Saturday, September 27, 2008

Makeshift an Autumn Party

The changing colors of autumn and the pleasant cooler temperatures are inspiring for outdoor entertaining, yes. But, this address likes to keep it simple. With this in mind, may I endorse the concept of makeshift party furniture? And here, I mean makeshift in the kindest and earth-friendliest way.

If you need a large harvest table for your buffet or bar table, try reclaiming a sturdy base such as a pedestal topped with an old door or plank of wood. In Better Homes and Gardens, Sarah Wolf shows a party table created with a galvanized tank or trough balancing a wooden door. If you don't have a galvanized tank yet and always wanted one, thoughtful designer/blogger Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan of Apartment Therapy recommends ones by Behlen and Dover Parkersburg.

Need extra seating? Eco-living guru/blogger Danny Seo's tree trunk chair makes a handsome perch. Without your own set of available firewood and a neighbor who doesn't want their tree taken out, try bales of hay. The bales can be grouped as benches and covered with old quilts for a softer settee.

Resourceful + Stylish = Makeshift!

Photograph courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

When Cast-offs Become Keepsakes

Preparing bags for charity pick-ups is a process that encourages me to rethink my closets, my collections, my life. Thoughtfully recalling the words of manic cleaner-uppers and professional organizers, whom I dare not engage, I smile at their idea of a place for everything.

With the equinox just past us and the feel of autumn teasing the air, I'm ready to unpack my sweaters and cool weather clothes. (I like to dress in layers and recommend it to anyone who will listen.) The changeover encourages me to edit out clothes I no longer need or wear and recycle them.

With this on my mind, I happened upon another approach to recycling sweaters. A textile designer created orbs of sweater remnants and wrapped them in contrasting yarn to make holiday ornaments. They are available at Viva Terra as Festive Sweater Ornaments and on sale for $9 for a set of six. This appears to be a clearance sale, so quantities may be limited.

Go green with sweaters!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Gift: Edible and Green

In my effort to be greener, I was looking through my storeroom for a recyclable container to transport my homemade breadsticks as a gift to a dear friend. My breadsticks are simple to make and yummy to nibble for a snack or hors d'oeuvre. But by themselves, they just don't look as good as they taste. And when it comes to a gift - presentation counts.

I wanted something cylindrical and short. My canning jars were either too tall or too small. Old glass tumblers weren't tubular enough. Then I pulled out my vintage straw cup holders. From the moment I found them years ago, I admired them for their charming stripes and classic old style. One could imagine the afternoons they kept a tall iced glass of lemonade or minted tea from condensing upon one's wicker porch furniture. Alas, I did not have the perfect glass to fit or the furnished porch, so they remained underutilized among my would be picnic things.

The breadsticks needed something fun and functional - the cup holders needed to be rescued from obscurity and recycled. I added a sheet of deli paper as a lining, filled it with breadsticks and the gift was complete. Edible and green.