“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Earth Friendly Goodie Bag

**This post is taken from a post I did on my Hip Mountain Mama Blog April 21, 2010.

Goodie Bags have become the standard at kid's birthday parties. I am not sure where this tradition originated from, but it has become some what expected that your party guests go home with some kind of goodie.

Last year we decided to forgo the goodie bags all together and we made a music CD for all our guests. This year we decided to have the kids decorate their own organic cotton lunch bag to take home with them.

As the kids arrived, we had them sit down with some fabric markers, stencils, and a blank canvas. They enjoyed drawing suns, peace signs, their names, stars, and more on their very own lunch bag.

The kids were all excited to put their own creations onto a bag that they will be able to use to take their lunch to school, a snack to the park, or to fill with treasures. I felt good about sending the kids home with something they will use and can be proud of.

If you are planning a child's birthday party and want to send the kids home with a goodie, consider one of the following ideas:

*A music CD filled with fun kids songs

*A reusable bag (lunch bag, shopping bag, snack bag) either decorated by the kids or left as is, filled with a few pieces of organic candy, a book, a few pieces of modelling beeswax or nothing :)

*Have a play silk dying party and send the kids home with their silk as a goodie

*A little flower pot and some seeds

*Have the kids hand roll beeswax candles and send them home with the candle

*Homemade play dough either made by the kids or made ahead of time

If you have an idea...please let us know!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Green Organizing Solutions–Cloth Tote Tutorial: By Abbie Park

I am so thrilled to post here on the One Small Change blog! This month of September, my family and I are working to integrate some greener organizing solutions into our home. We want to move away from the particle board filled with toxic adhesives and plastic containers that leach chemicals and really remember the organizing tools that truly come from nature. Those would be wood, metal, wicker, cloth, and glass.

I am very excited to share a cloth tote bag tutorial to make a bag like the ones we use to carry library books, “wrap gifts”, and store seasonal wear.

By deciding to hand-make a tote bag, you not only save money, but the door to infinite design possibilities opens up wide. For this tutorial, colorful, soft cotton fabric in a quilt square pattern creates a simple fall motif. Don’t forget to use embroidery, other applique techniques, stencil designs, and iron-ons to really personalize your organizing system.

These totes are super cheap. This fully-lined tote bag is made of up-cycled, unbleached, mid-weight cotton fabric that was previously an old curtain. And it cost $1.50 at my local thrift store! Though I used retail bought fabric for the motif, the colorful patterned fabric from yard-sale-found dress shirts and blouses is more economical.

Fall Applique Tote Bag

•(2) 23″ x 10″ pieces of unbleached cotton fabric – medium weight (I recycled the fabric from a curtain)
•(2) 14″ x 4″ pieces of unbleached cotton fabric – medium weight (these will be the handles)
•(7) 3 1/2″ X 2″ pieces of coordinating patterned fabrics (or enough to complete a 10″ x 3 1/2″ panel when pieced together)
•fabric scissors
•sewing machine
•iron and board
How To

1. Wash and tumble dry all fabric.
2. Cut all fabric pieces to size.
3. Align 2 small patterned squares right sides together and seam the 3 1/2″ edge using 1/2″ seam allowance, repeat with remaining pieces to create patterned rectangle applique 10″ long by 3 1/2″ wide
4. Trim seam allowances to 1/4″ and press all seams to lay in the same direction
5. Fold top and bottom (the 10″ long sides) of patterned rectangle applique 1/4″ to the fabric wrong side and press
6. Pin patterned rectangle applique to outside face of tote fabric. Align the top of the applique piece 7 1/2″ from one short edge of the tote fabric (10″ side) matching raw edges
7. Edge stitch the pressed edges of the applique to the tote fabric
8. Fold handle fabric pieces in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press. Open and fold raw edges toward creased center and press. Fold in half lengthwise again and press.
9. Edge stitch pressed edges together along the length of the bag handle (the 14″ side)
10. Fold outside tote bag fabric in half right sides together, matching raw edges. Pin and stitch the side seams using a 1/2″ seaming allowance (sew the 11 1/2″ sides.) Repeat with the inside tote fabric. Clip corners and turn outside tote fabric right-side out.

11. Align tote bag handle raw edges (the 1″ side) spaced evenly along the right side of the 10″ top of the bag outside fabric and pin. (Make sure the handle fabric isn’t twisted and handles should lay toward the fold of the bottom of the tote on the outside of the bag. Baste raw edges.

12. Place outside tote bag fabric with handles, inside the tote bag lining fabric so that right sides are together. Align side seams, make sure the handles are in between the tote bag layers, and pin.
13. Seam raw edges (use a 1/2″ seam allowance) around the top of the bag, leaving a 3″ unseamed opening through which to turn the bag, back stitching at the beginning and end. (Reinforce the seam over the bag handles by back stitching.)
14. Turn the bag through the opening, smooth bag liner to the inside, and press.
15. Edge stitch the top of the tote bag 1/8″ from the edge to close the 3″ opening.
16. Fill your new tote with something fabulously precious!

Some other ways to use your new tote bag (and get inspired to make more,) are…

•Use mini totes to hold those party favors (no more silly plastic baggies)
•Wrap your holiday gifts in a colorful cloth tote
•Insulate your tote to carry your warm Thanksgiving apple pie to grandmother’s house
•Kids love toting things around in these diminutive bags
•Add a zipper to your tote and store seasonal wear like swim suits, sunglasses, and sun hats, or mittens, hats, and mufflers
•Add a draw string and lose the handles and lining to hit the bulk bins at your local food co-op
•Hang one near your front door and tuck into it, mail to be sent, checks to be passed along, and that t-shirt you need to return
•Keep your favorite purse free from dust in your closet by slipping it into an unbleached muslin bag
•Organize your car with a few resident tote bags that keep items like your bungee cords in check

Tote bags are a green organizing solution that is economical, eco-friendly, and simple to create. Check back on my blog, Organizing-Life.com, for a honey-comb applique design tote-bag tutorial!

**Post by Abbie Park of Organizing-Life


Monday, September 20, 2010

To Go Ware...Make the Change

To Go Ware...what a perfect name for this perfect product! I first came across To Go Ware from a friend who told me about these bamboo utensils she was using at restaurants, pot lucks, and camping trips in lieu of plastic utensils. I checked out these utensils for myself and I was hooked!

I now, also, carry a set of bamboo utensils in a neat carrying case in my purse. If I ever happen to be somewhere that I need a fork, spoon, or knife, I've got it! As a family, we each have our own utensil kit that we take on camping trips. Everyone is responsible for their own set and it gets used all weekend.

We also regularly use To Go Ware's Tiffins and Side Kicks. The Tiffins and Side Kicks are stainless steel containers that work great for taking your lunch to work, snacks on a hike, camping, or a picnic.

We brought these items with us while vending at a sustainable living fair this past weekend and it was so fun to see everyones excitement. It made me realize how many people are willing to make the small change when it comes to food containers and the elimination of plastic utensils. The more people who start using these sort of items, the more it will become mainstream and normal. If we can achieve a shift in this area, it will be a major victory for environmentalists!

So, if you have not made the switch yet to reusable food containers, now is the time to start! If you already do this, then now is the time to start spreading the word! Blog about it, talk about it, give it as gifts. If you can influence just 1 person to make the switch then you have made one awesome small change!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Where Does Your Meat Come From

Since on the subject of eating natural meat, I wanted to share this video that was shown to me recently. Everyone should see this....there is some graphic footage, but seriously something we should all see so we really know what is going on.

**Note, this video is encouraging vegetarianism, which is great for some, but if this is not a choice for you, please become aware of where your meat is coming from and choose more natural choices.

Find out more at Meat.org.

Monday, September 6, 2010

My One Small Change: Let's Eat Natural Meat

I am trying something new here. Instead of posting my One Small Change to my blog, I thought I would share it here. If you are interested in writing about your change and having me post it on the One Small Change Blog, just email me (suzy@hipmountainmama.com). I thought it would be fun for people to come here and read about people's changes. We love having guest bloggers and think it really brings the community aspect of this project to the forefront!

For September I decided to only purchase free-range, all natural, and local when possible meat. In the past I would purchase local meat about half the time, then, out of convenience would purchase meat from the grocery store the other half. It really is silly because I am so fortunate to have a meat store about a mile from my home that carries local, natural, and properly raised meat. So, why haven't I been shopping their exclusively? Well, there's the cost and the fact that they are only open on certain days at certain times, then there is the thought of making that one extra stop while running errands.

No more excuses! Last week I went to the meat store and bought enough to last me the entire month. We only eat meat about twice a week so it wasn't that much meat and I feel great about having it in the freezer. It is also helping me be more organized about my meals. During the summer months I tend to get lazy about meals and meal planning...so getting myself organized feels really good and we hope to have some yummy and healthy meals this month!

So, why is it important to eat this kind of meat? These days we all need to be very careful about what we are eating. There are so many nasty chemicals that are put into our food and so many people are getting sick, there is a ridiculous amount of recalls, and it is really reeking havoc on our bodies. Most of the meat you will find in the grocery stores is from animals that lived a horrible life in a confined space, fed food that they are not supposed to eat, and given medicine that transfers into the meat that you are eating. Animals are meant to live out in the open to graze and eat natural foods. Shoving animals in a cage and pumping them full of nasty chemicals is animal abuse and should be stopped. We can help by not purchasing this kind of meat...only until we start spending our money on properly raised meats will we start seeing a shift. For more information you can check out the Rocky Plains Benefits Page.
If you are in the Northern Colorado area, check out Rocky Plains. Not only do they have local meat, but they also carry eggs, some dairy products, and some local condiments.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Welcome Sponsor: Family of Movers

We are so excited to introduce you to our newest One Small Change Sponsor, Family of Movers.

"We are The Hollomans, otherwise known as the Family of Movers. We are converting a school bus into our home so we can teach our children what it means to live simple, without stuff and off the grid in some instances by having utilizing solar energy panels all while serving our God by building homes across the nation. We have moved 15 times in the last 7 years mostly due to Brian's carpentry work but now we feel led to travel the country in our bus. We homeschool our kids and I am a full time student at Liberty University in their Accounting program. When I'm not studying, schooling the kids, ect., I make Ebelegy lotion and shampoo, an all organic company designed to soothe eczema, psoriais and dry skin. "
Check out their inspiring blog here http://www.familyofmovers.com/
And Etsy shop here http://www.etsy.com/shop/ebelegy