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:

Thermostat

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.

Insulation

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.

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?

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.

energy-efficient-lighting

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.

toothbrush_under_faucet

A Road Trip To Remember

Published 09 07, 2012 – 12:00 AM Posted by: the bananapaper guy

Recently I took a road trip up to Oregon with my family to enjoy the outdoors and visit some of the oldest and biggest tree’s of the western coast. I enjoyed visiting with my family and sharing knowledge about the trees such as the type of tree it’s age and the breathtaking feelings that come to me when I am amongst these giant ancient forests.

Many of which are over a thousand years old and have managed to survive thoughtless deforestation! Along with all of the spectacular rivers, mountains, wildlife and scenery I did sight a few tell tale signs of man’s greed impacting our Earth.

One thing I noticed from my recent trip was a decreased amount of lumber mills from similar trips that started in 1990.   We are lead to believe that lumber mills are closing down due to environmental concerns. Which would lead us to think that we are not continuing the destruction of forests in our country and managing our natural resources better.

However this is not the case! What I did see and have photographed large ocean freighters being loaded with our lumber and shipped off to China, which then is shipped back to us.   The disturbing part is that we have increased logging and are doing less manufacturing of wood products here in the USA. Which means that fewer jobs domestically and more waste, increased carbons and natural resources being used inefficiently.

There is no logical reason why paper should come from trees for any use at all. I understand industry although I wish that it was more responsible and practiced more methods of being sustainable. If I could have it my way we would not cut trees at all but I have to be realistic about using wood. If we are going to cut trees at all it should be used for beautiful and comfortable furniture and cozy homes.

Upon my return home I was channel surfing and saw a commercial for a show called “American Loggers” as well as “Ax Men”.   Where the entire premise of the reality show was to follow around loggers while they cut and transport our forests to ports where the clear-cut trees are then shipped out to China and back to us, which you do not see in the TV series.

It’s no surprise that a good amount of what’s on television is garbage trying to sell something truly unsustainable, polluting our minds with subliminal messages about inconsequential consumerism. Just like violence has been integrated into entertainment and desensitized viewers, these shows are creating a detachment from our emotions and natural connections to our earth by putting a personality behind a chainsaw and not unique trees which should be recognized as hero’s.

The point is that we should be re-enforcing positive ideas and beliefs about taking care of our planet, not destroying it to make profit.
Yes people have to work to survive there are jobs and careers that don’t involve harming Earths natural resource’s and even possibly helping the environment.

Honestly think about the message that these types of shows are sending to not only our youth and also the rest of the world? In some places Trees are sacred and are celebrated as unique living beings that only enhance human interaction with the natural world.

As I finished this letter I thought of this quote which is my favorite poster in my office that reads: 
”When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, We Will Realize That Money Cannot be Eaten”
- Saying of the Cree Indians



Have Fun,

Greg

Can Children Become Sustainability Thinkers

Published 01 27, 2012 -

Children can Become Sustainability Thinkers

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We can leave the world better than we found it, through our children and learning ourselves a long the way

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Sustainability Is a Way of Thinking and Living- 

To me, sustainability implies a way of thinking and living. I have choosen to teach children, students, friends and family that our dear planet Earth is a closed system and that everything is inter-related. Healthy natural cycles are essential to the well being of this system. I like them to understand their part in our system, to care for our planet and others to feel empowered that they can make a difference.

  Developing an Appreciation for the Natural Environment

 Children can initially develop an appreciation for the natural environment, its creatures and other human beings around the world. We can share ample opportunities for both play and active exploration opportunities outdoors to develop respect for nature. Reading books and watching educational programs can help them experience the amazing diversity of life on our planet when there is not the opportunity to go outdoors.

Learning about the Earth is not just about facts. Sharing Nature with Children suggests teaching less and sharing more.

Sharing with children the bare facts of nature (“This is a Redwood tree”), I like to tell them about my inner feeling in the presence of that Redwood tree.

In nature, encourage children to experience the wonder by looking at ordinary things in great detail – a leaf, a snail crossing the trail, the underside of a fern, life under a rock. 



Emphasize Our Connection With Others

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Sustainability goes beyond the environment as well, it includes people. It considers the present and future quality of life in a community -economic, social and environmental.

I believe education should emphasize our connection with other people and species, and between human and planetary systems. We are connected to other people, other species, and other lands through the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the items and materials we use everyday, and our common reliance on a healthy environment. By gaining an understanding of this global interdependence, children become better equipped to make everyday choices that respect the rights of others and lessen their impact on the Earth’s life support systems.

Share about the world’s human geography demographics. Look at a miniature global village where you break down our population demographics into 100 people. Discuss food miles and where and how things are made.   Let them know that we are all part of the same web of life and that we are all inter-related.

  Sustainability Involves

Making Conscious Decisions



Sustainability involves making conscious decisions about how one’s actions impact the environment, our community, and the world. This goes far beyond the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Moving towards a sustainable future involves a change in the way our society thinks and behaves. We can think about the choices we make each day. We can understand the greater impact from our decisions such as choosing a present for our friend’s birthday, eating lunch at a fast food restaurant and even choosing a career to pursue.

Children can be empowered early on to take part in sustainability by helping them discover small ways they can take individual and group action to make a difference. Our children are the future. We choose to help them gain the understanding and motivation to help change the world.

Discussion Questions on Sustainability for Children and Students

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The following are some discussion questions that will help our children or students move towards becoming “sustainable thinkers.”

• What natural systems create life on our planet? (air, water, energy)

• What is a food chain and a food web??

• What is a habitat??• What is an eco-system??

• What are the many functions of trees??

• Why is the planet currently loosing trees??

• What is the current population growth??

• Where do most of the world’s population live??

• What is the average annual income there?

• What is global warming and its causes??

• What types of pollution are there and its causes??

• What are renewable and non-renewable resources??

• What is your ecological footprint??

• What is organic food??

• Why is organic food more expensive??

• Where is our food grown??

• What are food miles??

• Who is growing our food??

• Where are your clothes made??

• Who is making the products you buy??

• Who has access to more sustainable choices??

• What are ways you can make a difference??

• How can you use less (i.e., reduce)?

• What do you really need to live happily??

• How can we help others??

• What are some positive contributions people, organizations and countries are making?

Activities to Encourage Sustainable Thinkers

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Start a nature journal

• Set up a compost bin

• Start a small produce garden (or container garden)

• Take regular nature walks

•Visit a dump and recycling depot

• Visit an organic farm

• Plant or adopt a tree

• Collect non-perishable foods items for local food banks

• Fund-raise for a world hunger aid organization

• Raise money for a child’s education or environmental project

• Study in detail a localized ecosystem such as an old log

• Collect your garbage for a day (or week)

• Check out the movie Garbage Revolution!?

• Draw or paint a picture of a sustainable world

• Take out a globe and track down where everything in a room comes from

• Educate others by making posters for your community centre or school bulletin board

• Write a story or poem to share with others or have published.

Please contact us to share your ideas!

Love ya and thanks
Harry Johansing

Posted by: The Banana Paper Guy

Eliminate toxic BPA in baby products

Eliminate toxic BPA in baby products Published September 21, 2010 -

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a widely used toxic chemical that acts in our bodies like the hormone estrogen. Hundreds of independent studies have linked BPA to a range of health problems, including increased susceptibility to breast and prostate cancer, early puberty and abnormalities in brain development and fat metabolism. More than 90 percent of people in the United States carry BPA residues in their bodies, and BPA has been found in urine, breast milk, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood and other body fluids. Humans break down and excrete BPA within a few days, so the fact that the chemical is consistently measured in our bodies means that we are constantly being exposed. For most people, the biggest source of exposure is presumed to be contaminated food, as BPA has been detected in infant formula, canned food and beverages.

BPA was approved as a food additive by the Food and Drug Administration in the 1950s. During the Bush administration the FDA concluded that BPA exposure levels were “safe,” but the finding relied solely on two studies funded by the chemical industry, and was sharply criticized by the FDA’s own scientific board of advisors for being inconsistent with the available evidence. Today BPA remains unregulated. In the coming days the Senate is set to consider the Food Safety Modernization Act, which would address many of the threats to our food supply, including E coli. and salmonella contamination. But the bill currently does not include any provision to address contamination of our food supply with BPA. Senator Feinstein (D-CA) wants to offer an amendment that would at least eliminate the use of BPA in infant formula, baby food packaging, baby bottles and sippy cups. The chemical industry, however, is trying to prevent the food safety bills from coming to a vote. What to do
?  Send a message by voting with your dollars, purchase only sustainable and organic items that are obviously not plastic or toxic. By raising awareness and voting with our purchases we can eliminate the use of BPA in infant formula, baby food packaging, baby bottles and yes sippy cups.

 

Recycling: Bringing Old Things to Life

Published March 26, 2010 – 10:44pm
Posted by: Patrick

Old Papers

Newspapers, magazines, old notebooks and cardboards make up a huge percentage of all recycled materials. Although it still takes considerable amounts to produce a single ton of new paper with recycled materials, using recycled paper saves three tons of virgin wood pulp for every ton of recycled paper product.  Newspapers and magazines and all other types of paper are first shredded. These are then bathed to remove all the ink and impurities. These results to a fine pulp which is then mixed with wood chips to strengthen the fibers. The fibers go thru the normal process of creating paper where the pulp is emptied into a screen and drained. The drained material is then passed thru heated rollers where they are flattened. The pressed paper is then rolled and sold as materials for creating newspapers and magazines which starts the cycle again.

 Aluminum

More than 90 percent of all beverage cans in the United States are made from aluminum. This metal has been used for beer or carbonated beverages because they are both tough and light. Billions of aluminum cans are produced in the US alone to meet the huge need for this type of container. Aluminum is ideal for use in beverages because they are able to withstand the pressure of carbonated drinks without sacrificing weight in the process. The shiny finish is also ideal for providing a nice background for printing labels.  Aluminum cans are first shredded and melted into sheets were they are used then sent to production lines where are they shaped into cans or various products. Aluminum is not only great for making cans for beverages but they have also become an important component in car bodies. Because they are both lightweight and strong, using aluminum in car bodies decrease gas consumption.   Aluminum is the third most common element. Aluminum accounts for about a 3rd of the earth’s crust. But aluminum could not be found in a pure form, it is often mixed with other materials and separating it takes a lot of energy. Although aluminum is readily available for mining, the main benefit of recycling aluminum is the huge saving in energy cost in producing new aluminum from scratch.

Tin Cans

Tin cans are just steel containers which have been coated with tin. The tin is separated from the steel by dipping them in a tin removing solution and finally removed thru the process of electrolysis. The steel is then collected and shipped to different production sites where they are forged for a variety of purposes. The tin content is also sold to pharmaceuticals and chemical companies or recycled for the production of new tin cans.

recycled-aluminum-can-crafts-1

Glass

Glass products are first crushed into small and finer pieces. The broken glass is run thru machines which separate impurities such as paper and metals. The broken glass is then mixed with sand, limestone and soda ash all basic components of glass making. The mixture is then melted and blown into new glass products.

Mobile Phones

Ever wondered what happens to old mobile phones? With more and more people using mobile phones, these devices are fast becoming one of the top electronic wastes products. Many of us have been unable to let go of these electronic devices because upgrading is usually done not because the old mobile phone is busted but more about personal preference. Many would conclude that these devices generally end up as trash as buried in landfills. This however is not true as almost 60 to 70 percent of the mobile phone could be recycled. But the fact is, most of the old cellphones are stored away in a closet especially if they remain operational.

recycle-your-old-cell-phones