It’s Easy Being Green

Recyclable, Reusable, Deliciously Edible and Sustainable – the Fancifull Motto

Taking care of this planet, and thus our future on it, has become a topic of much discussion.
The discussion is great, but what can each of us do to make this home of ours habitable for generations to come?
It is surprisingly easy how each of us can incorporate practices into our daily life that can effect change. At Fancifull we are designing more and more with the viewpoint of Recyclable, Reusable and Sustainable.
Below are some items we have found, and are using, that are fun to use and cut down on the waste, toxins, and use of petroleum.

Totes: They have become a great fashion accessory these days. Available in a variety of colors and shapes and you can make quite a statement carrying them – both fashion and ecology wise. My daughter and I have great fun sending each other different bags to lug our groceries home. I also use them at my shop when I have a lot to bring home, to take my cleaning to my organic dry cleaner and to bring my lunch to work. I just keep them in my car so they are always handy. I am even getting better about remembering to take them into the store!

We found a terrific line called Envirosax. They are lightweight and roll up small enough to fit in the palm of your hand with a snap to keep them rolled. You can throw them in your glove compartment, your purse, even a suitcase so you can keep them handy. We even have a five pack that comes in a pouch so you will never be without a satchel, yet the whole pouch can fit in under your seat (or in your glove compartment, unless it is jammed full like mine is).
Envirosax pocket totes
Why this is important: The plastic bags used at grocery stores are coming under a lot of scrutiny. They are toxic to make, put harmful emissions in the air, and add to the overwhelmingly full landfills. Many cities are considering banning them. Get a jump-start and use your own bags. I love mine. I would never consider going back to store bags. No bag folding or wondering what to do with all those plastic bags.

Stainless Steel Water Bottles: There are many reasons to switch to reusable stainless water bottles. Plastic has been proven to leach chemicals into the water and repeated use can create bacteria, which stainless doesn’t do. We found stainless steel bottles that are practical and good looking – a nice combination. They can be imprinted with a company name so make an original gift that will be used for years to come.

Why this is important: The manufacture of plastic bottles is painful to the environment-fumes and waste from making all that plastic- as well as a petroleum hog.
Estimates for the oil consumed to make the plastic water bottles, just for America alone, is between 15-17 million barrels a year. “It would be like filling up a quarter of every (water) bottle with oil,” says Peter Gleik, a water policy expert and director at the Oakland, Calif.-based Pacific Institute, which studies “real life solutions to water crises.” The water bottle industry uses 1.5 million tons of plastic. Truly disturbing is that 77% of those bottles are not recycled and so wind up in overcrowded landfills.

You may still need to pick up a bottle of water here and there, but if you can start refilling a stainless steel bottle, especially for the gym, on your desk or at home, it will contribute to a cleaner environment for all. If everyone began using the two items above, think about the effect it would have on the planet. All that oil saved, all those fumes not being emitted, all that plastic not going into landfills.
It all helps.

I haven’t even mentioned how much money you can save. A stainless steel bottle costs about $10. Consider what you pay for water – both monetarily and environmentally. We have a water purifying system in our shop and home. These systems are very inexpensive, produce great tasting water, eliminate the need for water delivery (all those bottles have to make it to the store somehow) and make the use of our stainless steel water bottles very practical.

Bamboo: We are using bamboo trays as the container for gifts. This abundant plant is sustainable, grows free from pesticides and can even be made into cloth that is hypo allergenic – good for baby clothes. Speaking of which, in addition to trays we will have baby blankets and clothes out of this wonder fiber.

Why this is important: The following is information from Totally Bamboo, the company that supplies us with our bamboo trays.

Bamboo is actually a grass that grows to a harvestable height of 60 feet in about three to five years, growing as much as two feet per day. It has an extensive root system that continually sends up new shoots, naturally replenishing itself. It does not require replanting, making it one of the most renewable resources known. The species we use, “Moso” timber bamboo is not a food source, or a habitat, for the Giant Panda.
Office Oasis
Bamboo holds the promise of a sustainable, cost effective and ecologically responsible alternative to the widespread clear cutting of our world’s precious timberland.
The Color of Bamboo: Our bamboo comes in two colors, light, which is the natural color of the bamboo and dark, which is a honey color. The dark color is achieved by steaming the bamboo, bringing out the natural sugars, and caramelizing it. This color is permanent and will not fade or wash out.

Fabrik Magazine Launch Party

Fabrik Magazine
All of us here at Fancifull are very proud to be sponsoring the launch of an exciting new magazine, Fabrik. The party happens Wed, March 26th at Skylark Gallery, 8576 Melrose (1 block east of the Design Center), beginning at 8 pm. We will be there pouring the wine and providing noshes.

This is very exciting for us because Los Angeles needs a magazine like Fabrik. It focuses on the many ways art is created in Los Angeles. “Fabrik magazine aims to discover the underlying structure of art, design and fashion being uniquely cultivated in the diverse districts that comprise Los Angeles“ explains publisher Chris Davies. The content of the magazine will focus on profiles of artists, curators, galleries, interior designers, and cutting-edge fashion designers. Fabrik also features hundreds of gallery listings, art walks, events and artist showcases.

Anything that celebrates living with and making art daily is a project we have to endorse whole-heartedly. Come join us tonight and welcome this bright bit of energy hitting Los Angeles. As Davies writes in Fabrik, “By connecting us to the art and design landscape of Los Angeles, Fabrik fashions an even more abundant city.” If you want to pick up a copy of the magazine you can contact us here at Fancifull (323-466-7654), or pick it up at Skylark Gallery.

Kahlua Coffee Toffee Trifle

This is the recipe that started my love of trifles. It came from a woman who was a
customer of mine when I worked temporarily at the May Company on Wilshire (yes, I am dating myself) up in their coffee shop. Wow, that was a long time ago. This lovely woman, Phyllis Kitay, gave me this recipe on a napkin. I still have that napkin. Over 20 years later it sits in my recipe folder just as Phyllis gave it to me. It feels good to get it in some form that is a bit safer.


1 1-lb angel food cake, or you can use pound cake and I have made it with fresh chocolate cake – a great variation!
1 5.5 oz instant vanilla pudding mix made with half and half (I usually make my own pudding or patissiere cream, I prefer it to the packaged, but the packaged works fine if you are in a hurry)
3/4 C Kahlua
2 C Whipping Cream
2 tsp Instant Coffee
Crushed English Toffee (I have also used Heath bars and such)

Cut the cake into cubes and pour the Kahlua over evenly
Make up the pudding or cream and mix it gently with the cake

In another bowl pour in the 2 cups whipping cream and the instant coffee. This is left unsweetened because you have the sugar from the toffee and the pudding and Kahlua.
Let stand 5 minutes then whip the cream.

In a glass bowl layer the cake mixture, whipped cream, crushed English Toffee and repeat finishing with the toffee.
It is truly amazing.

Green Gifting

Reusable, recyclable, deliciously edible. That has been our mantra at Fancifull for years now, especially the edible part. But we are more focused now on how we can have a bigger impact on the planet by having a smaller one as far as where we get our products, how they are manufactured and what we do with them once we have consumed them.

The result is a better selection of organic foods and wines (all delicious – we promise), searching out more locally grown products and those farmers who take care of the land rather than abuse it, more fair trade products, interesting reusable containers including wood bowls, bamboo trays, and great totes to use for shopping. Look for an extended gift section of stainless water bottles, good looking totes, plant seeds that come in self-contained planters, plantation grown wood bowls, trays and containers from sustainable materials like bamboo and more. We are having fun exploring our options. Your suggestions are welcome!

For years we have been using a packing material called eco-pak or sizzlepak instead of the shredded wood stuffing (excelsior) commonly found in gift baskets. Eco-pak is made from recycled paper and is 100% recyclable and biodegradable. It costs more, but it’s worth it. We also recycle all of the cardboard cartons that our merchandise arrives in.

Even in the delivery of our products we are “carpooling” more. We can cut down on fuel consumption by allowing our gifts to carpool with other packages on a FedEx truck rather than driving by themselves across town. Of course we still do local deliveries, especially for fresh items. The more we can deliver together, the fewer emissions per gift.

This is just an example how we are thinking green and making better decisions for the planet and thus, all of us. We have new designs for you to check out and more will be coming.

Easy Fresh Fruit Trifle

Disclaimer: I feel the need to let you all know that I am a “from scratch” kind of gal.
I make my own ladyfingers for Charlottes, I never use a mix for a cake, I take great pride in my baked goods. However, there are times when you need a quick dessert and you are just too worn out to get out the flour and eggs and start melting chocolate. Plus, there are times when you can take ready-made things and combine them in ways that take them out of the ordinary. Here is such a recipe. It took a total of about 30 minutes to assemble.
Easy Fresh Fruit Trifle
I got excited when we got these sponge cakes in the shop. We tried them and liked the texture – a flavor similar to angel cake, but denser so it can hold up well to crème patissier. My mind started racing, thinking of all the things you could do with them.

We needed a dessert for an employee’s birthday, so here was a perfect opportunity to experiment. The staff proclaimed this experiment a rousing success!

2 packages Bavarian Sponge Cake (found here at Fancifull)
Lemon or Orange Curd (we have a great lemon curd )
Rice Pudding (you can use Trader Joe’s or Kozy Shack available at most grocery stores)
Note: You can also make Patissier creme or Custard if you want. It is easy and the texture is a bit stiffer.
3 Cups whipping cream
A tablespoon or two of Powder Sugar (for the whipping cream – sweeten to taste)
Cut up Strawberries
You can also use blueberries, bananas, peaches, whatever combo you like.
Optional: Meringues (can get tubs at any store or Trader Joe’s)

Whip the cream with powder sugar to taste until stiff.

Slather the sponge cake with the curd. Cut it up in bite size pieces.

Sprinkle a layer of cake on the bottom of a trifle dish. If you don’t have a trifle dish, use a straight side bowl, or anything where you can do a few layers.

Spoon a good layer of pudding on top of the cake. Layer with the strawberries and other fruit, add the whipped cream on top of that. Optional: add a layer of cut up meringues on top of whipping cream.

Repeat this whole process. Usually two layers are enough, but you can do three if you want. Decorate top with fresh fruit or the meringues if you have used them.

Personal Note: The rice pudding was good in this recipe, but a bit softer and runnier than a good stiff custard. The taste was great, but I think I prefer the texture of custard.

Trifles are a fun dessert in that the variations are endless. They are also great for a group because you can just spoon it up, rather than slicing cake. It makes it easier to portion out. They look dramatic and because you aren’t using a traditional icing they tend not to be too sweet.