Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

Repurposeful wrapping

I’ve posted on this idea before, but I wanted to bring it up one more time. Child artwork makes great wrapping paper. Not only does it help clear out your cabinet full of salvaged artwork, but it’s a money-saver (no need to buy a new roll for a special occasion), it’s unique and thoughtful, and of course, it’s a green solution for wrapping a package.

Photo by hoyasmeg.2104152944_27eb8892b1


Smaller packages work best when using artwork as wrapping paper. However, if you have several larger pieces that are color coordinated (from the last paint session where your child created 8 different masterpieces), you can easily tape pages together to wrap a larger gift.

Turn it into a project! Gather several pieces of large paper and spend an afternoon creating wrapping paper for the upcoming gift-giving season. You’ll be giving your kids a constructive activity while making cheap and one-of-a-kind wrapping paper.


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…doubles quite nicely as a drying rack.



And did you know, that an old table cloth work great as a drop cloth for kids’ painting projects? 


And when you’re done with said art project, be sure to keep all large pieces of artwork to use them later as wrapping paper for gifts. We did this recently for another child’s birthday party gift and the unique wrapping paper was a hit with kids and parents.


Happy art-making!

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Whether you’re on the hunt for a “green” gift or just looking for a gift that’s really cool, Gift n’ Green is an online potboutique that you’ll want to check out. I met the owners of this store recently at an Earth Day fair in my town and they had the neatest items on display — stuff that I had never seen before. Like, colorful and biodegradable bamboo flower pots and a bright and beautiful collection of bamboo kitchen ware (colanders, measuring cups, etc), which of course is also biodegradable! And I just love their ready-to-give flower pot gift set, which includes a bamboo flower pot, soil and flower seeds —  perfect as a house warming, birthday or just because gift.




600_measuring-cups-small_1_Gift n’ green began, as they write on their site, “with “one bottle and one bag at a time,” only to realize that with research, education and determination we could locate and evaluate green products that are not only cost effective, recyclable and reusable, but most of all, look great, smell great and are fashionable for our homes and our bodies.”

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I’m assuming that those of you reading this blog already print on both sides of your computer paper at home, so I didn’t bother with a post on that tip. (If you don’t, please start — it just makes sense!) That being said, once both sides are printed and done being used, what do you do with used up paper?


At my house, in which a freelance editor and a masters’ student both reside, we accumulate a good amount of double-side printed paper. I keep a box in my office where I stockpile used up paper. Sure, I could just recycle it, but that’s so un-repurposeful.



8 ways to repurpose shredded paper

1. Compost it. Simple, easy and an excellent choice for documents with sensitive or financial information.


2. Packing material. Best only for paper that does not contain personal or financial information.


3. Kitty litter alternative. Cheaper, safer and better for your household environment. On the down side, you’ll probably have to change the box more often.


4. Animal bedding. For caged critters or, on a larger scale, farm animals.


5. Gift bag/gift basket liner. Nice alternative to store-bought tissue paper. Would also work well in place of Easter basket grass (I hate that stuff!). For a more colorful and decorative look, shred the newspaper comics section, colorful advertising circulars or repurpose your children’s artwork (I’m sure you can afford to sacrifice a few of the thousand pieces you’re saving).


6. Worm food. Perfect for your vermiculture project.


7. Make homemade paper. Here’s a cool tutorial.


8. Rainy day fun. Fill a kiddie pool or large box full of shredded paper and let your kids go to town. Yes, the result will be messy, but your kids will have a blast and you’ll get some extra time to check e-mail or put your feet up.


Photo by Joe Shlabotnik.

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Photo by Nezemnaya.
Photo by Nezemnaya.

Some time ago I came across a “household hint” to keep a plastic bag in the laundry room for mismatched socks. At the end of every few weeks, you’re supposed to empty the bag, search for matching pairs and toss the rest. It’s a good tip, but I’m going to make it even better with some suggestions for repurposing those orphaned socks.

Around the house

  • Dusting, polishing, shining, washing. Socks are great dust rags, shoe polishers, car washers, etc. because you can slip them over your hand.
  • Slippery soap holder. Slip a bar of soap into a sock and knot the loose end. This is especially helpful for children–it prevents dropping a slippery bar of soap onto tender toes. It’s also helpful for yardwork; keep a “soap sock” tied to an outdoor faucet to clean up before going inside. 
  • Cord organizer. This tip comes from Real Simple. Wrangle straggling cords (you know, the ones behind your tv stand and computer desk) with a trouser or knee sock. Cut off the toe end of the sock and slip the cords through. 
  • Draft “snake.” Got a drafty door or window sill? Fill a knee sock with beans, rice or sand and either sew or knot the loose end. Lay your snake across the drafty spot and start saving on your heating bill!
  • Cat toy. This works best with baby or toddler socks. Fill a sock with catnip and sew shut the loose end.
  • Packing, shipping, storing. Socks can protect a variety of items you want to pack, send or store. They may not stop a delicate vase from being broken, but they will protect shoes and sunglasses from being scratched, knick knacks (like Christmas ornaments) from getting nicked and they can keep items with several small pieces all in one spot. If you’re storing something in a sock, attach a label to the outside to remind you of its contents. 

For the kids

  • Sock doll. Ok, so this may not be the simplest of projects, but if you’re even remotely handy with the sewing machine, you can do it.
  • Hacky sack or bean bag toss. Cut off the toe end of a sock, fill with small dried beans or rice and sew the opening shut so that it makes a circle shape. For a game of outside bean bag toss, use sidewalk chalk to draw targets (or a tick-tack-toe board) for your child to hit. For indoor bean bag toss, draw targets on a sheet of easel paper and tape it to your floor. 
  • Marble bag. (Do kids still play with marbles??) I remember having a small marble collection as a child and always hunting for new and unique marbles. A child’s sock or adult ankle sock would make a great marble bag. If you’re extra crafty, sew a zipper on the open end and a few buttons or sequins to dress it up.
  • Doll clothes. The possibilities are endless here–from sheath dresses to knit hats. Very little or no sewing required.
  • Hand puppet. This simple kids’ craft has been around for ages. All you really need is a sock and some markers (think Sharpie), but you can also go all out and use buttons for eyes, yarn for hair and felt for a tongue. Part of the fun is coming up with ideas to decorate the puppet. Then, have your child[ren] put on a puppet show with their new cast of characters!


Of course, these are just a few of the bazillion ideas out there for repurposing socks. You can find more herehere and here…oh yeah, and here.

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