“…A less is more approach to design, smaller spaces, more intimate.”

– in response to what trends they see in interior design today. James and Kricken own Vanillawood, a small design/build firm in Portland, Oregon.

photo source here

Happy Mother’s Day to All the Moms out there!

My gift is a long, leisurely bike ride all by myself (no children allowed!), then an afternoon of prepping and planting our veggie and flower beds, with the kid’s help. On Earth Day we planted seeds in a recycled window “hothouse” and now the seedlings are ready to be planted. (You don’t see the window in the photograph above, it’s been lifted off so we can start transplanting. With the window covering the seeds we were able to start planting with frost on the ground!)

…and everyone is cooking lunch and dinner for me too! I am one happy Mom!





This is an an amazing home, but what really strikes me is the lush beauty of the grass driveway.

It not only looks amazing, but a green driveway like this helps keeps temperatures down in summer (think cool grass, not hot asphalt) and improves water quality as water can seep and filter through the soil into the water table, instead of running off asphalt into storm sewers.

Usually a special type of interlocking paver is used to create a driveway like this to support the weight of cars, I wonder what was used here?

This home is the Arc House in East Hampton, New York by the talented architect Maziar Behrooz. See more of the home here.


p.s. When we lived in the city of Albany, the city home we used to own was built in the 1930’s and originally had a what I’d call a “grass” driveway – just two thin concrete strips that had grass growing between them! Of course, someone paved the whole driveway long before we bought the place, but one house in the old neighborhood still kept the original concrete strips.

Program to plant Native Trees in the United States. This is a new foundation to plant native trees, the EcoHappy Native Tree Program.

May 09

100 Trees!

Yesterday was a big day – from 4pm to 6pm we gave away 100 white flowering dogwood trees in our community to launch the EcoHappy Native Tree Project! Thank you to everyone who came out and picked up their tree.

I’m keeping this post short because I am really, really tired! Most of the time it was pouring rain – luckily we had a canopy up, but I still got wet! More pics to follow!



“You can be really good to yourself – have a beautiful home, a stylish wardrobe. eat great food – and still care about the planet”

Danny Seo, from the book Conscious Style Home: Eco-Friendly Living For the 21st Century

photo source here

Last week, on my mother’s birthday, I ordered 100 White Flowering Dogwood bareroot trees to launch the EcoHappy Native Tree Project!

Have you ever had a dream you could make a small difference in the world? I think everyone dreams of what they can contribute and I’ve always knew my vision would involve trees.

I’ve always been intrigued by trees – my college choices for a major were Architecture or Biology. Architecture won. But I know if I had gone the biology route, I would have avoided the messy animal dissections and jumped into green vastness of botany.

My mother passed me her enthusiasm for trees. She was a girl scout leader, and I was in her troop.  I can clearly remember the backyard scout meeting held at her co-leader’s home where we tramped into the adjoining fields and ended up in the backyard, identifying trees with a book as we went.

I’ve always tried to keep a basic knowledge of trees in my head. I can tell a black willow from a weeping willow from the tree’s silhouette when passing a in a car, and can tell you how old a shagbark hickory has to be before it’s bark gets that signature “shag.”

As I wait for my barefoot dogwood seedlings to arrive (shipping May 1!), I’m working on my putting into writing the goals for the Ecohappy Native Tree Project. I hope 100 trees will be the start of something good!



My blogging break is (finally!) over and here’s the new EcoHappy Blog – in it’s new home, my new website www.EcoHappy Style.com. I miss blogging and am glad to be back!

All my APPLESandRUBIES blog posts are now here, and the new focus of my new EcoHappy Blog is Fabulous Green Design and Smart Earth-Friendly Living. Have you ever felt like you have arrived “home,” a place where you immediately feel perfectly comfortable? That’s how I feel with this new blog. I feel this is the writing I want to do and am really excited!

So, this is my “soft launch” of www.EcoHappyStyle.com, I just couldn’t wait for all the web pages to be finished before I started blogging again. So I hope you enjoy the new website, even with all the “under construction” signs. Please send your suggestions and comments – and when the EcoHappyStyle.com website is all built I’m having a big Welcome Celebration!


{Mythic Classic Interior Latex Non-Toxic Paint}

I bought Mythic NonToxic Paint to paint my new windowseat addition and living/dining room. I was happy to find Mythic will color match any paint company’s colors!

So here’s one of my cans of paint, mixed up at Green Conscience Home in Saratoga Springs, New York. To match Benjamin Moore’s Yarmouth Blue in Mythic’s Classic Latex Eggshell Enamel it’s (B = 0,34,0 C=0,1,0 D=0,11,1)

I’m looking forward to trying this non-toxic, ultra low odor VOC-free paint.


 p.s. I choose Mythic based on this New York Times review of non-toxic paints…

We have a nice blanket of snow on the ground here in Albany, New York – and enough cold weather that the snow is sticking around. Which is good, because if it’s cold I want my snow!

{Son H and Tom}
I took the kids to out to the snowy countryside visit my Friend N and her sweet horse, Tom.
{still and quiet}

Such a pretty scene. My friend boards her horse at a beautiful farm. The day was bright, sunny and not a hint of wind – amazingly peaceful.

{Evie by the horse barn}
{All-American Barn and Blue Sky}
{Rosie and Tom}
{Evie and Tom – same hair color!}
Each kid got a chance to feed, brush and ride Tom.

{Tom loves the attention!)

What a great way to spend a sunny winter day! Do you have snow on the ground?


{Target Threshold 325 Thread Count Organic Cotton Sheet Set in Purple Floral}

I am  minimalist when it comes to sheets in the house – a simple two sets per bed. I bought new sheets for the girl’s beds two years ago at a big box store in the sale bin – they were a cute pink floral pattern and only $20 a set, BUT they were thin as tissue paper out of the packaging, and started pilling as soon as they were washed.

So how happy was I to find these organic cotton sheets on sale at my local Target?

{just the pattered sheets were on sale at the store}

… and just under twenty dollars! We have a set of these Target Threshold 325 Threadcount Organic sheets on my queen size bed in solid white and in solid grey, and they have held up very well.

Just the pattered sheets were on sale at the store – I guessed that they must be retiring those patterns to make way for new designs. Later, I searched the Target website, and here’s some new patterns I haven’t seen yet on the store shelves:

{Target Threshold 325 Thread Count Organic Cotton Sheet Set}

I actually like the simple purple floral pattern I bought better than the fussier new floral patterns.  But I do like the new grey and white check pattern. It would be perfect for a boy’s room. Son H might get a new set, soon!

{Loretta Fontaine Jewelry Sterling Silver Maria necklace with Crimson Rose}

 …and I have a WINNER! Congratulations to lucky Danica S. for winning my Valentine’s Jewelry and Chocolate Giveaway! Thank you to everyone who entered!