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Summer Craft for Kids: No-Sew Recycled Felt Owl

By Becky Striepe

This cute little no-sew felt owl is a perfect way to take a break from the summer swelter.

I love some outdoor summer fun, but sometimes you need a little indoor project to beat the heat. This cute little no-sew felt owl is a perfect way to take a break from the summer swelter.

Ready to get crafting? Here we go!

Summer Craft for Kids: No-Sew Owl

You’ll need:

  • At least three colors of recycled felt. I went with four colors, using olive green for the body, orange for the wings and beak, and yellow, black, and white for the eyes. You can mix up the colors however you like!
  • fabric glue
  • scrap piece of ribbon or embroidery thread, about 4″ long
  • our Owl Template
  • scissors

1. Cut out the template pieces, and trace them onto the felt. Make sure you cut two of the pieces that instruct you to do so. All done? Great! You’re ready to assemble!

2. Start by grabbing the two large oval pieces and your embroidery thread or ribbon. Put a decent amount of glue around the perimeter of one oval, then stack the other one on top. Now, loop over your embroidery thread and sandwich the ends between the two ovals. You’ll want to insert the thread on the skinny side of the ovals.

This cute little no-sew felt owl is a perfect way to take a break from the summer swelter.

You can add the backing now or after the rest of your owl is finished and dry, like in the photo.

3. Now, you’re ready to attach the wings! Use the picture at the top as a guide. Start with a small amount of glue. You can always use a bit more later to make sure things are secured nicely.

4. Once the wings are attached, you’ll add the eyes. Glue down your colored circle, then glue the white on top and the black eyeballs on top of that. You’ll want to use little drops of glue for this, too. You can always add more once it’s dry if things don’t seem secure. Repeat for the other eye.

5. Last step! Put a small dot of glue on to the little triangular beak that you cut out and attach it right int he center.

You’ll want to allow a few hours at least for everything to dry. If you’ve got the time, let the glue set overnight.

Read more here: Crafting A Green World

3 Tips for Choosing and Installing Energy-Efficient Doors

By Rose H.

English: common aluminum and glass residential...

Selecting and installing an energy efficient door can help you reduce your electric bill, as well as keep your rooms at a more comfortable temperature without having to turn on the AC or the heater.

Some door improvements cost a lot of money. For example, if you decided to completely replace your door, that’s going to be a heavy investment. Other improvements, such as weatherstripping, are easy and inexpensive.

Here’s what you need to know about installing energy-efficient doors.

1. What Kind of Door Should You Choose?

There are primarily three types of doors you can choose from: wood, steel and fiberglass.

However, if you want to conserve the maximum amount of energy possible, the best kind of door you can choose is a steel door that’s wrapped in wood.

This kind of door will give you the great look that a wooden door does, while giving you maximum insulating power.

2. Weatherstripping: Is More Important Than the Door

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even more important than the door are the areas around the door.

Most heat in the door area doesn’t escape from passing through the door. Instead, it escapes through the gaps under the door or the seams on the side of the door.

As a rule of thumb, if you can slide a piece of paper anywhere from inside the house to the outside of the house with the door closed, you have a serious air and energy leak.

Weatherstripping is the process of sealing up these gaps to make sure no heat or coolness escapes to the outside. You do this by sealing the bottom of the door and the seams along the door.

Weatherstripping costs much, much less than buying a new door and can have a much bigger effect. You can even do it yourself by going down to Home Depot and buying the weatherstripping supplies you need.

3. Understanding “R Value

One final thing to understand about door energy conservation is “R Value.”

Your R Value is how heat resistant the glass on your door is. If you have a door panel, glass doors or even just decorative glass on your door, a lot of heat can escape through that glass.

The higher the R Value, the less heat escapes. When you’re buying your door, make sure you take your R value into account.

If everything else in your house is designed to conserve heat but your door has a low R value, you might want to consider getting the glass replaced.

Choosing, installing and leak-proofing your door can take several weeks. Remember that all the effort you put into it will pay off in energy saving in the future. You’ll also be helping reduce your environmental footprint by using less energy.

Read more here: New Holistic Living – Toxic Load

We’re Moving!

By Rose H. We have a special announcement for our readers this week….

For some time, we’ve been considering separating the topics that this blog covers, and starting a new blog specifically related to green and sustainable living, and we’re proud to announce that it’s finally LIVE!

This new site will bring you up-to-date news, tips, and articles to help you live a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable lifestyle – all in a current, easy-to-use format.

Check Out the New Site At

We also have a new Facebook page dedicated specifically to this topic – be sure to Like us to stay up to date on the most current sustainable living news!

We are also working on a separate blog on natural, holistic health, and this will contain information about detoxifying and reducing your toxic load, so if you’re looking for those topics, stay tuned – we will post an update here when that site is ready. In the meantime, you can check out the new Facebook page on these topics at

We’ve enjoyed sharing healthy and green living resources with you here over the years, and are excited to continue to do so in a more updated and regular format on the new site!

Come on over and check us out, and we’ll see you there!

Read more here: New Holistic Living – Toxic Load

How to Refinish a Clock with a Coloring Page

By Julie Finn

Refinished Clock with a Coloring Page

If you can get a clock with a dragon on it, always choose the dragon clock. Dragons are awesome.

But if you can’t get a clock with a dragon on it–if ALL the clocks at the thrift store are boring and beige and dragon-free–then just choose one of the boring clocks, take it home, and put a dragon on it yourself.

This particular clock cost me a whole dollar at Goodwill. It wasn’t exactly beige, but it wasn’t anything special, either. I refinished it with my special secret paint method (which I’ll share with you in a minute!) and a completed coloring book page, and now it’s my new favorite thing.

Want to make your new favorite thing, too? Just follow along!

You will need:

clock. It should be in working condition, with a flat face (ie. no sticky-uppy numbers) and an accessible one–flip it over and look for the screws attaching the front to the back. If you can reach them, you can probably dismantle your clock, refinish it, and reassemble it without too much fuss.

coloring page. You can also use scrapbook paper or wallpaper, of course–just make sure that your paper is acid-free, if you don’t want to have to change it out every few years.

paint. As you’ll see in a minute, I’m using three different paints on this clock: primer, a stone texture paint, and a silver glitter paint. It’s what I needed for the exact effect that I wanted, but you can use whatever paint you prefer, as long as it will work on the surface of your clock. Plastic, for instance, will need a primer designed for plastic.

miscellaneous supplies. pencil, scissors, white glue and paintbrush, etc.

Refinish a Clock with a Coloring Page

1. Disassemble the clock and refinish the frame. Do NOT lose those little screws!

This clock is intended for my kids’ bedroom makeover, which they have requested have a Medieval fantasy castle sort of theme. We’re not going too far overboard, but we are painting their walls grey, displaying my older daughter’s sword and dragon collections, and adding some small touches, such as this clock whose frame I wanted to look like it came from a treasure trove.

To get the effect, I primed the plastic frame, then sprayed it with two coats of stone texture paint. When that was dry, I sprayed it with two coats of silver glitter paint, making the whole thing super sparkly and mysteriously like a vein of silver torn from the rock. I’ve since also done it to a picture frame and a light switch cover, both also intended for the kids’ bedroom, and they’ve all come out looking amazing.

2. Prepare the new paper background. To fit with the fantasy castle theme, I used a completed coloring page from the Tolkien’s world coloring book. You can use any paper you’d like.

Use the frame to help you trace a template of the clock face onto the coloring page, then cut it out.

Refinish a Clock with a Coloring Page

Gently set the page on top of clock and mark the center; cut from the edge up to the center, then cut a hole in the center to accommodate the clock’s stem.

Refinish a Clock with a Coloring Page

3. Glue the new clock face down. Gently peel up the paper in sections, and paint the back side with a thin layer of white glue; press it well so that it doesn’t bubble.

Refinish a Clock with a Coloring Page

My hands are filthy because I’m also working on the second coat of those grey walls. The kids are off at sleepaway camp, and I want to surprise them with their new room when they get home!

4. Reassemble the clock. This will probably involve cleaning the glass front of the clock, and then putting it all back together.

Refinish a Clock with a Coloring Page

You can do other cute things with the clock face, of course, such as adding number stickers or stencils or decoupaging several different papers onto it, but double-check the placement of the clock hands, first–the minute hand on this particular clock was sooo close to the clock face that there wouldn’t be room for more layers of paper and Mod Podge.

Read more here: Crafting A Green World

Craftivism in Action: The Fighter Tee

By Julie Finn

Handmade Boy's The Fighter Tee

Looking for a crafty way to support a great cause? Check out The Fighter Tee, by Handmade Boy.

The Fighter Tee is a kid’s T-shirt pattern, available from the Handmade Boy etsy shop, Handmade Boy Creations. It’s a basic T-shirt pattern for children sizes 2-12, but it also has a special something:

100% of the proceeds from the sale of this T-shirt pattern go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The co-author of the pattern and blogger behind Handmade Boy is releasing the pattern through her etsy shop as a fundraiser for St. Jude, specifically as part of the St. Jude East Peoria to Peoria Run. Runners are expected to raise money for St. Jude as part of their commitment, and it’s always interesting to see the creative ways that people find to do so.

Such as creating a sewing pattern and donating the proceeds from its sale!

Crafty bloggers have already done some interesting things with the T-shirt pattern. The Wholesome Mama added a vinyl graphic (you could use fabric paint and a stencil as a more eco-friendly option). My Creative Room added a hood (I LOVE adding hoods to T-shirts!). Falafel and the Bee omitted the side panel. Another easy mod would be to upcycle T-shirts into the pieces for this pattern–I love the mis-matched look that comes from piecing together old T-shirts into new clothing.

Fundraising ideas like this one always get me inspired to do more craftivism of my own. My kiddo sometimes runs a weekend bake stand with a donation can to our local chapter of the Humane Society, but something like this is like the next generation of the bake stand: a way for people to buy something that they want and make a donation to a particular non-profit in the process. If you’re in the habit of making and selling your own crafts, let it inspire you, too! What could YOU make and sell? What favorite charity could you donate your proceeds to?

Image Credit: Fighter Tee image via Handmade Boy

Read more here: Crafting A Green World