Archive for August, 2007

Stringy Chairs

August 31st, 2007


I was recently in Los Angeles for the Southern California Home & Garden show.    On my way to Anaheim, I spent the night in Beverly Hills at the Avalon Hotel.   It’s a former retirement home-turned-boutique hotel that’s been around for a few years.

As an editor with Country Home magazine, my aesthetic is normally drawn to a more comfortable and Americana style…not a modernist one.   But still, I can appreciate good design when I see it.

These chaise lounge chairs are simple aluminum frames with super-durable string just wrapped around and around the frame.    Quite comfortable, actually.   

But the flea market junkie inside of me wonders if I could make this.  Could I go find some old outdoor furniture, remove the plastic straps, strip the paint off to reveal the galvanized finish, and then wrap rope around and around to re-create this?

When I move to a new home with a big backyard, I’m going to give that idea a try.    It’s either going to be spectacular or the biggest DIY disaster of my life.   

Flower Groupings

August 30th, 2007


I have never been a fan of orchids.     Whenever I see them in a room or at the nursery, I always felt it looks too spare and simple.    Plump green leaves with a spray of white or purple flowers just dangling in the air.     I’d rather have a houseplant that was lush and full so that it made a statement.   

Then I saw this: a white orchid arrangement grouped together in a round, concrete bowl.

How amazing is this?    I went to the store to try to re-create this arrangement and needless to say all I’m going to show you now is the arrangement that I shot with my trusty digital camera.  Why?   Because orchids are expensive.       At $30 a piece I would need 6 or 7 plants, a bag of green moss and a large bowl to re-create this.   That’s about $300.    

But if you have orchid plants scattered here and there throughout your house, consider this singular, bold orchid arrangement an idea.    And if you do it, shoot a pic and send it my way!


August 29th, 2007


Tune in this Friday, August 31st to CBS The Early Show to learn how to throw an eco-friendly picnic, just in time for Labor Day.  This is part of my regular series "Going Green."

We’ll cover everything from the outdoor furniture to the briquettes to the tabletop items you need to throw a stress-free and eco-friendly backyard fete.    Lots of ideas and items won’t cost a lot either; we’ve really searched far and wide for the best of the best.    

Tune in this Friday, 7-9AM on CBS.

Microfiber Obsession

August 29th, 2007


The other day, something occurred to me:  I haven’t bought a roll of paper towels in a very, very long time.

In the past, I always bought 100% recycled paper towels from the health food store.    They were handy because you could just rip off a sheet and clean-up spills, shine-up a dirty window or—when the dishtowels were in the wash—dry off your hands.

But about a year ago, I discovered microfiber towels and didn’t realize how obsessive I would become about using them.    They have totally replaced my need for paper towels.  Completely.

Microfiber towels are literally millions of microscopic fibers that grip onto dirt and bacteria.  They are extremely thirsty (translation: they soak up water) and they don’t leave streak marks on virtually any surface.

I started using them around the house: wiping down the sink and surfaces in the bathroom…shining up the counter tops in the kitchen…removing scuff marks off the floor….cleaning furniture…wiping dust off the TV…basically, anything that needed to be cleaned got wiped with a microfiber.

Then I started taking them outside to wipe down windows, outdoor furniture, remove cobwebs from the corners of the home, cleaning the inside glass panes of outdoor light fixtures.

And when they got dirty, I just saved them all in a bucket and washed them together in the washing machine.   No drying needed; just wash and take out of the machine after a spin cycle.

I’ve used them for a year now and they look and work just as good as Day 1.  In fact, the more I use them, the better they seem to work.

Have any of you made the micro switch?

Do Just One Thing

August 28th, 2007


In a few days, my new one-a-day calendar Do Just One Thing will hit bookstores.    I know, it’s a bit early to start thinking 2008, but that’s the way the calendar business works.

I thought I would share a sneak peek at the calendar with you.    There are 366 daily tips in the book that are truly easy, really green and seasonal in nature.   Instead of writing up a tip, like, "put solar panels on your house" it’s more realistic on little things that you can do each morning or night as you tear off a page.  And just fyi: the calendar is made from recycled materials and the entire casing is returnable to the publisher for recycling.   




Winter Warm-Up Week: Make sure the damper on your fireplace is completely closed.  Keeping a damper open all winter long is like having a small window open. Brrrr! Not sure if it’s open or closed? Place a featherweight plastic bag (like a grocery store bag) in the fireplace; if it flutters, it’s probably open.     By keeping the damper closed, you’ll keep cold air from seeping in, saving you energy & money.   




Green Bathroom Week:   Speaking of toothbrushes, the next time you’re feeling under the weather, be sure to disinfect your toothbrush when you’re finally rebounding.    If you don’t, you risk re-infecting yourself simply by brushing your teeth!    To disinfect, place a wet toothbrush in the microwave for about a minute on high; it’ll radiate the germs away.   When in doubt, replace the brush with a new one (what an opportune time to give an eco-friendly Recycline brushes a try!).




If you can’t break your daily diet soda habit, skip the plastic bottles for aluminum cans.   It’s the greenest way to quench your thirst since aluminum is easily recyclable and can be recycled into brand new soda cans. Plastic bottles are recyclable, but are A: hard to recycle and B: can’t be recycled into new plastic bottles.   Fact: Nearly 50% of all soda cans are re-collected for recycling.    A good start, but we can do better!




Small marks, scratches and scuffs on your wooden table, chair or dresser can be covered up with a trip to the pantry.   Simply rub a walnut into the scratch; the natural oils in the nut will conceal the scratch marks.   




The Day After Christmas Tips:    It’s easy to make a mini-version of the

Times Square

crystal ball for your own New Year’s Eve party!    Just bundle your holiday lights (about 4-6 strings of lights) into one giant ball, plug into an extension cord, and hang from the ceiling.    3!  2!  !!