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Vinegar: Over 400 Various & Versatile Uses

What: Before chemicals were king, people used natural products like vinegar for cleaning, cooking, preserving and health. This book is a great resource for all the different ways you can use vinegar as a natural alternative to numerous chemical products.

Features: This comprehensive guide covers all types and uses of vinegar. Contains a full index and whimsical illustrations make the book informative and fun.

Green Factor: Any time you can use something natural instead of a potentially dangerous chemical, it’s green. This book gives you over 400 ways to do that.

Bonus: Using vinegar instead of expensive chemical-based cleaners also saves you money!

Find It Here: Vinegar: Over 400 Various, Versatile, and Very Good Uses You’ve Probably Never Thought Of

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DIY Upcycled Sweater Boots

What: Tutorial for making your own upcycled sweater boots

Features: With a big bulky sweater, some cheap flat shoes, a hot glue gun, some buttons, a sewing machine and a needle and thread you can make your own super stylin’ sweater boots.

Green Factor: You’re recycling old stuff into something new!

Bonus: While these won’t be truly winter-worthy (i.e. snow, sleet, rain), they’ll be adorable for all those cool days between fall and spring and your only limit is your imagination. See other examples here and here.

Find It Here: Instructables

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The Fiber Rescue Project

What: 100% recycled yarn and fiber

Features: Previously loved yarn that is recycled from gently-worn, high-quality sweaters. Also available are blends of recycled fiber for spinners and felters, handspun from mill ends and other scrap fiber.

Green Factor: Yarn that would most likely end up in a landfill is recycled to be used again, which saves resources, including the energy and materials it takes to manufacture and package new yarn. It’s a shame all textiles aren’t recycled like this.

Bonus: Free shipping to US and Canada on orders over $50

Find It Here: Craftyyarn

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REMAKE IT! Magazine Envelopes

What: Envelope making kit

Features: This nifty kit contains everything you need to remake scrap paper such as magazine pages, sheet music, maps, posters, comic books and more into mailable works of art in the form of envelopes.

Green Factor: You recycle paper you already have into fun, creative envelopes instead of using brand new ones!

Bonus: Kit comes with 2 envelope templates, a greeting card template, stickers and mailing labels.

Find It Here: Karma Kiss

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Easy Liquid Soap Recipe

To make liquid soap by the half gallon the easy way, just follow this simple recipe that uses no dangerous ingredients or special equipment. Basically, this recipe changes hard soap into liquid (gel) soap with the addition of glycerin and water.

I’ve tried a number of liquid soap recipes from the internet that didn’t work and finally, out of frustration, devised my own. This is my own original recipe and it does work!

Easy Liquid Soap Recipe

This recipe makes just under half a gallon of general purpose liquid soap. It is best made in the evening, as it will need to cool overnight before the final stage of blending the soap.

Ingredients:

1 cup soap flakes or grated bar soap
2.5 quarts of water
1 tablespoon of glycerin

You will also need:

A large saucepan
A measuring cup and a tablespoon measure
A sealable glass jar, or an assortment of cleaned hand pumps or shampoo bottles
A stick blender, electric mixer or handheld egg beater

Method:

Mix soap flakes, water and glycerin together in a large saucepan over a low heat.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Simply Green, Simply Smart

carpet.jpgEver hear of carpet tiles? How about green carpet tiles? Simply Green’s carpet tile is a great alternative to regular carpeting because each tile is made from recycled, renewable and environmentally friendly materials.

Quite honestly, there’s a whole whack of reasons why carpet tile is worth checking out, but in the interest of brevity, I’ll touch on a few of the ones I thought were the coolest. For one, Simply Green uses domestically grown soybeans to replace 90% of the petroleum based polymers that are found in polyurethane carpet backings. Celceram, a highly-refined material recovered via coal combustion, is used for the tiles’ backing, adding to their durability. The tiles are built to last and easy to clean, and compared to regular carpet, are less likely to absorb moisture by over 80%. Simply Green’s tiles have 30% less petroleum than standard carpet made with nylon, which I think is fantastic—the less reliant we are on foreign energy, the better.

If all of the above doesn’t make you think twice about installing regular carpeting again, consider this: carpet tiles are far easier to install than wall-to-wall. With all of the work that goes in to laying standard carpeting, lifting the tiles out of the box and putting them on the floor is a breeze by comparison. And with less work comes less waste—this method will reduce the amount of waste that a typical carpet install would generate by up to 20%. Plus? You can mix and match tiles to make your own patterns—can’t do that with conventional carpet! Simply Green carpet tiles are, quite simply, a smart alternative from a forward-thinking company.

Find It Here: Simply Green

On Our Blog: Food Inc: The Truth About What We Eat

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Tempting Tiny Taste Buds

tinytastebudsjpg.jpgWe’ve featured amazing blenders that help you puree homemade baby food. We’ve featured little BPA-free containers in which to freeze your homemade baby food. And now? We’re featuring an e-book series to help you really kick ass at making that homemade baby food. You may not need help with the basics because cooking and pureeing squash? Not so hard—but how about advice on when and how to start your baby on solids? How about nutrition information? How about advice for dealing with feeding problems? Tips for spotting and avoiding allergies and/or digestive problems? Feeding your baby while traveling? Recipes for homemade finger foods? Recipes for special occasions? And of course, tons of recipes for baby food that doesn’t taste like the flavorless, vacuum-sealed, months old gunk from a jar? Christine Albury, mother of five and the author of Tempting Tiny Tastebuds pretty much covers it all and because we know a lot of our readers are DIY types who like to make their own baby food, we’ve partnered with Christine Albury to give away FIVE sets of her three e-books—Tempting Tiny Tastebuds, The Homemade Baby Food Recipes Annual – 2009 (More In Depth Nutrition Information, Tips and Recipes) and Best of Blog (The best articles and recipes from Christine Albury’s blog).

Find It Here: Homemade Baby Food Recipes

Win It: We’re giving away five sets of Christine Albury’s three e-books. Click here to fill out our simple entry form. Just enter BF6 as the giveaway name and provide the answer to this question: What are three types of recipes found on Christine’s web site? Enter by 6/30/09. $17 value for each set of e-books. Open to residents worldwide. Winner will be notified by email. Contest closed. Congrats to all five winners!

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Little Stitches for Little Ones

28443665.JPG My newfound desire to learn how to sew has launched me on a mission to find projects that will inspire me to actually sew. Yes, you see for me, wanting to sew and actually finding the time to learn to sew (while looking after a toddler and a preschooler) are distinctly different things. All of which is to say that I must find projects that are 1) pretty easy to make and 2) SO insanely cute that I will actually squeeze the time in somehow to make them. Lucky for me, I have 20 new reasons to get out the sewing machine – all of which can be found in Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones, an awesomely inspiring compilation of 20 sewing projects for baby and mom. From booties to baby bags, the projects in this book are so adorable you will be wishing you had 5 extra hours a day to try them out. Top on my must-make list? The baby kimono-style PJs. And after that, definitely the keepsake brag book (for the grandparents) and the cuddle kitty toy for my next baby shower gift. In addition to loving the precious, heirloom-worthy projects in this book, I also appreciate the fact that the book is spiral bound, which makes it easy to utilize, and that Amy has included a difficulty level (1-4) for each project. The other cool feature of this book is the fabric reference guide, which includes the name of each Amy Butler fabric used to create the pictured project. If you can’t tell already, I cannot wait to get started on a project from this book. Now, if I could just find a book to show me how to come up with those five extra hours a day…

Find It Here: Amazon.com

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Bend-the-Rules Sewing

bendtherulessewing2.jpgMy new favorite hobby is sewing. Granted, I have yet to dust off the old Singer I bought ten years ago and never learned to use, but I just know it’s going to be my new favorite hobby. I have this itch to make something with my hands, something not purchased in a store, something of my own creation. My new beginner’s handbook is Bend-the-Rules Sewing. Written by the popular blogger and craft goddess, Amy Karol (known as Angry Chicken to her blog fans), Bend-the-Rules Sewing is the perfect book for the beginning seamstress. If you know absolutely nothing about sewing, this book would serve as a great primer. Read the first few pages and you’ll already know the sewing lingo and the exact supplies you need to get started. But what I love, love, love the most about this book are the incredibly hip projects. From cute handbags and aprons to cloth napkins and scalloped baby blankets, this book provides instructions for thirty projects with beautiful colorful pictures of each. Every time I flipped to a new page, I thought, “I want to make that!” and then I’d flip to the next page and think the same thing again! And really, what could be greener than making your own stuff, right? It’s sew true. Heh.

Find It Here: Amazon.com

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Does Your Vacuum Cleaner Suck?

vacuum_cleaner.jpgIf you’re like me, an undomestic goddess of a kingdom comprised mostly of pet hair and assorted baby stuff, any help in biting back the dust is welcome. National Geographic’s Green Guide recently published an article on vacuum cleaners, including product comparisons and buying pointers. I dug that they say vacuums are super-easy to repair but that seldom happens. It could, however, probably save you some money, not to mention please Mother Earth (and who doesn’t like to keep on HER good side?) to try having the vacuum repaired or parts replaced (or do it yourself!) before you donate it to a thrift store, charity, or even “freecycle” it.  But if it’s time for a better vacuum or your household includes an asthma-and-allergies sufferer (like mine), take heart because today’s vacuum cleaning market lends credence to the idea that there’s a sucker born every minute—but this time, it’s in a good way! Some models with HEPA filters (sometimes pricier, sometimes not) even help whisk away and imprison the brain cell-killing chemicals in flame retardants, the hormone-tampering phthalates as well as the carcinogens and pesticides that sneak in from the outside world. I take safeguarding the environment seriously but I can’t resist one final pun—peruse The Green Guide and, for a more comprehensive list of vacuums’ green ratings, Consumer Reports. With these helpers, it’s sure to be a wind-wind situation when you choose your next vacuum cleaner!

Find it Here: The Green Guide

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Reform School Honor Roll

gmf_reformschool.jpgReduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rebel. That’s the motto at Reform School, a Los Angeles store owned by two high school friends with a focus on sustainable art, design and crafts. Lucky for us non-Angelenos, these best friends realized that not everyone can’t make it to LA so they started a website (with a cool school theme, natch) featuring one-of-a-kind sustainable and handmade finds. And just to keep things interesting, each month at Reform School, different artist is featured as “student of the month.” Make sure you also take a look at their wide and creative selection of stationery, books, posters, house accessories and unique handmade wares for kids like the Mobilhome Recycled Cardboard Dollhouse or the nifty Optrixx Cameras made from recycled wood. This is one school where you definitely won’t mind staying after class!

Find it Here: Reform School

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Easy No-Cook Playdough Recipe

2482603533_b99679b34e.jpgThis is by far the easiest playdough recipe I have ever tried. OK, well, it’s true that this is only the second playdough recipe I’ve ever tried, but still — after I used this one, I knew I had a winner. The pluses of making your own playdough? You will recognize all of the ingredients, which you probably already have in your home. You can make more whenever you run out. And most importantly, you don’t have to drag your kid to the store buy more. It’s a win-win for everyone! Oh, and this recipe takes about 5 minutes to make – that’s about an hour less than it would take for me to go buy some at the store! Even the kids can help with the mixing and kneading. Store it in an airtight container and it stays moist through many, many uses.

Recipe

1 cup flour

1 cup boiling water

2 tbsp. cream of tartar

1/2 cup salt

1 tbsp. oil

Mix and knead together.

Tipped off By: Cooks.com

Image credit: Pinot & Dita

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