April 26, 2008

How To...

In my last post, I kept on hinting at this post with ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. This is the first of the How To... posts in connection with the Going Green posts. Check these posts to find out how you can

Make Your Own Reusable Bag!
There are two ways of making a reusable bag: decorating a bag, or actually making one. The first, decorating, is pretty simple. Essentially, just get an old bag (I prefer those canvas ones that you can get for free at special events), some fabric paint, fabric scraps, ribbon, buttons, anything you want to put on your bag. Then, decorate away!
The second is a little more challenging. To actually make a bag, you could visit different sites for their takes on how, but I prefer to use shorts/skirts I've outgrown. However, just remember, to be truly eco-friendly, try sewing this project by hand!
First, before altering the skirts/shorts in any way yet, decide what material you want your handles to be. If you have long skirts/shorts, you could cut off one inch of fabric from the bottom as a handle. Otherwise, another strip of one inch fabric or one-inch-wide ribbons (doubled together for strength on each handle) would work. Now, you're ready to begin making the bag!
I like to use my old skirts because they are already in the bag shape. For shorts, you can rip/cut apart the inseams (the inside seams forming the legs of the shorts) and resew them together to make it into a skirt shape. Then, flip your skirt/skirt-shaped-shorts inside out and sew together the bottoms. Make sure you use strong thread because this seam will have to hold whatever you put into your bag. If you are using denim, a good alternative to regular thread is either strong twine, maybe a leather string, or even fishing wire paired up with one of those two. Make sure that you go back and forth across this new seam a couple of times to make sure that the thread won't come out.
Next, if the bag shape has buttons/zippers on the top, you could either sew it together, or leave it as is for a unique touch. Finally, it's time to sew on the handle. Once again, keeping the bag flipped inside out, sew the handles on either side of the opening. This part is where you get to choose where to position the handles, it's up to you!

Cool Yourself Down!
First, gather a few plastic cups that you can get with the kiddy-meals at restaurants such as Olive Garden, Macaroni Grill, or T.J.I. Fridays just to name a few. Then, you can either mix up a pitcher of Kool-Aid or use another type of fruity, sweet juice. Pour as much juice as you want your popsicle to have into the cup and place either a spoon, a few straws close to eachother, a craft popsicle stick, a bunch of chopsticks, anything that can hold the weight of the popsicle. Place the cups with the spoon/straws/sticks inside your freezer and let sit for at least one day. Finally, pull them out, cut open the plastic (recycle the plastic!!!) and enjoy!
WARNING: The popsicles may melt in warm temperatures (aka fancy talk for they will melt if you do not eat them fast enough); please use a bowl/cup to catch all dripping liquids (or else you'll have stained clothes faster than you can say, "I'm melting" really dramatically)!

Enjoy being eco-friendly and keep your eye out for more GREEN posts!
Little Star

Going Green

Well, on Tuesday April 22, we celebrated Gaia, Mother Nature, Mother Earth, anything else you wish to call our lovely planet. Connecting with my previous water quality post, Earth Day was all about the Earth! How many people did something that dealt with the Earth and cleaning it up on Tuesday?
If you weren't able to, that doesn't matter. Earth Day can be everyday! With large brand-names going green, new cars being developed to be more green, everything around is showing the effects of Earth Day. If you want to join the global fight against pollution and the wasting of energy, here are ways to help:

Section A. Your Home
Not just a place to eat in, sleep in, and live in, your home is also one of the places where you could be using the most energy! Here are some tips to help keep your home green.
  1. Recycle! Any old newspapers, magazines, or bottles lying around? Toss them into your recycling bin! No recycling program in your area? Talk to your town/city council or your Homeowner's Association about starting a program!
  2. Reuse! Instead of brown-bagging your lunch everyday and using tons of Ziploc bags for your sandwiches, buy or make your own lunch bag. How do you make your own lunch bag? Check the next post for some great ideas! Use reusable containers to store your food in order to cut down on the number of plastic bags going into the trash everyday! Did you know that it takes a long, long, long time (over 100 years according to some sources) for one single plastic bag to decompose? Now multiply that by the number of plastic bags in the trash...and well...that's a lot.
  3. Reduce! When you're not in the room, turn off the lights. Everyone keeps telling you to turn off the light, but you think, what's one lightbulb going to do to the environment. Well, if you think that, there's probably a lot more people with the same thought. If everyone does their part no matter how small, a lot of energy is going to be conserved. Some sources say that if everyone turns off the lights they are using, it could be the equivalent of taking about 41 thousand cars off of the road. Taking shorter, cooler showers (especially as we head into summer) saves water as well as the energy it takes to warm up the water for the shower. Keep the AC use as low as possible, instead of keeping the whole house chilly, close bedroom doors and turn off the upstairs AC until night time when you'll be spending the whole night upstairs. In the day, turn off the AC if no one is home and have the AC turn on when you get home. Drinking lots of water keeps you healthy and cooled down! Make your own popsicles by using those plastic cups you get at T.G.I Fridays and other places to cool you down. Check the next post for instructions.

Check back for more ways to recycle, reuse, and reduce!
Until next time,
Little Star