Aug 31, 2011

Back to School Project

Well it's that time of year again. The kids are back in school.

Image: littlepinkstudio
What does that mean?

For some, it's an exciting time as their kids go off to school for the first time. For others it's a chance for their kids to be reunited with their friends. It can mean new clothes, new teachers and lots of stories about summer holidays.

But for the seasoned parent, back to school means hours and hours of covering your child's school books with leftover wallpaper from your home. It's funny how we all knew what someones house looked like having never stepped through the front door?

But you can use anything really.
How about a brown paper bag?


Over on WikiHow there is a series of instructions on the 'how to'.
I'm not going to tell you 'how' to cover a book...Lets face it, I'm sure you know how to do that

I'm just suggesting options.


While you are on WikiHow, check out the article on covering schoolbooks with biodegradeable material.


Instead of using plastic products, think about covering your school books in biodegradable material.
This could mean magazines, comic books, old menus, scraps of wrapping paper, old calenders or how about an old map?

And it wasn't just the books we covered. Every one of us covered our bags in band names and badges, doodles and scribbles. A collage of coolness (or so we thought!)


If you are collecting old magazines to cover books, think about creating a collage of images on your books.
I covered my copybooks with images cut from movie magazines. From Frankenstein to Marlon Brando.

Alternatively, don't cover your books. Just take care of them.
Over one million used college and school books are not re-used in Ireland every year. Log onto schoolbookexchange to sell/ buy or donate school books.

As I'm on the subject, jump over to planetgreen for some great green tips for going back to school.

Image: planetgreen

Aug 25, 2011

Carbon Paw Print Project

Image: Chemistry World Blog

There are 2 types of people in the World.
Those that use the expression "there are 2 types of people in the World" and those who do not.

Of course there's never just 2 types of people.

Some examples:
1. People with a good sense of direction vs people who get lost walking out their front door.
2. People with completely absurd ring tones vs people who were not dropped on their head as a baby.
3. People who like Pizza vs people who like Pizza with BBQ chicken and/or pineapple.
4. People who drive into parking spaces vs people who reverse into parking spaces.
...or simply, people who do random unexplainable nonsense vs the rest of us.

The list goes on and on and on, so for the purpose of this post, lets imagine that there are just 2 types of people in the World.

Those who like cats vs those who............I'll come back to you on that.



According to environmentalist Holly Tse, "a 2007 survey by the American Veterinary Association states that there are over 80 million cats in American households." Tse, who blogs about green living ideas for felines at GreenLittleCat.com, adds, "Reducing one cat's carbon footprint is helpful, but 80 million cats collectively could make an enormous difference!"

Since plenty of Eco-friendly cat products are now on the market, it's clear that many pet owners want to include their cats in their green lifestyle. Here's how you can "green" every area of your cat's life:

CAT LITTER
"Clay going to a landfill is terribly detrimental for the environment," says Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a veterinarian, director of the Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic and author of The Cat Who Cried for Help. The next time you go to the supermarket, consider buying a litter that's made from natural or recycled materials.

                                                                  Tesco wood cat litter

Image: Tesco

CAT BEDDING
Check the tags to make sure your cat's bedding consists of natural, organic cotton or hemp. "Hemp is durable and natural -- it basically lasts forever," says Dodman.

                                                            Striped Round Hemp Beds
Image: Green Little Cat Store
 Holly Tse also suggests cat bedding made from recycled plastic bottles.
                                                                   
                                                                     Bumper Pet Bed
Image: Green Little Cat Store


CAT TOYS
Image: Holly Tse


 


Check out Holly Tse's book Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving the Planet one cat toy at a time.





If you have ever purchased a fancy cat toy only to find Kitty preferred the bag it came in, this book is for you.





 

"'Make Your Own Cat Toys' shows you how to create new toys from old stuff in minutes. These Eco-friendly toys are fast, fun and easy to make so that you spend less time crafting and more time playing."



"Over 50 toy ideas to suit the different ways that cats love to play, a new toy for each week of the year."










"25 toys that can be made in 60 seconds or less with no special skills required. Ideal for new kittens with boundless energy."



 "Plus, plenty of green tips and Eco-friendly ideas for you and your pet. Have a blast and save the planet at the same time."









If you're not the book buying type - check out the free series of videos on YouTube from Grace Fitzpatrick showing you how to make simple homemade toys for your cat.
Catnip sock toy
Cylinder toy
Paper ball toy
Tin foil rod toy

You'll find all these videos and more over on the expertvillage page as well.


So, I hope all the cat lovers out there will be able to find something here to help reduce their kitty's carbon paw print.

As for me?

I'm more of a dog person.







LetterMpress Project

This actually makes me want to buy an iPad

video

Colour me impressed

Aug 19, 2011

Drinking Straw Project

Image: Getty Images

Have you ever heard a song and sung along with it thousands of times but never actually listened to the lyrics?

How about "The Piña Colada Song" - or to give it it's proper title "Escape" by Rupert Holmes?

video

This is not a song about meeting someone with similar interests like drinking Piña Coladas or getting caught in the rain.

No.
This is a song about a guy who is cheating on his wife!
Who has planned to cheat on him!!

How'd I miss that?

I was reminded of the song this week - thankfully not because my wife was planning on cheating on me or me on her but because I found myself drinking Piña Coladas in the Spanish coastal town of Calp

With each new round I was shocked with the growing number of straws that were being placed in the glass. At first there was just got one black straw, accompanied by a swizzle stick and a piece of fruit. By the end there was 3 straws, the swizzle stick and half a pineapple with purple and red feathers protruding from the top tickling my nose. The only thing missing was a cardboard cut out of Del Boy from "Only Fools and Horses".

The only reason I can think of for the increase in the amount of straws was to help aid in ones attempt to get plastered.

I will admit that once or twice I struggled to get my teeth around one straw and having more to choose from dropped the odds of missing dramatically.

I did mention this was happy hour, didn't I?

Upon leaving the bar I noticed the bin at the back which was now full of discarded straws of varying size and colour and of course I felt that this was a real shame. And so, once I began to sober up I got my thinking cap on.

There are tons of great little ideas on the web about recycling straws but this is one of my favourite ones that I found over on WikiHow.

Heart shaped paper clips.

Image: WikiHow
All you need is the straws, a pair of scissors, and these instructions.

1. Cut a little section (about an inch) off the straw.                               2. Press the section to make it flat.     
                             
Image: WikiHow
Image: WikiHow



















3. Cut it as shown in the picture.                                                      4. Add a cut so you can clip it to paper.




















5. Open up the heart                                                                     6. Clip to paper as you would a paper clip




















You could also use these heart paper clips as a simple bookmark or if you cut up a few straws of different colours you could sprinkle them inside a gift box for added effect.

As for music, I think I need to go and listen to the rest of the songs on my iPod for unheard lyrics because I'm not really sure if the song "I'm Too Sexy" is really about a man who thinks he's too sexy for his shirt, his car, the cat and ultimately the song.

Note to self:
Get better music for iPod.
Immediately!









Aug 5, 2011

Recycled Maps Project

Geography was never my favourite subject in school, nor one of my best - truth be told, but this week maps have played a very interesting role in my life.

Image: enviroireland
I've tried my best to steer away from talking about my family on this site but sometimes it's necessary to put events into context.

And so, here we go.

I wanted to buy an iPhone for my wife. I thought the maps application along with emailing capability would be really handy for her for work but my wife does not like surprises and so I had to tell her. Her response was that she did not need the iPhone. Did not want the iPhone and would never use it for anything other than making phone calls.

Jump ahead to last week when I took my first 'family holiday' holiday. That meant driving to Kerry with my wife and 1 year old son in a car full of his toys, travel cot, more toys, lots of nappies, some change of clothes for myself and my wife, a few more toys stuffed in and around everything, a bag of apple drops and last but certainly not least my wife's iPhone which these days barely leaves her hand if only to say  "These maps are incredible, we can completely bypass Killarney if we go ...oh, hold on I've just got an email" 

During the holiday I read a fascinating article about Jack Dorsey the founder of Twitter. The article talks about an 8 year old Jack, obsessed with maps. Papering his bedroom walls with city maps and transit maps ripped from magazinesAs he got older and discovered computers and..........

.........you know what? Go read the article. You can find it here. It's kind of interesting but I'm not really interested in Twitter

What I found interesting was the 8 year old who papered his walls with maps of cities.

Image: threepotatofour
Image: Suzanna Salk




















Now before you run off and rip up all those AA road maps that you have stuffed into glove compartments and sides of car doors. Take note of the following.

The rest of the holiday went a little something like this.
Dinner with friends. Son on beach which he hated. Got lost looking for Ballinskelligs but used iPhone to find the right path. Dinner with more friends. Beach again, which son tried to eat. Dinner with family. Beach one last time where son ate sand and went swimming which he loved. Packed everything up, which appeared to have doubled in size, back in car and headed home.

Which all sounds like a pretty normal holiday. But did I mention we took the 'Sceneic' route home?

We did of course get lost again only this time the iPhone did two things.
First up -  we lost the signal because we found ourselves driving through (and over) the Macgillicuddy Reeks.
Second -  the iPhone battery died because as we all know you are lucky to get about an hours worth of use out of the iPhone.
That is if you don't use it for anything like, say... browsing the Internet, checking emails, sending texts or making simple little phone calls.

We did manage to find our way out with the aid of one of those crumpled AA road maps that we had stuffed into the glove compartment. We got back to civilisation, just in time for my sons lunch, who had developed a strange appetite for sand.

Although this post may be leading up to suggesting what to do with useless iPhones - I think there is more of an artistic quality to old maps.

Here are some of the ideas I've found around the Internet

Image: letbirdsfly

1. map-lined bookshelf via pinterest 
2. map lamp shade via college life diy 
3. map-covered dresser via the mayfly  
4. decoupage map monogram via ohdeedoh 
5. framed map hearts via not on the high street 
6. city map gift bow via how about orange 
7. map-covered bracelet via craft stylish 
8. map-covered door window frame via junk garden girl 
9. shiny map magnets via how about orange 
10. map coasters via martha stewart
11. map-covered vintage window pane via casa de daisy casa de daisy.
12. half-marble map magnets via let birds fly!


Going back to the idea of maps as wallpaper. I have always loved that idea and had thought of doing it for my son's bedroom before he was born. I went with another idea but someday when he's older I'll return to it.

I love the idea that he could look up at all the places on the maps and dream of going there.
Whether he gets lost or not.

Aug 2, 2011

Describe "The Kindle" Project

Where would you begin if you had to describe a Kindle to Charles Dickens?

Rachel Walsh, an Illustration Student, had to do just that for one of her classes at Cardiff School of Art and Design.


She was asked to explain something modern/internet based to someone who lived and died before 1900. 
This is what she came up with.


Image: Rachel Walsh
“I made the book start to finish over five days, and it took about 35 hours to make I reckon. It was pretty painstaking cutting out all the gaps in the book itself, and making the books to go inside. They’re all bound like actual books, so as I waited for them to glue and dry I would design the covers for them". 
Image: Rachel Walsh


"All the covers are copies of real book covers. They include many of Dickens’s novels, his favorite childhood books, and some of my own.”


Image: Rachel Walsh

Image: Rachel Walsh
If you had to do her assignment and explain a modern piece of technology to someone who lived and died before 1900, who would you pick?

Image: Rachel Walsh
and how would you explain it?
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