Thursday, January 15, 2009

Plain Janes

I can't remember now how I first happened upon the Plain Janes website. I am sure it was after I decided to start changing the small things in my life to become a greener Me, but I don't remember when or where I was. I do know that as soon as I came across the website, Plain Janes became an instant and permanent addition to my "Get Green" links.

I am so excited and proud to announce that now, I am not just a fan from a distance, but I am also a qualified, bon-a-fide, for-real-fan. (i.e. I bought the stuff!) It was a semi-birthday, semi-Chrismas present to Me, from Me, that I had to talk myself into buying about three times before I finally placed the order. It was a big decision for me because I didn't just want the shower spray. Or the glass cleaner. Or the plush micro fiber rags and mop heads. No. I wanted it all.

What's the saying? If you're gonna go, go big?

So I ordered the large starter kit. AND The Tool, which is like a swiffer mop (used for wet and dry mopping) but oh so much better.

And. It all arrived in the mail today! Marta, at Plain Janes, even added in some extra goodies for me to try (like smell good sachets for your linen drawers) as there was a mix up at the Post Office and the packages went back to her to be sent again. (I am convinced our mail man just didn't want to deliver them in the snow... see my post below!)

Ironically, in the weird twist of fate that is life, my husband cleaned the whole house today. So when I got home later, it was sparkling and clean, and my Plain Jane packages were sitting there waiting to be opened and begging to be used!

So I did. I couldn't resist. My husband was sweet enough to leave me some bathroom "surface" cleaning, and I went to town with my new Glass and Mirror Spray and new Glass and Mirror Microfiber Cloths. All I have to say is: AMAZING.

First of all, all of the products smell fantastic. It's almost aromatherapy. It's almost edible. It is so much better than trying not to breathe and choking back the fumes of the other toxic brands. Secondly, I have used everything under the sun to try to clean the beautiful glass doors in our downstairs shower. They are actually doors that when I first laid my eyes upon them (with my realtor) I thought to myself, "Hello, Trouble." I have used foaming spray, glass cleaner, mildew remover, squeegees, shammies, and finally, an every day after shower spray. The shower spray does help, but only after I scrub and scrub and scrub with one of the other foul-smelling-ruin-my-clothes products.

The Plain Janes spray (mmm lime) and microfiber cloth were just that. Spray. Wipe. Sparkle. Done. Yeah! I was so impressed that I proceeded to clean all of the mirrors in my house, some so old and grimy I never thought I'd see myself clearly in them again. Plain Janes worked on them all.

So. I am sold. Hook, line, and good for the Earth sinker. I am especially excited about the good for ME part. It's OK to be selfish every once in a while.

Dining Room Diner

In our big "remodel" push that started a few weeks ago, we went ahead and bought a gallon of paint for our gray dining room. In our last house, all the rooms were yellows and golds and warm tans (or red) and it was small and cozy and very home-y like. While this new house is in every way a vast improvement from our last, we hadn't really done much (color wise) to make it feel all warm and cozy. So we painted. The dining room is now a beautiful warm yellow. It's amazing how quickly the feel of a room can change with just a can of paint! And it's also ridiculous how long it took me to decide on yellow since yellow is THE color to match everything in that room. Dishes, curtains, pictures, etc.

We once again used the Home Depot Fresh Aire (bought at the same time as the kitchen paint) and I now have this to add to my previous glowing review: This paint must be used over primer. I know any professional painter will tell you-- of course you use primer first! But we had really convinced ourselves that because the walls were light (light gray) and the paint had gone on so easily in the kitchen (over primer!) that we would not NEED primer. So we didn't prime, and it was a nightmare. It seriously took us three coats of paint-- which meant we had to go back to Home Depot and buy another gallon of paint-- of which we used the whole thing. (And this is not cheap paint.) So. While I still hold to my original comment, "Wow-- what great non toxic non stinky paint," I will also add, "MUST PRIME."

Now that we are done... the dining room is wonderful. It reminds me of some romantic little bistro, or even the basement wine cellar in Cortona where we would eat our Wednesday night brick oven pizzas... almost. Without the rows and rows of wine. Or the brick oven pizza. But you get where I am going.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Winter Cometh

The first big snow storm of the season comes to Ohio. Sigh.. with it still forecasted to snow the rest of the week. I was really ok with the cold, and the snow on and off, and the big piles of snow are pretty... but TERRIBLE to drive in.

I think I can...

So fresh and so clean! The kitchen, almost done. All we need now are the shelves (for the empty wall) and a new floor rug. Anyone know where I can find one to match my new curtains?

Monday, January 5, 2009


That's almost all I have to say. Just... "Kitchen!!" Once it got started, we got excited, and away the whole thing went!

The new wall was finished today. The antique cupboard got a new, fresh, bright white coat of paint, all new pull handles, and a new magnetic clasp / closing device to keep the door shut. (We feel so fancy.) And. We bought paint.

We had a gift card to Home Depot to spend and inquired at the paint counter about the new "Low VOC" paints everyone is talking about. What a sweetie Mr. Paint Man was. "They are all low VOC, but if you are really interested in that sort of thing, we sell some stuff now that is NO VOC." Exactly.

So here's my review of Home Depot's Fresh Aire.

Colors that will take your breath away. Paint that won't.

The Freshaire Choice™ Paint contains no volatile organic compounds — commonly known as VOCs — harmful chemicals that contribute to poor air quality. Although other paints may claim to have no VOCs, what they don't tell you is that these chemicals are put back into the paint once the color is added.

Our paint leads the industry with an innovative, eco-friendly solution that contains no VOCs in the colorant — the exclusive, pre-measured ColorFresh™ delivery system.

Now you can choose from 65 gorgeous colors and feel better knowing that the cleaner air inside your home is good for your family because our paint is certified by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI), a well-respected industry-independent, non-profit organization that provides verification for low-emitting products.

Fresh Aire delivers rich, true shades that apply flawlessly, dry fast and wash up beautifully.

Now you can tackle indoor painting projects all year round and enjoy freshly painted rooms immediately without sacrificing the air inside your home and the safety of your family — because clearing the air shouldn't mean compromising.

It's almost twice as expensive as the other stuff, but it comes in beautiful, stunning colors-- all "earth inspired." At first I didn't think I was going to be able to find the bright aqua and yellows that I had picked out on the Glidden wall, but they were there. Sure enough. Also, the color comes in a powder, which comes in a plastic bag, which comes in a foil pouch. You pick out your powder, the base paint can (which is made of a recyclable plastic and is recyclable, the label is printed with soy ink on 75% PCW paper, and the chips and brochures are all made from recycled paper and can be recycled) and the Mr. Paint Man takes the powder out of the foil, and tosses the whole thing, plastic bag and all, into the base and mixes it all up.

And now, after having used it, I am seriously impressed. Seriously. Low odor, no toxicity, MUCH easier to clean up, and if you opps and get it on the ceiling or floor, it comes right up with water. And. It's gorgeous on the wall. Did I say I was impressed? It also dries extremely fast.

Back to the kitchen. So the wall was finished today, so we primed, and painted the trim and the first coat tonight. Hopefully, tomorrow I will have pictures of the new, finished kitchen, sans curtains, which I have still not decided on.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Here are just a couple of photo updates of the ongoing work being done in the house. The wall in the kitchen is almost done...

And the wall(s) in the studio are no where near being done but are coming along nicely. I forgot to mention my fabulous experience at Home Depot recently that occurred when I went to buy my spackling supplies. I had about five different men stop and ask me if I needed help-- none of which worked at the store, and one of whom proceeded to yell at me because I wasn't doing it right, "didn't know what I was doing," and decided in the end not to do it his way at all. Needless to say I was a little ruffled and have decided not to do my hardware store shopping in the middle of the day (with the professionals) and will stick to my usual evening strolls. At least for the time being.