Archive for March, 2010

Earth Day Gift Baskets

March 31st, 2010

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Every Earth Day, I pick three very eco celebrities to receive a “best of” gift basket from me to celebrate Earth Day and to thank them for being an advocate for the planet throughout the entire year.   This year is no different and three very lucky women in Hollywood and NYC will be getting these baskets later this week.   I thought I’d show you what goes into each basket!

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On top, a whole stack of all of my green lifestyle books and calendars get bundled together and tied with string.    These include Simply Green Parties, Simply Green Giving, Conscious Style Home and my one-a-day calendar Do Just One Thing.

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A complete set of my Wholearth Beauty and Bath line is also included.  This year, I gave them all three signature fine fragrances–Wholearth #4, #7 and #10—so they can decide which USDA-certified organic perfume is the absolute favorite.  I also included the Grateful Planet body wash, body lotion and room/body mist as well.   

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Practical items are also included, like a JCPenney Simply Green reusable tote bag, a set of 3 Baggu nylon reusable shopping bags (the pink pouch) and a press kit about my Simmons Natural Care by Danny Seo mattress line.   They also received a letter inside the press kit inviting them to email me their choice of mattress so I can send them one for free, too.    That’s the BIG gift inside.

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And a ton of Method products go into the mix, too: microfiber towels, bamboo fiber wipes, lavender handwash, bathroom wipes and our new Method Laundry detergent bottle.

All wrapped up, they’ll be shipped and hopefully devoured.      Happy pre-Earth Day to all!

Crayons, Crayons, Crayons

March 30th, 2010

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You may have seen me on the Today Show this morning sharing some of my favorite upcycling craft projects.  One of the easiest and most popular with upcyclers is to take an everyday object—-crayons—-and recycle them into new, fun crayons in just a few easy steps.   Start off with old crayons (kids and restaurants that give out coloring books are great places to find them) and snap them into small pieces and place inside a silicone mold.

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Now “bake” them at 300 degrees in the oven (on a cookie sheet since the silicone tray is not sturdy) and watch it carefully until it’s completely melted.   This should take about 15 minutes. 

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Swirl the melted crayons with a toothpick to get the colors to mix together into interesting patterns.    Then pop it in the freezer until the melted crayon mixture firms up and solidifies.

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And there ya have it: new crayons in fun shapes and fun colors. You could sort the crayons by color to do solid ones, but I find mixing up the colors is more fun and, frankly, easier.   The silicone molds  help a lot because they release the crayons very easily, all while keeping their shape.   Fun stuff!

UPDATE: Here’s the Today Show segment. Enjoy!

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Flowers and a Bottle

March 29th, 2010

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The other day I was at PropHaus—one of my favorite places to go to rent props for photo shoots—and saw this dark glass bottle with ceramic flowers over it and snapped it with my Blackberry.  This new crafting book I’ve been working on has crafts on my brain 24/7, so I took a photo to remind me to give this “idea” a try at home later.

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Props: Empty bottle of red wine (er, step one should be DRINK bottle of red wine. Done and done), old silk flowers, a jar of powderd plaster, some water and an old mixing bowl.

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Dip the flowers and leaves in the wet plaster and cover.   Let dry on a styrofoam block or—when I got lazy—just lay them on a piece of paper to protect the countertop.    Walk away and let them dry until rock hard, or in my case, go to Ikea and buy 3 baskets and return home.

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Snip off the stems from the back of the flowers using very sharp scissors.  See the original color of the silk flower?  

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Glue the plastered flowers onto the front of the bottle.  I used that wonderful E6000 glue again because it never fails!   With a piece of painter’s tape, keep it all in place so the leaves and flowers don’t slide off the bottle.  A crushed piece of paper on the side helps prevent the bottle from rolling and keep the pieces all in place.

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Voila!  My 5 minute, 1 dollar finished creation an hour later (when the glue finally dried).     I think I need smaller flowers and more intricate leaves, but you get the point: pretty easy to make one of these bottles.     Funny thing: it’s not exactly  my style, but I like it because I made it.

Programming Pause

March 26th, 2010

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There will be no post today because I’m up in my eyeballs with crafting.

Putting together a very fun crafting segment for The Today Show on NBC and I’ll make sure I post a tutorial for all the projects (and hopefully some video). 

Until then, I’m back to making birdhouses, clocks and a million different other things.    Yes, do I have stylists in NYC who could do this for me?   You bet I do.    Am I a control freak?  100%.

And that’s why I’m sitting here….crafting away like a crazy man.

LOVE Bottle

March 25th, 2010

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I’ve been doing a ton of preliminary “testing” (as if it was a cookbook, mind you) of craft projects for a big eco crafts book I’m thinking about doing.    Part of the research is to go through my many journals of notes and ideas and to see if they work.   One idea that had some decent results is this one and I thought I’d share it with you.

Start off with a regular glass bottle and some white fabric paint in a bottle.   The 3-dimensional “puffy” style paint works best. 

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Use a Sharpie to write out whatever word you want.  I chose LOVE thinking this could be a cute Valentine’s Day project.    If you don’t like what you write, just wipe it off with a little rubbing alcohol and start all over again.

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Then trace the words with the tip of the fabric paint.  I found that doing small dots works the best to get the cleanest and textural look.  Play around.    Again, if you’re unhappy with what you’re doing, the paint washes off with water and you can start all over again.  I’m happy with this and think it looks a little like frosting, right?

Let it completely dry.   Walk away.  Don’t touch it.   Give it 4 hours to dry.

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Sorry for the fuzzy photo, it’s 10PM now and I’m hopping on a plane, so it’ll have to do.     Paint the bottle with 2-3 coats of a creamy, matte spray paint.  Yes, spray paint.    Is it the greenest choice?  Not really.  But if you can find a low VOC latex spray paint, it’s a semi-OK choice then.   I unfortunately only had the smelly, acid-trip inducing kind in the closet and had to deal with the consequences as a result.   I feel dizzy.  Maybe that’s why the picture is so fuzzy. 

Anyway, you end up with a ceramic looking bottle vase that is now completely set and ready to display one bright, red flower on top.   Fill with water and use as a vase. 

I’ll play around with this technique a bit with different jars, bottles and canisters.    Always the fun stuff about writing a new book: I can dedicate the time and resources to figure out all of these eco-crafts projects so you don’t have to figure out what works and what doesn’t.    Enjoy!