Category Archives: Projections

The Gratitude Tree Craft Project

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You can make a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table – using free leaves, a stick, a wire coat hanger and twisty ties. For real. All you need is a little imagination, and these simple materials become a gorgeous Gratitude Tree: a reminder of all that your family is grateful for as you dine together on November 27th.

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The directions for this easy project are cross-posted over at the Sister Eden blog. It’s super for kids, grown-ups, couples and grandparents in families of all shapes and sizes. Everyone can collect and press leaves. Everyone can add what they’re grateful for.

GratTreeC_lrThere are only a few technical parts – like pressing leaves and making the base.  Click over to the Sister Eden post and get the instructions and get started today! You’ll need to collect pretty leaves first, and dry them in a heavy book.

GratTreeBThe real fun begins when you start writing what you’re grateful for. You may get going and find you run out of leaves! Which is a wonderful problem, to have so many good things you’re thankful for!

Wishing you many blessings for a wonderful holiday and may your Gratitude Tree be filled with good wishes, love and excellent health~

Easy Bird Feeders

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As it gets colder, our outdoor friends are looking for food and could use a little love from you, if you are so inclined!

Experts are still out on whether or not wild birds and critters like squirrels and rabbits need/benefit from supplemental feeding from people in cities and suburbs. But my own personal feeling is that since there’s not much to forage in the way of seeds, nuts, fruits, bugs over the winter, that maybe my wild friends could use a little extra chow. And it’s always fun to feed them, since we get to see them visit the feeders, and we can admire their beauty and cuteness.

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On the Sister Eden blog, we recently posted directions on how to make lots of different kinds of feeders. Above, the pine cone with peanut butter and seeds is the simplest way to go. Chances are, you have everything in your kitchen already to make a feeder like this.

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Paper roll feeders are also really easy to make and just about anyone can put one of these together, so it’s a great project for small children. You need three items: a cardboard paper roll (toilet paper, paper towels, gift wrap); peanut butter (or nut butter of choice); birdseed.

Peanut butter jar and soda bottle feeders are only slightly bigger projects. They require the container, something to make a perch from (dowel, stick, wooden spoon, etc.), a wine cork and twine – as well as bird seed.  Both also require a knife to cute holes, so it’s better for older children or adults. These projects can be easily made into bird house, as well – just a few different adjusments and you can make shelter for small birds for the the winter.

 

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twoliter_lrBe sure to visit our longer cross-post on Sister Eden for full instructions to make these easy, inexpensive, upcycled bird feeders for your outside friends this winter! Also, be sure to check the links on the post, so you can see what kind of seeds birds and wildlife in your region like best.

Sweeten Up the Holidays

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Everyone loves holiday gifting. Well, sort of. It can be tiring… searching out the perfect things for your loved ones and colleagues. And then trying to make it both eco-friendly and vegan. Okay, so maybe it’s not always the funnest thing. But why not *make* gifts instead? We know awesome vegans out there who accomplish amazing feats, such as making homemade bar soaps and fresh preserves as gifts. We’re hippies though… we’re not that ambitious.

This crafty idea came from my mom. After shelling out over $20 for a jar of organic, locally-made, vegan sugar scrub, she decided she had had enough and started to experiment with making her own. The results have been fantastic. So great, in fact, that we got together, made several large batches and jarred them up for holiday gifts. No more trips to the mall, thank you very much! Our friends and family will get the treat of a luxurious, natural sugar scrub – loaded with organic oils to moisturize dry winter skin.sugarsc1_lr

It’s super easy.  The part that will take the most time – going to the health food store to buy the oils. We used sweet orange, cinnamon and clove Aura Cacia essential oils to scent ours like winter pomanders, but you can use whatever you like. Maybe lavender and lemon? Or rose oil? Go crazy. For containers, we used a few re-purposed candle jars with lids and plain ole’ Ball canning jars. Decorate them any way you like – ribbons, cloth. Have fun – and don’t eat it. Just sayin’. Cuz it does smell good enough to eat!

Holiday Sugar Scrub

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3 cups organic sugar (we used Florida Crystals)

1/2 cup organic olive oil

1/4 cup organic almond oil

1/8 cup organic grapeseed oil

1/8 cup organic jojoba oil

20 drops organic sweet orange essential oil (or to your scent preference)

15 drops organic cinnamon essential oil (or to your scent preference)

10 drops organic clove essential oil (or to your scent preference)

In a large glass bowl, add sugar and break up any lumps. In a sturdy liquid measuring cup, combine all oils and stir with a spoon. Gently fold oils into sugar and when well blended, pack into jars. How many jars you can fill will depend on the size of the jars. Tightly close lids and decorate jars as desired.

Gift to your friends and family – or stock up your own shower for the winter! 🙂

Projection: I heart wreaths

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Everyone loves to feel loved.  And thus goes Valentine’s Day.  After all, who wants to be the guy (or gal) that feels like Charlie Brown, eternally waiting by their mailbox for that most old-fashioned token of adoration, a Valentine?

We say, keep on celebrating the love. Upcycle your old Valentines into a wreath of hearts you can use year after year – you can even add to it each year as well!

It’s super simple really. Here’s what you need…

a pile of old Valentines

a wreath form (we used straw, but grapevine would work, too)

scissors

toothpicks

hot glue gun & glue sticks

ribbon, faux flowers or other items to decorate, as desired

The first step is to decide which parts of the old Valentines you want to use. They usually have cute photos, drawings and characters. We like to cut out signatures of our family and friends, too.

Next, step two, cut all the hearts for your wreath. Be sure to mix up the sizes for visual variety (unless you like them uniform, of course).

Step three, use the hot glue gun to affix a toothpick to the back of each heart.  You may want to put some hearts on sticks facing in different directions, so you have hearts on the top, bottom and sides of your wreath – but with each heart still facing upright as it will be attached to the wreath.

In the fourth step, fill up the wreath with hearts and secure them with more hot glue.

Decorate as desired with ribbon or other cute stuff – like more hearts or glitter. Then sit back, relax and feel all the love from your new upcycled wreath!

We saw this done once with Christmas cards cut into holly shapes. But it might be even more adorable with hearts!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Projection: Festive Magazine Forests

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Giving new life to old stuff is always a groovy thing. Like old magazines and catalogs. And who doesn’t have plenty of those this time of year? Sure, you can toss them into the recycling – or upcycle them into festive holiday trees. We’re glad to show you how and this project is very simple. Even a younger child could make one.

Find an un-needed catalog or magazine. You can use any size.

Step one: Fold the first page from the upper right corner to the binding in the in the middle. Run your hand back over the crease.

Step two: Take the folded edge of the page and fold it in half again until it meets the binding in the middle. Crease it.

Step three: On the bottom is a little triangle. Fold this upwards to be flush with the bottom of the magazine/catalog. And crease it.

Step Four: Repeat with every other page including the covers. Just keep at it, the thicker the magazine or catalog, the more you’ll have to fold.

Towards the end, the folded side gets rather thick. It helps to sort of keep the folded pages on one side and the flat pages on another while you work.

Once you’re all done, you can decorate with your magazine trees as-is or add paint, glitter, ribbons and other ornamentation. Use stuff you have on hand, if you can. We used blue glitter paint on two; some leftover ribbons scraps and put the “toppers” on the two trees with bows using toothpicks. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how very cool it looks when it all comes together!

Happy folding!

Projection: Spicy Cinnamon Ornaments

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Celebrate the sweet smell of Christmas with cinnamon. These cute & fragrant ornaments are super easy to create and a make a fun project for families. (Or just for you.)

This craft is a holiday classic. We aren’t sure where the recipe or idea came from originally. If it was you – respect. On an internet search, we found over 20 variations. Some were more complex than how we make ours. Others, almost identical. Either way, this simple project is a winner.

Spicy Cinnamon Ornaments

2 cups ground cinnamon

1-3/4 cups plain applesauce

ribbon

Preheat Oven to 225.

Mix together cinnamon and applesauce until a thick dough forms. You may need to use your hands towards the end, it gets firm.

Sprinkle a rolling surface with more cinnamon and work the dough into a flat circle. Roll out to about 1/4″ inch and use cookie cutters of choice to create festive shapes. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Poke a hole in the top with a straw or skewer.

Bake for 2 to 3 hours, until dried all the way though. Ours took about 3 hours.

Once cooled, thread with ribbon. You can hang them inside – they smell wonderful and spread cheer throughout the house. Or you can hang them outside. Many kinds of birds love cinnamon and will enjoy sharing holiday fun with you.

We have also seen these decorated more elaborately for indoor use: painted or with beads/glitter pasted on. If you use paints or other decorations, though – don’t put them outside for the birds!

Projection: Spooky Lanterns

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If you have a few old jars around, you are almost ready to make this cool Halloween project. It’s simple and a fun project for big and little monsters.

This re-use project first appeared on the craft blog “Not So Idle Hands.” by Emily McDonald. Woman’s Day magazine spied it and featured the cute lanterns on the cover of their October 2011 issue. Super cool.

We loved the idea, too and decided to give it a whirl. Here’s how it went.

You need:

5 jars, washed with labels removed

measuring tape

scissors

orange, purple, black, white or green tissue paper

black construction paper

Mod Podge (decoupage glue)

1″ foam brush

small bowl & water

Safely cover your work area before you begin. Measure the tallest jar and cut about a dozen strips of tissue paper to cover the entire jar. In a small bowl, mix 3 parts Mod Podge with 1 part water. Brush the outside of the jar with Mod Podge mixture and lay the strips of paper over the glue vertically (or mix it up – go horizontal!) overlapping each other. Smooth out the paper with your fingers. Let dry. Meanwhile, cut faces or other designs from the black construction paper. Glue onto the jars with Mod Podge, as desired. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface to seal. Allow to dry completely overnight. To display, light from the inside.

Thanks Emily – this is a fun and simple eco-project!