Thursday, December 31, 2009

I was struck by something the other day....I stopped to get take-out, and I noticed a recycled symbol on the container. Not really unusual.....but...I started to look around, and found that same little unassuming symbol all around me. I realized, in that simple moment, how far we've actually come, and although I don't want to make light of how far we must still go, I want to take a moment on Pure Green and celebrate that change. Its too easy to feel overwhelmed by negativity and despair - surrounded by seemingly insurmountable issues like climate change, drought, food shortages et cetera, I feel the good things tend to slip away, especially in light of the recently past summit at Copenhagen, which seemed a quagmire of indecision led by dispassionate, uncommitted leaders. However, even with such things in mind, by writing on Pure Green I do my best to point out that the smallest action, when repeated by many, goes very far. Let's not forget that. I don't expect change to happen overnight, but I hope I can inspire you to keep putting one foot in front of the other, one small thing at a time. And don't forget to take time to be grateful, every day, for the richness in your life.

As you read this, think back over the year and you'll see that things are slowly getting moving. Being green is moving from a fad to a way of life. Our children won't recycle out of duty, they'll do it because they won't know of an alternative. Innovation will lead us, and I will live to drive a solar powered car. Celebrate yourself and the changes you've already made, even if the gesture is small, like not forgetting your re-usable bags or remembering your reusable water bottle. Take a moment, open your eyes and appreciate the changes that you see, from the recycled content symbols all around you, or the sea of green and blue boxes down your street on "garbage day", to the abundance of organic produce in your local supermarket, to the number of bicycles in front of your office building, to the solar panels on your neighbours house, or to the fairtrade, certified biodynamic cuppa joe you're enjoying while you're reading this final post of 2009 on Pure Green. I'll be back in 2010 - Happy New Years and thanks to all of you for making my world a little bit better in 2009. If any of you have anything to add, please leave a comment and do so!

May 2010 be a good one, and thanks for reading Pure Green.


{maybe you've seen this before, but I thought I'd show you this dress, designed by Danish design group Diffus. the dress is made with hundreds of tiny LED lights that glow in the presence of CO2. While the streets of New York aren't packed with them, I think it shows a collective change in consciousness that's now aware of the challenges we face. a keychain or bag version would be sweet.}

Bookmark and Share

Monday, December 28, 2009

What I Got for Christmas...

You have no idea....I've been admiring and pining for card catalogs for soooo long! Many trips into antique stores, just to see if they have one. I love books, I love carefully considered vintage modern...I've often imagined how perfect one would look in my own home. can't imagine my surprise when, for Christmas I unwrapped a single, lonely, beautiful drawer, along with the recipe for the 'perfect man' (lol!) written on a recipe card. I jumped with excitement, afraid to suspect that perhaps this drawer had brothers and sisters. Lo and behold, it does.....! I have my own library catalogue!!! No more more I just have to figure out what to do with it! I never really gave it serious thought, because until now it was simply a fantasy! And so, with the task of putting it to good use, I looked up a few photos to see if I felt inspired. Here are my favourites....

{Carefully staged and pretty....from Poetic Home}

{utilitarian - see below. this lovely specimen has been used to categorize and organize odds and ends. Away with you, junk drawer! The owner of this piece has everything from tape, ribbon and batteries in hers (see below), carefully arranged, lovingly labelled, safely stowed. Definitely a possibility for mine, however the romantic in me thinks perhaps not. We'll see. from Small Notebook}

{serenely beautiful...this photo kind of reminds me of my house, so finding a home for the catalogue in the dining room might be a possibility. I don't have much space though...although organizing napkins, accessories, candles and tealights and so on might be nice...right now they're all in a mess. p.s. this photo is from Emily Anderson's home, which I really love. Her love for vintage makes it a light shade of perhaps you'll see more soon. from Design Sponge}

{wacky and wonderful...this funtion wouldn't work in my house I don't think. I just liked how bohemian the arrangement is. A type of organized chaos. source unknown - its been kicking around my 'like it' folder too long. sorry.}
So, what do you think? If any of you have any ideas, or if you're lucky enough to have one too and would like to share, please do! Leave a comment or email your photos to
I hope you had a Merry One!

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last Minute Holiday Goodies (DIY)

Looking for an eco friendly decor idea? How about these....I made them for my store. How to: make a cone out of heavy paper...wrap natural twine (hemp pictured here) and use a non-toxic, water based glue to adhere it as you go along. The result is deliciously rustic and organic.
this is a smaller one in progress.
Second, how 'bout a well wishing place holder? Fold an origami crane (a symbol of peace) and slip a card in its wing as a place holder. Scroll down for instructions on how to fold them. Save them and re-use them year after year.

Bookmark and Share

Happy Holidays!

I wish you all a happy day...I've been admiring these cards for a year now - from Night Owl Paper Goods, an eco-chic company.

Coming After Christmas:

-A complete guide to reading labels in personal care products; you'll be shocked.

-A complete guide to non-toxic make-up for the ladies; application tips, product reviews, a give-away and an interview with Canada's leading lady in mineral organic make-up, CEO of LUVU Beauty Tira Wootton.

-I'm bringing a guy's view on sustainability to Pure Green - keep posted for a new eco-dude column!

-And of course, more from Pure Living, The Organic Kitchen, Style me Green and the Green Traveller.

See you Then!

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Adding to my gift wrapping ideas from yesterday, these are the fruits of mine and Jonathan's labour! Always a favourite part of Christmas.
I made little birch bark 'buttons' this year.

Always a classic for me.

An example of Jonathan's famous bows - see the comment from yesterday for the how to.
Merry Christmas!

Bookmark and Share

Pure Green & The Homies

Guess What?!!!! Pure Green's been nominated - well long listed - in Apartment Therapy's THE HOMIES, under Green Homes!!! I'm so excited, this has been a personal goal of mine! If you feel so inclined, help me get short listed by clicking here! Good luck to all...its amazing to celebrate each other. Thanks for your support.
{xo celine}
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How to Wrap Sustainably

So, Christmas is almost here! I can't quite believe it, it just kind of crept up on me! Yikes! Well, I'm looking forward to it. This year, my family decided to pick names, as we are getting, well, numerous, so we decided to make it easier on all of us, to cut down a little. I think its awesome, cause you can really put some thought into the few gifts you need. Anyway, as I'm thinking of all my wrapping, I thought I'd include some ideas on PGD to inspire you to wrap eco. I really don't mean to get scary, but here is some food for thought ( a not so gentle push! lol): (from the recycling council)

- Half the paper consumed in America during the year are used to wrap and decorate gifts! Over Christmas, we throw out an additional 1 million tonnes of paper waste per week! eek!
-If every family re-used just 2 feet of ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet!

So, with this in mind, here are a few easy, less expensive, more creative and equally attractive ideas!

1. This is a classic, and surely there is one savy penny pincher in the family that does this already. The trick is to use interesting pages, ones with nice typeface, a crossword, comic and so on. The next crucial thing to ensure they look pretty under the tree is to accessorize. Use recycled ribbon, twine, leftover Christmas ornaments or a handcrafted gift tag to make it nice. Or, slip a twig or pine sprig under the ribbon for a festive touch!

2. From Scoutie Girl comes this idea. A pretty, handcrafted gift tag is slipped under some coordinating baker's twine to dress up this unassuming paper bag. Really! (Just make sure the bag is made with recycled content.) To me this conjures up images of packages and parcels from yesteryear. I'm liking it.

3. If you just can't forgo the thought of wrapping paper, make a sustainable choice and pick the recycled kind, with water-based inks. Just a note: this is not for the budget shopper, these babies can cost as much as $4.00 a sheet! These retro mod papers are by WhimsyPress.

4. Another idea for dressing up the brown paper package is using scrap fabrics or felt. Cut out a petal (fold the fabric in half and cut a scalloped edge) in three sizes. Cut a hole in the center, loop a longish peice of ribbon and feed though the hole; tie a knot and use the rest to tie around the gift. I bought some felt made from recycled pop bottles that I want to try this with, which would save having to stitch the raw edge of the fabric.

5. Another idea using scavenged or recycled materials for personalizing and dressing up the quintessential brown paper package. From threadbanger.

Finally, from my own personal arsenal of wrapping supplies.
-Recycled brown paper
-Twine (for a natural look), wrapped around two or three times so it doesn't look too flimsy
-A homemade bow (this is my husband's contribution, he's been doing this for years). Click here for instructions.
-A homemade gift tag - this year I'm thinking of slicing birch branches into thin 'coins' and using a wood burner to personalize. I like the chalkboard paint idea pictured above though, this ensures they will get reused year after year.
-Finally, I like a little adornment. Red balls are my favourite (for contrast), but you could use anything!

Merry Christmas & Get Wrapping!
P.S. If you're wrapping late at night treat yourself to delicious cocktail! This one looks good.....
for more ideas click here.
To Make:
1 oz. campari
1 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. cointreau
1/4 oz. maple syrup
dash of grenadine

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Alternative Gift Ideas

While yesterday I included some Etsy holiday gift and decor ideas, I came across this today on World Changing and thought it was worth sharing with you. Recently for my wedding, a great gift we got was a gift certificate from JustGive, which allows you to donate the money to whichever organization you choose. We chose to donate to CPAWS, a Canadian organization that protects fragile/valuable land by turning them into parkland. Their latest triumph was hugely expanding the wondrous and fragile Nahani River National Park. Anyway, I just think maybe this is another approach, and while not for everybody it may ring really true with someone on your list. Read on for a few other really good, non-materialistic ideas!

Thank You World Changing and Andy Lubershane

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Etsy Finds for the Holidays, Pt. 1

I scoured Etsy to find a few objets that exuded holiday spirit, while there's still time to squeak in an order and get it in time for Christmas.

1. Hand etched votive holders by DayDreemDesigns.
2. Owl ornament felting kit by FancyTiger.
3. Seeded Confetti or Tissue by GreetingsThatGrow.
4. Some modern gift bags by Hijrik.

1. Ceramic votive holders that are cast using vintage canning jars by AlyssaEttinger. Love These!
2.Retro modern stocking by CherryLand.
3. Calendar printed on recycled paper by Curious Doodles.

Bookmark and Share

Christmas Trees Part II

I mentioned yesterday that I would post some of my own DIY tree ideas. I was debating what to do at Sustain (my eco living store), as on contentious issues such as these I feel under the looking glass a little, so to speak. So, while walking my dog one day in the bush, I spotted this fallen branch and felt inspired. I set about dragging this larger than usual branch out of the bush, shoving it my Honda Fit and reincarnating it as a xmas tree at the store. I kind of like the whimsy and non-traditional feel of it.

{it doesn't get more eco than this! Sorry about the poor quality photo - not sure what happened there! I don't feel that it does it justice! It looks really great in person}

{i wanted to keep the decorations sparse and organic. folded paper cranes add a bit of colour, and i love how they look. there's a legend that says if you fold a thousand paper cranes, you are granted a wish. very romantic. look below for the instructions on how to fold one for your own tree.}

{notice the log house in the background? those were made by Bryce, age 11, with dead fall! the string balls are my own creation. very simple. to make: wrap hemp or sisal string around a small balloon. mix non-toxic, water based glue (of course) with water and use a paint brush to apply it liberally to the string. allow to dry then pop the balloon. make a slightly different version (i did this with darker string to accent) by wrapping string very densely around an old tennis ball - no glue required.}

What d'ya think?........

Here's is how to fold a paper crane. It took me a couple tries, but once you get it it's easy - Thank you

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Great Debate - Real or Fake?

Lately everyone has an opinion on this. And there are definitely two sides. One says that a fake tree saves a real one, leaving it to live a full life taking carbon out of the atmosphere. The other says that fake trees are made with petrochemicals and will never biodegrade. Ever. So, what's the right answer.....? I think this is ultimately up to the individual (not to cop out), but each has its own argument). If you can't bear to kill a tree, but want a traditional christmas, opt for a really good quality fake one that's made in North America (if that's even possible). Make sure that its not stylized and looks very authentic. This way you won't tire of it, can keep it your entire life, and maybe even pass it down.
If real is the only way for you, please, please make sure that it comes from an organic, sustainable tree farm. Make sure they're not taking up valuable, fertile farming land and ask if they use pesticides. Buying a farmed tree means that the trees are always replanted after harvest, and seedlings will take Co2 out of the air for the 10-15 years it lives. Also, for maximum freshness trees are usually farmed somewhat locally, providing year round jobs in your area. If you must make a family trip to the bush for your tree, strap on your snowshoes and pick a tree that won't survive. Brush up your horticultural skills (aka google it!), so that you can spot a tree in trouble. Usually this means they're too close together and are fighting for light or food. Further, just like cutting a tree is a tradition for many families, keep that going into the spring and start a tree planting celebration to give back the tree you took. Finally, recycle your tree! Most townships provide curbside collection after the New Year, after which your tree is mulched and used for landscaping. Don't just pitch it in a ditch. Honestly. There's nothing sadder than a discarded tree.
The last option is to have a potted tree. This idea's been floating around a little, but its a little more idealistic than people think. First, you can only have it indoors for a few days (otherwise it thinks its spring and will die when it goes back out); second, its rather unwieldy - a 6 foot tree would have a 200 pound root ball, so you have to stay small; third, if you'd like to replant it, you have to live somewhere somewhat temperate for it to survive. Not so easy, but I love the idea.
If you feel like being a little untraditional, there are some cool ideas for tree-subs out there. I've collected a few ideas for you. I was thinking about a DIY tree of sorts. More on that later. Even while reading this, you've probably got your mind made up over what sort of tree to have, so lets get to the fun stuff and talk eco friendly ornaments. I've made a few of my own for you to see, but the photos below have a few ideas too.
{if going real is what you want, I really like this idea. it keeps everything natural. i've seen pinecones used before, but stringing them into a garland is a new idea, and very eco}

{if you'd like a potted tree, these 2 photos are a realistic size. popcorn and cookie cutters (below) is very family friendly and inexpensive. (photo from Pottery Barn)}

{photo from Country Living}

{these 3 photos are good examples of what you can do with pine branches. pick some nice ones and display in a pretty vase. you'd be surprised at how realistic it can look. keep water in the vase and it should last for several weeks. this is especially great in a small space, but either way it saves cutting a tree and save fumbling around with a potted one. search out some vintage baubles to get a look like the photo above (photo from Real Simple)}

{to acheive this look, use tidbits of leftover ribbon to drape on your branches. the nests were made using moss and foil covered chocolate eggs. you may need to use floral foam to anchor the branches in such a small base (photo from Country Living) }

{this is a neat idea - use coat hooks to attach the branch to the wall, and decorate away. You could also do something neat with this hanging over a table.}

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Welcome to Christmas on PGD!

Well its Dec. 9 and I'm a little behind jumping on Christmas on PGD, but a little late is better than never. I want to focus on a few ways to make the holidays a little easier on the planet, and a little easier on you by providing some ideas. Christmas doesn't have to mean one giant headache for the earth, there are some simple ways to have all the fun while keeping it clean. I thought I'd start today with outdoor decor. I know I'm always looking forward to prettying up the front stoop during the holidays, so here are some ideas to make your home ultra welcoming to all your guests while embracing 'la nature'.

{this first one, very natural, kind of requires a covered entrance, cuz I can just picture these little pretties all covered in snow on my front step! this is an easy look to acheive - visit your local nursery and pick up some greenery (try to get locally grown) and wrap it in some burlap. burlap is made of jute, which is a quick growing sustainable fibre. when you're done with it just compost it. if you live in a temperate climate, buy potted plants (they won't freeze) and plant in the spring. if you live where its cold, just get branches, otherwise the roots will freeze and the greens will brown.}

{I personally really like this look - an eclectic mix of modern & rustic, although I think the woodstack may be a tad contrite if you don't actually have a wood burning fireplace. I tried this last year and really liked it. a light dusting of snow really adds to it. all you need to get this look are some white pine boughs, a few sparkly glass (aka recyclable) balls, some good L.E.D. lights and a few planters (go clay for maximum eco points). for all you L.E.D. phobes out there, don't cry they don't give warm white light, I was pleasantly surprised this year with the selection, and mine are all the perfect shade of 'warm'!}

{lastly, go twiggy this Christmas! this rustic country look suits absolutely any home, and is super low maintenance. I like red dogwood as it gives nice contrast against the snow. twigs are very eco as they are usually the result of trimming existing live trees, they last a few years, and can biodegrade. I'm told that sometimes they will even take root! see what you can do about getting local twigs to reduce the Co2 they would otherwise emit during travel. for this look, just ram some twigs in a planter and you're done. heck, you could even shove them in a giant snowball and they would look good. twig wreaths can be hard to find, but I've got good news...just click here (thank you Cool Native) for an easy DIY!}

I hope that gave you some eco inspiration. Make sure you snuggle up with a warm cup of organic tea to warm your hands after tackling your front step in this chilly weather!
All photos: Canadian House and Home

Bookmark and Share


Related Posts with Thumbnails