Tag Archives: Crafts

12 Days of Green Holiday Gifts: Eco-Dough

When my family first heard about eco-dough, from the eco-kids company, we all immediately knew it was a winner. Everyone loves traditional Play-Doh, from Hasbro, or play dough made in ones own kitchen from simple ingredients.

But what if your child is allergic or sensitive to wheat? In that case, Play-Doh, with its starch-based binders, is no longer a good play option. (A full list of Play-Doh ingredients, and an explanation of its chemistry, is here.) Enter eco-kids, a Los Angeles-based family company that handmakes natural gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free eco-dough! The dough comes in six wonderful colors, which are dyed from plants, vegetables and fruits. The dough is soft and very pliable and doesn’t dry out quickly, the way regular Play-Doh does. (If it should dry out, a little veggie, olive or flax oil brings it back.)

Eco-kids also sells natural finger paints and puzzles. They provide  a terrific product for those seeking a natural, gluten-free dough, and a toy that offers open-ended creative play, as limitless as ones imagination.

Photos: Eco-kids

My criteria for a green holiday gift? Items meet all or most of the following: Promotes nature play or care of the earth, Uses all or mostly natural ingredients, Fosters hours of open-ended creative play,  Doesn’t use extraneous plastic or other wrapping, Doesn’t break the bank to buy it.

Make a Fall Leaf Placemat




This is a fun, easy, rewarding project for those who still have leaves falling, or on the ground. Or perhaps you’ve collected some and you’re not sure what to do with them. Making a placemat will allow you to enjoy them for years to come. Even small children can be involved in this project by gathering leaves and helping with the design. You’ll need:

Iron-on flexible vinyl, available in fabric stores by the roll. It is made by Heat’n Bond or Therm O Web.

Medium-weight white cotton fabric, about 3/4 yard per placemat.

Your favorite Fall leaves.

A phone directory or other heavy book.


1. Gather some wonderful, colorful leaves that have fallen.


2. Place them in a phone directory, or other thick book to flatten them. Put them toward the back of the book, so there will be enough pages over them to press them. Make sure you leave space between the leaves, and space between leaves and the book’s fold. Leaves will be flat in a couple of days.


3. Cut fabric rectangles, 2 inches larger all around than you want your final placemat to be. I cut my fabric into 20″x 13″ pieces, to make 18″ x 11″ placemats. For the exact shape, I traced the outline of an existing placemat, which had rounded edges. Turn the fabric pieces over and make occasional guide marks 2″ around from the outside edges, lightly with a pencil.

4. Turn the fabric right-side-up again and play with the placement of the leaves. When you are happy with the way they look, you will be ready to iron the vinyl down. Don’t forget to leave more than a 2″ space all around your design.


5. Heat your iron. Peel the backing off the vinyl and place it sticky-side-down onto the leaves. Smooth the vinyl with your hands, then iron it onto the fabric, following package directions.

6. When the fabric is cool, turn over and cut according to your guidelines. For further sturdiness, you can iron vinyl onto the back of the placemat as well. Admire and use your placemats for years to come.




Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Consumed by Soap!


Hi everyone! We got so busy making soap for a big trunk show tomorrow that I’ve been a bit absent from the blog. There are so many craft and recipe ideas, Slow Food trends, and other fun things I am eager to tell you about when I have a moment. The trunk show is in Mill Valley, CA, for those able to swing by. (I can e-mail the address.) We’ve been having a lot of fun with new and favorite designs and scents. See our Bubblehead Soaps web site for pictures, prices and descriptions.

Above: Four Seasons, packaged together or separately, in fresh, seasonal scents and colors.

Below: Freshly poured: Kitty cats in calico, black or brown.


Another one so new it’s not on our web site yet, Man’s Best Friend:


We’ve also been making lots of holiday favorites, like Gingerbread folks, which look and smell like the real thing:


.. and snowflakes, in lots of wintery scents and designs:snowflakesoap1

Hope to be in touch after the trunk show!

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...