Archive for July, 2011

Not Sure Why…..

July 29th, 2011

I have no idea why 156,000 people have watched this video clip of me talking about pillows from my very old TV show “Simply Green with Danny Seo.” But I thought I’d share in case you could figure out why….

Oh God: Please don’t tell me this video is the Rebecca Black of Green Videos….

San Francisco Find: Chong Imports

July 28th, 2011

I generally avoid touristy places when I travel because if I’m going to be in a new city, I’d like to see what the city really represents instead of what the city hopes to present to visiting tourists.    Generally, major cities with a Chinatown are places to avoid (unless you want some decent dim sum) when it comes to shopping: it’s usually major t-shirt stands, gimmicky Asian knick knacks and key chains for everyone to ANN to ZACHARY.

But in San Francisco’s Chinatown, one store worth searching for is Chong Imports.   It’s in the basement of a nondescript mall where hundreds of vintage imports from China are for sale, as if stuck in a time warp and still sold at their original prices.    In other words: A prop stylist’s dream come true.

There’s nothing super clean, tidy and perfect about the store…and that’s what I like.   If you like the thrill of the hunt, you’ll love this place.   Rooting through boxes, cramped aisles and looking behind items for sale to uncover different items can be such a rewarding experience.   I even love this bowl of burnt incense just sitting on the shelf next to Chinese New Year decorations.

Authentic brass knobs for your furniture can be picked up for a song.    You could take your boring Ikea cabinet and make it all your own with these knobs; add a few coats of glossy green paint, swap in these knobs and voila!   You’ve got a marriage of Modern American Style with Chinese influences.   PS-The knobs are $4.

Simply wrapped ceramic serviceware and cooking pots.     No fuss, no marked up prices.    Just all the real deal.

Here’s what I walked away with:  Packing ribbon in faded jewel tones (maybe from the sun) for 99 cents each; embossed paper leafed with gold leaf ($5); boxes of little oil paints in beautiful metal tubs ($5 a box) as a gift for a stylist I work with; tons of unfussed dried herbs for a photo shoot (for the Upcycled Celebrations book) for 99 cents a bag… and a few other styling props.

Go visit if you have a chance.    Highly rec.

Chong Imports, 838 Grant Avenue, Basement level, San Francisco, CA.

Built In BookCase

July 27th, 2011

The built-in bookcases in my living room were recently de-booked of the collection of books (which all found new homes in bookshelves in the bedrooms) and I’ve been casually placing some treasured items I’ve collected over the years inside the bookcase.       Let’s take a look…

On of my absolute favorite projects from Upcycling is this “faux ceramic” arrangement I made using Goodwill silk flowers, a wicker basket and some fake fruit I also found at the thrift store.


A random collection of found objects: A pewter vase I found in a junk store in Pennsylvania for $5; an antique Chinese teapot I bought on a booktour in Taipei several years ago; a beautiful antique vase I found at my favorite store in Seoul, Korea that dates back more than 500 years.

Love these stackable ceramic/concrete apothecary bowls I found at my go-to market—-the Golden Nugget in Lambertville, NJ—-that I think I paid $35 for.     They have been in soooo many photo shoots and have paid for themselves 10X over.     Just love the age and wear of them; they look great in photos!

The bookshelves are next to the TV and I find myself just looking at them thinking, “These are so not styled.”   I’ll get there…. but for now, these pieces will be my Rock Star home accessories for the moment.

Walk in Prop Closet

July 26th, 2011

Be on the lookout for the September issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray to see a really fun craft story I did for the magazine!   It features some of my favorite upcycling projects from my book Upcycling: Create Beautiful Things with the Stuff You Already Have.

Speaking of stuff, I have a lot of finished craft projects that took some time, finessing and work to get done that have been stockpiled in a hallway closet for sometime.    My home is generally pretty organized, clean and neat…. but this closet is the absolute opposite.   Over time, Fedex boxes full of photo shoot samples, finished projects from photo shoots here and now with book #8 just wrapped (Upcycled Celebrations), the amount of saved projects casually stored in this room got a weeeeeee bit out of hand.

So, over the weekend, I gave it a big old de-cluttering and organizing and thought I’d share some pics.     Here are some upcycled “Duraflame” logs that we made from old newspaper, dryer lint and eucalyptus sprigs….

Isn’t this upcycled trivet made from junk drawer chopsticks (and a little Valspar paint) pretty cool?     This one gets hung up on the wall because it really feels more like art to me…

An entire cubby hole has nothing by faux pumpkins… or funkins.    I always end up shooting Halloween whenever pumpkins are unavailable.    INVALUABLE to have these.

A closet inside the walk-in closet holds the larger upcycled items, mostly from the Upcycling book coming out this Fall. I’m sure I’ll be digging these out when we make our promotional appearances on TV shows and in magazines.   Saving these big items saves so much time when we do publicity because all the work is already done!

One of my faves:  A Method Costco bottle upcycled into a bird feeder.    I need to make sure to cover up the holes with painter’s tape in case a small mouse gets into the closet.    This would be a crafting buffet to them for sure!

Christmas in July

July 25th, 2011

Yes, it’s 100 degrees outside.   And, yes, some of the home shopping TV channels are pushing “Christmas in July” to us on the airwaves with artificial Christmas trees, wreaths and creepy robotic Santas.      But this post is not buying into the whole celebrating Christmas in Summer trend that’s going on…. it’s about upcycling something you’ll currently find in your local supermarket that is a fantastic way to keep your holiday ornaments organized, safe and neat.

Basically, all of those summer ripe tomatoes and peaches that are popping up at your local markets usually come packaged in these single layer cardboard boxes with plastic inserts.   The inserts are designed to hold each piece of fruit/vegetable as one, so they don’t bang into each other and bruise.    At my local Wegman’s supermarket, they toss these into the cardboard recycler, but are more than happy to give them to customers.

The absolute perfect size to hold ornaments!  Protected, free and pretty cool….

Now back to staying cool.   Happy Monday, all!