A Party to Support The Nature Conservancy

There’s nothing like Nantucket in August:  blue skies, soft breezes and the smell of salt in the air.  I was thrilled to be asked to sponsor a festive outdoor cocktail party to support the good work of one of my favorite charities, The Nature Conservancy.With renovations at our fisherman’s cottage on Madaket complete, Frank and I welcomed 60 environmentally-minded guests to our home on Thursday, August 25th .

My interior design firm, Dujardin Design Associates, Inc.,  pulled out all the stops to make it an evening to remember, bringing island caterer Simply with Style on board to serve delicious hors d’ouevres and fanciful desserts, and island favorite Spanky’s Raw Bar to add the proper sea-faring touch with a selection of chilled oysters and clams.

Mike from Spanky’s Bar with Chris McGuire, Massachusetts Marine Director for The Nature Conservancy.

William and Laura Buck with Trudy Dujardin

Gerry Schneider and Grace Hinkley

Trudy Dujardin with husband Frank Fasanella

Tracey Marshall, Bill Marshall, Nina Duchaine, Trudy Dujardin

Chris McGuire, Lynne Hale, Wayne Klockner, Trudy Dujardin

The Nature Conservancy works to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities of the earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive, in order to leave a sustainable world for future generations.  More information is available at www.nature.org.

Best Wedding Flowers are Chemical-Free

I have a favorite source for healthy, chemical-free blossoms: Organic Bouquet. I’ve written about this company before, because many people do not realize that most hot house flowers are grown in greenhouses filled with pesticides. On your wedding day, you don’t want the blossoms in your bridal bouquet drenched in toxic chemicals.

You can find beautiful bridal arrangements at organicbouquet.com, such as roses in pink, white or soft lavender, gerbera daisies, iris, lilies or sunflowers. All of their flowers, from select farms in California, Ecuador and Columbia, meet stringent requirements for environmental safety, monitored by multiple certification agencies and associations.

Their eco-friendly flower arrangements also include calla lilies, tulips, hyacinths and alstromeria lilies, and are shipped nationwide to all 50 states. They also offer a selection of organic wines. All of their shipping boxes are made from recycled and recyclable materials, and boxes, inserts and gift cards are printed on recycled or recyclable materials using soy-based ink.

What a wonderful way to celebrate the beginning of a new life, by respecting the life of everything on earth!

Visit them at www.organicbouquet.com.

Organic Bouquet

When our thoughts turn to love, we often turn to flowers.  Long established as a romantic gesture, there is nothing like a dozen roses to melt the heart of your loved one.  Many people do not realize, however, that hothouse flowers are grown in greenhouses filled with pesticides, and the blossoms you hold to your face have been repeatedly treated with toxic chemicals.

There is a wonderful company determined to change the way we grow and buy flowers, however.  Organic Bouquet is the largest online provider of organic floral arrangements and gifts.  All of their flowers, from select farms in California, Ecuador and Columbia, meet stringent standards for environmental safety, monitored by multiple certification agencies and associations.

Their eco-friendly flower arrangements include roses, calla lilies, tulips, gerbera daisies, hyacinths, sunflowers, alstromeria lilies and blue iris, and are shipped nationwide to all 50 states.

CEO Robert McLaughlin has created a company that positively affects the environment, the floral industry, and the people on the farms of California, and South and Central America.  They make choices every day to support responsible commerce, environmental stewardship and the health of the people who work for them.

“Sustainability is a slippery word, one that has a different meaning for different groups,” says Mr. McLaughlin.  “Being sustainable is not just about our company, it’s about our partners, our industry associates and our customers.”

“All plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables and livestock were grown or raised for thousands of years organically.  Only in the last 100 years have we discovered synthetic chemicals and begun to overuse them,” he continues.  “As we’ve destroyed millions of acres and polluted millions more, this phasing out of synthetic chemicals and returning to natural methods prove that synthetic chemicals have been a brief but damaging fad that hopefully will never be repeated.”

Good things to know about Organic Bouquet:

  • The company partners with Carbonfund.org in a carbon offset program to mitigate greenhouse gases generated from shipping your flowers and gifts.  Each time you make a purchase from Organic Bouquet, the amount of carbon emissions  from that shipment is offset by rolling funds into the Nicaragua Reforestation Project—a project which will sequester more than 150,000 tons of CO2 through reforesting abandoned pasture land with native tree species.
  • Shipping boxes are made from recycled and recyclable materials.
  • Boxes are printed with water based ink, which is naturally non-toxic and low in VOCs.
  • All of their inserts and gift cards are printed on recycled or recyclable materials using soy-based ink.
  • Their glass vases are made from 100% recycled glass.

If all of that isn’t enough to convince you, consider this:

The company’s flower farms employ 60% women, all from the surrounding villages.  These jobs empower women, help bring the family out of poverty, and improve the lives of their children.  Each certified farm has medical facilities on site, day care for workers, health education, above minimum wages, and teaches a trade.

For more information and to order your Valentine’s Day flowers, visit them at: www.OrganicBouquet.com

Our Russian Christmas Fantasy

Our Russian Christmas Fantasy

Once again, the end of November found the team at Dujardin Design Associates in full decorating mode at the Nantucket Whaling Museum. This year, we created a Russian Christmas Fantasy display for the Nantucket Historical Association’s 17th Annual Festival of Trees.

Inspired by my Russian heritage, the tree is a splendor in red and gold, with red glass balls, golden ribbons and over 50 handmade Russian ornaments. There are Russian Cossacks, snowflakes, Faberge eggs and matryoshka dolls (the traditional nesting dolls), all delicately hand painted in festive fashion.

We created the illusion of snow covered branches by wrapping the tree in hundreds of little white lights, and tucking fresh baby’s breath into the boughs. A silk tree skirt embroidered in red glass beads in a snowflake design is a work of art in itself, crafted for us by the same people who did the Christmas tree skirts for the White House.

A Nod to Antiquity Required Special Handling:

The museum is home to rare artifacts and aged documents such as original ships’ whaling logs, so the ornaments, although they appear to be cookies, are not made with any edible products. Likewise, the fabulous faux “gingerbread” cathedral, depicting St. Basil’s in Moscow, is a meticulously molded and painted replica.

St. Basil’s Gingerbread Cathedral

Accompanies the Tree:

Standing next to the tree on a red plaid skirted table is a replica of the famous St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. Approximately two feet wide and three feet high, its creation required over 200 man hours by the skilled craftspeople at Colette’s Cakes of New York.

St. Basil’s was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in 1555. The building’s shape was designed to mimic the flame of a bonfire rising into the sky. Its full name is the Cathedral of Intercession of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat, Temple of Basil the Blessed, but it has been referred to as St. Basil’s for centuries. It comprises nine individual chapels, each topped with a unique onion dome.

The Story of BabushkaIf you would like a copy of this delightful Russian Christmas Legend please send us your contact information.Seven Simple Steps for a Sustainable Holiday Season

  • A gift is a thoughtful gesture and the same sentiment can be shown in sustainable ways. Consider exchanging time instead of gifts with the elderly or lonely during the holiday season, or making a sustainable donation to a local charity with the money you save. Put your money to work helping others and the planet with a “life-changing gift”, such as Heifer International, www.heifer.org or ChildFund International, www.childfund.org.
  • Be socially conscious with gifts that promote fair trade.
  • Use energy efficient LED holiday lights to add sparkle. (Install a timer!)
  • Give locally made products, help reduce the impact of transportation.
  • Purchase greeting cards printed on recycled materials with vegetable based non-toxic inks, or send email greetings.
  • Give gifts such as gift certificates or theater tickets – they don’t require a lot of gift wrapping. Avoid wrapping with glossy or metallic paper. Colorful fabric or reusable gift bags are an environmentally friendly alternative.
  • Choose toys that do not require batteries. Instead choose gifts that stimulate a child’s imagination without impacting the environment.

For more on sustainable ideas for your home, visit our website at www.dujardindesign.com.