Archive for December, 2012

Fun with Paper: Card-Making!

Friday, December 28th, 2012

If you want to wish loved ones a Happy New Year or help your kids write some thank-you notes, consider making the cards by hand.  It’s so fun and easy!  All you really need is paper, scissors and glue.  The trick is to start with good quality paper.  If you have one of our Bookmaking, Art Dolls or Creativity Kits at home, you can use some of our beautiful, handmade, recycled paper.  You just need something sturdy for the main piece, and then you can embellish with whatever strikes your fancy.  Look around your house; you may have some interesting and unexpected scraps from magazines, old greeting cards, wrapping paper, even wallpaper.

Handmade cards

So many possibilities with beautiful paper...

We made these cards with Artterro paper today to show you just how easy it can be.  No complicated designs or intricate techniques needed (check out this Martha Stewart post for those!), just a few fun patterns and shapes and your own heartfelt message.

Two handmade cards

Don't be afraid to use contrasting designs.

The Artful Parent blogger recently made some cards with her daughter using our Bookmaking Kit.  See what they came up with–

Beautiful cards made with our Bookmaking Kit

We hope you give card-making a try!  It feels so special to get a handmade card in the mail.  Have fun!

Guest Blogging with Fair Indigo

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

We are so thrilled to be selling our kits through Fair Indigo, a wonderful fair trade catalog and web store.  They only sell beautiful items that are fair trade or made ethically in the US, and we’re proud to be part of their catalog and movement to make fair trade fashionable and accessible.

This week they asked Forrest to share some thoughts on holiday giving.  You can also read the original post here on the Fair Indigo blog, which we highly recommend.  The previous post is on how to make your very own Peace wreath–what a fun project!

Stuff, Stuff, and More Stuff

Every year when the holidays roll around I start to think about the all the Stuff. I start to feel a little sad, and I’m reminded of the movie The Story of Stuff.  If you haven’t watched it, it’s about how our stuff is made out of raw materials from the earth and how most of it ends up in a landfill only six months after it’s made.  Just when I’m resolving not to contribute to this huge problem, one of my young sons runs up to me with a list in his hands and a big smile on his face and says, “Here Mom, this is what I want for my birthday and Christmas.”  Both my sons have birthdays the week before Christmas, so that means we tend to get twice the amount of Stuff this time of year.  At that point, I snap out of my anti-Stuff mindset and tell myself that I need to start thinking about it in a different way.  We don’t have to buy disposable Stuff.  We can buy truly meaningful, even life-changing gifts for the people we love, plus we can make some special gifts by hand.

One of my favorite ways to make a difference with my dollar is to buy Fair Trade, which means an artisan has been paid a fair wage for their work.  It feels like buying a gift for three people: the recipient who gets to enjoy it, the artisan who is strengthening her community and family, and yourself, because it just feels good to give Fair Trade!

I’m also partial to giving a gift that offers a hands-on experience, like art materials or my own Artterro Eco Art Kits.  When you give a child the gift of art, you offer them a chance to unplug and tap into their creativity.

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Finally, we can also make very special gifts ourselves.  It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.  Try finding a project idea online that you can complete with new and used materials.  It’s a great way to upcycle supplies you may have lying around your house, and you end up with a totally unique finished product.

For many years now I have been doing all three of these things.  I feel so good knowing that I gave my money to good companies, I’m giving my kids gifts that are educational, and I’m giving things I already own a new life and home.  It helps me feel better about all this Stuff not ending up in a landfill in six months.  Okay, I’m off to make some handmade gifts—wish me luck that I will get them done on time!

A Few Holiday Gift Guides For Last Minute Eco Shopping

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Happy Holidays!   Hopefully you are enjoying the festive side of winter and also finding some time to relax!  Here at Artterro, we’ve been positively bustling in the shipping department, sending out hundreds of our kits to stores and people all over the country.  We love thinking of how many kids will be unwrapping one of our kits this season.

Artterro Handmade Paper Christmas Trees

If, like us, you’re not quite done with your holiday shopping, hopefully this selection of unique and green gift guides and online stores will be helpful!  Most of these focus on meaningful and sustainable gifts you can feel good about giving.

Gift Guides

Under $25

Simple Kids makes it easy to find affordable toys, games, arts & crafts, music and handmade gifts for kids.

For the DIY Crafter

The Soap Deli News blog has some wonderful ideas for gifts you can make yourself and kits to inspire DIY ingenuity in others.

Unique Gifts for Kids

Hazelnut Kids‘ round-up of educational, handmade and creative gifts for kids of all ages will surprise you with the sheer number of natural options they have in stock.  They make it easy to find the special, handcrafted gift you need.

Carolina Parent has a very eclectic list of hip, in-demand toys, games and gear for 2012.

Plenty of Options for Tweens

The Good Stuff Guide has a very helpful handful of ideas for those hard-to-shop-for tweens on your list.  There are still plenty of options after they outgrow dolls, cars and legos.

USA Love List: more great ideas for tweens, and every item is made in the USA!

Local Guides With Inspired Suggestions

Radish Magazine of Minnesota focused on gifts that give back, so you can support cancer research at the Mayo Clinic or work-training programs for people with special needs at Goodwill Industries.  Their finds come from local stores but include links to buy online.

Our local Madison Willy Street Co-op always picks fun, functional gifts with a wonderful story behind them.  Your own local food co-op might also be a great resource for eco-friendly options from small companies and fair trade producers.

Wonderful Web Stores

Artterro of course!

EcoMom

Hazelnut Kids

Abe’s Market

Fat Brain Toys

Moolka

Cow & Lizard

Paper, Scissors, Stone

Bumblebee Toys

Lavish & Lime (CA)

EkoBear (CA)