Archive for January, 2007

TV, VCR, Computer Recycling

January 31st, 2007


I think the #1 question I’ve been getting lately is "how do I recycle my VCR?"  or "How do I recycle my old TV?"  with the occasional computer or battery recycling questions thrown in the mix.

In the past, if you wanted to recycle your electronics, you needed to contact your local sanitation department or find an out-of-the-way recycling center that didn’t really cater to consumers.    But things are a changin’! 

In SF, there’s a growing chain of drop off centers called GREEN CITIZEN where you can drop off just about anything electronic to be taken apart and recycled.    There are lots of metals and bits and parts in things from your inkjet printer to laser disc player (what were you thinking?).   Many items they’ll take free of charge, and some have a nominal fee to process it.

Considering how much electronic waste there is in the world, this is clearly the right thing to do.  Here’s to hoping more Green Citizen shops will open soon. If you’re in SF, well… aren’t you lucky!

Seashell Art

January 30th, 2007


Okay, so I was planning on transforming these seashells into tealights, but I decided to use them for a less time-consuming and EASIER idea.

Here they all are in the bathroom in a tiny, awkward space covering the wall.  What do you think?  I just took very tiny nails and hung the shells right on top.    They stay securely in place.  I was originally going to create mini shell hangers—like plate hangers—out of heavy gauge wire.  But then I realized this was a lot easier.   

The best part is if I ever get tired of the shell art, I can just take ‘em down and get to making them into nautical tealight candles.   

Chinatown Surprises

January 29th, 2007


Well, I’m back from San Francisco and it turns out I didn’t have as much free time as I thought I would.  But I did get a chance to poke around Chinatown a bit before a meeting and didn’t come up empty-handed.

Chinatown is slowly becoming less and less the real deal: a lot of stores have popped up catering mostly to tourists.  They sell a variety of asian-inspired dishes, silk goods, chopsticks, etc. that I have a feeling you would never see in a real Chinese home.   

But I digress:  On my visit in SF, I happened to stumble upon a small store in the basement of a jewelry store that had a variety of "real deal" Chinese items and I couldn’t be happier.  Above, I found these tiny brown glazed ceramic bowls in a cardboard box; they were going for twenty cents a piece.  So I bought five and have thrown in some tealight candles into each one.


These paper party balls are nothing new, but the packaging for these clearly indicated they haven’t been opened for many many years. I would guess, these are from the 1950′s from the vintage butterfly pattern all over it.  I picked up a packet of 6 for about $5.   Not sure what I’ll do witht hem, but since they pack flat, I think I can bring ‘em with me to photo shoots to jazz up a dinner table if it needs a shot of color.


These metal pill boxes were really interesting.   They were crudely made (which I love) and stamped with "HONG KONG" on each one.   Some had an illustration of a rabbit, some had a photo of a leaf.  For $2 a box, I picked up two and plan on using them to store Tylenol in the medicine cabinet.


Chopsticks are really easy to find, but these caught my eye.   Black laquer finish with an ivory floral motif design at the top.   20 to a box for $3.95.    I bought two boxes and will be using these in an upcoming photo shoot for ELLE.  Keep your eyes open to see if you can spot them in the May issue!

Anyway, I guess the point of this story is that just when you think you see nothing but tourist trap stores in your local Chinatowh, dig deeper.   Go down an alleyway, go off the beaten path and you never know what you’ll find.   I’m still regretting not buying the giant bamboo steamers and crock pots I saw in this store, but I guess they’ll have to wait until my next jaunt.

NY Gift Fair

January 28th, 2007

Today, I’m heading to the New York International Gift Fair in, uh, NY.    It’s a mind-blowing trade show of everything from tabletop items to candles to cards to bath & body items to lamps to the unknown.  Lots of weird things.  Lots of unnecessary.   And a few gems of eco-friendly genius.

I’m visiting the fair to scout for the latest and greatest as Country Home magazine’s Editor at Large, but I’ll also post some pics later this week for you, too.   

Happy Sunday!

Medicine Cabinet Organization

January 26th, 2007


Here’s a peek inside my medicine cabinet.    I thought it would be interesting to share with you some of the green and reuse ideas I’ve been using…as well as a few products I love.

  • Chipped glassware.   Old glasses are a great way to keep things organized inside the medicine cabinet.  Tall skinny glasses can hold toothbrushes (mine is Recycline; , a roll of toothpaste (can’t remember what I use…but it’s a natural salt-based one) and other personal care items.
  • Stripped tins.   Old metal tins can be stripped of their enamel paint with just some citrus-based paint stripper and a metal scraping brush.   The tin on the top holds a variety of First Aid items, but I think it also looks handsome on it’s own inside the cabinet.
  • I keep ther pumice stone inside the medicine cabinet.   A lot of us keep the pumice stone in the shower, but leaving the stone wet for extended periods of time encourages bacteria growth.  Yuck!  So it’s best to let it air dry and keep it someplace dry, too.
  • Finally, I love Prada’s new fragrances.    The cool part about their fragrances is that the bottles are refillable in Prada stores.   A bit pricey, but I think it’s a splurge I can handle right now!