Dead Batteries? Get an Eco-Clock

Since I know that throwing batteries in the landfill just means you’ll eventually be drinking the toxins in them later when they have seeped into the groundwater (lovely thought), I’ve always been a good girl and taken them for safe disposal at a place I found on Earth911.  However, I don’t want to drive to my local battery recycling center every time my son uses up another set of AA batteries in his flashlight (which he uses under the covers to read books at night when he doesn’t think I’m looking – kids never change).  So I let a small stack of them pile up on a back bookshelf until I realize that I no longer have a small pile of batteries, but rather a very large, messy pile of corroding acids and metals.

Not that it’s ever actually gotten that bad.

Not exactly (ahem).

That (not so big and messy) pile of batteries is why I want one of these!  See, those “dead” batteries still have just a little life in them yet, and by combining the power of twelve of them at once, I could not only point out to my son that it is actually past his bedtime (and that I know he has a flashlight and a book under his covers), I would also have a place to store up to twelve batteries before making that trip to the hazardous waste center.  I love stuff that multi-tasks!

The clock will even tell you when a battery is REALLY dead.  As opposed to mostly dead.

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Tom Raffield

Occasionally I run across something that defies description and leaves me grappling with words as one grapples with wet soap in the tub.  Look at this chair:

It’s a piece of furniture.  It’s a work of art.  So lovely!

But do you describe it?  For that matter, how do you describe much of what Tom Raffield produces in his workshop in Cornwall, England?  The gentleman’s website modestly labels his product “steam bent lighting and furniture,” but there’s more to the story than that.

This is art.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Whether you live in the U.S. and plan to get stuffed with turkey before falling asleep on the couch tomorrow, or if you live elsewhere and it’s just another Thursday, I wish you, Dear Readers, the most wonderful of Thanksgivings!

Since we will also be busy scarfing down leftover apple pie over the sink all day Friday, we thought it best to wait till Monday the 28th to attempt a blog post again.  Sticky fingers aren’t good for keyboards!  Till then…

Thanks for visiting!


Artisan Profile – M Design

The little wooden robot sits there, head cocked, arms outstretched, vacant drilled eyes staring into space.  Its expression is puzzled and innocent.  It looks like it wants a hug.  It’s cute.

Sometimes, in the earnest seriousness of striving to live green, we forget our sense of humor.  Marjolaine Poulin of M Design hasn’t forgotten… and she loves nothing better than to make other people smile, hence the little army of wooden robots marching out of her workshop in El Salvador.

Marjolaine (“Mao”) has taken scrap wood & discarded furniture and raised them both into art.

A native of Quebec, Canada, Mao splits her time between Montreal and El Salvador, always looking for inspiration.  Her introduction to woodworking came in 2004 in Guatemala, where she learned classical bamboo carpentry from a Taiwanese master.  Shortly afterward she began crafting her own designs hoping to promote bamboo’s many advantages as a building material in Central America.

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Temporarily Transformative – Inkshuffle

Dwelling in a rental can be so… uninspiring.  Who likes living one’s life surrounded by bland walls which cannot be painted or papered without sacrificing one’s security deposit?  But that’s how it is, right?

Not anymore!

Thanks to the folks at Inkshuffle, we renters can have our cake and eat it too.  How?  Reusable wall murals… or, “Easy Off” wall murals, as the company calls them.

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Sometimes a company’s product is difficult to define: I had this trouble while browsing Tim Leefeldt’s RailroadWare website.  Is it rustic?  Industrial?  Modern?  Nostalgic?  Well, take a look.

You decide.

There’s simplicity in these glass and steel designs, a clean look, one that’s versatile enough to be used in any number of decoration schemes.  I think they would complement just about any setting.

As much as possible, the materials are reclaimed objects.  Old glass & ceramic insulators, traffic light lenses, and hardened steel parts – the clips, spikes, and random hardware so abundant along unused rail lines – all hand-gathered by the artist and repurposed into lighting, door & cabinet hardware, and home furnishings. Read the rest of this entry »

Working Wednesday – Kitchen Before & After

Although I no longer provide full service residential design, I do consult on projects for several general contractors and architects.   One such contractor I LOVE to work with is Wes Harding of Harding Construction and Sustainable Solutions.  His clients love him too, hence him and his team (including moi) being invited to a client’s house for dinner to celebrate a recently completed kitchen remodel.  And celebrate they should, because look where this project started…

This is before.  Isn’t that a weird location for the sink?  Not to mention the majorly blah nature of that white and beige scheme!

So look what we did….

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I Want One! – Color Elite

I seriously want one of these!

Unfortunately, this is still just a concept, and not in production (yet).  Still, the potential this sort of technology has for reducing the number of physical color samples necessary in design is wonderful.  Besides, it looks like fun!

Here is a little more about it from the Yanko Design site: Read the rest of this entry »

ART From the Ashes

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

~Henry David Thoreau

"Seconds Count" by Jason Wilbur

In the face of natural disaster, where others see devastation, Joy Feuer – and the many artists & volunteers who work with her – see opportunity for transformation and renewal.  Life is often about new beginnings.  Since 2008 Joy’s non-profit organization, ART From the Ashes, has been helping communities and individuals rebuild from the ashes of their former lives.

The concept for ART From the Ashes came to life autumn of 2007, during one of the most destructive fire seasons in the history of California.  AFTA was created to use the cathartic properties of art as a means of supporting the renewal of lives devastated by wildfire.  Members travel to a disaster site and from it reclaim materials – burnt wood, ruined household goods, architectural elements, anything that inspires – to be transformed into works of art and later sold at an exhibition-auction benefitting the effected community.

Joy Feuer, photo by James Carbone

The process is deeply meaningful for Joy.

“We have seen up close and personal the powerful connection and healing properties that our art programming has on communities in Southern and Central California,” she said.  “In the wake of disaster…watching what occurs to people and places, in that moment, you are there as well.  Its human nature to want to help in any way possible. In the actions of ART from the ashes, we can provide resource and support to communities in need.  Art provides a connection, provokes inspiration and invites hope.  There are no boundaries geographically or creatively.  Our desire is to honor this and expand our mission to help as many people as possible.” Read the rest of this entry »

Etsy Find of the Week – Recycled Army Blanket Pillows

First off, I’d just like to say a big THANK YOU to all of our wonderful veterans out there!  We wish you a very happy Veteran’s Day!

In honor of the day, here are a couple of wonderful, recycled Army blanket pillows I thought you might like to take a look at.

Created by Etsy seller Shop at Ten, these pillows are made from old Army blankets that are then hand felted with fun new patterns.

Here, a series of patches added to the blanket over time were surrounded with colorful, needle-felted roving, becoming a wonderful pattern of irregular squares.  What many would see as a flaw has instead become an inspired design.

You can see more of Shop at Ten’s work here.

Thanks for visiting – and don’t forget to give a Veteran a hug today.  They deserve it, and so much more!