Holiday celebrations often include uncorking a special bottle of wine or champagne, and the corks can do double duty by easily transforming into place-card holders for a dinner party. Cork is actually a very green material: biodegradable and renewable, it's made from the bark of the cork oak tree.
The cork oak can live for hundreds of years, and when the bark has been stripped away, it grows back in nine years. The cork industry keeps these trees, and the wildlife that depends on them, alive. According to Portocork America, a manufacturer of natural cork closures, reforestation programs indicate that cork forests are growing at 4 percent a year, and more than 370,000 acres of cork forests have been planted in the Iberian Peninsula since 1988. The seeded paper for the place-cards can be planted in the spring.
• Wine and champagne corks
• A sharp knife
• Seeded paper or recycled card paper from old Christmas or birthday cards
• Holiday rubber stamps
• Nontoxic ink pad
• Coloured pens
You can see a larger image of this project here.
1. Place a cork on its side on a flat surface and carefully cut a slice into the top of the cork about 1/4 inch (6.5 mm) deep. Repeat with the remaining corks.
2. With the scissors, cut the card paper into rectangles 21/2 inches (6 cm) long by 1-1/2 (4 cm) inches high (or in Christmas shapes, if you prefer) and decorate with the holiday stamps.
3. With a coloured pen, write the name of a guest on one side of a card and slide the card into the top of the cork. Arrange a place card at each table setting.
Besides using corks for craft projects (cork bulletin boards are easy and fun to make, as are cork trivets), you can send corks to organizations that reuse them. Start a "green cork" campaign in your neighborhood by asking local restaurants and bars, as well as your neighbors, to collect corks for you to recycle.
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Excerpted from I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas, copyright 2009 by Anna Getty. Used by permission of Chronicle Books LLC.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.