Snow, Winter Weddings and WonderlandsI live in California. So, I don't see much snow, and when I do, it's because I've decided to head to the mountains. I have to admit, I'd rather have the option. Blizzards, black ice, shoveling snow and drippy noses seem to come to mind when I think of snowy winters... But so do snow days, snow flakes, hot cocoa and snow men. I guess it's a yin and yang situation. Whether you dream of playing in the snow or just like to watch it on TV like some of us, you will probably love these gorgeous recycled snow flake jewelry pieces by Kumvana Gomani that are featured on inhabitat.com. They are delicate, light (I imagine) and could be the perfect adornment for a wedding ensemble, cocktail dress or just a day at the office. I love the fact that they are made from plastic bottles. I love it, I love it, I love it. Can you ask for anything more? For those of you not sure why this is a big deal, check out this little story on the tremendous amount of plastic water bottles and other plastic waste floating around the oceans as we speak: thechicecologist.com Yikes! Giant plastic islands floating around the oceans the size of texas! If you read the full post you'll see that plastic is accumulating and turning up everywhere, including in that sushi dinner you just had. Kumvana's jewelry pieces are gorgeous, handmade and totally affordable! I know they aren't diamonds or anything, but that plastic just might last as long! In Recycling and Health, G&G
Non-toxic and Biodegradable Floral Foam, Where are You?I wrote a post a few months ago about the toxins found in floral foam and that it's essentially made of plastic that isn't biodegradable. I've gotten so many hits on my blog about it, and yet, I still don't have much in the way of another option. Until I dug up this information from Stanel Co, a bioplastics firm based in the United Kingdom. Here is an informational pdf about a new bioplastic technology that can allow someone to make biodegradable floral foam made from plants: www.stanelcoplc.com . This new polymer: bioplastic 2189 is both biodegradable and compostable! What a relief. Can you imagine? being able to throw the foam and the flowers into the compost bin? What's more, the bioplastic works in the same way as the fossil fuel plastic, so it can be switched out and used in the very same factories and machinery as the other stuff. I can't wait to go order this foam... But wait, who's making it? Well apparently one floral foam specialist company is using this polymer to make biodegradable funeral foams: www.valspicer.co.uk . They have wonderful foam shapes and molds, but I don't see any biodegradable options on their site. I've contacted them and hope to find out what they have available! I will share any updates as soon as I can. I would also urge you to write a letter or email to floral foam manufacturers suggesting they make a switch to nontoxic and biodegradable. Here's a couple of the top manufacturers: Smithers Oasis, Ultra Floral Foam. In the mean time, I totally avoid the stuff, and find creative and fun ways to display flowers without foam. Take a look at how Gorgeous and Green tries to stay sustainable: G&G Services. I know it means more work sometimes and possibly more cost, but to me it's worth it. And it's worth it to a lot of customers to, not to mention to the planet. Check out these two designs from Gorgeous and Green Events that are totally floral foam free: www.seandonnellyphotography.com In Green and Health, G&G
Reusing Vintage Vases in Weddings and EventsI've started collecting vases for Gorgeous and Green customers interested in renting vintage collections of vases for their wedding or event. It takes some time and dedication, but so far I have almost two collections ready to go and a couple in progress. Here is my current collection of white milk glass vases:
There are some really cool designs. So far my favorite is the bubbled vase that actually doubles as a candle holder.And my vintage green glass collection:
This collection is actually two-toned, a slightly brighter kelly green and a darker grass green.In green and reusability, G&G
Sustainable or Not: IKEA (the big blue box)Now, I love the idea of affordable household goods, tools, dishware, furniture and plants all in one big store. I especially like to hear when big stores are selling items that are made from sustainable resources. But, you have to dig a little deeper than the tags on that couch to find out if it's really a sustainable purchase. Or maybe not, as in the case of the IKEA item of the month below. First off, if you've already got a couch, cups, plates, rugs, sheets, frames, etc. in your home, you probably don't need to go to Ikea. That is the first step is acting sustainably when it comes to shopping. Second, if you do need something, you probably don't need to buy the plastic candle holders and the cute scented candles that smell like fake gardenias. This step requires the most strict determination to avoid putting unnecessary items into your cart. This is probably the wisest of steps. Third, if you just want to see what Ikea has, because you're thinking of putting bamboo floors in your house, due to the fact that your current floors have either 1: completely disappeared beneath your feet, 2: have a complete termite infestation, or 3: the carpet has completely gone bald and you are mad that you still call it a shag rug from when it was first put in, in 1969. Then, don't bring your wallet. See above. The problem with IKEA, is that they sell a lot of items you would need when first starting up your home collection. Necessary and well priced stuff, that can be sustainable (see glass food containers and low-wattage lamps). But it also has a ton of stuff you don't need. Let's face it. You don't need a large stuffed snake made of plastic or a paper box to hide your overgrowth of office junk. Just recycle it already. Want to see some specific examples of what you don't need? Take the following items for example:
These, are plants. Plastic plants. Sure, they don't need water, but they are also made entirely of petroleum and probably led to chemical pollution where they were made, where they will hang for a few years and where they will be thrown away. Pretty much defeats the purpose. It's almost like the ironic opposite of an oxygen producing and air purifying, real live plant.
And get this:Buy their plastic plants, and everything else you didn't need, and you can make up for part of the pollution by donating money to plant a tree. More irony please? Ikea, I love your low watt bulbs and your glass jars, but I can't forgive your plastic plants and other plastic crappola. Avoiding unnecessary plastic stuff, G&G
Lavender and Sage WeddingCommunity Centers are great places to have a local wedding. Not only are they in your neighborhood, they are generally a lot cheaper than other venues. And some come with some great amenities like parks for children, gardens and even swimming pools. Why not book one for your local wedding? It is a great way to stay green and save some green too. Here are some I-Phone pics (Sorry, I forgot my camera) of a small and quaint wedding I did at the Piedmont Community Center in Oakland a week ago.
This is a lovely small cake they had for show, there were delicate cupcakes for guests as well. The layers were so beautiful, that I decided to focus more detail around the base of the cake. All local and organic blooms of course, so they food safe. I grow my own white roses, lemon branches and lavender blooms.
There are two large metal urns in the reception room, so I filled them with as much lavender, blue and purple as I could find to add color to the room.
Delphinium are nice and tall, so I relied heavily on them to add height.
And of course scabiosa blooms, so lovely and soft. They are paired here with some weeping eucalyptus and cornflower.For the Reception, I decided to do petite glass vases filled with cut and living flowers. Here are some examples of how cute and delicate these flowers looked and how nicely they would add to a more modern banquet display. Not only was it a lovely sunny day for an outside wedding ceremony, the reception was held in a very cute building surrounded by lovely gardens and trees. I used locally grown flowers and greens as usual, and recycle my glassware. I recycled some ribbon, used some cotton ribbon and didn't use any floral foam (of course). In no way did I use plastic for this wedding, as I continue to strive not to do. It's a challenge, but I find ways around it. Just this week I got a new watering can (my old one was lost) and it's steel, ready to be recycled when ever I'm done with it! I don't have any pics of the bouquets, although I may post those when I get them from the photographer. They did turn out beautifully. I used a lot of locally grown peonies, which I can't get enough of. G&G