Inspired today by...

Succulents and their lovely frosty colors. Perfect for home, at the office, and in the studio. Fabulous for wedding table centerpieces and lasting favours for guests.


Composting in the City

The discussion continues....can and how do we successfully compost living in the city? Throwing away all those perfectly compostable romaine ends can really get to a girl. So when we visited local Eco shop, A Cooler Planet in Chicago's Roscoe Village, we were treated to somewhat of a crash tutorial on composting with worms! To be honest, the process freaked us out a little at first and we thought, "how could that work in the city?". Believe it or not, it is the most efficient indoor composting method around. Stephanie Davies is the Urban Worm Girl, educating the community on composting with worms. She offers custom kits and tutorials for all those opting for "worms to eat their garbage"! Finally, this just might be the ideal city composting option!



In keeping with what now seems to be our weekly sweet inspiration posts...

What could be yummier or more delicious than treats from Columbus' local haute patisserie- Pistacia Vera?
Happy Monday- and have a sweet week!

Photos from: pistachiosweets.com


It's Arbor Day!

Arbor Day is celebrated nationally on a different day each year, and, with an option for celebration on a different days in each state. Go figure. But it seems the consensus is - it is the last Friday of April - and here we are!

Arbor Day is actually one of our oldest holiday started in 1874 in Nebraska. You can read a pretty cool, page turning history - which outlines the origin of the holiday, stresses the value, importance and preservation of our beloved trees. On the first Arbor Day over one million trees were planted and the tradition continues today- to plant at least one tree each and every Arbor Day.

Trees are truly a gift- so consider giving one as a gift, or suggesting them as wedding favours, or having one planted for you. What a beautiful way to celebrate the trees of life!


You Can Call Him Al: Repower America

Ever wonder what Mr. Gore is up to? He's hard at work, very hard at work helping to get the new energy bill passed. And he needs our help. Please visit Repower America - sign the petition and pass it on... as Al says-

"In order to solve the climate crisis, we can't just change light bulbs -- we need to change laws."

"All the News That's Fit To Print"

Photo: The New York Times

This past Sunday the New York Times created "The Green Issue" and devoted the entire magazine section to "The Green Mind". If you haven't already seen it, excerpts are available on The New York Times website.

The New York Times went digital some time ago and the entire paper is available online, everyday. While it's incredibly hard for us paper people to give up our paper...we adore the simple pleasure of a cup of coffee, the paper and a slow morning...you may want to try their 7 day trial digital membership. Consider joining the Times, or your local newspaper online and start by giving up at least one hard copy of the Sunday paper once a month. A guaranteed green compromise that still promises to deliver "All the news that's fit to print"!

And just for fun... a video- Brain Dance chronicles the photo session for the very cool cover which uses dancers from Momix to create the imagery.


Starting Early

If you call us, chances are you'll get our fabulous office manager, Kerry. Here's a picture of her little one Simon, celebrating Earth Day! Simon is an honorary GPC employee and resident cutie-pie!!

Green Beer?

No, it's not St. Patrick's Day, it's a beer in honor of Earth Day! We spotted this Southern Tier 422 (get it, April 22) pale wheat ale at a local market and had to have it, especially since the packaging is made with 80% recycled materials, and printed with soy ink. There are even tips on "ways to be greener" right on the packaging!

Cheers and Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day 2009

Wishing you a Happy Earth Day! Celebrate the progress and commitments you made this year to help create a greener planet. Pledge to make even greater changes and strides in the year to come. Happy Day to all!


Ode to a Tree

With Earth Day fast approaching (tomorrow!), we pay homage to the trees that are so important to our existence. We tend to think about it quite frequently around here - as most of the colors in our palette are named after trees, and not made with them. Just a little shout out - you know who you are!

An organization we admire that dedicates it's work to the preservation of our forests is American Forests. They are a world leader in planting trees for environmental restoration, a pioneer in the science and practice of urban forestry, and a primary communicator of the benefits of trees and forests. Visit their site for information and to get involved.


Green Power at Home

If you own or even rent a home, chances are you pay for your electricity. What you probably didn't know is that you can choose your provider of electricity or purchase green power from their utility. In fact, you might now have the option of choosing cleaner, more environmentally friendly sources of energy today.

To find out more check out the Enivornmental Protection Agency's Power Profiler

The Power Profiler can help determine your power grid region based on your ZIP code and electric utility, compare the fuel mix and air emissions rates of the electricity in your region to the national average, and determine the air emissions impacts of electricity use in your home or business.

The process takes only 5 minutes, and all you need is your zip code. Also see the Green Power Locator for a listing of providers in your area.


Inspired today by...

Our favorite cupcake shop in Chicago...
Sweet Mandy B's - yummmm!
-Happy Friday-



Now is the time to set your Earth Day plans in motion. For a great spin on How To's, ideas, world wide efforts and events around the globe visit earthday.net.

Find volunteer activities and Earth Day events or register your event and be sure to save the date April 22, 2009 and plan to celebrate our beautiful planet.


National Environmental Education Week

April 12 -18 is Earth Education Week- it's the largest education effort in the U.S. to inspire and increase environmental awareness in school age children and is a great forerunner to Earth Day on April 22.

To learn more about Earth Education Week visit www.eeweek.org which highlights events, ideas and has great resource lists. More eco-cool ideas: a kids carbon footprint calculator and Coolglobes, a paper craft project for educators and parents to do with kids of all ages. Both are great project ideas for stationery stores preparing in store "How To' events for Earth Day.

Design Inspiration: Apples & Pears


Spring Green

Loving our greens...
Spearmint, Jackpine, Aspen, Balsam Fir


Today we're thankful for...

Crocuses, daffodils, jonquils and all the early sprouters reminding us to hold on- Spring is just around the corner and April showers REALLY will bring May flowers!


In her Easter Bonnet

On Easter morning CBS Sunday Morning featured a story about THE inauguration hat worn by Aretha Franklin. The hat is made by one the most prominent millinery designers today- Luke Song, of Mr. Song Millinery in Detroit. And while we're pretty sure there may not be very much green about these hats- the design and workmanship of all of their creations were truly remarkable. This family run business, with sales that are up 400% (!) since Barack's big day, is proving that even during a recession people are loving and appreciating attention to detail and well crafted workmanship. So strut your bonnet - whatever it's color may be - and Happy Easter!

Please pass the horseradish

A bit more about food...If you are observing Passover you may have a fridge full of Sedar leftovers. While lots of the yummy stuff may be long gone- you are probably wondering what to do with all that horseradish.

I had to buy a huge root and using all but a few bits for the Sedar plate I was hoping to find some alternate uses. So I did what I normally do in these cooking dilemmas- I called my Aunt Dina- the best Jewish cook I know, and a woman of many “did you knows”. Here’s what I found out:

1. You can plant it! The root is just that, a root. Pop it in the ground and next year it will sprout a whole new plant.

2. Shred and sprinkle on fish- it neutralizes the sharpness of the horseradish and add delicious flavor.

3. Make horseradish condiment-but proceed with caution- the fumes and the sauce are HOT!
-Cut into cubes and put in a blender.
-Add a small amount of water and a few crushed ice cubes. Blend.
-Add 1-3 tablespoons of white vinegar. The more vinegar the milder the sauce.

Horseradish also has some great herbal uses for home remedies. To find detailed homeopathic ideas visit Herbal Legacy. Again- be careful this stuff is potent with a capital P.

Good Pesach! 


Down the Drain

We've been talking a lot about salads and veggies these days...call it spring fever! It's really an exciting time for growing organically and eating greener, but there is a flip side. Where does it all go when it's uneaten or unused? If you think the shot above is of fabulous fresh greens, guess again. It's confession time- it's a kitchen sink and these once gorgeous, now slime-y greens are on their way out.

Around here, we all have been doing really well trying to shop on an as needed basis. And while it's contrary to the "buy in bulk" belief, we are finding that when eating for one or two, it can be the most environmentally conscious method, especially when it comes to lettuce. Lettuce, as it turns out, is the number one wasted food. In Great Britain there is actually a "Soggy Lettuce Report" that states that 61% of all lettuce purchased in a week ends up in the trash! So when it comes to lettuce, we are advocates of buy more often and use it right away. That way you can also try all the different varieties out there (yes - there are varieties!). Arugula, Butter, Red, Watercress, Maiche, Mustard, Dandelion....the list goes on.

In the quest to be greener every day, this also opens up the big "can of worms" on composting. Quite honestly, we have not jumped on that wagon yet, but really would like to. Pushing those greens down the drain was painful!

Living in the city, it's a concern of space and cleanliness. After doing some research and even attending some urban composting seminars, the day is coming soon! The Nature Mill composter seems to be the best option, and a Stainless Steel counter bin is a good budget option. Earth 911 also gives a great guide to get started.

In the meantime, if you are storing greens- here is a bit of research we have compiled on how to keep salad greens fresher longer. Here are a few tips:

1. Try to purchase lettuce un-packaged, not in plastic wrap or in one of those clamshell plastic container. Take it a step further, and grow your own!

2. Line the refrigerator drawer (bottom and sides) with a layer of paper towels, newspaper or scrap copier paper.

3. Wrap unwashed lettuce in paper towel or a soft cotton dish towel. Remove any plastic wrap before storing (and recycle it!).

4. Place lettuce in prepared drawer and keep shut tightly until ready to use.

5. Wash only the lettuce you will use. Store remaining lettuce in the same fashion as above, unwashed. If the drawer liner your have prepared becomes very moist or soggy replace as needed to keep moisture to a minimum.

6. Whip up your favorite salad dressing and enjoy!


Pebbles Rock

Our Pebbles pattern is rockin. Available in 4Bar greenotes and Re-wrap. It's pretty in pink, and we all know you can't deny that. It's also got that cool fucshia going on making it perky, punchy, and just a touch preppy. If that wasn't enough to get you going, the fact that it's 100% post-consumer recycled and printed with soy ink is the cherry on top!


100% PCW Gift Wrap

From this... To this! See our Spring and Summer 100% post-consumer gift wrap here! Also a big thanks to our friends at Urbanic Paper Boutique in Venice, CA for featuring our wrap on their fabulous blog Parcel Post!


Salad Bar in Your Backyard

After a cold weekend of snow in Chicago – it’s hard to imagine a big beautiful summer garden. But, now is the time to start if you want to grow your own gorgeous Arugula, sweet green beans, plump tomatoes, and pretty much anything you can imagine (specific to your climate zone, of course). I bought some of my seeds today from these two great sites: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Freedom Seeds. So excited!

Today our food travels an average of 1500 miles from farm to table. The process of planting, fertilizing, processing, packaging, and transporting our food uses a great deal of energy and contributes to the cause of global warming. Planting a Victory Garden to fight global warming would reduce the amount of pollution your food contributes to global warming. Instead of traveling many miles from farm to table, your food would travel from your own garden to your table.

If you don’t have a yard or any space to plant – you can check out Food Map Design for a pre-made container to plant in the tiniest of spaces. For a more budget-friendly route, try Ready Made’s DIY Salad Bar. Happy planting (and eating)!

Image by Ready Made Magazine and Christopher Silas Neal.


Planning Ahead-Daily Demo

We've been invited to present at the National Stationery Show Daily Demo on Tuesday, May 19.

We're busy planning the program "Eco-Invites and Favours" along with one of our fabulous retailers- Grace Cole from Scribe. On the drawing board:  soy candles, forget-me-not seeds, sashes, bands, ribbons, liners- and the list goes on- we're craftin' up some great ideas for creating eco-safe and fashion savvy invitations and favours.  
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