How to Create a Christmas Gift Box Using Old Greeting Cards

 Published December 12th, 2014

Christmas will never be complete without presents, and creating special boxes from old greeting cards is a fun and creative way of showing our loved ones how much they mean to us. These one of a kind boxes are also an excellent activity for children and anyone who wishes to recycle.

Materials Needed: Old greeting cards, Ruler, Scissors, Adhesive tape. Stapler, Pencil, Glue Simple Steps in Creating a Gift Box

Step 1 Create the box pattern Measure the present’s dimensions, to get the ideal length, width and height of the box.

Step 2 Create one continuous surface Ordinary greeting cards have a limited surface area and multiple greeting cards must be used to create even one small gift box. The total number of cards may depend on how big the present is. To create one continuous surface, place the greeting cards side by side. Make sure that all the outer and more colorful portion of the greeting cards faces one side, and the inner side which usually contains the greeting cards message on the other. Use tape to temporarily attach the greeting cards together, creating one continuous surface.

Step 3 Marking the box’s sides, base and cover measurements The Base Mark the desired measurements into the greeting cards. Be careful to make the marks in the inner portion of the cards making a square in the process. Extend the square by one inch on all sides, mark this extended portion, this will be used to join the sides of the box. The base acts as a support for the present and be built more sturdily. You could use greeting cards which are thicker to provide ample support for the gift. If a thicker greeting card is not available, a good way of making the base sturdy is to create another base to double the base’s thickness. The Sides Mark the side’s measurements into the greeting cards. Extend the sides measurements by an inch and mark these extensions clearly. Repeat this process 4 times to form the 4 sides of the box. The Top Mark the top’s measurement into the greeting cards and extend the sides measurements by 2 inches. You may want to choose cards hich have the brightest colors to make the top of the box more attractive.

Step 4 Cutting out the sides Secure the greeting cards using the tape or staplers, place the tapes inside the inner portion to leave the outer box clear. Using another piece of paper and gluing it over the inner portion of the box is also a good ay of securing the greeting cards in place. Cut out the sides by following the markings. A square shape is then formed after cutting the greeting cards.

Step 5 Joining the sides of the box Fold the inner lines leaving an extension. Attach the sides of the box to the base using the extensions. Join the extensions securely using glue and staples.

Step 6 Creating the box cover Be sure to follow the cuts in Step 4. Pull the extensions downward in the outline of the covers edges. The extensions of the top cover are noticeably larger than the extensions of the sides and base, this gives the normal appearance of the box covers. You would also notice that the edges of the extensions go beyond the length of the sides. Insert them into the next extension, this serves as an anchor holding the extensions firmly in place. Use a combination of staples and glues to hold them tightly in place.

Energy Saving Tips For Winter

 Published January 22, 2010 –

Energy costs are constantly fluctuating, this year as we turn on those heaters and try our very best to keep the winter chill outside the house. Nobody can stop the snow from falling but keeping warm in your home is easy and affordable with these simple tips.

Effective Tips for Winter:


The thermostat regulates the temperature in our homes during these cold winter months. Cranking the thermostat a few degrees definitely hikes your energy bills a few degrees higher too. This could leave you warmer but certainly puts a gentle breeze in your pocket.

Putting a sweater on or slipping a pair of slippers could certainly keep the cold weather out when you’re inside the house. If you live in those cold winter states where snow seems to have no end you might also consider placing a few kerosene lamps inside the house. This could cut your energy bills by providing extra lighting in the house while giving off heat at the same time.

Replacing your thermostat with newer more efficient ones could also cut energy bills. Newer thermostats allow you to schedule when you’re heater turns on without you constantly checking on the meter. This also gives you a more accurate reading on your home’s temperature and allows you to adjust it to your desired levels.


Insulators keep off the heat during the summer and keep it inside the cold winter months.  Installing them in your house could not only save you money during this winter but all year long. Insulators are only effective when they are properly installed. Plugging all leaks where heat may escape can make them even more effective.

Another cool trick is to insulate your piping systems. This would decrease heat loss to the air and keep the hot temperature of water going to your faucet or shower.

Maintaining the Heating System

Be sure that the heating system is working at its optimum performance. Check vents and be sure that no furniture is blocking them. Check your heating systems filters; be sure to replace them when they get dirty to ensure that warm air gets through the air vents.

Sealing leaks

Most of the heat generated by your heating system is lost through your windows. Placing thick curtains could act as insulators that keep heat inside and cold air outside. Placing plastic on your windows could also serve as insulation and allowing natural light to come in. Placing weather strips on your window’s edges also ensures that no warm air leaks out your home. Placing a rug to seal the area between the floor and the door could be an easy way of plugging that leak. If your door opens to the inside placing some rugs outside can help keep the winter weather at bay.

These tips  save energy and might  save you a few hundred dollars during these winter months and stop you from clicking that thermostat a notch higher.

Ten Reasons To Support The Best Environmentally Made Papers Available

1. The forests

Over 40 percent of the global industrial wood harvest is pulped for paper. The last remaining old-growth forests in northern Canada, Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Siberia, and other areas are now being logged for pulp wood as well as plantation conversion. At home in the southeastern United States, the world’s largest pulp producing region, an estimated 5 million acres of forests are logged for paper each year (an area the size of New Jersey).

2. Economic and human population growth

U.S. citizens consume an annual average of over 600 pounds of paper per person. Global pulp and paper consumption is predicted to rise dramatically over the next 20 years – by as much as 80 percent according to some estimates. Leading the way will be printing and writing as well as office paper grades. In The Myth of the Paperless Office (MIT Press, 2001), the authors report that the adoption of e-mail alone causes an organization to increase its paper consumption by an average of 40 percent. Any gains in production efficiencies achieved by the industry may not be enough to offset the massive growth in worldwide demand for paper in the coming decades.

3. Invisibles

Many of the impacts of modern paper production occur far beyond our visual scope and take effect cumulatively, over long periods of time. Take water, for example. The pulp and paper industry consumes more water per ton of product than any other industry. Everyday, thousands of gallons of waste water containing barely detectable but persistently toxic bleaching and pulping compounds are released from paper mills. Paper production is also energy-intensive, rivaling steel and iron in the amount of energy used per ton of product. Worldwide, it is the fifth largest consumer of energy, with significant greenhouse gases (nitrous oxides, sulfur oxides, and volatile organic compounds) resulting from this energy production.

4. Stump to dump life cycles

According to the GrassRoots Recycling Network, over half of U.S. paper travels a linear path between the forest, mills, end-users, and landfills. Landfills are the primary source of man-made, climate altering methane emissions. Because paper products are the number one component in landfills, they earn the rank as the chief culprit in methane production.

5. Inefficiencies

Producing one ton of paper from virgin wood fibers requires 2 to 3.5 tons of trees. Chipping, grinding, whitening, rinsing, and separating the useful fibers from the lignins that bind them together as tree cellulose requires water, energy, and chemicals, and generate air, water, and solid waste pollution as byproducts.

6. Recycling cuts impacts

It has been well documented that using recycled materials to produce new papers can save significant amounts of materials, water, chemicals, and energy. Nearly a ton of recovered paper can be pulped to produce a ton of recycled stock. Because recycled fibers have already been converted, reprocessing requires between 10 and 40 percent of the energy needed in virgin processing. Although I support recycling not a big fan of recycled papers the labeling and information be provided is very misleading will address this in future blogs.

7. Urban forests

New York City contains more cellulose per acre (due to paper consumption) than the Amazon rainforest, according to senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York. In fact, scrap paper is the number one export from the port of New York. Optimizing the amount of recycled materials available in urban areas around the world could allow us to shift the burden away from consuming the forests for paper products. Let’s not forget textile castaways, the original paper fiber!

8. Virgin junk mail

Each year, retailers send the equivalent of 59 catalogs for every U.S. citizen – a total of nearly 17 billion.  According to a study by Environmental Defense, only 6 out of 42 major catalog companies specify papers with significant recycled content, while most use 100 percent virgin paper. Oregon-based company worked with suppliers to source paper with at least 10 percent post-consumer content with comparable production values and at no additional costs.

9. Chlorine processing

The pulping and whitening of virgin wood fibers with chlorine bleaches (chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and sodium hypochlorite) produce hazardous byproducts, including dioxins, furans, and other absorbable organic halides. Recognizing this, the worldwide pulp and paper industry has primarily moved toward Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) processing, which cuts measurable discharges by as much 90 percent – but by no means eliminates them (unless combined with enhanced delignification technologies). The most environmentally preferable bleaching processes for virgin pulp are Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) for virgin and Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) for recycled fibers. They substitute oxygen, hydrogen peroxide, or ozone in the processing sequence.

10. Farm-raised alternatives

While industrial agriculture is not without serious environmental consequences, the use of multi-purpose fiber crops such as banana, hemp, kenaf, and flax as well as crop residues like straw, bagasse, and cotton linters, can also help to relieve pressure on forests. In general, these fibers require far less chemicals, water, and energy to process. Keeping up with the continual changes in mill ownership, grade specifications, and pulping processes is not always an easy endeavor. But as paper users and global citizens, it’s part of our duty to make the most informed purchasing decisions possible. Mills could help us by creating a standard label that clearly identifies the exact fiber contents and pulping processes. In the mean time, the onus is on the purchaser. Recycling means more than just participating in curbside and office collection programs, it requires active participation as paper buyers in all aspects of our home and work lives. This is what builds markets and will ultimately help to decrease prices and improve quality. And while maximizing recycled content should be our bottom line, we must not forget to support chlorine-free technologies, and agricultural fibers.

10 Ways of Reusing Paper Grocery Bags

Remember the days when Mom used brown paper grocery bags to pack your snacks at school? Reusing is one simple way of how we can cut down our use of paper. This is not only considered as being “Green” but is also a great way of saving money.

Many grocery stores have shunned away from using brown paper bags and have turned to plastic bags. The logic is simple, plastic bags are far cheaper and easier to produce. Plastic bags may be cheap but the use of plastic can prove to be costly for the environment.

1. Removing wax stains from clothes

One great way of reusing a paper bag is by using it to remove wax stains from your clothes. Scratching away at wax stains could damage delicate cloth fibers. Removing stains is quite simple, the paper bag is placed over the stained portion and the area is pressed with an iron. Always replace the area used for absorbing the wax with an unused portion of the paper bag.

2. Gift Wrappers

Using brown paper bags as gift wrappers don’t only show your creativity but also displays to a person that it took a little bit more time in preparing their gifts. In a time when everything seems to be mass produced and everyone seems to have the same things, using paper bags as gift wrappers could certainly make you stand out from the crowd.

3. Party Hats/ Masks

Bring out your creative side and use your imagination, paper is one of the best ways of expressing art. The unique shape and texture of grocery paper bags provide you with a great canvass for showcasing your creativity.

4. Book Covers
Plastics bags are quite sturdy; these bags can hold great loads for their small stature. Paper grocery bags give better protection and looks. It gives a rustic or old feeling and helps encourage people to read a book. This could also be a great way of reducing the need for using plastic as book covers.

5. Keeping Bread Fresh
Paper bags could keep your bread fresh and improve its storage life. Paper grocery bags are great for keeping moisture away and keeping bread in a well protected environment.

6. Kites
Paper bags are robust and can make your kites sturdier. Paper grocery bags are a better alternative to using ordinary paper extending your kites life longer. It is also a good substitute for plastics because you could use the paper as a canvass and leave some art to highlight your kites design.

7. Fruit Containers

Paper grocery bags are good for ripening fruits. They provide the fruits with a fairly warm environment where it can ripen faster. Placing some fruit peels together with the fruit could even make the process faster.

8. Compost
If you’re into gardening and recycling, using paper bags as an addition to your natural compost is great. They are a better alternative to old newspapers as they contain fewer or no inks at all. Be sure to shred the paper bags first for faster decomposition and better mixture.

9. Cat Litter

Before considering throwing away your paper grocery bags why don’t you consider them as cat litters? Paper bags are more convenient as you can throw them away together with the litter after use.

10. Lunch/ Snack pack

Some old traditions such as using these paper bags for snack or lunch packs are being shunned for plastic containers. What people don’t understand is that every time people use plastic it takes a huge toll on the environment. It takes hundreds of years just to breakdown plastics and these also contaminate food and water supplies with chemicals.

It doesn’t take much to contribute to a greener world. Everyone in their simple way could help preserve and maximize natural resources for future generations. So lets do it! What ways do you have to help us go green?

8 Simple Tips on How to Reuse Paper Plates

Planning a party or a picnic? Using paper plates is a great way of saving you the inconvenience of bringing those cumbersome dinner plates on picnics or trips to the beach. The only problem with paper plates is they’re disposable. Paper plates can be used in a variety of ways. They could be used for various purposes and their use is only limited by our imagination.

But before you throw those paper plates away…

Arts and Crafts

One of the ways on how you can reuse paper plates is turning them into arts and crafts. When your kids are bored, bring out those paper plates that have been previously used and teach your kids how to make masks or decorations.

1. Paper Sculptures
Use multiple paper plates and shape them into animals. Bring out your kids creativity by letting them shape their imagination and bringing them into reality.

2. Painting
Express yourself through drawings and show concern for the environment by using paper plates as your canvass. Paper plates usually come in white and this provides you with an excellent background for splashing vibrant colors.

3. Halloween Masks
Spruce up you Halloween costumes by creating your own unique mask. Save a few pennies and make your kids Halloween experience a more personal and one they would never forget.

4. Scrap Book
Store those memories on your specially made paper plate scrap books. Add a special twist by using paper plates which you have used on these special occasions.


Spend quality time with your kids and help them learn by making use of paper plates as teaching materials.

5. Teaching kids to read time
The round shape of paper plates mimic a clock and by placing some hands could help you teach your kids how to read time. Be creative and paint it to increase your child’s interest in learning.

6. Flash Cards
Instead of buying flash cards to teach your child mathematics, why not use old paper plates? Or use them as prompt cards for presentations. This way, you can save money from buying readymade prompt cards or flash cards from the store which you will just dispose after when it is no longer needed.


7. Paint
Planning to redecorate? Retouching your home could be messy and using discarded paper plates as a protection against in one great way of reusing them. Paper plates are better than newspapers because they are thicker and could absorb paint better.

8. Storage
When you are storing your precious china wares or other sentimental dishes, you can reuse the paper plates by inserting them between each dish. In this manner, your wares will be saved from scratches, clatters, and breaking most especially if you are to transport them.

Please share any creative tips of your own!

“Green Marketing” True Or False

Costa Rica Natural Paper Company has been making tree free papers with no chemical or additives since 1995, and consider one of the first tree free papers companies and has set the standards for the industry. Now with new “Green Marketing” it seems we have gotten lost in all the new lingo and sales tactics of this “Green” market that we have helped to create. We have been the tree hugger favorite for years, a small successful company that continues to do what’s natural. No chemicals or additives. We “walk the talk”; I like to think of us as the Ben and Jerry’s of the paper world with four flavors of paper and more to come.

5 Simple Ideas for Keeping Your Home Green

We always think of things which we could give our children long after were gone, why not start by      leaving them with a greener and healthier planet. Going green is simple; we don’t have to big things or go great distances just to make our little place of the world greener.

1. Use Energy Efficient Lighting
Most of the electricity produced in regular incandescent bulbs is lost thru heat energy. Using the more cost effective fluorescent bulbs reduces your lighting bills by around 25 percent. The newer fluorescent bulbs also produce brighter and easier on the eyes lights compared to the yellow glow of incandescent bulbs. In fact a well placed fluorescent could replace two similar incandescent bulbs which significantly lower your electric bills even further.


2. Use Recycled Paper Products
Another product which leaves a huge impact on the environment is paper. Millions of trees are cut every year just to produce virgin paper. Using recycled paper products at home reduces the need for cutting down more trees than what is needed to. There is ample supply of used paper products. In fact, used paper products take a huge chunk of wastes products in our landfills.

There are a lot of paper products used in the home, this includes table napkins, tissue paper, paper towels and writing paper just to name a few. Enrolling in a recycling program could help you make these available for reuse and help the planet breathe a little bit easier.

3. Switch to Eco Friendly Cleaning Products

Cleaning products contain chemicals which have direct effect on the environment and especially on a person’s health. Chemical poisoning is always a constant danger, kids are vulnerable to this and parents are always reminded to keep these chemicals away from their reach.

There are a lot of cleaning products which does not contain harmful chemicals or those whose concentration is not as much. Remember that these cleaning products run to our sewers and drains which eventually end up in rivers or underground water reserves.

4. Houseplants and Gardens
What better way to express your eco friendly side than to place plants at home or build a small garden. Starting a garden is simple even in you find yourself living in a high rise apartment. There are a lot of garden kits which could be tailored made to fit everybody’s specific needs. Grow roses all year round or plant your own vegetables.

The Environmental Protection Agency studies show that indoor air is significantly more polluted than outdoor air. Building materials such as paint, furniture and cleaning products contribute to the higher amount of pollution contained at home. Plants are great home ornaments but their true benefits are not visible to the eyes. Plants and trees are great air filters and placing them at home could reduce the amount of circulating pollution.

5. Conserve water
We all know the importance of conserving water, saving water could be done in many different ways. Checking on water usage preserves this valuable resource for future use. Some wimple ways of conserving water includes who we use it when we take a bath or brush our teeth. House activities which use fair amounts of water are car washing and lawn watering. Making sure that these activities are down with minimal water use does not only protect valuable water resources but also help cut water bills.