Archive for the ‘Eco holiday’ Category

January in Guatemala

Friday, January 31st, 2014


I recently spent a lovely week in Guatemala, and Antigua in particular. It’s a charming town and the former capital of colonial Central America. It’s surrounded by forested hills and the tropical jungle is less than an hour away. Most homes have terracotta-tiled roofs, and their thick adobe walls are painted deep ochre, russet or azure. I stayed at the stunning Quinta Maconda, a colonial property that dates back to 1547 and currently a private residence and boutique hotel.











A favorite room, affectionately referred to as the “pagan chapel,” were several memorable meals were enjoyed:




Another glimpse: the wood storage area




Wandering through the giant Farmer’s Market, which was very colorful and bountiful with baskets overflowing with fruits, vegetables, beans, corn, and beautiful spices. I was looking for copal,  a tree resin used as incense that is similar to frankincense. In comes in various shapes and sizes, and contemporary Maya people light it in an incense burner in the morning to start the day. I love the way it smells:




Since I’m always on the lookout for ideas about how to live more sustainably as well as practical alternatives to plastics, I noticed these rattan woven trash bins:



And CFL’s in all the church lamps!


Driving into the jungle for some exploring, many fences  along the roads were made from planting small trees close together, an attractive and resourceful alternative to chain link:


One morning, I saw tiny stingless bees for the first time. They make the most delicious honey:





One of my favorite places in Antigua was La Tienda de Dona Gavi, a very cool shop where you can buy homemade ice creams, natural soaps, herbs and spices:




Other places worth checking out:

Coleccion 21

Casa de los Gigantes

La Casa de las Escudillas


Nim P’ot

Dona Maria Gordillo

Casa de Artes


To find out more about Quinta Maconda

See my Pinterest board about Guatemala

Holiday Decorations 2013

Saturday, November 30th, 2013


I love the holiday season and especially beautiful decorations. These are some of the favorites I came across this past year. Naturally, the ones that I really love are made using natural or recycled materials.

painted tangerines197

Use acrylic paints, to first paint a base coat. Let it dry and then paint another color over it. Use a sharpie pen to draw the finer designs.


xmas cards210

I found this in an old Martha Stewart magazine. Nice idea for displaying cards.


xmas branch208

This may be one of my favorite kinds of decorations. All you need is a found branch, some red and white ribbons and any decorations you love. You also need to be able to hang the branch up as well!


paper trees192

Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose bits of white paper into small paper trees. Add a metal stick into a base made from air drying clay, for example. Carefully push the squared bits of paper onto the metal, starting with larger pieces and finishing with the smallest ones. Top it off with a little star!

white paper tree195

This is so charming but I don’t think I’m up to making one.


russian gifts196

Stunning wrapping paper. Inspired by these, I’m going paint my own version, using plain wrapping paper (recycled kraft paper) and acrylic paints.













Wooden cave for reindeer watchers, at the Wild Reindeer Center, Norway. This is an organic hut built in the heartland of Europe’s last surviving wild caribou. This pavilion is open to the public every day of the year and is used to observe reindeer.

joyeux noel198


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

See you in 2014!




Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

I love this time of year because of all the cozy things that mean Christmas to me from a roaring fire in the fireplace, to the scent of cinnamon, cloves and balsam fir, the lovely cards, ornaments and presents, and time with my family and friends. This is also a time of year when we waste so much paper and throw loads of things out. Apparently, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we throw out 25% more trash than the rest of the year.

I am constantly searching for ways to be less wasteful, and creative when it comes to repurposing or recycling things. I saved some of my favorite ideas, and will use them for inspiration, which I hope will inspire you as well to create something wonderful.                  

Christmas in French is Noel. I like the clever letters made from natural or recycled materials. C’est chouette ( Cool)

    One of the easiest ways to bring a little holiday flare to your home is to tuck some spruce branches on mantles.

  Gifts can be wrapped in brown recycled paper and spruced up with a little imagination.

  Apologies for the dreadful clipping here but had to show how great these branches looked strung with lights and suspended from the ceiling.

A found branch can be turned into something so wonderful, with a little paint, sparkles and ornaments.

Love the finials as objets around the candlesticks.

Recycled cans reborn as table decorations.

Use animal shaped cookie cutters to make your own sparkly Christmas tree decorations. Just keep the ones separate for cooking, from the ones you use with clay. I have saved all the homemade ornaments my daughters have been making since they were little and they will be strung up on the tree again this year. I love them.

I haven’t attempted to make a wreath using hay but I like the way it looks. The stars and animals were first secured with a thin but sturdy piece of wire & glue and attached to the hay wreath.

Apologies for the scrappy image but I just love that this wreath was made from several pieces, let’s say “found wood”. You can reuse it year after year or just burn it in the fireplace if you have had enough of it.

A very french and original way of creating a Christmas tree. The shoes displayed in a row is a what was used in France  instead of Christmas stockings. You left a pair of your shoes either by the fireplace, the tree or at the foot of your bed and it would have a little presie or two tucked inside by the morning.

Another clever and creative Christmas tree. This one has an advent calendar feel about it. The candlesticks look like they were made with various bits and bobs.

Christmas tree made from paper. I can only hope that it’s from recycled paper.

Happy Holidays!



Monday, February 13th, 2012


We are not alone when we live from a place in the heart

Painted Heart by John Baldessari, seen in Los Angeles…


Wood Hearts seen at the lovely Livia Firth’s store near London, Eco Age…


LED Heart Created and shot at my home studio using LED lights from my store…


Metal Heart  from Mexico…



French Heart art project….


LOVE created in my home studio…


Crazy Love shot at my home studio…


One is not loved accidently, one’s own power to love produces love

-Eric Fromm-


Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

I rarely find gift tags that I like so this year, I decided to just make my own. Using a few blank kraft paper tags I had, and adding some recycled cardboard from the organic boxes of tea I drink and perhaps even parts of a box of Weetabix cereal, I cut them in different sizes. Using a couple of stamps, and a black ink pad, I stamped them first, and  when the ink was dry,  I used a hole puncher, punching larger holes for the chubbier ribbon to make it through. The ribbon is actually remnants I had saved for a rainy day.

I’m not bothered about the smudges

The ribbon remnants really dress up the tags


Sunday, November 27th, 2011

The holiday season is upon us and to get in the mood, I love looking at cool alternative, attractive and simple decorations, made using natural or repurposed materials…Enjoy



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