Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas: Tofurkey

Merry Christmas!
I have certainly enjoyed writing the 15 Days of Green Christmas Ideas throughout the holidays. I hope you liked this event too. The Christmas Dinner is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I love all of the delicious foods to eat! At our Christmas Dinner we have a Tofurkey. Tofurkeys are very tasty. They are made completely from all-natural ingredients. They are also much more filling than a normal Turkey. Why not try one this year?

Merry Christmas (And a Happy New Year too), Austin Weiss

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 15: Stay Home for Christmas!

During the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas. Why not stay home? Staying at home is really nice. You can sit down by your warm fireplace and sip on a cup of hot cocoa. Or you could play with your friends and family in the snow, making snowmen, snowforts and having epic snowball fights! Staying home for Christmas is also environmentally friendly. Driving a car creates Carbon dioxide emissions and pollutes the air. Airplanes give off even worse emissions, including Carbon monoxide. So, why not spend this Christmas at home with your family?

Merry Christmas, Austin Weiss

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 14: Custom Gift Tags

Today we have on craft on how to make Custom Gift Tags. They aren't very hard to make but they look great when they're finished.

What You'll Need:
Scissors that create a swirly line or something similar
Black Sharpie Pen

How to make Custom Gift Tags:
Step 1: Cut a small rectangle out of paper with some scissors. Mine was 5cm x 7cm.
Step 2: Draw an image on your card. Make sure you leave enough room to write on it.
Step 3: Write in one corner "To:" and "From:" or "Love:".
Step 4: Put Glue around the edges of your tag.
Step 5: Put Sparkles on all of the glue.
Yay, You're finished!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 13: Paper Stars

I recently stumbled across an awesome paper star craft on YouTube. I wanted to post it here because they're fairly easy to make and looks great hung around a Christmas tree. They can also be used as bows for Christmas presents.
Have fun making these!

What You'll Need:
Four Strips of 1cm-Wide Paper

How to make Origami Paper Stars:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 12: Snowflake Craft

 Paper Snowflakes look great hung on windows during the holidays. Here is an easy guide on how to make some magnificent snowflakes for your house.

What You'll Need:

How to make Paper Snowflakes:
Step 1: Fold the paper in half diagonally.
Step 2:
Step 2: Cut off the remaining piece on the end of the paper.

Step 3: Fold the piece of paper in half once again creating a smaller triangle.
Step 4: Now fold the paper into thirds. Fold one side over to the other.

Step 5: Cut off the "fin-like" ends to make the bottom straight.
Step 6: Trace out small small half circles/ovals on the edges of your triangle. You can also draw some bigger half circles too.
Step 7: Cut out the shapes you traced with your pencil and unfold it. Congratulations, you're finished!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 11: Green Stocking Stuffers Ideas

I love getting cool stuff in my stocking. On the night before Christmas I keep saying over and over in my head, "I wonder what sort of neat things I'll get in my stocking this year". There is lots of awesome green stocking stuffers that I know of. Today I will show you five of my favorite green stocking stuffers.

Number 1: Organic Chocolate
Who doesn't like chocolate? Organic Fair makes the best organic chocolate I've ever had in my life!

Number 2: Wooden Toys
Small wooden toys are fun to play with and are much more environmentally friendly. No chemicals or plastic in these!

Number 3: Handmade Plush Toys
Handmade Plush Toys look so cute. This wonderful plush owl pictured to the right is made of felt.

Number 4: Organic Gummy Bears
Organic Gummy Bears are a tasty treat! They are made with all naturally grown products.

Number 5: Organic Candy Canes
Candy Canes are a great type of seasonal candy. The organic candy canes pictured to the right are made out of various natural ingredients, including organic fruit juice.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 10: Homemade Dog Biscuits

Everyone in the family deserves a present during the holidays, including pets... My mom has created an amazing dog biscuit recipe for our dog, Dawson. Our dog loves them! We have also given them to some our friend's other dogs, which also thought very well of these delicious treats.

What You'll Need:
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Honey
1 Tsp. Olive Oil
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Rolled Oats
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup Unbleached  Flour
Non-Stick Cookie Sheet

How to Make Homemade Dog Biscuits
Preheat your oven to 350F. In a bowl whisk together the Peanut Butter, Honey, Olive Oil and Water. In a separate bowl mix together the Rolled Oats, Whole Wheat Flour and All-Purpose Flour. Combine the mixtures from each bowl together. Roll the dough out until it is about a quarter inch thick. Cut into small squares with a pizza cutter or something similar. Put all of your biscuits onto a Non-Stick Cookie Sheet and bake in the oven approximately 20 minutes. Turn off oven and leave biscuits inside to cool and harden.  And finally, give your furry friend his yummy little treats!

*These biscuits don't have any preservatives like the ones you'll find in the store so they should be kept in an air tight container for one week or placed in the freezer.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 9: Gingerbread Recipe

Gingerbread Cookies are a delicious treat around the holidays! Today we have a recipe for a great gingerbread.

What You'll Need
3/4 Cup Organic Margarine Spread
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Free Range Egg
1/4 Cup Molasses
2 1/4 Cups Unbleached Flour
1 Tsp. Soda
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1 Tsp. Ginger
1/2 Tsp. Cloves
1/4 Tsp. Salt

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies
 Preheat: 350 degrees.
In a small bowl combine flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. In a medium bowl cream margarine and sugar, add egg and molasses. Gradually add dry ingredients. Mix until well combined. Refrigerate dough until firm. Bake for 8-10 minutes, place on cookie rack to cool  completely.

Roll dough to just under 1/4" thickness.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 8: Handpainted Christmas Ornaments

Every ornament on my Christmas tree is special. My mom is a great artist. She has hand-painted several beautiful wooden snowman ornaments for our Christmas tree. In this craft we will show you how to make some of your own ornaments.

What You'll Need:
Acrylic Paints
Wooden Cutouts

How to Make it:
Use your acrylic paints to paint the image on your wooden cutout. Paint with as much detail as you want. Make it wonderful! When you are done use the raffia as a string to hang your ornament on your tree. The raffia string should be tied through the holes of your cutout.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 7: Chai Apple Cider Recipe

One of our family traditions each year is to make hot apple cider. This is our favorite recipe:

In a large pot boil one cup of water. Once the water reaches the boiling point add two bags of Chai tea. Allow to steep for 2-3 minutes. Add five cups of fresh pressed Apple Juice and reheat until desired temperature.

~Warmest Wishes For A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 6: Canvas Painting

I think everyone should have a piece of original artwork in their home. Not everyone can afford a real Picasso but why not try painting something yourself. My mom introduced us to drawing as soon as we could hold a pencil. Soon after we learned how to paint. My mom says children make the best artists because they draw things the way they see them not how they think they should be. It's so much fun playing with color. In art you cannot make a mistake. My sister was 7 years old when she painted the Santa pictured here.

What You'll Need:

White primed canvas
Acrylic Paints
Artist brushes
Your Imagination
optional-ribbon attached with staples at back for hanging

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 5: Living Christmas Tree

This is a picture of our friend's living Christmas Tree. They've placed it in a large pot and will keep it watered while it's inside. It's important to climatize your tree after it's been indoors. You can move it out into your garage first before introducing it back outside. It's also a good idea to use LED lights because anything else gets too hot and could dry out your beautiful tree.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 4: Green Gift Ideas

Number 1: Purica Steel
Purica Steel water bottles are awesome. They keep your water cool and your hot beverages warm, and best of all they keep plastic water bottles out of the landfill!

Number 2: LunchBots
LunchBots made out of 100% Stainless Steel. They are BPA-Free and great for storing lunches.

Number 3: Give a Tree
Giving a Tree to someone is a gift that keeps giving. Trees will also provide shelter for wildlife.

Number 4: Give a Gift of Yourself or Your Time
This could include things such as babysitting or baking something special.

Number 5: Wooden Toys
There are many cool toys on Etsy including these wooden sailboats.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 3: Handmade Christmas Cards

It's such a wonderful time of the year it's great to make some fun crafts. One of my favorite Christmas crafts is Handmade Christmas Cards! These are perfect to send to your family and friends over the holidays.

How to make Handmade Christmas Cards

What You'll Need:
White Cardstock Paper
Assorted Acrylic Paints
Painter's Tape
(Optional) Fine-tipped Permanent Marker

Step 1: Cut your piece of cardstock and fold it in half to create your card.
Step 2: Use Painters' Tape mask off the borders of your card.
Step 3: Paint your sky with blue paint. It should fill up about three quarters of the card.
Step 4: Use your thumb to create three small circles. These will form the snowman's body.
Step 5: Add eyes, a carrot nose, a mouth, arms, a scarf and a hat to your snowman.
Step 6: Use the back of a paintbrush to create snow in the sky with white paint.
Step 7: Take off the Painters' Tape.
Step 8 (Optional): Add other embellishments such as writing (with a Fine-tipped Permanent Marker) or some festive Christmas icons.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 2: Homemade Evergreen Wreaths

Here is a picture of the wreath we made to adorn our front door this year. You'll notice I chose to use "plastic" snowflakes. These have been in our box of decorations for many years. My mom doesn't like them anymore, probably because they're made from non-recyclable plastic. I thought it was better to find another use for them rather than send them to the landfill.  Although our family makes a conscious effort to not purchase items made of plastic when at all possible, sometimes it's better to use what you already have rather than purchase something new.  No trees were harmed during the making of this wreath. We are lucky enough to live near a forest. Recent windstorms have blown down many branches, we simply gathered what we needed to make our wreath. 

How to make your own Evergreen Wreath:

What you'll need:

Wire Wreath form
Florist wire
Needle nose pliers/wire snip
Pine cones
Embellishments (ribbon, holly, ornaments) 

Gather various branches (approx. 8'" in length) into bundles of 4.
Tie them near the base with the Florist wire.
Make enough bundles to go around your wire wreath form.
Once you've arranged them around the form make sure they over lap slightly to cover the cut ends. Wrap wire around the branch bundles to secure them to the form.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 1: Advent Calendar

Counting down to Christmas with an Advent Calendar is always fun. Unfortunately most Advent Calendars end up in the landfill after Christmas. At our house we use a metal reusable Advent Calendar. Reusable Advent Calendars are way better for the environment. You can find all kinds of homemade versions of Advent Calendars on the internet. The Advent Calendar pictured to the right is made from a muffin tin, card-stock in assorted colors and various embellishments. You can purchase the magnetic strip through sign shops, you'll need this to glue your paper to so it will stick to the muffin tin.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Austin's Noddess: 15 Days of Green Christmas Ideas

This Christmas we are having an extra special event here at Austin's Noddess. Starting December 10th I will be blogging for the next 15 days about unique and fun ways to green up your holidays. These posts will include favorite recipes, crafts and home decor. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Barking Sea Lions

Cowichan Bay is a quaint little town just south of Duncan. It's a great spot to observe Sea Lions in their natural habitat. We spotted some Sea Lions laying on one of the docks at the marina. There was at least twenty of them! 
Sea Lions have an incredibly loud voice, they can make a lot of noise when they want to. Some of them were bellowing out really deep and low sounds while we watched. Sea Lion's don't really pay much attention to where they flop their gigantic selves down, in fact it's not uncommon to see them lying on top of each other. This can be frustrating for the guy being squashed below! It was interesting to watch some of these strong animals easily pull themselves out of the water onto the docks with no struggle. Sea Lions are really awesome creatures!