Tuesday, December 16, 2008

D.I.Y Toy Storage

It is always a good idea to do a pre-holiday toy purge. New toys will come in, so it is a great opportunity to share gently used toys with a local charity. After purging and donating to the local orphanage I decided we needed to fine tune our organization system as well. Our three year olds toy collection consists of a few firemen, loads of pirates, and pirate paraphernalia. Since our two boys share a room I decided to place some storage boxes under the bed so they would be easy to get to. I found these boxes at a local shop that used them for display. They were a steal so I bought a bunch. A quick trip to the art supply shop for wooden signs and chalkboard paint. After painting the signs I used 3m double sided tape to attach the signs to the boxes. Using chalkboard paint allows you to repurpose the boxes as your children grow. Check out the pictures above!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Give Granola!

Every year I make granola to give to friends and neighbors. I figure that everyone will eat enough junk over the next few weeks and something remotely healthy might be nice. The process is quite time consuming but it nice to be "stuck" at home during the holidays with time to read a book , or watch Christmas specials on TV. Above is the finished product! I always use a mason jar to store it in so it can be reused and will stay fresh.

What are you cooking up this holiday season? Send in your ideas to share!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

If you have been following my blog you already know how neurotic I am about plastic and BPA.  I have blogged several times about safer ways to store your children/baby's food and drinks. I came across this new feeding system by Think Baby. The line has not yet been released and already has a waiting list so get on it! The set costs $42.oo and comes with the above components. Totally free of BPA, lead, melamine, lead, PVC, and phthalates this one is hard to resist. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Truly British Tea Party with a Purpose

Today I had a joy of attending a tea at my neighbor Denise's home. She hosted a lovely tea party to benefit Low Country Orphan Relief. A tea party with a purpose. Guests were asked to bring any used clothes, books, school supplies, and toiletries for the children. Bags of goodies were piled up around the Christmas Tree ready to be delivered to the children. The Non-Profit provides aid to children in the Charleston area that are abandoned, abused, and or neglected. The organization basically takes over where the government leaves off. We enjoyed amazing homemade scones, tea, and other traditional British treats. Check out the pictures above....

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Trip to Lime Blue

With a mission to promote all things local I made a trip to Lime Blue yesterday to do a bit of holiday shopping. Lime Blue, located on Queen Street downtown, makes one feel like they have taken "happy pills". From clay birds, personality included, to owl piggy banks everything is full of life & color. Looking for the perfect teacher gifts? The fish ornaments and clay flowers are perfect, & they won't break the bank either. Still in need of holiday decorations? Check out the "partridge in a pear tree" centerpiece or the garland with clay accents on the mantel. To make your experience top notch Jeff will wrap your gifts for you, and maybe give you a cookie. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Recycled Art For Your Garden

The Bloom' in Art Show last month was fortunate to show the works of Doug James, a local craftsmen, who make the most amazing bottle trees and chairs out of reclaimed materials.  The Bottle Tree was placed right outside the studio on King Street,  lit up,  showing the colors of the bottles beautifully. What a great addition to your garden with some nice LED lights wrapped around it.  Doug's family web site also will include the work of his wife, Kendall, an amazing jewelry artist. To see pictures of the chairs, which are extremely comfortable, go to his web site at www.designsbydeck.com 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Uses for Kid's Art Work

Above are some pictures of notecards I made from my son's art work. I used a paper cutter and made small cards and then tied them together with twine. Don't you think these would make a great gift for the grandparents. Not only are they beautiful but they are free as well! Another great use of finger paintings is wrapping paper. Why spend money on a roll of wrapping paper when it is hanging on your fridge.
Any ideas for other ways to use art work? Share your thoughts...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bloom’ in Art
Premiering local artists and craftsmen

Our mission is to promote local artists and their craft

while giving back to art programs in high need schools. 

Stop in and celebrate fall with Bloom’ in Art....always new and always local!


November 7th, 7-10 pm

The Real Estate Studio

214 King Street, Charleston

-To Benefit Mitchell Elementary School-


jewelry, textiles, paintings, pottery, iron work, and lots more…


For more information: http://www.bloominart.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lucky Tree Bags, the GoodEbag

A close friend recently launched her eco-friendly grocery bag line right here in Charleston. The beautiful chocolate brown bags are stylish & sturdy. From an organizer's perspective they create order in the trunk, folding up neat and flat. From a "green" perspective, the message is clear. RE think it! With messages printed on the bag, designed to make us think while inspiring us to do better.  My favorite part are the cute side pockets made especially for a pot of herbs or your natural cleaning products. Right now the bags are available at Expressions Art & Framing on Daniel Island (next to Publix). 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thrifty Thursdays - Lentil Soup

During these tough economic times I though I would reserve Thursday's blog topic for green, healthy ways to save some cash. Here is a great recipe for a yummy soup I just made for the kids. Not only is it healthy & hearty, but it is an inexpensive meal. I bought all the ingredients at Whole Foods, but made sure I got the generic 365 brand to save money.

Lentil Soup:
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot sliced in discs
Saute the above till the onions are clear then add the below ingredients and let simmer 45 minutes or till lentils are soft
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • dash of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • dash salt
  • can of diced tomatoes

Take a small loaf of fresh bread, slice thinly, toss in a bit of olive oil and sea salt, bake till crispy. 

Serve soup with croutons and parmesan cheese on top.... Enjoy!

Money Saving Tip: Eating Vegetarian is a great way to save money!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Louie's Kids Yoga-thon

Don't forget to head down to Marion Square this weekend for the Yoga-thon benefiting Louie's Kids. The event will take place on Saturday October 11th from 12-2 pm. Join the yoga community for 108 Sun Salutations to fight childhood obesity. Interested in participating or donating? Check out the web site, www.louieskids.org

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tips for minimizing your paper work!

Here are a few tips to keep the paper stacks to a minimum:

1. Only let paper touch your hands once. File it, shred it, or recycle it RIGHT AWAY!
2. Keep your files within reach so you can easily file what you must keep. 
3. Reduce your junk mail at  www.greendimes.com
4. Email companies who send you catalogs and tell them you prefer to shop on-line
5. Sign up for on-line bill pay and e-bills
6. Have a file for every member of the family and purge them on recycle day
7. Stop all of the unwanted credit card offers from arriving at your doorstep at www.optoutprescreen.com


Monday, September 29, 2008

Neecy Designs

Who knew I had a neighbor who can not only can make a killer scone but can sew absolutely anything! Well Neecy, of Neecy Designs, can! Today I was given a sneak peak of her latest designs. A fabric covered head-board, side tables made of salvaged materials then covered in chic fabric, fabric wall-hangings, and pillows galore. I have included some pictures of her designs. She is local and does custom orders as well. Interested? Stay tuned for her contact information....

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Charleston Green Fair Today

Don't forget to check out the Charleston Green Fair today from 12-6 pm in Marion Square! Green products, information, and sustainable restaurants will be featured at the event. Fun for kids as well. Find out how to be more environmentally aware in Charleston.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Waste Free Lunch Box

Check out this great lunch box from Kids Konserve. It is completely waste free. The system includes a sandwich sack, 2 stainless steel containers, a stainless water bottle,organic cotton napkin, and sack to carry it all. Their web site is full of ways to decrease waste and protect the environment. If you have ever been to lunch at your child's school you know how much gets mindlessly tossed in the trash. This is a great way to get kids involved in conservation, let them set the example in the cafeteria. Knowledge is power!

Monday, September 22, 2008

DIY modern storage cans - UPDATE

I am still working out the kinks so be kind....

Here are some pictures of the  first cans I made today. I still need to add ribbon to the pink one, but part of me likes the simplicity. I will attempt the larger cans tomorrow. Stay tuned for more pictures....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Aluette’s Cafe - Organic local food

This past week I had the joy of going to lunch with a dear friend of mine. Living downtown she always knows the best places to eat. Most of the time they are tucked away and off the beaten path. So on Thursday we heading down Reid Street to Aluette's Cafe. A tiny peach building is the home of an absolute gem. Think local, organic, healthy, yummy food with a touch of soul. The cafe was packed at noon, so I suggest getting there early for lunch. They do have an outdoor patio so now that fall has arrived it would be an ideal spot to dine. 

P.S I was especially inspired by the voter registration forms placed right by the door, just in case you need one....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Modern DIY Storage

As you know I love new and innovative ways to store things. Recently I came across these great DIY storage cans on Design Sponge. I thought I would give them a try with some beautiful paper from Lesesne on King Street. The shop located on upper King has a beautiful selection on modern paper that will work perfectly. If you have not been in and love stationary it is the place to shop. Yummy candles, beautiful table linens, and lovely paper all in one shop. I will keep you posted on the storage cans as the project progresses. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Updates on Lap Top Lunches and Meal Exchange

Here is the low down on the Lap Top Lunch Box and my neighborhood meal exchange. First of all I love the Lap Top Lunch. Zero waste and because the compartments are on the small size the kids eat everything I pack. Having 5 compartments also promotes variety. I can pack a fruit, veggie, snack, and sandwich. Best of all the kids love them. One more plus is that they are flat and keep their backpacks flat minimizing the bulk. 

Now onto the meal exchange. Three weeks of meal exchanging has proved successful and fun. We have all tried new foods and the kids have learned they like the unexpected. The exchange has saved time, money, and energy. Cooking once instead of three times has freed up time to spend with family and decreased my stress. My goal has always been to simplify and this fits right in. If you are interested in the details let me know. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Upcoming Show at the Real Estate Studio

Bloom' in Art Party to Benefit Art Programs in High Need Schools

On November 7th, 7-10pm, Bloom' in Art will host a party at The Real Estate Studio, 214 King Street, to benefit art programs in local high need schools. 

The mission of Bloom' in Art is to "grow local artists" while donating a portion of the proceeds to art programs in local schools. This traveling art show, featured in the Post and Courier,  will have the work of local painters, potters, textile artists, and jewelry makers on display. It is a great way to purchase art while supporting local schools. Light food and beverages will be served. 

The Real Estate Studio, 214 King Street, Charleston. Friday, November 7th, 7-10pm. 

Friday, August 29, 2008

Yummy EVO Pizza

Before heading to the Hootie and the Blowfish concert a few weeks ago we checked out Evo Pizza up in quaint Park Circle. Yummy! We started with a plate of olives and local summer squash with feta cheese. After enjoying the salad and olives we moved on to the pizzas. Not only was the crust the perfect thickness but the cheese was so fresh! Great friends, local beer, and pizza what could be better? Alright, the concert was icing on the cake, or should I say topping on the pie.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Neighborhood "Meal Exchange"

In the triangle of homes in my alley way lives three families totaling 6 adults and 8 kids. We have decided to experiment with taking turns cooking dinner three nights a week. On each night one family will prepare enough food for all three families, thereby cooking once instead of three times. Not only will this save on trips to the store and time, you will save on energy as well. We met for tea and picked a menu for a month of meals. Basic guidelines were also set: meal must be ready by 5 pm, healthy and organic, and dietary restrictions to respect. I will keep you posted on how it goes, so far so good, my meal was delivered across the fence promptly by 5:00.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lap Top Lunch Box

The mission in my home is to simplify everything, from the laundry to the lunches. I recently purchased the Lap Top Lunch Boxes for my kids. I love how everything is contained in little compartments and minimizes waste. All of the containers and the bag are free of phthalates, lead, PVC, and BPA.  This is a test run so I will keep you posted on how they work for my kids. Any thoughts or reviews let me know....

Green Glasses

Here is one of my recent ANTIQUE MARKET finds. Can you believe these great glasses made from reclaimed soda bottles? I purchased four of them for a whopping $2 each at the local antique market. I love the color and that they are unique in shape. Two other local shops to purchase glasses made from recycled materials are Dwell Smart and Global Awakenings.

Mowing your Lawn the "green way"

One day I am on my front porch and I notice my neighbor mowing the lawn. Do I hear noise? No. Do I smell gas? No. That is because he is, he has just purchased a Brill manual reel mower. It actually makes mowing the lawn appear to be a peaceful experience.  This gas-free, eco-friendly mower is truly the wave of the future, and best of all you don't have to wait till 9 am to mow the lawn. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

De-cluttering your Closet

Here is a great tip for pairing down your wardrobe to what you really wear. Turn all of your hangers in the opposite direction (hook in) and after you wear an item put it back the right way (hook out). At the end of six months all of the items still facing the opposite way need to go! Simple and very honest! You can do the same with shoes turn them all toe out on the rack and as you wear them return them heel out. This is a great way to see what you really wear and what needs to head to Goodwill or the local consignment store. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Simple Living Manifesto

While browsing one of my favorite web sites, Zen Habits, I came across this amazing manifesto. The topic is simple living and it includes 72 ways to simplify. I have attached the link below, check it out.  Start with a few items and work your way down the list of 72 ways to make life easier. 

Monday, August 11, 2008

Books! Books! Books!

Alright, so I am as guilty as the next with my love of buying new books to read. I love the whole experience of going to the bookstore, browsing to find a great read, drinking a yummy latte, and twenty bucks later leaving with a paperback I will finish in a matter of days! What have I been thinking? With awareness comes change. So I have vowed to alter my book addiction and here is how it will go. Only purchase reference books that I will use over and over again, everything else will come from the library or local Trade-a-Book. Not only can you save tons of cash and some trees, but you can use less gas with the book mobile that practically comes to your house! It is very simple. Go online and reserve your books and the book mobile will bring them along. With a little patience you can read whatever you like. The Trade-a-Book is another great option. De-clutter and few shelves of paperbacks bring them in for trade. When it is all said and done you can sit on your porch with a nice glass of ice tea, your book, money in your pocket, and less eco-guilt! Are you up for the challenge?

Local? Below is a great place to trade in a book:

Sullivan's Trade A Book
1303 Ben Sawyer Blvd., Mt. Pleasant (843) 884-8611

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Recycled Sail Bags

While browsing though Real Simple I came across these great wine bags made from recycled sail cloth. Not only are the bags made from recycled material but they are meant to be used over and over again. The next time you give a host a bottle of wine pack it in the tote and write their name on it. He or she can then pass it on writing the recipient's name and date on the bag and so on... Eco-friendly and stylish re-gifting! The bags are available at Seabags.com.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What is Your Carbon Output?

Interested in determining your carbon output? I recently came upon a great web site the gives you a score in as little as 2 minutes. The web site is Earthlab.com not only can you determine your score but they help you to lower you carbon output through a few simple steps. After answering a few simple questions about your life style they provide you with a earth conservation profile score and how many tons of carbon you generate per year. Interested? Check it out at Earthlab.com.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Retail Fast

With the price of gas through the roof and the cost of goods rising as a result, maybe it is time for a "retail fast". After a weekend in the mountains and a much needed "technology fast" I think a "retail fast" is a good follow-up. So how do we avoid those impulse purchases that we really don't need? Here are a few tips: Ask yourself the following 3 questions before a purchase 1. Do I really need it? 2. Do I really love it? 3. Is it functional for me and my home? Another great tip is to keep a running list of items you run out of or do need to purchase and stick to it! Remember when one item comes in another must depart. Finally wait, wait, wait. Take a few days to think about a purchase before you buy, you just might change your mind. 
Good Luck!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Charleston Green Taxi

While sitting at Metto Coffee and Tea yesterday I came across an advertisement for Charleston Green Taxi in the City Paper. Charleston Green Taxi is our cities first Eco-Friendly Taxi service. From the picture in the ad it looks like the Toyota Prius is the Green Taxi. I am continually impressed by how quickly our city is catching on! The next time you are in need of a ride to the airport check them out at 843-819-0846.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Not a great picture but here is my favorite item that is made from reclaimed wire, light bulbs, nuts, and bolts. This sweet bug hangs on my front porch and makes my day! A friend of mine, Jeff Kopish, of Lime Blue, on Queen Street makes these. Imagine a garden full of these all lit up, a true wonderland. 

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Check out these great mirrors we purchased at Palmetto Moon in Mount Pleasant. They are made of old Charleston Doors. Before the builder put mirrors in our bathrooms I asked him to wait. Instead of a generic mirror from Lowe's we have 4 of these great works of art in our home. All of the mirrors are original and unique. Another stylish way to recycled and reuse.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Recycled Outdoor Rugs

Over the next week I thought I would share with you some of the things in my home that are repurposed or made from recycled materials. One of my favorite items is the rug on my front porch made from recycled soda bottles. Not only is it able to be hosed off but it does not fade. After three years in the blazing sun it has retained it's color. I purchased mine locally as well at the Antique Market on Coleman Blvd. I also believe they sell them at Dwell Smart and Global Awakenings. The rugs come in many colors and can be used inside or out. What better way to use all those leftover soda bottles!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eco-Slipcover Solutions

Having three kids places a definite strain on your furniture. Luckily most of our furnishings are wood and not fabric. But the one of the sofas we own has sure taken a beating! Our neighbors were getting rid of this sofa and offered it to us. It is a "vintage" Crate and Barrel with nice lines and a great pull out bed. We love the couch but after many smoothie spills it could sure use a face lift. Above is a great hemp fabric I found from hemptraders.com . I want something durable. non-toxic, and eco-friendly. I have also thought about going with white. Something I can throw in the wash with some oxy-clean Love to hear your thoughts....

Monday, June 23, 2008

So we decided to go with the open shelves. This is a picture of the beautiful shelf Chris Cobb, of Cobb Woodworking, built for my kitchen. The open shelf definitely makes my kitchen feel more spacious and less confined. The change in paint color from a maple cabinet to this nice gray also adds to the openness. They used a low-voc paint which means no smell and less impact on the environment. I decided to place dishes and cups that I use often on the shelf to minimize dust. Mission Accomplished!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Recycled Flip Flop Door-Mat

With most of my husband's family living in Hawaii, I have a great appreciation for the ever-comfortable flip-flop. We usually have about 10 pairs in the shoe box on my porch at all times. But like anything else what happens when they are worn out and too small. Check out the door mat above! Viva Terra carries these as well and storage bins made from flip flops. I purchased one for my brother a few years ago and it is still holding strong! I will do some research on how to donate and recycle my own families supply, I will keep you posted....

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Children's School Storage

Lately I have been touring some new homes with a friend of mine. All of the homes have theses huge mud rooms with cubbies and tons of storage. I thought I would share with you my solution to storing children's excess STUFF if you are space challenged. I bought these lockers from a yoga studio I taught at when they closed and it was the best $100 I have spent. Each family member has their own locker with one to spare. Book bags, shoes, and coats all fit nicely with out all the clutter lying around the house. The children love the excitement of having their own "big kid" locker. Another great feature is that they are magnetic, the perfect place to display art work and awards. If you don't have a huge mud room these fit nicely against any wall without taking up a lot of space. Be an "earth helper" and find some used ones as I did!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Another Use for Used Coffee Grinds

Most of you already know that coffee grinds are a great way to boost the quality of your compost but how about using them as an exfoliant? Well, one of my favorite eco-experts, Danny Seo, thinks they do a great job as a body scrub. So after drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee I though I would give it a go. I decided to mix some Dr. Bronner's with the grinds to make a nice paste. I have to say I feel like I just stepped out of the spa, buffed and smooth as a baby's bottom! I have also heard that the caffeine component is great for cellulite, who knows? After stepping out of the shower try using some coconut oil to moisturize, another great all natural idea. Side note: save your shower cleaning till after you do the scrub

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Antique Market Find

One of my favorite mindless pastimes is to browse the local antique market. Most of the time I just look and enjoy the peace that goes along with the stress free window shopping. But on Monday I found a little something I could not resist. This old window frame with chicken wire was the perfect place to display art work and pictures on our kitchen wall. I am still trying to properly hang it but here is an idea of how it looks so far.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mano Caliente?

After years of killing everything I planted I think I finally have a semi-green thumb. My window boxes are in full bloom with help from the staff of Abide a While Nursery. So you might be wondering what the title of the blog means. My sweet sitter speaks Spanish and told me today that I have "mano caliente", or "hot hands", the spanish version on having a "green thumb". Grandma, if you are watching I have finally arrived!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

As you all know I am a huge fan of Mrs. Meyer's and after last years honeysuckle spring cleaning line I was wondering how she could beat it. I love the smell of fresh rhubarb and have loved admiring it's beauty at the local farmer's market as well. My mom used to make strawberry-rhubarb jam every spring and we would eat it all winter. When the last jar was gone we all looked forward to hitting the strawberry patch in the spring. Check out this yummy addition to Mrs. Meyer's collection, a cleaning product that actually makes scrubbing a joyful experience. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May - August is the time to win! My friend Grace of Sam & Bellie has just launched a giveaway. Each week she will feature a new designer of children's products. The products will be reviewed and then one lucky individual will win the item, no strings attached! I have hopped on board to review some of the products as well. The first being, Mom Spit, and no-rinse cleanser for hands and face. Check out her site and sign up!