Posts Tagged ‘eco-friendly’

4 Simple Ways to Decorate with Squash and Gourds

Eco holiday decorating

Every year I seem to have a few more squash from the garden than I know what to do with! They end up inside as decorations, which is okay with me. After all, nothing says fall like a bowl of heirloom squash and petite gourds on the counter. It’s an eco-friendly and incredibly easy way to bring a little autumn to any house.

An easy to make fall centerpiece

One thing I love doing with squash is making a centerpiece, as seen above! You can add votive candles and pinecones if you wish, or just use the pretty fruit itself. Decorating, done.

A variation of that, below, is to set the fruit on some pine branches, eucalyptus or other greenery.

Painted pumpkins

This was a fun, easy DIY. Just add metallic paint and glitter to a small gourd for a little shine around the holidays. This will render it inedible though, so save your best pie pumpkins for glitter-free decorating.

Put a bow on it

I had this beautiful black watch plaid ribbon, which totally seemed like fall! So I tied it on the stem of a squash and a little decoration was born.

Outdoor fall decorating

Spruce up the front step with a little display of your squash crop. It’s seasonal, decorative, and totally eco-friendly.

Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite way to display fall’s garden harvest.

I originally published these photos on Midwest Living.

Check that site out for more fall decorating ideas and see what my fellow bloggers have planned for holiday decor, including:

Here’s how to have a minimalist Christmas

How to cure your own olives

Mason jar recipes

Holiday garden gifts

Make a holiday sign with scrap wood

 

 

How to swap plastic beauty products for bamboo

I switched to bamboo beauty products. Here’s what happened.

Why use bamboo beauty products?

So why bamboo? It’s a sustainable resource that grows easily in poor soil–no need for fertilizers or pesticides. At the end of its life I can compost it, keeping it out of the landfill completely. Plus bamboo just feels luxurious. It’s fun to use these high-quality products knowing that I’m doing something good for the Earth.

Four Eco-friendly products to switch to right now

This year I discovered that many everyday products we all use that can be found in bamboo instead of plastic! So I switched to a bamboo comb, bamboo hair brush, even bamboo toothbrushes (and more!). Here’s what I used and what changes they resulted in for me.

I’ve linked to the products I use below, using affiliate links. There are tons of other brands that are probably just as good, these just happen to be the ones I used and liked.

1. Bamboo Comb

This comb is super affordable online (I paid twice as much for it at my local food store). Unlike plastic, bamboo combs have less pulling and no static. That makes it better for your hair, especially if you comb while it’s wet. I honestly can’t go back to using plastic combs anymore! They just don’t feel as sturdy when I comb through my thick, knotty hair.

2. Bamboo Toothbrush

From a friend who runs a Facebook group about zero waste living, I learned there is such a thing as bamboo toothbrushes! I’d never thought much about it before, but if you use 3-4 toothbrushes in a year, that amount of plastic adds up. So I decided to try a bamboo handled brush.

I ordered this 12 pack linked below for $10.50, which is easily the cheapest toothbrush option out there. I was a little concerned that the description said they were for “orcal care,” since I don’t have whales. But despite the sketchy copy editing, it seems like a decent product and you can’t beat the price. I will definitely order these again. The bristles are gentle and my teeth feel as clean as using any other toothbrush. No better or worse, just a good solid alternative to a plastic handled brush.

3. Bamboo Hairbrush

Also cost-effective, a bamboo bristle hairbrush should last you a long time! Like the bamboo comb, it’s anti-static and feels great on your scalp. If your hair is hard to brush through, thick or tangly, a brush like this is a must have. It’s supposedly gentler on hair and leads to less hair loss. It helps keep hair shiny and manageable, two things for which I will take all the help I can get! The only downside is that it’s a little more difficult to remove hair from the bristles of the brush.

4. Bamboo Straws

Refusing plastic straws is the way to go these days, since growing concerns about them littering oceans have made major media outlets. Once you’ve seen the video of what plastic straws can do to sea turtles, there’s no going back. Luckily, there are these reusable, sustainable alternatives to plastic straws. You may have heard that drinking tea and coffee through a straw helps prevent tooth staining. Bamboo straws are ideal for this because you don’t have to worry about the straw melting!

After each switch to a bamboo product, I can honestly say I can’t imagine going back! I personally think the products are well made as well as sustainable, and work just as well if not better than their plastic counterparts. What do you think? Is using bamboo beauty products weird or inspirational?

Floral Arranging with Wildflowers

Using wildflowers as wedding florals

When my dear little cousin got married last year, she did a DIY farm wedding. Her florals were almost all made of wildflowers picked from the property. It was genius, and it looked so good! She saved $$$, and it fit the style of the wedding exactly. Here’s a photo recap of the wildflower wedding floral arrangements, taken by me and first published in Midwest Living.

How to make your own rustic chic wildflower wedding bouquets

Think about storage and how to keep the flowers fresh! The day before the wedding, a group of friends and family scoured the farm for the best wild blooms. After putting the cuttings in big 5-gallon buckets of water, we made bouquets and then stored them in a walk in refrigerator in the barn. Here’s what it looked like behind the scenes.

Rules of floral design

If you’re doing a DIY floral arrangement, don’t forget this rule of flower design. No matter which type of flowers you’re choosing, use a big, unique bloom as a thriller, one to create mass as a filler, and a drapey one to hang down as a spiller. Getting the style right for wildflower weddings is pretty easy if you keep this in mind.

wildflower wedding

Mix it up

In addition to farm wildflowers, the bride bought roses, lavender, eucalyptus and baby’s breath to mix into the decor. Putting them into re-used glass containers of various sizes added depth and variety to each table. This approach was thrifty and Eco-friendly but so rustic and beautiful!
wildflower weddings

Here you can see the simplicity of the idea behind the floral arrangements. The wildflowers are a seamless complement to the lavender and baby’s breath, don’t you think?

wildflower wedding

Wildflowers in floral arrangements are perfect for outdoor events. How flawless does this look on the outdoor bar?

rustic elegant floral design

Do it yourself floral design

This event totally changed any preconceived ideas I had about do-it-yourself flowers and wildflowers for weddings. It just looked good, and that’s all there is to it! Here’s the bride’s professional bouquet along with the bridesmaids’ wildflower bouquets.

wildflower weddings

Get a peek at the organic farm where the wedding was held, Trillium Wood Farm.

Stylish Eco-Friendly Living

Eco-friendly doesn’t mean losing out on style.

Think Eco-friendly doesn’t equal aesthetically pleasing? Think again. Something as simple as stylish reusable shopping bags can be a fashion statement, not a fashion fail.

Here’s my outfit from Tech Fashion Week (reader selected by you!) plus a farmer’s market friendly tote bag. It shows that fashionable and Eco-friendly can coexist.

Non-ugly reusable shopping bags

California has a plastic bag ban, which makes sense because the Pacific Ocean doesn’t need any more plastic bags floating in it.

When I think of reusable shopping bags, I think of the free scratchy-fabric promotional totes given out at conferences and vendor fairs. Luckily, they’re not all like that. See why.

Cute reusable shopping bags

My roommate got the Marks and Spencer tote pictured above while she was living in London. I like to keep a packable nylon tote in my purse like these  from Kate Spade so I’ll never be stuck without a bag when I need one. The are washable and the nylon holds up well. It makes a good lunch bag, too.

Thrifted white tulle and lace skirt

I found the white skirt at Goodwill of Silicon Valley for $8! I linked to some similar skirts at the end of this post so you don’t have to scour your local thrift shops. Like reusable shopping totes, secondhand shopping is good for the environment because it keeps clothing out of landfills.  I do a mix of secondhand and new clothes. Like going green with your pet and gardening to save the bees, it’s all about small, doable actions to be more Eco-friendly.

Small ways to be stylishly green

Borrowing clothes is great too — just check out these gorgeous shoes that are definitely not mine but I loved wearing them!

Outfit Details

White Skirt – Jealous Tomato. Scored at Goodwill of Silicon Valley for $8!

Jacket – Anthropologie – newest style here

Shoes – Betsey Johnson

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

Eco-friendly gift wrapEco-Friendly Wrapping Options

I love wrapping paper. Each year I love finding artistic paper options that aren’t typical Christmas designs (like the ones below!). But I definitely do not love throwing away the packaging after the gifts have been opened. For a few years now I’ve worked on my collection of pre-wrapped boxes that can be used year after year. There is a downside to those, and that’s storage space. This year, I experimented with the trend of minimalist, nature-inspired wrapping techniques. Here are my Eco-friendly gift wrap solutions to try.

Gift wrapBrown paper Packages, twine and greenery

They look elegant and well-designed, but these packages are covered with things you probably already have in the kitchen! All you need is brown paper, twine and greenery sprigs and you’re golden!

eco-friendly-gift-wrap-with-sprig-of-greenery“But where do you get these sprigs, Abbie?” You may be asking. Mine are taken floral arrangements. Greenery usually lasts longer than the blooms themselves, so you can  re-purpose it on your gifts. If you have a real Christmas tree you could also take a piece off of that in a place that’s not very noticeable…just throwing out ideas here!

eco-friendly gift wrappingFor the paper, I used a brown grocery bag, but you could also try newspaper or the beige paper than comes in shipping boxes. Eco-friendly twine and re-purposed ribbon tied them off. There’s something very personal about the appearance of these packages, don’t you think, like they’re designed with the recipient in mind.

Plaid and greenery: eco-friendly gift wrappingAnother option I discovered this year for re-usable gift wrap is a reusable shopping tote. They’re no more expensive than paper gift bags, and the recipient can use it again and again. I found a Minnesota-themed tote at Trader Joe’s this year and it was perfect for large gifts.

Want even more ideas? Another blogger has some for you – I especially like her idea of using last year’s Christmas cards to make tags!

What are you wrapping your gifts with this year?

eco-friendly-gift-wrapping

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