Happy Handmade Halloween!

We had a great Halloween party with the neighbors. Flat-bed trailer with hay, Thriller on the stereo, at least 20 kids and 1000’s of pieces of candy!

Here’s this year’s handmade costume. I took an XS ladies’ sweat suit from Old Navy, cut it way down and embellished. Introducing the Lego Ninjago Green Ninja – a little before and after action!

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Hope your Halloween was awesome, too!

I also took this picture with my phone…no idea what happened, but it’s very creepy!
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Happy Belated Earth Day

My new favorite blogger, Kirsten, posted a nice Earth Day “here’s what I’m doing to help the Earth” post with some goals for next year, and I really liked it. so here’s mine.

First, a roll-up of 2008’s efforts:

We’ve cut out all napkins and most paper towels. We actually gave up paper towels too, but the landlord had to fix the roof and he had tar on his hand, and I didn’t have anything disposable for him to clean his hand with! I think sometimes you just need a paper towel. But we only buy the 100% post-consumable recycled ones (like 7th generation), and we only buy about 3 rolls every 6 months or so. We also only use the 100% recycled toilet paper. Harder to find, but well worth it. Here’s why it’s important.

We’ve loved using the cloth napkins made from soft quilting cotton. I gave them out to all the family for Christmas and they were a big hit.

And I can’t say enough how much I love, love, love my reusable grocery bags bought from the store. I use them for EVERYTHING – carrying toys to the park, carrying library books, cleaning out the car, oh – and of course, groceries. They go on my shoulder – I can carry 4 or 5 totally packed at a time. Awesome. If I forget them, I don’t take a bag. The other day, I was juggling coffee creamer and milk and butter. I stuck some apples in my purse. It was awkward, and it motivates me not to forget my bags. I try to always keep at least two in the car.

Along those same lines, I don’t use produce bags at all. No need. Who cares if the tomatoes are all over the bag, as long as the milk isn’t on top of them. And I don’t take bags from stores unless I really really need it. If I can carry whatever I’m buying in my hands or purse, and still hold my kid’s hand, I don’t need a bag. It’s just going to my house anyway, right? No new bags in the house!

For 2009, my #1 goal is to wipe out the wipees. I use Kirkland baby wipees like there’s no tomorrow! Waste waste waste. And I’m sure they’ve got some wierd chemical component that is bad news.

#2 – plastic bottles. My husband worked for a water bottling company for the last few years, and now he works for a major soft drink manufacturer. We’ve always got plastic bottles around here. We’re pretty good about using them a couple times before recycling them, but still. No good. We’ve got to get rid of them. Just because he works there doesn’t mean we have to fill our house with them.

#3 – Turning off power strips. This is such a simple power saver, but I ALWAYS forget. My goal is to concentrate on the TV/Cable/DVR/DVD player strip and the computer strip. Every night. Switch them off!

#4 – Water. My kid loves to play with water. But he’s just as happy with a bucket full of water and a serving spoon as he is with a running hose. We’re working on that.

#5 – Pick up more trash. It’s not like I can’t wash my hands if I pick up that empty chip bag or crushed water bottle in the parking lot at the park. We pick up some, but we walk by a lot.

Sorry if that got preachy :) I was up on a soapbox for a minute there.

holiday spirit

I’m working hard on Christmas gifts. I’m trying to avoid the last minute purchasing spree because all the crafts I had planned never got made. So, so far, I’ve completed two quilt tops, one back and binding – ready to be sandwiched, one waiting to be ironed.

I’ve also finished cloth napkins for everyone. These are about 8″ x 10″ – one fat quarter makes two. I’ve got enough here for six different families :) This is one part of my “green” Christmas, where everyone gets a reusable grocery bag and cloth napkins. And maybe something else – but I haven’t decided what yet. Any ideas? Here are my napkins:

cloth napkins

Thanks to Unspeakable Visions for providing this fun naughty and nice list for planning gifts. I love it! Also, thanks to the Handmade Holiday 2008 group on flickr for keeping me honest and inspired. I do still plan to give a few Oxfam gifts this year though – if you haven’t been on Oxfam America Unwrapped, you should check it out. Lots of great gift ideas – especially for people who have everything!

Just a note about those cloth napkins. I instituted them at my own house about six months ago, and I thought they might be a pain, but actually, they’re awesome. First of all, I love to use them – they get softer and softer with each wash because they’re made of good quilting cotton. Second, they make me feel fancy, even when I’m eating ramen. Third, we have been using the same roll of paper towels for about 4 months now – and it’s still over half full! When they’re dirty, I set them on the washing machine, and they just get thrown in with whatever load I’m doing. If they get too stained with spaghetti sauce or whatever, I’ll just make some new ones, but so far, they are perfect. I highly recommend them for everyone! Reduce – Reuse – Recycle!