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Saturday, November 8, 2014

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Ideas to Renovate Your Backyard


wicker furniture

Believe it or not, winter is the best time to buy furniture and gardening supplies in preparation for spring and summer time. Prices are low, and you can buy in bulk and store your supplies until it’s time to work. That also gives you plenty of time to go through your plans to renovate the space. Outdoor wicker patio furniture will bring a modern look to your yard, but you can add other DIY projects yourself to spruce things up.

Furniture Sets
Every back yard needs a well-designed space to relax. Patio furniture comes in many varieties, but some are more resilient than others. Without a doubt, metal is the cheapest of materials to purchase but it also rusts and needs replacing on a fairly regular basis. Wicker patio chairs are the best materials you can use. The frames are light and rust proof, and the colors rarely fade.

Build a Sunroom
Another idea is to construct a sunroom around your home. Most people have a concrete slab in their backyard. You need to build a frame, and you’ll need some full-body windows to let the sun in, but a sunroom can be an excellent space to relax at the end of your busy week. You should keep in mind that a sunroom needs ventilation, so install a ceiling fan or sliding glass window to help mitigate some of the heat that will build up.

Outside, you can construct a fire pit for yourself out of free-standing bricks, in colors of your choosing. Most of these are weekend projects too, perfect for the working professional with a DIY sensibility.

Bio: Wicker Paradise is the Web’s one-stop shop for outdoor wicker furniture, including sectionals and the new Savannah line available now.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Kickstarter: BloomBagz – the next big thing in eco-friendly container gardening


bloombagz on patioWe’re always on the lookout for products that promote sustainable living and growing your own is a concept we fully embrace. One new gardening product that checks off almost all our boxes is currently soliciting crowdfunding via a Kickstarter campaign. BloomBagz are soft shell container planters made from recycled plastic. The design utilizes the air-pruning and root trapping technology of these double layered, breathable fabric bags to provide improved growing results compared to traditional plastic and ceramic grow pots. The material and design of these containers ensure you don’t experience the root spiraling that’s frequent in hard non-breathable containers.

bloombagz colors

Another problem encountered by many amateur gardeners is over-watering. Many hard containers don’t provide proper drainage to prevent drowning, which results in root rot. BloomBagz (more…)

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Friday, October 31, 2014

BRZ Brands Hot Art: A Greener, More Attractive Space Heater for Your Home


Hot Art wall space heater

These attractive heating panels from BRZ Brands, dubbed “Hot Art™,” are far and away the prettiest space heaters coming to market this fall. Hanging on the wall as your typical home décor piece, these works of art act as highly efficient room-heaters, using the same infrared heating technology as the many umbrella-like heaters you find on restaurant patios in the winter. Hot Art pieces serve as hidden, energy efficient heaters in the home and can even be placed in covered areas outdoors, providing a much-needed aesthetic makeover to the common space heater. But how are they more energy efficient? Let us compare them to your conventional space heater. (more…)

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Crafty DIY Halloween Decorating Ideas


DIY Halloween Lantern Box

Something wicked this way comes: Adding some low impact flare to your Halloween décor

As with any holiday, when looking around for fun decorations it’s important to think about the materials those decorations are made from and what will become of them when they are tossed out. So keeping this in mind and counting down to the last day before Halloween – I’m going to share a fun and simple DIY anyone can do to add some last minute-flare using basic cardboard. (more…)

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

the LED light bulb that shines when the power goes out


SmartCharge LED Bulb

If you live in an environment that is prone to extreme weather events like big winter snowstorms, high winds, or hurricanes you might want to contemplate what’s going to happen when the lights go out (and they will). One solution – an energy-efficient LED light bulb which contains a rechargeable battery that keeps the bulb lit when the power goes out and operates like a normal LED light bulb when the juice is on.

The SmartCharge LED Bulb was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign that reached 183% of its target. SmartCharge is a nifty solution for folks who experience frequent power loss, or those who can’t afford to be left in the dark. (more…)

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

votive candles vs battery-powered LED lights


LED vs. Wick: shedding a little light …

halloween votive candles

A glowing Jack-O-Lantern is about as iconic Halloween as you can get. But lately, more and more families have been switching out their old fashioned candles for new battery-powered LED options. As LEDs grow in popularity they are slowly replacing traditional candles. So the question becomes, are these battery-powered LEDs more eco-friendly than their candle counterparts?

LED votive candles

Let’s breakdown some environmental pros and cons of each option. An LED candle:

  • CONS – it has a plastic body and powered by batteries.
  • PROS – they last longer than a candle (so we won’t go through as many) and they come with no risk of fire or fumes. Here are some rechargeable battery-powered LED votive solutions on amazon.com.

Whereas traditional candles:

  • PROS – usually burn themselves out leaving little behind so there is less waste for the landfills
  • CONS – most candles on the market are made from paraffin wax, which is a petroleum product derived from oil. Burning this type of candle increases dependence on oil and also releases byproducts like carbon dioxide, toxic toluene and benzene. Exposure to these substances is linked to nervous system damage and endocrine disruption. Lastly, there is always a risk of fire.

Perhaps it’s these negatives of a conventional candle that has families turning to the LED option … but with anything battery-powered we need to take into consideration what impact the batteries have.  One-time use batteries are commonly alkaline batteries and when they’re done they are discarded. Almost all Halloween candle LED substitutes use one-time use batteries. And the batteries contain harmful materials like cadmium, lead, mercury, copper, zinc, manganese and potassium that we don’t want leaching into ground water. Because of their toxic nature they can’t be tossed in the recycling bin, nor can they be tossed in the trash. Every city handles battery disposal differently but they do need to be collected and disposed of properly.

acorn candy soy votive candles

(above) Candy Corn Soy Votive Candles with Cotton Wicks, scented with phthalate-free scented oil (3-pack, $9) @ theprismaticpeacock on etsy.

Which brings me back to the candle option … you can make your traditional candle cleaner and greener by: (more…)

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

rustic children’s woodland art on reclaimed wood


reclaimed wood fawn art

Does your little lover of nature need some woodland creatures or rustic art to adorn their room? These handmade artworks will add rustic charm to any kid’s room or nursery. These sweet pieces of wall art have been designed and made by the husband and wife team of Denise and Robert Devenie of Devenie Designs.

reclaimed wood woodland scenes

Woodland creatures, trees and messages are featured on weathered reclaimed planks that have been hand painted, refinished and sealed. A cool way to add inspiration to (more…)

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

design Provocateur – vintage furniture given new expression


burning rainforest chair

Art or furniture? The answer is – both. design Provocateur is a New Jersey based collection of artists, architects and designers led by Robert delPazzo. The design group creates furniture and decor that merges art and design with discarded, recycled and vintage materials to create unexpected art furniture – like their “Louis XV” gilt lounge chairs (above). The chairs have been re-upholstered with custom printed cloth featuring a thought-provoking image of the burning rainforest. (The rainforest image was custom printed on the fabric by Duggal of New York)

painted vintage chaise lounge

The striking vintage chaise lounge (above) has been custom painted by artist Nelma Guimaraes. This OOAK piece features a secret storage compartment under the cushion and oodles of exotic style.

recycled love seat

The “Dirty Secrets Bench” (above) is constructed from an eclectic assortment of chairs backs and furniture pieces – all (more…)

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