Sustainable centrepieces – beautiful, simple and inexpensive to DIY

Centrepieces aren’t just expensive, if you’re having a few tables, they can also be bad for the environment. Flowers need to be in season and locally grown (some exotic or out of season flowers are imported from as far away as Africa!) An arrangement of 3 or 5 jars of various sizes together with the same type of flower.

Professional or traditional centrepieces aren’t just expensive, if you’re having a few tables, they can also be bad for the environment. Elaborate may not be the best option if you can’t see people over across the table or they block the view of the dance floor.

To get the best out of your centrepieces, if you’re going to DIY, choose things that reflect your values or things you love as a couple.

Flowers need to be in season and locally grown (some exotic or out of season flowers are imported from as far away as Africa!) An arrangement of 3 or 5 jars of various sizes together with the same type of flower can look very chic.

Collect glass jars from pasta sauces, milk or juice bottles etc. (if you’re game you can take a leaf out of the current Mexican trend and even re-use cans as long as the label looks exotic or foreign. Your friends and family can help add to your collection.

At the end of the night you can recycle the lot!

Then ad this Noritake 4-heart vase to your registry for your anniversary flowers!

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4-hearts rated gorgeous vase from Japan

http://www.greenhearts.com.au/productdetail.aspx?pid=1470#ad-image-0

Green wedding tip #3 – money can’t buy taste but it sure can buy waste!

ImageI’ve just spent an hour watching my favourite new addiction Say yes to the dress and as usual I’m astounded the lengths – both financially and geographically – brides and their families will go to to find ‘the perfect dress’.

Women from all over America it seems will travel to New York City to spend thousands of dollars on dresses that are – to be honest – a bit ho hum most of the time.

Truth is that money can’t buy taste but it can buy waste!

Most of the brides’ budgets seem to be around $3000 US and often the bill is foot by mum and dad (or make that mom and dad).

Each episode includes past brides coming back for a final fitting – often a year or so later – flying in from across the US and even from Canada (hard to believe that a French colony don’t have enough beautiful dress shops?).

What’s remarkable is how many brides say they can’t remember what the dress looks like. Considering they’ve often spent the equivalent of a car on it you’d think they’d have a vague idea.

All this says is that what seems important in the moment is less so in the long run. There’s a lot a new couple can do with $3,000 that would make a lot of difference to a lot more people.

Spend $1,000 on your dress (locally made and designed!) and the rest on your honeymoon or on more local wines on the big day on flowers in pots rather than bouquets (so you can gift them or keep them rather than lose them), or on organic meals or on a band instead of a DJ – or just put it in your mortgage!

You can even spend the savings on your Greenhearts registry.  There are a lot of products that are made in developing countries or made right here. They’ll last a lifetime which saves money in the long term.

Here’s our gorgeous locally designed dresses that didn’t cost the earth.

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Elena in the grass & trees

5 easy ways to green ‘Spring clean’ your wedding plans

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With spring and ‘wedding season’ around the corner here are 5 simple ways to give your wedding a green spring cleaning.

by Greenhearts Girl, Irena

1. Cut down on guests

Save money & the environment by cutting your guest list in half!

We did and so can you! Make a rule like no 2nd cousins, no-one you don’t know, only genuine partners (ie no random plus 1), etc. and stick to the rule. Sure you’ll need to justify it to your family but regardless of your choices your family and friends will question them so make a stand for a great event and the environment.

Fewer people means less resources – food, travel, energy etc. – used and that’s more sustainable.

2. Choose a non-traditional or charity for your venue, or do it in the backyard and donate the difference!

Weddings are big business and that’s hard to get around so why not spend your money in a way that helps out a charity or local ‘green’ organisation? Think community gardens, local farm, neighbourhood house, local museum or art society etc.

And if you’re lucky to know someone with a big backyard or holiday house – then save on venue rental and donate the difference!

3. Save time, avoid glue-gun injury with a simple invitation.

Of course not everyone thinks an emailed invitation to a wedding is classy. Then again you can’t buy taste at a paper shop. Most people still expect a mailed invitation to adorn their fridge however…

Personally I think spending hours mucking around with ribbons, outrageously expensive bits of paper and pinking shears is utter, utter madness when you could be getting your nails done or watching an episode of Say Yes to the Dress (my secret addiction). Some people are crafty so you can easily press some flowers you find in the park or use fallen leaves & twigs (seriously it looks amazing!).

You could photograph something beautiful and print it with the info about your special day on some eco-friendly recycled cards or you could buy some cards from Oxfam or a charity.

4. Choose local and seasonal flowers

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Did you know that many flowers used in weddings are flown in from developing countries where wages are low, working conditions are poor, and pesticide use is high. Not to mention the water used to grow flowers is often at the expense of drinking water for people!

You’ll need bouquets and flowers during the ceremony, centrepieces and decorations for the reception. See if you can reuse any ceremony flowers or use a natural environment instead. Speak to your florist about using locally-grown and seasonal flowers (yes! Like fruit and veg flowers are seasonal). I got my florist to get boxes of flower heads that would otherwise have been thrown out and covered my tables with them. You can use potted plants for decorations and these can go into your garden or used as gifts.

Hand centerpieces to guests as they leave and find local hospitals, senior centers, and shelters that accept donations of bouquets.

5. Choose ethical and sustainable gifts

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Many environmentally-aware couples, especially if you’ve lived together for a while, think they have everything they need and don’t want more stuff or gifts of any kind. That’s fine if you want to elope, just the 2 of you, but if you invite people to your wedding they WANT to buy you something to enjoy during your marriage.

This is your chance to really make a difference. You can ask for a donation to a charity but many people will buy you something anyway so you should think about eco-friendly gifts for your registry. These would be things made locally or in smaller quantities, locally designed, products that use natural dies, organic sheets and towels, glassware without lead etc. The list is endless and greenhearts.com.au have done the hard work by putting all these lovely eco-friendly and sustainable things in one place.

 

What are your green wedding tips to spring clean your wedding?

Greenhearts live blog: Life Instyle 2013 Part 1

Greenheart girls in the frame at Life instyle 2013

We’ve been going to Melbourne & Sydney’s Life inStyle expos for over 3 years now and it we’re still finding some surprising, beautiful and most importantly ethical & sustainable gifts that we know that smart brides & grooms would love in their homes.

Here’s a selection of some of the great new products we’ll be adding to the Greenhearts gift list over the next few weeks. 

Carrol Boyes has been around for decades but duh us, we just saw her immediately iconic sterling silver pieces at today’s show. They’re practical, beautiful and whimsical! That combo is just timeless and her designs would look great in minimalist and more eclectic homes.

What’s more amazing is Carrol is a warrior for South African women and multiculturalism as well as ethical manufacture.

We’re so excited about offering Carrol Boyes’ gorgeous collection to our brides & grooms!

Staying in South Africa, these frames from Luna Design are made by homeless people in from reclaimed wood. They are truly unique and the muted colours could look great in a beach house or chabby chic interior.

However I love juxtaposing hard edges and lines with this genuinely distressed material so go ahead and put these up in your uber modern homes too. They will catch visitor’s eye and you can tell them the amazing story of these people whose income comes from these beautiful pieces.

Indeed we found these frames at the new L’Atelier Maison stand that had this amazing new cookware – knindustrie.

Truly stove top to table to storage without dropping an ounce of glorious Italian desig. Up close the white pots, matte finish stainless steel and soft silicone lids speaks of quiet elegance. And the removable handles are just so darn clever! Like camping, only in downtown Venice?

The balance of the round pots against the wood grain and the overall finish and design is truly faultless. Can’t wait to get some for myself!

 

Yours truly live blogging from Life instyle today!

 Now Julie Hoddy from magoolie designs is one truly hard working Tassie chic. She not only dreams-up, designs, makes, fires, paints, glazes these lovely ceramic gifts but she also packs, sells and ships them all around Australia. Every week she’s peddling her delicate and complex wares at Salamanca markets but today she had a lovely smile just for us!

There’s more beautiful, ethical & sustainable Australian and overseas designs coming your way in the next few days as we ware out our shoes at life instyle, Reed & GHA shows.

What do you think of these gifts for the eco-minded bride & grooms?

Greenheart wedding tip #2 The only wedding rule you’ll ever need

by Greener Irena
Greenhearts has come across a few brides who believe that having a sustainable wedding means not consuming AT ALL, not spending money and not having any gifts. And sure, if that’s your dream wedding go right ahead. Seems really hard to us.

We’re more from the school of ABSOLUTE ABUNDANCE. Build it and they will come kinda gals than monk-like aesthetes. We think that sometimes we all put too many rules on ourselves and make life so hard that we just don’t do anything.

Weddings in particular have a lot of expectation from both family, friends and society in general. How thin we need to be, the DRESS (I’m stilll a bit gobsmacked by the whole Say Yes to the Dress TV show phenomenon), size of the ring, ceremony, reception, sit-down, cocktail, open bar, I could (but won’t go on).

There’s SO MUCH CHOICE and that’s sometimes worse than not enough. In today’s modern Australia there are no hard and fast rules about what a wedding should be, should cost or should have in it.

So we say the best way to have an ethical and sustainable wedding is to spend more money on the things that feel right to you and less on the thing you ‘have’ to do (because after all she is your mum even if technically she’s not paying for it or getting married herself, her opinions matter dammit!)

So splurge on a locally made dress or a designer gown if that’s your thing. Don’t have bonbonniere unless you WANT to give a gift to friends (pot plants, fair trade trinkets, there are lots of green options), keep invitations simple or email where you can, diet til you’re a twig* or don’t. Put out a sumptuous spread (locally sourced and donating leftovers of giving guests doggie bags) or finger food and endless organic booze til the budget breaks. Bone china or bamboo recycled picnic ware, local band, DJ mate or iPod mix tape. Gift registry (ethical only of course) or donate it to charity.

Whatever is YOUR THING then spend your money on that and cross those other traditions off your list. That’s the ethical thing to do and will help you to happily remember your wedding.

Now that’s true love!

Share your wedding tips with me and I’ll post them on the site with a link or acknowledgement. Even a germ of an idea – I will investigate.
* Be warned, if you’re thinner than you’ve ever been on Your Big Day that’s as thin as you’re likely to EVER get and are you sure you can look at those photos FOREVER and not judge yourself for not being that thin anymore? Be healthy and fit but keep it real hey?

Greenheart wedding tip #1 Make your destination wedding local

by Greener Irena

The Greenhearts Girls have noticed over the last few years that many couples are opting for a ‘destination wedding’. A tropical paradise where only your nearest and dearest (and rich) family and friends can attend your intimate ceremony. Let’s take a quick look at this trend from a sustainability perspective.

Makes perfect sense from your perspective:

  1. You’re going to drop about twenty grand on a big party anyway where dozens of almost-strangers will eat, dance and complain about the seating arrangements. Why not spend it and get a hot honeymoon to boot while partying with only your inner circle.
  2. You’ve lived together for years and this whole ‘princess’ thing is just not you (or him). 
  3. You’ve always wanted to visit Bali/Thailand/Mauritius*/Hawaii etc.
  4. The packages on offer for the whole thing from dress to flowers to photos and dinner at bridal fairs are just so cheap and so much less hassle!

That all sounds lovely but if you want to live your sustainable values does a tropical destination wedding really stack up?

Sure you could go all actuarial (and that’s just not me, I’ve got enough to worry about) and count up the flyer miles, hotel rooms etc. and their emissions versus the car mileage and the (most likely) dozens more guests you’d invite if you had the wedding at home. Do the sums and then decide.

But this your WEDDING – your day of proclaiming love to each other in front of your nearest and dearest (and their current blow-in partners – just kidding). If you’re an accountant then go ahead but for the rest of us I think that counting is the last thing you’d want to do.

A local ‘destination wedding’ is the red-hot green option. Here’s why

  1. Share your love around, avoid paradise envy. A local wedding means more people can come, and if you do it thoughtfully, then you can have as beautiful and intimate an experience and share the love around so everyone has a great time. Include as many people as possible and make them feel welcome – now that’s a beautiful thing and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. 
  2. Know what you’re buying. As you’re in charge of the event, not some company that may not be as generous, you can be sure of the quality and who gets your hard earned cash plus you choose how to spread it around.
  3. Support the local economy. Whether you’re having your wedding in a country town or in the city, local food, local wine and local staff cut the carbon emissions and give everyone a job. Your grand affair is still supporting local suppliers, waiters, hairdressers, florists, cleaners, drivers, wineries etc.
  4. Show people how to be green. There are so many ways you can have a sustainable wedding. Some cost lots of money and some cost none. Either way, a big wedding gives you a chance to share your views and values with people that may never consider it otherwise. Choose an eco-venue, offer sustainably produced food (or go the full vego), drink biodynamic wine or local beers, donate gifts to charity or buy pre-loved wedding clothes, make speeches count and explain your values. What you say and do could change the attitudes of guests who would NEVER consider it otherwise.
  5. Go tropical at home. Either have a tropical theme using found sea shells and tropical flavours and music or  go to FNQ and avoid all the hassles of overseas travel.

Now that’s true love!

Share your wedding tips with me and I’ll post them on the site with a link or acknowledgement. Even a germ of an idea – I will investigate.* Mauritius is the one place I’m dying to visit since my first hairdresser used to cut my 80’s mop and proclaim assuredly “et voila” despite making a mess of it each time. She just charmed me.

Mad Men Season 6 Episode 6 ‘For immediate release’ behind the scenes

Mad Men merger leads to design opportunities for green wedding bloggers

For immediate release
MELBOURNE 2013/MANHATTAN 1968: The unexpected merger of SCDP and CGC in the most recent episode of AMC’s hit TV show Mad Men, is expected to produce even more tantalizing sets and incredible period details for close dissection by leading ethical and sustainable homewares blogger Irena Bukhshtaber, partner in the emerging wedding registry business, Greenhearts.com.au.
The recent episode was so full of unexpected drama after a very slow season, that it has taken nearly a week  for the Green Wedding Girls to be able to look beyond the storyline and examine the settings of each and every thrilling, tension and humour-packed scene.
There were several scenes where we gained greater insight into character’s lives as seen by their surroundings and scenes where the future was juxtaposed with the past.
Let’s talk about Mad sex baby



A overarching theme this season, and previous, are women as hookers.
Leaving Joan’s one-time only deal aside (despite wearing hooker-green she is pointing out that she’s NOT a hooker), modern hookers in Mad Men look like go-go dancers.

It’s worth noting how the camera invites us in by peeping through the plastic beading curtain – so popular now-a-days in little girls bedrooms to give them that sense of fairytale – once the beads were a man’s fairytale.

The hooker in Episode 3 was also introduced from far away, but her surrounds reflect what was ‘opulent’ at the time.

Two Mad Men walk into a bar…

Is Don wearing the same jacket? Either way he’s the one not in a warm pattern. This week’s bar reflected all the faux regency, fancy hotels and restaurants and reception centres we’ve seen this season – none of which rate a homewares, design mention.

Except this showcase cathedral for the Chevy. Wow, I don’t like cars or cathedrals but if anythings shows how polished wood and gleaming metal are a match made in consumer heaven – well this is definitely the shot!
Fresco salad servers by Stars Milano

It’s even a nice combo for salad servers 😉

We need to talk about Kevin Kenny
This was the first time we’ve seen the inside of Kenny’s office. And like Kenny, it’s all about blonde…wood.
It’s so non-specific monotone but of-the-era. There’s no coloured chair, coloured lamp or even much colour in the art other than the tan, black, ivory palette.
Kenny is largely seen as even-tempered and un-fussy – his office reflects this. He gets his work done and he gets outa there.
Also, I think Kenny’s real life is in his writing (just like mine NOT) and so he keeps his work space just that – a tidy, office space. His colour is at home. Others like Peggy, Pete and Ted get their fulfillment from work. They spend most of their time, energy and brainpower at work. As a result their desks are cluttered with personal ornaments, paperwork etc.

The only thing not tan in Ken’s office is – Pete – who wears greys and blues. Today he sits on a grey wall background with a blue/grey couch.
Each man is framed in their colour palette.
Small note – the orange phone and counting machine (what is that??) great colour.

Pete, Don and Roger often wear greys, blues – cool colours. Teddie wears warm colours – tans, oranges. Their offices reflect these colour palettes. Cool people, warm people – it’s simple but holds true. Last week, when Ted kissed Peggy it was because she thought he was strong not ‘nice’. Honey-toned ted, tan-toned Kenny. 

Notably, Don has those 2 red/orange chairs in his office denoting beneath his often beige (macintosh, sportcoat) exterior are some red-hot spots.
 
Pete may have felt blue when talking to Kenny, but things turn much darker when confronted with Trudi’s Papa at his almost funereal offices. Again, Pete thoughtfully wore a suit to match. It’s still beautiful though, the black and gold combo – but here its chic not chav.
Cushion by Eastbourne
A tale of 2 Rogers
  


Roger’s office has always stood out as clinical and white. He has a lightweight demeanor, superficial, 2-dimensional.
However at home he has an opulent warm style, not as showy as his mum’s but still – the woods, the gold’s, even the patterns in the duvet – are in stark contrast to his cool, grey exterior in the office.
Trudi is also warm in the living room – or at least colourful – and cool in the bedroom. She loves a matching large-bloom floral regardless of the location.

Mad about kitchens
Finally, we get a good look at Trudi and Megan’s kitchens. The women would be similar in age but Trudi has taken the suburban housewife (Betty II) path and her faux country/provincial kitchen with it’s display plates, duck-egg blue and wood with exposed mock-Tudor hinges – not to mention the wallpaper – reflects her choice of dream kitchen
Unlike in the bedroom, where she knew Pete was coming and stood out in the Salmon ensemble – here she’s caught unawares in a plain taupe coat that almosts blends her into the wallpaper. doesn’t fit in here like he does in the office – any office – his suit colour cannot be found anywhere.
Her creamer however can be found even today.
Oiseaux De Paradis – Creamer by Gien France
Provence cup & saucer by Gien France
I’ve been waiting every week for a good look at the Draper’s tres modern kitchen. The colour palette, the use of bold pattern, the glass display cabinetry and the server all speak to this being more for entertaining adults than raising a family. I noticed the display glass in previous episodes.
Blue glass is back today too so your dishrack can now look just like the Draper’s
Lucia glassware by Mint Home

Unexpected inspiration with cereal bowls at NGV

 In what’s turning out to be my monthly visit to Melbourne’s fabulous NGV I was struck by the simple beauty of their new work, Cinamen, by Celeste Boursier-Moutenot, in the foyer area.
At first it looks like a pool with lilypads but on moving closer you see 150 white ceramic bowls of various sizes gently, slowly, floating in a clockwise circle.
Get even closer and you hear the lyrical sounds as these bowls gently bump each other creating unexpected and sweet music like a wind chime in a gently breeze.
It’s one to sit and contemplate to. Meditate, read a book and feel the incredible peace and simplicity.
However the work is also incredibly complex in that no bowl is exactly the same size and the bowls are created so as not to tip each other over.
It’s rare to see something so everyday in a brand new way. 

Bring that simple, clean feeling of a white bowl home with any of these beautiful, sustainable Mint white bowls at greenhearts.com.au. They’re hand made in Portugal by families of craftspeople.