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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yes, It Is Possible To Have A Party Without Disposables!

Years ago, when I still lived in Germany, one of my best friends celebrated a big birthday.
She invited a whole bunch of friends, I don't remember exactly how many, but it must have been well over 30 people, and I was so impressed that she totally refused to use any other disposable item than napkins.
I remember how surprised I was when her parents came by to bring their extra set of silverware, as well as extra dishes, to make sure there was enough for the amount of people. Again, I didn't used to be the green person that I am today...

Now, years later, I found myself in a similar situation, and I must say it is SO possible to have many people over and still don't have a lot of garbage. I'm very pleased to say that I really don't care whether or not the dishes are all matching, whether or not I have to disappear in the kitchen for a little while to wash some dishes and put them back on the table or whether anybody cares that I use Preserve - the brand that uses #5 plastics to create cutlery, dishes and cups (among others, they also produce toothbrushes, razors and many other things).
It all worked out totally fine and it was so nice to not see a (or many) big bags of garbage as a result of a big get-together. Great when after a party you look into your garbage bin and there's... nothing. Just a bit leftover food that didn't make it into the compost bag. Oh well, we can't ask for too much for now :-)
I wished more people would stop being so afraid of a few dishes that have to be dealt with and just go the green route!

Happy Green Holidays to all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Swap and Trade instead of Buy and Waste

A few days ago I started decorating our apartment.
I must say I'm proud that I have not bought a new holiday piece of decoration in years, and yet I think our place looks nice.

But I found that I wanted white-wired Christmas lights on the walls instead of the green-wired that we had.
Of course I could have gotten to a store and bought the white-wired ones for a ridiculous amount of money (I know how cheap the stuff is!). But instead, I posted on a local mommy board and asked whether there was somebody who wanted to trade with me.
Within a day, I had 4 boxes of used white-wired lights (the woman had used them at their wedding, and ever since they were lying in her basement), and she had my green-wired lights for her tree.
She thanked me for giving her the idea of "things like this".

It's so easy - you have something that you don't need anymore and need something else - just check with the community and trade. It saves you money, energy and the environment gets a break as well.

Oh, and thrift stores have wonderful holiday decorations this time of year! Go check it out in your local "second-hand stores" (as we call them in Europe :-)

Happy trading!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Craft: Beautiful and Easy To Make Fabric Gingerbread House

 Ok, it seems like this time of the year my blog turns into a craft blog. I have to say, I really enjoy being creative and crafty these days.
And hey, it's still a very green thing - I come up with uses for stuff that we have in the house. Except for the glue that I use (and I'm looking into making my own in the future!), nothing is new or store-bought.

So this is my little project that I did with my 4-year old this afternoon: our fabric gingerbread house.
 We took an empty box (the size of a tissue paper box), cut the lid into triangles (for the roof to sit on), cut out red fabric in the same size and glued it on.
We then cut a piece of cardboard that would fit as a roof and glued green fabric and some white lace onto it.
 After that we just went crazy cutting doors, windows and candy canes of small pieces of fabric and glued it all over the house.
 It was a real fun and easy project and I love how it looks!
It finally pays off that I keep some of our old clothes in the house and that I always keep my eyes open at garage and house sales for interesting fabrics!!!

These kind of houses can be done with all different sized boxes and fabrics. Whenever I come across a box big enough, I'm going to do a "real" house for our boys.

Happy crafting!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Great Regift or Wrapped Crap Exchange

This is what our friends John and Kathy call their gift exchange with friends and family - every year.

I love it!
This is where re-gifting is not only acceptable, it's the rule.

"Players" are asked to wrap a previously received, but unused gift. No buying is allowed.

What a great idea!
Think about it:
  • You have the perfect opportunity to get rid of all those gifts that you never wanted (including presents for your kids!)
  • You save yourself some time since you don't have to go gift-shopping for friends and extended family
  • You save yourself some nerves because you don't need to hit the mall - attics and closets are not crowded
  • You save yourself some money
  • You help the environment (no gas, no energy for new stuff, less garbage,... you get the idea)
  • And, who knows what you end up getting? It might be something really good. Remember, what might be crap to someone might be a treasure to you (why, I would LOVE to get a food dehydrator. Seriously!)
Now get creative with the wrapping - we don't want to spoil the green aspect here (used wrapping paper - yes, that too can be reused!, fabric, packing paper, newspaper,... there are endless possibilities that don't require wasteful and expensive wrapping paper. And instead of a bow, you can use some yarn).

This is how I'll do holiday gift exchanges from now on. Get ready folks!

Let me know what you think about this, I'd love to hear your stories.

Enjoy the season and Happy Regifting!!!