Archive for June, 2010

Book Vases

June 30th, 2010

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Do you ever go on a blog spree and spend hours and hours reading other blogs only to realize….you just spent hours upon hours reading?   

My pal Amanda’s blog The Violet Hours is a daily must-read for me, and she did a post about another blog named Sweet Paul.     Naturally, Amanda is a talented stylist and magazine editor and Paul is—surprise, surprise—is a talented stylist as well.    So, from one stylist to another, I found myself going through Paul’s blog for a good hour the other day.

One project that caught my eye was turning old books into 3-D paper vases.     He made it look so easy that i had to give it a try.

Started with the books I picked up at—where else?—-Goodwill.

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Created a template for the vase, essentially just 1/2 the shape of the finished project.     Used an old manila folder to make the template.   

Using an X-acto knife, just cut away along the edges of the template over and over…and over and over…and over and over…until you get through the whole book.    Keep using the template and flip pages as you do them.    I realized if you just “wing it” you end up getting uneven cut pages to the point it looks badly done.     Thank God Goodwill was have a four books for $1 sale…. I needed those backup books.

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Finished!   All the trim paper went into the paper recycling bin.

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Remove the hardcover jacket and glue the front and back “pages” of the vase together and it’ll come together into a 3-D vase pretty easily.

My fingers were sore after this one and if there’s one thing I learned is this: don’t rush it.  You’ll think at one point you can just really press that X-Acto knifo into the book and cut out 50 pages at a time.   But that just leads to a big,  ‘ol, torn book mess and you need to start all over again.   Do 5 pages at a time because for this project, slow and steady wins the book paper vase race.

Wholearth Beauty & Bath Debut on ShopNBC

June 27th, 2010

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I’m very happy to announce that my all-natural and USDA Certified Organic bath and beauty line WHOLEARTH will be debuting on ShopNBC on Wednesday, June 30th.    Our hour-long shows will be 7AM and 7PM (EST) that day and will feature worldwide product launches for the line.     I’ll be on the show to explain how the products work, the benefits of using Wholearth and to also explain the importance in choosing all-natural and organic products that you use on your skin everyday.

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We have a lot of great groupings of Wholearth products to help introduce the line to customers at unbeatable prices.    One of the sets we’re offering is a 4-piece Wholearth set featuring full size bottles of our certified organic body wash, body lotion, body/linen mist and a designer reusable tote bag.

The body wash is the first-ever certified organic wash to come to market, completely free of harsh sulfates and uses organic coconut oil to create a rich lather that doesn’t strip and overdry the skin.   It also features apple juice with natural hydroxy acids to soften the skin and sunflower, sesame, almond and jojoba oil to moisturize, soothe and condition the skin.    This body wash is fantastic!

The lotion isn’t thick and greasy, but more like a serum that absorbs and nourishes the skin; I call it “nutrition for your skin.”     The lavender extract is the hero ingredient in this since it both nourishes and regenerates the skin.    For me, I love the Grateful Planet scented body lotion because it’s citrusy and energizing;  the Eco-Chic is our creamy lavender scent and I love that night because it calms and soothes.

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Is there anything bamboo can’t do?

Our Bamboo Body Scrub will be a worldwide launch on ShopNBC.   It’s a unique mixture of bamboo stem extract, walnut shell powder, lemongrass, ylang ylang oil and rose geranium oil. 

It feels soft as a spongy pillow when you touch it, but when you use it in the shower or bath and add a little water, it activates into an amazing exfoliating scrub that naturally foams.     Exfoliation is so important because removing dead skin cells reveals fresher, newer skin that helps your everyday beauty products work better.    

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Two of our USDA certified organic fragrances will also have debuts on the show:  Wholearth #4 and Wholearth #7.

These are the first-ever certified organic fine fragrances to come to market.  What does that mean to you?   Instead of artificial fragrances, dyes and chemicals to make perfume, we looked at the way real perfume was made more than 100 years ago in the finest perfume houses in Paris before artificial fragrances were ever invented.    Here, we use absolutely the real deal to handcraft some of the best-smelling perfumes you’ll ever experience.   Like a fragrant rose garden, fields of lavender or fresh cut citrus, our fragrances use these real ingredients so the vanilla you smell in our perfume was actually distilled from real vanilla beans instead of synthetic notes.

#4: Top Notes: Warm and Creamy notes of Bergamot, Coriander and Orange.    Mid Notes: Rosewood and Lavender intermingled for freshness.   Dry Notes: Real Vanilla and Patchouli for a feel good all over scent.

#7: Top Notes: Bold, warm notes of Anise, Bergamot, Basil and Mandarin Orange.   Mid Notes: Citrus intermingled with Lavender and Sage.    Dry Notes: Powdery with Sandalwood, Vanilla and Vetiver.

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We’ll also be launching our Wholearth Body Souffle on the show in your choice of two certified organic fragrances.

Tune in to ShopNBC on June 30th at 7Am and 7PM(EST) or watch online at shopnbctv.com.    So excited and hope you’ll join me for this worldwide launch!

Upcycled Coffee Mugs, Take II

June 25th, 2010

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Updated: Here’s the video from this morning’s fun upcycling segment with Hoda and Kathie Lee!  Enjoy!

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Let’s try this again, shall we?    A few blog posts back, I showed you my astonishingly bad attempt to upcycle some Goodwill coffee mugs into something useful.    Let’s go down memory lane for a second, shall we?

This time around, I got myself three coffee mugs for 99 cents.    The lovely thing about Goodwill is that if you have a crafting idea, you’re doing two great things by picking up supplies there: one, you’re supporting a great charity that helps serve communities all over the country and two, you’re not breaking the bank to try out crazy ideas.

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I started by printing out silhouettes (using Google image search) onto 8 1/2 X 11″ sticker paper.   Sharp scissors are key,  here.      Peel and stick right on top of the graphics on the coffee mugs.

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Pulled out a small bottle of Porcelaine ceramic glaze in Mummy Brown, my favorite of all the colors they make.    You can find this glaze at Michael’s Craft Stores.

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Brush a coat of the glaze on using a foam brush.    First layer is going to look like, well, dirt.   It’ll look bad.    But no need to worry: it’s about putting on three thin layers to achieve a dark, even glaze color all over the mug.

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See?  Or you can’t see.   You can’t even see where the sticker paper is.    But as promised, three thin coats equals one, opaque, dark brown glaze.

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Let it dry for a few hours.   Peel off the sticker paper to reveal the silhouette.    If there’s any leakage, use a Q-tip and nail polish remover to clean up the edges of the silhouette.

Into a COLD oven.   Turn on to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn off the oven and let it sit in the oven to cool for an hour.

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It’s a bird….

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It’s a dog….

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It’s a silhouette of a man. 

Fun and easy project.    Going to try different shapes, stickers, glaze colors and more today.   First round is always the test round…. fifth time around, it’s when the project will finally come together and be judged if it’s worthy enough to be in the book or not.

Recycled Pennants

June 24th, 2010

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Now that we’re in production on my next book, that means there is going to be a lot more crafting going on at Daily Danny.    One of the challenges in the new book is to use everyday items we all have or thrift store cast-offs and upcycle them into something new, useful, beautiful or fun. 

Today, at the Goodwill store, there was a special on men’s work/dress shirts; $2 a shirt.  So I bought a stack to figure out what to do with them.   And with a Today Show segment airing this Friday, I realized I might as well kill two birds with one stone.

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With some pinking shears, i cut them into triangular pennants.

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Made lots of ‘em.   The nice part of these dress shirts is that most of the ones for sale were XXL or XXXL, way to large for me to wear, but plenty of fabric to make lots and lots of the pennants.   

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On the ironing board, I quickly ironed all of the pennants.    Then with this special no-sew heat tape, I just measured out the length of the pennant and cut the tape accordingly.

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Hot iron.  No steam.   Just press for a few seconds to a long piece of ribbon (this one rescued from an elaborately wrapped gift I got a while back).      I just kept adding pennants one by one: green stripe, blue solid, white stripe….  green stripe, blue solid, white stripe…. over and over.

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And there ya have it.   To see the finished 9′ pennant garland, tune in to the fourth hour of NBC’S The Today Show to see all of my summer upcycling projects.

Ten Things…Continued.

June 23rd, 2010

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Yesterday, I ranted about five things I need to improve on to be a little greener, healthier, wiser and less wasteful. 

Today, that ranting continues!  Lucky you!     Here are 5 more things I need to work on:

  1. Paper To Do Lists.    One of my Do Just One Thing tips I wrote about is this idea of emailing yourself your daily “to do” lists instead of printing them out on a piece of paper.   And yet here I am looking at my to-do list, printed out on paper.    It’s not that I don’t remember my own advice.   I just like looking at things on paper and crossing them off.  Blame it on my calendar: I use a Filofax.  Paper filofax that I write down dates, meetings, addresses and more on.   I can’t live off of Microsoft Outlook or whatever the hell those programs are.   For twenty years (yes, since I was 12) I’ve had a Filofax and I just can’t change.   And the satisfaction that comes from crossing off finished items from a to-do list is almost like a contact high.   I’m using 100% post-consumer recycled paper to print my lists out on at least…. that’s a start?
  2. Lack of Organic Fiber Clothes.    I want to wear more eco-friendly fashion.  I really really do.   And the few pieces I have from Rogan, Loomstate, and even a few organic Ralph Lauren pieces are really part of my wardrobe staples.   But everything else I try on that’s “green” looks weird on me.  It’s either the fit, the color (er, lack of it is more like it) or just how it looks on me.    I don’t shop at stores that sell disposable clothes (think Old Navy or H&M) and I really look at clothes as long-term investment pieces.    So, I’m doing two things: one, I shop at a consignment store in Beverly Hills (go ahead, roll your eyes) where celebrities re-sell their once-worn designer clothes at a major discount.   There is some celebrity out there who is my exact same size because I’ve been buying all of his clothes; the Gucci tailored pants ($90; $900 retail), Prada zip cardigan ($100; retail probably $700+) and Libertine hand-printed dress shirt ($50; retail $500+).   I’m basically reusing really really expensive clothes at pretty decent prices.    Second, I buy the best I can afford in terms of shoes, jackets and suits.   I have pieces I’ve been wearing for years that look just as great today as they did the first day I wore them.
  3. Stop Eating Seafood.    I became a vegetarian at age 12.   A vegan at age 16.   Then a vegetarian again at 21.   Then I started eating seafood at age 25.    That’s as far as I’ve gone and I will never, ever eat red meat, chicken, veal, pork or any other kind of land animal.     When I tell people I’m a seafood vegetarian, they often ask what’s the name for that kind of diet.  I often reaply “it’s called a hypocrite.”    With mercury levels rising in seafood, the industry itself really not as sustainable as we once thought, and the whole BP oil spill just raping our oceans, maybe I can stop eating seafood altogether.     One thing I have done is that I eat and cook 100% vegetarian in my own home and only eat seafood in restaurnants.    That type of diet is called “Denial.” 
  4. Fedex Addiction.   If you come visit me at my house, there are three things that will happen everyday: a woodpecker will be banging the hell out of the side of my house to get whatever it is he’s after and the UPS and FedEX trucks will show up.   I am shipping things all over the country all the time.    Boxes of props for a TV appearance in Minneapolis…. a suitcase of clothes to meet me in San Francisco since I’m coming straight from a 2 week road tour…..legal documents that need to get to LA overnight or else!    Overnighting things is too easy and too wasteful.     One thing I have learned (a secret I guess) is if I ground ship on the East Coast from Pennsylvania, it will still arrive overnight in NYC since so much heads up there anyway via trucks.    So instead of using planes, wasting money on expensive overnight shipping, I can elect for ground and save money, too.    And I’m hiring local stylists in cities I’m visiting to pull all the props I need for TV segs, too, instead of shipping.   I’ve got to cut back…. just how?
  5. Driving to the gym.  Enough said.   I live in a gorgeous part of Pennsylvania with running trails, preserved park land and forests as far as you can see.   Yet, here I am driving to a gym 10 minutes away to run on a treadmill.     I think the easy fix here is obvious: on cardio days, run outdoors.   On training days, use the gym.  

That said, I’ve made changes in my life that have been set for many years now.  I haven’t bought a roll of papertowels in 10 years.    Every light bulb in my house is a CFL or even one of those very efficient LED bulbs.   I drive a hybrid.    I’ve been pretty much on plant-based diet for 20 years.   All of my billing is paperless.  Every cleaning product in my house is green (and my housekeeper is an all-green company here called Harmony Clean).   Clorox Bleach is banned banned banned.   And all of my houses have been renovated using recycled, energy efficient and zero VOC products.     Oh yeah…. houses.    Plural.   

And #11 will have to be owning less than 2 houses.