The look and layout are tres' Stewart (the book's photographer has done work for M.S. Living and Better Homes and Gardens), with the same breezy aesthetic that makes you want to tidy up the kitchen and place bud vases in the bathroom. Flipping through the pages is like taking an afternoon nap, a tiny indulgence that brings about a sense of calm and pleasant living but also the slightest twinge of guilt. Martha fans, you know that twinge, the one that makes you think: "Why can't I get off my ass and make a seasonal centerpiece out of fresh fruit and bottled pepper berries?"But this is where Danny diverges from you-know-who, because unlike the complex projects in Living, for the most part Simply Green Parties projects seem quite doable, even for not-especially-crafty folk like myself. For one thing, as an eco-guide the book is refreshingly devoid of items like glue guns and acrylic paints. Projects instead use common things that are likely found in most homes (with the exception of the outstanding array of hole-puncher sizes called for in the book).
Here are a few of my favorite projects from Simply Green Parties…
Scented Paper Flowers -
Danny shows you how to create a pretty basket of paper flowers made from the scent strips in perfume advertisements from magazines. They are colorful and very potent. This would be a fun project for teenagers - they always have scads of these magazines around.
Stone Place Cards -
Collect pretty smooth stones to use as place cards. Write the name of your guests on the stone for the event then rinse off and return them outside.
Hanging Solar Lanterns -
In this tip Danny gives good advice for finding good quality solar lights and suggests clever ways to hang them as outdoor decorations.
Seven Tips to Turn any Caterer Organic -
In addition to being one of the most useful of the ideas in Simply Green Parties, it is also the one in which Danny's talent really shines through. His gentle yet persuasive style is likely the key to this green-star's success. Unlike Martha, Danny makes you feel as though he is welcoming you into a kinder, gentler world where you really can make a difference and have fun while you're at it. Martha Stewart dangles the fantasy of domestic wizardry in front of you and seems to say "wouldn't it be cool if you could do this?" but D. Seo invites you to use creativity and pleasure to help save the planet - a message all TreeHuggers can appreciate.
In sum, Simply Green Parties is a delightful book and would make a sweet gift to a "teetering on the edge of green" friend or family member. The tone is fun and friendly and the ideas are unique. Danny's genuine commitment to conservation is evident throughout the book. Hopefully one day he will come completely into his own and we will see more of Danny and less of Martha. Available at Amazon.
Cheers to Simply Green Parties.