By reducing the amount of natural resources you consume, reusing items that would otherwise go to waste, and recycling trash so it can be re-purposed, you’re helping ensure a brighter future for the children of today. However, planning for the future not only includes taking steps in the present day, but also preparing for tomorrow. By teaching children good conservation practices today, you’ll contribute to a cleaner future. Children who learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle now will gain the foundation they need to pass those practices on to their children and continue preserving natural resources.
Although you may live the principles of “reduce, reuse and recycle” every day in your life, it might be difficult for your children to see what you’re doing and understand why it’s important. Getting your kids involved in your efforts to reduce your family’s environmental footprint is a great way to inspire them to make eco-friendly choices later in life. There are numerous ways to teach your children how.
For example, you could help your kids learn the importance of reducing the amount of waste they generate during your regular trips to the grocery store. You can explain to them why you use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic or paper ones from the store. You can encourage them to help you find the products that use the least amount of packaging such as bulk breakfast cereals.
Helping your kids understand the importance of reusing can be as easy as encouraging them to donate their old, unwanted toys or books. You could use refillable soap dispensers and ditch paper napkins in favor of cloth. Attempting to repair damaged or broken toys before getting rid of them also helps teach kids that simply throwing items away is often extremely wasteful. Finally, asking your kids to help around the house by separating waste into recyclable and non-recyclable trash can teach them the principles of recycling and why it’s good for the environment.
There are so many ways to get your kids involved in good sustainability practices around the home. The following guide includes many of the best ideas. You reduce, reuse and recycle because you want to leave behind the best possible world for your children. It’s important to help kids understand that they need to take responsibility, too.
Checklist created by RMPUSA
According to the World Health Organization, green spaces contribute to reducing air pollution, tackling obesity, and improving mental and physical health, amongst over benefits. Governments are now placing huge emphasis on sustainability, welfare and thoughtful urban planning; for example, Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay are the wonderful culmination of urban planning, green space and art for the benefit of the city’s public.
To give an idea of how much our green spaces might be worth, Flymo has been looking at green spaces in twelve of the world’s most highly populated urban areas, where this space is most limited. By taking twelve of the world’s most famous parks and working out their potential minimum value if they were turned into apartments, it was found just how much green space is worth to a city,
View the infographic below for more information about the Value of Green Space.
Technology is continuously improving and setting new standards, including higher environmental sustainability. Winds of green change sweep across construction yards, propelling building projects to another exciting year. Yes, many trends come and go, but there are also those that become an integral part of the industry.
Green building falls into the latter category as something that is no longer considered optional or a passing fad. Forward-thinking designers and architects are leading the race introducing bold new solutions. Consequently, companies have to keep up the pace if they want to stay competitive.
So, here are some trends that are sparking attention on the world stage and are poised to dominate the construction sector this year.
Need for speed is a major factor in modern construction business. The prices of materials are still high, but modular construction projects are sprouting up everywhere and breaking new ground in terms of resource and energy-efficiency. They involve both pop-ups and permanent modular buildings built with latest technological solutions.
Environment protection is integrated into building processes and the result is something much more sustainable than a conventional building. Namely, modular construction aspires to provide maximum user comfort, minimize the environmental impact, and bring to life displaceable, “smart”, and 100% recyclable buildings.
One mainstay of this trend is effective prefabrication, an innovative method of construction that is gaining traction across the globe. Without compromising the quality, it cuts construction waste, decreases the time needed to set things up, and eliminates toxic substances from the assembly process. Everything plays out quietly and as clean as possible, using flexible components like high-grade steel frame solutions.
Prefabrication allows materials like steel to be recycled for sustainable resource management. Furthermore, once the buildings are constructed, the removal of thermal bridges and great insulation value ensure optimal energy efficiency. All in all, prefabrication is a win-win: Companies are able to achieve greater cost-effectiveness, and sustainability is taken to the next level.
Green and sustainable building materials
The market for green materials is expanding at a rapid pace. It includes materials made from renewable resources, as well as those that are recyclable at the end of their lifespan, manufactured with the help of eco-friendly processes, or contain salvaged, waste, and recycled components.
Concrete and steel are two of the most common building materials of today, but innovations in manufacturing processes have led to a substantial reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. There is still a long way to go before these two can become truly sustainable, but in the meantime, we can rely on solutions such as mass timber (cross-laminated timber, for instance), which can be used even for large-scale projects like skyscrapers.
Zero net buildings
Reducing the energy and water usage in buildings is one of the main frontiers of sustainable innovation. In the US, residential and commercial buildings account for 40% of the total energy consumption in the country. The good news is that things are changing fast. Take the example of local government projects that set zero net energy goals.
They aim to capitalize on the trend called zero net building (not to be confused with passive houses), a construction that is designed to generate as much energy as it uses throughout the year. How is this possible? Well, zero net buildings, although connected to the grid, use on-site renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic panels to cover all energy needs or even create a surplus of juice.
There are a lot of things businesses can do to help increase the awareness about global warming. They can donate money to worthy causes in this field or organise their corporate practices in a way that reduces their carbon footprint. Probably the most important things that can be done is raising awareness about ecology and promoting responsible environmental behaviour.
This is something that can be done alongside running your business, it won’t prevent you from making a profit and it will create a stronger bond with your customers.
A green blog
A corporate blog usually has a much larger following than a private one because it’s a useful promotional tool, and there’s often a sense of community among the clients. This could be used to promote an eco-friendly message and point out the efforts made by your company.
The message should be subtle, or it at least shouldn’t overwhelm the reader right away. It should be a part of your day-to-day marketing efforts. That way, the message will carry more weight because you’ll be leading by an example.
Going paperless is a bit difficult for a business that already has a set routine because everyone will need to adapt to the change. However, paper waste is probably the biggest type of waste a business can generate, so quitting it altogether will send a powerful message to both your customers and your employees.
In the long-run, going paperless will save you a significant amount of money because everything you used to do and store on paper can be stored and organized digitally for a fraction of the price. The change should be implemented gradually in order to prevent losing any valuable data and to make it more convenient for everyone involved.
Use promotional materials
Promotional material can be used rather effectively to hammer in the point you’re trying to make. It’s used every day, by almost everyone, and it’s usually always within reach. That makes it a great tool for raising awareness about your business.
The only way to do this right is to try and be clever. For instance, using a promotional USB that warns against printing its content could be more noticeable than a paper or a card with a lecture about the importance of recycling.
The biggest addition to the personal carbon footprint comes from driving. That’s how our cities are structured and there’s rarely something you can do about it. Asking someone to use a bicycle or another self-powered method of transportation isn’t enough, and most employees won’t listen because it’s too inconvenient.
The best solution for this is to organize a car pool to and from work. This way the employees will save money by paying for just a portion of the ride and will reduce their carbon footprint.
Gardening and food
Farming and gardening usually have a devastating effect on the environment and it can be expensive to buy food from organic gardens if they are far away from your company. Since providing healthy and eco-friendly food should be the company’s responsibility, you might take an extra step and buy a local garden and grow your own food.
This could also be a great move for office productivity and morale. Having a company garden is something that will attract employees and allow them to relax and recharge their batteries when the daily tasks become too overwhelming. If this step is too radical for you, you may start with supporting local farmers and creating long-term deals with them.
Promoting eco-awareness is equally important as trying not to endanger the environment. Leading by example and explaining the importance of green businesses is just as difficult as running such a business.
Although summer is long gone, soon enough the weather will be warming up again and with it will come the usual hordes of blood sucking pests. Not only are mosquito bites extremely uncomfortable to deal with, they also in some cases carry dangerous diseases – so it is imperative that you protect yourself from these airborne irritants. Most mosquito control solutions involve applying mosquito repellents that contain chemicals like DEET which, it is now emerging, is harmful (toxic) not only to humans and to the natural environment generally. So if you want to avoid getting eaten alive by mosquitoes once the summer season hits again, and do so in a manner which preserves instead of destroys the biosphere, then we're here to help with these eco-friendly forms of mosquito control. Read on to find out more.
First, though, mosquitoes are attracted to the smell and heat of human skin, as well as the carbon dioxide we exhale in our breath and sweat at every moment. To deter mosquitoes from your person, the best solution is obviously to make your skin less attractive to mosquitoes. This is what conventional mosquito repellents do, they hide human scent from insects. On top of that the activities ingredients like DEET that reside in these chemicals are anathema to mosquitoes, repelling them to the same degree that carbon dioxide attracts. As we have seen though, DEET is toxic to the environment, so the question arises: are there any natural ingredients out there that repel mosquitoes and can be used in an eco-friendly mosquito repellent alternative?
The answer, fortunately, is yes! Here is one such recipe for an all-natural, environmentally friendly insect repellent.
Environmentally friendly insect repellent recipes
Simply mix 2 tablespoons olive oil together with 10 drops essential oil of either eucalyptus, basil, lavender, lemon balm or citronella, peppermint, rosemary, geranium or cloves. All of these natural ingredients are effective at repelling mosquitoes, and can be purchased in most cases at health food stores. Combine the ingredients in a glass jar, then stir and dab a few droplets onto your skin or clothing.
Meanwhile, for an eco-friendly anti-mosquito spray, take a half cup of rosemary and add to one cup of boiling water. Let steep for an hour, then once cool, refrigerate. Spray on yourself as required.
Here's another recipe for an anti-mosquito dab. Mix a half cup of crushed parsley with apple cider vinegar, refrigerate and then dab the mixture on your skin as required.
Lemon balm or citronella was mentioned above as a potential ingredient in an all-natural, eco-friendly mosquito repellent – this substance can also be used in candles that release citronella as a vapor, and which are also quite effective at repelling mosquitoes.
Quite apart from the mosquito repellents that you apply to your skin as a lotion or spray, there are plenty of other simple tricks and tips out there for deterring mosquitoes – that don't involve damaging the environment.
Other mosquito deterring tips & tricks
For example, when you are outside during peak mosquito season and hours of the day, you should always wear thick, long sleeved shirts and pants, with equally thick socks and shoes that you can tuck into your pants. Essentially the less skin you expose to mosquitoes, the more protected you are against them.
Another point: sources of still, standing water are a literal breeding ground for mosquitoes, so to avoid getting swarmed by mosquitoes in the summer, remove all such sources of water from your home – including wading pools, empty flowerpots, pet dishes, bird baths. If you have a swimming pool, cover it when not in use, and also remove any leaves form the surface of the water (they attract mosquitoes). If you must have a pool or pond in your yard, stock it with mosquito fish or some other native fish that eat mosquitoes. Also regularly cut back the grass and weed your garden, as these provide potential places of shelter for insects.
A few other suggestions: encourage bats onto your property by building a bat house. The reason? Bats eat mosquitoes. When you are sitting out on the deck, have a fan running nearby – the swirling, turbulent air makes it more difficult for mosquitoes to navigate a straightforward path to your skin.
Everyone is already more or less aware of the conventional methods on how to properly recycle. Some routinely do these in the name of going green, but for some reason the waste everybody produces has gotten even worse. It seems like everybody is talking about saving the environment and they try to recycle, but it's not doing anything significant.
Purchasing that bottled water might not seem like a big deal to one person but imagine everyone having the same perspective.
In one year there are over 200 billion bottles of water consumed globally of which 176 billion ends up in landfills or the ocean. There are 1,500 bottles of water consumed per second in the United States alone. Considering that bottled water is 2,000 times more expensive than tap water, it's a wonder everybody loves overpaying for H20.
This is one of the most important things a human being needs. Good, clean, safe drinking water. Instead of buying bottled water from an external manufacturer, it would be more cost-effective and ecology friendly to install a reverse osmosis water filtration system for use at home.
This water purification system works by using household water pressure to push water through the reverse osmosis membrane as well as additional carbon and sediment filters, what's left is good tasting drinking water.
If you have one at home, then it's like drinking the water from your favourite restaurant. That's because they have the very same system installed in their kitchen, so rest assured that the quality of water your home system produces is up to par with the bottled version. Most of these water filtration systems are designed to fit under your sink, and there are a lot of options available.
Having safe drinking water straight from the tap is definitely something every home needs. This particular investment would save time, money and not to mention all the plastic bottles that would otherwise be generated by your household. Make sure to stock up on the needed filters and that's all there is to it.
Use a reusable water bottle
Everybody remembers using a water bottle as a little kid, it's not that unusual, but you hardly see grown adults walking around going about their day carrying a water bottle around. Why is that? Is it because it's not considered fashionable to be bringing a water bottle when you’re out and about.
More than likely it's because people have grown accustomed to the convenience of just buying bottled water the moment thirst strikes and do not take into consequence one plastic bottle.
Some might own a water bottle for when they hit the gym, go for that run, enjoy the outdoors, or go camping but that is not enough anymore.
Carrying a personal water bottle wherever might seem like a chore, but imagine all the cash you can save by no longer having to buy water from a store when you're thirsty.
If you don’t own a reusable water bottle, start researching the best options. If you want to completely avoid plastic, try a stainless steel or glass version. Buy two for good measure.
Try and picture what the world would be like if everyone contributes in this little way. The world would be saved from having to deal with 105 billion tons of disposable water bottles.
Granted this is one of the more popular options for going green, but not a lot of people know that they can make money by getting a solar power system installed at home. Most environmentally conscious nations have government programs and incentives available to its citizens to help them go green.
If you qualify, then you can even take advantage of these government-sponsored renewable energy programs which would then help to pay for the system in part, or at times the whole cost.
Once installed, because of net metering or feed-in tariffs, the excess energy your solar panels create will be sent back to the utility companies and they will be the ones paying you.
The UK has some has environmental programs currently in place for its citizens. The U.S also has some federal and state grants available for eligible homeowners. The monetary incentives are what's unusual about going solar in these cases. Some may not even be aware that government funding for transitioning to solar exists.
They do. And it's best to take advantage of it while it's available.
Definitely the most unusual item on the list. The average individual throws away 15 tons of plastic from food packaging in his or her lifetime. Who would think something so small could contribute to so much waste that it ends up creating mountains of trash in your local landfill.
The idea of utilising edible utensils is intriguing, to say the least, and has created quite a buzz for eco-warriors all over the world. The idea came from an Indian company, and it was a big hit on Kickstarter.
It is surprisingly easy to make these edible utensils. Anyone with rudimentary baking skills would be able to create their very own set of consumable tools. All you have to do is first prepare the ingredients: 3.5 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup water, lined baking sheet, 1 tbsp. Salt. Then set up your tools: rolling pin, scissors, knife, metal utensils and then follow this video.
If the idea of making your edible utensils seems too cumbersome, they are available to be purchased in bulk from Bakeys (100 edible spoons per order).
With these in your eco arsenal, one could bring them along for camping trips or for any activity that would otherwise require plastic utensils. The best part is that when you’re done using these, just eat them for a lite snack.
Plastic recycling machine
This is not for the half hearted eco-warrior. Since most plastic ends up in landfill and the recycling rate of plastic is below 10%, building a personal recycling machine for use in your neighbourhood would be a brilliant solution.
There is an open source plastic recycling machine which would allow the user to reuse, recycle and reform plastic into any mould they sees fit. There is a multitude of applications.
This type of machine would enable old materials to become new again. It’s not a big machine and can comfortably fit in a tiny garage or a shed in the backyard.
Making new products from recycled materials can prove to be profitable as well. Selling these items locally or online and making a few dollars would be a nice return for helping to save the environment.
Action the unusual
These environmental woes will not disappear by themselves. Everyone has to do their part in managing our wasteful ways to keep the planet habitable for the future generations.
These are just a few unusual examples of how you can save money saving the environment and avoid unnecessary plastic. Filter your water, use a reusable water bottle, get paid for transitioning to solar and recycle.
We’ve found that 35% of people are actually willing to try eating bugs, which shows a potential shift in people’s opinions when it comes to eating insects. With edible bugs containing more protein than the likes of chicken and tofu, it’s also a sustainable food option. Cricket farming costs less money and resources than chicken farming.
The survey found that out of those who said they exercise daily, nearly half (47%) were up for giving bugs a taste. PureGym have also worked with Eat Grub to create three staple recipes that everyone enjoys, but with the added twist of bugs or cricket powder.
You can see a video experiment of three gym managers trying out these dishes here:
Hi, I'm Joe from KitsToys.co.uk. I'm a new(ish) dad of one, and I created my website to help people in a similar situation to me. To clarify, that is “being totally at a loss as a father” – seriously, it was an entirely new world to me, as I expect it is to most people.
Anyway, one of the things that has defined our journey into parenthood is our desire to soften our impact on the environment. I have always looked for ways to live greener. We recycle, we do beach cleans (and recycle what we find), we reduce waste, reuse what we can. So what about having kids?
Environmental impact of children
This is something that has come to the fore recently with the publication of a study in the summer which made headlines. The authors suggest four great ways of reducing your personal carbon footprint. These are:
- Eat a plant-based diet
- Less aeroplane travel
- Live car-free
- Have one fewer child
These actions are a significant personal investment, indeed they represent a complete lifestyle change, but they do have a much, much greater impact.
Of course, reading this, I thought to myself – one fewer child? That's a big deal – but moving forward, lifestyle changes are going to have to factor into our environmental policy and education.
So, it got me thinking – what other things do I do to offset the impact of having children? These are what I came up with:
1 – Reusable baby wipes
I know from conversations I've had with other parents, the use of disposable baby wipes is still prevalent even among those who are more environmentally conscious.
The problem is that disposable baby wipes are made of plastic fibres. Even so, they are flushed down the toilet, or otherwise they go to landfill.
If they are flushed down the toilet, then they end up on our beaches – the Marine Conservation Society in the United Kingdom found that there is an average of 14.1 wet wipes per 100m on the UK's shores which is astounding.
The alternative is to use reusable baby wipes. I use cotton flannels which I simply soak in water with a little bit of mild castile soap, and that is perfectly adequate. In the long run, it also saves us a lot of money – another bonus.
2 – Reusable nappies
The obvious way to reduce one's impact on the environment when you have a small child or a baby is to use reusable cloth nappies.
Of course, most of these nappies come with an outer wrap which is made from plastic fibres which, during washing, enter the water system – a major drawback, to be sure.
Nonetheless, the environmental impact of reusable nappies may be less than that of disposable nappies.
The outer layer of a disposable nappy is usually made from woven plastic fibres, and sodium polyacrylate or another non-biodegradable polymer forms the absorbent core – both of these are petrochemical products. However, the cotton required to make cloth nappies has an environmental burden of its own. Since one has to opt for one way or the other, I choose reusable nappies.
The environmental benefits of reusable nappies can be further increased by 40% by using them on a second child or by selling them or giving them away to another new parent.
3 – Second hand clothes
Another simple thing that we have done is to buy used clothes from charity shops and thrift stores, second-hand clothes from friends and hand me downs.
This is a very simple yet very effective way of reducing waste and using fewer resources. Besides, you would have to be mad to buy all new clothes for a fast-growing newborn!
This also has the very welcome side effect of saving you quite a lot of money (although you won't be able to keep up with latest fashion trends).
4 – Sell or otherwise pass on clothes and cloth nappies
My fourth suggestion is related to these last couple of points – to sell or otherwise pass on clothes and cloth nappies.
We purchased two bin liners filled with second-hand cloth nappies (don't worry they were clean) and we intend to pass them and as many clothes as we can onto new parents in their turn.
5 – Line dry as much as possible
My final suggestion is not limited only to parents but could apply to anyone: it is to line dry as much as possible.
In the United Kingdom it is not practical to dry all of your laundry on a line outside in the sun but if your climate permits it then is a great idea to save energy.
It is also beneficial to at least occasionally dry your cloth nappies in the sun because UV radiation an antimicrobial effect and the sunlight also helps to bleach out any stains.
You could also dry on a clothes horse or online inside your home, but with the volume of washing that a baby produces it is not practical to do this for all of your laundry.
I have looked into how other people suggest you can be a greener parent, both in books and on the Internet. However, a lot of the suggestions are not very actionable.
They include things like purchasing solar panels and solar water heaters for your home and educating your children on environmental matters.
These things, while important, have a high barrier to entry (solar panels are even more expensive than cloth nappies!) or have a delayed effect. Of course, I will still raise my kids to be environmentally aware, not to be wasteful, and so on – but I wanted things I could do NOW!
Hopefully, these suggestions will give you some ideas of things that you can do right away to make a difference.
While sustainable construction was nothing more than a concept once, now it’s a state-of-the-art solution to numerous environmental concerns.
Owing to the fast-paced world of technology, this type of construction is bringing new and improved methods year after year.
Available both for commercial and residential purposes, sustainable construction is paving the way to a better and greener future.
Eco-friendly materials: stone, brick and wood
With approximately a half of non-renewable resources used in regular construction, finding their eco-friendly replacement is one of the top concerns of modern green technology. It seems that sustainable construction is well on its way to replace the use of non-renewable materials by implementing sustainable alternatives. Natural stone is one of the most popular solutions due to its durability, flexibility and a classic visual appeal. You can use it for a range of different construction elements, including décor and insulation cladding.
Brick is another eco-friendly alternative that doesn’t fall behind with its popularity. Although this is a man-made material, it’s both durable and flexible just like stone, with a wide application in construction projects.
As for wood, researchers have developed a new type of wood called Kebony by combining sustainable softwood with heat and bio-waste liquid. This non-toxic type of wood might be expensive, but it’s widely applicable and highly durable. A more affordable solution is recycled wood made of waste plastics and wood fibres.
Energy-efficient HVAC systems
Since HVAC systems account for around a half of buildings’ energy consumption, any green update that can contribute to their energy-efficiency can make a big difference in the field. The concept of air purification is one of the most promising green HVAC technologies. Combining photo-reactive chemicals and ultraviolet light, this type of system can significantly lower buildings’ heating costs and enable the reusing of indoor air.
Passive radiant and solar heating is yet another eco-friendly concept that can keep buildings cool during summer and warm during winter by attracting colder and warmer, sunlit air. There are already many energy-efficient buildings that employ this type of technology, including the German Bundestag in Berlin.
Green lighting alternatives
As one of the most affordable and available green improvements in the field of sustainable construction, energy-efficient lighting is becoming a standard feature of modern homes and buildings. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are widely used around the globe with the aim of reducing energy consumption of commercial and residential properties. LED lighting uses significantly less energy than the regular incandescent lights or compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). In addition, their energy-efficiency is accompanied by their durability, so they are a long-term investment.
Lighting innovations continue to reduce energy consumption, with a growing number of technologies, such as OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes) that can be incorporated into building materials. Therefore, if you’ve been thinking about making your home more sustainable, energy-saving lighting can be the first step.
Since regular insulation materials are toxic because they contain chemicals and other additives, researches have been trying to develop healthy, green alternatives. The eco-friendliest of them all is insulation based on natural materials, including wool, cellulose, hemp, flax and wood. One of the most wildly used insulation materials is sheep’s wool that is usually treated for mite infestation.
Cellulose is yet another perfect insulation material because it’s made from cellulose fibre and newsprint. It’s highly versatile since it comes in different shapes and it can be blown into the smallest wall, floor and roof cavities.
Flax and hemp fibres bound together with potato starch are also a popular green solution for insulation. Not only do they have low embodied energy, but they also contain borates, excellent fire retardants, fungicides and insecticides. Finally, wood-based insulation is typically combined with wood cladding and has a wide application in green construction.
If you decide to replace your old insulation with a green alternative, you should make sure to get all the necessary equipment. You can easily find high-quality mobile scaffold for sale, as well as other tools that you need for the job. This is of the utmost importance for ensuring your safety during the construction.
With these innovative, eco-friendly technologies that sustainable construction offers, both commercial and residential buildings can significantly reduce their ecological footprint and contribute to the environment preservation.
Last Holiday season, we shared the “Tradition or Trash” infographic from Punchbowl, which outlines the environmental impact of paper invitations & cards sent during the Holidays. We learned that between Thanksgiving & Christmas, household waste increases by more than 25% — including more than 1.6 billion paper invites and cards that are discarded at the end of the season. This holiday season, Punchbowl is urging consumers to #ChooseDigital invitations over paper to help cut back on this staggering statistic and do their part to reduce Holiday waste.
Punchbowl, the gold standard in online invitations, is promoting a Zero Waste Holiday season — all starting with online invitations and cards! Holiday hosts can take their eco-friendly efforts one step further to help cut back on holiday waste. From homemade gifts to upcycled Christmas decorations, you can follow this simple 10-step guide for a more sustainable season.
Ready to start your zero-waste celebration? You can send digital holiday invitations to family & friends in just minutes! Browse the Christmas online invitations from Punchbowl to get started. When you choose to send digital Holiday invitations this season, you help the Earth. Punchbowl has also pledged to make a donation to reduce paper waste when party hosts choose one of these specially-marked holiday invitation designs.