Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How To ... Be eco-chic

Like many eco-conscious consumers, you've probably switched to energy-saving light bulbs, bought recycled paper towels, opted for organic foods. But you might be wondering what else you can do. Here are some $25 and under ideas from green style guru Danny Seo, author of the Simply Green book series.

TIERED TRAY (PICTURED): Find new purpose for mismatched dinnerware sets in the form of a tiered serving tray for hors d'oeuvres or desserts, or use as a catch-all for jewelry, keys and other small knickknacks.

Gather three plates and two cups. Alternating between plates of descending size, using teacups as spacers between the tiers, glue the dishes together with a strong epoxy. To avoid using excess glue, apply only to the rim and bottom of the cup, rather than the plate. Allow the glue to dry overnight, then hand wash before using.

MIXED GLASS CENTERPIECE: Grouped together on a tray and filled with leaves and flowers, weathered bottles and jars make an easy table dressing.

Collect bottles of various shapes and sizes over time (mustard jars, perfume bottles and jelly jars all work well) or salvage some for just pennies at thrift stores. Fill some of the containers with leaves and flowers and place them on a serving tray or platter, packing the jars tightly together.
SWEATER SEATS: Cozy up a set of chairs by reupholstering them with pieces from outgrown or thrift-store sweaters.

Cut a sweater apart, working up the side seams and across the shoulders. Trim off the neck hole and sleeves, leaving two squares of fabric slightly larger than the seat of the chair. Unscrew the seat cushions from the chairs. Cover the cushions with the sweater fabric, and secure the cloth edges to the underside using a staple gun or small tacks. Trim any excess and reattach the cushion to the chair.

RUSTIC CANDLES: Melt down the dregs of burned-out candles to make new ones in old flowerpots.

Scrub the inside of the pot. Use a coin to cover the drainage hole in the bottom. Insert a ready-made stiff cotton wick (sold at craft stores) or make your own wick out of cotton twine. To hold the wick upright, tie one end loosely to a pencil laid across the top of the pot. The length of the wick should hang straight down into the pot's center. Melt chunks of old candles in a pot set over a low flame or in a double boiler. Pour the liquid wax into the flowerpots. Let set overnight and then trim the wick.

-- From the April issue of body+soul

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