Central Texas Mom Liza Hunter Galvan Upcycles Snack Bags into Nifty Sacks

Liza Hunter Galvan of San Antonio makes upcycled bags out of snack packaging. Full story at RedWhiteandGrew.com.

As a freelancer, I sometimes write stories for hire that “fit” the vibe here at RW&G. This month I’ve got a piece in a publication by the Boerne Star about a Central Texas mom who makes all kinds of nifty bags out of recycled materials. It’s a perfect story for Earth Day 2014.

Liza Hunter Galvan has the sort of cheerful, bright-eyed, can-do personality that you’d expect of a budding entrepreneur. Yet the idea for her young business, GeeGee Bags, came not from her but from one of her children.

“My youngest daughter came up with the idea. She suggested making a bag out of an old snack wrapper.”

That was 2.5 years ago. Over time the idea has grown slowly with the help of Hunter Galvan’s family. The product line today ranges from small coin purses to large laptop bags.

“I made a few of the first bags, but I’m not the best seamstress. My mom is an incredible seamstress though so I took some materials with us home to New Zealand one summer, and she helped me develop a product that I could sell. Between three generations of women in my family, we came up with an assembly line production including design, preparation and production.”

Now each summer the women and girls partner up to make handmade bags.

GeeGee Bags of San Antonio are made of old snack packaging.

“I take a big suitcase full of trash with me,” says Hunter Galvan with a laugh. “They stop me sometimes [in customs] because of all of the zippers.”

Hunter Galvan says that although she has a website she sells the bulk of the bags at fairs, First Friday art events in San Antonio, Fralo’s and The Point Park & Eats. She also markets her bags and accepts custom orders through her Facebook page. [San Antonio residents please note that Hunter Galvan's bags are now available at the Toy Zone at the new Dominion Ridge store in Leon Springs.]

“My kids are so active, it’s been hard over the last year to get the products out to stores,” says Hunter Galvan, adding that she’s interested in selling to area shopkeepers. “I think my product appeals to people who want something different, a unique gift . . . . What I’d really like do right now is to partner with a group for a fundraiser. I just haven’t found the right group yet. I’m looking to find a group—a school, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts—that I could work with to help sell more of the bags.”

Family and friends alike have helped contribute to the task of collecting snack packaging.

“My kids collect bags from their friends. I’m a runner, so I pick up stuff on the roadside all the time. I’ve even picked up bags at national parks. If I see a bag and think it would look nice—I have a good eye for design, then I can’t stop myself!”

Describing herself as “a little bit shameless” about collecting trash to make into treasure, Hunter Galvan says that she regularly sends empty Ziplocs out with her kids to parties.

“When we have parties and have a lot of friends over, I make a point to buy bags with the coolest packaging,” she says. “It’s almost an obsession.”

Hunter Galvan goes the extra mile to ensure that most other materials in her products are recycled or repurposed. “Only the zippers are new in most of the bags.”
The commitment to eco-friendly living extends beyond her micro-enterprise. At home, Hunter Galvan says, she and her family compost and recycle heavily. “It’s hard for us to throw things out. We have a garden and chickens. While we don’t have a full-on homestead, we do try to reduce our carbon footprint. That’s just the way we want to live.”


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{GHF Blog Hop} Health & Tips for Nurturing Wellness in Gifted/2E Kids (and Adults)

Life-size chess game; for some children and adults chess may induce a soothing psychological stateA life-size chess board at the San Antonio Children’s Museum is the perfect blend of smarts and physical activity.

Today my fellow Gifted Homeschool Forum bloggers around the globe are tackling health and wellness issues for gifted/twice exceptional (“2E”) kids. This post is my contribution to the blog hop. (A complete round up of posts can be seen here.)

This particular topic is important because this population of youngsters (and adults, for that matter) often experience certain challenges when it comes to self-care. For some gifted individuals, their overexcitabilities may make routine visits to the dentist a struggle on multiple fronts–from fear and anxiety to genuine physical over-sensitivities to lights and noises. To ease worry, parents can choose carefully their healthcare provider, schedule a “preview” visit with staff, and share a copy of this page from GHF with advice from compassionate care providers.

Nurturing health and wellness in gifted and 2E kids and adults from Pamela at RedWhiteandGrew.com

Other gifted people who are so fixated on their own interests or work/school responsibilities may succumb to what I call “Absent-Minded Professor Syndrome” and forget or consistently delay routine care and exams. Calendar apps, electronic reminders, and even Post-It notes can go a long way to help resolve this problem, which is primarily an issue of executive function.

Personally, as a gifted adult with an extended family with lots of gifted people ranging from moderate to profoundly gifted, I think the number one challenge for us what we call “hanger” (hunger + anger=hanger a.k.a. “being hangry”). I’ve read other people pin this problem to overactive bodies and minds that burn fuel faster, but I think executive function plays a role, too. We gifted folks sometimes get so distracted that we forget to eat, blood sugar drops and then tempers flare. For some reason I personally have always had the biggest problem with this on vacation, maybe because I lose the regular rhythm of my day.

Part of our regular daily rhythm as a homeschool family includes physical activities that induce a state of flow, or complete absorption in what one is doing.  Such activities may include martial arts, yoga, tai chi, walking, hiking, and even walking meditation (my personal favorite). More energetic spirits may enjoy vigorous sports to “get the wiggles out,” yet I think the elegant restraint of martial arts et al induce an added measure of serenity that stays with us long after the session is over, making routine tasks and challenges easier to manage. The trick with activating flow is that one must feel confident and challenged at once. For kids, martial arts work extraordinarily well because slow, steady advancement is a built-in rewards system. And some kids may find that reading or games with complicated rules (like chess) helps bring about a state of flow.

What are your favorite methods of self-care? What works well for your children? For you?

RedWhiteandGrew.com is a stop on the April 2014 GHF Blog Hop. The topic? Promoting health and wellness in gifted/2e kids. Check it out!


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