Tuesday 27 December 2011

a green christmas fling

Happy Holidays everyone!

Okay, I'm a little late, but I'm still celebrating, and I hope you are, too.  I LOVE the holiday season, but of course it's also a time for extreme over-consumption and is the one time of year this recovered shopaholic still has urges to shop-till-I-drop.  I try hard to buy ethical, local, environmental and service-based presents for my loved ones, and this year I decided to get a bit crafty with my home decorations, too.

My initial inspiration was this gorgeous tree I spotted at Anthropologie in the US made of old sheet music (I sneakily took a pic on my iPhone in the store - along with a dozen other equally beautiful items!).

It cost $60 and I thought, "surely I can make this at home for a fraction of the price!"

Once safely back in Oz I went to the Salvos and picked up an old art book for $2 and then to the newsagent for pinking scissors for $6, and dug around my apartment for a base and a rod.

A reused round takeaway container is my base and the  cardboard sleeve on the
hanger is my rod.  I didn't end up using the glitter paint you see above.

I cut a round hole into the lid of the takeaway container just large enough to snugly hold the cardboard tube, and set to work cutting out pages of the book.

A week into the process I began to understand why the Anthropologie tree cost $60.  By the time I cut the paper from the book into varying size squares, put a hole through the middle and then went around the edges with the pinking scissors, I spent around 12 hours working on this project.  I also gave myself a blister from the scissors!
The project midway through completion - I used Christmas movies and music
to keep me inspired during the long process.
All grumbling aside, I really am thrilled with my completed book-tree.  I know I'll keep it for many Christmases to come, and it was fun to be able to figure out how to make it on my own with just a few supplies.

What do you think?

My next DIY project was much easier to complete.  I saw a cute wreath made of old newspaper on Eco Empire and knew I had to make one to add to my crafty Christmas. The instructions on the website were so clear and easy to follow, and I only spent a couple hours creating the entire piece.  

I used pages from old Peppermint and Frankie magazines that I'm no longer referencing - the pages are nice and sturdy, and I love the colour that comes through on the scrolls.  I embellished the design a little by using my pinking scissors to cut small strips of paper to completely cover the staples around the inner edge of the wreath, and the 'happy' in the centre of the wreath was a gift from the designers I work with during my day job - they handcrafted it out of wire.

And Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a few too many sweet treats!  Below is a picture of the baked goods we brought to Christmas dinner - homemade date pinwheels, fruit mince pies (the first time I tried these, I was thrilled with how they turned out!) and sandies.  

A sweet ending to my DIY Christmas.
I wish you all a wonderful festive season and look forward to sharing more green flings with you in the New Year!

xoxo Lisa

Friday 16 December 2011

a green american fling : part 2 : mexico

After leaving Hawaii I headed to Sayulita, Mexico, for my good friends Erica and Brooke's wedding.

I'll admit that I was fearing Mexico would be the least green of all my destinations.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to drink tap water and have to purchase bottled water (I suppose I could have purchased a portable water filter, but I didn't think it was worth the investment for only 5 days).  To lessen our plastic impact as much as possible we purchased the largest containers we could find (6 litres) and carried our usual stainless steel bottles with us during the day. Buying in bulk is always the greenest option as far as packaged foods are concerned, and as an added bonus the Bonafont bottles we purchased were made of 100% recycled materials - not too shabby!
Thanks to Mexipreneur for the photo
and the eco-stats on Bonafont.
While inside the small corner store I was pleasantly surprised to find a huge array of organic food products - more than my local Coles - including cereal, tortillas, juice, coffee, milk and a lot of produce.  So, good on ya, Sayulita, your organic food choices squashed my belief that this would be the least green portion of my trip (remind yourself why organic is better for the earth in my green wine fling post).

Also keeping us sustainable once we arrived was the very walkable town - no driving the entire 5 days we were in town. The 15 minute walk from our apartment to town was also a convenient way to get in some exercise to counteract all the delicious Mexican food and beer we'd been enjoying . . .

Thanks to some of the other wedding guests we found an art gallery that sold Fair Trade artworks from the local Indigenous community the Huichol people. The specialty of the Huichol are intricately designed beaded artworks, and we bought a few souvenirs for ourselves and family members - proceeds benefit The Huichol Center for Cultural Survival.

The Mexican beach wedding was unbelievably beautiful, and the gorgeous bride and groom had considered the environment throughout their planning.  Nearly all the decorations for the wedding were reusable (and some reused or rented); some of my favourite green things were small terracotta drinking jars that would disintegrate after a couple of days, handmade necklaces for us bridesmaids (I wore my yellow Gorman dress that I purchased on my eco-shopping spree in Melbourne), and cloth napkins made from cloth from Etsy, which have come back to Sydney for future use, and locally-made wooden lanterns that were rented for the evening.
The beautiful bride and I (in my eco-dress, handmade necklace
and local bracelet).
A fantastic five days enjoying Sayulita, a fabulous wedding, and a greener week than I'd imagined  - adios for now, Mexico, but I hope to be back soon!

Beautiful wedding scene, you can see local, handmade
(and rented) lanterns hanging here.