Posts Tagged ‘repurpose’

Free Gifts To Share!

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on December 23rd, 2011

It’s that time a year again and if you’re like someone I know (i’m not mentioning any names…) you’ve waited ’til last minute to do your holiday shopping. Well, let me make it easy for you. I’ve got FREE gift ideas to share with you and it all starts with the most precious gift you can give…..YOU!

Did you know that you can actually be an eco-friendly gift?

1.  Make coupons that offer your time or services. For example, “This coupon entitles you to a special dinner for 2 lovingly prepared by me.” This coupon works great for friends or relatives that don’t cook. Or, “This coupon entitles you to 2 hours of book keeping services.” If you know what services someone really needs, then taylor made coupons makes them extra special.

2. Know someone with an office? (of course you do!) Check out this adorable business card holder  that was given to me  by a friend who created it special just for me. You can do the same with just a few pieces of cardboard , some glue and colored markers. 

3. Visit a lonely neighbor. Whether they’re down the street or across the hall, go knock on their door and say hello. Yes, even to the cranky guy that never smiles at you when you check your mail. Ever think he’s cranky because he’s lonely? Bring a plate of cookies to sweeten him up!

Your time and attention to someone less fortunate is the most precious gift you can give and …it’s FREE! Nothing feels as good as knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.

Give the gift of time…….The gift of YOU!

Happy Holidays!


5 Eco-Friendly Floor Options

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on August 20th, 2010

Planning on installing a new floor? Nowadays, there are many choices that are both affordable and green. Here are some options to consider and why I’ve chosen them as my top five.

1. Bamboo

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant  on earth. It can be sustainably harvested every 5-7 years. Although considered a grass, it grows as a stalk and  has been used for centuries in many parts of the world. It  is now being grown commercially in North America. Because of it’s quick replenishing time, it’s an excellent  renewable resource. In fact, Bamboo is now one of the most popular floor choices. At prices ranging from $1.89 – $3.89 per square ft, it’s also an affordable one. You’ll love it’s silky, smooth finish!

Why I like it:

  • Durable – it’s 2x stronger than Oak!
  • Beautiful – there are many unique types of Bamboo offering a wide range of color, grain and application choices. Use it for flooring, cabinets, doors or countertops.
  • Renewable – it replenishes itself every 5-7 years.
  • Affordable – as the demand for quality Bamboo has increased, the price has decreased. I have seen the price as low as $1.89 per sq. ft.
  • Easy Maintenance – no wax floor!

2. Cork

Cork is the ultimate green flooring material and is becoming increasingly more popular these days. A completely renewable resource, cork is harvested from the bark of  living cork oak tress. That means, the tree is never killed to harvest the cork. It has many properties that make it an excellent choice for your home including: a variety of sizes, patterns,colors and applications.

Why I like it:

  • 100% Renewable
  • Healthy For You- it’s naturally hypoallergenic, anti-microbial and anti-fungal which means it’s mildew resistant. A plus for anyone living with allergies or in a damp climate!
  • Insulates Well- keeps your feet warm in winter and cool in summer!
  • Sound Absorbent – muffles sound so it works great in an apartment or condo setting.
  • Easy Installation – can be installed directly over existing floors, concrete slabs or plywood subfloors.
  • Absorbs Shock – it’s easy on the body!
  • Affordable – From $1.49 to $3.49 per sq. ft.
  • Naturally Fire Resistant
  • Low Maintenance

3. Sustainably Harvested &

Reclaimed Lumber

Sustainably harvested wood is extracted from forests in a way that is ecologically sound, and both socially and economically beneficial to the communities in which these forests exist. These managed forests are careful in their harvesting practices, helping to contribute to the preservation of these beautiful forests. This type of wood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Reclaimed lumber comes from many sources such as, antique wood from the de-construction of old structures like barns, mills and houses; beams, timbers, wine barrels and box cars. The wood is typically oak, fir or pine. Praised for it’s strength, versatility, rich colors and unique characteristics, reclaimed lumber is a favorite among builders and homeowners alike.

Why I like it:

  • Durable
  • Warm, Rich Colors- there’s a variety of colors from white oak to deep cherry.
  • Unique Appearance- each wood produces it’s own unique and interesting grain.
  • Follows the 3 R’s of Green Decorating- Reduce, Recycle, Repurpose.
  • Multi-Purpose- floors, counter tops, furniture, doors and more!

4. Marmoleum

Marmoleum is a brand name for Linoleum. It’s made by combining natural materials such as linseed oil or pine rosin with wood flour or cork dust.  Free of  VOC’s or other toxic chemicals, it’s a great non-toxic flooring option, especially for those with asthma or allergies. Marmoleum comes in sheets, which can be installed with a solvent free adhesive, or as a square click which doesn’t need any adhesive. It’s durable, easy to clean and comes in a variety of colors and sizes allowing you many design options.

Why I Like it:

  • No off-gassing (off -gassing comes from volatile organic compounds and toxic chemicals such as urea formaldehyde found in vinyl, adhesives, paint, carpet and particle board.)
  • Durable- as the linseed oil oxidizes, the floor becomes harder and more durable.
  • Anti-Static Properties – this means dirt & dust don’t stick, so there’s less cleaning for you!
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Endless Design Possibilities
  • 100% Natural Ingredients & 100% Biodegradable

5. Recycled Glass Tile / Terrazzo

Recycled glass tiles and Terrazzo are both beautiful materials that can be used to create a stunning look (it’s great for counter tops too!). Both are excellent environmentally friendly flooring options that re-purpose what would otherwise be thrown in a landfill.  These tiles are fast becoming the choice for homeowners. Both have high durability, ease of maintenance and a beautiful look!

Recycled glass uses discarded glass bottles that are turned into beautiful recycled glass tiles. Custom looks can be created to fit you’re personal style.

Terrazzo, a centuries old art, mixes bits of broken glass with pieces of marble, granite, ceramic &  porcelain from such sources as discarded sinks and toilets. The bits are then mixed with cement to create beautiful, unique tiles. Found in many commercial settings, like libraries and government buildings, it’s now an affordable option for homeowners.

Why I like it:

  • Follows the 3 R’s of Green Decorating- Reduce, Recycle, Repurpose
  • Multi Purpose – floors, counter tops, backsplash, bathrooms.
  • Frees Up Landfills- since we’re running out of space for our trash, this is a good thing!
  • Huge Color Choice- tile design is practically limitless. Let it jump starts your imagination!
  • Non-Absorptive-they don’t hold water or stains.
  • Beautiful, and allows for creativity

All of these materials are beautiful and a great choice  for you and the planet. Whichever material you choose, make sure  the company you buy from explains the contents of the product. If it’s wood or Bamboo, make sure it’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and that it doesn’t contain any added urea formaldehyde, a toxin you don’t want to breathe! Also, be aware that labeling can be tricky. Labeling  something recycled doesn’t mean it’s 100% recycled. Read the contents and ask questions. The better informed you, the better choice you can make!

Decorating with Flea Market Finds & Yard Sale Sensations!!

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on July 13th, 2010

Summer is a great time to get outdoors and hit the yard sales and flea markets for great decorating finds. And what better way to help the environment and your wallet! It’s a great way to recycle items that would eventually end up in a landfill and finding great deals is good for the soul and easy on the budget! With a little imagination, you can turn trash into treasure with just about anything! Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Repurpose an old, slightly beat up dresser with fresh paint or stencil and use it as a T.V. stand or night stand in a bedroom. Or, try placing it in your kitchen for exta storage for table linens and special dinner ware.
  • Create some mood lighting with an old glass lampshade and a candle. Look for a vintage colored glass lampshade, place the candle on a small dish and place the glass lampshade on top. You’ve just created a one of a kind lighting piece! The amber colored, dimpled glass piece I used here, creates an interesting textured shadow effect.
  • Picture frames can be turned into many beautiful new items. Install a mirror, fabric, wallpaper, or even a new picture to give an old frame new life. Here, I framed an old record store promotion poster of Mick & Keith. Feeling crafty? Turn your old frame into a serving tray. Place a piece of whimsical fabric or wallpaper under the glass, hot glue some wooden handles on the side and voila!
  • Old wooden doors add architectural interest to any room. In the bedroom, they make great headboards. They can also serve as a dinning table or coffee table. Just leaning one against a blank wall will create a nice conversational piece, adding texture and interest to the room. You can also repurpose old windows. For example, gather a couple of small pictures say, from your vacation, and glue each one to a piece of heavy cardboard. Now hot glue or nail the cardboard to the back of the window.You now have a very unique picture frame that you can hang on a wall of use as a coffee table top!
  • Decorative boxes are one of my favorites! Use them to store your old VHS or cassette tapes, remote controls, or pictures. Odd numbers like 3 or 5, make an interesting arrangement. If you’re lucky enough to find vintage hat boxes, you won’t have to decorate them yourself. However, if you’re feeling crafty, you can always decorate your boxes with shelf paper. Most shelf paper is self-adhesive, just cut it to the size of the box. Try stacking the boxes next to a side chair or place on a table for an added decorative touch.

The key to decorating with great yard sale and flea market finds is to keep an open mind. Try not to get hung up on what the item was originally used for, but rather, what you can do with it. Think outside the box. By doing so, you’ll create one of a kind pieces and give your home a more unique, personal look. Also, get out there early and don’t be afraid to haggle-that’s half the fun! And remember, it’s only a good deal if you love it and can create something useful from it. So, put your creative thinking caps on, get outside and have fun!

*Photo Credits: 2 picture window frame is property of  and the glass lampshade photo is property of Colleen Kennedy.