photographs I got included with my developed photos and an old stamp.

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This one below is made up of a magazine cutout, an old thank you card, paper bag, paper hearts from a gold envelope and yellow scrap paper, an old fortune cookie fortune and washi tape.

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5. Hole punch each decorated paper roll. The good thing is, you can always add more since they’ll be connected by a shower curtain ring.

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Here’s what they look like put together:

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Alternative uses:
-Bookmarks
Gift card holder (link leads to the DIY from last year)
-Flashcards for study
-Keychains
-Gift tags
-mini handheld art gallery
-mini photo album

Notes:
I LOVED THIS PROJECT! It was so fun and I felt like it was less overwhelming to decorate and less time consuming because the surface is much smaller compared to traditional scrapbook paper sizes. All materials and tools were things I had at home already.

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the things I’ll never see

the things I’ll never see

Mount Rainier at Reflection Lakes

Mount Rainier at Reflection Lakes, one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen

I went to a poetry festival a few years ago. There was one poet who stood out for me, but I unfortunately don’t remember her name. She read her poem aloud. After sitting through and hearing from other poets read their pieces, I admittedly felt kind of lost because I couldn’t understand what they were saying entirely. I know that this may be the case with some of my poetry pieces here and that’s okay. We all interpret things differently. But with her poem, I knew what she was saying. She talked about how she found value in writing poetry as a way for her to preserve history. She would reference animals of current day because someday they may not be current anymore. I didn’t value what she had said then, but I certainly do now.

This was years ago and it was relevant then as it is now. It’s safe to say that there are so many beautiful things in this world that I’ll never see. Safe to say and sad to say. After reading their post about Glacier National Park, Jennifer and Vivian reminded me of this poet. The value of her words and what they mean. Our world is disappearing piece by piece. There are things that my future children and their children will never ever get to see in person. And for causes that could have been preventable. It breaks my heart to realize this.

Our time in Glacier National Park was an unforgettable one. Beautiful as it was, we couldn’t help but question how it was possible a park that used to boast a large number of 150 glaciers now only have 25 active glaciers remaining –– which are said to disappear within 10 years. Can you believe that? In 10 years our future generations will no longer be able to see what we saw or enjoy what we enjoyed. In 10 years we won’t see the park as it was, ever again. Climate change is real. It’s happening in our lifetime and Glacier National Park is proof of that. – tinycaravan, To Explore: Glacier National Park

I so appreciate and value what we do have. It makes me savor the photographs and memories of the national parks I have seen (I feel so lucky to have the resources to do so) and to make a list of ones I want to visit that are still here; to preserve them through words and in life, to share them and shower them with love and attention.

Quick links from the National Park Service

Donate | Artist-in-Residence programs | Volunteer | Get an annual pass (4th graders can get for free)

enclosed is my sentiment | sustainability

enclosed is my sentiment | sustainability

To disclose this sentiment,
We enveloped ourselves,
Packaged our gratitude and attitude
In a sealed box for delivery.
For the time when,
The recipient sees it, opens it,
To discover ideas and articulate thoughts.

But we can’t waste time anymore,
There aren’t enough supplies
To generate and operate.

We have to negotiate,
We have to create,
We have to elevate.

a poem on sustainability and protecting our natural resources

handmade 2018 planner | sustainability

handmade 2018 planner | sustainability

It’s that time of year again! I love seeing the different styles of each since starting in 2016. If you’d like to see some photographs for my handmade 2016 & 2017 planners, check out this post called “paper-related items” I published last September. For 2016, I believe I just used a blank notebook and filled it in. 2017 and 2018 are made from scratch. My notes for this project are below :)

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Items used to make this planner: grocery paper bag, washi tape, black thread (and needle), block letter stamps, stamp ink, black pen, stencils, colored pencils, markers, blue pen, ruler, and loads of scrap paper (I decided to fold them in half, so the blank side could still be used).

Notes: It’s much more minimal this year with no photographs, or magazine cutouts. I also decided to create a table of contents page and numbered the pages. I saw that I didn’t use up all the pages from this year’s planner, so decided to cut down for next year’s. It was fun hand stamping the headings, however, I need more practice for sure. I wish the colors were a little different and that I figured out the dimensions for each day better. I’ll try to remember that for the 2019 calendar :) Lighting and quality varies with each photograph since I used different cameras. Creating holes for the binding took a bit and my hands got sore, but it was totally worth it for me. This project made me want to make more handmade journal-like things.

.org spotlight: Rescuing Leftover Cuisine |reducing food waste|sustainability

.org spotlight: Rescuing Leftover Cuisine |reducing food waste|sustainability

I always wondered what happens with the excess food prepared in restaurants and sold in supermarkets. A long time ago, there was a bakery I liked in the city that reduced their pastry prices by half after dinnertime knowing that a lot of it would end up as waste by the end of the night (unfortunately, they stopped doing this a few years ago). I thought it was genius and awesome for everyone involved. I also know that some supermarkets will donate some portion of their unsold fresh food to local food shelters, but unfortunately, I think there is still a lot that still gets thrown out.

Recently, I came upon this non-profit organization that focuses on exactly this: Rescuing Leftover Cuisine. According to their website, 40% of the food in the United States become waste and one in seven people do not have access to food. That is quite a statistic! But I think they are changing that. Since their inception in 2013, they’ve saved 1,280,377 pounds of food and served 1,066,981 meals.

I believe they are based in New York, but they have a presence in multiple locations (Florida, Georgia, California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and more) around the U.S. Please check them out and especially if you’re a restaurant owner or would like to volunteer. I think it’s a great way to be a part of a solution to a huge problem we all are affected by (according to the EPA website linked below, 95% of the food waste end up in landfills). Hopefully they can expand into more states in the future.

Below are a couple links I found on how to lessen food waste at home:

10 Easy Ways to Cut Food Waste | Parents (YouTube video)

Reducing Food Wasted At Home | EPA website

Speaking of which, in order to salvage my soon to be expired Goldfish cheese snacks, I made them into crumbs for my breaded chicken sandwiches (which were yummy, by the way). I am also currently on a baking kick since I’d like to use up my chocolate chips before they expire in two weeks. My next batch will be chocolate chip peanut butter cookies from this recipe. I hope they’re tasty!

care instructions

care instructions

The fabric was soft to touch,
It reminded me of warm laundry.
It smelled clean like towels and sweaters
Folded neatly and placed in drawers.

The resource warranty expired years ago,
Did we not want to renew the insurance?

The care instructions on the tags rubbed off.
Hand wash-only I think, but we now only use machines.

about sustainability

Fashion Revolution Week – who made your clothes?

Fashion Revolution Week – who made your clothes?

To learn more about Fashion Revolution Week, go here: http://fashionrevolution.org/

Source of video: The Fashion Revolution YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0JS74vyisaHej_xEq_zZ1w

Dear handmade blazer,

I remember when I first saw you. I was a child and as children do, I would do little scavenger hunts and fulfilled my curiosities by trying on Mom’s clothes or lipstick or earrings (the clip-ons) and checking out every little crevice of the house because I thought I’d find something really fun or cool.

And I was going through Mom’s clothes and I saw you. I asked Mom where she got you. You were small and you fit me. It reminded me of something a person riding horses would wear and how chic they looked. I wanted to look good.

Mom said that she made you. I didn’t believe her at first. Convinced she made it up because that’s not what she did for work (clearly, I was so naive then). I investigated and didn’t see a tag. Throughout the years, I saw more clothes Mom had made and I knew she made you. She told me how you weren’t really finished and you were a prototype when she was learning to make clothes. But I didn’t care. I loved you and still do.

I wore you to school as a spring/fall jacket. I got compliments and asked where I got you and said my Mom made you. Even then, I knew that other moms didn’t make their clothes and I felt special because mine did (among the many other things that makes my mom awesome). You are not something I can wear anymore, but I still keep you with me. Because you’re something that came out of my Mom’s creativity, her own two hands and her patience and time.  Because you are a reflection of her and I want to cherish that forever.

Love,

Connie

#LovedClothesLast

The clothes you wear were made by someone. Do you know their story? Do you know their name? Support the companies and brands who do know and let you know. Transparency is so important. Be curious. Love the clothes you have and love the clothes you buy. Think more deeply when you make a purchase and where you are buying it from. Make your own. There is power in you to decide where your money goes, who your money supports and the values you care about.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day  saying “I will try again tomorrow.”

-Mary Anne Radmacher

green tip #13 |celebrate mother earth

green tip #13 |celebrate mother earth

I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy. – Marie Curie

Earth should be celebrated everyday and Earth Day is a nice reminder to treat our world with respect, kindness, understanding and a bazillion hugs and smiles. I want to admire it longingly, gazing up in the sky when the sun sets and the skies are filled with indescribable colors of love. I wish I had more to give as it has given a lot to me.

And I can give more, all the time. Giving back and continuing the cycle of life is how we can all function together when our resources and ourselves can unify. To continue changing and evolving for the better takes time. It takes a lot of effort and cannot be done in one day. Just try one thing. I remember when I was first inspired to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. I was overwhelmed. There seemed to be so much I should have been doing and it felt really difficult. But I decided to try one thing. Then I tried another thing. And I’m still trying new things and methods to lessen my carbon footprint, to lessen my dependence on plastic and to be realistic about stuff; past the superficial happiness that quickly fade. Consuming things just isn’t the same anymore—buying, eating and etc. I’m not perfect at all. I am just beginning. Each day is a learning day. I think essentially, it’s just taking an extra step and thinking, “how will I recycle (dispose, reuse, compost) this when my use of it is over?” Here are some ideas for you to try your one thing: Earth Day Website and tinycaravan’s list of ideas.

Here are some more:

  • Plant some flowers or trees. Sunflowers are bee-friendly and we need more of these little friends!
  • Go for a hike somewhere and appreciate all the beauty you see.
  • Do something that requires no electricity, no carbon, no plastic or all three!
  • Show love by creating art of nature–paint, draw, write poetry, etc.

One of the many positives of living a more eco-friendly lifestyle is that the experiences are more worthwhile. The happiness is deeper because they aren’t motivated or supported by money, by recognition or society’s standards. They’re meaningful in ways that touch my soul like walking in nature. To really challenge myself in looking at what I use and own in a completely different way. To appreciate the little things. To have more memories.

Here are some of mine:

happy earth day.

green tip #12 | food & packaging| Recycling stations, Terracycle & donating

green tip #12 | food & packaging| Recycling stations, Terracycle & donating

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something regarding sustainability; although, it’s something I think about all the time. For a few updates, I would say I’ve improved on being eco-friendly with gift giving and recycling. It’s becoming more second nature for me to give gifts that are either experience (gift certificates, museum passes) or something that is handmade or fair trade. I have also cut down giving cards, as well. Since there are many more stores now that are jumping onto being more green, sustainable gifts are easier to get. With recycling, I make sure to check on the material if it’s recyclable before throwing packaging away. I’ve always had this in mind, but I think it’s become much easier for me now.

A few suggestions:

  • Check out your local grocery stores. They may be able to recycle your extra plastic bags.
  • Look into what your local recycling center will take. They may recycle more items than what you currently think.
  • Electronic stores may also have recycle stations for old cell phones, ink cartridges, computer parts and light bulbs.
  • Remember that donating to goodwill or thrift stores or to friends/family members are options if you have an item you want to dispose of. Please don’t put in the trash if you have other options. (I’ve received and given items (including food) to friends/family and they’re always appreciative as I am since it’s a win-win for everyone.)

I also recently researched a company I heard of for a while called Terracycle. I was always frustrated about how chip bags, pens and teeth cleaning products weren’t recyclable. Luckily, they do! They recycle all sorts of things, too, and partner with brand name companies to make sure the packaging goes back into use. I also like that for every item you recycle, they give some monetary donation to a charity of your choice. I’m not sure of specifics, but if you look into their website, it seems like a good way for organizations and schools to jump on (and obviously individuals, too.) So save those snack bags and inkless pens and get recycling!

Another thing to think about is to look into your pantry. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but really go through the cans & boxes of food you have and the fridge because before you know it, time will fly and the food you were planning on using may need to be thrown out. To save the food (and carbon emissions from landfills), buy what you can realistically use before it expires. This is an area in which I have improved greatly, but would like to be better at as well.

A few suggestions:

  • Donate the food if you know you can’t get to it. Give to friends/family or shelter or other community organization that accepts.
  • If you need to use up a particular item, I like to search online for easy recipes. You’d be surprised of the cool dishes or snacks you’re able to make.
  • Meal plan (I loosely do this and I’m more better at for some weeks than others, but it does reduce food waste).
  • Check the expiration dates before you buy the food item and make sure it’s something you really can use within that time.
  • Buying bulk may save money, but be realistic with portions and cravings. Is it something you will be happy to eat again and again for future months?
the things we own & meaning | sustainability

the things we own & meaning | sustainability

It’s now February, beautiful February. It never lasts as long as the other months, but it does hold quite a bit of quality doesn’t? I always think pink. Or red–a nice warm vision (although the weather may show otherwise). With recent events, we can use a lot of warmth nowadays; inside and out. Whenever I see children in the city, young, cute and energetic, I remember that we have to teach them. Teach them to be kind, to share, to respect one another. To love.

And so I wanted to show some love today.

For this, specifically, are things I gathered that were either secondhand from family or friends or from my adventures in thrift shopping. I took a moment to really think about why these items were important to me. I encourage you to look at the things you own/use/have and really think about its meaning to you. Do consider what you buy, why you buy and for how long you will have it. Consider in investing on pieces that matter more and last longer.

I used to really love just browsing a store and if I saw something I really thought I liked, I’d buy it. Nowadays, it’s not the case. I do still like browsing and I sometimes have the urge to buy, but it’s not at all like it used to be. A lot of the things I see in stores don’t have meaning to me anymore. I take an extra moment to think about: 1. Is this something I have already? (Nice jeans, but how many do we need of these?) 2. How long will this feeling of happiness last? (A lot of times, my answer is.. until I have it and then it just becomes a part of my other wardrobe pieces). 3. How important is this to me, really?

Here are some of my dear things:

my first 35mm camera (secondhand):
I had a 35mm camera prior to the one I have now. It was my dad’s and it did take really beautiful photographs. I remember I had to look everywhere for their specific batteries and it was a journey. But it was worth it. Below is a photograph from this camera:

thinking

cigar box purse made of embroidery beads (thrifted):
It was so beautiful. It was my first time going to this thrift store and it had so many unique and funky things (a huge telescope, colorful sofas, etc) I saw the purse sitting on a shelf and it was so eye-catching. It’s also very well made. This item reminds me that there are beautiful, practical upcycled items–makes me feel inspired & creative!

t-shirts (secondhand):
I think this is something everyone can relate with. I wear all kinds of t-shirts I’ve gotten over the years from loved ones. I especially like the oldie ones. They hold special meaning to the person I got it from, but also for me. It’s not just a shirt I can get at a mall. There are stories, memories and reasons behind them.

Although I care about these items, I know that they are only a catalyst of what holds the most value: time, ideas, emotions, people & experiences. One day, these items may find themselves in a new home with new owners who can feel the joy and inspiration I’ve had. Or at least I hope so. Even if it just produces practicality and ease in someone’s life will be enough of their existence–but it should be sustainable.

green tip #11 | sustainability | donate or DIY crafts with your used holiday & thank you cards

green tip #11 | sustainability | donate or DIY crafts with your used holiday & thank you cards

For those who are wondering what to do with used cards you receive from loved ones or new ones you don’t plan on using, here’s a suggestion: donate them. I only just learned of this today and I’m happy I came across this. An organization called St. Jude’s Ranch for Children have a used (& new) card recycling program. They accept cards all year round for all occasions. Here is a link to find out more information about this organization: https://www.stjudesranch.org/about-us/

Here is their mission:

“Transforming the lives of abused and at-risk children, young adults and families by empowering them to create new chances, new choices and new hope in a caring community.”

For those who would like to get some DIY crafts going and perhaps use for next year’s holidays, I’ve linked a few resources I found online. I saw some really cool and interesting things!

Martha Stewart Holiday Card Ornaments
Good Housekeeping 8 Ways to Get Crafty with Old Cards
Care2 18 Surprising Ways to Reuse Greeting Cards
Artists Helping Children Recycle and Reuse Christmas Cards with Crafts for Kids

green tip #10 | sustainability | 5 ways to reuse this packaging box

green tip #10 | sustainability | 5 ways to reuse this packaging box

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Thinking about how to be more eco-friendly really stretches my creativity. I start to see every day items and give it new meaning. I think about their purpose and the materials it is made of. For instance, this box used to carry bottles of water. In the past, I would see packaging and immediately just recycle. Without a thought of what it could be used for in another way.

Then, I would go to a mega-chain store and purchase organizational furniture or products that could easily be made from the packaging we get all the time: empty boxes, yogurt containers, fruit jam glass jars and even plastic take-out containers. Those yogurt containers could be washed out clean and used as pens/pencils/paint brush holders or planting pots for flowers. They usually have a cute & colorful design anyway. The glass jars could be used to carry extra change or office supplies. Turn your cereal boxes into magazine holders or paper organizers.

After reading this post, I am more cautious with what plastic items to re-use (some plastics cannot be re-used and should be recycled after one use).

Since they are packaging material, they are usually made very well. They are durable and sturdy. Yes, they aren’t the most visually appealing when it comes to decorating your home, but this is where the creativity and fun comes in. Get some inspiration from what you would have purchased and go from there. Paint it or design with magazine pictures or photographs or other items of memories.

Regarding the box pictured above, I have a few ideas to re-use it.

1. Fold in the two flaps on the sides, turn it horizontal and it can now be used as a shoe organizer. I have a metal shoe organizer that cost me money and it may even rust later. But this one is free, does the same job and no rusting since it’s paper. (This is actually what I used this box for.)

2. Take more of these boxes and stack them on top of each other. Stick them to each other by glue or tape and cut away the flaps. Now it can be a book shelf, a DVD/CD/video games shelf.

3. Use this box for transporting items that can’t be separated. The slots make it snug for less moving and the divide keeps the items together, but organized.

4. Turn this box into a memory or toy box. Decorate it with amusing fun images from previous travel trips or toys for your children. Maybe store your old yearbooks or scrapbooks.

5. If you have a cat, see if it can be a fun little toy for him or her. Maru the cat loves playing in boxes. Here’s a cute video of him.

Practice this exercise next time you put something in recycling or the trash. Could this be useful somewhere else?

Recycling 101: The Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making

Recycling 101: The Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making

This is such a good amount of information regarding recycling. I noticed myself constantly looking beneath plastic containers now because I want to make sure what can and cannot be recycled. Also, many stores now will take plastic bags and even bulbs, electronics, so be on the look out where you shop because they may have a mini recycling center as well. I recently found out that this website called Earth911 has a database for where things can be recycled in your area. Thank you to the writers of tinycaravan :)

tinycaravan

Recycling 101: The Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making

Stop! Before you toss that empty pizza box in the recycling bin did you check to see if it can be recycled? Putting one wrong thing in the recycling bin can ruin an entire batch. In this blog, we give you a brief on recycling 101: the mistake you don’t know you’re making and how to properly recycle at home.

View original post 1,472 more words

green tip #9 | sustainability | rethink gift-giving & holiday traditions

green tip #9 | sustainability | rethink gift-giving & holiday traditions

Resources on having a green Christmas:
Eco-cycle’s 6 Ways to Go Green This Holiday Season
Eco-cycle’s 10 Ways to Go Green
Rookie Magazine’s Thrift Your Gift

The links above are so helpful in the suggestions they give on being more green this season! As I continually think of ways to be more eco-friendly in my life, there is a big one that I think everyone should consider: rethink gift-giving this holiday season. Instead, focus on having experiences/memories, giving to charity, feeling happiness, preserving self-wellness and sustaining financial stability. It means valuing meaningful actions and good intentions and spirit. It means being creative in having fun celebrating. Alternatives to giving gifts: give money, gift cards (preferably ones you can send via email), DIY gifts, thrift store treasures, or simply lessen the amount you give.

“…the way we produce, consume and dispose of our goods and food accounts for 42% of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. This means the choices we make about our “stuff” has a bigger impact than driving our car or heating our homes.” – Eco-cycle Website

Holiday waste is a huge contributor to climate change and the depletion of valuable resources we need.

The use of resources 

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Image source: Light and Color Lab

There is this cycle of buy, use, donate/throw away and buy again.

Regarding Christmas gifts, buying new clothing is especially popular this time of year; ties for dads and new ugly sweaters for those theme parties and what about extra socks that are on sale?

“As new clothing comes into our lives, we also discard it at a shocking pace. The average American now generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year. That adds up to more than 11 million tons of textile waste from the U.S. alone.” – The True Cost movie website

There is a need to really understand what our actions are doing to our world and why we are doing them. The continual cycle of buy and throw away costs too much to perpetuate this pattern.

Blogger of Light and Color Lab  also mentioned the holidays in his recent post:

“Try to be aware of the way you make decisions and how you come to conclusions in a thought process.  Re-evaluate the things you need vs. the things you want.”

green tip #8 | sustainability | handmade mini journal with pressed flowers

green tip #8 | sustainability | handmade mini journal with pressed flowers

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I had a bouquet of flowers nearing their final life stages and I didn’t want to just throw them out. I decided to look up how to press flowers. Unfortunately, I didn’t use fresh ones as many sources suggested, but I did it anyway. I waited a few weeks as they were placed between pages of my huge dictionary stacked under other heavy books and things. I did find a tutorial using a microwave method, which I haven’t done, but I’ll leave the link below. Along with it are a few tutorials of how to make your own journals. Again, I didn’t use these, but will probably some day. I think making journals by hand is great because it’s so versatile and earth loving. I see myself making personalized ones for family & friends as gifts or for myself.

Eco-friendly notes:
-This was made entirely with materials I already had at home and many of which were ones I upcycled.
-Alternative to throwing out flowers is to simply compost.
-Alternative to making your own is to buy from a local vendor who uses eco-friendly practices and materials.

Materials this journal was created from: pressed flowers, cardboard from empty pasta box, junk mail envelopes, scrap paper, unused/blank pages from previous journals/planners, stickers, plastic covering from an old planner, clear packaging tape and string I already had in my craft box.


I love it so much. I’m already using it and know that the materials I used to make it is put to better use.

Some pressed flowers tutorials I found online:

How to Press Flowers (Rookie Magazine)
Pressed Flower Tutorial (Modest Maven, microwave method)

Some journal-making tutorials I found online:

journals (curiously crafty.)
Bind Your Own Book (Instructables)