KERMIT WAS WRONG, IT IS EASY BEING GREEN
Yesterday, being St. Patrick's Day and everything being green, got me to thinking about being being "GREEN" and crafting. No, I do not mean being jealous of your fellow crafters and all the goodies and tools they have, but being eco-minded, non-wasteful, recycle-savy, and resourceful.
When I look at my crafting, I think I am GREEN, or at least, I am trying to be! You know, I used to be more resourceful than I am now! I would keep all sorts of things, in the hopes that I would be able to use it for something!
For example, yesterday, I was at the public library in our town, where my Mom works. They were holding a book sale. I had to work to help her out, so I was stacking, moving and restacking books. I noticed that several of them still had those old library cards in them. The ones that look like this:
I decided to go around and collect a bunch of them. I got all there was from one table of books and brought home a stack over 3" high! What will I do with them? Well, most of them are set aside for blog candy at some point! The rest I am going to use as journaling cards in a mini album. I am building up supplies and ideas for a mini album, and I want these, and the little pockets they go in, to be where I put journaling. I'm probably going to let the back be the only part that shows, because it is empty. Of course, the front with all the signatures is what is so interesting! I found the pockets at the library too. I just asked for one, so I can re-create them at home, but you can find them at the office supply store in town, too. I am really excited about these!
The next time you start to throw something away, look at it, and ask yourself the following questions. These are your Hot Tips for the Month!
To turn yourself a little more GREEN, ask yourself these questions each time you start to toss something away:
- Can you use the chipboard from the packaging to create mini-album pages or to punch out an accent
- Could you cover the box and turn it into a great storage or gift box?
- Is there any clear plastic that you could use as an acetate accent? Strips of clear acetate make almost invisible props for pop-up cards. Stay tuned for a sample card made this way!
- Soda Pop cans are great craft products.
- Is there a plastic bowl or cup, such as yogurt cups, that could be used again for non-food purposes? Try them when painting, watercoloring, or to hold crayons for a small child's gift.
- Speaking of crayons, don't toss the broken ones! Peel off the paper, break them into pieces, and drop bits into a cup (like a yogurt cup) to melt slightly in the microwave. Start with 15 secs, then add 5 seconds until melted. Do not stir! Let cool and remove or cut away from the cup. Make a blue crayon with all different blues in it or make a rainbow crayon!
- Do you throw away all those "pretend" credit cards that come in the mail? They have such great uses! I keep all of them. The cardboard kind can be used as chipboard as is or to spread glue over a project. The plastic kind work great as paint spreaders. They leave really cool streaks and smears on the project! Try this same swiping technique with a couple of drops of craft ink then emboss! WOW!
- Do you keep your paper scraps? You should! What if you only need a 1/4" circle? If you keep every single scrap, you will always have a piece to use! If you can't see keeping anything smaller than a 2"x2" square, then put all your paper scraps in a box, when you get a box full make handmade paper one day! Mix a handful of pre-soaked neutral scraps in a blender with a lot of water. Mix well. Add just a few small pre-soaked scraps of a colored paper and blend just a couple of times. This will create an interesting speckled effect. You can do this by starting with a color slurry and adding another contrasting color for speckles too! There is no need for fancypaper making supplies. Just take the slush you made in the blender, pour it into a large plastic box. Use a CLEAN filter for your stove vent, a scrap piece of window screen, a mesh strainer, coffee filter, cool whip lid, etc. to gather some of the pulp, then let it drain. You can lightly press a sponge into the pulp to get more poisture out. Got areas that are bare, gather some pulp in your hand and pat it into the bare spot! Once it is fairly drained and as thick as you want it, flip it over onto some paper towel that is on a folded beach towel. Peel off the filter/screen. If you used the mesh strainer, do not worry that the paper is not flat. Press it with your hands or with a wet sponge. It will dry flat. When dry, cut or punch into a great tag or accent for a card or scrapbook page! Kids love this whole process! Get them involved!
- Use what you have. We all want new products, but if we make ourselves use what we have to make a project, we can remind ourselves why we loved that product in the first place.
- Alter what you have. Remember that great paper called Sending Love from Stampin' Up! (click to go to the post about this technique)? Its colors were really pretty, but it had a definite Feb 14th feel to it. Once you brayer or sponge on another color over the top, the embossing still shows through and you have created an entirely NEW paper! Try this with many other patterned papers. Are the colors too bold for your taste now? Distress it, brayer over it, sponge it, or my new fav thing to do is emboss over it in clear, then brayer on color; when you wipe it with a paper towel or clean sponge, you get a reveal of those bold colors. Do a combination of all these techniques and see what you get! Watch a video on this technique later this week!
- Wait! Don't forget that brads, eyelets, flowers, and other embellishments can be altered to look new too! For brads and eyelets, sand them, distress them, color the with a marker, press into VersaMark and emboss with your favorite color. For flowers, ink them, paint them with crackle paint, stamp on them, spritz other inks on them. Cover them with glossy accents for a really unique accent!
- Visit garage sales and look through the jewelry. Cheap jewelry with a nice chain, great beads, impressive charms, or large pins are great to use when crafting! These items will work great on scrapbook pages, mini albums, and tags. Don't forget to go through the books, while you are there. Dictionaries, music books, ledger paper, cards, and other papers work great as background paper! Even a page from that trashy romance novel LOL would be great for a Valentine's card or LOVE mini album! I always check out the storage items too! A girl can never be too organized! I found some great apothecary jars at one yard sale. $5 each for gallon size! What a find! Not only are you getting a prize, but you are preventing things from going to the dump!
- Recycle magazines. Take them to an elementary school, where they cut them up for projects or to a nursing home, assisted living, or hospital. Libraries often take magazines for donation too. Or better yet, sell them on Ebay and make money to buy new craft products... or to give to the needy. :)
- Remember next month is Earth Day Month. Try to use some of these tips in your crafting until they become habit. We are all working together to save the Earth.