Monday, December 30, 2013

Being Busy and Being Green.

It's been a really long time since I've posted on this blog, but now that I am two days away from opening my new clinic Mirpaat Solomon | מרפאתת סולומון , I decided to reflect a little on my previous 'projects'.  I'm happy to see that I still have visitors to this site and pageviews which hopefully mean that this site is still a useful resource to some.

Perhaps I will be able to post a few tips on keeping a clinic/office green...

If YOU have any tips for keeping my clinic green, please share in a comment.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

How to make a pinball machine from a cardboard box

If you haven't watched the story about Caine's Arcade, do it now!
After watching (and crying of course) I read a post about a boy named Ezra, who, inspired by Caine, created a cardboard pinball machine. 
So I was inspired to create my own.

Here's how I did it.

What you need:
- a box
- wooden tongue depressors or popsicle sticks
- tape
- various items for obstacles eg. toilet paper rolls, cottage cheese containers, cd's
- decorating items eg. stickers


1.  Take a cardboard box, cut off the front and tape up all the sides.

2.  Use a scissors or craft knife to cut holes in the sides for your levers.
(I mistakenly cut high at first, the ball just falls under the levers *duh) so cut them as low as possible)

3. Tape two sticks together to form the desired length for each lever. 

4.  Use toilet paper rolls to achieve the desired angle for the machine by taping/glueing them to the back of the box.

5.  Tape or glue a long paper towel tube for the ball dispensor

6.  Tape or glue obstacles

7.  Decorate and Enjoy playing !!!

Happy crafting everyone.

and if you have young children, be sure to check out my new website about Baby Signing. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Follow me on my Signing Kinderlach adventure

You may have read a previous post of mine, about Signing Time's On Demand system. 

Here's a bit of background about me and my personal Baby Signing Time experience - and my new adventure, Signing Kinderlach.

When my first daughter, Eliya, was born, I heard about baby signing and its potential benefits. I subscribed to an online course, but didn’t follow through as it was boring and not interactive. Then, a friend of mine showed me her Signing Time DVD. I loved it!! and so did Eliya. I bought the set of 4 Baby Signing Time DVD’s; we watched them together often and tried to use the signs in our daily life. Even though I wasn’t reinforcing the signs as much as I could have, we still felt the benefits.

When babies learn to speak, their first attempts at words are often difficult to interpret. “Ba-ba” can mean ball, bottle, baby… My kids are growing up bilingual, with English at home, and Hebrew at daycare & nursery school. With them, “ba-ba” can mean ball, bottle, baby, במבה-snack, בובה-doll, בטן-tummy etc. When Eliya would say a ‘word’ that I didn’t understand, she’d see my confused expression and clarify what she meant with a sign. This reduced her frustration as well as mine, and encouraged her to continue communicating as she felt understood.

I am always encouraging friends and family to use Signing Time (in fact I have a cousin who is a terrific signer) and when I learnt that there weren’t any Baby Signing Time Instructors in Israel, I decided to create Signing Kinderlach, and become the first BST Instructor in Israel so that I can spread the word of sign to more ‘dear children’ – ‘kinderlach’.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to make a car from a toilet paper roll

This classy car for my wooden doll, was inspired by Mama Jenn's sports car which is featured (with instructions) on  Preschool Crafts for Kids

To make it even easier for you to make your own car, I've made a video showing you exactly what to do.  You can see it on here.

What you need:
- toilet paper roll
- paint
- scissors
- pen / pencil OR push pin
- 4 bottle caps (equal size)
- hammer and small nail  OR push pin
- a little bit of playdough
- optional:  a drinking straw OR piece of cardboard & glue

Step One:  paint roll and leave to dry
Step Two:  cut square for driver, and poke 4 holes where the wheels need to go
Step Three:  (optional: put two straws in through the two sets of holes respectively), insert toothpicks
Step Four: make holes in the caps and attach them onto the toothpicks, using playdough to secure them.

Now that you have such a cool car, need somewhere to park it...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Have you run out of indoor crafts for kids?

With the unbearable heat of summer already upon us, I'm always looking for fun kids activities that can be performed indoors.  My kids love art projects, but there are only so many stick portraits one can draw.  Disney Family Fun listed a great Stick Art craft, which allows your kids (and yourself) to engage with nature INSIDE your airconditioned house - perfect!.  

crafts for kids

What you need:
- clear contact paper (in South Africa, we called it Fablon).
  (I had a lot leftover from previous projects, but you can also buy from Amazon at the above link)
  disclaimer contact paper is probably not eco-friendly, but I have yet to think of a good alternative.
- scissors
- tape
- hole punch
- cotton or ribbon to hang the finished product (we used scooby doo wire, we had in the craft room).
- leaves, dried flowers, etc  (this part may involve braving the heat outside *sorry*)

1.  tape a piece of contact paper, sticky side up, onto the surface you're working on
2.  decorate randomly with your leaves, flowers, sticks etc
3.  cover with another piece of contact paper, sticky on sticky
4.  trim with your scissors into a circle or other shape, we did one big shape and two smaller ones
5.  punch a hole and thread your ribbon through.

crafts for kids
crafts for kids
Here, I connected them to suctions caps to hang on the window

Happy crafting everyone

P.S. Let me know if you're successful with a greener alternative to contact paper.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How to make a pencil case from a plastic food bag

how to make a pencil case

I was inspired to try this project after watching a Terracycle youtube video on how to make a coin purse from a plastic food bag.

However, I like taking the easy way out and my bag already had 3 closed sides, I was definitely not cutting new pieces just to sew them back together.
My personal no. 1 rule of upcycling is take advantage of as many seams as you can. (okay so that's for clothing, but why should plastic be different?).

So here's how I did it...
recycle plastic food bag
What you need:
1.  a strong plastic, empty, rinsed, food bag.
2.  scissors
3.  a zipper that's a little longer than the opening of the bag
4.  thick needle
5.  color-coordinated thread.

Step 1:  Use your scissors to cut the bag at the height that you want your pencil case to be.
  (admission of guilt: being as lazy as I am, and not owning a ruler *gasp*, I estimated the height on each side rather than measuring equal sides, which is why the final product's a little skew).

sew a zipper

Step 2:  Tape the zipper to the edge of your bag. 

how to sew a zipper

Step 3: Hand sew the zipper to the bag with a double layer of normal thread and a thick(ish) needle.
I say hand sew, because if you have kept the original three sides like I did, it would be very difficult and probably impossible to maneuver around the sewing machine.

how to sew a zipperhow to sew a pencil case
Step 4:  Sew the edges of the zipper together and tuck them in.

And that's it!  In only four short steps, you have a fully functional upcycled pencil case.

how to make a pencil case

Happy Upcycling!

Remember, I loooove your comments:
Would your kids find an upcycled pencil case cool? or geeky?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How to Save Money by Going Green A-Z (Part Three)

I recently entered the "Circle of Moms" Top 25 Money Saving Moms blog competition.
Although this blog is all about going green, I do believe that being eco-friendly goes hand-in-hand with frugal living and saving the environment saves you cash.
In honor of the Top 25 List, I'm posting a blog-trilogy; a 3-part series on how to Save Money by Going Green A-Z.  Click to catch up on Part One and Part Two.

and now for Part Three...

R - Recycle!  I'm sure you know that recycling is an eco-friendly habit, but did you know there are many ways to make and save money by recycling.   Wise Bread lists 15 websites that will give you cash for your trash.  US & UK citizens can use Recyclebank to earn points by participating in recycling and other Green habits, points can then be used to redeem gift certificates.  South Africans can earn money with Collect a Can or search for other buy-back centres near you.  In Israel, you can return your small plastic bottles and your glass bottles to reclaim the 30cent deposit at the supermarket.

SSeal your oven dishes with lids rather than foil and use reusable covers to seal the freshness in your salads, rather than gladwrap. 
Save money with reusable bowl covers

T - Terracycle your traditionally unrecyclable waste.  You may not be able to take home the money you generate, but you can donate it to your school or charity.  Perhaps you could save money on afterschool clubs if you earn enough through terracycle.

U - Upcycle old fabrics into clothes for your kids.  You can start by reading how a friend and I upcycled old curtains and a tablecloth into a Cinderella dress.

V - grow your own Vegetables.  I'm a beginner at vegetable gardening and aside from being green, healthy and frugal I've found it to be fun and inspiring too.  (See more about my vegetable gardening).
vegetable gardening

W - use scraps of fabric to Wrap gifts.  If you don't have any scraps of fabric, Katie Redmon has another 8 Eco-friendly gift-wrapping ideas for us.

X - skip your traditional printed family Xmas (or other holiday) card and use recycled gift tags..  Here's a picture tutorial on how to use old cards to create new gift tags.  If you don't have any saved cards to cut up, what about buying a reusable chalk cloth tag.
Y - do what works for YOU, if your eco-friendly habits aren't fun and feel like a sacrifice, you're not going to maintain them. So find one step that seems enjoyable and start there.  (If you're thinking that I only wrote this because I couldn't find a way to make money by going green with a Y... you're wrong, there's also )
upcycled pencil case with used food bag
Z  - add a Zipper to a used food bag and make a pencil case.
Here's a picture of a frozen chicken nuggets bag that I turned into a pencil case with a zipper. 
And here's how I did it.