Tuesday
Dec062011

Fun Holiday Craft: Vintage Button Wreath Ornaments

by Angela Price of Eden Condensed

To thank you, B-blog readers, for allowing me to share a bit about my life as an urban farmer, garden designer and winter crafter, I have a special giveaway to offer!  A $50.00 gift certificate to D.L. Rhein.  To enter, either post a comment below, on Bamboo's Facebook page or on the Eden Condensed Facebook page, and I will pick one winner at random on Monday, December 12th. Happy Holidays!

As soon as the weather starts to cool and the holiday lights start going up, I get the itch to make stuff … a lot of stuff. Past projects have included homemade wrapping paper, stuffed animals made from old mittens and socks; and many years ago when I was still working at Neiman Marcus, I made 500 or so mini gingerbread men, all hand-decorated, to give to my co-workers. I could barely write for a week after icing so many cookies!

This year has been no different, although I think I am going a bit crazy.  I am always creating with my garden projects, but in the midst of planning my booth at the Unique LA show, the itch to make stuff struck again!

I had the opportunity last week to join some talented mommy bloggers for a ‘Crafts and Cocktails’ event at D.L. Rhein on West 3rd Street in Los Angeles.  Ordinarily the cocktail part would have done it for me, but a surprise craft was involved too?  I’m in!  Deborah Rhein, who is a crafter and designer extraordinaire and a lovely woman to boot, has created a treasure box of a store.  It’s the kind of place where I walk around with my eyes bright, slightly afraid to touch anything but do it anyway.  I am the proverbial kid in the candy store.  So not unlike an old-fashioned quilting bee (except with mimosas and yummy bites by Meg Hall of Made by Meg), a group of us sat around and chatted about kids and made beautiful bracelets. Oh, yes, and we shopped!

I was so inspired that when I got home I dove in full force to my current crafting project of making mini wreath ornaments from vintage buttons.  I love old buttons and like to wonder about the clothes to which they were once attached: a big, jeweled button that topped off a cashmere coat, delicate shell buttons on an Edwardian blouse.  Some 1700 buttons later (mostly scavenged from my button box, Ebay and Etsy), I have a beautiful collection of multi colored button wreath ornaments. These not only make great tree ornaments, but can also adorn packages, doorknobs, backs of chairs, etc.

If you’d like to make your own button wreath ornaments, here are the instructions (adapted from Martha Stewart):

Tools & Material

Needle-nose pliers or wire cutters
20-22 gauge copper wire cut to 9-inch lengths (available at craft stores)
Approximately 72 buttons for each wreath (depends on size buttons)
Scissors
Ribbon

Instructions

1. Using pliers, make a small loop at one end of the wire.

2. Thread buttons onto the wire until you have enough to form the size of the wreath you want. My wreaths ranged from 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches in diameter.

3. Using pliers, bend the plain end of the wire around the looped end. This will form the wreath.

4. Use the satin ribbon to make a loop for hanging the wreath; tie the ribbon in a knot about 3 inches above the wreath.


Angela Price is a recovering human resources executive, urban farmer, hen keeper and owner of Eden Condensed, small space garden design.  She lives in Valley Village, CA with her (very) tolerant husband, two amazing boys, four cats and five chickens.  Angela can be reached at angela@edencondensed.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EdenCondensed

Tuesday
Nov222011

Giving Thanks: Fostering a Consciousness of Gratitude in Children

by Ashley Ess (reprinted from the Fall 2011 edition of Bamboo)

During autumn, the gifts of Earth’s bounty are revealed. Nature provides us with beauty and sustenance, and during this time we pause to give our thanks. As we move toward the darkness of winter which inspires inner reflection, we can focus on the beauty of each moment and realize what we are grateful for.

More than simply expressing a rote thank you, gratitude is something felt from within, an expression from one’s soul. Naturally it is important to teach our children to say please and thank you, and to be courteous. But the essence of gratitude lies at the core of our being, our compassionate center. It is vitally important to help our children learn to tap into that source within themselves, to recognize it, to engage it, so that “thank you” will have meaning beyond simple words.

Gratitude goes beyond being thankful for “things.” Thanksgiving tends to be one of the less-commercialized holidays, and for good reason. Unfortunately, many holidays have become so much about spending money on things we don’t need that our children often miss out on the history and important messages behind them. But Thanksgiving has retained its core message, though it sadly often wears off as the holiday season escalates. So how do we foster and extend this attitude of gratitude all year long?

A feastful of love. At your Thanksgiving table, place small, decorated cards at each setting with one guest’s name on it, face down. Before eating, have each person say why he/she is grateful for the person whose name is on the card. A twist on this (and especially fun for the kids) is to have each person say what they are grateful for in life, starting with each letter of the alphabet. Go around the table as many times as necessary to finish the entire alphabet. Children also experience the power of gratitude and compassion when they are involved in preparing the Thanksgiving feast and table, especially when there is a guest present who may not have a family to spend the holiday with. We all know that this holiday is not about stuffing ourselves into oblivion. Rather, it is for being grateful for the food on our table, our guests, our friends and family and for everything else in our lives that sustains us.

Children learn by example. Very young children, in particular, mirror us and our habits. It’s a good idea to model gratitude for them at every opportunity. Express thank-yous to everyone you encounter, from the grocery bagger to the birthday gift giver to the friend who just did you a small favor. Adding physical touch implants within your child the deep appreciation you are experiencing. Placing your hand on one’s arm or giving a hug after someone has done something for you may seem like simple, small gestures but they punctuate heartfelt gratitude. Be mindful of never demanding that your child say thank you; your example and her growing understanding of appreciation will guide her toward her expressions of gratitude.

It is better to both give and receive. Help your children learn how to really receive a gift or favor with wholehearted and graceful gratitude. Many of us find joy when we give someone a gift or help a friend in need. No surprise there, as we are taught from a young age that it is better to give than receive. But have you considered the impact that mindfully and gracefully accepting a gift could have on your child’s sense of herself in relation to others? When fostering gratitude in your child she will see the beauty in a simple gesture of gift-giving by realizing, “This person has done something nice in order to make me happy.” Gratitude exudes warmth from the soul, imbues compassion and creates inner happiness. It feeds the soul, which in turn nourishes the gift giver as well!

Giving thanks, naturally. Nature is all we’ve got. When it comes down to it, we simply wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the processes of nature. Sadly, in today’s high industrial and digital society, we take this fact for granted. We need to revere nature and appreciate its life-giving and sustaining forces. This can be merely spending time with your children in nature, allowing them to dig their toes in the earth and marvel at the height of a redwood, watching the sun’s rays glow between the branches. Teach them how indispensable nature is. Show them how to be grateful for the rain, the sun, the animals, the flowers. Explain to them that even the darker side of nature – inclement weather, poisonous animals and insects, volcanoes – also deserves respect. The ability to appreciate and respect nature is one of the most powerful duties we possess as humans. Have you seen a child’s illuminated expression when he is hugging a small tree or when he turns his face up toward the clouds to let the raindrops fall on his face? Gratitude for nature is deep-rooted in our being, just waiting for the opportunity to express itself.

Gratitude ingrained. There are myriad ways to make sure gratitude stays at the top of your family’s lists of habits, routines and rituals. Encourage your child to donate clothes and toys to those in need. Strengthen your child’s own generosity by consciously allowing him to be involved in activities where others would be grateful for his help. Say simple blessings of gratitude at the dinner table or before bed every night. Inspire your child to keep a gratitude diary or journal; gratitude lists can be an effective way to refocus after an overwhelming day or tense situation. In today’s digital world letter writing is a lost art, but imagine  special how someone would feel if she received a letter of thanks in the post from a child who thoroughly enjoyed a farm visit, loved a gift or appreciated help on an important school project. Giving your child chores and getting him involved in volunteer organizations also assist him in developing a greater appreciation for the hard work others do.

photos: iStockphoto.com

 

 

Thursday
Nov172011

Diaper Delivery: Have It Your Way!  

 

 

For some Mamas choosing to use cloth diapers for their new little bundle, sorting through the many styles, brands, and techniques can be a bit overwhelming. I mean, there’s a reason people offer cloth diaper clinics!

So how to swathe that little bum in soft cotton without getting a Ph.D. in Diapering? A Diaper Service!

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov112011

Non-Toxic Cleaning Alternatives for a Healthy, Balanced Home

by Leslie Reichert, the Cleaning Coach

So you’re working hard to keep body healthy. You’ve learned a lot about organic foods. You see a chiropractor to keep your body aligned and limber. And you may even use acupuncture to keep your body balanced. But what about your home? What are you doing to keep things at home as healthy and balanced as your body?  We don’t realize it but our homes are as polluted as the outside air in downtown New York City. Instead of exhaust fumes, your home is filled with toxic chemicals, which include the cleaning products you are using.

There are simple alternatives that will help you take the toxins out of your cleaning. You can start with the “basic 4” which includes baking soda, white distilled vinegar, salt and lemon juice.  Don’t get confused about what to use or how to mix them. These are all natural products -- it’s a very simple formula. You need to remember that each one has natural properties. For example baking soda is a great smell remover but also is a great lifter. This means if you have something that is difficult to remove – try using baking soda on it. The baking soda helps lift the dirt off, so you can wipe it away. Vinegar is a natural acid. It works great for disinfecting as it can kill 98% of bacteria. Mix the two together and you get a powerful combo that will help clean pots, pans and even the drain in the kitchen sink. 

There are also great new technologies that are available for cleaning. A new product that is now being sold in the US is a “Skoy” cloth, which is a substitute for paper towels. One of these biodegradable cloths is the equivalent to 15 ROLLS of paper towels. And they can last up to a YEAR. They are an incredible value for anyone that feels they use too many paper towels.

If you want to learn more about greening your cleaning you can go to www.greencleaningcoach.com where you can see a video that explains even more about green cleaning. If you would like a recipe and a free video on how to make the cleaner go to www.thejoyofgreencleaning.com. Take a step in the right direction and learn more about removing chemicals from your environment. Together we can change the world, one spray bottle at a time!

Leslie Reichert is known as a Green Cleaning Coach. She is a national lecturer, contributor to a The Daily Green, which is a Hearst publication, a frequent homekeeping expert on Martha Stewart Living Radio and author of the book: The Joy Of Green Cleaning- a handbook for DIY cleaners.

Tuesday
Nov082011

Who’s Your Daddy? Bonding with Baby Is Not Just for Mama Anymore!

Source: tumblr.com via Melanie on Pinterest

 

 

This week, the topic comes from a reader (Yay! Send me your questions ladies!).

What are some good ways to include daddy in bonding if I am solely breastfeeding?

bond·ing  n. a. The formation of a close human relationship

Bonding is a process, and it doesn’t necessarily have to happen within a certain time frame after birth. For many parents, bonding is a result of everyday care giving.

For nursing mothers, we already have a leg up. When a baby suckles, the mother's neurons respond by putting out the hormone oxytocin, also known as the love drug. Men just can’t compete with that, leaving many fathers feeling distanced and irrelevant.

But fathers are very important to their babies, and they can and should play an important role in nurturing their breastfed babies. Since the early weeks of parenthood are filled with learning what a new baby likes and dislikes, both parents can learn together. Here are some ideas.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct252011

Cord Blood. No, It’s Not a New Vampire Movie…

 

photo: jatawny m chatmon

As a new parent, we have a ton of choices to make. Find out the sex? Have a home birth or hospital one?  Vaccinate or not? Well, there is another decision to add to the mix that may not even be on our radar.

Should we store our baby's umbilical cord blood? I’m going to give you the lowdown on what it is exactly, and what your options are.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct242011

Urban Farming: It Makes Sense!

By Angela Price

It makes sense.

When I can’t seem to escape the constant barrage of global and domestic turmoil that’s in the media, all I want to do is be Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Little House on the Prairie series (my favorite books growing up). Maybe it’s my coping mechanism – If I can’t control the chaos that seems to be perpetuated on the news every two minutes, it makes sense to me to try to control what I can.  Maybe that’s why there is this emphasis on getting back to a simpler life of home grown produce, home baked bread, a house sized right and sharing that with one’s community of friends and neighbors and family.  Not that I want to give up all my creature comforts…you know, like Little House on the Prairie, but with an iPad and Facebook.

I recently came across a quote from a 17th Century poet that really sums it up for me:

“May I a small house and a large garden
have;
And a few friends,
and many books,
Both true,
Both wise and both
Delightful too!”

~ Abraham Cowley
1618-1667

I love the whole concept of creating one’s very own urban farmhouse.  I think we city dwellers have this romantic notion of farm life.  Unfortunately, gardens don’t really look like they do in magazines and gardening books (that doesn’t stop me from buying them and dreaming, though). Plants are eaten by bugs and critters. The dog digs up the flowerbed.  The chickens poop on everything!  This morning, I pick a fig off my tree and hand it to my cousin who is visiting. She exclaims, “I love figs!” and her face lights up.  This makes it all worthwhile, even the chicken poop on the bottom of my shoe.  I can still dream of perfect rows of lettuce and carrots.  The lettuce and carrots and all the other veggies I grow will be perfect enough because I grew them.  I will cook with them and share those meals with my family and friends in our small house, and for a few moments, or until my husband starts talking politics at the dinner table, there will be no chaos or turmoil.

 

I hold out hope that fall is upon us in Southern California (yes we do have fall).  The mornings are cool and damp and the afternoon air has a subtle crispness to it.  It is the perfect time to plant here.  While much of the rest of the country is sweeping up fallen leaves, quickly picking the last produce before the first frost and putting gardens to bed, I am planting salad gardens galore and popping daffodil bulbs into pots that will bloom by January.  The ground is still warm, but the air is cooler, so the soil won’t dry out so quickly.  In the cooler temperatures of fall and early winter, besides lettuces, I grow root vegetables and broccoli and peas.  I am going to try garlic this fall and maybe sweet potatoes. The aforementioned chicken poop makes wonderful compost, so that will go into the beds to nourish the tiny plants as they grow.

And I will reach out through my ‘growing’ business to create for others their very own urban farms, so that the bounty can be shared.

It makes sense…and maybe Laura Ingalls Wilder’s spirit is smiling down at me and all the other urban farmers out there for trying to bring the world back to a simple place.

 

Angela Price is a recovering human resources executive, urban farmer, hen keeper and owner of Eden Condensed, small space garden design.  She lives in Valley Village, CA with her (very) tolerant husband, two amazing boys, four cats and 5 chickens.  Angela can be reached at angela@edencondensed.com

Check out Eden Condensed at Unique LA at the California Mart in Downtown LA on December 3-4.

 

Monday
Oct172011

The Amber Necklace

Source: etsy.com via Deanna on Pinterest

 

 

Have you ever seen a yummy little baby with an amber necklace on?

Well, it turns out those teeny pieces of jewelry are more than just good-looking; they’re actually used to help relieve little ones from teething pain!

Amber is as old as time itself, dating back millions of years. And yet, it is still believed in today and used for its healing power for treating joint pain, arthritic ailments, and even teething pain for children.

Click to read more ...

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