7 Uses For Empty Cotton Soap Bags

IMG_8727Several of our customers have asked if there are uses for the eco-friendly cotton bags we use to package our cold process soaps, once the soaps are removed from the bags. This post contains a few of our reuse ideas. Please feel free to add yours to the comments!

1) Use it as a soap saver bag for the end pieces of your Herban Lifestyle soap! Otherwise, we don’t recommend wetting the empty bags since they will shrink and wrinkle.

2) Make a sachet! Fill the empty bag with your favorite fragrant dried herbs, such as lavender. You can place it in your drawer to add a lovely subtle scent to your clothing.


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3) Make a fun toy for your cat! Fill the bag with catnip, tie tightly, and clip off the extra string so that your cat won’t eat it. Enjoy the show!

4) Use it as storage for small, easily lost objects, like jewelry and buttons.

5) Decorate the outside and use it as nice-smelling packaging for small gifts or favors.

IMG_92316) Fill them with herbs and/or spices to make an herbal bath tea

7) Use them to store playing or trading cards

There are many more uses for these great little bags. Please let us know your thoughts. We welcome any suggestions!

 

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Redefining Crafting: What to do when you love wine and crafting

Originally posted at Redefining Eco, and reposted here with their permission. 

Wine, Wine Everywhere…so what to do with the bottles?

In my house, we drink wine. Which is great, but it leaves us recycling a lot of wine bottles.  So when it came to indulging my crafty nature, I took a look at the wine bottles we had siting by the recycling bin.  And there are a ton of people who have had similar ideas.

My favorites are the ones that bring in color to the room. I love the idea of getting twice the amount of enjoyment out of something. I’ve done some of these crafts, and love my new home decorations!

4 Great Uses for Wine Bottles

1. Use the wine bottles as vases.

2. Use the wine bottles as planters, or a way to water plants.  I love this idea – it’s a great way to use the bottle and to use them in a practical way.
You can also use the wine bottles to plant plants on your wall, or to use as vases for fake flowers(or paper flowers you make from recycled material. But we’ll get to that!).

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Photo courtesy of Design Sponge

3.  Use the wine bottles to make outdoor candle holders. They are pretty, bright, and let you burn candle outside in any weather.  This craft requires a glass cutter, but you can find those easily online for fairly cheap. And it’s pretty easy to use!

4. Table decorations. Over at CraveOrCreate, they have a great idea to wrap wine bottles in brightly colored twine and use them as table center pieces or great accent pieces around the house.

Here are a lot of other idea for how to use those extra wine bottles.  We’re using recycled wine bottles for candle holders for our upcoming wedding.  I’ll be sure to share pictures when they are done (as long as they turn out pretty…)

How to Make Lavender Wands

On a tour of Cherry Hill Farm, a historic Victorian homestead in Falls Church, the docent showed us, among other things, a lavender wand. She explained that Victorian ladies kept them close at hand to mask unpleasant odors (which were apparently fairly abundant in the Victorian days) by daintily waving the wands under their noses. She let us smell the wand mentioning that it was already a year old. The scent was still strong and pleasant. She said by rolling the bulbous part of the wand between your fingers, you can revive the scent for quite a while.

I recalled that one of my herbal books had instructions for making these wands, and since my lavender plant has just started to bloom, I figured I should give this antique craft a try.

The instructions in my book were very hard to follow, especially since they did not have accompanying images, but I managed to figure it out through trial and error. I have laid out the steps, with photographs, to help make this an easy and pleasant experience if you decide to give this craft a try.

1) Cut several lavender stems, making sure they aren’t damp, choosing those with buds that are not fully opened yet. You will want to leave quite a bit of stem to allow yourself to complete the following steps.

2) To make a single wand, select a bunch of stems that have similarly-sized bud clusters. You will need an odd number of stems in order to be able to do the weaving. I like to use anywhere between 9 and 13 stems.

 3) Carefully strip or trim the leaves and stray buds from the stems.

4) Tie your selected stems tightly with a 1/4″ ribbon, right below the lowest buds, but don’t cut the ribbon from the spool at this point. Also, be sure to leave enough ribbon on the loose end to be able to tie a bow once the weaving is complete (I just leave a piece that is about the same length as the stems).

NOTE: If you can, it is best to let the stems sit for 24 hours at this point to allow them to get soft. This will prevent them from breaking when you follow the next step.

5) Bend the stems back over the ribbon and buds, so that it looks something like a closed umbrella without any fabric (and with a bunch of lavender buds underneath it).

6) Now start the weaving process by working the ribbon under and over the stems, gently pulling on the ribbon to make sure the weave is tight.

NOTE: It can be tricky getting the first two rows of weaving started – I often get mixed up regarding which ones go on top and which ones go under. You just need a bit of patience since, once you get to the third row, it gets very easy. I found that the process of making my first wand was really awkward, but after that, it was much easier!

7) Continue weaving until all of the flower buds are covered.

8) Wrap the ribbon around the stems a couple of times and tie into a know.

9) Trim the ribbon, then then the stems, to your desired length.

These wands smell wonderful and make lovely decorations or drawer sachets. Enjoy!

Introducing Herban Crafts: Crafting a Better World!

Karen Lee of EcoKaren and I have partnered on a new social enterprise, Herban Crafts, that will offer a job and social skills training program to unemployed women in transitional housing in the DC and NY areas. To support our programming, Herban Crafts will sell DIY kits for various types of earth-friendly products. The kits will be manufactured, in part, by the trainees as part of their job skills training.

The first set of kits will teach people how to make their own organic bath and body products, and we will be adding additional types of kits in the future. We believe teaching people how to make their own products is empowering, and we also see it as an opportunity to teach people about the importance and joys of working with organic, fair trade, recycled and repurposed materials.

Our mission is multi-fold: to promote self-sufficiency while also supporting the health and wellbeing of people and the planet; and to help address the problem of unemployment, a contributing factor to homelessness, by offering a hands-on job and social skills training program for unemployed women living in transitional housing.
You can find more information about the company and our mission on our IndieGoGo campaign page where you can also pledge to help fund our initial production of kits. Suggested donations start at just $5.00, and there are lots of great rewards for our sponsors! And if this is something that you believe in as much as we do, please help spread the word to your friends on social media and via e-mail. And we hope you will follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest for updates!
For an idea of our overall mission and plan, you can view our presentation from the 2012 Global Health and Innovation Conference held at Yale University on April 22, 2012.

Join Us for Ballston Arts & Crafts Market Opening Day 5/12!

Please join us on Saturday, May 12th, from 10:00am to 4:00pm, for the first Ballston Arts & Crafts Market of the 2012 season! It’s a great opportunity to pick up some handmade goodies for Mother’s Day 🙂 The market will be held at Welburn Square, 901 North Taylor Street, between North Stuart and North 9th Streets (across the street from the Ballston Metro).

The first month’s market will be filled with uniquely wonderful handcrafted pieces perfect for those last-minute Mother’s Day gifts! The selection will include elegant jewelry by Sarah Cecelia, funky photography by Kosmoceratops – Art Squared, adorable critter plushes by RedStar East, graphic leather belts and dog collars by Jon Wye, organic bath & body products by Herban Lifestyle (yay!) and much more.

For opening day, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training will be on hand with information and an artist raffle to benefit their charitable organization. There will also be music by singer/songwriter, René Moffat (noon – 2 PM)
and free cool tote bags from Luri & Wilma, DC’s eco-chic online magazine.

Herban Lifestyle display from the 2011 Ballston Arts & Crafts Market

Held on the second Saturdays of every month from May through October, the 2012 Market dates are: May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, September 8 & October 13. For more information, a complete vendor list, updates and a glimpse of the Market’s art, check out the Ballston Arts & Crafts Market blog.

Join Us at the 2011 BUST Holiday Craftacular & Food Fair in SoHo!

If you’re in NYC this weekend (December 10th and 11th), I hope you’ll stop by the Herban Lifestyle table at the BUST Magazine Holiday Craftacular and Food Fair Holiday 2011. We’ll be at 82 Mercer St. in SoHo from 11am to 8pm on Saturday and 11am to 7pm on Sunday.

There will be over 200 vendors selling handmade crafts and food. Plus, there will be demos, DJs and more. Admission is just $3, and the first 300 shoppers each day will receive a FREE goodie bag filled with amazing gifts.

BUST Magazine founders and co-publishers, Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel, will be signing copies of their new book The BUST DIY Guide to Life. They will also be offering classes on fun DIY projects like how to make your own tiny terrariums, snow globes, and more.

On Saturday, Jay McCarroll, winner of Project Runway season one will be selling affordable bags and scarves from his current line.

Visit the BUST website for a full list of BUST Magazine Craftacular and Food Fair vendors.

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Join us at Crafty Bastards on 10/1!

For the past few weeks, I’ve been busy gearing up for this year’s Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Show in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of DC. In its 8th year, it’s one of the biggest craft shows in the country drawing an estimated 30,000 attendees. I am super honored to have been chosen to be a vendor. And it’s not only a great place to be a vendor, it’s also a dream-come-true for the shopper looking for unique, high-quality handcrafted gifts.

fuzzy soap display at Crafty Bastards 2010

It’s a huge show, with tons of great stuff to see and do – besides all the amazing crafts, there will also be DIY demos, food vendors, as well as the new Young & Crafty (featuring the wares of crafty kids 18 and under) and Crafty Food vendors (featuring home brew, preserves and pickles!). So, in order to maximize your time there, you can take a look at the vendor page to get a preview of the who will be selling what, then download the official Crafty Bastards vendor map so you can make sure you find all your favorites.

If you are in DC that day, please stop by Booth #88 and say, “Hi!” (If you are in the market for fuzzy soap, try to get there early, since we sold out of all 100 before the end of the day last year!) I hope to see you there!