what do you think I'm full of?

We recently bought a new sofa, and thanks to the new Ikea down in Orlando, it was affordable.  Like any middle class American family, we put our old sofa on the front porch.  Actually, it was the carport, and it is a futon, not a sofa, but you get the point.  It started out that we put it out there because we were having a big party and needed some outdoor seating.  I made for a lovely outdoor living room (they are very in right now) and was very comfy.  So comfy that we left it there so we can sit on it, drink beer, and yell at the kids when they get too close to the street.  We had to move it to the shed due to an impending power washing of the house and concrete, but it got me thinking...can we defy nature and Florida's propensity to mildew absolutely everything left in unairconditioned space, and turn the futon into outdoor furniture?  I found a woman on craigslist.org who makes futon covers, and am looking for a good price on some outdoor fabric.  I asked our handyman what to use to keep the wood from rotting.  I remembered reading in Real Simple about painting the bottoms of your shaving cream cans with clear nail polish to keep them from rusting in the shower, and wondered if that would work on the futon's screws.  I have a small concrete pad behind the laundry room that would be the perfect spot for an outdoor living room.  We could build a roof, maybe use some roll up bamboo fencing as walls when needed, throw in a bunch of plants and two chairs.  If we wanted to get fancy, we could even install a ceiling fan!  Ah, as I always tell my husband, I am full of good ideas.  If only I had the funds to support them.


master bedroom basics for the treehugger with little cash

So these are just a few basics, in case you are ready to succumb to the green trend, but just don't know where to start...

Let's start with furniture.  The cheapest way to go green is to use what is already there, and by that I mean hunt down stuff at thrift stores and garage sales.  This could take a long time, and I know some of you are not very patient.  Ebay is another option.  I especially like the ebay store TS & Co.  The above dresser is from one of their auctions, and is currently listed at $51.00.  They are local to Gainesville, so if you find something and win, you don't have to pay for shipping, you just go pick it up.  (If you are here, that is.)  We are buying a bedroom set on craigslist, which is another great option.  I got the kids bunk beds there, as well as my bed frame, microwave, and maybe other things.   If you are really into new stuff, Ikea is a socially and environmentally responsible company, so you can sleep easy in this Hemnes bed for $299.  A pretty good price for solid wood.  I LOVE this bed.  If only I had higher ceilings.

This organic cotton sheet set from Target come in a variety of colors like baby blue and a light pink.  I chose this creamy brown because I thought it would look nice with the yellow bed.  At $29.99 for twin or $49.99 for queen, they aren't all that much more expensive than the regular cotton sheet sets loaded with pesticides.  I do believe the cotton industry is the biggest consumer of pesticides, therefore the biggest producer of pesticide-contaminated runoff, but feel free to correct me if I am wrong about that.  

Here is an organic cotton duvet cover from the Wal Marts.  For a whopping $25, you get a queen size duvet cover and shams!  What a steal.  By the way, I know that Wal Mart is frowned upon by many for its poor labor practices and cheap products, and I myself only go there on occasion, but I did recently read that Wal Mart is not only the biggest purchaser of organic cotton items ( I think of all the big stores), but it intends to reduce its solid waste output by 25%.  

Below, we have the flor Redora rug tile in Cayenne.  Flor carpet tiles are made of 80% post-consumer recycled fibers and are recyclable themselves.  They come in a variety of colors and can be arranged in many ways, patterns and shapes.  (Kinda like those stick on vinyl tiles, but way cooler.)  You just stick them to the floor, and if the kids spill/puke on them, you pull up the dirty one and wash it in the sink.  You can go to the flor website for more info.  You can buy this particular tile, and others, at CB2.  They range is price there from $6.95 each (which is what this one costs) to $13.95 each.  I have seen them other places for more, too, if you need to get fancy.

Now if only I could find an organic cotton throw pillow to tie it all together...