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27 Eco-Friendly, DIY Mother’s Day Gifts

By Julie Finn

DIY Mother's Day Gift Ideas: Best of 2015

Mother’s Day is May 14! Get a jump on your mother’s special day with these eco-friendly, DIY Mother’s Day gifts:

1. altered Altoid tin. This would make an excellent travel notepad for a purse or backpack.

2. bath salts. Homemade bath salts aren’t a great gift for me, because they just remind me that I have to clean the bathtub, but maybe there are mothers out there somewhere who aren’t haunted by the dirty bathtub. They’d like some homemade bath salts!

3. book page brooch. Obviously Mom has to wear something special all day, or people won’t know that she’s a mother!

4. breakfast in bed tray. Note to my family: this would make such a good Mother’s Day gift…

5. coloring book page bangles. Here’s a great way to upcycle all of those cute coloring book page creations, although you’ll need a wooden bangle as the base.

6. embellished flower pot. You do have to start with a terracotta pot, but afterwards, you or kiddos can paint it however you’d like.

7. embellished mug. It’s actually quite easy to find plain white ceramic mugs and tea cups at thrift stores.

8. footprint towels. This would be just about the cutest gift that you could make for a new mom or grandma, although it wouldn’t be too useful, as there’s no way you could get them to actually use such sweet towels!

9. garden markers. If you’ve got a group of children all wanting to make Mother’s Day gifts, these garden markers are the way to go!

10. homemade clay handprints and footprints. My pro tip for these? Make several at once. Even if you do the project perfectly, sometimes they simply crack in the oven, and the last thing that you want to do is start all over again.

11. Jar of Love. It sounds sappy, but I can tell you that oh, my goodness, I would LOVE to get something like this from my children!

12. jewelry dish. You can also use homemade clay for this project.

13. lemon lavender soap. This soap looks WAY harder to make than it actually is.

14. Mason jar photo vase. I really like to upcycle spaghetti sauce jars for these. Depending on the brand that you buy, you can often still get jars with that awesome embossing on them.

15. mosaic stepping stone. Here’s a great handmade gift for a kid to make, with some help.

16. painted can. These look surprisingly sweet, considering how easy they are to make.

17. personalized pot holders. It would be easy to sew the potholders to use for this project, and then let kiddos embellish them.

18. photo cube. Here’s another Mother’s Day gift that I would love to get–hint, hint!

19. plant flag. I am a BIG fan of plants as Mother’s Day gifts–they would be extra special with this sweet flag in them!

20. pom pom flowers. If you can’t stand the sight of cut flowers that do nothing but die, then you’ll love making these pom pom flowers instead.

21. sewing spool flower bouquet. The tutorial calls for wooden spools, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use the empty plastic spools from sewing thread.

22. succulents in a vintage pot. Here’s what to do with that lovely vintage pot or colander that you thrifted so long ago.

Easy DIY Gifts: Teacup Crafts: How to Make a Teacup Candle23. tea cup candle. If the mom in your life has china, here’s my special secret tip for you: check ebay for her china pattern. I was able to find a few more tea cups in my grandma’s china pattern on ebay for pretty cheap, and I used those to make tea cup candles. I made them for myself, but still.

24. tea cup card. I love this handmade card, made in part from an upcycled egg carton, because it also includes a little present–a tea bag!

24. tile photo coasters. Homemade coasters are SO easy–all you need are white tiles, which I can always find super cheap at my local Restore.

26. watercolor silk scarf. Silk scarf painting is something that young and old can do. The results are lovely!

27. yarn-wrapped photo frame. Here’s another cute gift that a kid could make independently.

Read more here: Crafting A Green World

Tips for Storm Water Control

By Site Editor Effective management of storm water is crucial when it comes to preventing contaminants from polluting local rivers, lakes and streams. In addition, if you operate a business, it is highly likely that you are covered by a storm water discharge …

Read more here: My DIY Home Tips

8 Craft Projects for Glass Bottles

By Becky Striepe

Next time you've got an empty bottle, try getting your craft on instead with some of these craft projects for glass bottles!

This post was sponsored by EnviroWaste.

Next time you’ve got an empty bottle, try getting your craft on instead with some of these craft projects for glass bottles!

You know the feeling when you finish a delicious beer or drink that last glass from a bottle of wine? Not the tipsy feeling, but the one when you take your empty bottle and head to the recycle bin. It’s sort of a bummer, right? Beer and wine bottles are often so well-designed, and it’s a shame to waste them.

Here in the U.S. we use over 11 million tons of glass per year. Recycling that glass is definitely better than throwing it away but recycling still uses energy from trucking the waste to the recycling center to the actual recycling process. Before you toss your bottle into the recycle bin or call for Enviro Waste skip hire to cart away all of your unwanted glass bottles, take a look at some of the creative ways they could be put to good use.

Craft Projects for Glass Bottles

Next time you've got an empty bottle, try getting your craft on instead with some of these craft projects for glass bottles!1. DIY Hummingbird Feeder – Got a backyard or even a balcony? Use an old glass bottle to make an upcycled hummingbird feeder!

2. Twinkle Bottles – Design Mom shows you how to drill through a glass bottle so that you can fill it up with Christmas lights. To make your twinkle bottle extra eco, choose low-energy LED lights.

3. Yarn-Wrapped BottlesCover your empties in your favorite eco-friendly yarn to give them a fresh look.

4. Etch It – Add an etched stencil or other design to a boring old glass bottle! Here’s how!

5. Hanging Vases – This would be great for a wedding or backyard party! Use twine to hang glass bottles from the frame of your pop up tent. I might put a rubber band around the neck of the bottle to keep things from slipping as the night goes on.

6. Reuse Your Wine Bottles – Ever wanted to give wine-making a go? Clean and boil your used wine bottles and use it to decant your own DIY wine!

Next time you've got an empty bottle, try getting your craft on instead with some of these craft projects for glass bottles!

7. Border Your Garden – Upside down wine bottles make a striking border for your garden beds! Just be careful with that weed-whacker: you don’t want your pretty border to shatter!

8. Sheet Music Bottle – Bonnie shows you how to use sheet music – or any reclaimed paper, really – to fancy up a reclaimed wine bottle.

Have you guys done any fun glass bottle craft projects? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

Image Credits: Wine Bottles photo via Shutterstock, Hummingbird Feeder by Autumn Wiggins, Mustache Wine Bottle photo by Becky Striepe

Read more here: Crafting A Green World

Handmade Review: Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics

By Julie Finn

Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics

I know some of y’all have chickens. You can’t hide it from me. You’re the ones who clamored for a round-up of feed sack crafts until I wrote one for you, and who liked that pic of a chicken in a handmade sweater that I posted to the CAGW Facebook page.

Yeah, I have chickens, too. I have, to be more specific, a small flock of rather spoiled chickens who are allowed to free-range (at least until my neighbor two houses down comes over with a hen in his arms to tell me that they’re stealing the food from his hog again, and then they’re grounded to their chicken run for a few days. Rinse and repeat), who have special people names that they use when they come into the house (because they have to pretend that they’re people in order to come inside, you see–chickens aren’t allowed in the house!), and one of whom once jumped up and stole a bite out of a child’s hamburger at a party (her parents told her to eat around it. They also have chickens).

When you have chickens, you tend to find that good advice is rather short on the ground. Regular advice, mind you, is all over the place, in internet forums and blog posts and word of mouth. Good advice, though? Advice for someone who’s not a novice, who already knows how many nesting boxes her hens need and why chicken wire is poorly named and how to keep water dispensers full and raccoons away, but who may not know how to help a broody hen or whether a rooster is necessary or what to do about that puny-acting hen?

Backyard Chickens: Beyond the BasicsThe internet will tell you a million different things. Instead, you need to find yourself a manual. Backyard Chickens: Beyond the Basics is a good manual for those of you who aren’t total chicken noobs, but who still have something new to learn (spoiler alert: there is ALWAYS something new to learn!). Maybe this will be your first time expanding your flock. Perhaps you’re looking to add your first rooster to the family. Possibly you finally have enough eggs each day that you’re trying to figure out how to safely store them. Or you have a puny-acting hen for the very first time, and you have no idea what to do. These are all subjects covered in Backyard Chickens, as well as more detailed information about predators, coops, first aid and medicine, and feeding. For instance, I’ve observed that our chickens won’t eat oranges or clementines, and it turns out that’s because they’re smarter than me, and citrus is bad for them, as are avocado skins and dried beans!

We had a hard time with a broody hen incubating eggs for the first time last year (and by “we had a hard time,” I mean “I spent too much time standing right outside the open coop door and fretting”), and I would have appreciated having this book on hand at the time, to lay out what I should–and shouldn’t–have done. It’s going to be a handy reference to have this summer, as we plan to add several new chicks to the flock, and try for another rooster, and possibly plant some chicken-friendly herbs…

…and if we could train Hedwig to stop sneaking into the house and racing for the cat’s food bowl and gobbling cat food until someone happens to walk by and notice her and kick her out, that would be great.

Image credit: Backyard Chickens image via Quarto.

I received a free copy of Backyard Chickens: Beyond the Basics because I can’t review a book unless it’s caused me to completely rethink my garden plans so that now I’m planting a bunch of herbs solely because the chickens will like them.

Read more here: Crafting A Green World

Handmade Review: Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics

By Julie Finn

Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics

I know some of y’all have chickens. You can’t hide it from me. You’re the ones who clamored for a round-up of feed sack crafts until I wrote one for you, and who liked that pic of a chicken in a handmade sweater that I posted to the CAGW Facebook page.

Yeah, I have chickens, too. I have, to be more specific, a small flock of rather spoiled chickens who are allowed to free-range (at least until my neighbor two houses down comes over with a hen in his arms to tell me that they’re stealing the food from his hog again, and then they’re grounded to their chicken run for a few days. Rinse and repeat), who have special people names that they use when they come into the house (because they have to pretend that they’re people in order to come inside, you see–chickens aren’t allowed in the house!), and one of whom once jumped up and stole a bite out of a child’s hamburger at a party (her parents told her to eat around it. They also have chickens).

When you have chickens, you tend to find that good advice is rather short on the ground. Regular advice, mind you, is all over the place, in internet forums and blog posts and word of mouth. Good advice, though? Advice for someone who’s not a novice, who already knows how many nesting boxes her hens need and why chicken wire is poorly named and how to keep water dispensers full and raccoons away, but who may not know how to help a broody hen or whether a rooster is necessary or what to do about that puny-acting hen?

Backyard Chickens: Beyond the BasicsThe internet will tell you a million different things. Instead, you need to find yourself a manual. Backyard Chickens: Beyond the Basics is a good manual for those of you who aren’t total chicken noobs, but who still have something new to learn (spoiler alert: there is ALWAYS something new to learn!). Maybe this will be your first time expanding your flock. Perhaps you’re looking to add your first rooster to the family. Possibly you finally have enough eggs each day that you’re trying to figure out how to safely store them. Or you have a puny-acting hen for the very first time, and you have no idea what to do. These are all subjects covered in Backyard Chickens, as well as more detailed information about predators, coops, first aid and medicine, and feeding. For instance, I’ve observed that our chickens won’t eat oranges or clementines, and it turns out that’s because they’re smarter than me, and citrus is bad for them, as are avocado skins and dried beans!

We had a hard time with a broody hen incubating eggs for the first time last year (and by “we had a hard time,” I mean “I spent too much time standing right outside the open coop door and fretting”), and I would have appreciated having this book on hand at the time, to lay out what I should–and shouldn’t–have done. It’s going to be a handy reference to have this summer, as we plan to add several new chicks to the flock, and try for another rooster, and possibly plant some chicken-friendly herbs…

…and if we could train Hedwig to stop sneaking into the house and racing for the cat’s food bowl and gobbling cat food until someone happens to walk by and notice her and kick her out, that would be great.

Image credit: Backyard Chickens image via Quarto.

I received a free copy of Backyard Chickens: Beyond the Basics because I can’t review a book unless it’s caused me to completely rethink my garden plans so that now I’m planting a bunch of herbs solely because the chickens will like them.

Read more here: Crafting A Green World

It’s time to start planning your 2017 interior

By Andrew Dunning

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So you told yourself over Christmas that 2017 is the year you will finally get that new kitchen, redo the bathroom, rid yourself of the previous owners decor and finally make your house our own. But where to start? It can be very confusing deciding which room to redecorate, how to prioritise your spend, what to tackle first? To help you get started I’m giving you some inspiration from design projects APD Interiors completed for our clients in 2016.

Did your living room let you down over Christmas? When planning your home renovation I think this is always a good room to focus on as it serves as a retreat from the rest of the house. Relaxing in comfortable seating at the end of the day makes you forget that your bathroom is still avocado.

Last year after several years of grey being the fashion, and buoyed by a rediscovery of colour in interiors, we’ve seen a return to blue. In this Islington townhouse we used Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue to decorate the double reception room. The dark colour provides a perfect backdrop for the strong lupin fabric on the L shaped sofa and two custom upholstered chairs in Osborne and Little fabrics. The room is anchored by a modern engineered light wooden floor that has the slightest hint of blue in the grain.

The fireplace of the home was restored, something we always try to do to retain some of the original character of the home. The marble surround is complemented by a smart convex mirror in matt black. Adding a dash of black to your interior is an interior designers secret trick.

Good storage is essential to any home but you do need to strike a balance and not build into every space in your home. In this part of the room we didn’t opt for the alcove cupboards often seen in Victorian homes to keep the look more relaxed. Instead we bought smart media storage furniture from Heals and used a chair in the other alcove.

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If your bathroom is the 2017 project this is one we completed in Kings Cross. In an urban apartment we decided to remove the bath and fit a large walk in Matki shower surround. The homeowner very rarely takes baths and this solution is a much neater solution.

Tiling is always the one item where I always tell clients they shouldn’t comprise even if your budget is limited. On this project we combined a large grey square tile with a feature faux marble strip running around the bathroom. Luxuries like heated mirror pads and concealed LED lighting finish the look.

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One of the biggest projects you tackle in your home will always be the kitchen. Everyone now wants their kitchen to be the heart of their home and you need to think about how you will use the room. This is one area where a specialist interior design firm can listen to your brief and build a solution for your family.

In Highbury this year we designed and installed this bespoke kitchen for a client. If your budget allows this route will give you the kitchen of your dreams with little comprises. It also doesn’t have to be hugely expensive and is often comparable to the cost of mid end high street kitchen. We work with our in-house fabricators to create bespoke kitchens that are truly unique to our clients and their lifestyle.

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This kitchen was custom sprayed in a soft grey that complements the Element 7 mansion weave floor. Dashes of black were introduced with the honed black granite worktop and the steel exterior door. We also installed a new custom designed roof light to flood the room with natural light. The perfect balance between kitchen and dining space was achieved and it has now become the client’s favourite room of their home.

So having given you some inspiration it’s time to start thinking about your own home. Whether it’s the kitchen or bathroom, your bedroom or living room the sooner you start the sooner it will be finished. If you need help from us head over to our website and drop us an email.

If you have enjoyed this post and would like more inspiration why don’t you head over to our page on Facebook, follow me for my regular updates on twitter or look at our Instagram feed. Full details of all our Design and Build services can be found on our website.

Filed under: Projects Tagged: Highbury, Interior Design, Islington, Kings Cross

Read more here: APD Interiors

Tesla Electric Power

By Andrew Dunning

Tesla

Solar energy – we all agree it’s a good thing, but generally the panels are so ugly. If you have a beautiful home and want to add solar panels the option has until recently been very limited. Too many beautiful homes have been ruined by the additional of ugly black rectangular panels on roofs along over the country. However much you want to harness the power of the sun surely we can still have a good looking home?

Thankfully Elon Musk and the innovators over at Tesla have just launched a great looking solution and it could be a game changer in seeing more people adding solar energy to their own home. If your home looked like this and it was collecting energy from the sun who wouldn’t want to choose solar panels?

The solar roof from Tesla, in conjunction with SolarCity, consists of glass tiles that are embedded with a very high-efficiency photovoltaic cell. The tiles will be offered in four different styles to suit the different architectural styles of home – Textured Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Tuscan Glass Tile and Smooth Glass Tile.

Tesla

Tesla also announced the launch of Powerwall 2, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to allow you to use the solar power from Solar Roof in your own home. Surplus solar energy can be stored when generated and used later, i.e. when the sun isn’t shining. The Powerwall 2 is around 115cm x 75cm so can easily be installed in your home – either indoors or outdoors.

Tesla

These new products were launched just last Friday in Los Angeles so it will be interesting to see how the products develops and progresses until they are launched next year. If you want to learn more head over to the Tesla site – alternatively for a more in depth review take a read of a great Bloomberg article on the new products.

Let’s hope Mr Tusk does for solar energy what he has done for electric cars – and maybe one day you’ll be inviting people over to see your new roof! I’d love to start harnessing the power of the sun and using it in my own home.

If you have enjoyed this post why don’t you head over to our page on Facebook, or follow me for my regular updates on twitter. Full details of all our Design and Build services can be found on our website.

Filed under: Product Reviews Tagged: Solar Power, Tesla

Read more here: APD Interiors