Spring is in the Air…Ten DIY Green Projects

Spring Fever

Spring Fever

The sun is shining, birds are chirping in the trees, and I’ve got a bad case of spring fever!  I can’t say our winter here in CA has been horrible, but it’s been a bit unusual.  Lots of fog and rain have made for many a gray, dreary day, but things are beginning to look sunny once again.

Trees are beginning to bloom,  creatures are starting to emerge from their wintry slumber, and although my seasonal allergies will probably pay me a visit, I’m so ready for spring to begin!  It’s time to think about what to plant in the garden, what junk to donate or recycle, and what new spring DIY projects we want to tackle.

I love the promise of new beginnings and rebirth that spring brings into the world.  It’s hard to feel low in spirit when there’s such beauty, promise, and hope to be found right out your front door.  Nature is such a miraculous, wonderful creation.  A true blessing and mercy from God the All-Mighty.

Here are ten fantastically green DIY projects to get you ready for a wonderful spring season! Enjoy! ;)

  • Mason Jar Garden I love the beauty and simplicity of this project.  It’s all about bringing the outdoors into your living space, plus it’s a great way to reuse your old glass containers and jars.  Love it!
  • Make new candles out of left over candle wax This is a project I’ve been putting off for far too long.  I’ve been saving my used jar candles specifically for this purpose (wax and all), but have been lazy about acquiring the needed wicks.  I’m hoping to remedy that this spring, and this recycled candle tutorial will surely come in handy when I’m good and ready.
  • DIY recycled planner/agenda I still love to use good old fashioned pen and paper when it comes to organizing my schedule.  Let’s face it, technology isn’t perfect, and I really don’t want to miss any important dates or appointments.  This project not only feeds my need for some hard copy, but it also helps shrink my pile of paper recycling too.  I totally love that!
  • Pine cone bird feeders I’ve been on a bird watching frenzy lately, so this bird feeder project will definitely come in handy.  I’ll get more face time with my fine-feathered friends, and get a little good karma from feeding them too.  Very green, and very easy to do – cool!
  • Got cardboard?  Make a shelf! This project is a useful way to reuse that pesky cardboard that seems to collect during the year.  My son is always coming up with different ways to re-purpose old cardboard boxes and containers, so I think he’d love to give this project a try.  It’s a good way to keep small items organized, and less trash in the landfills.
  • DIY Natural Laundry Soap Dirty laundry will never cease to exist, but you can get your wash clean without the use of harsh, toxic chemicals.  Make your laundry chores greener and healthier with this non-toxic natural laundry soap recipe.  Did I mention it’s totally easy and inexpensive too?
  • Organic All-Purpose Cleaner Two ingredients make this organic all-purpose cleaner a winner in my house.  It’s so natural you could even brush your teeth with it!
  • DIY Bronzer/Face Powder Love a healthy glow but don’t want the nasty chemicals?  Make your own bronzer!  It’s easy, cheap, and totally works.
  • Garden-Themed Charm Bracelet Spring always gets my creative jewelry-making juices flowing.  I love creating pieces that remind me of nature and all that I love about it.  This project is an easy way to turn your love of the great outdoors into a pretty, wearable reminder.
  • Easy Homemade Trail Mix Spring is the perfect time to get outside and start taking nature walks with the family.  Don’t let hunger kill your natural nature high, be prepared with some delicious homemade trail mix!

Have something to say?  Let us know by leaving a comment below. ;)

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Green Tip: Cut Up Those Plastic Six-Pack Rings


Cut it Out

Okay, so your family can’t quite kick the soda habit and now you’ve got a ton of those awful plastic six-pack rings littering the top of your refrigerator (oh wait, that’s me).

So what should you do with them?  Cut them up into small pieces so our little animal friends don’t ingest them, and toss them in with your regular plastic recyclables.  It’s easy and helps to keep our furry and feathered friends from meeting an awfully cruel end – insides so filled with plastic they can no longer eat and eventually starve to death.

So remember to cut up those plastic rings up before getting rid of them – the environment will thank you for it. ;)

Have anything to say?  Feel free to leave a comment below. ;)

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Thirty Day Plastic Bag Challenge: Final Results

30 Day Plastic Bag Challenge Update

A Whopping Success

The month of September has come to an end, and so has my 30 Day Plastic Bag Challenge.

The whole venture was a great success.  In total I saved at least 50 plastic shopping bags from ending up in the land fill – or worse, in some poor unsuspecting animal.  Just multiply that number (which was pretty conservative since we really didn’t do much shopping last month) times 12 months, and you end up with a whopping 600 plastic bags!

The whole concept was simple.  I took six reusable tote bags (purchased from thrift stores) with me on every shopping trip.  I skipped bags for items like gallon jugs (vinegar, milk, etc.), toilet paper, and anything else that could be easily carried home without a bag.  Everything else was packed into my tote bags, and as an added bonus, many of the stores that I shop at give me credit for each bag that I bring with me to the store.  That’s pretty cool!

Now it’s your turn.  Do you take your own bags when you shop?  Feel free to let us know what you think. ;)

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It’s DIY Friday! | Turn Your Trash Into Treasure


Happy Friday gang!  This week’s DIY Friday is all about turning your trash into a treasure.  So get your supplies, get comfortable, and get green!  Enjoy! ;)

  • The Big Picture:  DIY Frame Jewelry Holder: Have an old picture frame you don’t know what to do with?  Up-cycle it, and turn it into a lovely (functional) work of art.  This project turns your old frame into a hanging jewelry holder – totally cool!
  • Recycled Glove Chipmunk: Have an old winter glove that’s missing a mate?  Remake your old glove into a cute, snugly stuffed chipmunk!  I love this project – it’s a great way to give new life to an old item, and make some happy playtime memories for your kids too.
  • Turn Old Toothpaste Tubes into a Toothbrush Holder: Many of us have toothpaste tubes in our bathroom medicine cabinet.  Why thrown them out and add more garbage to the land fill when you can recycle them and turn them into something functional?  This would be a good project for an older child to do, especially if that child has their own bathroom to decorate.

What about you?  Have a great DIY project you’d like to share?  Feel free to leave a comment, or send me an email – I’d love to feature it here at Green Earth Bazaar! ;)

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Plastic Bag Challenge Update

30 Day Plastic Bag Challenge Update

Off to A Good Start…

Well gang, it’s the sixth day of my self-imposed thirty day plastic bag challenge, and so far with three small shopping trips under my belt, I’ve managed to forgo a total of at least eleven plastic shopping bags.  I’m pretty stoked about that, considering we really haven’t done our usual amount of shopping for the beginning of the month.

Think about it – if ten families skipped just ten bags per month, that equals a whopping 100 plastic bags saved from polluting the environment.  Wishful thinking?  Maybe, but a girl can dream… ;)

Won’t you take the challenge too?  Feel free to let us know your thoughts, and a tweet about the 30 day challenge would be much appreciated too. Thanks! ;)

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Thirty Day Plastic Bag Challenge

Thirty Day Plastic Bag Chcallenge

Hate Plastic Shopping Bags?

I do.  It’s almost impossible to escape plastic bags – they’re everywhere.  Try as we might, we still end up with a few plastic shopping bags during the month.

I don’t think I need to explain the necessities of skipping the plastic while shopping – oil, animals, water, pollution – it all factors in.

We take our reusable tote bags with us when we shop, but sometimes we don’t take enough or forget to put them back into the car for the next round of shopping.  We’re getting much better at remembering to take our tote bags into the stores we shop at, however, and so I thought it would be cool to do a little experiment.  For the next thirty days we’ll be keeping track of how many plastic bags we’ve saved from the land fill by using our reusable tote bags to carry home our purchases.  Our tote bags are of varying sizes, so I’ll be taking that into consideration while tallying up my totals.  Some of our totes would be the equivalent to two plastic shopping bags, while the rest carry the same amount as their plastic counterpart.

Feel free to take the 30 Day Plastic Bag Challenge with me.  I’d love to see others participate – who knows how much plastic we can kill!

Here’s a tip:  If you want to participate, but don’t have enough reusable tote bags and don’t want (or can’t afford) to buy new bags, visit your local thrift stores.  You can probably find some great bags for very little money, plus you’re giving your dollars to good a cause.  We buy most of our totes from our local Hospice Thrift Store, and at $0.25 and $0.50 per bag we can afford to stock up.

Got some thoughts on the 30 Day Plastic Bag Challenge?  Feel free to leave a comment, and letting others know about the challenge would be pretty cool too! ;)

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Thrift Store Finds | Green Books for Next to Nothing

August 2010 002

I’m a (used book) bookworm!

If you read Green Earth Bazaar regularly (which I hope you do), you’ll know how much I enjoy hunting for treasures at my local thrift stores.  There’s nothing quite like the thrill of the thrift store hunt.  There’s always new merchandise to be found, tons of unique treasures, and most importantly, everything is very inexpensive – I love saving money as much as I love saving the planet.

I like the idea of spending my money at a thrift store rather than a regular retail store.  Less packaging involved, fewer items sent to the land fill, plus my money goes to charitable causes like hospice care – I love to shop like that!

I’m always finding neat, useful things to bring home with me when I shop my local thrift stores.  My favorite place to shop, our local Hinds Hospice Thrift Store, always fills my need for good books, and last week was no exception.  I found lots of interesting books related to the environment and food, and although some of them are a little dated (mid 1990′s), they’re stilled filled with useful, interesting information.

I found 16 books I was interested in reading, and at a mere $0.15 a piece, spent a whopping $2.40 on books.  That’s pretty incredible, don’t you think?

What about you?  Do you buy books or other items at your local thrift store?  What’s been your favorite thrift store find?

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Green Tip | Save That Bar of Soap!

Green Tip

Let’s face it, soap is a necessity.  We use lots of it around our house, especially since there are three very rambunctious, sometimes very dirty kids.  For the most part we use Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, but I do like to keep bars of soap on hand too, especially for face washing and leg shaving.  Of course, I only purchase organic, fair trade bars of soap which can run into a lot of money if you go through them too quickly.

To make sure we get the most out of our bars of soap we never leave them in the shower.  Instead, we wrap our bars of soap in wax paper and store them in our bathroom cupboard.  It really helps to prolong the life of our organic bar soaps, and ultimately saves us money too.  I’ve been able to use one single bar of Dr. Bronner‘s Almond soap, like the one pictured above, for three months now, and I still have quite a bit left.  I’d say that’s pretty frugal, of course each individual household is going to be different, but you get the idea.  For best results, allow your soap to air dry on the wax paper, turning over once so each side gets fully dry before wrapping and storing your soap.

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It’s DIY Friday! | Reuse That Empty Oatmeal Container

June 2010 004

It’s DIY Friday! again.  This week I’ve found a new use for an old oatmeal container.  Oatmeal containers are very handy to have around -  they’re large and fairly sturdy, and are great for holding small items like crayons and marbles.  I’m giving this recycled oatmeal container to my daughters to use for their tiny toys -  the kind that usually get stepped on when I’m not wearing any shoes – ouch!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Empty oatmeal container with lid
  • Scissors
  • Shelf paper (it’s what I used), wrapping paper, or any other kind of material you’d like to glue to your oatmeal box.
  • Glue (I used hot glue, but any kind of glue will work that’s appropriate for your chosen material)

Cut material to fit your oatmeal container and glue in place.  Replace lid, and viola! – you now have a lovely little storage container and can feel good about keeping one less item out of the land fill.  Enjoy!  Peace. :)

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It’s DIY Friday! | Upcycled Beaded Necklace Project

May 26, 2010 021

TGIF!  It’s time again for another edition of DIY Friday.   This week I’m going to show you how I turned someone else’s unwanted chotchkes into a fun, chunky necklace for spring.

I love making beaded jewelry -  it’s one of my favorite pastimes.  For me, beading is more an exercise in relaxation than a creative outlet.  I find it really helps to calm and focus my busy brain when things in my life become too hectic.

A couple of days ago, while I was browsing through the goodies in my local hospice thrift store (another one of my favorite pastimes),  I stumbled upon some pretty beaded nick-knacky things – their intended use still evades me.  I knew the second I saw them I was going to take them apart and reuse the beads for a jewelry project of some sort.  Those beads just screamed re-use me.

When I got home, after dinner was made and the chores were done (yeah right, they’re never completely done), I unearthed some of my beading gear and got to work.  First, I carefully took off the beads I wanted to reuse, and then set out to find some other beads to put with them.  I knew from the get-go that I wanted to make some kind of chunky necklace with them – they just had that look.  Next, I measured and cut my beading wire to my desired length.  I wanted my finished necklace to be about 18 inches long, so I measured and cut about 23 inches of beading wire.  It’s always a good rule of thumb to cut about 5 inches more beading wire (or whatever stringing material you’re working with) than you need when making a necklace or bracelet.  This way you have enough material to work with and can easily make adjustments if necessary.  There’s nothing worse than spending all that time and creative energy on a project and then realizing your finished creation doesn’t fit the way you originally intended.

After picking out my beads to work with and cutting my beading wire, I began stringing my beads until I reached my desired finished length.  When making any kind of necklace, I like to carefully hold my project up to my neck and look into a mirror to get an idea of where my piece is going to lay before completely finishing it.  This way I can add or remove beads without damaging my stringing material.  I always keep in mind too, that I will be adding a clasp of some sort to the necklace, which will add more length to the piece.

Once I reached my desired length, I added my spacer beads, crimp beads, barrel clasp, and cut off the excess beading wire – all finished, and it took less than an hour to make.  Viola – a fun new piece to add to my jewelry collection (and to probably cut up and remake into something else at a later date).

Here’s what you’ll need to make a chunky necklace similar to mine:

*Note:  all beads used in my necklace were either faceted acrylic (plastic) beads, or glass seed beads.  Of course any large, chunky beads will do – let your imagination go with it!

  • 3 – 25 mm rondelle beads
  • 6 – 15 mm round beads
  • 2 – 10 mm round beads
  • 2 – 7 mm round beads
  • glass seed beads
  • 2 small silver tone spacer beads – bicone shaped
  • beading wire
  • 2 silver tone crimp beads
  • silver tone barrel clasp
  • crimping pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters or scissors

All in all, this project only cost me 50 cents to make -  the cost of the mysterious beaded chotchkes (plus I gave my money to a really good cause – hospice care).  I used  beads and findings that were already in my jewelry craft box.  The only items that were ever purchased new were my jewelry tools, the beading wire, and the glass seed beads -  everything else was purchased second-hand.  Enjoy! :)

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