Archive for November, 2008

LED Holiday Decorating

November 28th, 2008

LED Wreath 

I've been having guests stay at my small cottage, so I stop by now and then and stock the fridge, wash the sheets and now I'm decorating it for the holidays.

I hung up the grapevine wreath I had in storage on the front porch.  Last year, I wrapped it pretty densely with LED string lights that I got from Brookstone.    LED lights are great because they use about 1/10th the energy, last about 100,000 hours and never got warm.  So, it's safe to wrap them densely on top of each other.   Here's the LED wreath all lit up…

LED Wreath 2 

At my other house, I've hung up a bunch of new LED wreaths as well.   Here, I have lights from Phillips that I wrapped densely around a very large grapevine wreath.   Notice the color difference?  Here, they are more glowy yellow…. where above, they are more icey blue.   Today, LED string lights are almost indistinguishable from traditional incandescent string lights.   Why both with the old version?

Branch with Ornaments 

In the kitchen, I poked a dead bamboo branch from my front yard into a large glass jar and hung some vintage ball ornaments on it.   I just love the simplicity of this.

Nested Wreath 

And back at the cottage, a nested wreath sits on the front porch with a terra cotta bowl full of more vintage ornaments.   There may not be a holiday tree at the house, but there can at least be a little festive cheer.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2008

Pottery Barn 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING.   Hope you're enjoying this wonderful holiday.

A short post today, since I'm taking it easy today…

The other day, I stopped by the Pottery Barn store and saw my book "Simply Green Giving" on display in the store.    I thought, "How cool is this?"

 So, if you're at Pottery Barn tomorrow or this weekend, take a look at the book and get a few tips on some ecofriendly gift wrapping techniques.  

And speaking of green gifts….

Pottery Barn 2 

At Pottery Barn, they have little tumblers made from old bottles for sale.   They are made by a Wisconsin company called Green Glass.   You can learn more at    They basically take old bottles, cut them in half, grind the edges to a smooth polish, and package them up as repurposed drinkware.  They are so charming and adorable.   And what a nice gift to give someone this holiday season.

Reusable Rewards

November 26th, 2008

Trader Joes 

Lately, I have been obsessed with Trader Joe's as my food shopping destination.   A few months ago, I had some corn salsa that I have been craving ever since…and vowed, if I ever drive by a Trader Joe's store, I would clean out the shelves and stock the corn salsa in my pantry at home.

Lucky for me, I was in the Philadelphia area and had two of my reusable Simply Green tote bags from JCPenney in the car with me.   I decided to check (via my GPS), if a Trader Joe's was nearby and lo and behold, there was one just 2 miles away.  Off I went….

When I checked out, there was a sign at the register that I thought was worth reminding you about: their win free groceries promotion.   If you bring your own reusable bags (any brand of bags), you are eligible to win free groceries in their store. 

You basically just write your name and phone number on a raffle ticket and each month, they pick a winenr to get a gift certificate.    How appropiate is this?

So, when your off buying your last minute Thanksgiving Day groceries today, think about bringing your own bags over to Trader Joe's.  You just might win something.   And if you can't find any corn salsa, I apologize in advance: I was probably there just minutes before you got there.

Champagne Cocktails

November 25th, 2008


I spent the morning giving my collection of champagne flutes a good soaking, scrubbing and drying to get them ready for the holiday season.  I'm planning to throw many dinner parties for friends and family over the holiday season, so I figure now is better to get things ready.

One pet peeve I have about serving champagne is that people will accept a flute of champagne, put it down and then forget which glass is their glass.   So, because we're all germaphobes, they grab a fresh flute and let a whole glass of perfectly good champagne go to waste.

Solution?  Junk drawer time…

Champagne0019 copy 

Here's the title page from my book SIMPLY GREEN PARTIES.   Use a large 1" hole punch to cute out instant wine glass ID tags using old paint chips.   Punch another hole and attach to the stem of the glass with a circular binder clip.   That way, nobody will lose track of their glass.

Problem solved!

Eco Cheap: Ikea LED lights

November 24th, 2008

Ikea LED Lights 

A few blog posts ago, I wrote about buying some LED light bulbs at ABC Carpet and Home in New York City.  They were a pricey investment—about $40 a bulb–but they'll last about 10-15 years, so it really pays off in the long run.

That said, LED lights are sure coming a long way in the retail marketplace.   At Ikea, I saw this fantastic display of holiday "chandeliers" and string lights all using LED technology.    They look all "holiday" and fun, and they use a trickle amount of energy to light up and will last for a very long time.

Ikea LED 

And here one string light for just $9.99.   Not a bad deal. 

Many of these lights cast that icy blue light that many LED string lights cast (not the warm yellowy light old fashioned string lights cast).   But it's one small price to pay for doing the right thing.   If you want yellow-y LED string lights, may I suggest heading to Lowe's and looking at the GE models on display in the holiday department?  Those are a win-win solution, too.