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For the Love of Egg Dyeing

With Earth Day coming up, I’ve been thinking about how to have a greener Easter.  I keep thinking about all those plastic eggs.  I admit it, I have a bunch too.  Over the years, the hardboiled eggs have been increasingly replaced by those candy filled plastic eggs.  Yet, when I think back, my fondest Easter memories are of the fun we had dying eggs with my mother, grandmother and sister.  How proud we were of our free-form creative exploration.  We learned about color mixing when we dipped it into multiple colors.  We discovered how to make half-n-half or rainbow eggs — and learned who had the steadiest hand (or patience) to hold it there just half dipped in.   As a mom now, my daughter and I love dyeing eggs together.   With clear wax crayons, we’ll write an invisible message on the egg and watch it appear in the dye.   As the kids get older, the hunt is over in a matter of minutes, but egg dyeing, that’s an activity!   

What to do with all those hard boiled eggs?  Below is my go-to egg salad recipe: 

8 large, hard boiled eggs, chopped.

½ cup mayo

3 tabs shallots, finely chopped

1 ½ tabs fresh tarragon, chopped

2 tea white wine vinegar

Salt & Pepper

Finely chop the eggs (you can use an egg slicer, fork, or my favorite: pastry blender).  Add all the other ingredients and stir.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes or so, for the flavors to blend.  You can make a sandwich with any type of bread, but my personal favorite is rye bread for this recipe.  You can also make mini-sandwiches for appetizers/snacks.  

Warm Regards,

Alora C 

Sustainability Planner

A Vision In Wood

As part of my Spotlight on wood I look at what artists are doing with it. Last week I saw a piece at CMATO {California Museum of Art, Thousand Oaks} during our collaborative Family Art Day that really struck me. It was a piece by Charles Arnoldi, a local artist out of Venice Beach, California who among other materials, works with wood on a larger scale. I loved reading about his approach to wood as a material. He works with bulky sheets of wood, veneering pieces together, then paints them and either before or after that process uses a chain-saw to carve into and through the veneered slab to create sturdy, abstract works that wow the eye!

See for yourself! You can see this work now on view at CMATO in The Oaks Mall. A few of his works are on display as part of the Landscapes through the eyes of abstraction exhibit.

-Jemma W.

Thursday, February 17th, is Random Acts of Kindness day. I wish kindness were the norm. I believe kindness towards another begets kindness in turn.  We can start small to make a difference. 

Jonah Larson’s journey began with a fluke.  Faced with a bag of crafting supplies, 5-year-old Jonah found the crochet hook and began to teach himself how to crochet.  A self-proclaimed “rascal” in school; crocheting turned out to be just the thing to calm those disruptive impulses.  

His speed and skill at a young age attracted the attention of the media and before long, he became a sensation.  He has used his fame to give back, by building a school and a science center in Ethiopia, his birth country.  Jonah likes to say “crochet brings the world together one stitch at the time.”

Read more about Jonah on his website here.  Learn more about Random Acts of Kindness Day here.  

The great thing about kindness is, it can be big or small in action, a smile, a home cooked meal, a few words of kindness on a slip of paper for someone else. Maybe, if I look closer, kindness is a norm, just not always noticed.

Alora C.

Sustainability Planner

Get Campy This Spring

I love hosting camps in our community so, I am excited that we are nearing camp season. What better way to get the mood started than with a Spring Break Camp! I’ll be hosting my Spring Break Eco Art Camp In partnership with the city of Agoura Hills, April 18th-22nd from 9am to 12pm.

Stay tuned here for sign-ups or contact the City of Agoura Hills now to hold your spot by contacting them at 818-597-7361.
We’ll work on fun themed projects each day and have a blast with open-ended art time too. You can see all the campy details here.
See you in April!

Jemma W.

Valentine Love

I love the way kids embrace Valentine’s Day!  They immediately “get” the idea of showing love, without judgement.   For me, homemade Valentines are the gold standard.  Plus, making them is a great family craft activity, with lasting memories.  I recall with great affection how my mom would set out the construction paper, doilies, glitter and glue and we would make one-of-a-kind masterpieces to send to grandparents and friends. 

However, when a Valentine is required for every kid in a large class (or grade!), homemade Valentines can seem overwhelming.  Here’s an idea that can be made on a larger scale and still keep Valentines eco-friendly: seed paper!  You can make your own, or you can buy it by the sheet or even already pre-cut into hearts.  Attach your heart-shaped seed paper to a recycled paper card with a clever line like “Love Grows” and instructions to plant the card, and you’re set.  If seed paper seems too daunting, you can attach small seed packets instead. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Check out our seasonal inspirations page for more ideas. I hope you have a fun time creating your masterpieces and making lasting family memories.


Alora C. 

Sustainabiliity Planner


January is..

January is a good month for renewing, relaxing, and hanging out at home. Here are a few ideas to keep kids busy and, independant while you do so.

My two favorite go-to’s for kid creating give them the freedom to explore and make with the stuff you have around the house!

Salt dough is a favorite from my childhood that is always fun! Who doesn’t like play dough. It’s fun for the family and for solo kid time. Squish it, cut it, mold it-bake it!
Try the recipe and see what your family can make!

I also love corks for building, stacking, gluing and creating. Making boats is easy and quite possibly the best, with corks being so -floatable. Give your kids a few corks, some rubber bands, and toothpicks to make their own boats that float! they can check out my vide for a quick how-to!

May this January be relaxing, renewing and creative for your family. Happy 2022!


Jemma W.

It’s December!

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to make gingerbread houses with my daughter. 

It all began with one gingerbread house kit, when she was quite young.  Over the years, we’ve expanded. First, we added more candy (of course!)  Next, we created a snow-covered yard out of frosting and pine trees made out of green frosted ice cream cones.  

One year, we were inspired by a bag of licorice scottie dogs, to add a dog house out of graham crackers.  Soon after, our little house began to grow into a small village, with graham cracker shops.  

It is such a creative, fun project with no end in sight.  It’s the kind of project that can grow with your child as their manual dexterity and creative expression matures.   In the early days, it was probably a 20 minute project.  Just this past weekend, I think we spent 3 hours on the “village” spread out over 3 days — and we’re not even done yet!   

Which brings me to what I cherish most about his project:  the time spent with my daughter.  I love that we are building a tradition — and all that snacking candy sure is a good lure!

Happy Holidays,

Alora C

CReATE STUDIO, Sustainability Planner

Onward to Fall

I am so grateful for yesterday’s very happy Halloween.  It was so sweet to celebrate again! 

With the close of Halloween, Thanksgiving isn’t far away.   Thankfully, pumpkins also make great fall decorations!   A neighbor of mine used to decorate her lawn with numerous faux, jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.  The day after Halloween, she would simply turn the craft pumpkins around and instantly transform her lawn into a Thanksgiving scene.   Along the same lines, I often head to the grocery store on November 1 and pick up several real pumpkins for fall decorations.  Depending on where you keep your pumpkin (inside/outside, sun/shade, temperature, etc.), an un-carved pumpkin can last awhile.  Place a piece of aluminum foil or paper plate under it, just in case it starts to rot. 

Here are a few more tips for a sustainable post-halloween:

  1. Compost your jack-o-lantern or place it with lawn waste (remove candles/lights first).
  2. Donate that candy to the dentist’s office!
  3. Save those decorations!  They can be used again next year.  Could you just buy new stuff next year?  Sure.  But you’ll be helping the environment if you can reuse what you’ve got instead of trashing it.
  4. Add your kids’ halloween costumes to the dress-up-bin; donate costumes to a local charity; or pass them off to friend or family member with younger (or at least smaller) kids than yours.

Happy Fall, Y’all,

Alora C

Create Studio

Sustainability Planner

Boo! It’s almost Halloween!

Halloween might just be the kid-friendliest of all holidays.  I recall loving Halloween as a child —what could be better than free candy?   What’s more, I loved wearing costumes on Halloween, and the creative role-playing they spark.  There’s something about Halloween that’s just pure fun.   As an adult, I feel that Halloween brings out the kid in me again.  

After Halloween was “called off” last year, everyone is eager to celebrate this year. Below are a few small tips to reduce waste and have a spook-tacular Halloween:

Organize a kids costume swap!  It’s not too late! The best way to keep stuff out of landfills is to find a way to reuse them.  Get together with a bunch of friends and swap last year’s costumes  Every kid gets to enjoy a new costume and there’s no waste.

Need a last-minute costume? Head to a thrift shop and scare up a costume there.  Lots of inspiration awaits. 

Don’t buy new non-recyclable, plastic-pumpkin, candy totes.  Instead, go green with an old pillowcase or double up some paper grocery bags.  Both can be decorated — now you have a pre-trick-or-treat activity and a candy tote.  You’ve just helped the environment, and you don’t have to store that plastic pumpkin in your garage all summer long.

Tap into your inner make-up artist — forget the non-recyclable costume masks and instead use kid-friendly make-up.  It’s also easier for little kids to see when their vision is not obstructed by a costume mask.  That means make-up is safer for kids and the environment. 

Make the most of your pumpkin— when making Jack-O-Lanterns as a kid, I loved squishing the gooey slimy insides between my fingers.  It might just be the original, natural slime!  But that’s not all, the pumpkin seeds can be toasted for a snack!  Check out how easy it is! 

Most of all have a happy, safe Halloween!
Alora C.
Create Studio Sustainability Planner

We Are All Creative.

Over the years, and the time I have spent in the presence of kids and parents creating. I have come to deeply understand that everyone is creative. Most people, kids excluded, don’t think so. I see creativity as a thinking muscle in our brains.

Creative Entrepreneur Chase Jarvis hosts this interview with Brene Brown, a renowned shame researcher, and professor about among other things, creativity, a subject they both know well. My friend recommended I watch it. Doing so I see that we are all in agreement- We are all creative.
I invite you to watch the video and then I say, let’s own our creativity!

Jemma W.