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DIY Draft Dodger Kit for the Thermostatically Conservative

Thursday, February 17th, 2011
By Christa

Yesterday’s post on indoor air quality in the winter included a single mention of winter drafts, which many green living enthusiasts care bunches about since we’re all apparently nutty about turning down the thermostat. Assuming you’ve nudged down your thermostat as far as it can reasonably go this winter – and what a winter! – there are always a few tricks you can user to stay warm by maximizing the warmth you have!

One old school example is the draft dodger – at its simplest, a humble tube of fabric stuffed with uncooked rice or kitty little or dried beans. It doesn’t have to be humble, however, as this DIY draft dodger kit from Banquet Atelier & Workshop shows:

The kit includes a snake front and back (expertly screen printed in water-based ink on 100% cotton), acrylic paint set with brush, needle, thread, wool felt tongue, stuffing (although you’re going to want to supplement his guts with dried beans, old socks etc), and easy-peasy instructions.

Re-Use Doesn’t Have to Mean Lots of Effort for Little Returns

Thursday, January 13th, 2011
By Christa

Boy, the last couple of posts have been downers. Greenwashing? The problem with carbon negativity? Huge islands of garbage? Bleah. It’s that kind of stuff that keeps some people from embracing a greener lifestyle. Not that it’s right – more knowledge is almost always a good thing – but there are plenty of people who, when confronted with a huge problem, would rather close their eyes to it than figure out how to become part of a solution. That’s when those green baby steps I mentioned on Monday come in handy… and one of my favorite green baby steps is re-use!

Re-use doesn’t always have to mean stuff like washing out plastic zipper bags or using a sewing machine to turn old clothes into smaller, less holey clothes or finding uses for every single coffee tin you’ve ever accumulated. Though, frankly, they’re all good things to do. Sometimes re-use means taking something that’s basically unwanted and turning it into something artful and beautiful that makes your personal environment that much nicer. Individuals can do this all on their own, of course, but not everyone is crafty by nature, which is why companies like Ghost Furniture exist. They specialize in making the unwanted into the coveted, and they do a pretty good job of it.

Right now, I’m lusting after this piece, which began its life as a dressing table mirror found in an abandoned house. Ghost Furniture added five delicate little vintage patisserie tins, a fabulously ornate vintage cake server, and two delicately decorated spoons, and painted the whole thing in a matte grayish taupe color that highlights the unique silhouettes of each object. If that isn’t a sweet way to re-use old kitchen accessories that aren’t pulling their weight at mealtimes, I don’t know what is. And even though this particular piece costs £175, I can easily see even a non-crafty person DIYing it with either things he or she had around already or little things found at garage sales and swaps for cheap.

4 Sweet Eco-Friendly Wallpapers

Monday, December 13th, 2010
By Christa

Posting about green painting options on Friday got me to thinking about other eco-friendly wall coverings – in this case, green wallpaper. Over their lifetime, conventional wallpapers can offgas all kinds of unhealthy stuff like dioxins. When it’s time to redecorate, old wallpapers with PVC have to be burned or buried, and both options are less than environmentally conscious. So if you’re planning on papering, choose wallpaper that will be good for you and good for the planet, like these…

Fun Fair Deluxe is hand printed with non-toxic water-based inks on sustainably sourced paper and materials, yet still wipe-able, color fast, and fire retardant. And it’s absolutely vibrant and stunning, too!

This gorgeous wallpaper from Graham & Brown is made from FSC-certified managed timber sources and water-based inks with no VOCs or solvents. Even the packaging is eco-friendly… it’s made of a fully compostable, corn-based material. The pattern, Aspen, is a pretty and fun way to bring the outdoors in.

And then we have this amazing hand-drawn and hand-printed with water-based inks from Madison and Grow. The recyclable, chlorine-free paper is harvested only from sustainable forests. Plus, 100% of the mill’s short paper fiber is reclaimed and used in the agricultural industry for nutrient rich compost or animal bedding. Neat, huh?

Mod Green Pro makes earth-friendly, vinyl- and PVC-free wallpapers that are also beautiful. The company uses water-based inks on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper and finishes the product with a water-based glaze that can tolerate light wiping.

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