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Tuesday, December 30, 2014


rustic dining tables in reclaimed cypress

rustic dining table in reclaimed cycpress

A finely crafted piece of furniture created from reclaimed wood can add character and country flair to almost any home. The patina, grain patterns and saw cuts inherent in these tables created by Texas-based furniture maker, Jacob Triche and Revival Supply Co., provide plenty of eye-catching appeal. Many of Jacob’s pieces are made utilizing locally sourced reclaimed cypress in a patchwork pattern.

reclaimed rustic cycpress table

dining table in reclaimed pine and cypress

Consumers in search of unique home furnishing solutions should always consider purchasing handcrafted pieces created by local craftspeople from reclaimed materials before buying expensive, machine-made furniture from giant chain stores. In doing so, you can save money, help preserve old growth forests, support local businesses and benefit from all the history, craftsmanship, character and patina inherent in in these pieces.

related: more eco-friendy furniture featured on The Alternative Consumer

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Kissing Under The Mistletoe

fresh Mistletoe

For thousands of years mistletoe has been a symbolic herb. Ancient cultures like Greece and Rome used it in medical treatments. The Celtic Druids of the First Century A.D thought the plant had romantic overtones because mistletoe can bloom even in the frozen winter. And in Norse mythology it was the plant used by Loki to kill Odin’s son, Baldur.

Kissing mistletoe

The kissing tradition seems to have started with servants in England then spread to the middle class. Men were allowed to steal a kiss from any woman caught standing under the mistletoe and refusing was viewed as bad luck.

But mistletoe’s use is not limited to this festive tradition. In fact, it has been used as a medical herb for centuries. What is mistletoe? Mistletoe is a semi-parasitic plant that grows on several types of trees. including: apple, oak, maple, elm, pine, birch. Because of its semi-parasitic nature, mistletoe needs a host tree to survive and live off.

dried mistletoe

(photo above: dried mistletoe) Over the years, mistletoe has been used to treat epilepsy, hypertension, headaches, infertility, arthritis, rheumatism and menopausal symptoms. Most interesting is that it has also been used in the treatment of cancer. Mistletoe is believed to be a possible anticancer agent because it has been shown to: have an effect on the immune system, killed mouse rat and human cancer cells in the laboratory, protect the DNA in white blood cells including cells damaged by chemotherapy drugs in the lab. Mostly used in clinical trials, mistletoe has also been used as adjuvant therapy in patients with cancer and is injected under the skin.

Mistletoe extract

But most of this is happening in Europe: the use of mistletoe as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition is not approved by the FDA, (Food and Drug Administration). So in America, mistletoe extract has only been used in clinical trials. Also important to note is that American-grown mistletoe is unsafe for medicinal use  – mistletoe extracts use European mistletoe. Despite not being approved by the FDA various mistletoe extracts are still available on Amazon and a 2-ounce bottle can vary in price from 15 to 30 dollars.

mistletoe tea bags

You can also buy it as an herbal tea. Mistletoe herbal tea is believed to help prevent build up in artery walls and may also protect (more…)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Are Wireless Christmas Lights in Our Future?

Aura wireless christmas light

File this under: holiday home décor goes wireless. When putting up your Christmas tree the most time-consuming step is stringing the lights. Unless you have a fake tree already strung, traditional lights require several steps. Strings have to be: tested, fixed, plugged-in, hidden and woven over the entire tree. The eRing Kickstarter project (it used to be called Aura) is saying farewell to wired lights and hello to wireless. The designers of eRing are offering us the first ever wireless Christmas tree lighting system and their project will be featured on Kickstarter until January 18th. If it becomes a reality, starting next year, wired lights may become a thing of the past.

Here’s how the eRing system works. To light the tree, simply lay down a (supplied) base ring, plug it in and hang your light-up ornaments anywhere. The wireless lights are completely encased in a glass, or plastic, sphere-shaped ornament. The idea is more holiday magic then holiday décor; here are the Pros for the everyday consumer and pros for the alternative one.

smart phone control

Everyday Pros:

  • Lights cannot short circuit or spark
  • Lights give off little to zero heat unlike traditional light bulbs
  • Lights are LED’s, and use less power than traditional lights
  • Greatly reduces risk of fire, if not completely eliminating it
  • Option for smart phone control (image above)

Alternative Pros:

  • eRing wireless lights last up to 20 years and one system can light up to 100 ornament lights
  • Being wire free means less materials and less materials means less waste
  • You’re using less plastic. Traditional string lights have plastic coating on the wires, plastic plugs and plastic holders for the bulbs.
  • The wireless lights are on a PCB, printed circuit board, which is recyclable.

wireless lighting ornament

The whole thing works using wireless power transfer via resonant inductive coupling. The base ring contains a coil, electricity flows through the coil and (more…)

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

green furniture: handmade mid century modern

moderncre8ve walnut table

Artisanal furniture maker and designer, Chris Williams, and his company Moderncre8ve create sweet, mid-century handcrafted furniture that’s evocative of some of our favorite 1950’s Heywood Wakefield pieces.

moderncre8ve walnut table

Most of the furniture pieces (pictured above and below) are created from FSC-certified black walnut and made to order. No filler, plywood or veneers found here – the furniture is made of solid, high quality walnut. Many pieces are finished with Danish oil and beeswax. Love the simple lines and craftsman construction.

moderncre8ve dresser

moderncre8ve walnut coffee table

The clean, modern pieces are handmade in the company’s Cleveland, Ohio workshop and sold via Chris’s Etsy shop.

moderncre8ve coffee table

related: more eco-friendly furniture featured on The Alternative Consumer

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

eco art: reclaimed pallet wood wall hanging

reclaimed pallet wood wall hanging

Bring a little rustic charm into your home with an eco-friendly wall hanging made of reclaimed wood (above and below). North Carolina-based woodworking artist Jason McNeill makes a handsome array of handcrafted furniture and art primarily from reclaimed pallet wood.

eco art reclaimed pallet wood wall hanging

McNeill often paints a lovely tree and accompanying text on his pieces. Most of the work is fully customizable – with the color of the stain and hand painting customized to match the buyer’s decor. The 60″x 34″ wall hanging is perfect for a dining room or living room wall. Each tree is unique. $400 @ Indian Beach Wayfarers

By purchasing furniture and art made from reclaimed wood you can help preserve living trees, while capturing the character and charm often inherent in reclaimed wood.

related: more eco-friendly home decor items featured on The Alternative Consumer

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