The turkey is barely off the table before it's time for Hanukkah this year. The 8-day Festival of Lights starts on December 20th. I had a chance to speak with Emily Anderson, author of Eco-Chic Home. The motto of her book is "Rethink, reuse, remake your way to sustainable style." Her ideas featured below are two easy crafts, sure to this year's celebration beautiful and eco-friendly!
This may not work as your official Menorah, but if you want to add some energy-free lighting to your holiday, a repainted group of candlesticks is one way to do it. All you need is a little paint to turn a random assortment of candlesticks into a dramatic set. You can remake candlesticks you already own, or go to the local thrift store and re-purpose someone else’s cast-offs. Clean the surface of each candlestick with soap and water. Prep for paint by going over the entire surface area with steel wool or sandpaper. Rinse dust and debris off completely with a little water. Once the candlestick is dry, apply a coat of primer (spray paint is the easiest) over the entire surface, starting at the top of the candlestick. When the primer is dry, spray on a coat of metallic paint. I like silver or gold metallic, for obvious reasons. For a little extra sparkle, you can also add a fine glitter finish. Simply use spray adhesive, dust the candlestick with the glitter, and shake lightly to remove the excess. Let the candlesticks dry overnight. After about a day, everything should be completely dry and you can feel free to light up.
Indirect lighting is a way to reduce our energy and add a little festive glow. Adding a bookshelf light is a nice way to brighten things up a little. You can make a very nice light by re-purposing five plastic CD-jewel cases. Cut pieces of lace fabric to put inside each case, then glue the edges together. Attach the bottom CD case as your last step. Use a small battery operated LED light to get the glow. Make a bunch of these and place around a room—you’ll have the perfect décor to celebrate the Festival of Lights.
Also, if you're looking for fun ways to help busy families celebrate, check out the Hanukkah Kit at Jewish Holidays In a Box.
Emily Anderson has published three green living books, and is an industry recognized lifestyle and eco-living expert. She left her corporate life to write her first book, Eco Chic Weddings, which was published in 2007 by Random House. Emily then wrote a green home book for Popular Mechanics (Hearst Publishing), and in May 2010, Emily’s book Eco Chic Home was published by Skipstone Publishing. A unique take on green living has given Emily the opportunity to have her work featured in national and international newspapers and magazines, including Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, Canadian Living, Martha Stewart, and more. Emily has also been a frequent guest on television and radio shows such as NBC’s Today Show, CBS’ The Early Show, Martha Stewart Radio, and NPR. In addition to her career, Anderson is also a full-time mother to two children. She and her husband David Natt make their home in New York City.