Posted by: rachelbarnes | August 29, 2008

stovetop cappuccino & green party ideas…

I have to give a big shout out to saltandchocolate for her lovely stovetop espresso tutorial:

My husband and I recently had our espresso maker die (it was only a year and a half old).  We are pretty passionate about coffee, tea, and cappuccino.  We wanted to explore what our options were to replace it.  Salt and Chocolate’s idea was brilliant and inspiring to us, so we decided to use a stove top unit instead of an all inclusive unit.  We found a stove top espresso maker at TJ Maxx for $15!!  We like this system much better then our previous JC Penny Cooks brand, all in one cappuccino/coffee machine.  Below are pictures of our little espresso maker and a yummy cup of white chocolate cappuccino.


I’d also recommend the following Starbuck’s espresso kit to use with the stove top espresso system.  It’s came in handy to measure espresso shots and measure the temperature of the milk as we heat it in the microwave (prior to frothing).

I’ve made multiple trips to the library (as you can see)


for gift giving ideas.  I have additional ideas to share from Danny Seo’s Simple Green Parties book:

This first idea reuses wine corks for place card holders.  Maybe for parties or to use with a bit of paper with a favorite quote for desk decor.


This next idea uses cucumber, apple or sprigs of mint to flavor water.  A healthy alternative to artificially flavored water.  Danny suggests after placing the food items into the water, chill the bottle for at least an hour to allow the flavors to infuse.  I’ve found it also helps if you’re infusing herbs to bruise the leafs to allow the natural oils to release more quickly into the liquid.

This next idea uses glow-in-the-dark paint with simple landscaping rocks.  You can place the rocks along a trail to your house to light the way.  The rocks “recharge” their glow with the natural sunlight during the day and will then glow at night.

Soap curls, a simple vegetable peeler with glycerin soap to fill in a decorative bowl on your bathroom sink and set out for parties.  The soap curls provide enough soap for an individual hand washing, and it’s less germs then a communal bar of soap.  I think I’ll try this one at home sometime and not wait until we have a party. 


I thought this idea was neat, more so because you can actually paint porcelain!!  Who knew (not me)?  A great way to recycle your old dishes or to re-gift a thrift store dish.  In this pic, the cow is made into a “sticker” to mask the brown paint for a white cow outline.


I liked this last idea for the upcoming winter.  We have laminate wood floors and they do get quite cold in winter.  What a cozy way to share warm feet with other guests.  Have a cozy morning!



  1. Now I feel I must get this book. Such cool ideas. I love the flavored waters. And I can’t get over the socks. I would flip if i went to someone’s house and they had socks out for me.

  2. LOVE the sock idea! Since we have laminate upstairs in the bedrooms, this is a GREAT idea for when we have guests!

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