Free Design Friday : Reduce, Reuse and Recycle a T-Shirt

29 Sep

Ugh – again with the belated FDF. I know, faithful few, I know. I’m working on it!

Okay, down to the design. I was inspired last week by – dare I say it – my own blog post on canvas bags to create something using either a stencil or iron transfer paper (not quite as eco-friendly as pomegranate juice, but the design made a stencil impossible).

Repurpose a "t" {clockwise from upper left} : Ironing the t-shirt to ensure a flat surface, peeling back the design, close-up of "GF" detail, the full design

Repurpose a "t" {clockwise from upper left} : Ironing the t-shirt to ensure a flat surface, peeling back the design, close-up of "GF" detail, the full design

Recommendations for going green with this one : use an organic cotton t-shirt or REUSE an old t-shirt that could do with a little lift {no need to hurt its feelings}. The distressed design reads “ORGANIC forever” and “GF.” There’s a second “GF” on the transfer page, which could be affixed to another part of the shirt. The letters are Bimini and Edwardian Script : mod, weathered, with a nod to tradition.

Directions : Print the mirror {reverse} design on iron-on transfer paper, available at most craft stores {or Walmart, Target, etc.}. Follow directions for how long to wait and how to apply the transfer. I waited about 30 minutes, cut around the outline of the design, ironed the shirt, then ironed on the design over a cutting board. My product’s instructions clearly stated not to use an ironing board for an iron-on design. Hm… But it worked! And I now have an organic cotton shirt that’s not quite so plain.

So, this week : REDUCE your carbon footprint by {re}USING your iron to RECYCLE a t-shirt (or canvas bag!).

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Bag Lady : Loving Eco-Friendly Totes

23 Sep

When I received my first Friday CSA drop-off of vegetables, herbs and tomatoes from Roy Ranch, a standout item was the sweet canvas bag in which everything was packaged. It read “I Love Dirt (Support Local Farms)” in brick red printed on natural cotton canvas.

Roy Ranch's Eco-Friendly Packaging

Roy Ranch's Eco-Friendly Packaging

I have a collection of my own reusable bags for grocery shopping, although when you live in a small town, people tend to look at you strangely when you ask them to bag your cereal in a fire engine red “Trader Joes” tote. I’m from California, what? Every time I meet up with friends for lunch at Whole Foods, I have to force myself to resist their collection of adorable recycled and reusable grocery bags. All this adds up to a rather unhealthy obsession with eco-friendly totes.

No surprise that I ended up surfing the ‘net this week in search of some plain, “green” cotton or canvas bags to use for packaging holiday gifts this year. Yes, it’s September, but at the first sign of a crisp morning, I start thinking sleigh bells, hot chocolate and fresh garland. Not to mention Starbucks is now serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes. It might as well be Thanksgiving. I am my mother’s daughter.

Anyway, my search led me to Reusable Bags, a website that compiles information on lots of eco-vendors. The site carries loads of reusable loot, but my focus was on finding a plain, durable bag made of recycled cotton, if possible.

Ecobags Recycled Cotton Tote

Ecobags Recycled Cotton Tote

Ecobags carries one such tote : roomy, sturdy, reinforced with 22 inch handles, which can easily be slung over a shoulder. Add in a stencil with a cool design, some pomegranate juice in lieu of fabric paint, and you’ve got yourself a stylish, eco-friendly treat all wrapped up in a recycled cotton tote. {LOVE}

Free Design Friday (on Monday) : Happy Birthday to You!

21 Sep

For a friend’s birthday last week, several of us pooled our resources and gave Molly (regular contributor to the G|F blog via her generous comments) a gift card to Saks. We’re hoping she’ll treat herself to a new pair of jeans. I can personally attest to her hard work, given that I see her jogging down our street – baby in the BOB stroller – on a daily basis. I was in charge of the card, and – busy a week as it was – I searched (in vain) for a card to convey the right message. Bought something simple with a cool photo and added the insert that I’ve since converted into a downloadable birthday card for Free Design Friday. There are two versions : one “from US” and one “from ME.”

"Treat yourself to something special"

"Treat yourself to something special"

Gift cards have become a convenient alternative to the searching (and returning) that frequently results from having to give a gift. And I thought the idea of a group gift card – for a much larger amount than I could have given on my own – definitely beat me searching through the sale rack at Banana Republic for a random “final sale” item that may or may not fit my friend (thanks for coming up with the idea, Allison). My suggestion : get a few friends together, throw in twenty or thirty bucks each, and give someone something substantial.

That they’ll actually use.

This week, you’ll get two-designs-for-the-FREE-price-of-one because I missed last week as well. Tres delinquent – I blame it on Tailhook. Anyway, click for the design, download the .PDF, print, cut and fold. Voila! Two gift card cards you can use to convey the perfect birthday message.

Happy Friday on Monday (and Happy Birthday to the recipients of this week’s free design!).

Free Design Friday : A Moveable Feast

4 Sep

While many of us are preparing to go away for a long weekend, I’m preparing for three blissful days at home with a few of the people I love most : Mom, Dad, N, J and T.  The last time we all got together up here, we went bowling and got crushed by Mom and Dad. Apparently, Mom used to own a bowling ball (which always implies a certain seriousness about the game), and Dad is some kind of bowling virtuoso (at the ripe – and wonderful – age of 78). This weekend is sure to be filled with card-playing, coffee, laughter and some really amazing food.

Speaking of food (everyone seems to be since Meryl portrayed Julia Child), I have two “Julias” in my life : my Mom and Ina Garten (whose Julia was, well, The Original Julia). I haven’t made every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but I have made most of Ina’s recipes in her Barefoot in Paris. When I traveled to the City of Light in 2007, it felt a little like coming home. Getting back to my French roots (which go way back – I am a Richelieu, after all), N, his parents, and I feasted on onion soup, all sorts of tartines, roast chicken and – my absolute favorite – bread (with a side of bread). Lots of it. Ina’s recipe for Lemon Chicken with Croutons still reminds me of that trip and evokes that yummy sensation that only a great meal with family and friends can stir.

An American in Paris (clockwise from upper left) : Our home in Paris, dinner on the Seine, caught eating a baguette on the Ile de la Cite, la Tour Eiffel, Poilane's famous loaves, salivating over the window at Poilane, gazing at the Med in Nice.

An American in Paris (clockwise from upper left) : Our home in Paris, dinner on the Seine, caught eating a baguette on the Ile de la Cite, la Tour Eiffel, Poilane's famous loaves, salivating over the window at Poilane, gazing at the Med in Nice.

This week’s free design is a menu, intended to be downloaded and printed on letter-sized, recycled cardstock and placed at the table for a Sunday night dinner.

A Moveable Feast : Sunday night dinner from Ina Garten's "Barefoot in Paris"

A Moveable Feast : Sunday night dinner from Ina Garten's "Barefoot in Paris"

The design is reminiscent of Paris, the menu all Barefoot, the theme ultra-Hemingway. I read his memoir, A Moveable Feast, in college, and fell in love with his descriptions of every nook and cranny of this incredible city; when I visited, I left disappointed, only because I could have stayed. Forever. Lyndsey and Patrick : I promise we’ll be back before you’re gone.

Click here for the downloadable menu and the meal’s recipes : everything from rosemary cashews to a plum crumble, perfect for a Sunday in September. Bon appetit!

A Moveable Feast : Recipes for the FDF Menu

4 Sep

Our “Moveable Feast” menu is perfect for a Sunday night in September. The recipes include some of our favorites from Ina Garten’s book Barefoot in Paris. Download the menu and get cooking!

Gougeres : French cheese puffs

Rosemary Cashews

Salad with Warm Goat Cheese and Green Salad Vinaigrette :: NOTE : For a first course, I like to serve just one slice of goat cheese with each salad. It can be pretty filling, and you’ll want to save room for…

Lemon Chicken with Croutons

Plum Raspberry Crumble

Recipes are free courtesy of the Food Network – thank you!

Free Design Friday : Get Cookin’

28 Aug

As G|F gets busier (yay!), the weeks are filled with clients to call, proofs to email and jobs to ship. I wanted to celebrate the end of a great week and reward those readers who visit our blog : enter Free Design Friday. At the end of each work week, we’ll be providing you, our few and faithful readers, with free design downloads, tips, and ideas. Our goal is to make your lives more beautiful, more fun, and more GREEN!

This week’s free design, our Boca Recipe Cards, is inspired by the mod, sixties patterns of what I envision might be some chic wallpaper at a grandmother’s place in Florida. Geometric, clean and cool, these cards are coupled with the hottest colors of the moment : gray and yellow (or, at G|F, smoke and dijon).

Free Design Friday : Boca Recipe Cards - Download, print and cut!

Free Design Friday : Boca Recipe Cards - Download, print and cut!

Simply dowload the .PDF document, print (on recycled cardstock, of course – we like Neenah Paper‘s Classic Crest Recycled Bright and Natural White options, which come in letter-sized sheets) and cut along the lines! Give them to a friend, package them as a dinner party favor (along with your party’s organic recipes), or print them out for yourself. Let us know how YOU used them.

Get cookin’ and happy Friday!

Gratefully Green : Eco-friendly Hostess Gifts

25 Aug

Summer is a great time for parties. We’re invited to barbecues, Friday night cocktails and easy Sunday night dinners. Wine and flowers reign as go-to tokens of appreciation. However, I love the idea of giving something useful, inexpensive and eco-friendly. My friend, Kristen, brings an oversized mason jar filled with herbs from her organic garden, tied with twine. She’s also been known to churn out a fresh batch of homemade salsa or mint jelly, all packaged in her signature mason jars, which are both retro-chic and reusable.

Kristen Roy's Homemade Mint Jelly

Kristen Roy's Homemade Mint Jelly

Another {less labor intensive} option is to stock up on eco-friendly stationery. I love the idea of saying “thank you” by giving a set of chic thank you cards. My favorite place to peruse unique, handmade treats is Etsy. Check out this set of four thank you notes by Etsy seller laurabrownart, hand-colored and printed on recycled cardstock. Shannon Lowry of Round Robin Press allows you to customize your 4- or 8-pack of quirky letterpress cards, printed on plantable paper! You should also definitely check out the two most recent product listings on the G|F Etsy shop : sets of four letterpress thank you cards, printed on tree-free cotton rag paper. The sets include one of each of our kelly or black designs, and arrive to you exquisitely wrapped and ready. Not only are these gifts green, lovely and economical, but they’re sure to make your next host or hostess feel incredibly appreciated.

{Clockwise from upper left} Packaging for new stationery set :: Four cards included in "black" set :: Gift materials for "kelly green" set :: Four cards included in "kelly" set

{Clockwise from upper left} Packaging for our new stationery set :: Four cards included in "black" set :: Gift materials for "kelly green" set :: Four cards included in "kelly" set