Archive for October, 2009

The Newest Trends in Holiday Crafts


(NewsUSA) – Today’s economy has inspired a thrifty, do-it-yourself mentality that resonates with many Americans -; a trend that will no doubt carry into holiday gift-giving.

In 2008, over 42.6 million households created handcrafted gifts, and no wonder — not only can handcrafted gifts recycle materials and save money, they also prove far more memorable than any department store gift card.

“With tightening budgets, more innovative craft supplies and products, and greater inspiration coming from the DIY movement with TV, the Internet, and craft publications, we are experiencing a perfect storm for an incredible handcrafted holiday gift-giving season,” explained Craft & Hobby Association CEO Steve Berger.

According to the CHA Designer Holiday Trend Report, we can expect to see several key trends in 2009′s holiday crafts:

- Give a gift, save the world. Eco-friendly gifts that repurpose or reuse items will prove popular. For example, crafters will transform old sweaters into patchwork blankets, stockings, bags and wreaths, or turn picture frames into ornaments.

- Knit up some nostalgia. Crafters will recreate simpler times with old-fashioned items and toys. The sock monkey, for example, has made a huge come-back with kids and is showing up in both traditional and non-traditional colors.

- Craft with your computer. Using the latest three-dimensional embellishments combined with downloaded images is part of a huge trend in the craft world. Hybrid crafting can be personalized by printing written phrases, names and dates, or decorating digital creations with large, thick and textured embellishments.

- Pick sophisticated colors. Red and green will remain popular this holiday season, but crafters will choose traditional hues like avocado, kelly green and forest green. Deep purple and chocolate will show up often, as will gold and silver, because they create a more expensive look.

- Appreciate a good motif. Popular holiday motifs will likely include happy snowmen, reindeer, vintage Santas, birds, snowflakes, trees and retro animals and teddy bears

 Think pink on the job and raise awareness of breast cancer

(ARA) – One out of every eight will receive a breast cancer diagnosis during her lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. Every woman diagnosed is someone’s mother, aunt, best friend, neighbor or coworker. Every day is a great day to step up and fight this deadly, yet treatable, disease, but an especially good time is during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.  

“Office communities are great places to generate awareness for the various charities that need support to keep the hope for a cure alive and strong,” says Mike Patriarca, president of, a leading business-to-business online and direct marketer of office products.  
Patriarca suggests the following ways to motivate and mobilize your workplace colleagues to join the fight against breast cancer in October:

Buy products with a conscience  

Many companies have partnerships with breast cancer charities. For example, a portion of proceeds from the sale of pink products at benefit breast cancer research foundations like City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center dedicated to research, treatment and education. Visit for more information.  

Encourage employees to wear jeans and their favorite pink t-shirts each Friday  

Everyone is happy to observe casual Friday and most are happy to make a donation for the privilege of doing so. Collect small contributions from each participant to benefit a charity such as City of Hope or the American Cancer Society.  

Assemble colleagues to participate in a charitable event  

Create an office team and sign up for the nearest Walk for Hope to Cure Breast Cancer, Avon Walk for Breast Cancer or 2-Day Walk.  Train together and ask your company to match dollars pledged.  

Invite employees to share stories about friends and family who have battled breast cancer  

Create an “Inspiration Collage” of survivor photos and profiles on a bulletin board in a communal area of the office – such as the kitchen or break room.  

Encourage all female workers older than 40 to get screened.  

Breast cancer is most effectively treated with an early diagnosis. Work with your human resources department to distribute a reminder e-mail that encourages workers to schedule their annual mammograms.

Take a “day off” to volunteer at a local breast cancer organization or hospice  

Many companies sponsor volunteer days for employees. Find the perfect opportunity that fits the interests and skills of your coworkers through a search engine like

Make your clicks count by visiting Web sites that promote breast cancer awareness  

Visit and click to help fund mammograms for low-income women through the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  Starting in October, follow on Twitter or “friend” the company on Facebook to learn more about its efforts to raise money for breast cancer research and treatment.      

For more ideas on how to make a difference during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, visit  

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Flu bug not the only health concern for students this year

(ARA) –  The H1N1 flu virus may be the newest concern this season, but it’s not the only health threat for children at school worthy of serious attention. Threats like cockroaches, stinging insects and other types of common pests like rodents are very real, affecting classrooms, cafeterias and school grounds across the country. Controlling pests like these is a daily challenge for school systems at all levels, and to do it effectively, they need access to the right tools to fight, prevent and eliminate these persistent problems.

The best way to safeguard schools against the threats and health risks posed by common, everyday pests is to use an integrated pest management (IPM) approach. IPM is defined by the federal government as a sustainable approach to pest management that combines biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks.

Following IPM means using a variety of control methods, not just one. When schools limit the tools available to keep pests at bay, they are limiting the overall effectiveness of pest control programs. Decisions to ban or limit products like pesticides can come at a significant cost to health and safety, as experts agree that the most effective programs are those that include the responsible use of chemical pest control products where necessary.

“There are many different kinds of pests that can show up in a classroom, cafeteria or a schoolyard, and there are usually several options available to deal with these pest problems,” says Allen James, president of Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, also known as RISE, a national organization representing the manufacturers, formulators and distributors of pesticide and fertilizer products. “The responsible use of pesticides is one of the options needed to keep pests out of the classroom and schoolyards safe, and when applied as part of a broader IPM approach, pesticides are very effective.

“These products are thoroughly tested, regulated and registered through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” James says. “They are specifically designed to target the bugs and poisonous plants that can spread disease and pose serious health threats, and they need to be available to school systems for situations where they’re the best option available.”

Sometimes, pesticides are simply the most practical solution to reduce the risk of injury or illness related to pest infestations, and the control of cockroaches is generally one such case. The presence of cockroaches has been shown to cause significant health problems, especially for young children, and cockroach populations are extremely difficult to manage without the right tools for the job.

In 2005, the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, a federal agency funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, published a report identifying cockroach allergens as the primary contributor to childhood asthma in inner-city homes. These allergens – which include roach saliva, fecal matter, secretions, cast skins and dead bodies – were found to foster the development and onset of childhood asthma.

“Cockroaches are a difficult pest to fight without the proper use of pesticides,” James explains. “When there are several people in a relatively small space, any contact with roach allergens and bacteria is going to affect more people. That kind of situation arises frequently in homes and also in schools when you get 20 or more kids in the same room for several hours each day. In that type of environment, any kind of exposure to roaches and other causes is going to get magnified.”

According to data from the American Lung Association, asthma is the leading serious chronic illness among children under the age of 18 in the United States, affecting approximately 6.8 million children nationwide. Reducing exposure to known allergens is the best way to prevent asthma development and asthma attacks, and prevention starts with the elimination of unnecessary allergens in places where children are going to be for hours on end, like schools and classrooms.

While most of the national conversation might be centered on protecting children from the H1N1 flu virus, the new bug in town is not the only one worthy of attention. With the constant risks of asthma and other pest-related health threats, schools need to carefully consider what pest control tactics make the most sense for their specific situation. Having all of the tools available is the first step toward implementing a successful pest control program that provides the best possible protection each day for children at school – both inside and outside of the classroom.

Courtesy of ARAcontent


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