Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

JCPenney Holiday Shoot

July 14th, 2010


Last week, in the 100 degree weather heatwave that was hitting the East Coast, we celebrated Christmas.

Christmas. In. July.

Let me explain: to properly show the upcoming holiday eco merchandise coming from my retail partner JCPenney, we create editorial lookbooks for all of the press out there.   As a former magazine editor, I was used to picking products to feature in our magazines in the middle of summer.    Now, I get to be on the other side of the table by producing one of these lookbooks that I used to conveniently flip thru at my desk and flag items to shoot.    I miss the convenience of sitting in my air conditioned office a tad bit now….


But before we shot Christmas, we had one lovely shot to do outdoors to feature some brand new organic cotton crib bedding that’s coming out now at JCPenney.  Isn’t this shot gorgeous?

We rented the Carousel Farm Lavender in Bucks County, PA as our backdrop for this year’s shoot.   The farm is one of the largest all-organic lavender farms in the country and I can’t believe it’s only 15 minutes away from my house!   Open on Saturdays, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.    The entrance to this garden was the perfect backdrop to use to show the colorful and eco crib bedding.


At the farm, this white horse was wondering what all the fuss was about.   He was the perfect model for us and you’ll soon see he is lots and lots of shots in our lookbook.    He loved having his photo taken!


When we do these lookbook shoots, something that always strikes me as funny is that the area we’re shooting looks absolutely perfect in every single way.  Here’s a cozy living room set-up we created in the guest house to showcase all of our winter products.    It looks perfect, right?


But behind the camera, chaos.    By the way, say hello to our new helper Heather who is taking a well-deserved  break here.    I’m not sure she knew what she was getting into when she agreed to help on this shoot!   Heather has done some pretty random things for me lately: collected dryer lint for a Today Show segment and now helped create Christmas in July.


And one more sneak peek: all of the faux fur products coming out this Fall from JCPenney.   See the wreath?  I made that…. it’s our JCPenney men’s neckties I simply wrapped arounda  wire wreath frame.    Looks easy…..but I swear, I thought I was going to grab one of those ties at one point and just tie it around my neck to put me out of my misery!

Storing Your Greener Christmas

January 4th, 2010


With the holidays over, now it’s time to pack up all the festive decor and trimmings and save them for next year. Instead of buying storage boxes and bins at the store, why not use what you have to keep everything safe and secure? The above video will help you get on your way, but here are my top eco tips:

• GREEN TIP #1: Recycle a dryer cleaner bag into a wreath storage solution
Many people have artificial wreaths and need to store them after the holiday season. Since an artificial wreath can get dusty very quickly and can be hard to clean, it’s important to cover them with plastic to keep them protected.

Recycle a dry cleaning plastic bag and hanger into a quick and easy storage solution: hang the wreath on the hanger, wrap in the existing plastic, tie a knot and hang on the back of a door or in a hallway closet.

• GREEN TIP #2: Save holiday candles or recycle them away into scented sachets for your closet.
Holiday candles can look out of place after Christmas, especially if they are emblazoned with scenes of Rudolph and Christmas trees. To save them for next year, use a ripped nylon hosiery to protect them and pack them in a box with tissue paper.

If you enjoy the scent of a holiday candle, but not the look, you can also chip them up with a hammer and fill a tea strainer ball with the fragrant wax. Leave the strainer balls in your dresser drawers or hang it in the closet as an instant room fragrance freshener.

• GREEN TIP #3: Store your lights using Recycled Materials or Make a New Year’s Ball
If you invested in those energy efficient LED string lights, why not recycle your Christmas lights into a mini Time Square lit-up ball? Just plug the LED string lights together and wrap them into a tight ball and hang from the ceiling. Because LED lights do not get hot, they are safe to wrap onto themselves over and over; plus, since LED lights do not have glass bulbs, they will not shatter if tightly wrapped, too.

If you want to store your holiday lights, recycle an empty coffee can into a storage solution by wrapping the lights on the outside of the coffee can. Plus extension cords inside the can so they are all handy and accessible for next year.

• GREEN TIP #4: How to Recycle Bows and Gift Wrapping Paper.
Holiday bows are one of the easiest gift wrapping materials to recycle. Just remove the box and add a piece of removable poster tape to the bottom of the bow. The next time you’re wrapping a gift, just remove the waxy strip and you’ve got a brand new bow ready to go.

• GREEN TIP #5: Store your Ornaments Safely in Recycled Cups
Save paper coffee cups—from friends, co-workers, your own when you forget your reusable thermos—and rinse them out to use as protective ornament holders.

Place fragile ornaments inside and cap with the plastic lid; wrap the cardboard sleeve around larger, less-delicate ornaments as a protective sleeve, too. You can also recycle cardboard and polystyrene egg cartons into ornament holders; place smaller ornaments in each compartment, close and secure tight with a rubber band.

Christmas in September

October 5th, 2009


My other house was decorated for Christmas in September for a photo shoot, walk-thru tour and taping for the reality show.  It was really fun decorating the cottage for Christmas because I think this house just begs to be a holiday house.    Let’s take a look at all the great ideas we came up, shall we?


Energy efficient LED string lights were wrapped around logs in the fireplace and illuminated to give the effect of “fire.”   Old office paper from the recycling bin was crumpled into “snow balls” and strung on string as a garland on the fireplace.  I love how the sprigs of pine were simply placed in bottles on the fireplace mantel.


A grapevine wreath wrapped in LED lights looks perfect in between the original glass windows on the house.  I took one of my silhouette reglazed plates and hung it in between.


The guest room was decorated with gorgeous Matteo bedding, which matched the striped fabric on the padded walls.   Another wreath was hung along with additional string lights.  Since LED lights are so energy efficient, it’s OK to get a bit nuts with them around the house.  These lights just say Christmas to me….


And upstairs, we strung garlands of old styrofoam packing peanuts made along with string lights and re-hung the wreath covered in vintage horse show ribbons.    I was imagining a young girl celebrating Christmas when I instructed our team of stylists to work on this space.  It’s low ceilings and cozy space just begs for a child to live up here.  

Merry Christmas!

Christmas in July II

July 28th, 2009


And the ho-ho-holidays continue here at Daily Danny.  

Last Sunday, I picked up this $10 vintage crate at the Golden Nugget flea market to use for the JCPenney Christmas in July event.   I decided to repurpose it as a quick housewarming gift basket, loaded with my Wholearth Beauty product, some homemade soy candles, rolled up Quick Dri towels and a jar full of…soap curls.


Yes, soap curls.   Nothing is more gross than having lots of houseguests sharing the same bar of soap in the bathroom.  I know soap is designed to clean, but there’s something very germy about sharing a bar of soap.  So instead of wasting a large bar of soap for each guest, why not use ONE bar to create lots of soap curls?   


Just run a vegetable peeler across a bar of soap, and you get tons of single-use slivers perfect for washing your hands…or use several slivers in the shower, too.    Tip: This really only works with glycerin based soaps (the clear kind) and not any other types of soap.   So, if you love Dove soap, for example, and try this, you’ll end up with snow flakes and not slivers.


Now, speaking of gift cards, I do think giving a gift card is really the greenest gift because the recipient can choose exactly what they need.   There are millions of presents that are purchased every holiday season, wrapped up in paper, and then all rushed back to the stores on December 26th to be returned.   It’s a huge amount of wasted resources: paper, fuel (going back and forth to the stores), etc.   And this doesn’t include the gifts that get stashed in a closet, forgotten, and then are just tossed in the trash during Spring Cleaning days.

So, I had some editors at the event help me in making ornaments using gift cards using repurposed and recycled materials.  Above, you see the talented styling team (behind the counter) of Vanessa Boer and Kristine Trevino working away while teaching two editors from Parents magazine the fine crafting art of gift card ornament making.


Just cut a snowman template, tape the card inside, and it “hugs” it in place.   Or make an envelope out of old cardstock (maybe from old holiday cards) fold over and decorate with office supply stickers like reinforcement and “dots.”    Be creative and have fun.

The simplest idea is to just take an old Altoid mint tin, cover the outside with scrap paper and fill the tin with a gift card (it fits perfectly). Tie up with ribbon and give.

Christmas in July

July 27th, 2009


No, I have not lost my mind: Christmas in July.   I know, maybe some of you are thinking, “what’s next? Halloween in February?,” but here me out.     Each year, JCPenney hosts an event in NYC for magazine editors to come see the latest and greatest offerings of holiday gift ideas for their December issues.   Being a magazine editor myself, I’ve always thought it was strange to think Christmas in the heat of July, but with planning done many months ahead, we have to get into the mind-frame of Santa in the Summer. 

As the Green Living Partner for JCPenney, I decided to showcase two ideas to editors this year: to give the gift of gift cards and several unique ways to “gift” our JCPenney Linden Street Quick Dri towels.      Here are some pics to get you thinking about the holidays!


First up: take two Quick Dri towels and fold them (without pins!) into an oragami towel dog.   Yes, it’s possible and not hard to do.      This is a cute gift to set-up if a friend or family member is visiting you this holiday season and bringing their pooch with them.  Why not greet the dog with some fresh towels, treats and a bowl?   Sure, HE won’t know, but the dog’s owner will.   Here’s a tutorial on folding towels into a dog:

Towel Dog FoldingClick here for more free videos


Another idea is to create a Quick Firestarter Kit.  Fill a Simply Green JCPenney tote bag with rolled up towels and add rolled up newspaper filled with pine cones and dried rosemary all tied up with….um…string (sounds Christmas-y!).   Then make a homemade firestarter…..


Just take a cardboard egg carton (important that it’s cardboard and not plastic/styrofoam), and fill it with dryer lint, and melted wax from an old candle.   I added candle wicks to each one for effect, but it’s not necessary.    To use: just tear off a section, throw into the fireplace and light.  Instant firestarter.  

More Christmas in July tips tomorrow, including the perfect housewarming gift and how to wrap a gift card in a fun and creative way.

Merry Christmas!  (ha!)