Herb Infused Vinegar and Oil

Here is my little Do-it-yourself holiday gift idea for 2010... herb infused vinegar and flavored oil.  A perfect holiday gift to bring to all the end of the month holiday gatherings with friends and the best part is they are pretty easy to make.   And of course anything food related rates high with me.  Also, it's great to be able to give the herbs that you grew all summer to friends and family.

These instructions are just for flavored vinegar.  The vinegar should be refrigerated after it is made and it has the best flavor when used within 3 to 4 months.  For the olive oil I choose to by flavored oil from We Olive.  You can make a flavored oil too, but they are only good for 3 weeks.  We Olive has many flavors to choose from, all from California, and the best part...  you get to sample them all.  Try the Blood Orange, it's so yummy! 


  • 2 Small Bottles
  • twine or ribbon
  • gift tags
  • stamp (optional)
  • Fluid Chalk Ink Pad (optional)
  • printable label sheets (optional)
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of peppercorns
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 quart of your choice of vinegar: cider, white distilled, rice wine, white wine, or red wine

Step 1:    Place the parsley, garlic, salt and pepper in a 2 quart ceramic or glass bowl.

Step 2:   Bring the vinegar to a boil. Pour the vinegar over the herbal mixture in the bowl.  Cover and let the mixture stand for two days.

Step3:    Strain the mixture and decant into a sterilized bottle. Add one to three sprigs of the herbs of your choice.   Seal the bottle with a cork or   lid. Let stand for two more weeks before using.

When I got these cute little bottles into my shop, my first idea was to use them as wedding favors/seating cards at J and my, date-as-yet-undisclosed, big day.  Wouldn't they make great little favors for a rustic wedding?


1. Peacock - Balanced Design  2. Elime Home Mimosa Collection - Fabricadabra  3. Aspire - Mod Green Pod  4. Cheeky Lime Ikat - Fabricadabra  5. Splendor - Carnegie Fabrics  6. Anemone - Oliveira Textiles  7. Cintra, Multi Rose Turqouise - Alan Campbell  8. East Village - Ruby Green

Fabrics... bright, bold, colorful, patterned, soft, textured, subtle... I love them.  What designer doesn't?  So here is the dilemma - most are really bad in terms of their environmental impact.  The other day I was at the Kravet showroom and was shown to their small selection of sustainable offerings.  While I was fawning over their other fabric lines, (especially  the Echodesign line, note: Echo, not Eco, there is nothing sustainable about the line)... the fabrics I was shown made from recycled plastic were sorely lacking in terms of their "wow factor".  That experience inspired this list of the best fabrics in the industry, best in terms of their sustainability (meaning leaving the least impact throughout their lifespan from creation, through their long life, to their usable life's end) and best in terms of  "love it".

Carnegie Fabrics - a leader in the development of sustainable fabrics.  Carnegie has many fabrics that meet the highest sustainable certifications, including many that are Silver Cradle to Cradle certified.  While some of their sustainable fabrics are still missing the "wow factor", we found many great options.  Must be purchased through a design professional.

Balanced Design - fabrics are linen, hemp, and organic cotton.  The products are manufactured in a US textile mill and the designs are hand printed using water-based inks.

Fabricadabra - organic cotton and vintage fabrics, some in great brightly colored ikat patterns.  In addition to the ikats, the Elime Home line debuts November 2010 and has very hip bold patterns in two color collections.  It is 100% certified organic cotton low impact fiber reactive dyes with no chemical after treatments.

Quadrille - if you can't find a pattern you like in an organic fabric or a synthetic made from recycled content, linen is your next best option.  Made from the flax plant, it requires less pesticides than cotton.  Quadrille, along with the other lines they represent, Alan Campbell, China Seas, and Home Couture, have tons of "love it" fabrics in 100% linen.

Ruby Green - classic designs using only 100% organic cotton .  The designer of this  fabric line is Michelle Adams formerly of Domino Magazine and currently working for their new online magazine Lonny.  She researched every part of the textile manufacturing business to come up with an extremely sustainable selection of 100% certified cotton fabrics that are whitened with peroxide not bleach and are printed with water based inks.

Oliveira - this company was begun by two sisters, Dawn Oliveira and Deborah Olson, who came together to push the textile industry forward in sustainability.  Their collection is inspired by the sea with a three different motifs ranging from delicate renderings of shells to bold wave patterns, all printed on hemp and organic cotton.  Their fabrics adhere to the highest environmental standards and are third party certified.  The collection is hand silk screened by artisans in New England with waterbased, pigment dyes that are free of heavy metals.

Mod Green Pod - the creators of fabrics and wallpapers with brilliant colors and creative "love it" modern designs.  Their fabrics are printed on 100% certified organic cotton cloth upholstery that is grown, woven, and printed in the United States.  The rich saturated colors are achieved using non-toxic, low-impact printing pigments and dyes.

Parmesan Popcorn

The festivities are over...  the champagne popped, the tree ornaments packed away till next year.  After all that hustling, a little down time is in order.  On these cold winter nights, in my mind, nothing is better than to curl up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine and read a good book or watch a movie.  I want to share with you my favorite popcorn recipe.

It is not only easy and delicious, but it's a healthy twist for all of us whose New Year's resolutions include shedding a few pounds.  I know your probably a bit skeptical... and I too consider myself a popcorn purist (I do love the buttery goodness)... but I swear this has so much great flavor you won't miss it.

For those of you who may want the numbers: 1/3 cup of Parmigiano-Reggianno is 110 calories and has 8 grams of fat, compared to 303 calories and 34.6 grams of fat in just 3 tablespoons of butter.  Can't wait to curl up with The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, am I the only who hasn't read this yet?


With the New Year approaching, my next project is sprucing up a small entryway.  Doorways... closing on one space and opening into another... hello 2011 and a fresh new entry out into you!

The door of this entry is slightly more than the hollowcore interior door and the door knob is a cheap 80's throw back.  The first step is going to have to be a good coat of paint.  If it was a more traditional space raised panels would give the door more visual interest, but since this is a clean modern apartment... paint will do.

As design enthusiast we know, it's all in the details when it comes to designing a great space, so obviously that door knob has to go.  I think I'll have to go with something simple, so that the exterior blends with the other apartments, but I found some great door knobs (mostly interior) that you might be interested in for your next project.

Aren't these knobs so romantic?  They are both from Graham and Green.

This elegant design glass door knob is made by Out of the Blue Design.  They do custom work too!

This hammered metal door knob and the red swirl knob are both from Hardware Hut.

Sadly, nothing I saw out there has any recycled content yet, but I'm at least going to take my old ones to the reuse center near me and there are some beautiful antique ones out there like this if you are going vintage.

Via Apartment Therapy

Next, I need a small space solution to our shoes in the entry.  There is only about 1' between the door frame and the wall.  So I'm thinking of using a solution that holds the shoes vertically like this.

A Holiday Wreath from Old Books

via Living with Lindsay

Here's a fun little holiday project and a brilliant reuse idea to boot.  Give your old books new life by making one of these elegant wreaths.   Hmm...  if I can just get my James to part with some of the books stowed away in the back of our closet...

Simple Joys Paperie via Bohemian Vintage

With an adult in charge of the glue gun, it could also be a great craft to do with some little ones who could help roll the paper.  I first came across the how-to for this project at Living with Lindsay so click here for her great instructions.  She even has a video.  There are lots of variations, so I've included a few for inspiration.

Beauties like this are the work of Haru and used to be available on Etsy.  Sadly no longer.

via Design Sponge

via Living with Lindsay

I've also seen some great versions using used wrapping paper.  Old fabric samples might work too.  If you have a wreath idea or project made from upcycling something else, I would love to hear about it.