Thursday, October 28, 2010

ReMake your Halloween - Crafty Inspiration

Halloween is coming up fast and there is no shortage of ideas for recycled costumes and decor. I picked out a few favorites that I hope will inspire you to ReMake your Halloween!

The cardboard box robot is a classic, and you can find tons of inspiration online - including detailed instructions on this very blog!

If you've got some boxes you need to use up, and don't feel so robotic, try being a Lego instead.

Evil Mad Scientist shares a fantastic bat costume made from used umbrellas.

I'm a sucker (ha, ha) for octopus and squid, so I am totally charmed by Dollar Store Crafts' no-sew Octopus costume (made with socks and an old sweatshirt). You can also see some great ideas for Halloween decor on the same site - like the scary lighted skulls made from plastic milk bottles.

(And on November 1st, don't forget to save your candy wrappers to make upcycled jewelry!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What's for lunch? More real food, less waste challenge!

photo by Abby Kelly

Check out this great Waste-Free Lunch Challenge that happened recently in schools across Ontario, Canada.

This program took place as a one week challenge to help schools reduce their garbage. What a great way to put the education system at work. Apparently the average student's lunch generates about 60 pounds of trash per year! That's like the size of a child! There program even has incentives for the classes that have the best participation.

The article also gives a shout out to good old TerraCycle for their dedication to collecting and upcycling hard-to-recycle food packaging. TerraCycling your food wrapper is a great solution when you can't avoid a completely waste-free lunch. You can sign up for collection brigades in the US, Canada, and many other countries.

Read the whole article here. If you're involved in a school system outside of Ontario, why not try to bring a similar program to your school?

Monday, October 18, 2010

From table to table (with a few stops in between)

If you've been reading the blog for a while, you know that I kind of like to compost.
On a recent sunny Saturday, I worked on my compost pile sifting through decayed veggie peels and other food matter. That's the payment - one afternoon's worth of work once a year in exchange for being able to use drop off compost on Wednesday or Saturdays. And not only did I walk away with a large (recycled) yogurt container filled with what is considered "black gold", but also a better understanding of how food breaks down.

Seeing the compost get dumped from "cooking" for a few weeks and transferring it to a larger bin, you see the recognizable pieces in the mix. Corn cobs are still pretty much corn cobs and coconut shells are of the more determined to stay coconuts, but it's pretty amazing how most of the rest of it - orange peels, carrot tops, egg shells - all break down and start looking like dirt again.

I do work at a company that got its start in compost. In worm poop to be exact. But I'm in the design department and don't experiment much over with the lawn and garden crew other than eat lunch once in a while with them and use the fertilizer myself. So seeing the whole compost process was really helpful. And will make me way more diligent in removing stickers, rubberbands, and other foreign objects before piling it in my compost. I'm usually pretty good, but when sifting at the pile they're all still there, so better to remove 'em beforehand.

Post-compost on that sunny afternoon, I took my newly sifted black gold and planted a few containers of herbs (In upcycled containers of course! You can read the how-to in my upcoming book called ReMake It! In stores March 2011). The basil, pictured above, is sprouting already and I can't wait until it grows large enough to use it on the last of the season's tomatoes. Who knows what that dirt used to be - maybe at one time it was tomatoes and basil? I think the new plant feels right at home.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Brooklyn Skillshare this Saturday!

Hey, New Yorkers!

For those of you who missed us a couple of weeks ago at Maker Faire, you have a second chance to catch us in action this Saturday, October 9th, where we'll be teaching a glass etching class at Brooklyn Skillshare at The Brooklyn Community Arts & Media High School in Bed-Stuy.

The event runs from 10-4 and is open to the public with a suggested donation. Our class is at 1 pm, but come early and stay all day for a great range of classes (including crafting from plastic bags, taught by our friend Stephanie over at Garbage of Eden!).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The 30 Under 30 Contest!

I'm pleased to be a judge in Ecover's first ever 30 under 30 contest. I just don't know how I'm going to decide among the treehugging dirt-lover, the water crusaders, the book sharer, the veggie-powered biker, and loads more. You can check out all of the great submissions here. It's great to see so many young eco-activists out there. And even though there can only be one grand prize winner, all eco-activists are winners in my (shared) book!

Make it Faire in New York City!

Thanks to everyone who made it on down to the Maker Faire last weekend to craft it on up with us!

Crafty and clever were kicked into high Maker-style gear with loads of do-it-yourself goodness. The NY Hall of Science hosted this rockstar event where you could learn to solder, get your hair cut (electronically), watch Coke + Mentos spew 30 feet into the air (and fight for your own bottle of flat, minty soda), check out the life-size mousetrap, get a lesson in crocheting, tear apart old computers, and of course reconstruct your faire share of recycled projects. Whew. Then, just when you were in need of a DIY recharge - you could noodle on over to the delish food fare - some with secret ingredients.

Plus, whoa, there was loads more to see. It was common to hear that you just couldn't see everything in one day, or even weekend.

Here are some RePlay highlights:

do-it-yourself upcycling action at the RePlayGround booth

The deconstruction room with the TerraCycle design crew and goggles so stylish I'm thinking of trading in my rhinestone glasses

a visit to the super crafty Megan Nicolay of Generation T fame. With our super-coordinated, I-swear-it-wasn't-planned reconstructed T-shirt attire.

Our friend Rebecca, the NY Hall of Science Librarian, and her crocheted security sensor cozy

The yarn-bombed rocket ship

And the end of the weekend was topped off with four really really nice editors choice awards to the RePlayGround booth by our friends at Make Magazine and the NY Hall of Science.

Thank you Maker Faire! We hope you come back to NYC for a visit real soon!