4 DIY gifts that can be created in less time than you spend driving to the mall

Tis’ the season where children transform into angels for fear of being put on Santa’s naughty list and financial panic ensues in parents. But who said a quality gift could only come from the department store? This holiday season, we have compiled a fun list of DIY gifts even the least creative person can handle, trust us. Happy Crafting!

Klean Kanteen comes clean about plastic

Klean Kanteen, the popular maker of stainless steel water bottles, has long plopped a plastic top on its containers.
There’s nothing terribly unhealthy about that for the person using the water bottle. But the impact of plastic waste on the world, notably in giant garbage patches in the ocean, is becoming increasingly noticeable and problematic. It seemed time for Klean Kanteen to come clean and offer a completely defensible water bottle.

The high price of cheap jewelry

Samples of inexpensive jewelry tested by a consumer group found that more than half of the products contained high levels of either lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury bromine or chlorine — all toxic metals or chemicals that carry health risks.
HealthStuff.org tested 99 pieces of jewelry from 14 different retailers, Ming 99 City, Burlington Coat Factory, Target, Big Lots, Claire’s, Glitter, Forever 21, Walmart, H&M, Meijers, Kohl’s, Justice, Icing and Hot Topic. The samples were collected from six states — Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Vermont.

Get healthy scents this Valentines Day

Recently, I found myself haunting boutiques and natural food markets, looking for a perfume that didn’t float on a raft of toxic ingredients.
This has never been an easy mission. Even though many organic and natural body products have ditched the phthalates, parabens, triclocan, sodium lauryl sulfate, PEG and other unhealthy compounds with names requiring acronyms, many colognes and perfumes remain stuck in chem-land.

Green America urges an alternative shopping day, Green Tuesday

It’s the most wonderful (shopping) time of the year.

Grow your own gourmet mushrooms with this kit by Back to the Roots.


Unless you fear being trampled by mall mobs, freezing to death while waiting in line for the 5 a.m. $39 Blu-Ray player special or being tasered during police crowd control maneuvers at the nearby Walmart.

11 fun eco-gift ideas for 2010

This year, when it’s abundantly clear that we in the developed world need to consume responsibly, and there are more green gift options than ever — so many sustainable goods are hitting their stride — it makes sense to consider eco-friendly gifts, whenever and wherever possible.

Look for items that are made from renewable, recycled or reclaimed materials; for products that last and regenerate or even create their own energy (eco- can be eco-nomical); for things that sustain people in disadvantaged situations and for stuff that’s practical, even edible.

Your family may just discover that their eco-gifts are some of the most unique and wonderful surprises under the tree (or near the Menorah or whatever).

Chicago’s Greenheart Shop promotes eco-shopping with heart

Greenheart Shop models show off the stores clothing

Colorful messenger bags and totes created from re-purposed construction netting, recycled rice bags and Cambodian silk. Screen-printed cotton outfits designed by the Chicago- and Cambodia-based Malia Designs. Divine chocolate made from cocoa beans sustainably grown in Ghana. These are just some of the finds at Greenheart Shop , a thriving Fair Trade business in Chicago’s trendy Wicker Park neighborhood. Shoppers recently were treated to a fashion show complete with runway models decked in green wear from head-to-toe.