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Sunday, August 24, 2014


DIY Eco-Friendly Leash for Your Pet – Easy, Simple and Fun!

doga and feret on leash

You are a big fan of DIY projects, so why not try something for your very best friend, your pet dog?

Quality dog accessories are expensive, and you already may have stretched the pet-stuff budget getting home quite a few of the goodies you saw at the store.

Dog leashes are one of your favorite buys, and would you not love to have some lovely leads to make evening walks with your dog easier?

Dog collars and leads are some of the simplest-to-make items for your dog, and just as essential if you have an energetic pooch who takes you for a walk rather than the other way round.

In this post we look at how you can create your own dog leads and restraints (using eco-friendly material) and give them a personalized touch.

Eco-Friendly Dyed Dog Lead
Colorful rope leashes are quite popular. They are strong and sturdy, durable and pretty to look at as well. So why not make one for your pooch instead of shopping online for one?

You can choose the color of your choice and get started. You will need a quality rope about 3 yards long and 3/8 inch thick. Go for eco-friendly recycled nylon climbing rope. There are also several companies that make ropes from donated stuff and recycled materials, so you can rest assured you will find an apt choice.

In addition to the rope you will need a natural and organic fabric dye that is safe for your pooch as well as the environment. Choose a color of choice, but if it is a dark shade like orange or black, you can dye your lead to get a perfect gradient or a dip-dyed effect.

You also need 2 rubber clamps and a snap hook. You can look for green options while purchasing these as well.

Now let’s see how you can go about making that stylish dog leash.

Step #1: Determine the Length of the Lead

  • Six feet is the standard length of dog leashes and a safe measure to go with. Measure the rope and cut it as per the length you need. Tape, melt or tie the ends so that the rope does not unravel.

Step #2: Prepare the Rope for Dyeing

  • Soak the rope in warm water for some time. This helps the rope absorb the dye better.
  • Prepare the dye as per the instructions given on the pack. You require very less quantity for this project, so use accordingly and avoid wastage.

Step #3: Dip and Dye Away!

  • Dip the whole rope in the dye and take it out immediately. You can divide the rope into three parts and get each portion dyed to a different degree.
  • Dip the portion you want to be dyed deep for a longer period in the dye. The other two portions can be dipped for different time periods according to the gradation you want.
  • For best results use eco-friendly dyes.

Step #4: Let the Colors Set on the Rope

  • Remove the rope and let it line-dry for some time. The purpose of this step is not to dry the leash but to let the dye hold fast.
  • Putting the darker end at the top allows the dye to creep down to give a lovely gradient effect to your leash.

Step #5: Rinse Thoroughly

  • The next step is to rinse the rope thoroughly in cold water, until the water runs clear. You can use a recommended fixative to help seal the colors.
  • Dye fixatives are a bit opaque when it comes to the eco-friendly part, so you can choose to forgo using them, until and unless you are sure they are certified green.

Step #6: Hook, Snap and Clamp- You Are Ready!

  • This step comes after the rope has dried completely. It may take close to a full day for the rope to dry, so give it the necessary time to air out.
  • Feed the chosen end of the rope through the snap hook and form a small loop. You can secure the free end with a pair of rubber clamps.
  • Now, move to the other end of the rope where you need to form the loop that goes over the head of your dog. Form a suitably big loop, and secure the loose ends with the rubber clamps as before. (The rule of thumb is if your dog’s head measures 20 inches you need a loop that is 10 inches wider. So 20 inches + 10 inches= 30 inches wide)
  • You can camouflage the rubber clamps with a cute DIY sleeve or covering made of a material of your choice. Yarn, twine or recycled leather covering will work fine. Google for ideas!

Reflective Dog Leash

  • A reflective dog leash will help make both you as well as your dog visible to the traffic while out for a late-evening stroll.
  • This is a really simple project and will help give a facelift to an old, but favorite leash. Leashes made from organic materials usually have an old and worn-out look, so you can use the reflective tape to jazz things up.
  • You need a reflective fabric tape approximately 2 inches longer than the leash. There are eco-friendly reflective tapes available that are made from non-toxic materials and are bio-degradable. Some come with safe self-adhesives as well for extra convenience.
  • While measuring for the length of the fabric tape required, you should also add in the hand loop of the leash. Cut out the fabric strip according to the measurements.
  • Apply a thin layer of eco-friendly glue over one side of the leash. Press the reflective fabric tape onto the surface, smooth out as you go and hold it in place firmly.
  • If there are excess fabric ends around the leash, trim them for a clean fit.

You can follow the same process for the collar also. If there are loops or buckles, you can thread in the reflective tape through them to cover the entire face of the collar.

There are plenty of DIY projects that you can try out to craft perfect accessories for your dog. The end products may not have the finish or the style of commercial products. But since you made them with all your love, they will have the personalized touch your pooch will definitely heart.

Written by: Nicola Reynor

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Friday, August 22, 2014

eco fashion friday finds – it’s still summer

upcycled boho dress

This flirty boho summer “Lucia” dress is the perfect casual bop-around for those breezy, late summer days. Handmade – the upper portion of the dress is made from an upcycled camouflaged tank and the lower part is upcycled tiered cotton – with a bold print and flowing hem. Features a knit/lace/velvet flower, and lace and button horizontal panel along back. Made in Portland by Laura Separa who specializes in creating eco-friendly upcycled clothes. $70 @ Andy Summer
organic cotton fox tshirt

Are you feeling foxy? This eco-friendly woman’s fitted tee (above) is embellished with a fox applique that’s made from up-cycled fabric and button eyes, outlined by hand with satin stitch embroidery. The t-shirt is ethically manufactured in Canada from 50% organic cotton and 50% recycled polyester by the social enterprise “Me to We Style” – features a fabulous heathered teal / green color. Definitely a hipster showstopper. $45.95 from Stitch and Spoke

bamboo sunglasses

Arrow Project has created a new line of 100% bamboo sunglasses (above) and is raising cash via crowdfunding with their recently launched Kickstarter project. The company’s “Bamboo Sunnies” – that’s Australian for sunglasses – feature frames made from renewable bamboo and fancy polarizing lenses.

Pledge $69 or more to get one of the first pair. If all goes according to plan these non-prescription shades will retail for $120 in January.

vegan cork bracelet

The band of this cute vegan bracelet (above) has been made from recycled cork. The piece is handmade and designed by a two gal outfit called Wyoming Hammered. $28

related: more eco fashion finds from


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How A Hip Mom Can Dress Her Child In Cool Fashion For Cheap

mom and kids

Mothers are forever lamenting the high prices of kiddie clothes and unavailability of the low-priced high-end clothes. It is just impossible to think of such instances in normal circumstances. Nevertheless, children need to be dressed, and drab clothes make them stand out as most children do not accept anything less than fashionable clothes in order to go among company. To make sure that children do not climb down the social ladder, mothers have to effectively plan their wardrobe and make all the activities happen without letting the shadow of being unfashionable child. In modern society, it is as important to look good as it is to be good.

Choices make smart results
Smart mothers know where to look for amazing children’s clothes without expending much money. Money is not the answer to great clothes. It is the taste and acumen of the mothers to choose great clothes and fabrics that make them supply clothes to their children. The major difference between the branded clothes and the alternatives is the quality. The fabric and tailoring make the most of the difference for the choice of the clothes. However, there are many instances where these clothes are available for lower prices because of minor undetectable problems, and the company decides to sell them.

Making brands affordable
Brands are not affordable by all. However, it should be kept in mind that there are many stores that offer the branded products in their original condition. The clothes become affordable by means of discount coupons. The help of coupons in making the products affordable by those who could otherwise never think of buying them is the essence of the whole process. Coupons are available from many sources. Some of them are available in magazines and newspapers. Many others are available from the stores themselves. Both online and offline options are available to get the coupons.

Finding right coupons
The online stores for the kids’ apparel have many offers in place for those who buy clothes from them such as the coupon codes. These coupons are available in the form of flashing boxes or as offers on set purchase limits. Once the purchase goes through, it requires entering a code to get a discount on the product. In addition to that, there are websites that allow users to download the coupons from their website after purchase or for free. Not all coupons are for free, and they all need some or the other form of purchase accompanying it.

Free and yet not
People have an innate liking for freebies. Although not strictly free, the facility to lower the price is considered to be one of the best aspects of the coupons. Mothers do not feel like they let the interests of the children fade while they save money on the side. It allows living without restrictions and compromise. Most prominent stores have coupons that they offer their clients in the belief that they will return to avail the discount at a later date. Unlike online stores, where coupons popup for use, the paper coupons have to be gathered beforehand to show in the store.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

modern industrial: wine bar in reclaimed wood

reclaimed wood wine bar

Creating furniture using reclaimed and salvaged wood saves living trees

Chicago’s Dendro Co specializes in creating character-laden handcrafted modern industrial furniture featuring vintage wood salvaged from the remains of old local buildings. We particularly like their wine table (above and below) made from a 160 year-old reclaimed plank with legs and frame made from industrial pipe.

reclaimed wood wine bar

The piece has that rustic modern look that works in so many contemporary home decor situations.

Dendro handcrafts an extensive line of modern industrial furniture – from dining and coffee tables – to stools, consoles, chairs and other furniture in keeping with their motto: Reclaim. Reimagine. Rebuild.

dendro wine bar

The wine/console measures 48″ and features a 6 bottle wine rack; the piece is also available in a 72″ version that holds a robust 12 bottles. Great for small apartment or breakfast nook. $250 @ dendroco

related: more eco-friendly furniture featured on The Alternative Consumer

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Love Your Reef Tank Without Loving Coral Reefs to Death

For novice aquarists fresh water tanks are usually a starting point because they are easier and cheaper to maintain. But some may say that coral reef tanks are the Bentleys of aquariums. Despite their deep love for these amazing species many aquarists buy corals, fish and inverts that have been taken from wild reefs. A lot of reef species are obtained from the exploitation and over harvesting of already threatened reef systems. Some estimates put 60% of corals reefs in critical danger. The practice of taking corals, fish and invertebrates from these fragile systems for aquarium practices has been going on for decades.

purple stylo

There are however ways to enjoy having salt water species in your tank without promoting their exploitation, simply buy from aquaculture providers instead. As American aquarists have become more eco-conscious companies have taken notice and new options are all over the market. Fort Pierce, Florida based, ORA ( Oceans, Reefs & Aquariums), offers aquacultured hatchery-raised saltwater fish, invertebrates, and live aquarium foods and Sustainable offers access to aquacultured corals, fish, plants and inverts from various aquaculture providers. (more…)

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