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steal this idea: gutter gardens

Can you tell that we have spring on the brain? There’s still frost on the ground in the morning, but we are already plotting our gardens for springtime, and herbs are on our the top of our must plant list. We spotted this idea the other day on RecycleChicken.com: gutter gardens! We’re not sure how we’d attach this to the house, but the elevated position would be great to prevent ground critters from nibbling, and new puppies from digging. What do you think? Could you rock these sprouts?

zero-waste kitchen: could you live like this?

A friend of ours posted a link to this Sunset magazine video on her Facebook page this week and we’ve been thinking about it non stop. It’s a tour of a zero-impact kitchen by Béa Johnson’s (her whole house is like this but it’s the kitchen that is most inspiring). Not only is it clean, modern and and bright but every drawer and cabinet is filled with smartly-used glass jars filled with locally-grown food. I love the idea of no-impact living, but I think it’d be really hard to pull off unless you lived in the right place. My dear friend Henny tries to maintain an uber green lifestyle and is constantly pulling out re-used produce bags from her backpack when we’re in stores. I oblige when she’s with me, but on my own I only remember our grocery totes about half the time. We bring them in and then forget to put them back in the car! What about you? Could you imagine living a no-impact life? Or perhaps just having a zero-waste kitchen? Here are some tips from Béa’s Sunset feature, below:

1. Get rid of your trash can. Everything goes either into the recycling bin, or it gets turned into compost. If you can’t do one of those things with it — eat it!

2. Pillow cases work in the freezer. This Californian buys a week’s worth of baguettes, cuts them in half and freezes them in pillow cases for the week.

3. Make your own orange juice. We can do this. We have a juicer we never use!

4. No more plastic containers from the store. Bring glass jars, hit the salad bar and bulk aisles, and stock up. Granted, cashiers at Whole Foods might do this, but I can’t imagine our local grocery store pulling it off.

P.S. Béa has a blog! zerowastehome.blogspot.com
P.S.S. If you feel a little insecure after watching this video, and after recently learning that French women are better moms than us, you’re not alone. Sigh.

kinda genuis: to-go lids to help you reuse glass jars

coffesips

Just today I was feeling glass jar guilt. I saw a page in the new MSL that suggested we use them to store things like pre-chopped garlic and unused onion halves, and I thought, oh, I’ll never be that organized. I save a lot of glass jars, but except for firefly catching in the summer, they don’t get much use. This supremely clever item at Uncrate, called the Cuppow, could help me be a much more practical recycler. It’s a reusable top that acts like a coffee cup lid. Of course, pouring hot liquid into a glass jar is not the smartest way to consume your joe (ouch!) but it could be great for lemonade and iced tea in the summertime. Stick a straw in it (and repeat stern “two hands!” instructions over and over) and I’ve got a spill-proof starter glass for Isadora. Available at Uncrate, $8. — Angela M.

What do you do with your old glass jars? Send suggestions and ideas, please!

want it now: maple pepper grinder

maplepeppermill

Our fancy dishes were just put away after holiday entertaining, but already we are fantasizing about new dining time accessories. These swanky pepper grinders from The Pepin Shop bring the reclaimed wood trend to tabletop. Made from naturally fallen branches (mostly from wind storms!), they are rustically gorgeous. Maybe the next time a hunking piece of tree falls in your yard you’ll look at in a new way? Maple pepper grinder, $89.

Related previous posts:
My new paranoia, fear of falling trees

a fuzzy wuzzy holiday: felt takes over

feltmenorah
Front door wreaths aren’t the only thing popping up in felt this holiday season. We spotted this lovely felt menorah over at Etsy (via iVillage). This clever design allows kids of all sizes to partake in the lighting of the flames — or rather, the buttoning of the flames! The wool felt is from upcycled sweaters, and is a great new homey tradition. ($60)

feltmistletoe

Another great seasonal tradition is the mistletoe. We love this one from branchhome.com. Each one is unique and comes ready to hang. Though kisses are not included it does come with thanks: Sales of this product help provide an income stream for sheepherders and artisans in the Rajasthan State of India, where it is made. ($26)