Archive for Living Green

Dec
28

Mercury Retrograde 2017

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“Solstice” comes from two Latin words: sol meaning “sun” and sistere meaning “to stand still” because it appeared as though the sun and moon had stopped moving across the sky. This

 longest night of the year, followed by a renewal of the sun, demonstrates the cyclical order of the cosmos. In this way, celebrating the solstice can be a beautiful remembrance that our lives are part of a larger order, always changing, always renewing.

If we look around us we can see that the rest of nature has quieted down, slowed down, or at least taken its activity underground into its roots or burrows. Since we are a part of nature, So this is the gift of the season: a pause to appreciate and to nurture our roots, our connections that support us so well all year long.

Winter Solstice is one of our oldest celebrations, dating back to the dawn of modern civilization some 30,000 years ago. For ancient people, the winter solstice was an awesome, mysterious, and powerful phenomenon tap into this magical time with ritual, intention and meditation.

A couple of suggestions for rituals for the winter solstice

  • Make a Christmas wreath which is an ancient tradition made of evergreens, holly, and ivy. The wreath’s circle symbolizes the wheel of the year and the completion of another cycle.
  • Light a candle on the solstice and shine the light and reflect and meditate on your teachings and wisdom from the year gone by.
  • Cleanse your home with some sage or bells.
  • Cleanse your own energy field with some sage, rose water, or a nice cleansing salt bath
  • Decorating the tree with objects resembling fruits, nuts, berries, to acknowledge
  • the gifts of abundance from Mother eart
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Feng Shui is all about having the most supportive, inspiring and healthiest home. One of the first steps to achieving these Feng Shui goals is to give your home a really good cleaning.  But because Feng Shui also means living in harmony with the earth, your cleaning should use natural organic products that honor and nurture that relationship.

Using natural home cleaning products supports the sense of smell. Many cleaning products include natural essential oils, and thus will make your home smell nice by offering an “aromatherapy” effect. Lavender is a natural disinfectant. Imagine getting your home clean while enjoying that beautiful relaxing aroma. You can even add a few drops to your clothes before they go into the dryer or a few drops in the vacuum.

Lemon is another magical essential oil. You can use a few drops on stains on your clothes, or add a few drops to a gallon of water when mopping your white tile floors.

Tea tree essential oil offers antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal properties. It works especially well to get rid of mildew and mold around the house.

By contrast, bleach and other chemicals in non-natural cleaning products can create smells and even toxic odors that are unbearable.

Simple Ingredients needed for making your own cleaning products include:

  • Baking soda
  • Citrus seed extract: Usually made from grapefruit seed, this natural preservative is a powerful antimicrobial agent. It is often sold as grapefruit seed extract
  • Essential oils: lavender, sweet orange; bergamot, rosemary, eucalyptus or tea tree; thyme; lemon or lemongrass; and peppermint or citronella
  • Cider Vinegar

And here are some great recipes for making your own natural cleaning products:

All purpose cleaner

9 parts water to 1 part white vinegar

For the Bathroo

10 drops of tea tree oil and three cups of white vinegar. Add  to your toilet bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.

Fill a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar for a  shower or bathtub cleaner. leave for 30 minutes before rinsing off.

 

Glass Cleaner

Mix two cups water, 1/2 cup white or cider vinegar, and 1 to 2 drops of lemon essential oil.

Tile Grout Cleaner

Mix 1 part water and 3 parts baking soda mixed into a paste. Apply to grout and let sit; and then scrub.

Cookware

Use sea salt with a little lemon juice or essential oil and scrub. Also, try baking soda and water made into a paste.

If you decide to purchase natural cleaning products instead of making them at home, there are  just a couple of qualities to look out for:

  • Nontoxic
  • Fragrance free
  • Biobased
  • Reduced and recyclable packaging
  • No VOCs
  • Pesticide Free
  • Biodegradable

Feng Shui principals are becoming so widespread, you can get some great natural brands at the local health food store. Noweven grocery stores carry them.

 

 

 

 

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“Solstice” comes from two Latin

 words: sol meaning “sun” and sistere meaning “to stand still” because it appeared as though the sun and moon had stopped moving across the sky. This longest night of the year, followed by a renewal of the sun, demonstrates the cyclical order of the cosmos. In this way, celebrating the solstice c

an be a beautiful remembrance that our lives are part of a larger order, always changing, always renewing.

If we look around us we can see that the rest of nature has quieted down, slowed down, or at least taken its activity underground into its roots or burrows. Since we are a part of nature, So this is the gift of the season: a pause to appreciate and to nurture our roots, our connections that support us so well all year long.

Winter Solstice is one of our oldest celebrations, datin

g back to the dawn of modern civilization some 30,000 years ago. For ancient people, the winter solstice was an awesome, mysterious, and powerful phenomenon tap into this magical time with ritual, intention and meditation.

A couple of suggestions for rituals for the winter solstice

  • Make a Christmas wreath which is an ancient tradition made of evergreens, holly, and ivy. The wreath’s circle symbolizes the wheel of the year and the completion of another cycle.
  • Light a candle on the solstice and shine the light and reflect and meditate on your teachings and wisdom from the year gone by.
  • Cleanse your home with some sage or bells.
  • Cleanse your own energy field with some sage, rose water, or a nice cleansing salt bath
  • Decorating the tree with objects resembling fruits, nuts, berries, to acknowledge
  • the gifts of abundance from Mother earth
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Jun
14

Feng Shui and Chinese Medicine

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Classical Feng Shui is an ancient art and science developed in China more than 4,000 years ago. It shares philosophical roots with

Feng Shui creates harmony by connecting the seen and the unseen. It is a tool to examine the cycles of the stars, sun and seasons, using these explorations to support the vital connection of body, mind and soul to its environment. Feng Shui can be applied to any microcosm or macrocosm of our lives.  A small space such as a bedroom or an entire city can be designed and built according to these principles.   Acupuncture. Both are complex bodies of knowledge dealing with the movement of energy; Feng Shui reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure the health and good fortune for the people inhabiting it.  Just as needles are used in Acupuncture to treat the energy patterns of the body to improve the flow of energy and therefore your health, classical Feng Shui uses items made of the Five Elements: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire to balance the invisible energies in your environment. Bringing the elements into our space also helps us reconnect with the natural order of things.

“Feng” means “Wind” and “Shui” means “Water.” In its simplest form Feng Shui aids in choosing the best placement for a home. Picking the proper site will ensure happiness by alleviating  problems such as excessive drafts or floods.  The ideal site for a home is like an arm chair.  The back and sides of the chair protect us form the wind, though a breeze on a warm day can feel wonderful and cooling. However when wind is powerful it can blow an entire village down.  Being close to water has been historically essential for survival; we drink it, clean with it, and being far from it can make life difficult if not impossible.  However, when water is too strong, it can creates the destruction of floods and tsunamis.  Living in a space with easy access to water, yet protection from it, will make a home less susceptible to disasters and provide an easier more graceful life.

As we know in both Western science and Eastern philosophy, everything is made up of energy. The theory behind Chinese medicine is that a living human body is imbued with chi (energy) which is fundamental for its healthy functioning. Feng Shui is based on the same belief.

Chi is the animating life force that is everywhere; it permeates all people, our homes and  physical surroundings.  Feng Shui illuminates this hidden force of chi and how the environment can affect us, both positively, and negatively.

On average, we spend eighty percent of our time indoors. When we walk into an environment that has good Feng Shui, we feel embraced and at peace.  We feel connected with our self, our body, our surroundings and the people within that environment. We feel connected with the natural elements, supported in all that we do. We feel that no matter what is happening in the outside world, when we step inside our front door, everything is okay. We are home. We are safe. And we are free to feel our emotions. How a place feels will deeply affect people’s responses at both conscious and unconscious levels.

A home with good Feng Shui feels in balance.  Life flows more smoothly, easily and brings you more peace. It raises the vibration by balancing the energy. It serves you and is organized exactly in the best way for you and your family to thrive—not just how you think it should be set up and decorated, but in a way that makes you love how it feels and puts a smile on your face.  Feng Shui is only used for the highest good in all situations.

For example a house that has been in multiple modern design magazines and photographs very well, may feel cold and austere, like a hospital or jail that does not support the owner in feeling relaxed or welcomed in their own home.

Chinese medicine has served its people well for thousands of years, succeeding in maintaining health, preventing and reducing illness in the Chinese and other adherents. Traditionally a Chinese doctor was paid to maintain their clients’ overall health and to prevent illness. It was expected that all clients of traditional Chinese doctors would incorporate all eight limbs of Chinese Medicine into their lives: Acupuncture, Herbology, Bodywork, Nutrition, I-Ching Astrology, Feng Shui, Exercise and Meditation. The principles governing all eight limbs are considered to be universal and have an intimate connection. These principles are based on the interactive nature of yin and yang, the dynamism of the five elements of water, wood, fire, earth and metal, and perceiving and accessing Qi (chi) quality and flow.

The Tao Te Ching also suggests using Feng Shui to maintain balance and well being in your life. Interestingly enough, Feng Shui is the only one of the eight limbs of Chinese Medicine that is not of the physical body but of the environment. The truth is that if we experience balancing in our physical body with acupuncture and herbs yet step into homes that are chaotic or messy, this will throw us back out of balance. Instead, having a home that is calm and peaceful will help us to rest, relax, and restore our vital energies.

When analyzing the energy blueprint of a home using Feng Shui principles we examine time and space. We read the building from the year it was built, to the direction and the exact degrees it sits and faces. We look at the surrounding areas such as the location of mountains and water, the proximity of freeways, graveyards, and so on. We then use calculations to arrive at a detailed analysis of the quality of Qi, yin/yang and the five elements. From this analysis we decide how to bring the building and residents back into harmony. In Chinese Medicine the analysis of the physical body involves checking the pulse, looking at the tongue reading the energy of the person. Again using the principles of Qi, yin/yang and the five elements.

The intention of Chinese Medicine and Feng Shui is the same, to bring good chi flow through the person’s home and body. Feng Shui teaches that your home is merely an outward reflection of what is happening on inside. It then uses the same principles of adjusting the quality and quantity of Chi, balancing yin and yang, and using the five elements to bring the person and home back into health and harmony.

The following are examples of how the home is an external manifestation of what is going on in the inside

•              Leaking faucets waste energy, and suggest abundance is flowing out of the home

•              Loose door handles suggest not having a firm grip on your health and life

•              Burnt out bulbs signal burning yourself out

•              Blocked drains reflect blocked emotions

•              Masks on all the walls usually mean someone is hiding something or who they

truly are

•              A cluttered home usually reflects being stuck in your life, and maybe having extra weight on your body, along with allergies and little energy.

When examining the home to bring it into balance, we look at what’s called the trigram map. These trigrams are associated with magnetic directions, the five elements and their corresponding colors, human personality types, body parts, related illnesses and numbers.

The Northwest Trigram is related to the main father/ husband in the home. It also has to do with the physical body parts of head and lungs, large intestines and the element of metal. If the person who lives in this house is experiencing breathing problems, we would immediately find out what is going on in this location of the home. Is there clutter? Is that direction or location of the building missing? Are there sharply pointed items in this location? Do the five elements need to be balanced here? All these things are blocking the chi flow or creating a negative energy and causing toxicity.

The Southwest location is related to the main woman of the home and the physical is reproductive organs and fertility. If a couple was trying to conceive and could not, we would again rebalance the energies, elements and creating a positive chi flow to this area. We can also do things according to the couple’s dates of birth, such as  put them in their best directions to sleep, eat and work. We would bring in elements, colors and symbolic items that will support fertility, and energy flow to start a family.

Both the body and buildings have meridian lines running through them. In Feng Shui we call them earth meridians and we use earth’s acupuncture to bring about balance in the environment. Again we would use the same remedies of five elements and three cycles of creative, reductive and destructive- to-creative energy flow in both temples. In Acupuncture practitioners burn moxa to get energy flowing, and in Feng Shui we use sage or palo santo.

In both Acupuncture and Feng Shui we view  energy flowing the same as we views the flow of water to promote a healthy flow in both home and body. A practitioner of Chinese Medicine might recommend a cleanse with herbs and certain foods to bring the body into balance, while in Feng Shui, the exact same suggestions are made to de-clutter the rooms, drawers, cupboards, and do a cleansing on the space.

Chinese medicine’s goal is to release Sha energy blockages in the human body because such blockages create disease; Feng Shui also releases Sha energy in the home to support sleep, digestion, and peace, qualities in the home environment that also promote health in the human body as well.

 

 

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Dec
13

Feng Shui for living your Bliss

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Share unconditional love

Smile

Connect with nature

Learn to forgive

Trust your intuition.

Take care of your body

Release negative emotions

Learn from others and past experiences

Have some quiet time each day

Do what you love

Be of Service

reduce your attachment to possessions.

focus only on the present.

Think positive thoughts.

Visualize daily.

Choose your friends wisely.

 

Create energy flow: Enter into your home and ask yourself the following questions

What gets in your way?

Are any areas blocked off from you?

Are you able to open all the doors fully?

Are there large piles of clutter?

One of the most important principals of Feng Shui is clearing clutter

One of the most important things you can do for your finances is simply to clean up. Throwing out junk and getting rid of things like excess paper, empty boxes, and broken items can go a long way toward energizing your home for prosperity.  In particular, de-clutter your SE corner of your home, of your living room, and of your bedroom.  This is the wealth sector and if it has piles of junk, then financial chi can’t circulate.

This includes, Your car, purse, garage, computer inbox, desk top

 

  • Clean you’re Front Door.
  • Replace Burned Out Light Bulbs.
    Clean you’re Windows.
  • Remove Dead Plants
  • Repair Broken Mirrors
    Tighten Lose Door Knobs and Handles.

 

Feng Shui for Love and the bedroom

  • Remove clutter Eliminate the old to bring in the new.
  • No TV or Exercise Equipment!
  • Always have things in pairs
  • Check the statues and art in your home
  • Bed placement
  • Soothing Colors – Colors on your walls, bedding and window treatments can help create serenity in your home. Switch to light green, blue, lavender, peach, pink or neutral tones for peaceful energy.
  • Full spectrum lighting is the best lighting to have especially in the office.
  • Water features are great for creating a relaxing atmosphere, this year they should be placed in the east.
  • Plants: Greenery is always a welcome sight. Have as many plants as you possibly can in your home. Ensure however that they look healthy. Cactus and dried flowers are not recommended.
  • Sound: Play relaxing music
  • Photos: Have many happy images of your family throughout the house, especially in the kitchen/dining, family room.
  • Art Work: Have art work that you love and things that inspire you, it is very useful because they are going into the subconscious all day.
  • Remove Energy Stimulants – You’ll want to avoid gadgets, big and small, that send out powerful electromagnetic energy causing many sleep and health issues.

 

Create A Sleep Ritual – There are many different types of rituals that will help your body wind down for a harmonious night’s sleep. You may want to spend a couple minutes writing your worries down or anything you must remember for the next day so your mind can let go of the anxiety. Other suggestions include drinking herbal tea, meditating, doing gentle yoga, taking a walk, writing in a gratitude journal or taking a warm bath.

 

For a Childs bedroom

 

A mirror at the foot of anyone’s bed is not advisable, but it is especially important for a child.

 

Bunk beds are not advisable for children.

 

Try not to have heavy furniture in the bedroom, or bookcases or shelves that seem to take over the room. Less is more in a child’s room if possible.

 

Be careful of what is hanging from the ceiling in the center of a child’s room.

 

De clutter the child’s bedroom as much as possible

 

Improve the health of your child by placing live green plants in the bedroom.

 

As I follow my bliss, my bliss starts chasing me!

Today and every day my bliss is my compass for success and happiness.

I do what I love and find my bliss. I keep doing what I love and I live my bliss. I give myself completely to what I love and I become my bliss!

Bliss builds in my world today with every conscious decision I make!

Today I find my bliss in the sweet spot where my talents and my passion merge.

I am a bliss magnet!

I follow my bliss! I experience my bliss! I become my bliss!

WWW.SDFengShui.com   (858) 736-7241   AmandaCollins.me@gmail.com

Feng Shui for living your Bliss

 

 

 

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Get your garden ready as we come into spring
A garden says a great deal to you as you pass it just like inside the home it is also just a reflection. An empty garden shows loneliness and possibly finances are limited, while a garden is overgrown shows your life as overwhelming and busy. Always ask yourself what your garden is saying to you? A garden should create a sense of inner peace. Providing nurturing and support for our lives. The earth is the mother on which the creative power of life is made. The soil, flowers and plants and wildlife are the earth’s gifts for us to honor, cherish and enjoy.
Its nice for the occupants to be able to hear flowing water and birdsong in the garden. These sounds are wonderful to hide the sounds of road traffic other such noises that are not good to hear. The use of herbs in your garden adds color and life; they also contain medicinal properties that have been used for centuries, plant herbs such as basil, Jasmine, lavender and rosemary.
Spending time in your garden brings us closer to the nurturing and healing power of mother nature. It truly is an honor to spend time in the garden and connect with the land and soil as you do send care and love the garden will give that back to you through pure beauty, smells and nourishment. Allow your garden to grow naturally without using chemicals and fertilizers.

Your garden can provide a sacred space for friends and family to gather and connect. The pathways should flow like a meandering stream not a straight road, Avoid dead end paths and complex formations.
Landscaping should be given love regularly not to get overgrown, cover walkways or entry, or shadow the house. Keep the garden well maintained. Always keep garbage cans hidden. Clear clutter from garden sheds and have the necessary shelving to keep all the tools and equipment organized.

Balance the five elements fire, earth, water, wood, and metal into the landscaping that harmonizes and balances your garden. Choose plants that are plentiful and look rich and vibrant. Great colors are plants with red, purple and royal blue flowers. Plant flowers with soft leaves, and avoid plants with thorns, spines or pointy leaves especially by the front entrance area this will keep away the positive energy.

Invite wildlife to your garden by adding birdbaths, fountains and bird feeders. Consider planting flowers which attract humming birds and butterflies and keep artificial birds, wildlife and butterflies to a bare minimum. A water feature is always a great addition; it must be positioned in the correct location for enhancement. The best locations are in the East and Southwest corners. Very important to keep it clean and make sure it flows either in a 360 degree pattern, or towards the house.

We love to have trees in the garden however make sure they are not placed in a direct line with any entrances, especially the main entrance this will block the energy from entering your home. Try to keep a balance of yin and yang (dark and light) when thinking of the trees. Avoid trees that will completely block the light. Too much of anything is not good. Again, balance is the key. Have a beautiful view from every window and door this gives a feeling of pure abundance and joy
Your garden can be a perfect retreat for you to enjoy it.

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Christmas does not have to be a burden on the environment. With a little effort and imagination, we can reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season.
Here are some ideas to help celebrate the season while caring for the earth.

Buy Less
Some holiday gifts fill a practical need and need to be bought new. But many gifts are really gestures of thoughtfulness. You can give more while spending less.

• Not all gifts have to be store-bought.

Before the holiday season begins (Thanksgiving is a good time because the extended family is often together), put the names of all adult family members on separate slips of paper and put the slips in a hat. Take turns picking one name per adult – the name you pick is your gift recipient. Keep your chosen pick a secret, to help maintain an element of surprise.

Your gift list for the adults in your family has just been shortened to one! You can now focus on a special gift for the person whose name you picked, without the difficulty and expense of finding just the right gift for everyone.

Buy Smart – think ‘green’
• look for locally made gifts – many gifts in today’s marketplace come from halfway around the world, and the impact of transportation contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming. Local craft fairs and artisan shops are a good source for gifts that come without the added costs of transportation.
• choose gifts made from recycled sources – many individuals and small businesses have developed great products using recycled materials. Supporting these businesses helps reduce the waste stream while promoting the concept of making best use of available materials.
• give ‘battery-free’ gifts – According to the EPA, about 40% of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Discarded batteries are an environmental hazard. Even rechargeable batteries find their way into the waste stream eventually. Here are a few examples of gifts that have less of an impact on the environment: Naturally-powered toys
• avoid children’s toys that promote violence – there is too much violence in the world, and the new wave of video games for children is disturbing. Remember the theme of Christmas is “Peace on Earth”. There are many toys and games that are fun, and nurture childrens creativity and sense of active play.
• ‘re-gifting’ is OK – there is much discussion about etiquette behind the trend to ‘re-gift’, that is, to pass on a gift you received but do not need.

“A great way to teach children the spirit of giving (and simplifying) during the holidays is to ask them to pick 3 toys that they don’t play with very much, and donate them to a homeless shelter, domestic violence shelter etc

Connect with Nature
Christmas is a time for giving, and a time for family. What a great opportunity to start a family tradition of giving back to the earth and instilling the values of sustainable living to your children, friends and community. Start an annual, earth-friendly Christmas family tradition! It will also get you outdoors for a few hours to build an appetite for the big dinner.

Family nature hike – a peaceful walk through nature on Christmas day will be remembered and valued. Nature restoration activity – planting a small tree together symbolizes the value of nature and offsets the ‘taking’ of the Christmas tree. An hour spent cleaning up or enhancing a natural area also enriches the giver and acknowledges nature as the source of our well-being.

Decorate a tree for the birds – place seed bells, suet, pine cones with peanut butter and seed trays on any tree in your yard, preferably a tree in the open where cats can be seen easily by the birds. Yo attract a wide variety of birds, use varied seed types such as black oil sunflower seed, wild bird mixed seed and nyger seed bells. This is a great activity for kids, and offers an important food source for birds during the winter.

“Another way to make the Holidays more sustainable is to use a living tree as your Christmas tree.

Lower the impact of holiday lighting

The house with the most lights used to be the ‘best’. Times have changed. The cost of electricity goes way beyond the utility bill. Electricity drains natural resources.

• Reduce the size of outdoor lighting displays – A smaller presentation of lights can still be attractive, and more appropriate in the ‘season of giving’.
• Use LED lights for house and Christmas tree lighting – LED (Light Emitting Diode) holiday lights use up to 95% less energy than larger, traditional holiday bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors. LED holiday lights use .04 watts per bulb, 10 times less than mini bulbs and 100 times less than traditional holiday bulbs. Over a 30-day period, lighting 500 traditional holiday lights will cost you about $18.00 while the same number of LED lights costs only $0.19. As an added bonus, if one of the LED lights burns out the rest of the strand will stay lit.
• Outdoor Mini-lights will also save energy. A 100-light string uses only 40 watts. If you’re buying a new set of lights, compare based on equal ‘lighted lengths’. Some higher priced brands have 100 mini-lights for only 8 1/2 feet of length, while some 100 mini-light strings cover up to 40 feet in length. For the most efficient outdoor holiday lighting, consider the new solar LED strings now available.
• Turn tree lights and outdoor house decorative lighting at bedtime. It’s simply a waste of energy to leave the holiday lights on at night after everyone’s gone to sleep.

Remember, never install lights with the power on. Test lights first, then unplug to install.

Choose a live tree
Although plastic Christmas trees are reusable from year to year, real trees are the more sustainable choice. Plastic trees are made of petroleum products (PVC), and use up resources in both the manufacture and shipping. While artificial trees theoretically last forever, research shows that they are typically discarded when repeated use makes them less attractive. Discarded artificial trees are then sent to landfills, where their plastic content makes them last forever.
Live trees, on the other hand, are a renewable resource grown on tree farms, that are replanted regularly. They contribute to air quality while growing, and almost ninety percent are recycled into mulch. Live trees are usually locally grown and sold, saving both transportation costs and added air pollution. Live trees also smell like Christmas! When buying a live tree, consider:

• live potted trees – if you buy a small tree in a large pot, you may be able to reuse the tree for 2- 3 years without having to plant or re-pot the tree.
• re-pot the tree – if the tree is root-bound, you can replant it in a larger pot for several years’ use.
• replant the tree – if you have the space, of course, replanting the tree outdoors is an option. Be sure to anticipate the full-grown size of the tree, and avoid planting near foundations or underground services.
• chip and mulch the tree – many communities now have a free chipping service for trees. If you can keep the chipped material, it makes excellent mulch for your shrub beds.

Homemade Cards
Store-bought Christmas cards are rich, elegant and expensive. They also consume a huge amount of natural resources for a throw-away item. The amount of cards sold in the US during the holiday season would fill a football field 10 stories high, and requires the harvesting of nearly 300,000 trees. Homemade cards may not be as professional, but they are more personal and just as appreciated. Making the cards is also a fun activity for the family.

Childrens’ art work is another good source for Christmas card pictures. Even the ‘scribblings’ of the wee-ones are interesting, fun and especially appropriate for the season. Cut out sections of the artwork which look best, and fit to the required size.

Making your own cards is easy if you have the material to work with. Try to get in the habit of saving pieces of heavy paper (good one side) to use as the backing for your glued-on pictures. “Card stock” is the ideal weight, and even small pieces are worth saving.

Alternatives to Wrapping Paper

Half of the paper America consumes each year is used to wrap and decorate consumer products. (Source: The Recycler’s Handbook, 1990) In the US, the annual trash from gift wrap and shopping bags totals over 4 million tons. In Canada, the annual waste from gift wrap and shopping bags equals about 545,00 tons. If everyone wrapped just three gifts in reused paper or fabric gift bags, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks.

• Use environmentally friendly wrapping paper made using fibers such as hemp. Look for paper using recycled content.
• Avoid buying glossy foil or metallic wrapping paper – this kind of material is difficult to recycle.
• Reuse gift wrap where possible – large wrapped presents usually have large enough uncreased sections to be reused for wrapping small gifts.
• Use tape sparingly, or not at all – if you’re going to use ribbon to finish off your wrapping, you may not need to use tape. By not using tape, more of the wrapping paper can be reclaimed, and it’s easier for the recipient to save the wrapping for reuse.
• Choose alternatives to commercial gift wrap – there are many options which are cost-free, attractive solutions. Gift bags can be made using fabric scraps, or wrapping can be made using comic strips from the paper, old calendars, maps, posters and more. For more ideas, visit our page: Gift-wrapping Alternatives

Reuse/Recycle
• Reuse or recycle gift packing materials – Bubble wrap can be stored for reuse, or recycled. Foam packing chips are not as easily recycled; if you don’t want to store this material for reuse, take it to a shipping center like Mailboxes. etc, who will accept it for their own use. Cardboard boxes should be opened flat and set out for recycling; storing and reusing these boxes is even better as no additional energy is used in remanufacturing.
• Save any special gift wrap, ribbons and bows – When unwrapping large gifts, save the paper for reuse; it can often be cut down for smaller presents. Creased wrapping can be ironed flat. Ribbons and bows are easy to save and reuse.
• Recycle old electronics – New flat-screen computer monitors, laptops, cameras, cell phones and other electronic items are common holiday gifts. Older models which are being replaced are usually still in working order, however, and should not be discarded to a landfill. Here is information to help recycle these items: Recycling electronic goods
• Christmas trees can be recycled too – real trees that have been cut are a useful material for composting. Composting requires a carbon source and Christmas trees are just right for municipal operations which use chippers to shred the material. Look for tree drop-off locations in your neighborhood. Artificial trees which are up for replacement can also be recycled. These trees are usually made from twisted metal which is accepted by most recycling centers.

Note: Never burn Christmas tree branches in your fireplace. It can cause the buildup of creosote, which is a highly flammable compound.

Each year, 50 million Christmas trees are purchased in the U.S. Of those, about 30 million go to the landfill.

This article came from eartheasy.com

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