March 3, 2016

Earth Day

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I know what you're thinking.
 - If this is an Earth Day tablescape, where are the earth tones?
   Where are the scattered twigs, the birdies, the butterflies?
   How about a globe centerpiece or a least some potted plants?

 - Sorry! You'll find none of those.
   And I have my reasons.

Although a birthday celebration will take place here, you are looking at a table that's in keeping with the spirit of Earth Day. Every element on the table was chosen to reflect the slogan "Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce."

Let me step you through the process.

Repurpose That Tired Old Bed Sheet

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Start with an old king size sheet. Should the thought of using an old bed sheet make you squeamish, you can always boil
 photo a2fc5b68-42ff-427c-a97c-1e1c4e5fc9e4.pngit on the stove before you begin.

If you use a solid colored sheet, send it into party overdrive by adding lots of large colorful dots.

Voilà! An eco-friendly tablecloth.
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I've written a few additional thoughts on the bed sheet transformation and placed them below.

STEP 2: The Centerpiece
Picture of tablecloth and centerpiece with candles

Recycle Glass Jars and Plastic Soda Bottles

Make a centerpiece of which you can be ecologically proud.

Using the Pour-in-the-Paint-and-Swirl-It-All-Around method, give the inside of each glass jar a coat of acrylic paint.

While the bottles are drying, get to work on the flowers.
Begin by cutting the bottoms off several 2-litre soda bottles.
Click here for the complete directions.

My flowers are chunky, but there are online tutorials that explain ways to achieve a more sophisticated look.

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See the vase filler? I'm still recycling those 2013 Mardi Gras beads.

Rescue What's Left of the Soda Bottles

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Cut down all those bottomless leftover bottles as shown. Glue them together, neck-to-neck.
Paint. Let dry. Drop in a taper and feel secure in the knowledge that you're helping Mother Earth.
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PICTURE OF candlestick grouping

Varying the height of the lower bottle can add interest when grouping them together.

Candlestick Source.

STEP 3: Add the Plates and Napkins
Picture of the plate with napkins and clips

Repurpose a Few Clothespins

An upscale restaurant in California's Napa Valley uses round pinch-type clothespins as napkin holders.
Why not duplicate the same look on your own dining table?
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If you don't have any pinch type clothespins floating around, use the spring type. You can leave them naked, or give them a coat of paint.
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Speaking of clothespin napkin holders, take a look at the
St. Patrick's Pinch Me Clothespins on The Painted Apron. Darling!

Reuse Your Cloth Napkins and Everyday Dishes

Forgo those coordinated paper plates and napkins sold in the party stores. Visit your kitchen cupboard and linen closet instead.
Post-party Cleanup will find the napkins in your laundry basket, not in your trash can. When they've become so frayed that they're BTU (beyond tablescape use), you can give them a second career in your rag bag.

As for that sink of dirty dishes: Remember, there's something therapeutic about plunging your hands into warm water.
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STEP 4: Complete Pacesetting
Picture of the pacesetting with glasses and name card holder

Reduce the Demand for New Manufacturing

Get on board the Mismatched Flatware Craze.

If silver content is not important to you (and your OCD will allow it), take advantage of this design trend and rummage through the flatware bins at your local thrift shop.
It'll take several visits to assemble eight 4-piece place settings. In the meantime, mix in pieces you already own.

Reusing old discarded flatware keeps the pieces out of landfills and reduces the demand for new manufacturing.

Reuse (and reuse and reuse) Those $1 Glasses

I have an aversion to drinking out of a paper cup; but when glass drinkware collides with a brick floor, bad things happen. Consequently, I have four boxes of Dollar Tree tumblers and wine glasses reserved exclusively for patio use.

With a little bit of time and a little bit of paint, you can find yourself in the
novelty wine glass business. And all the while you'll be doing your part to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

There are steps you can take to make the paint permanent. Although I might keep these cuties (I'll have to bake them if I do.), I usually remove the painted design at the end of the evening. A good soaking and a scratchy sponge will do the trick in short order.

If you decide to apply some decoration, be careful to start your painting below the lip line.

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To view a few past designs sported by my Dollar Tree glasses, look below.

Recycle Those TP Rolls

A few simple folds and some paint prepares each tube for double duty:
gift box and place card holder.

What's inside?
A packet's worth of wild flower seeds.
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Complete Table>
Stage 3

Red plates: Pottery Barn, picnicware
White napkins: Christmas gift from friend
Flatware: thrift store finds and some of my old pieces
Tablecloth: Old sheet
Stemware: Dollar Tree

This marks the official ending to the tablescape portion of this post. Tutorials follow.

Flower Tutorial

1. Cut the bottoms off several plastic 2-liter soda bottles. Trim around the bumpy thingies on the bottom and shape the ends into rounded petals.
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I found that it helps to draw a cutting line before you begin,
as it's easy to lose sight of the contours as you cut.
Wipe off any remaining lines before you paint.
2. Drill a hole in the center of the plastic bottom.
Paint the plastic flower and the soda bottle cap.

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3. Cut a length of wire for the stem. Bend one end into a tight spiral.
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4. Insert the wire through the drilled hole and pull through until the spiral end rests up against the plastic.
Hot glue the spiral into place. Add a bead of hot glue to the back as well.
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5. Glue the cap over the wire spiral.
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6. Optional:
Twist a spiral foot for the flower to rest on.
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Back to Recycle Glass Jars and Soda Bottles

Tablecloth Notes:

The inspiration for this Giant Confetti Tablecloth came from Oh Happy Day.

The king sheet, though not long enough to completely cover the length of the table, was considerably wider than needed. After cutting off the decorative edging at the top of the sheet, its width was trimmed down to allow for an 8-inch overhang. The leftover remnant was used to add length to either end of the cloth. Raw edges received a shirttail hem.
If you decorate the sheet with paint, iron on the reverse side.

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My circles are 3 inches in diameter.
Jenny, at Oh Happy Day, used a stencil for her circles. I traced around a circle pattern and filled it in with paint. My method probably doesn't produce as crisp an edge.
I started my painting on the floor, but found that the location of the last dozen or so circles was easier to determine after placing the tablecloth on the table.

Note: If you'll be painting large areas the same color, ditch the 2-oz. bottles of craft paint. Purchase sample size containers of acrylic paint ($2.99 ea.) from your local big box store.

Back to Recycle That Tired Old Bed Sheet

One Glass, Many Looks

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The first two glasses have a paper printout glued on with Elmer's white glue. The designs were printed on glossy paper. Cutting out the design with care (no white showing around the edges) and covering the entire back surface with glue will create a decoration that looks like a sticker. The designs slide right off after a good soaking. The Believe! design was made with a paint pen.
To make the bloody wine glass, hold the glass horizontally by its stem and rotate , all the while squirting a ring of red glass paint around the outside. Sit the glass upright and let the paint dribble down.
Back to Reuse Those $1 Glasses

TP Gift Boxes

Flatten the roll. Use a bone creaser on the folds,
pressing extra firmly on the four corners.
On both sides of the flattened roll,
draw an arch at each end.
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Score and fold along the arch lines.
Paint or cover with colored paper.
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Back to Recycle Those TP Rolls

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