Sure, there are all the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts that you can give. But this year why not take your presents up a notch and give the eco-friendly version instead? I’ve compiled a few options so your ‘I Love You’ can be both red & green.
1. Bouquets of flowers are the most traditional and foolproof gift option for Valentine’s Day. But not all flowers are eco-friendly, so make sure you do it right. Check out your green flower options here.
2. I’m a fan of jewelry for Valentine’s (I mean who isn’t?), but nothing says I love you quite like green jewelry. Among all the shops out there, Linhardt is a personal fave.
3. Why not give a practical gift this year? I love the funky red design of this Baggu reusable grocery bag. Even better if you fill it with organic food.
4. A little red in your life is always welcome. And how cute are these felt purses from Canvas?
6. Give organic or locally produced chocolate. One option is Dagoba, a chocolate company dedicated to sustainably grown, organic cacao.
7. What better way to say I love you than with a heart? I love these hand crafted French ceramic hearts from ABC Home.
8. Make your own Valentines with this eco-friendly stamp kit from Branch.
9. Give a Valentine’s Day card made from recycled paper like this cute French Bulldog from Sycamore Street Press.
I love a leisurely bike ride as much as the next person, but I have always been in awe of the subset of New Yorkers who are brave enough (or crazy enough?) to navigate the insane traffic of this fair city. Maybe someday if I ever move to a less populated (read: fewer cars) area of the country, I’ll get myself a bike. In the meantime, I’ll stick with walking, taking public transport and living vicariously through these brave souls. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good looking and eco-friendly bicycle.
Panda Bicycles was created by three friends at Colorado State University, obsessed with making the world a better place. They set about making a bicycle that had it all – a unique, classic design with well-crafted, innovative, safe and hi-tech details. The bamboo frame of this vintage inspired piece is not only good looking but also eco-friendly, naturally hefty and non-corrosive. As Panda Bicycles says, “we’re growing bikes,” which I think couldn’t be more true. As for me, just imagine me on one of these bikes with a basket, sundress, jaunty little hat and no traffic.
Photos by Panda Bicycles
Hopefully by now, your home and life are a bit more organized. If not, check out some eco-friendly tips and tricks I put together to help 2012 be your most put together yet. As for me, I’ve been working furiously on getting our apartment ready for the new baby, especially because I know I won’t have the time once he/she arrives. Our bedroom has desperately needed a new set of roman shades so that’s what I’ve been concentrating on this weekend. I ended up breaking down and buying Marimekko fabric (on sale!) to add a jolt of color and pattern to our otherwise plain walls. I just wish I had seen this chic fabric from Nina at Swanky Swell beforehand, since her collection is not only colorful and bold, but every bit eco-friendly.
A girl after my own heart, Nina Jizhar, creator of Swanky Swell, is a LEED Accredited Professional and a former commercial interior designer turned entrepreneur & mom. Naturally her collection of fabric uses organic grounds (all of her fabrics are OE100 certified), are printed with water based, ultra-low VOC inks and don’t require a chemical pre or post treatment to set. One of the things that I always find most inspiring about handcrafted products is the small batch process – since these fabrics are printed on demand, from large to small orders, there’s pretty much no fabric waste. Check out her collection online or on her Etsy page.
Raindrops in Mandarin
Photos from Swanky Swell
So it turns out that working a more than full time job, catching up with friends and needing lots of extra sleep to keep this pregnant lady moving does not make for a prolific blogging schedule. All the more reason to have an organized life, that’s for sure! On my end, this weekend we moved our desk and reorganized our living room at bit in preparation for the baby. Oh and I recaulked our bathtub. I have tons of projects in the queue for the next few months, but all in all, a productive weekend all around.
Last week I brought you a few tricks to organize your house with labels and hooks, two things I find so useful to keep all the little things in place. This week, I’m continuing the organization bug with container storage and tips to organize your life. I find there are always things around your house that don’t have a proper place, which is why I’m a big fan of bins, crates, baskets and anything to help keep all those little odds and ends in place. I find they’re especially useful in small apartments where you don’t have the closet space that you might in a larger house.
- I love using crates to hold everything under the sun since they’re easy to find and not very expensive. These are from Three Potato Four.
- Entry benches are a great spot to store shoes, umbrellas, hats and gloves. I love this set from Serena & Lily.
- These Larder Shelves from Greenhouse could be a great extra storage spot for the kitchen, bathroom or home office.
- In addition to crates, I use tons of baskets to hold everything from blankets to household items. I especially love these woven African baskets from Viva Terra.
- Corralling those remotes is an important step to making your living room feel clutter free. Use an extra flower pot or lacquer box like the one here.
- If you don’t have a cabinet in your kitchen for cutting boards & baking pans, organize them with an extra paper sorter as shown here from Real Simple.
- Lidded baskets and bins are great solution because you can stack them. And with pretty ones like these Felt Boxes from Branch, no one will ever know what you’re storing.
- Perfect for blankets, ottomans with space on the inside are another great incognito place for storage. This storage ottoman with casters is a large option from Crate and Barrel.
- Keep those inevitable extra plastic bags nice & neat in a tissue box as seen from Real Simple.
- Here’s another basket option for those of you who like a more structured option. Leather Trim Basket from Greenhouse.
If you’re anything like me, as much as I try to go digital, we still collect tons of paper. From mail, family calendars, bank statements and to do lists, what to do with all this paper? I love finding creative ways to arrange and hide this clutter and I’ve gathered a few ideas for you here.
- Binders aren’t just for schoolwork – we use a binders as our filing system as a way to avoid the inevitable file drawers. If you make cute labels or get colorful binders like these Project Binder’s from Naked Binder, you’ll be happy with the look.
- I love this creative project from Country Living – take vintage photo albums and turn them into an accordion file folder.
- Why change your calendar every year when you can customize a dry erase one every month. Perfect for families to keep everyone on the same page. Black Dry Erase Calendar from Cedar Hollow Designs.
- Make your own magnetic message board from a vintage frame and your choice of fabric to fit any decor. Check out the project here from Country Living.
- Here’s a cute paper storage idea – put your mail and messages in paint cans organized on a shelf as shown here from Martha Stewart.
- I’m a serial list maker. Writing my to-do’s on a chalkboard rather than hundreds of post-its is a chic and eco-friendly way to stay on top of my list. I love this Chalkboard Tablet (with or without stand) from Branch.
- Why use boring magnets when you can make chic ones out of vintage jewelry. Check out the project at Country Living.
- Make your own corkboard with a vintage frame for a cute pin-up spot. I made one for our house, but wrapped the cork with antique fabric to fit our style better. Check out the directions from Life Hacker.
- Instead of dry erase, you can also make your own reusable calendar from chalkboard paint as seen here with this huge wall calendar from Martha Stewart.
I hope all of these tips, tricks and products help your 2012 to be your most organized yet!
I’m not really a New Years resolution type of gal – I’m more of an avoid-the-gym-at-all-costs-during-the-first-two-weeks-of-January kind of gal. But to be honest, even though I don’t make resolutions (because I’d rather see where life takes me and vow to do x, y or z as the need arises, say in May), it doesn’t mean this isn’t a great time of year to start something fresh. And because January happens to be a time I like to stay in and hibernate, what better time than now to start organizing your life.
I’ve written posts before about office organization, but let’s face it – your office isn’t the only area of your life that needs a bit of order. Even as I write this post, I’m looking around my house right now at the piles of magazines, random pieces of mail and purses & shoes dropped haphazardly by the door that could all have found a better home. Living in a small apartment has taught me that not only does organization make me a happier person, it also makes me a more productive one. So I’m dedicating this week to getting my (and hopefully your) act together with some products and sources to help keep your life a more ordered one. Plus the best news of all – there are tons of eco-friendly & inexpensive ways to get your organization on. First up this week are labels and hooks, two great and underused organization tricks. I’ll be following up later this week with even more great round-ups.
One of the tricks I love is using labels for everything from spices & baking supplies to closets and cords. Not only are labels helpful to remember where things are and where they go back to, but they can look great in the process.
1. Chalkboard labels especially good for items that often need new labels 2. Freezer labels to keep your refrigerator organized (via Martha Stewart) 3. Make your own fabric labels with a vintage typewriter (via Make Something). Even more green if you use organic fabric. 4. Days of the week pins to organize your to dos by day 5. Kitchen labels for all your baking needs 6. Turn a regular garbage bin into a chic labeled piece with these recycle labels 7. Organize your cords with toilet paper rolls. Label the outside and you’ll never have a jumbled mess again (via Real Simple). 8. Make your own spice jar labels – even better if you use recycled paper (via Martha Stewart) 9. Iron on labels with organic twill tape (via Patchwork Pottery)
To help keep entryways, coats and clothing off the floor and available for easy access, hooks are a great way to organize. My house is sprinkled with them because I love having easy access to my everyday items. Plus if you pick hooks that are as chic as these, you’ll be happy to put them front and center.
1. Driftwood coat rack 2. Personalized coat rack made from spoons. This would be great for keys too so you always know which are yours. 3. Boat cleat hooks from Denise DeLong 4. Coat rack made from a vintage cabinet door 5. Hook made with a vintage book as the background 6. Three bin wire shelf & hooks (with labels!) 7. This “bath” rack would be a great place for bath robes
What better way to ring in the New Year than with brand new furniture? Okay, maybe not brand new, but at least with a nice new coat of paint. One of my friends gifted me this lovely dresser two years ago when she moved out of town. My plan was to paint it, rather than refinish the wood, since the veneer was chipped in places and needed some love in others. But of course indecision and general procrastination led me to finally tackle this two year old project now. With a few days off work and a husband to help me carry the thing out of our bedroom (clearly I’ll be milking the pregnancy thing for all I can get), I was set. I had always wanted to paint it a charcoal grey color, but thinking that might be a bit too dark, I settled on a slightly lighter shade. The final grey is a wee bit bluer than I had anticipated, but I think it’s a beautiful color, and especially lovely with the wallpaper remnant that I added on top for extra durability.
Here’s the before picture of the dresser. I neglected to take a true before picture with the drawers still in, but you get the idea.
Okay, here are the drawers post wood filler.
Ta da! I love the grey color against the vintage brass hardware. Such a pretty combo.
I don’t know if you can tell from this closeup, but the wallpaper is actually a kaleidoscope of mermaids. It comes from bespoke wallcovering company, Carolyn Ray, who makes beautiful handprinted papers with metallic inks. (They can also print on vinyl for you commercially or practically minded folks.) I love my “new” dresser and especially love the contrast between the grey paint color and my husband’s darker wood dresser next to it.
I’ve taken quite a leave of absence over the last few months and all for good reasons. The best news of all is that….I’m pregnant! Yup, that’s right, I’ve battled day-long nausea, weird food cravings (and aversions) and crazy tiredness to land squarely in my second trimester. All is going well so far but it’s amazing how much time is taken up and we don’t even have the kid yet! So now that I’ve had a little while to get used to the idea that our family is going to increase by one more person as well as finish up a few pressing design projects, I’m ready to get back to blogging. I couldn’t think of a better way to ring in the New Year with an announcement of this sort. Wishing you and your families a happy and healthy year ahead. I’ll be toasting my sparkling grape juice with you.
I took this weekend as an excuse to get out of the city and up to Brimfield. Last year we scored some pretty nice pieces (a gorgeous antique dresser and a nightstand in need of love), but this year I wasn’t necessarily looking for anything in particular. We have all the furniture we can possibly fit in our tiny apartment, so what is a city dweller to hunt for. The answer came in vintage dresses and jewelry. Easy to carry and easy to bring home on the train (yup the luxury of not owning a car in NYC). But of course while we were there, I couldn’t resist taking pictures of the fun and interesting things we saw. If you went to Brimfield, what did you see?
Ship replica. I’ve always wanted one of these in my house. Not sure where I would put it, but the craftsman ship on some of these vessels is amazing!
How cool is this bed frame? Too bad I just bought a new headboard!
This is a sign my husband would appreciate, not because he’s a gardener, but because he likes corny jokes.
All of these antique glasses and dishware make me wish for a larger kitchen and more opportunities to entertain large groups of people.
I do love me some antique door and cabinet hardware…
How amazing are those lady lamps? They would be perfect at a bar in Brooklyn for sure.
Good thing I didn’t go to Brimfield with my husband, otherwise this milkshake machine just might have come home with us.
These nesting bowls definitely bring me back to my childhood since my mom has and still uses her set daily. I’ve looked for a set of my own, but they’re more expensive than you would think!
Can you sense the nautical theme yet?
Just in case you were thinking about dressing up as Santa Claus this year.
Sock forms to go with the glove forms above
Hello stained glass!
As a fan of spin class, I have a special spot in my heart for this antique stationary bike.
For the winners in your life
More items for my giant fantasy kitchen
I was just in Minnesota this weekend visiting friends and family. I always have such a wonderful time when I go, not just because of the company but also because Minneapolis is a pretty forward thinking area. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll already know that I think recycling & reusing are the best and easiest way to be green. And turning old buildings or other historic structures into livable, usable spaces goes hand in hand with that ethos. One area that has done this particularly well is the Warehouse District of Minneapolis. Formerly home to flour mills, this area was booming in the late 1880s with factories stretched up and down the river using that water power. When technologies changed and businesses moved elsewhere, many of these mills were abandoned and left to deteriorate.
Fortunately for us there are people out there with the foresight to see an abandoned building and turn it into a museum, business or apartment. And from this, the Warehouse District was sprung. I’m doing something a little different today and posting pictures of the exterior of the buildings rather than the interiors so you can get a feel of what these building are like. Most of these have been converted from manufacturing facilities or office buildings into cool loft style apartments. But I also had to include a picture of the Mill City Museum which is a great place to learn all about the area and the manufacturing history in Minnesota. For me, what I find the most unique about the museum is that instead of building the facade back up, they left it as they found it and built a modern glass structure within. Such a beautiful juxtaposition. Enjoy!
The Mill City Museum
Rock Island Lofts
I’ve taken a little blogging hiatus over the last week to get some work done on a top secret project (I hope to have more to share someday soon. And no, it’s not a book deal if that’s what you were guessing). I’m back this week with a paint update. Like many of you, I have my favorites – Farrow & Ball and Benjamin Moore remain my go to’s for color and quality. But when I got an update from Unearthed Paints for their totally natural pigments, I was intrigued. It turns out that their paints are made with all raw ingredients, like clay, chalk, and marble, and contain absolutely no synthetic ingredients. They are biodegradable and because they’re not made with plastic binders, they are breathable. What I love about natural paints are the luminosity and depth you get from the colors that you just can’t get with conventional choices.
Unearthed Paints come in a range of choices like Clay Paint, Vega Paint (their version of milk paint), Lime Paint and Plasters, among others. And unlike conventional paints that you would buy premixed in a store, these are sold as powders. Just mix with water and white to get your exact shade of choice. The saturated color on the left is what you get without any mixing. The shades on the right are what you would get mixing with a little bit and a little bit more of white.
If all of this sounds difficult or beyond your comfort level, Unearthed Paints has tons of tips and tricks on their website to help you with your project. And even more helpful, you can always call them with questions. How many paint companies do that?
Photos from Unearthed Paints