Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Book Review: Simply Green

I am going to do these reviews together since they are very similar books by the same author. These are books I wouldn't necessarily buy but check out from the library. Both give some really creative green alternatives.

Simply Green Parties: Simple and resourceful ideas for throwing the perfect celebration, event, or get-together by Danny Seo

I really enjoyed the photos/styling of this book. I enjoyed many of the ideas. Seo brings the concept to reduce, recycle and reuse upfront in party planning. Very nice ideas about reusing household items or getting items at thrift stores to repurpose for party decor. Many of the ideas are very chic and can be adapted to fit your needs.

Okay so the bad things....There were some things I didn't get why he felt they were green. I mean there shouldn't be a lot of trash after a green party. And he suggested using bamboo paper plates. Now that is more eco-friendly then the plastic disposable plates or regular paper plates...but what would be even more eco-friendly is using real everyday plates. Getting a plain white porcelain plate - and you can plan any party around that. Or picking up odd sets at thrift stores and mixing and matching is always to me a better choice then paper. He also did bottled water. Plastic bottles water bottles....I loved what he did with them making flavor waters but why not pitchers of filtered tap water with fruit in them instead of plastic water bottles.

Simply Green Giving: Create Beautiful and Organic Wrappings, Tags, and Gifts from Everyday Materials by Danny Seo

I liked this book better then the party book. Again I really enjoyed the photos/styling of this book. He really hits the concept to reduce, recycle and reuse over and over. Some nice ideas about reusing household items or getting items at thrift stores to repurpose to wrap your gifts, make handmade gifts and gift tags.

I enjoyed seeing him make bows from the scented perfume cards in magazines. He tore them out very carefully. And then opened up the scented edge. He cut 1/2-inch strips across the sheet, starting at the scented edge and stopping an inch from the end. Then you fold it up accordion style - neatly stacking the strips on top of each other. With a pair of sharp scissors take each strip and curl by pulling it over the blade. The quicker you pull it over the blade the curlier it will get. And then attach to gift. The colors and images on the bow turn into a bouquet of colorful ribbon.

He also used the same concept of curling ribbon by pulling VHS tape out of the plastic tape cassette. And he wrapped a wine bottle in newspaper leaving 5 inches extra on top and cut that into strips and curled also.

Some things I didn't feel looked great. He took an old string of christmas lights to tie around a package but I just didn't think it looked good. I believe it probably could have but I just don't feel it was styled right in the book. Something else I wasn't sure about was that he used the inside of silver foil part of potato chip bags to wrap gifts. He washed them of course and then wrapped so the silver was showing out. But I just wonder how someone would feel opening a gift wrapped in a potato chip bag? I guess if they knew you were going green maybe they would accept it but would they think you were weird? Does it matter to save the environment? I don't know. But I thought it was odd. It looked pretty in the book - just wasn't sure how someone would feel opening a gift wrapped in it.

Overall the book did give me ideas for wrapping and decorating gifts more eco-friendly. I think often people forget repurposing is a green option. I will be posting a few things I did last year to wrap gifts by repurposing containers - nut containers, frosting and even a grated Parmesan cheese container.

Meanwhile check out these links for gift wrapping and especially green gift wrapping...

Gaiam Life - 10 Green Gift Wrapping Ideas

Passionate Homemaking - Frugal and Green Gift Wrapping

Green Package Wrap Ideas

Earth Easy - Gift Wrapping Alternatives

Also I posted these links before but are good ones at the holidays...
Paper bow making - Recycling magazines, old books and scrapbooking paper

There is also a great article on gift wrapping in Simply Service Holiday 2008 issue by marg_it.

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