Eco Friendly Gift Giving Ideas – With Christmas quickly closing in on us, we’re in the gift giving frame of mind. It’s at this time of year that I reflect on what we’re giving and receiving. I’m trying to be a little more conscientious with my gift giving this year by giving gifts that create memories and experiences, not garbage. I wanted to share some ideas so you can help be a green giver this year.
Ideas for No Waste Christmas Gifts:
- Create a one-of-a-kind online slide show from your photos (smilebox.com is great for this) – my husband made one for my birthday (he made my show with PowerPoint) and I just love it and watch it often.
- Give tickets to a sporting event, concert or festival
- Plan a weekend getaway – skiing, surfing, fishing or wine tasting are some fun ideas
- Give seasons passes to a local museum or attraction
- Get old and/or damaged furniture and take it to be fixed, recovered or restored
- Plant a fruit tree – the gift that will keep giving (you may have to hold off until warmer weather depending where you’re located)
- Give the gift of fitness with a pass to a local recreation or fitness center
- Spa gift certificates are always a hit – you could even turn it into a girls weekend
- Give a subscription to Netflix
- Give the gift of education with Lynda.com which offers access to thousands of easy-to-follow video tutorials on software, creative, and business skills. GC’s start at $25. I absolutely love Lynda.com by the way and they aren’t even paying me to say that.
- Get bikes repaired and serviced
- Give theater or movie tickets
- Make coupons for free babysitting services along with a gift certificate to a great restaurant
- Send your family or friends eBooks with the click of a button. Kobo and Amazon both gift eBooks
- Plan a family bowling night and let the competition begin
- Know someone who’s having some financial hardships? Most grocery stores sell gift cards now. I’ve given this gift before and I know just how much it was appreciated.
- Classes or lessons including: art, pottery, music, golf, language, dancing, cooking, auto repair, computer design, photography, etc.
- Give a ready to eat meal that can be kept in the freezer until needed
- Give a small savings bond, investment or educational savings plan
- Finally, and I love this one, donate to a favorite charity or organization in the individual’s name you’re buying for. For example, there are fantastic organizations where your child can choose to donate goats, chickens, ducks, sheep and other animals for children and families in Africa. It’s always great for kids to learn the value of giving as well as receiving.
Quick and easy iPhone case.
Crochet iPhone Case – Lately I’ve been feeling a burning desire to start crocheting again (I think it was around Christmas the last time I picked up a hook). At this time of year it’s not like we need scarves, cowls or beanies so I wasn’t sure what I should make but then I saw some really cute iPhone cases on Pinterest and thought that would be a great project to get me back in the crocheting game again. I looked at a few patterns and in the end, just sort of came up with my own design. It’s ridiculously easy and quick – it took me about an hour and I’m a pretty slow crocheter. Even beginners can handle this fun project.
- Thick yarn (I used Bernat Roving) in 1 or 2 colors
- Crochet hook 1 size smaller than recommended on yarn packaging (I used 5.5mm or US 9)
- Button of your choice
- Darning needle
- Sewing needle
- Your phone (to make sure the fit is what you want)
This case will have a more structured feel and appearance if you keep the tension on this firm and tight and consistent throughout the project.
sl st = slip stitch
sc = single crochet
ch = chain
Click here if you have any trouble knowing or remembering which stitches these are.
Keep in mind I’m a novice pattern maker so I hope this all makes sense.
- Make a slip knot and then chain 6 to 8 chain stitches (ch) together. Remember to keep the tension pretty tight. Basically you want to have the chain be the same width of your phone when the chain is stretched firmly. If you want the case to have a snug fit, (ch) 6 but if you want it a little more loose and roomy then (ch) 7 or 8 stitches.
- Round 2. Not turning your work, (sc) in the second chain from the end (the same end your hook is) and continue this in every stitch back across the entire row. 2 (sc) in the last stitch.
- Round 3. With your work still facing you, turn around the corner so that you’re now working into your original chain and still working right to left, 2 (sc) in first stitch then (sc) the rest of the stitches in the row except 2(sc) in the last stitch. Repeat this for as many rows you need until you have you have achieved the correct width to fit the bottom of you phone (probably about 3-5 rows total depending on how snug or roomy you want your cover). Keep your phone handy to test and make sure the fit is good.
- Round 4, 5 or 6 onward. 1 (sc) in each stitch for each row until you’re near the top of your phone.
- Second last row. Here you can either keep your yarn colour the same or add your second colour. Starting at one side of the case, do one more row of (sc) and then at the end of that row change to 1 (sl st) in each stitch. When you reach the exact middle of your case, (ch) 30 stitches so that you have a long chain and then do 1 (sl st) in the stitch that your chain originated in so that the chain becomes a loop that will go over the button. Then carry on around the rest of the row until you’re back where you started. Fasten off and weave in any loose ends with your darning needle.
- Put your phone in the case and pull the chained loop over. Mark where the end of your loop falls, centered on the case, and then stitch your button on in that exact spot.
You could use this pattern for any phone or tablet, just increase a number of stitches at the beginning to accommodate for the extra width. These would make great gifts too.
If you’re looking for more fun crochet projects check out this great book: Crochet One-Skein Wonders®: 101 Projects from Crocheters around the World
Pickle Jar Remix – Frosted Glass Jar
Pickle Jar Remix – DIY Frosted Glass Vase – Pretty much every time I throw at jar into the recycling bin I feel a little bit guilty because I keep thinking I should do something with that jar. I wish I could say I’m uber excited to save the environment or something altruistic like that but it’s a little more simplistic than that… I just like to create things. A couple of weeks ago I found some frosted glass paint. I didn’t have anything in mind when I picked it up but thought it may come in handy some day. Well, that someday was yesterday when I went to toss a pickle jar into the recycling bin. I was holding the jar in my hand thinking about what a beautiful size and shape it was when I realized it would make a sweet little vase if done up nicely. So I tracked down some white paint, the frosted glass paint, some thin tape (washi tape in this instance) and a smallish pouncer. This was a really quick project about 20 minutes all in, not including the drying time.
One last thing before I get to this DIY tutorial. I LOVE PEONIES! We used to have huge bushes of them where I grew up in Ontario and I loved picking them for my mom when I was a little girl. I had grown a bunch at our old house that we moved from last year. Just this Spring I planted a number of peony tubers but then about a month or so after I planted them, my husband had a guy come over to weed all our gardens and didn’t tell me. The guy he hired “weeded” all of my peonies. What kind of gardener doesn’t know the weeds from the plants… deep breath.
Anyway, after that incident I’ve been in peony withdrawal so I went back to our old house and with the tenants permission (friends of ours actually) I picked a few peonies for the lovely bouquet in this photo… ah, all better now. Look at how gorgeous those flowers are!
- Glass paint – Americana Frosted Gloss Enamels – Frosted glass paint in white (from Michaels)
- Craft paint – Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint in Wedding Cake (from Michaels)
- Small to medium size pouncer
- Tape (I used thin washi tape)
- Soak jar in warm water to get the label off the jar and then wash it to make sure there is no paper or sticker residue left on the glass. Dry glass thoroughly.
- Place your tape into the position being careful to make straight, consistently spaced lines.
- Using your pouncer, gently sponge on your solid colour paint (white in my case) in between the tape. Carefully go around the outside until all the space is filled in. Allow to dry for an hour or two, then remove the tape.
- Now, using your frosted glass paint, dab on using your pouncer starting at the bottom and move to the top until the entire jar is covered. I found that if I went over it again (about 5 minutes later) with a sparse second coat it had a better “frosted” appearance. Allow to dry completely.
- Fill jar/vase with water and beautiful flowers.