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Make a No-Sew Fringed Scarf

fringe-scarfWhile a scarf is often a winter necessity for those of you above the Mason-Dixon, I’m more into scarves as a fashion accessory since it doesn’t get all that cold here in Florida. This simple tutorial is for a super stylish scarf that, weather notwithstanding, you can wear all year long.

Not only is this no-sew fringed scarf  really easy to make and very fashionable (fringe is EVERYWHERE right now), it’s also a great way to upcycle some of those unwanted t-shirts we all have clogging up our drawers!

And? They make great (read: inexpensive) holiday gifts!

You’ll Need:

•  One old T-Shirt – Bigger, wider  shirts will make allow you to make a longer scarf. Smaller,  more narrow shirts will make your scarf shorter.

•  Cloth Scissors – These will make cutting your fringe a lot easier.

Step 1:  Find a t-shirt that you won’t mind cutting up. If you don’t have one at home, you can pick up tons of them at the thrift store for almost nothing.

Step 2:  Cut horizontally across the shirt  just below the armholes, to create a rectangular tube. Then do the same just above the hem.

Step 3:  Start making vertical cuts all the way around the tube that extend from the raw edge upward. The longer the cut, the longer the fringe will be.  This is optional but if you want more fringe, you can cut strips on the opposite side as well.

Step 4:  Tug down on each strand to elongate it and curl the edges. You can also knot the ends of each strand for some extra detail.

scarf-pictures

You can find more t-shirt scarf ideas on here on Pinterest.

Photo Credit: Bestfan.com

 

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Non-Toxic Air Mattresses (Updated)

These days, when you need an extra bed, you’re more likely to pull out an air mattress than a sofa sleeper and for camping, the inflatable air mattress is apt to be found on most packing lists.

The problem, however, is that these days they are almost universally made with PVC, which outgasses harmful fumes long after that telltale “new mattress smell” has dissipated and can contain lead.

A few years ago, those of us who objected to breathing in toxic fumes may have had little recourse other than to forgo the luxury of an air mattress and lump it—but we now have a few options:

The Aerobed Pakmat: It’s PVC and phthalate-free and made of 100% eco-friendly materials. Uses a hand pump instead of batteries or electricity to inflate and only takes about 60 seconds plus it weighs only 5 lbs and stores right inside it’s pump case. FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com.

The Aerobed Ecolite: Made from eco-friendlier TPU instead of PVC, the Ecolite is phthalate-free and comes with a rechargeable pump. Unlike the Pakmat, it comes in twin and queen sizes and is 40% lighter than PVC air mattresses. Personally, I’d still go for the Pakmat because I’ve had several air mattress pumps die on me over the years.

Kelty Sleep Eazy: Made of 70D nylon with a TPU laminate, and includes a standard coil for support. The PVC-free Sleep Eazy is also a breeze to inflate thanks to the 6-volt rechargeable pump, which includes both a car and wall charger for versatile use. And to ensure compact storage, the airbed comes with a Kelty Binto storage bin.

Lake Timber Top Rubberized Fabric Air Mattress: Back before PVC was so ubiquitous, air mattresses were made of rubberized fabric and were reputedly super durable, in addition to being far more eco-friendly than their PVC counterparts. This rubberized fabric air mattress is the equivalent of a twin or single air mattress at 30″ X 72″ and can also be used in the water. Comes with a repair kit and is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com

I also found companies in Canada, the UK and Australia that carry rubberized cotton air mattresses. I will link to them for our non-American readers and anyone who might be interested in  placing an international order:

Home Hardware: The store I searched is in Toronto (but they have many locations in Canada) and they carry several rubberized cotton air mattresses that seem reasonably priced.

Amazon UK: They carry a couple different options in rubberized cotton air mattresses by a company called Highlander.

Discount Camping: This Australian store carries three different sizes of rubberized cotton air mattresses.

Happy PVC-free sleeping!

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6 Small Things to Make a Difference

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Eco-Friendly Breast Milk Storage Bags

What: Honeysuckle Breast Milk Storage Bags

Features:  Durable, extra thick, leakproof milk storage bottles with a double zipper and ridged bottom to prevent spills

Green Factor:  BPA-free, phthalate-free, oxo-biodegradable and recyclable!

Bonus:  Honeysuckle also makes storage bags made to work with Ameda and Medela breast pumps

Find It Here: Amazon

 

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Hidden Dangers in Your Baby’s Nursery

 (click image to see at full size)

 

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Eco-Friendlier Paper Straws

What:  Paper Straws

Features: Thick paper straws coated with food-grade wax to protect them from liquid. Yes, these are single-use items but if you are in a situation where you need straws and glass or steel straws are not an option (i.e. parties, large gatherings, house guests) this is a far better option than plastic straws, which are typically non-recyclable.

Green Factor: Biodegradable, compostable and made with food-grade soy inks

Bonus: Made in the USA by Aardvark Straws

Find It Here:  Amazon

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What’s the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a growing problem in the northern Pacific Ocean and one that could dramatically alter life on our planet within the next 20 years.

“I remember the first time I felt it; I was paddling out on my surfboard and noticed a mushy, plastic-like substance sliding through my fingers. That’s what started my obsession with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” says charity fundraiser and environmentalist Veronica Grey. “The patch is located between Hawaii and California in the northern Pacific Ocean, where millions of small bits of plastic have gathered in a vortex of ocean currents known as a gyre.”

“Fifteen years ago The Patch was the size Texas, but now it’s the size of the continental United States,” says Grey, who used her iPhone to shoot the documentary, which features renowned scientists, journalists and environmentalists.

Grey paired her professional skills with her personal passion for the ocean, creating the award-winning documentary “Aqua Seafoam Shame,” (www.Pacific-TV.com), which spotlights the mess in the ocean that has garnered precious little media attention, she says.

Plastic in the ocean has far-reaching implications that, if not addressed within 20 years, could change life on this planet, she says. To date, 177 species of sea life are known to ingest plastic; other species feed on those creatures, extending the chain of damage.

“People eat the seafood that eats plastic, and the planet gets its rain from the oceans, which are being polluted at an exponential rate,” she says. “We use significantly more of our planet’s surface as a dump than for growing food; this has to change.”

To begin addressing plastics pollution, Grey encourages people to use alternatives:

  • Americans buy 2 million bottles of water every five minutes; ditch disposable plastic bottles and carry reusable, refillable bottles.
  • Carry a cost-effective canvas bag instead getting disposable plastic bags at the grocery store. We waste 10 billion plastic bags every week!
  • Do not line your trash cans with plastic bags. Use paper bags or nothing.
  • Skip the lid on your to-go drinks. The paper cup is normally recyclable but the lid usually isn’t.
  • Remember that each and every time you flush; it all ends up in the ocean. Be mindful of what you toss in your toilet!

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Great Green Gifts Under $21

Stainless Steel Straws

These stainless steel straws are practical, durable alternatives to plastic straws. They have all the functionality of the bendy disposable straws without the waste and they also look pretty cool!  Made of 18/10 stainless steel. $9.95 for set of 4.

Bonus: $4.95 flat rate shipping with code “BELLS”

Find It Here: Reuseit


Peopletowels

Did you know the average person uses between 2,400 and 3,000 paper towels a year? Tote these reusable alternatives to paper towels instead. Made from 100% certified organic Fair Trade cotton, these extra-absorbent and lightweight hand towels are made to curb your paper towel usage at the gym, work, in the car or in public facilities. Comes with their own bag for portability. Set of 2 for $16

Bonus: Printed with non-toxic dyes

Find It Here: Uncommon Goods


3D Garden Pinwheels

A modern spin on the traditional garden fixture, these stainless steel stunners add fun and style to your landscape. Designed in Germany. 2 sizes available for $16-$20

Find It Here:  Uncommon Goods

 

 

 

 

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Great Green Gifts for Her

recycled materials green gym bagThe Everything Fits Gym Bag

•  100% recycled polyester with polyester mesh
•  Vented outside compartment to hold shoes wet items, shoes or towel

This eco-chic bag will keep a girl organized with its roomy interior featuring a zippered pocket, an elastic pocket and a key tether. Includes an easy-reach outside pocket for water bottle, inside and outside holsters for cell phone and MP3 player and bottom adjustable straps for your yoga mat (not included). 18″L x 8½”W x 13″H.

Bonus: Free shipping!

Find it Here:  Gaiam


The Organic Chocolate Pleaser Kit

A pleasing assortment of organic and fair trade Gourmet Chocolate Goodness from California. Rich Rainforest Dark Fudge, exquisite raw chocolate hearts and brittle, lots of mouth-watering gourmet chocolate bars, tasty chocolate bites, plus amazing Lavender Truffle Hearts!

Bonus: Made in the USA

Find it Here: Kate’s Caring Gifts

 


Organic Cotton and Hemp Infinity Scarf
With the feel of linen, the rich color of silk and the strength of hemp, this versatile organic scarf works for all occasions and brightens any outfit with texture and pop. 42″ long and available in ten colors.

Bonus: Machine washable

Find It Here: Sprigs

 

 

 

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Great Gifts: Electric Snow Thrower

What: Greenworks Electric Snow Thrower

Features: Is it time to clear snow in your neck of the woods? The Greenworks 12 amp electric snow thrower clears a 20-inch path at a depth of 10 inches and has a cord lock that holds an extension cord securely in place.

Green Factor: Zero carbon emissions and zero pollution because it doesn’t use gas. No smelly engine emissions, no trips to fill the gas can and no tune-ups!

Bonus: On sale for $159.99 with a fabulous 4 year warranty (twice the industry standard) plus FREE SHIPPING!

Find It Here:  Amazon

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Solar Battery Charger

What: Solar 11-in-1 Battery Charger

Features: This charger uses solar power to re-charge up to 11 NIMH or NiCad (D, C, AA and AAA) rechargeable batteries.

Green Factor: Rechargeable batteries can be used over and over and using a solar-powered charger is a greener choice than a standard charger—no electricity is used or required!

Bonus: Living in hurricane country, my family is well-acquainted with the issues that come with being out of power for extended periods of time—being able to recharge all those batteries we depend on when the power is down (and not likely to come back on for days) is a huge bonus!

Find It Here: Amazon.com (qualifies for free shipping!)

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Is YOUR Fragrance on This List?

I really love things that smell good but in the past few years I’ve become keenly aware of just how toxic they can be and thus, I was compelled to search Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetic safety database and compile a list of the worst-scoring fragrances.

This means that based on their ingredients, these fragrances rated the highest in categories relating to cancer, allergies/immunotoxicity and/or developmental & reproductive toxicity—YIKES!

This list isn’t all inclusive of every fragrance out there and it only contains some of the ones that got the highest overall “hazard” scores (9 and 10) .

There are plenty that I didn’t list and many that have only slightly lower hazard scores so yourself a favor and check Skin Deep yourself to see where your scents and cosmetics rank. FYI…my fave scent scored a 6 out of 10 :(

And now…

THE LIST

Read the rest of this entry »

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