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Home & Garden

East Cobbers love their homes and gardens. The EAST COBBER home and garden blog features awesome home and garden happenings, ideas, deals and tips to improve your living environment. Do you have an idea for the H&G blog? Email submissions and photos to

EAST COBBER readers receive $500 off a new roof


In the market for a new roof? Call Crist Roofing & Construction and receive $500 off any new roof when you mention the ad on page 3 of our December issue.

No job too big or small, they do it all. Call 770-514-9653 or visit


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Support Mabry Park

To learn how to become a part of District Three’s newest passive park, visit and to remain updated, sign up for the monthly newsletter.

Please also support the group on


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This isn’t about us; it’s about you—the people of East Cobb County. Everybody has a story, and we want to hear yours. If you know of a person, group, or event that should be featured in the pages of or event that should be featured in the pages of the EAST COBBER for any reason, please call 770-640-7070 or e-mail to let us know.




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15 Go Green This Holiday Season Simple Eco-Friendly Holiday Tips


Green is a color anyone can experience just by looking outside. And green is a color of the holiday season. And money. These are all good things.  Environmental responsibilities seem to get lost in the chaos of holidays. As a matter of fact, reports that the U.S. produces 25  percent more waste between Turkey Day and New Year’s Eve— so during the holiday season we become a nation of EXCESS.

Offset Carbon Footprints: If you plan to travel a lot during the holidays, offset your carbon emissions with donations. has a tab to calculate your full shopping basket and carbon footprint; or gift an offset with an eCertificate.

Eco-Donations: Make a donation to an environmental charity instead of meaningless spending this holiday. Substitute a contribution for a family gift and décor item; or make a tradition out of donating to an environmental or animal charity.

Thermostat Downtime: Counteract your increased winter electricity bill by turning down the thermostat when you go to bed.

Keep Local: Do your best to keep food and purchases this holiday season organic, local, and sustainable.  In addition to being healthier and more delicious, you can feel good knowing that your feasts and gifts haven’t depleted any precious natural resources or wasted energy in getting to you.

Décor: Between wasted energy and discarded Christmas trees, holiday décor can create more waste than most of us understand. Here are a few ideas for green décor:

Lights LED Christmas lights are an easy swap to make that save more than 95 percent of energy overtime, according to Also, go for mini lights instead of larger lights, and shut them off  when you go to bed – nobody is appreciating the light at 3 AM! Try flipping all the lights off and dining
by candlelight for eco-friendly holiday evenings.

Make or Reuse Decorations: Rather than splurging on new Christmas décor, give a DIY or Pinterest project a whirl; or make a tradition out of reusing family and vintage Christmas décor. Trees: There are many alternatives to the farmed Christmas trees we so often see on street corners.

Decorate a living plant, or purchase artificial Christmas trees to use for years (or decades!). If you do purchase a living tree, be sure to choose Fair Trees. Fair Trees promotes ecology and sustainable forms of production in consideration of the environment. Currently, only 40 percent of the 50 million Christmas trees chopped down each year are recycled, according to

Gifts: Believe it or not, also reports that wrapping paper and shopping bags alone account for about 4 million tons of trash annually in the U.S.

Recycled Paper: Easy. Wrap your gifts in recycled paper; rather than shiny, metallic rolls you see in your local shops which are hard to recycle. has fantastic, green wrapping paper options.Reusable Wrap: nylon bags are an inexpensive and fun way to wrap gifts— they’re reusable and compact, and reduce even more waste at your local grocery store overtime. Another cool idea is to wrap gifts in decorative boxes, reusable vessels, or wearable items like scarves.

Select Gifts Carefully: Some gifts come in ambiguous containers or boxes and don’t need wrapping, others are small enough that they require less paper.

Give Digitally: Sending digital cards is an effective way to reduce waste, check people off your gift list, and ensure that your beloved ones will like what they receive. is another fantastic option— the iPhone app allows users to send digital gifts directly to any friends Facebook wall.

Mail: According to, the energy used to produce, deliver and dispose of junk mail each year produces more gas emissions than 2.8 million cars. There are simple ways to cut back on that waste during the peak of the mail season.

Cut the Catalogs: Don’t subscribe! Cut your holiday catalogs before the season begins and shop online when possible to prevent added mail.

Card Composition: Each year 200,000 trees will be cut down to make holiday cards, according to an online report. If you choose to send cards, try to be mindful of where the paper is sourced. Look for recycled paper or wildflower-seeded cards like those from, and recycle cards
you receive.

Use The Web: The eCard industry has come leaps and bounds into classier territory. Now, there are designer, wallet-friendly digital cards available on sites like Customize the colors of the eCard, envelope, liners, text, photos, and send in an instant (and for cheap!).

(Source: Two Hummingbirds Real Estate via


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Show us your holiday! We want to celebrate with you!


Show us your tinsel East Cobb! Send your favorite holiday photos to or

Show us your holiday East Cobbers!! Whether you’re spending the season at home or traveling over the bridge and through the woods, we want to come along with you.

You’re working hard to make this holiday season happy, merry and bright, so share it with your neighbors! Turkeys, trees, tinsel, your Christmas card photo – we want it all!

Send your  Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah photos to or You might just be our next Photo of the Day!

CLICK to visit the Photo Archives.

Beekeeping 101 Offered at Smith Gilbert Gardens


Smith Gilbert Gardens will present Beekeeping 101 program which will start in January and will be taught over a 9-month period. Course topics include: the history of beekeeping, hive construction, care of the hive, and harvesting of honey. Participants will learn how to identify the most common problems impacting hive health, how to prepare bees for winter months, and the best ways to extract honey.

Taught by Daphney Glass, Beekeeping 101 provides a comprehensive approach to beekeeping. Encouraged by a friend to take the class at Smith-Gilbert Gardens, Daphney was quickly captivated by the art and science of beekeeping and wanted to learn everything she could. She is a member of the Metro Atlanta Beekeeping Association and the Cherokee Beekeeping Club. In addition to the training she received under beekeeper Dan Harris, Daphney attended a week-long conference hosted by the Eastern Apicultural Society and then passed the certification test to become a Certified Beekeeper.

Daphne shares this about her connection with this ancient practice, “There are not many things in life that can give you conflicting mixed emotions, fear and excitement, all at the same time quite like the first time you see an open hive and a full frame covered with bees.” Daphney is now the beekeeper at Smith-Gilbert Gardens and through this course hopes to inspire others to have at least one colony of bees in their own backyard.

All aspects of keeping healthy bees will be covered during the course. In addition to the course instruction, participants may construct their own hives and stock with nucs (queen and bees). By next spring you could have your own hive and bees buzzing around your garden – the sure sign of a healthy garden! Course fee: $225; Garden Members receive a 10% discount. Please note: Additional expenses for protective equipment, hives, frames, and nucs are not included in the course fee.

Estimated expenses:
• Protective equipment (gloves and hat with netting): $50
• 8 or 10 frame hive: $265
• Nucs : $160 each. A nuc or nucleus  to give it its full title consists of 3 or 5 frames of bees, brood, both open and sealed, honey and pollen stores and a laying queen of the current year.
• Medications: $10
• First season’s feed: $20

Smith Gilbert Gardens is located at 2382 Pine Mountain Rd NW in Kennesaw. For more information or to register, contact the Garden office at 770-919-0248 or email

Preparing for Holiday House Guests

Christmas tree with presents and fireplace with stockings --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Creating space for guests in your home involves more than providing a comfortable place to sleep; it’s an opportunity to make people feel welcome and ensure that their time spent with you is memorable. But does preparing for their arrival fill you with anxiety?

Here is a wonderful checklist with some simple tips to make your house guests feel right at home.

(Source: Two Hummingbirds Real Estate Group)


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East Cobb Couple Spearheads Project Mail Call


On November 13, Mary and Ed Ettel were named East Cobb Citizens of the Year in recognition of their dedication to Project Mail Call. Project Mail Call started about 10 years ago in the Thompson Fellowship Class of Mt Bethel United Methodist Church. The class was sending one box every other month to a military person connected with Mt. Bethel. East Cobb retirees, Mary and Ed Ettel, decided to expand on those good deeds, “We found the website, which maintains soldier addresses, and we  were touched by the letters that say many troops were not receiving mail or support from their families,” says Ed.

So, for the past decade, Mary and Ed Ettel not only opened their hearts to soldiers but they also have turned their basement into the packing headquarters for Project Mail Call. Project Mail Call provides a direct and personal method to contact and send customized parcels and letters to U.S. military personnel serving overseas. At regularly-scheduled packing sessions in their home basement, volunteers pack personalized boxes based on the military units’ unique needs and requests.

In this way, rather than a standardized box with fixed content from an unknown person, the military personnel know that someone was personally involved in the process and wanted to personally demonstrate how much they care and support them directly. Particular attention is given to service personnel who are in remote locations, do not receive mail, or who provide humanitarian aid to schools, clinics, orphanages or villages. As of November 2014, Project Mail Call has packed and mailed 6,195 customized care-boxes weighing 96,948 pounds. The boxes have been mailed to 5,365 military units representing 142,697 military personnel in 50 countries –from Afghanistan to Serbia and Spain, to name a few–and many ships at sea.

“Soldiers have sent us letters telling us how overwhelmed and grateful they are by our volunteers’ demonstration of love, caring and support. Soldiers appreciate receiving any mail, especially from people they don’t know who mail them packages of items
they specifically asked for . . . ,” shares Mary.

While Project Mail Call still remains a mission of Mt. Bethel UMC, it attracts a diverse set of clubs, organizations, groups and companies that help the cause by donating items, writing letters and packing boxes. Walton High School’s Pinterest group, the East Cobb Lion’s Club, and Hampton Lake’s Woman’s Club are just a few of the groups who have supported Project Mail Call.

“Knitting Angels have made scarves and caps for children or helmet liners/gators for the soldiers, Quilting for Christ made quilts, Izzy Dolls for soldiers and children, and residents of a retirement home make crosses –all to be included in the boxes,” says Ed.

Mary and Ed have also helped other organizations and churches start their own “Project Mail Call” missions, including churches in Alabama, South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky and Texas.

All general packing sessions for families and individuals for the remainder of 2014 are full. The next general session with lots available is January 24, 2015. If you, your business, school or organization would like to participate in any ‘general’ packing session, or if your group wants to schedule a private packing session you can leave a comment on the Project Mail Call’s Facebook Wall: Mail Call.


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Shop the Bizarre Bazaar for unique gifts

Shop the Bizarre Bazaar December 6-7, presented by Roswell Fine Arts Alliance. A slightly whacky way to find wonderful holiday gifts at reasonable prices.  Artisans will offer a variety of items along with the beautiful seasonal paintings in the Gallery.

Bizarre Bazaar hours are Saturday: 10am-6pm. Sunday: 1-6pm at The Art Center, 9100 Fouts Road, Roswell. More info: 770-977-0238 or


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Wreath making class at Pike Nursery


Look beyond a store bought wreath this year with Pike Nurseries’ “make and take” Williamsburg Wreath Workshop. Two opportunities remain to participate – Wednesday, December 3 at 10am and Sunday, December 7 at 2pm. Registration is required. Visit to register.

Bring the welcoming, authentic spirit of Colonial Williamsburg to your front door with a traditional wreath.

Class held at Pike Nursery locations. Visit Pike Nurseries in East Cobb at 1875 Roswell Road or 2900 Johnson Ferry Road or online at

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