If given the choice I will usually opt for soy or beeswax crayons. The conventional ones made from petro products are not a favorite. I will usually make an exception for recycled crayon products though because you are buying used instead of new. The fact that Eco Stars are made from recycled materials, along with the fact that my youngest needs to work on his grasping skills according to his therapist at school, made me think this product might be a good fit for us. Theses crayons are melted down into cute little stars and they are perfect for my son’s little fingers to grasp.
The box is also made form recycled materials so all around a pretty earth friendly product and the color array is good too. They are also pretty exciting to a four year old as well. No idea yet if it is helping with his grip issues but its not as if crayons will go unused in this house!
These, along with our beloved crayon rocks, might just be the cutest crayons ever.
Painting outside on the porch is what my kiddos spent most of this gorgeous day doing. I made some paper dolls for my daughter using some Trader Joe’s bags I have had laying around for a couple months. After cutting them out I set all the kids up with some natural paints from GLOB. My youngest boy just painted on paper and my oldest painted a cardboard house.
The paints use plant materials for their color… pomegranate, blueberry, tangerine, basil, plum, and lemon verbena. They even have their fruity smell still.. YUM! You mix some of the paint powder with some water, adding more water for thin paint and using less water for thick paint, and away you go. Using these is a bit more work than buying a plastic bottle of liquid paint from Walmart but I rest easy knowing they are using safe, non-toxic paints and that they are low impact.
The doll template is from the website for Family Fun magazine. I just love all the crafty stuff for kids in their magazine and much of it is perfect for natural families oddly enough.
Wishing all a lovely, warm, watercolor weekend!
This morning my two oldest kids were itching to do an art project. After a couple minutes trying to figure out what to do I decided that we had all the necessary ingredients for making Rainsticks.
Rainsticks are ceremonial musical instruments that are/were used to invoke the rain spirits. They are typically made by people who live in the deserts of northern Chile. And they are traditionally made from dead cactus tubes with hundreds of cactus spines hammered into the tube. Tiny pebbles or stones cascade gently through the tube, sounding much like rain. I am sure you have probably seen them before at arts and crafts festivals.
We did not have cactus tubes on hand unfortunately. When we lived in Arizona we could have found these easy within the state land that formed our back yard but alas Ohio is short on cactus. ;) So we used cardboard mailing tubes, nails, and rice. We decorated our tubes with Tempera paint.
We hammered a couple dozen nails into our mailing tubes, filled with a cup or so of rice, tested to hear the lovely sounds they made, and then painted. Here are some pictures. The kids are quite proud of their rainsticks and we had a fun time making them. They are out trying to invoke the rain spirits right now. We could use the rain!
If you have any mailing tubes laying around this is a great way to recycle them.
Scrapbooking has become a huge pastime and hobby for moms everywhere. I have some friends that scrapbook each of their children’s lives almost daily! I am not so into scrapbooking myself but I did make one once, for a childhood girlfriend that was getting married and it WAS a lot of fun I must admit. I didn’t want to give it to her when it was done!
One of the drawbacks of scrapbooking is that it requires a lot of materials, especially paper. Each scrapbook page requires a piece of fancy paper or card stock for the background, and then of course more paper is used for die cuts, frames and other embellishments. Then there are the non-paper embellishments, and let's not forget the scrapbook cover. The finished product is priceless really, but this hobby can have an impact on the environment.
Lucky for us there are environmentally conscientious scrapbook materials on the market. Read on for some ideas on how to incorporate some earth friendly practices into your scrapping adventures.
Recycled Paper of Course!
When we think of environmentally responsible scrapbook supplies, the first thing that should come to mind is recycled paper. Buying post consumer recycled paper is a step in the right direction. Buying recycled paper cuts down on the demand for new and this saves trees. But when you purchase recycled paper products, it's essential to know what you're buying.
For instance, how much of it is actually recycled? Is it a substantial amount or is it just a marketing gimmick? Each package of paper should list the percentage of recycled materials that were used in manufacturing. The higher the percentage, the better. It is also important to identify the percentage of post-consumer waste used. Post consumer waste paper has been recycled after it has hit the market and been used, as opposed to pre-consumer waste, which is just scraps created when cutting the paper during the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer waste is not really recycling in the traditional sense because manufacturers almost always recycle their own scraps anyway…it is just good business. So touting the word “recycled” for pre-consumer paper scraps is selling something…literally.
Another important factor is the type of ink is used to print on the paper and most scrapbooking papers do have elaborate printing and design. Many of the inks used can be damaging to the environment. Always look for vegetable or soy-based inks, which are environmentally nontoxic. Your local craft store representative should be able to point you in the right direction and if they don’t carry these items, ask if they will start ordering them. You can always buy plain recycled paper and use non-toxic ink stamps or have your children paint the backgrounds with watercolors.
Recycle Your Own
Using recycled paper is a great start when you're trying to be environmentally conscious in your scrapbooking. But it would be even better to use items that you would have otherwise thrown away. This can also help you save some money. It takes some imagination and creativity, but there are lots of things you can reuse in your scrapbooks. These include:
* Old Children’s Books – Have you ever been to a yard sale where they are selling old children’s books that are falling apart? I know I have…many times. Instead of passing them by because they aren’t very readable buy them up for pennies and cut them up to use in your scrapbooks. The old early readers like the Dick and Jane classics make wonderful scrapbook additions.
* Maps – Maps are great for matting and backgrounds. You can also cut out the states or countries you recently went on vacation and incorporate them into memory pages. Fun!
* Old calendars – These are wonderful to use because you can cut out dates and use the high quality pictures.
* Wrapping paper – You can make all sorts of nice embellishments or backgrounds out of wrapping paper or tissue paper. Ribbons can also be used so save your gift wrapping materials after someone gives you a gift or raid some one's party garbage (with their permission of course) to get some raw materials.
* Greeting cards – Not only can you cut out the handwritten notes and add them to a page for a personal touch, you can also cut out pretty illustrations and verses to use like die cuts. Instead of letting sit in a box or tossing them…use them!
Digital scrapbooking is also an option and quickly gaining popularity. You may want to try it. Few (if any) physical supplies are required for this type of scrapping.
Reusing items and buying recycled and non-toxic scrapbook materials will greatly reduce your scrapbooking hobby's impact on the environment. Doing some of these things might require a little more time and effort, but Mother Earth will thank you.