Archive for May, 2011
I hope you all had a fun and relaxing Memorial Day weekend and are refreshed for the short week ahead. We just got back from a wonderful trip in the North Fork of Long Island and are spending the night unpacking and sorting through our pictures. I’ll have more eco stuff later in the week, but in the meantime I wanted to share this lovely picture my husband took of the pier in Greenport, NY.
I consider myself to be a reasonably creative person, but sometimes people’s ingenuity just amazes me. Case in point Shanghai based Daishu Ma & Marc Nicolau. This duo has created a very innovative type of packaging that is not just biodegradable but quite literally returns to the earth it came from. The boxes are made of a combination of sand & sawdust and are perfect for small, precious gifts. But what really attracted me is the experience of actually opening these boxes. By snapping them open, you’re basically destroying the whole thing, which I think is quite an interesting comment. Daishu & Marc are taking custom orders through their website for your special gift.
Sand package – before
This is where the sawdust comes from. Very organic!
Sand package – after
Photos from Alien & Monkey
I’m very excited to share the news that Pure Green Magazine has relaunched and is out on the virtual newsstands! I’ve been a contributor to this lovely magazine since almost the beginning and it’s been an amazing journey to watch it grow and transform into what it is today. Celine now has a whole fantastic team behind her dedicated to showing you the best of green living. For the relaunch they’ve added more eco-friendly tips, do-it-yourself projects and, as always, beautiful eco interiors. So what are you waiting for? Go check out Pure Green for yourself!
I was very sorry to miss Brimfield two weekends ago, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do my share of vintage sourcing on my own. One of my favorite things about flea markets is the dishes. In my dream house, I would have a huge kitchen with enough cabinet space for tons of antique dishes and a dining room big enough to use them all. Sometimes though, vintage porcelain can look a bit dated. Thankfully Sarah Cihat has taken those very same dishes and made them totally modern with her line of Rehabilitated Dishware. This makeover goes a little beyond my expertise as a do-it-yourselfer, so I’m even more impressed that she can rescue vintage plates that I wouldn’t have even looked twice at and turn them into something I would definitely want on my table. Now that’s the way to reuse! Sarah also has a beautiful collection of porcelain objects, vases and candleholders which are even more rockin’ so definitely take a look for yourself.
The before and after views. I mean, the original pattern is oh so dainty and the end product is totally edgy and cool.
A few of my favorite designs
Photos from Sarah Cihat
I was hanging out with my best friend from Minnesota a couple weekends ago, naturally chatting about our lives and homes while we toured around the city. As the ultimate nester , she has done not only the most ambitious remodel to her home but grows her own fruits and vegetables in a large veggie patch in her backyard. This friend is the version of me I would like to be if I didn’t live in a tiny apartment in Manhattan and instead had a house with a tiny plot of land to call my own.
You can probably guess that in addition to catching up, I was also hitting her up for every recipe and tip she could give me. One of these said tips I want to share with you: laundry soap. As a self proclaimed do-it-yourselfer (did you see my roman shade?), I have to admit this is one topic I’ve never thought was within my realm of competance. I mean, once you start getting into chemicals and mixing things, you should leave it to the professionals, right? Well, it turns out that making laundry soap is really easy, so much cheaper than commercial detergent and of course much more natural and better for you and your clothes.
Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe
- 1 cup grated Fels-Naptha soap (this soap comes as a bar. You can grate it with a regular household grater, although I would recommend buying a dedicated one for just this soap)
- 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (not baking soda!)
- 1/2 cup Borax**
Mix all the above ingredients together and store in an airtight container. You can double or triple the recipe if you want to keep more on hand. For light loads, use 2 tablespoons and for heavy loads use 3 tablespoons. This recipe will not suds up as much as commercial laundry detergent which is actually even better if you have a high efficiency washer. Easy, huh? You can play with the recipe a bit by adding essential oils and other scents to it to make your clothes smell extra good. You should be able to find all these ingredients at your drugstore and can certainly find them online.
**Borax is a naturally occurring substance and is a greener household product choice. However, it should be stored in an airtight container and kept away from food.
My friend only makes the powdered version but if you’re a liquid detergent person, you can still make this at home – it’s basically the same recipe with a few additional steps. There are tons of recipe versions online, although I have not tried these myself so can’t judge how easy or effective they are. Now that I’ve been inspired, I’m going to try dishwashing detergent next. Stay tuned for that experiment!
Some of you have been asking about how my lovely roman shade turned out, so here goes. I finally finished it over the weekend and wanted to post a few quick pictures so you could see the final result. The process was not without some blood, sweat and tears (okay, maybe no tears, but definitely the other two), but I’m really happy that I was able to customize it exactly the way I wanted and of course I’m loving the final product. I’m thinking of writing up a tutorial for the roman shade novices because this is one complicated process. Would anyone be interested? And a big thank you to Mod Green Pod for supplying the awesome fabric.
So what do you think? Do you love it?
As I said in yesterday’s post about ICFF, I spent most of the day Sunday walking up and down the aisles of the Javits Center in search of unique, beautiful and inventive eco-friendly products to show you. If you didn’t take a look yet, you should pop over to that round-up as well.
I have to say, this Binary Chair from BRC Designs, is one of the most unique and inventive pieces I’ve ever seen. There’s also an accompanying coffee table and both are made out of motherboards and computer rescued from old computers and printers with the upholstery on the chair meticulously woven from ribbon cable. These pieces are conversation starters to say the least. I for one could spend quite a while just looking at all the different components and trying to guess where they came from.
I’m not even sure how to describe Molo other than absolutely unique and interesting. They make reusable partitions, furniture and lighting from their surprisingly strong kevlar & kraft paper accordion forms which are recyclable and reusable. My pictures definitely don’t do their products justice so take a peek at Molo’s website to get an idea of what they do.
Newly launched pillow resource, MUMO is a socially and environmentally responsible company. Their fabrics are sourced from developing nations and their products are made through fair trade labor. But I’ll just call them unique and artistic, made out of everything from traditional textiles to interesting materials like fish skin. If you wan to see more, take a peek at MUMO’s Facebook page.
If I had known about Fermob when I wrote my round-up of fun outdoor furniture, I would have included their brightly colored bistro chairs and tables. Their products are made from recycled steel, coated with paint in a zero-release facility (which means that their sprays don’t become airborne and therefore don’t get out into the world) and made to last. You might have even seen these chairs before since they’re scattered throughout Bryant Park and Times Square in New York City.
John Ross makes beautiful furniture and art out of reclaimed wood found near his home in Vancouver Island, BC. Each one is formed from the inherent shape the wood takes when he finds it. I really love this wall piece, but his furniture is just as gorgeous.
Made with LED lights, these newly debuted lamps from Cerno are sculptural but still fun. They’re made with an integrated cooling technology so the bulbs don’t get hot, which you can cover, as they did with this lamp or keep out as a decorative element. They also have an oversized floor lamp version which I love.
I really haven’t gotten into mattresses yet on the blog, but I thought these hi-tech and allergy free ones from Somnium were quite interesting. From the TPEE springs (or Thermoplastic Polyether-Ester Elastomer) that contour to your body to the hypoallergenic covers and foam, my interest was definitely piqued. I can tell you from sitting on it, the mattress was quite comfortable, although I suppose that’s not the most thorough test. I’d love to try one out for a few nights or hear from someone else who has.
It was nice to finally meet Jason Phillips of the Phillips Collection in person. If you remember back, I wrote about his beautiful organic furniture a while ago. All of his wood furniture comes from sustainable source and is coated with water based, non-toxic finishes. Take a look at the entire collection here.
You may have seen these CFLs before, but guess what, they’re finally available in the United States! Plumen takes the regular compact fluorescent light bulb design and turns it on its head. The shape is reminiscent of the filaments of an Edison bulb, but of course as a much more energy efficient version. If you’ve been using incandescents only so you didn’t have to see the ugly shape of the CFL, this is your answer. I’m almost tempted to buy a fixture with an exposed bulb just so I can try it out.
I spent most of a rainy Sunday wandering around the aisles of the Javits Center looking at wonderful eco-friendly products and talking with new vendors. All in all, a great show. I found it refreshing to see that instead of promoting themselves as green, many manufacturers have embraced sustainability as a best practice and just the way things should be done. It seems like it’s finally more important to do good than to tell others that you’re doing good. And I for one appreciate this evolution.
I’m posting half of my eco-friendly furniture, lighting and material finds today and the other half tomorrow, so enjoy today’s round-up and stay tuned for tomorrow.
Made of 70% recycled glass from beer bottles, this pendant light was designed by Ismael Quintero of iQenvironments (that’s him posing in front of his pendants!). And even more impressive than the recycled content is his mission. Ismael was inspired to create this light after finding a fire hydrant lid on Wall Street after September 11. In fact, a portion of his proceeds will go to the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
One of my recurring favorites – Eskayel. Shanan Campanaro’s artistic wallpaper has now been extended to fabric, pillows and even woven baskets. I recently wrote a post about their beautiful collection, although now seeing the new introductions, I’m due for an update.
I included Loll Designs in the Fun Outdoor Furniture roundup from a few days ago, but now that I’ve seen a few of their latest features in person, I have a bit of an amendment. What I didn’t tell you about their chairs, is that in addition to the fun colors, they also have a bottle opener bolted right to the chair. Yup, that’s right – no need to go searching for an opener during a party (it’s the little silver square at the top of the picture on the left). Their other fun item is this fire pit that says, “Do not place on hot fire ring! Duh!” I mean, if you need an explanation, you probably shouldn’t be using it, right?
Vervano is a new furniture company to me, but their quality was top notch. I was really loving the faceted design of the desk (picture on left), as well as the ottoman with storage (bottom right) and desk that looked like it had a floating top (top right). All of their pieces are made in the United states with sustainably harvested wood, plant-based foams and low-VOC finishes.
I’m a sucker for a cool desk lamp, so I was loving this bright orange lacquered one from Koncept. All of their lamps are made with LED lights, a very efficient light source and are super functional, easy to used and fun.
Caba Company makes beautiful wallpaper out of hand pounded bark. Because they’re using natural materials, the texture and patterns are absolutely unique, organic and always eco-friendly. I love that they also mix in fun colors with the naturals for a modern twist on a traditional technique.
John Houshmand has been making gorgeous hi-end furniture from reclaimed sources for quite a while now. The only problem for the common person (like you & me) is that his pieces are unique and custom and therefore beyond my budget. But no longer. John has teamed up with Jack Donenfeld of Simplemente Madera Group to create JH2 OneTreeHome and bring his design to the masses. And I for one am excited about it.
I’ve seen plenty of pin-up boards in my day and while I’m still a fan of the fabric wrapped versions, I’m really loving this Baroque framed version from MIO. Made of 100% granulated cork, a by-product of the wine industry, this tack board is not only fun & cheeky, it’s also eco-friendly.
Last but certainly not least is Manulution, a Bosnian furniture company that started out in 1927 as a source of hand carved pieces. Even though they’ve since evolved to contemporary shapes, Manulution has remained true to their roots by using traditional techniques to create moden carved details. As always, you can still find traditional Bosnian pieces too if that’s the sort of thing you’re looking for.
Congratulations to the winners of the bkr glass water bottle giveaway! I wanted to post a few of their comments in case it sparks ideas, comments or discussion. None of us is perfect, but I’m happy to hear that you’re aware and making better choices.
From Morgan: “I’ll admit that I occasionally still drink from plastic water bottles. I ALWAYS recycle them after consumption though. I only buy them when I’ve forgotten a re-usable bottle and am thirsty out on the road. I have a few different sizes of Sigg water bottles that I use otherwise and at home of course I drink from glasses.”
From Mika: “My family just built a “green” house and are doing everything we can to live a really sustainable life. I use stainless steel and bpa plastic re-usable bottles for our water. .but none of them are as gorgeous as these glass ones.. I would be proud to tote one of these around!” Check out Mika’s blog to see more of her green house.
From Sare: “I grew up with the outdoorsy type of family, so we always had reusables on hand and never really got into the disposables. I’m still using the (BPA free) nalgene I bought five years ago and it is beat to bits. I love these bottles!”
Thank you to all who entered. I love reading your comments, so keep ‘em coming, even if it’s not a giveaway. Congrats to Morgan, Mika & Sare.