Apr 062013

I have a stack of old calendars sitting on a stool in my paper crafting studio, waiting for me to find alternate uses for them. Because the art on these calendars is copyrighted, you can’t really sell anything  you make from the calendar art. That’s what is known as a derivative product, and is strictly no-no when it comes to copyright laws.


There are definitely other ways you can recycle the calendars, however. If you’ve been following some of my past posts, then you know that one of my favorite uses for old calendars is to cut them up for three-ring binders.


I also have an old calendar page that I had matted and framed that now hangs in my sewing room above a knick-knack shelf. I paid more for the frame, I’m sure, than I did for the calendar, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless!


My Aunt Doris in Germany uses old calendars to make wonderful photo albums as gifts. Some years ago, after she and my Uncle Herbert visited our family, she gave me a photo album like this as a remembrance.

Photo Album Collage

Although the photo below shows how I used scrap paper with sock product tags, you could cut up calendars and use them exactly the same way. I attached crochet thread hangers to the tags, which can be used as scrapbooking embellishments or journaling spots.

Recycled Sock Tags

As you can see,  just one calendar page yields quite a few tags. I mount cutouts like these onto card stock, and then punch holes in them to make tags that become thank you giveaways for folks who purchase my products.

Tag Giveaways

You’ll find many more ideas from others about how to upcycle, recycle or re-use old calendars in the following posts:

What do you do with your old calendars?

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.


Apr 222009

On April 22, 1970, in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, members of my 8th grade science class trekked to the local creek, where we began cleaning the banks of gum wrappers, soda cans, beer bottles and paper. It was a “feel good” type of activity, but it was also time off from classes, so everyone was in a celebratory mood. We didn’t realize it then, but that day marked the first Earth Day of many more to come.

Earth Day actually had its roots much earlier in 1962, when Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin became determined that the needs of the environment be addressed by politicians. He approached President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, about making a national conservation tour. Both liked this idea, so in September 1963, the President made a five-day, 11-state tour, promoting conservation. While this tour did not make the political impact that Nelson would have liked, it did set the tone for future plans. These included legislation that Senator Nelson authored for the creation of a national hiking trails program and the Appalachian Trail System. Nelson was also instrumental in co-sponsoring the Wilderness Act, which eventually led to the Environmental Protection Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act.

Six years later, Senator Nelson made his own conservation tour, speaking on college campuses during the anti-Vietnam movement. It occurred to him that the grassroots energy that students invested in their feelings about Vietnam could be used to protest what was happening to our environment, and thus thrust conservation in the eye of politicians. At a conference in Seattle, Nelson announced that in the spring of 1970, there would be a nationwide protest on behalf of the environment, and that everyone was welcome to participate.

The response was immediate and energetic. Thousands of schools and communities participated, each in their own way. The New York Times reported, “Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation’s campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam…a national day of observance of environmental problems…is being planned for next spring…when a nationwide environmental ‘teach-in’…coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned….”

Since that time, Earth Day has been celebrated each spring to remind us of the importance of our environment, and how each of us can make a difference. Ten years before the Senator’s death in 2005, President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Gaylord Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, remarking that “As the father of Earth Day…He inspired us to remember that the stewardship of our natural resources is the stewardship of the American Dream.”

Although Earth Day is officially commemorated by communities across the nation on April 22nd, the week leading up to this date often includes special events. The University of Massachusetts in Boston, for example, is holding an Earth Day Fair to raise awareness about environmental issues. At the National Mall in Washington, D.C., an event called The Green Generation will launch. The Green Apple Festival took place on April 17-19 in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.

While these events are remarkable demonstrations of a unified ecological attitude, we all know that the stewardship message behind Earth Day must be practiced every day in order for a long term positive ecological impact to take place. Members of the BBEST team carry that message forward by developing eco-friendly products and practices, and by creating artistic products that remind us of our responsibilities to this planet.

Sue of maddyandme, for example, does her part by upcycling the leftover wool fibers that are part of her felting process in a Spring Bird Nesting Kit.

Spring Bird Nesting Kit, by maddyandme

Joon of joonwalk makes whimsical Pocketfuls of Starlight that use vintage or reclaimed fabrics, notions and buttons.

Pocketful of Starlight, by joonwalk

Beth of BethPeardonProds speaks about the impact we have on the environment through sand-writing in her ACEO-sized photo, “God’s Earth.”

God’s Earth, by BethPeardonProds

Through her bubblescape titled “Compassion,” Diane of DianeClancy reminds us, “Compassion for ourselves, other people and the earth is an important part of protecting the environment.”

Compassion, by DianeClancy

Sara of LaughingOtterJewelry suggests the symbiotic relationships in nature with her bracelet, “Earth and Water.”

Earth and Water, by LaughingOtterJewelry

Kate of heronkate points to the origins of the earth and how time affects our planet through her Southwestern-colored, pyramid-shaped earrings, shaded like layers of sedimentary rock. According to some, the ancient Egyptians believed that the earth sprang from a mound shaped like a pyramid.

Earth Pyramid Earrings, by heronkate

In her shop, Joni of jstinson features a print titled “Sacred Sites,” by Dakota artist Donel Keeler. According to Joni, the Native Warrior in this illustration “is imploring us to protect the ancient and sacred sites of our Native people.” This respect for people, their history and their relationship to the earth underscores part of what Earth Day is all about.

Sacred Sites, by Donel Keeler, at jstinson

To read other environment-related blog posts by Boomers, refer to the posts below.

© 2009 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. Please note that the images in this post are owned by the artists and may not be used without permission.Simultaneously published at http://boomersandbeyond.blogpost.com.

Jan 142009

The concept of sustainability, as the Environmental Protection Agency defines it, is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It’s not a new idea, but it’s an idea that goes beyond the annual field trip my junior high school class made to the creek on Earth Day to clean up discarded paper, broken bottles and old rubber tires. Although I can remember feeling smug that our generation had the foresight to think about the environment back in 1970 when the first Earth Day was celebrated, there was so much more to do! Seventeen years later, in 1987, the seeds for sustainability were sown when a report called “Our Common Future” was published by the World Commission on Environment and Development.

In concrete terms, sustainable development takes place when economic progress and environmental protection hold hands and march forward together into the future. It happens when items that would otherwise be discarded are upcycled, or converted into new uses. It occurs when reusable products take the place of one-use-only products. It also happens when an article of clothing that is outgrown is passed on to another person, or recycled.

Members of the BBEST team exercise their sustainable development muscles in various inventive and interesting ways. June of Fickle Faerie, for example, sews reusable produce bags that allow fruits and vegetables to breathe, but are also good for the environment because they take the place of plastic bags.

Joon of joonbeam upcycles bits of old magazines and books that would otherwise end up in the local landfill by converting them into inventive pinbacks.

Ann of Greenwillow Crafts sews reusable gift bags that are both a visual and tactile delight.

Alysa of Alysa Merle Handcrafts makes plarn bags by cutting strips from plastic bags, and crocheting them like yarn into reusable bags.

Kym of PaperParaphernalia has fashioned origami business card holders from glossy magazine pages.

Finally, Jeanne of Button Divas reminds us to “Go Green” with her photo button pendant necklace.

With each of these eco friendly products, today’s Boomers remind us that the idealistic children of yesterday’s Earth Day are still working every day to create tomorrow’s sustainable future.

© 2009 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.Please note that the images in this post are owned by the artists and may not be used without permission. Simultaneously published at http://boomersandbeyond.blogspot.com.