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Journal
Flowers add Color

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Flowers are an easy, inexpensive and impactful way to add color to a room.   Just look at your favorite photos of interiors.  Nine out of ten have flowers or some sort of greenery.  Why… because with them, suddenly your room has energy and life.

If you want to get more sophisticated you can match the color of your flowers to something in the room you would like to highlight, say a favorite art piece.  Suddenly your eye is drawn right to that piece.

I’ve gathered some arrangements below that will take five minutes.  Besides, I’m drawn to their un-fussiness.

 

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I can easily adjust these arrangements for whatever flowers are in season on my weekly trip to the farmer’s market or grocery store.

(Clockwise from top left.)  The first arrangement uses the same flower throughout.   Here they've added interest by graduating the color, starting with the lightest blossoms in the center and working out to the deepest hues.  The stems need to stay a little taller for the center of the arrangement and gradually taper as you get to the rim of your vase.  Aren't these Lilacs so romantic?  If your going for a more elegant or formal look, try it with roses.

For the next arrangement you will need some supplies: floral frogs (round little metal spiky things) and clay to secure them in the bowls.  Other than having those things on hand, it is a snap to put together.  Just secure the frogs in the bottom of your container with the clay, push one or two stems into the spikes and add water .

Lastly, just one beautiful bud in an interesting container can have an amazing amount of impact.  Be creative with your containers, here it's just an ornate mug.   Or do a grouping of single buds, each in their own vase like below.  Still incredibly easy.

 


 

Martini Bar

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We love the pairing of clear glass and tarnished silver for this Martini Bar from Sunday Suppers.  Clear glass lets the beauty of the ingredients shine.  While the tarnished silver reminds us that the old and warn has a beauty all its own.  How fun to pull out your grandmother's old pieces and pair them with a simple modern arrangement.  Or to scout some vintage finds at the Goodwill or consignment shops.

 

Did you know that linen uses less water, insecticide, and pesticide than cotton?  Even organically grown, cotton needs to be heavily irrigated.  Bamboo is a good choice only if it is eco certified, otherwise it is often manufactured into cloth using harsh chemical solvents.  Hemp on the other hand, needs no pesticides or insecticides and actually improves the soil where it is grown.  Wool is great too because it is renewable, has lower carbon emissions than man-made fibers, and, as with linen and hemp, is biodegradable.

Mix in some aged pieces like the tarnished silver above.  It's a great excuse to go rummaging through all those forgotten treasures you've stored away.  Or call a friend to scour the local consignment shops and estate sales.  It's a ton more fun to hunt for a "find" with a past than to pick something off the shelf at Pottery Barn.

So this is the big one for me!  Occasionally, we all need to purchase something.  What if our purchases were so well designed that they didn't have any negative effect on the environment in their manufacture, their use, or their end of use?  What if instead of taking advantage of the people who made them, our products celebrated and honored craftspeople.  Make a purchase that moves us in this direction.  Purchase a piece that uses recycled materials, gives to a charity, or supports an artisan in a transparent way.  And above all make it quality, so it becomes the vintage piece your son or daughter uses.

I know, I know sometimes the price difference makes it so hard.  But if you buy organic you are greatly reducing toxic water pollution caused by the runoff of pesticides and herbicides into streams and lakes (among other environmental benefits).  Not to mention that to buy otherwise means you are ingesting those nasty chemicals.

Local spirits are a growing trend, at least here on the west coast.  Here in Seattle there are 40 licensed distilleries!  That's a lot of tasting.  I'm looking forward to trying Ebb and Flow and Single Silo Vodka, which seem to have quite a following around here.

 

Hope this helps as we move into party season.  Cheers!

Amsterdam Inspired

I really have a thing for the drama that happens when you mix industrial looking pieces with rustic elements, throw in some modern lines and you have one of my favorite styles.  There is a distinctly urban and yet timeless feel that comes from the combination.  These photos come straight from a Bodie and Fou post... yes I am truly addicted to this blog.  But I thought I'd give a little style run down and include some really great sources for look a likes.  And by great you know by now that I mean those who consider their impact on the world around us!

Left to right, top to bottom: Declan Chair, Vintage Tolix Chairs - Antiquaire, Canvas ceramics - Ochre Store, Cowhide Rug, Vintage Factory Clock - Elemental, Span Gateleg Table - West Elm, Ray Komai Side Chair - Uniques and Antiques

Wallpaper

Scrapwood by Piet Hein Eek via Wallpaper Collective

I am in love with this wallpaper and this shot... the mix of textures with the very soft color pallet and those beautiful wrought iron window grills... and the cobblestone floor.  The paper is called Scrapwood and there are many different versions with variations on color and wood.  I found this at the Wallpaper Collective.  If you don't already know this site, it's worth checking out.  They have a vast selection of papers, including many sustainable choices.

Bittern Feather by Graham and Brown

Graham and Brown.  This Bittern Feather pattern has a romantic feel that was designed in collaboration with students at Central St. Martins College in London.

Fabric

1. Peacock - Balanced Design  2. Elime Home Mimosa Collection - Fabricadabra  3. Aspire - Mod Green Pod  4. Cheeky Lime Ikat - Fabricadabra  5. Splendor - Carnegie Fabrics  6. Anemone - Oliveira Textiles  7. Cintra, Multi Rose Turqouise - Alan Campbell  8. East Village - Ruby Green

Fabrics... bright, bold, colorful, patterned, soft, textured, subtle... I love them.  What designer doesn't?  So here is the dilemma - most are really bad in terms of their environmental impact.  The other day I was at the Kravet showroom and was shown to their small selection of sustainable offerings.  While I was fawning over their other fabric lines, (especially  the Echodesign line, note: Echo, not Eco, there is nothing sustainable about the line)... the fabrics I was shown made from recycled plastic were sorely lacking in terms of their "wow factor".  That experience inspired this list of the best fabrics in the industry, best in terms of their sustainability (meaning leaving the least impact throughout their lifespan from creation, through their long life, to their usable life's end) and best in terms of  "love it".

Carnegie Fabrics - a leader in the development of sustainable fabrics.  Carnegie has many fabrics that meet the highest sustainable certifications, including many that are Silver Cradle to Cradle certified.  While some of their sustainable fabrics are still missing the "wow factor", we found many great options.  Must be purchased through a design professional.

Balanced Design - fabrics are linen, hemp, and organic cotton.  The products are manufactured in a US textile mill and the designs are hand printed using water-based inks.

Fabricadabra - organic cotton and vintage fabrics, some in great brightly colored ikat patterns.  In addition to the ikats, the Elime Home line debuts November 2010 and has very hip bold patterns in two color collections.  It is 100% certified organic cotton low impact fiber reactive dyes with no chemical after treatments.

Quadrille - if you can't find a pattern you like in an organic fabric or a synthetic made from recycled content, linen is your next best option.  Made from the flax plant, it requires less pesticides than cotton.  Quadrille, along with the other lines they represent, Alan Campbell, China Seas, and Home Couture, have tons of "love it" fabrics in 100% linen.

Ruby Green - classic designs using only 100% organic cotton .  The designer of this  fabric line is Michelle Adams formerly of Domino Magazine and currently working for their new online magazine Lonny.  She researched every part of the textile manufacturing business to come up with an extremely sustainable selection of 100% certified cotton fabrics that are whitened with peroxide not bleach and are printed with water based inks.

Oliveira - this company was begun by two sisters, Dawn Oliveira and Deborah Olson, who came together to push the textile industry forward in sustainability.  Their collection is inspired by the sea with a three different motifs ranging from delicate renderings of shells to bold wave patterns, all printed on hemp and organic cotton.  Their fabrics adhere to the highest environmental standards and are third party certified.  The collection is hand silk screened by artisans in New England with waterbased, pigment dyes that are free of heavy metals.

Mod Green Pod - the creators of fabrics and wallpapers with brilliant colors and creative "love it" modern designs.  Their fabrics are printed on 100% certified organic cotton cloth upholstery that is grown, woven, and printed in the United States.  The rich saturated colors are achieved using non-toxic, low-impact printing pigments and dyes.

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