Monday, April 27, 2009

Earth Day gifts successfully pulled off!

Earth Day has come and gone!  As I had schemed, the boys now have (plastic-free!) tools for keeping down consumption of disposables.  With all the hype about green things to buy in honor of the Day, I hated the timing of my purchases.  But, if they are items I was planning to buy - ok, eventually, and this was a good excuse to speed it up - does that count as giving in to the hype?  I vote "no". :-)

So, here's the after-report on how this all played out...

Utensil wrap

I, um, waited until the last minute to put these together.  No matter, though!  Mr. T - sewing assistant extraordinaire - was more than happy to provide his sewing machine pedal services.   (I guide the machine, and he runs the show under the table.)

I had made a pattern the night before our sewing session to help me map out the amount of material needed, and where to put the seams.  However, the way I create these sorts of things, "pattern" is a loose term - it's more of a sew-as-you-go proposition for me.

The wrap for T required four compartments to accomodate: a knife, a fork, a spoon, and... a glass straw!  He loves using straws!

He and I went to my fabric stash, consulted, and decided on a flannel cat print.

As soon as the last knot was tied, we filled the wrap as planned.  Only he was so excited, that he wandered off for a while, and then came back with a bulging wrap!  See, he figured that he needed to add a spreading knife (in case he was at a picnic where he had something to spread), chopsticks (in their hard case, no less!), and extra spoon (because you get two when you eat at restaurants), and not one, but two, pencils (in case there was something to write down).


Then, we went back to the fabric selection, as S needed a wrap also.  T picked out some fleece, since it was "camouflagy" - oh, the things which matter to boys!

A short while later, we had Wrap #2 all done.  I was thinking ahead: this one has four compartments also.  Why?  If T has a glass straw, S wants one, too.  However, since I was hesitant to order two when I'd never seen one, this means that another order is in my future.

The wraps still need ties - I'm thinking that the kids can fingerknit a length of yarn to serve as ties.  In the meanwhile, T has his tied up - tight - using ribbons from his (too many) chocolate Easter bunnies.

Cost: $5.50 -  The cat fabric is a repurposed bed sheet, loved so much that the middle wore out.  The fleece was already in my stash as well, waiting for the right use to come along.  The cutlery is from our kitchen and "event kit" (more on that kit at some future time).  My only outright purchase was the straw (for which I paid just shipping, thanks to GlassDharma's promotional offer at the time), and a cleaning brush for said straw.

Result: The recipients are delighted.  T adores his straw, and has never been so well hydrated in his life.  He even practiced what he would say in a restaurant if a server wanted to offer him a plastic straw.

Stainless steel bottles

In doing some research about stainless steel beverage bottles, I was tickled pink to read about the Ecocanteen, which was touted as a lower-cost alternative to the Kleen Kanteen.  The thing was, it wasn't so lower-cost by the time I considered the shipping, which is not combined for the purchase of multiple items.  And, the shipping would have created packaging.

The other thing was that I've been reading about the importance of buying local

In the end, I opted to buy two 12-ounce loop top Kleen Kanteens from a local food co-op.  That eliminated the shipping fees, and supported a locally-owned store.  (Heck, the co-op even had bulb fennel seeds available, which I'd been wanting to get for the garden, so that was a win-win all around.)

The boys were with me when I made the purchase, and could hardly wait to put those shiny bottles into service.  Yes, I made them wait until April 22.

Cost: I don't have the receipt handy, but I think they were $11.99 a piece.  So, that came to $23.98.  No, that doesn't include the fennel seeds. ;-)

Result: The boys are so thrilled with their Kanteens that they are using them in the house.  Daily.  And, they are their constant companions when they need to take a beverage along elsewhere.

Cloth Napkins

While I have fabric (obtained through my local Freecycle Network group) designated for napkins, I a) ran out of time; and b) decided that given (a), we could get by with the napkins T and I have sewn previously.

Cost: would have been none, but since I didn't make them in the first place... the cost is still none. :-)

Result: It would probably be good to have a few extra napkins available for use, but for the time being, we're making do with what's there.

And about those glass straws

This is one classy operation.  When I had a minor question about my order, David resolved it right away.  And, he had the straw and brush sent out before I could blink an eye.  He's clearly given the packaging some thought - it involves exactly no bubble wrap, and no breakage:

And, aside from anything else, the notion of a glass straw is a great conversation starter!

Happy Earth Day 2009!

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