Wrapping gifts and rolling candles at a green expo

Last weekend, we had a booth at the Idaho Green Expo in Boise. If you live in another part of the country, you may have raised your eyebrows when you read that sentence. Boise is not exactly the first city that comes to mind when people think green. But guess what, we may just have to change our thinking! This two-day show proved to us that interest in sustainability is alive in the heartland. 

We were surprised and delighted at the seemingly endless waves of visitors who stopped at our booth where we demonstrated two activities that should be in the arsenal of anyone who wants to celebrate in an eco-friendly way–wrapping gifts with fabric and rolling beeswax candles. We folded and rolled until our arms were falling off! But the oohs and ahhs and "I can do that's" that greeted us proved that whether you live in Boise or Boston, you'll find people interested in learning how to celebrate green .

If you'd like to learn how to fold fabric (your own or purchased) in gorgeous origami-like designs around any size or shape package, check out the videos on the great site, www.BoboWrap.com. Once you try, you won't believe how easily you can wrap in ways that will mystify and delight the recipient. The best part? Your wrapping will be used (if it's a scarf, towel etc.) or at the very least, passed on…and on…and on. No waste wrapping at its finest.

Rolling beeswax candles, our second activity, couldn't be easier. These candles make wonderful gifts, burning cleanly with a delightful honey scent. Unlike ordinary candles that are made from petroleum, definitely not a sustainable resource, beeswax comes from…bees! As long as we keep those little guys buzzing (which is becoming more difficult due to colony collapse disorder), they'll continue to keep us supplied with beeswax to burn. And if you don't happen to have a bee keeper next door, the best place we've found to puchase beeswax sheets that can be easily rolled into party candles or hostess gifts, is at www.AToyGarden.com

When Corey's daughter has a birthday party, Corey cuts the beeswax sheets into small pieces, gives each child two and invites them to roll birthday candles. Then each child gets to put one candle on the cake and take one home.

Once you start working with beeswax, you won't want to stop. It's such a simple craft that most children from age four and up can do it. Older children can decorate the candles by sticking found objects on or by using different colors to stick on designs. Depending on how you cut the product, you can have candles that are tall, short, fat or thin. 

If you've got photos of gifts you've wrapped in cloth or beeswax candles you've rolled, please let us know about them in the comment section.

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are a mother-daughter team and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at www.CelebrateGreen.net.

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