Going Greener

My daughter gathered some art supplies for me, so I could finish up a challenge I was making for GreenCraft magazine.  I have never submitted anything to them before, to me this magazine pays for itself.   There are sooo many unique and wonderful ideas on using recycled items, to create gift ideas, ways to present a gift, and many wonderful ways to use what is on hand.  It is a brilliant publication~

My husband retires from the Navy next June. I have been thinking about our humble beginnings, how I tried to make our new nest home. I have made seventeen nests.  The hardest move for me was Adak Island.  There were only three places to shop, for household items, the Navy Exchange, the thrift shop on Bering Hill and yard sales.  Oh, yes mail order, but when you live on an island, in the Aleutian chain, shipping is double.  I remember some of the unique creations I made.  I remember women fighting at the thrift shop, like it was Christmas Eve at Macy's.  I remember crocheting around coffee and other tins to make organizers and tea dying fabric. I remember painting boxes to make art. I remember the day a new friend took me to the other side of the island.  We only had 5 miles of tarred road,  but we were considered civilized because we had McDonald's, lol.   I remember what it felt like when the road ran out and we drove up a mountain. I remember seeing whales off in the distance and how it rained every day.  Yes, if it wasn't raining, it was snowing.   I remember the sun would come out wink and disappear.  I saw a rainbow almost everyday.  The sun for me, was this tiny hobby n' craft store, on the other side of the island.  It had something for everybody.   Car models and paint, glitter and Make it, Bake its along with wooden cut outs and felt, etc.  This place was my sun!  It was like the clouds parted and heaven spoke the day I found that shop!  I could cope with the gloomy weather, the isolation of living on a remote island that shook, at least sixteen times a day.  Yes, we were twenty-six miles away from a volcano.  I am sooo glad I didn't know all of this.  No one could come visit us on the island without being cleared, approved by the military.  Who would want to, lol!  ( More about that later, perhaps another time).

I decided to make some green crafts to submit to this publication. I grew up green. Mom was always recycling something.  Ok, maybe hoarding jars, berry baskets and boxes.  Me, I hoard paint chips...sssshh, don't tell!   Here is a peek of some of the crafts I sent in.

What do you think it is made out of?   Yes, it is a box, a Magic Sponge box.  I did remove the sponges and used the box.

What about these?

 These are Crystal Light lids.   I did punch holes in these and added some string.  I made these for my daughter, to put on gifts.  She is always going to a birthday party!   Chalkboard paint would be fab on gift wrap!  You could write and doodle your own design ;D  I know they do make scrapbook paper.

I also used the paper towel cardboard tube, to make this.

I think I have been watching too much of  My Fair Wedding!

Are you green?  Do you reuse items?  What do you recycle?  


Shelly said…
I use vinegar, baking soda, and borax to clean with. It's all cheap and safer for the earth and all living beings. I also re-use juice and pop bottles to store dry foods, rice and beans.

Great post!

Hugs and chocolate,


That last one turned out really beautiful.
That island may not have been your favorite place, but it challenged you to find your creative side. It helped form you into the creative person you are today!
Sherry Blue Sky said…
WOW. I cant BELIEVE the art you make out of cardboard tubes and paper towels and boxes. Totally gorgeous and I am AMAZED at the transformation of simple things to beautiful art. You have a real gift, kiddo.
Brinda said…
You certainly have a talent for crafting. My sister is like you. She can make, paint, or draw anything. She also collect paint chips. She cut each one into the shape of leaves and made this painting wiht a 3-D aspect of the leaves.
Brinda said…
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Janet Johnson said…
Wow! I am in awe. I don't recycle near enough. But, my kids love it. They take everything from the recycle bin and make all kinds of crafts. Not as fancy as yours, but they love it. :)
Susan said…
First let me tell you how happy I am for this story from your life. What adventures! In my family it is my mother who is the hoarder and recycler. We are alternately excited by her creations and angry at the mess. And I feel guilty when she won't let me throw out an egg box or a pill bottle. I do little enough! she yells, "Let me do this!" And so we had embroidered egg-box cube Christmas ornaments and many other things. My favorite, from the lids you use, is the "Round tuit." Get it? You say, When I get around to it. And she hands you one. Now you have what you've been waiting for: get a "round tuit" from my mom. I'm sure she will be happy if you make your own. I have several, and I used to give them to my High School students.
Kerry O'Connor said…
Your crafts are always so inspiring, Ella.
Netty said…
Beautiful recycling. Good luck with the magazine. Annette x
LTM said…
Wow! I love the crafts for that magazine--and I really love the windchimes on the cover! What are those? Glass?

Most of all, I love the gorgeous rose greeting right there in your mast. Hope you're doing fabulous! ((hugs)) <3 555
Anonymous said…
I loved reading about your life, especially the picture I have of the women fighting over items in the thrift store!
They will flip when they open your submissions at Stampington, I especially adore creation no. 1 and the final ... you hoard paint chips, I hoard cardboard tubes! Yes, I am being serious, they are so lovely to alter.
What a lovely way to end my day viewing your art.
I'd say Good Luck but I know you don't need it :)
Ella said…
Leigh-They are recycled wine bottles! Aren't they gorgeous~ You will look at your recycled items differently after you see this publication! ;D I'm better, thanks!
Congrats to you <3 555 so exciting!!!

Netty-Thank you! I will drop by for a visit! I loved your last creation! You are so talented :D

Kerry-Thank you! I loved your latest contribution! We need to see both sides of the coin ;D

Susan-I inspire that same mentally, when caught with a handful of cardboard, lol. I don't think I am too bad, but I could be, if I had a bigger house ;D
Your Mom is clever! My Mom's most unique one was cutting panty hose in rings and tying up her tomato plants. I was stunned... My Mom did this before Martha Stewart, lol. Thank you for sharing :D It is nice to know I am not alone~

Janet-How clever are you kids! It makes the imagination go into over time. I like a good challenge and I figured why not?! ;D Thank you so much! Nice to meet you~

Brinda-How unique! I have seen art made with those~ She is very clever and so are you! WE just work on different playing fields! Yours are words ;D Thank you~

Sherry-Thank you! It was thinking what if and why not?! I made my Mom a garden scarecrow once out of recycled items. It was the talk of the neighborhood. Actually so was hers, she made a witch doctor out of cans, lol. Thank you so much! :D

Alex-Thank you ;D! I saw a lot of people loses themselves on that island, in alcohol and depression. I wasn't playing that game, so I kept busy~ I worked 50hrs a week, saved people when needed and crafted! A lot of junk yard war type vehicles, on the island. I was always giving someone a ride or getting a call for help. WE all pretty much drove patched up vehicles. I even mailed auto parts to the island before arriving. Yeah, there is a book in those memories, lol

Shelly-I knew you would be clever like that! Hugs n' chocolate to you ;D Thank you!
Renee said…
Beautiful creations! I love the tubes. I'm sure we will see your work in the next Greencraft, how could they resist?
Daydreamertoo said…
This reminds me sooooo much of life in the army in the Outer Hebrides. Was always cold, raining, windy, or snowing! LOL There were no shops, no schools, nothing. A pub 30 min drive away, a co-op store 30 min drive the other way, and I never drove then!
So, we were stuck on the army base with the NAFFI to shop in and drink it too LOL
Very creative you are!
We have to recycle everything here. We have 4 separate bags for collection, bottles and recyclable plastics. Compost, shiny paper/mags
and true waste, like cans, and such but...the cans have to all have the labels removed and be washed too.
Very green island and have been for about 10 years now :)
Cynthia said…
Your last two pieces have a lovely vintage wedding-type flair to them... As for me, I like to hold on to postcards and souvenir items that I can later use in a scrapbook.
Wanda said…
Oh I love watching my fair wedding too. Crystal Light lids...you always amaze me with your creativity.
you obviously are a master-level crafter, Ella. i'm sure you could teach classes at, say, a Michael's store. the magazine should be honored to include any of your crafts! i love them all and the gift tags are precious!

i walk that fine line between being green and hoarding, but my mother taught me "never throw away today what you can use tomorrow." unfortunately, i live in an apartment complex which doesn't provide recycling bins and i can't drive to a recycling facility.

one of my favorite craft projects was using one-and-a-half-inch lengths of paper towel tubing as the form for napkin rings which were covered in scrunched up gold lame for the holidays. no one EVER guessed!

thank you to you, your husband and your family for your sacrifices for our country. you are appreciated.

Vicki Sheehan said…
Love your story...you tranformed the cardboard tube beautifully! I love to recycle and reuse. Bits of paper, fabric, thread, stamps, envelopes...too many things to list and yes, cardboard tubes.
Unknown said…
Ella, you have such a way with words. You made being stuck on a 5 mile long island--with a McDonald's and small craft store as the star attractions--sound romantic, cozy and awesome. All while also giving it a touch of sad isolation. Don't tell you enough how much I enjoy your blog! :-D


M Pax said…
I enjoyed reading about Adak Island. Sounds like an interesting place.

Neat craft ideas, Ella. I made dolls for everyone one Christmas. And I once made tree ornaments out of seashells. Still have those.
Mary said…
Just beautiful work, Ellen. I do wish I had the patience and talent that you do.
kaykuala said…
It's so inspiring and so informative, Ella! You made them into utility articles that I find most fascinating. But the art and craft aspects are the ones that got me. With passion,time and interest it can be most satisfying to see the end product hung up on the wall.I might just do that, Ma'am. Nothing like trying and you have here a treasure trove of ideas as a guide. Thanks for sharing!

Brother Ollie said…
Me? I'm a huge compost guy.

For my monk garden.

Great post E.
Ella said…
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Ella said…
Hank-Thank you! I love that you are going to try :D I will be sharing more tips and ideas, soon~ It is fun and surprising! Have fun Hank~

Mary-Thank you! You are sweet...You do! Just start with your grandchildren and let the momentum build :D

MPax-I love the feeling of making cherished gifts! I love to make ornaments and sentimental gifts~
I bet they were beautiful! :D
I am happy you shared~ Thank you!

EJ-Thank you! Oh, the island is bigger, but there is only 5 mls of tarred road. The rest of it is rough dirt roads n' mountain terrain!
I need to remember, lol to not post while on pain meds. I think my writing is a bit off...I remember, lol. Oh, the island is
22mlx34ml It is just wild! There were three clubs. I worked at the Husky Club, after I took the Civil Service Test. It was one crazy place! Some vehicles looked like they belonged in a Mad Max movie ;D
The day I took the test, my car wouldn't start. A friend came and we got it started and it stalled. We had to get out and push it and then ran to jump in it. I got to the exam, 3 minutes before the door closed. Oh, yeah lot of memories :D Thank you~

Vicki-Thank you! Yes, why not...right! I love what you create :D

Dani-Thank you! Are we related?
My Mom is the same way~ If you can use or reuse it keep it. My husband does not come from this clan. He tosses things and I go fetch them, lol. I love the napkin rings! I saw someone in a magazine make bracelets out of the long paint chip cards! :D Yours sound gorgeous! I love it~ Thank you Dani,for your kind words! It is an unique lifestyle.
I will pass this on to my hubby~ <3

Wanda-;D Isn't it a great show! So much heart and I love how the host helps portray the couple's story~
Thank you! Now, how to make them fab for a wedding?! lol

Cynthia-Thank you! I recently saw a vintage scrapbook made with older postcards! It was stunning~
If I find the link I will share it! You would love it~

Bren-I love how green you have always been! Wow, impressive~ I have a friend who cuts up soda cans and makes earrings and art!
Check it out here:
I love what you do and what you shared! :D Sounds like Adak...

Renee-I tried to comment on your blog, but had issues! I'll be back...
Thank you! You are sweet~ If I come your way we will paint the town green with accents of spray ink and chalk! Don't forget the E6000 n' feathers, lol ;D

Lynne-You are so sweet! I love your art..oh, share your altered cardboard someday!!! How fab...
YOU are too kind! ;D I love your art I will be by soon! Your latest offering was gorgeous!!!