Archive for July, 2006

Eco Cheap!

July 31st, 2006

One of the biggest complaints I hear as a magazine editor is that eco-friendly products cost too much!   Well, August is a great time to save; all the retailers are moving merchandising and slashing prices—and that includes green e-tailers.   One of my favorites is Viva Terra and, man, are they having a sale!   Here are my favorite picks:


Love the deep red color.  For a cashmere feel with an eco-twist, order a few of these covers and makeover some ugly throw pillows in your house.   $19!   Down from $65.!stmenu_template.main?



For the jet-setter in your life, get them this very handsome passport cover.    Durable and natural leather made from recycled materials!  $4!     Save 80%!stmenu_template.main?



I love the organic shape of these bowls, so useful around the house to store things and use as serving dishes.  The small bowl is $9; down from $29.!stmenu_template.main?


Being eco can be economical, too.   Just browse the web and look for sales.    Ya never know what you might score!

Best. Bag. Ever

July 31st, 2006


So, we all know that to be a green good solider, we should all bring reusable canvas bags to the grocery store in lieu of plastic or paper bags, right?

Well, the problem with most canvas or string bags is that they are flimsy, weak and not so good to look at.

Problem solved!  I’ve been lugging my groceries in LL Bean’s Boat and Tote bag for about a year now and I proclaim it to be the best and most versatile bag, ever.

The inside of the bag is lined with rubber, which gives the bag some structure and shape and also makes clean-up a breeze; if something erupts in the bag, just wipe it all down with a (recycled) paper towel.   The bag is super strong, too; I’ve found I can put an entire basket of groceries all into one bag.    No more carrying dozens of plastic shopping bags anymore; carry it all in one camo tote bag instead.

And the winner is…

July 31st, 2006


On one of my recent Ebay shopping sprees (it’s easy to get caught in a shopping cycle on that site, isn’t it), I stumbled upon a collection of vintage horse ribbons from the 1970′s.   Of course, I bid.   And of course, I won them.

What to do with them?   They sat in their cardboard box for a few weeks until I had a thought: why not a horse ribbon wreath?

I just clipped them onto a grapevine wreath and voila!   Something fresh and new.  It’s hanging in the upstairs bedroom right now. What do you think?   Yeah or naaaaaay?

My 3 favorite kids

July 30th, 2006

I recently wrapped a radio promotional tour for new book Simply Green Parties, and I have to say one of the most common questions I got asked that I never knew how to respond was "what’s your favorite project in the book?"

Simply Green Parties is filled with over 50 projects and 101  ideas on throwing the perfect birthday fete, dinner party, baby shower and much more.  It’s all using stuff we already have—to make invitations, tablesettings, gifts, decorations and anything else you need to have a festive day.    To pick my favorite?   Horrors.   It’s like picking a favorite child.

Well, not quite the same.    So after much thinking, here are my top 3 picks from the book:


PAINTER’S TARP CANOPY:   I love the simplicity and functionality of this idea.    Grab that old canvas tarp in the garage and hang it high up in the trees as a canopy. It creates an instant "room" outdoors for your summer time dinner party.   Cozy, unexpected and EASY!


BLUEPRINT TABLE RUNNER:   I think blueprint paper is really beautiful and handsome.   You either have blueprints of your existing home or you can find stacks of them at junk shops or even on Ebay.   I bought this blueprint of the Golden Gate bridge and had it laminted at my local Staple’s office supply store.   It cost about a dollar to professionally laminate and it looks perfect and amazing.    You can use maps from those oversized driving books as placemats, too.    Laminating preserves the paper and spills can be easily wiped up.    One simple step!


HANGING SOLAR LANTERNS:   Love, love, love this.   I’ve been doing this for years.  Grab those solar lights from the driveway and hang them  high up on the trees.    Use metal hooks from the hardware store (normally used to hang bird feeders) and let the lanterns glow in the trees.   During the day, they charge in the bright sun; at night, they cast a soft sheen.   You can also line sidewalks with lanterns, too.  Just let them rest right on the ground to guide guests through the dark.

If you like these ideas, you’ll love my new book!  There are 50+ projects and 101 ideas, all fully illustrated with colorful photography.  Step by step instructions and a few sidebars on saving money too on your next party!


Welcome! Where it all begins…

July 30th, 2006


When I purchased this home, the one thing that probably "sealed the deal" for me was a small workshop on the property, all ready to go with electricity and freshly painted wood walls on the inside.

I’ve transformed this small space into my own personal recycling workshop, where I can sit and come up with new projects.  To start,  I needed a big area to work from, so I took a large piece of wood (which I recycled from the old kitchen when I renovated it) and covered it in layer after layer of inexpensive burlap.     I placed the rustic wood on top of two 32" black urns from the local garden shop.  It’s just the right height for a table and I think it adds just one more resourceful touch to the whole room.  What  a great way to recycle old urns!

For added storage, I hung (4) inexpensive Ikea staineless steel shelves; they were a cinch to install!    Here, jars full of beads, paint brushes, porcelain glazes, wire, scissors, paper cutters, and anything else I’ve stocked up on rest and wait to be used.     It also adds height to the area and makes the whole spaces seem super efficient and tidy.

So what crazy recycling idea will come out next from the mad man’s workshop?   Stay tuned to this blog to find out.  I’ll post the great, the good and the sometimes scary ideas!