Archive for June, 2008

A simple celebration to welcome summer

By Corey

Here in the Pacific Northwest, our spring was unusually gloomy. This might have been tolerable had it not been for the awfully gloomy winter and utterly gloomy fall. We’ve been living in grey for a solid nine months.

To celebrate the arrival of summer (and to conjure the rainbow of color sunshine brings), my daughters, seven of their friends (and friends’ moms), and I had a silk dyeing party.

Here is what we used:

  • Plain 100% silks in various sizes from Dharma Trading Company
  • White vinegar
  • Kool Aid in a variety of flavors

Here is how we did it:

  1. Soak silks in hot water for 20-30 minutes
  2. Fill large pots (non-aluminum or non-cast iron) about 3/4 full and heat to just under a boil
  3. Add 1-3 cups of white vinegar and a few packets of Kool Aid (of the same color)
  4. Stir until Kool Aid is dissolved
  5. Remove 1-4 silks from hot water, squeeze out and stir into dye
  6. Simmer for 20-45 minutes, until dye is absorbed into silks, stir often
  7. Let cool a bit and remove (carefully) with tongs
  8. Hang outside from clothesline or tree-limbs, let dry in the breeze
  9. Use silks for dancing, dressing up, imagination play, wrapping gifts, or anything else your heart desires.

The event was such a hit with kids and moms alike that we’ve already committed to making this an annual end of spring tradition. However next year we’ll dump the Kool Aid and try beets, marigold, coffee and other of-the-Earth-dyes…

Happy, Happy SUMMER!


June 23, 2008 at 4:46 am Leave a comment

Green gifts for grads

It’s that time of year again when – from coast to coast – gowns are donned, Pomp and Circumstance plays, and flocks of caps soar triumphantly into the air.

Whether buying gifts for someone completing high school, trade, college or graduate school, giving green lets grads know that you care about them and the future they’ve worked so hard to prepare for.

Here are a few of our suggestions for great green gifts for grads:

June 14, 2008 at 3:24 am Leave a comment

Meaningful green for Father’s Day

by Corey

For Father’s Day 1981, my little brother, Chip, constructed a poster-sized collage from old pictures that were not good enough to save in albums but were too precious to be thrown away. The gift was not only imaginative, it was expertly crafted, depicting dozens of images of my dad – camping, coaching, eating, getting married, singing, laughing – all giving the viewer the undisputable notion that my dad was the greatest guy on Earth, which of course, he was. I remember my father beaming with joy when he saw what my brother made for him and (to be honest) I felt a little jealous that my gift – a mini potted saguaro cactus with sunglasses and a sign that read, “cool dad” was, well, not as cool.


Chip and I had plenty to be competitive about, so the points Chip earned that Father’s Day were soon forgotten until one day in 2005, when that photo collage reappeared while helping my parents unpack form a recent move. Okay, not a problem, I thought, my cool cactus must be around here somewhere…


Had I not since become a parent myself, I might have taken my MIA cactus as a sign that my dad did indeed love Chip more than me. But since I knew this couldn’t possibly be true (my dad did always call me his “favorite daughter” – although come to think of it, I’m his only daughter), I deduced that the photo collage was saved all these years because it was special. Thoughtful. Meaningful. Okay, much cooler than a cactus.


The moral of this story?


If you think Dad’s dream Father’s Day gifts include golf outings, barbeque gear and flat screen TVs, you might be right, but what might be even more cherished (and surprise, surprise less impactful on the planet) are gifts that show Dad just how much he is loved.


Gifts that don’t cost a dime (or the Earth) but will mean the world to Dad:

  • Art sculptures inspired by Dad, made only from items in nature.
  • Write and recite a humorous (or not) ode to dad
  • Breakfast in bed using only foods that are Dad’s favorite color.
  • Take Dad on a Geocaching or Letterboxing hike or camping trip. Or plan your own, smaller scale treasure hunt for little gifts, or even memories, “Dad-gratitudes” or similar on slips of paper.
  • Bake an organic, cake sized cookie, made by you (and/ or your kids) and use homemade frosting to write a pro-Dad message.
  • Get an autograph from one of Dad’s favorite athletes, authors, artists, politicians, etc.
  • What does dad need? Lawn mowed, garage organized, gutters cleaned?
  • Write down 10 great day-trips on slips of recycled paper, place in a bowl and have dad choose. Have your bags and a lunch pre-packed.
  • Photo video of the kids at different locations, holding signs that tell one reason why they love their dad.
  • Decorate dad’s chair and let him be “king for a day.” (Don’t forget to call him “Your Highness”.)
  • Get hold of dad’s calendar (whether paper or PDA) and write a loving message one day a month for the rest of the year.
  • Make him a pillow out of old neckties, a meaningful t-shirt or other piece of favorite, but no-longer-worn, clothing. (Avoid buying new pillow forms. Either recycle one you have or use other fabric for stuffing.)
  • Borrow one of dad’s favorite movies from the library and turn Father’s Day evening into a movie night
  • Make him a sign for his office or workspace that says something fun like, “Best dad in the world at work.”
  • If he likes to barbecue, convert and old shirt into an apron (this one in the link could simply be made shorter for a man) and if you like, paint on a saying like, “King of the grill.”
  • Create a photo collage that dad can use as “wallpaper” on his computer.
  • Decorate a glass jar or tin can, then come up with some jokes or loving phrases about your Dad. Write these on strips of recycled paper and put them in the jar that he can remove when he needs to be reminded of how much you think of him.

June 2, 2008 at 4:57 pm Leave a comment

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