Cheery Observations

Celebrating the Unique, Sustainable, and Creative

Twisting Away Waste June 30, 2009

Filed under: Environment,housewares — meaghin @ 6:50 pm
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In my constant effort to live in an efficient, sustainable manner, I’m always looking for ways to alter my every day mundane actions using products or tools that make a difference environmentally.   If I have to wipe down countertops or clean dishes, I feel slightly better knowing that my boring actions will ultimately result in less waste.  Not every green action has to be ground breaking!
We have been using Twist loofah sponges and bamboo cloths for the past several months.  Our paper towel bill was becoming astronomical and come on, except in the commercials, I’ve yet to be able to ‘re use’ my Bounty Quicker Picker Upper.
The Twist cloth is genius because it acts as a paper towel stand in.  (Disclaimer:  we still use paper towels for some of the bigger messes, but we’ve reduced our paper towel consumption by at least half).  You can use it dry or wet—it can wipe up pretty much anything, and then yes, you can actually wring it out and use it again…and again…and again.  The cloth can go in the dishwasher/boiling water to sanitize it.  The packaging claims one cloth is the equivalent to 80 paper towels.  Hmm.  One thing that Twist might want to consider is making these cloths in other colors.  No matter how clean you make your cloth, after one use, it’s never going to be as white as it once was!  A green or brown cloth would be more visually appealing.

The loofah sponges are bio degradable and unbleached.  They hold up surprisingly well.  I don’t need a bright blue and purple sponge—just one that does its job and I feel comfortable throwing away after I’ve destroyed it!


The Ultimate Play with your Food Accessory May 27, 2009

Filed under: food and recipes,housewares — meaghin @ 11:34 am
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While browsing the internet, tied up in a meeting and not able to leave, I have food on the brain:  I’m starving!  I came across these plates from Pop Deluxe.  These plates are touted for children, but I think they’d be a riot when I’m not trying to impress or eating my once-a-week meal of chicken tenders, mac&cheese, and peas (which is very much a toddler meal!).  The faces remind me of the characters out of ‘Guess Who?’.


I can see these working well with children who have a) already learned proper mealtime behavior and b) need to be creative in everything they do.  Or of course the kid who won’t eat, UNLESS they can play with their food (leading to problems in future school cafeterias, but we don’t have to tackle that one!).


Method: Environmentally Appealing March 29, 2009

Filed under: housewares — meaghin @ 11:03 am
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Method products capture the best of both worlds:  their products are environmentally friendly AND well designed.  I try to seek out those two factors in my purchases:  environmentally friendly for obvious reasons and design because it captures my eye.   I’m a lover of well done typography, and realistically, good design of an environmentally friendly product should inspire more people to see it, buy it, and use it.  The same product packaged in a bland way will not generate as much consumer interest.  Maybe that’s a shame, but humans inherently seek out the visually appealing.


I really want to commend Method for understanding this.  Their products are amazing because the company seems to ‘get’ what consumers want.  Consumers want a unique visual appearance;  they want a variety of easily accessible and understandable options; most consumers will say that they DO want a product that’s environmentally friendly.  Realistically, if someone else is already doing the work for us in terms of making sure their products are made with natural ingredients, the easiest thing we can do is buy and use these products.

Every Method product is made from renewable and/or abundant natural resources; their products are designed to minimize water and energy consumption, both from how they are made and from how most of their products are bottled in concentrated form, leading to smaller bottles and less waste.

Method has recently been named a ‘Cradle to Cradle’ company, meaning that they are nationally recognized for being a green and sustainable company as a whole (in production and product).

I wanted to highlight a few of my go-to products.  Method (along with Mrs. Meyers) has taken over my entire array of cleaning supplies.

Dish Soap and Hand Soap:  I love the Lavender and Grapefruit Scents
method 1

Fabric Softener and Laundry Detergent:  We’ve recently been using the the ‘Squeaky Green’ Laundry Detergent and Dryer Cloths.
Method 2

Bathroom Wipes and All Purpose Wipes:  The bathroom wipes are heaven-sent when one has a cat who makes everything a mess!  The all purpose wipes are wonderful for counter tops, yoga mats, or dusting (again, partial to lavender!)
Method 3


Whale Inspired February 21, 2009

I like Vineyard Vines in my ‘own’ way.  Not in the ‘I have to have everything from there and the preppier the better way’.  More in the ‘their whale logo is adorable and their clothes fit well’ way.

I especially love their whale t-shirt and decided to do a little investigating to see what other fun(ky) whale items I might find.


Over on Englishmuffin’s Etsy shop, there is the ‘W is for Whale’ animal alphabet card.


Boatman Geller (home to seemingly all stationary preppy…wow…the colors!) has this whale stationary which I already own.


On Uncommon Goods I found this cheerful Whale Mat.


On Three Potato Four (a wonderful shop of vintage and new finds for the home and children–it’s like a truly amazing yard sale where everything you look at is something you want), I found several things:   a former whale ashtray (much MUCH better as decoration!)….


Japanese Whale Stamps


Chunky Whale Pottery


And this wonderful Whale Chalkboard, that I’d love to buy for my office 🙂


My fiancee also pointed me to Squared Eye’s (a web design/application firm) website, who uses a whale as their company’s symbol (the whale looks to be modeled after Jonah and the Whale).  The firm carries the whale theme throughout, with phrases such as ‘come swim with us’ and ‘see what swims beneath the surface’.


Atelier Bernier January 31, 2009

Filed under: home design,housewares — meaghin @ 10:13 am
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Atelier Bernier is a design workshop in Paris.  Their fabrics are incredible!  No matter the design, each fabric is convincing as a bag, a table, a pillow, a stool, a lampshade, etc.  I can’t think of a lot of designs I’ve seen that can make such a leap.  Their online shop is ‘coming soon’, so alas, you can’t order online yet.  However, the website does have a form one can fill out to learn about local stores that may carry their fabrics.

My favorite collection is the Fleur Pompon D’Island (Island Fluffball seems to be an accurate descripton!).  The fabric looks like a collection of green, yellow, and blue dandelions, ripe for scattering the seeds through the air.  The pattern is grounded by a dark blue branch, with different colors and sizes shooting off from the branch.  It’s a carefree pattern that makes me dream of summer.


I also like the Datchas lampshades. The Datchas collection is not as developed, so I’m not sure how it would translate to a bag or pillow (But, I’m thinking it would translate perfectly!).  I like the minimalist quality of the design:  a plump, green bird, with abstract flowers.  The splash of green draws the eye in, but because the design is so unassuming, the lamp could work in many different rooms.



While in Boston… January 19, 2009

Filed under: housewares — meaghin @ 3:15 pm
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We spent a wonderful week in the Boston area over Christmas: we divided our time between Plymouth, Needham, and Boston, and also took a day trip to Providence. There are two stores that I’ve been wanting to write about since returning!

Bob’s Your Uncle is a “Boston Based wholesale gift and greeting card company founded by Martin and Michele Yeeles in 2001.” Their passion seems to gravitate toward bold fonts and graphics on everyday items such as file folders, luggage tags, and list makers (the latter being right up my alley!).

I was drawn to the ‘Out, In, Limbo’ file folders and could especially see myself filling up the ‘Limbo’ folder.


I also liked the length of the ‘(too much) To Do; list pad. I’ve found that when I’m making ‘to do’ lists I have to write and rewrite them because they invariably become much bigger than planned and I end up writing things sidewise to squeeze them in. I don’t think I would run into that problem with this notepad.


Bowl and Board is a New England housewares chain that I explored in Providence and Brookline. I appreciated wandering the store and finding both the familiar (Oxo, Umbra, the entire Thymes line ) and unique (funky shower curtains and pottery). It seems like a great place to go to add a splash of fun to your pad, be it this Toothbrush Holder:


These napkin rings:


Or these ‘Pushing Bookends’:


I do enjoy stores like Crate and Barrel, but I am a true believer that stores like Bowl and Board should exist and be supported:   our homes should be  a reflection of us as individuals and it’s frustrating when one can’t find products to reflect that individuality. Bowl and Board helps!


Reindeer December 3, 2008

Filed under: housewares — meaghin @ 11:40 pm
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Here are a few reindeer decorations I’ve found from three ‘go to’ kitchen and housewares chains (all of which I enjoy!).

The first is from Sur La Table:  a small reindeer votive.  It’s simple and would look cute on a mantle or table, just as a casual decoration.


The second is from Crate and Barrel:  I look at them in the window everytime I go to the gym.  They come in three different sizes and look festive when paired together.  I can picture them on a front porch, by a fireplace, or in the front hall of a house.


Finally, I like these twig reindeer from Pottery Barn.  They bring a modern edge to Christmas decorations, with the branch-like qualities of the reindeer.  Each one is unique and can come in a bronze or silver finish.   This would be an especially nice decoration in a modern house or loft, above the fireplace.