Monday, April 27, 2009

Eco Mother's Day Crafts and Tips from the Authors of Celebrate Green

Simple, Earth-friendly, Meaningful Crafts for Mother's Day
from the Authors of Celebrate Green

Money is tight right now. But money doesn't have to stand in the way of honoring your mom (and Mother Earth). You can make a beautiful and more importantly, meaningful, gift for Mother's Day. And what mom would not be thrilled to receive an item infused with meaning made by hand from someone she loves?

Here are a few ideas. Most cost little to nothing in money or environmental terms because you're rescuing items that often are tossed or left sitting in a closet or drawer.

Picture frame jewelry holder

1) Choose an old picture frame and remove any backing. You can decorate the frame with paint, fabric or other appropriate decoration to match mom's bedroom or bathroom decor or leave it plain.

2) Cut a piece of window screen that overlaps the back of the frame 1/2 inch. (Remember when the dog charged through the screen and ripped it to shreds? If it's still lying around, here's the perfect use for it.)

3) Staple or nail the window screen to the back of the frame.

4) Screw in some cuphooks along the bottom of the frame to hold rings and/or in the top corners to hold necklaces and bracelets. Earring backs fit through the screen.

5) If you want the holder to hang, add a picture hangar to the back. Otherwise, it can sit on a small easel or rest against the wall.

Picture ball

No doubt you've got bunches of photos lying around from B.D. (Before Digital). One picture ball uses up 20 of them. This is a fun project that takes about a half hour and while a little tricky, once you get the basic idea, they're easy to make. Craft several with different themes--you as a baby, you as a teenager, you and your siblings.

Watch how one is made here or see the directions here.

Meaningful charms

Most moms have a several necklaces from which they can suspend charms. How about adding to mom's collection with a little creative crafting?

Any object in which you can punch a hole can be turned into a charm. Think about your mom's talents, work or leisure activities. For a teacher, make a pencil charm. For an artist, one from a tiny paint brush. If she's sentimental, a delicate baby spoon that belonged to you.

Artists are using this technique to create amazing and wonderful jewelry from objects that would normally be tossed. One of our favorites is Susan Lenert Kazmer.

Here's how to make the watch charm pictured here.

If your mom has an old watch that sits in her drawer, ask her if you can remake it, or pick one up at a yard sale (although it will be more meaningful if you use one one she already has).

1) Remove the face.

2) Glue it into a bottle cap.

3) Punch a hole in the cap near the top.

4) Fashion a loop from a piece of wire.

5) Add to a necklace or present on its own.

Here's a "charming" container for any small gift

1) Remove the label from an empty soup can.

2) Wash it.

3) Paint mom's favorite color.

4) Let dry.

5) Glue paper or ribbon all the way around the top edge.

6) Punch a hole on each side near the top and insert a piece of wire through the two holes forming a handle. (You can string on some buttons and charms after feeding one side through as done in the example.)

7) Once this is done, mash down on the top of the can so that the opening is no longer round, but more oval (although you don't have to do this either if you prefer a perfectly round can).

8) Glue on decorative accents and /or words cut from newspapers or magazines. A quote about mom or simply the words, "I love you, Mom," will work well.

9) If you have a shredder, fill the can with shredded paper (from a magazine to add color if you like). Fill the can leaving just enough room to rest the gift on top.

10) The can later can be filled with flowers and hung outside.

Top eco-tips for Mother's Day

1. Don't assume you know what mom wants to do or as a gift. She may prefer a picnic over brunch in a fancy restaurant.

2. When buying gifts, think locally made.

3. Avoid using wrapping paper. Substitute fabric wraps you make yourself from scarves or other fabric you have on hand, or purchase from a mom-owned company like Bobowrap. These can be used over and over again.

4. Give the gift of yourself. Whatever you can do for mom most certainly will be appreciated whether it's washing her car, cleaning her gutters, or sorting and organizing old photos. Find something you can do that costs nothing but your time. Repeat once a month for a year!

Top eco-picks for Mother's Day

1. Many moms appreciate receiving gifts that give. Give her a gift card from and she can donate to any of more than 300 non-profits.

2. Organic flowers are best for mom and the planet. Order from a local farm or online from

3. If you don't have a store nearby that offers sustainable gifts, try any of these:

~ Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at

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