DIY Seed Bombs

In honor of Earth Day we’re bringing you one of our favorite kid-friendly crafts: Seed bombs!

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This fantastic project allows you to beautify your neighborhood while also providing additional green space for wildlife in your community. Plus, if you have a little at home, this is a great way to keep them occupied on a rainy day. Win – win!

Here’s what you’ll need to create your own homemade seed bombs:

  • Newspaper
  • Bowl
  • Baking tray or candy molds (if you want to get fancy!)
  • Water
  • Potter’s Clay
  • Chemical-free compost
  • Wildflower Seeds (make sure there are no invasive varieties in the mix!)
  1. Determine where you’ll be doing the project. A low table, bench, or windowsill works best. Then, line your work surface with newspaper.  Soil + little hands = A big mess!
  2. I recommend portioning out the water, clay, and compost before setting them out in front of your toddler. This way they can grab the ingredients and mix them up without too much fuss. Once everything’s ready, pop your toddler next to the work station with a bowl and let them mix the first three ingredients together. The texture should be shape-able, like a chunky dough, but not too moist.
  3. Show your toddler how to form balls from the mix, or if you’re using a candy form, how to press it into the tray.
  4. Once your balls or shapes are ready, set them out on a high windowsill or table to dry overnight. And that’s it! once they’re dried out they’re ready for you to use.

The next time you’re out for a stroll, pop your seed bombs into a basket, and have your tot throw them into abandoned lots or planters. Ensure they’re not chucking them into private plots or landscaped spaces. As the days go by, visit your bombs to view their progress. If you have a tech savvy kid, have them take photos of their plants in each stage. In just a couple of weeks, under the right conditions, you should see bursts of wildflowers in bloom.

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When seeing this project through be sure to speak with your toddler about the importance of plants, especially in urban environments. It’s a great way to impart knowledge about science and nature while teaching them how to be stewards of creation. And, as an added bonus, describe the importance of caring for the community you live in too! That way, you won’t just have plants in bloom, you’ll also have a budding little social activist on your hands.

Voila! You’ve now trained a mini guerrilla gardener!

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Biodegradable Leaf Wreath

I don’t know about you, but come autumn I’m always itching for some new home decor. It’s not like Christmas, where I want to collect objects for nostalgia’s sake. I want something new each fall and I’m also always eager to concoct a new visage in my nest. But then the flower child within convicts me. How can I justify buying or making something new to add to the pile of stuff already cluttering my apartment, my life, and the planet?

What to do, what to do? Ah-ha! The solution! A biodegradable craft!

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Fall foliage. It’s the thing that makes it a thing, is it not? Without the changing leaves, the sweet smell of decay filling the air, we might as well be approaching spring. Seeing the changing canopies of the city’s trees is what makes me feel electric, feel renewed, feel distracted from the foreboding threat of winter. So why not capture that feeling by collecting the very thing that gives the season its mark: leaves.

For this project all you’ll need is some non-toxic glue, a pair of scissors, recycled cardboard, and some freshly pressed leaves. A pair of hyper helper hands, should you have a toddler waddling about, is good too!

First things first, you’ll need to cut a semi-accurate circle out of your cardboard. This is the part best saved for those of us old enough to wield a sharp object. Once the main circle has been cut out, shave out an inner circle so you’re left with a big “o.” That’s your wreath. Now, dab on glue around the cardboard, placing your first layer of leaves around the perimeter. Next, you’ll repeat this step, but pop the glue on the leaves. I find that three layers works best.

If you’re a strategic sort you can place the bigger leaves at the base and alternate colors so you have a more aesthetically appealing display. Once complete, allow your wreath at least 24 hours to dry before hanging it up. We took our little creation and hung it on August’s bedroom door using some doubled up washi tape. That lasted all of a single afternoon as he insisted that the door remain as-is. Oh toddlers. So we’re now enjoying it as part of our table centerpiece.

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There you have it! A simple, festively fall, biodegradable wreath that’s easy enough that even a kid, or an overly exuberant pumpkin-spice-latted-up adult, can do it.

Enjoy!

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Green Living: Eating Clean On a Budget

Eating clean – it’s the best and most clear cut way to describe what it means to limit your intake of pesticides. There seems to be an ongoing debate in mainstream media whether eating organic food actually makes a difference. A highly referenced 2012 Stanford study claims that there are no obvious health benefits to eating produce labelled organic. Can that really be so? Has history not taught us that ingesting insecticides, among other chemicals, causes increased risk of cancer, birth defects, and other health issues?

hunter hills csa beets

Beautiful beets grown on a friend’s “beyond organic” farm in rural Pennsylvania.

If you’re anything like me you too are skeptical of recent headlines counterclaiming the benefits of eating organic. If you’re also like me, you know that choosing the big O also means paying significantly more for your fresh greens and fruits. So what’s a budget conscious health savvy vegetarian to do?!

Let me introduce you to the saving grace of shopping organic: The dirty dozen and clean fifteen. If you’re anything beyond a green living novice, these two lists are probably already part of your shopping arsenal. But if they’re not – be ready to take screenshots of the graphic below.

So what are these lists? Each year the EWG, aka Environmental Working Group, puts out a list of the 12 crops that have tested highest on the pesticide scale, as well as the 15 that are lowest. Continue reading

DIY: Eco-Friendly Handmade Gifts

DIY upcycled sweater stockings

Are your fingers feeling itchy to craft? Then get those digits to work!

To get your creative juices flowing, I’ve assembled my all-time most popular DIY tutorials for you to peruse through. Click on any of the photos below to read the full set of instructions on how to make these practical and design-savvy eco-friendly gifts for the holidays.

After all, nothing’s more festive and heartfelt than something that’s handmade with love!

dit printed eco gift wrap

diy orange spice face scrub face scrub

diy upcylced sweater leg warmers

homemade cheek and lip stain

embellished heart elbow patch sweater

diy sweater bracelets

What We Save Saves Us

what we save saves us by rob jones

Maybe it’s thanks to my recent trip to Starved Rock National Park – but something about this beautiful art print by Rob Jones has my mind racing. Such a simple message, such an elegant design, and yet, there’s so much more that can be read between the lines and layers of the sketch.

Conservation, environmentalism, green living – all of these are ways we describe an ethic, a lifestyle, in which we aim to protect the natural world around us. We try to advocate for the planet, for creation, for all the beautiful things within it. We attempt altruism – but in the end – it’s not just saving for saving’s sake – it’s also about saving ourselves – isn’t it?

But then again, maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones that drew me to this image. The thought of bringing a babe into a world fraught with poisons, pilfering, pollution and social injustice is enough to make any parent’s head spin. And add to that the very tangible fear that the welfare of future generations is literally at stake – and boy! Do you have one worry-warted mama-to-be!

Maybe I’m drawn to this print  because I’m in the midst of reading Thomas Friedman’s book Hot, Flat and Crowded, a book that calls us to arms to change the current state of global politics and infrastructure to preserve the planet for future generations.

And yet, maybe it’s something else still. Maybe it’s the hopeful message that resounds in this piece that elevates my spirit. Maybe it’s the reminder that we’re all in this together – whether bi-pedal, bark-laden or microscopic. We’re all connected and the reminder of this brings me hope. Seeing the stacked layers of a tree’s lifespan fills me with a wonder and awe – and propels me to want to make a difference.

And what do you think? How does this art print speak to you? Do you find the message to be inspiring, discouraging or a mix of both?

Starved Rock Babymoon

Pierogi Picnic: Starved Rock Babymoon

Things have been really quiet on the Pierogi Picnic website as of late as we eagerly prepare for the arrival of our very first little bundle. Between battling all-day-sickness, doctors visits, and nesting, we’ve been quite the busy bees these last six months – which is exactly why it was high-time to get away and recharge. So this past weekend David and I embarked on a low-key babymoon.

Pierogi Picnic: Starved Rock BabymoonWhat’s a babymoon? It’s the latest trend in pregnancy, encouraging the parents-to-be to get away one final time as a twosome before the babe’s arrival. When planning our getaway we knew we wanted it to be as close to home as possible, while still allowing ourselves to be immersed in nature and the outdoors. And with it being October – camping was off the list – so the choice was easy: Starved Rock State Park.

Nestled between miles of farmland and the Illinois River, Starved Rock was the perfect place for us to get out for some fresh air while disconnecting from all the hub-bub of home. Less than a two hour drive from Chicago, this picturesque preserve was one of the nation’s first sanctioned national parks, adding a rich history to the already spectacular forests and cliffs of the region.

Pierogi Picnic: Starved Rock BabymoonWith the confetti like fall foliage, deep earthy smells, serene visage and winding trails, we were able to hike all our anxieties about the coming bebe away. Having the opportunity to slow down and reflect on this coming new chapter, all while surrounded by the gold and amber hues of the changing season, was the best possible way for us to celebrate and prepare for our little human.

So should you be in Chicago, and looking for a way to at once connect with nature and unwind, let me be the first to recommend Starved Rock and all its glory. You won’t be disappointed!

Pierogi Picnic: Starved Rock Babymoon

Designs: Dawn + Dusk Collection

Pierogi Picnic: Dawn + Dusk Collection

It’s finally here!

After months of sketching, sewing and tweaking, I am excited to officially debut my newest collection for Pierogi Picnic! 

The Dawn + Dusk collection combines upcycled and vintage fabrics to create clothing that’s as stylish as it is sustainable. Merging warm and cool tones with soft textures and classic shapes, these unique pieces are perfect for wearing day and night. And as always, each piece is eco-friendly, handmade, and one-of-a-kind.

Design It Yourself series: Pierogi PIcnic

One part ready-made, one part custom order, the Dawn + Dusk collection offers eco fashionistas two different avenues in which to express their style.  The first is a limited edition set of pieces that was made out of vintage fabrics. That includes skirts, tops and accessories that are beyond replication. The second option is the new “Design It Yourself” series. With this option shoppers pick a base color, silhouette and embellishment and I create a piece that’s as unique as the wearer. 

 Whether ready to send or made to order, Dawn + Dusk collection has brought together some of my favorite silhouettes with soft fabrics, a green methodology and a feminine touch. View the full collection in my Etsy shop today!

DSCN3654 2DSCN3571Pierogi Picnic: Dawn + Dusk Collection DSCN3556 Pierogi Picnic: Dawn + Dusk Collection