It’s Not Just What You Buy, It’s What You Don’t

buyerarchyWith Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday almost safely behind me, I’ll admit, the merry madness threatened to sweep me away -- I nearly lost my eco-consciousness.

Black Friday is most definitely not my thing -- and the mighty Hudson River stands between the malls and me.

Saturday, I cruised the shops in my vibrant small town, and hit the Farm and Flea on Sunday.

So far, I’ve made it through today without a purchase. With so many cyber-deals flying furiously past my screen, it’s a miracle the credit card hasn’t shimmied its way out of my wallet.

I have a new strategy for not shopping. Every time my mouse gets twitchy, I grab a snack.

It’s Munchy Monday!

Not so fast…

It’s not just what you buy (or eat), it’s what you don’t.

How do you get through the holiday shopping season hoping to save a buck, save the environment, save yourself?!?

Image: Long Live Irony

Last Minute Holiday DIY

Did you think I was going to go all Scrooge on you and not extend my deep well of holiday DIY projects this year? Maybe you thought the holiday’s predictability with its earlier and earlier seasonal creep, and obsessive waste had taken over my good will and peace towards the blogosphere? Or, could it be you remember last year's A-Z Holiday DIY Gift-Guide burnout?

The truth is I've been collecting and squirreling away these three project ideas.

One of my greatest pleasures is gift-giving. While I may have ditched the mall and mostly shopped local with some online purchases sprinkled in, the bottom line on the greenest holiday gifts and decorations are still the ones that don't consume our planet's resources. They contribute in ways that bring beauty, sustainability and meaning...and they can't hold a candle to those that roll off assembly the line.

So, you have a choice: grab your keys and make that last mad dash to the mall, or make meaning.

Favorite Hanukkah Project of the Season

Twig Menorah: For a Hanukkah centerpiece, you just can't go wrong with a twig and a candle...or 8.

Favorite Christmas DIY Project of the Season

Crystal Chandelier Ornament (main image): I have a box of mix-matched crystals that my father-in-law gave me years ago. Just attach Christmas tree hooks to the crystals for a sparkling holiday reuse.

Favorite Food Project of the Season

After teaching young kids...and raising a few, I thought I was over playing with food, but sappiness took over and these Black Olive Penguins (cute, huh?) almost got the better of me. But I'll spare you such silliness and instead share these Good For You Whoopie Pies. Apparently, I've been living under a Whoopie Pie rock because I never had one of these compact morsels of sweet goodness until this past Thanksgiving. My daughter's college roommate visited and brought pumpkin Whoopie Pies from the Whoopie Pie capital of NY...Brooklyn. Enjoy!

Photo credits: HomeShoppingSpy, Shelterness, Eating Well

Living Inside A Snow Globe

snow-globe-photo5600 There is a simplicity to winter when a snowstorm casts a shadowy blanket of calmness onto the woods around our nests. Its quiet stillness is like the insulated caress of living inside a dome of snow. The storm at my home arrived right after the barreling in of far-flung children, presents and all the holiday festivities. In its wake, the storm left us a winter wonderland, but no chance to fulfill our travel plans to drive to my mom's on Sunday. Instead, the four of us unplugged, unwound and reconnected as a family. It is in this calmness that I hope you also had a moment to step back and enjoy the wonderland of your life.

Make and Shake Snow Globes

I had a small childhood collection of souvenir-type snow globes. They are long gone, but those tiny window wonderlands pop into my thoughts each winter.

When I was a teacher, I created snow globes with the school kids for holiday gifts for their parents from this adapted Martha Stewart project. It was my way of sharing everything I love about winter (which you can read more about here, here and here).


A jar (baby food or olive jars work well)

Ceramic figurines

Small evergreen tips or flowers from craft shops

Glitter or fake snow

Distilled water

Glycerin (available in drug or health food stores)

Clear drying waterproof epoxy

Small piece of sandpaper

What to do: 1. Sand the inside of the lid until the surface is rough. 2. Adhere the figurine to the inside of the lid with epoxy and let dry. 3. Fill the jar almost to the top with distilled water. 4. Add a pinch of glitter–not too much or the glitter will stick to the bottom of the jar when it is flipped. 5. Add a dash of glycerin. 6. Screw on the lid tightly, being careful not to dislodge the figurine. 7. Shake the jar and watch it snow!

Photos: Materialicious, LA TimesMartha Stewart

DIY Eco-Gifts For The Yoga Enthusiast On Your Holiday List

A regular yoga practice can be a welcome stress reliever. Yoga provides an opportunity for relaxation and quiet reflection that calms anxious holiday bodies and minds.

Whether the yoga enthusiast on your list practices slow-paced Hatha Yoga, or hot, hot Bikram Yoga, I bet they would love these 3 handmade yoga items:

1. The complementary practices of knitting and yoga make this Knitted Yoga Mat Bag an inspired gift.

2. Your yoga enthusiast will love these supportive, softly-sanded handmade Wooden Yoga Blocks.

3. I just love these Yoga Pose Cookies (hint, hint). Here's a healthy gingerbread cookie recipe that is sure to have a heart opening effect on your yogini.

For 8 more yoga gifts CLICK HERE.


Photos: Baked Ideas, Canadian Living, Yoga Direct

DIY Eco-Gift For The X-traordinary Techie On Your Holiday List

Do you have a techie on your list that goes to extraordinary measures to repurpose electronic items that would otherwise be relegated to the landfill? I bet that person has a bunch of dead computers lying around (doesn't everyone). When a dead computer gets thrown away, it does not biodegrade. It just lives in its toxic hole and continues to die a slow death - Yikes!

Computers can be reincarnated, and 62 Projects To Make With A Dead Computer (and Other Discarded Electronics), by Randy Sarafan will have your techie turning dead computers, printers, cell phones, iPods and keyboards from trash into treasure. They'll even learn how to make an iMac terrarium, a laptop digital photo frame, a mouse pencil sharpener, and a slew of amazing new creations.

Who knew?

Photo credit: Amazon (...but buy it locally if you can)