Bringing Heirloom Design Concepts Home

Are we replacing old items too often? Our culture has made it easier for companies to create disposable goods–or items designed to have a short life–that it’s hard to separate what we need, healing from what we want, treat from what will last. Then there are changing styles and trends. Can stuff be designed and built to be durable, ed beautiful and affordable enough to last generations? This is where the term “heirloom design” comes in. This has been a huge challenge in the design world. Products should be well made, attractive and affordable. Period. We only have to look at electronic technology and the automotive industry to know that this challenge has not been met. How many computers, cell phones and cars have you had in the last 20 years? CLICK HERE FOR MORE

No More Plastic Hangers: An Eco-Friendly Project

Have you ever noticed that no matter how many hangers you have, there’s never enough? Since hangers are the essential element for closet organizing, the choices are just a few – plastic, wire and cardboard (from the dry cleaner), wood, and fuzzy coated wire. I’ve mostly waved good-bye to the eco-unfriendly dry cleaner, and stopped buying plastic hangers. The dry cleaner was the major source for acquiring free wire and cardboard hangers. The cardboard on those last few hangers are either bent or disintegrated. I have a few plastic ones from years ago and wood hangers for the coats, but it’s time for a hanger makeover.

Did you know that an estimated 8 billion polystyrene and polycarbonate hangers clog our landfills every year? It is enough to fill the Empire State Building 4.6 times! Read more about this in this Daily Green article titled, “How Many Clothes Hangers Does it Take to Fill a Landfill?

Want to bring nature into your closet and keep hangers out of the landfills? Revamp your closet or make some beautiful handmade gifts with these quick, eco-friendly hangers projects. CLICK HERE FOR 3 DIY HANGER PROJECTS

Credit: Swissmiss

DIY Felted Laptop Sleeve

Here’s my latest mantra: Gotta new laptop. Gotta protect it from the elements. Gotta figure out how to make something to cover it. Its gotta be cheap (and stylish), capsule because who can afford a new laptop sleeve once you’ve emptied your pockets for such a beautiful computer specimen? When I travel (even to the local coffee shop), hospital I carry a laptop. It’s my traveling office companion. With my old laptop, that recently died, I would throw it into a tote bag. Not anymore…

I am offering up this DIY project for your traveling office. You and your computer can travel in eco-style with this simple, free and amazingly light laptop sleeve made from an old sweater.

DIY Felted Laptop Sleeve

What you need:

A wool sweater (use only 100% wool)
Tapestry or yarn needle
Eco-Friendly detergent
Velco dots

What to do:

1. Wash the sweater in a washing machine in hot water with a small amount of detergent two or three times.
2. Place the sweater in a dryer and check the dryer often to see how it’s shrinking. I kept checking every 15 minutes until the width of the sweater was close to the width of the laptop. The material should have a tight fit (felted wool “gives” a little). The sweater will take on a thick, felt-like fabric. You can check if the sweater is ready by snipping the fabric. If it doesn’t fray, it is felted. Since felting wool varies depending upon the weight of the sweater and tightness of the weave, to obtain the correct laptop sleeve size it is important to check often. Also, computers come in different sizes.

3. Leaving the ribbed bottom of the sweater open, cut the sweater to fit the laptop. I cut mine under the armholes.

4. With a piece of yarn and the yarn needle, secure the two cut ends together using a blanket stitch.
5. Turn under and pin both sides of the ribbed end in for a finished look.
6. Sew in place.
7. The laptop sleeve can be left open or Velcro dots can be sewn in to close.
8. Take your laptop and its beautiful new sleeve out for a test drive.

Eco-Wallcoverings: Not Your Parents’ Wallpaper

It’s common knowledge among remodelers and interior designers that the easiest way to transform the look of a home is by changing the wall color. Often the design element used is paint. Not so in my childhood home.

See, pills I had a wallpaper designer parent (Dad), and my other parent was over the moon over wallpaper. My father’s flocks and my mom’s modern metallics were in full bloom all over the walls of the house. Along with the rolls of wallpaper samples and those thick, stumpy wallpaper books, there were tiny flecks of film that caught on all the textured surfaces of the house. My Dad’s handprinted silk-screening pieces from his graphic design process landed on more than just the walls. It gave new meaning to “wallpaper world” and let’s just say they had their share of wallpaper wonders and woes.

Now we know the lowdown on wallpaper is low. Traditional vinyl wallpaper leaks VOCs. The adhesives used in pre-pasted wallpaper emit vapors. The chemicals used in vinyl wallpaper have the potential to harbor mold. Mold growth behind wallpaper aggravates a plethora of health problems. No wonder wallpaper wallowed away from the home design scene. But lately, wallpaper has been popping up all over the blogosphere. Here’s an article from the Dwell magazine blog about the resurgence of wallpaper in homes.

There’s one basic credo about green home design: If it is eco-friendly, eco-chic and makes the homeowner happy, then bring it home. Wallpaper hasn’t seemed to fit this model … until now…CLICK HERE FOR MORE

Photo Credit: Echo Designs