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Monday, July 28, 2014


Feng Shui: On Land and At Sea

EcoChi Super Yacht

In Feng Shui and Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is believed that health for an individual occurs when chi flows freely through the body nourishing every cell. The same is true for a space- whether it is your home, office, public environment or even a ship!

Compass School, teaches us to go into a space with what is called a “Lao Pan” Compass. This compass is used to determine the directional influences on a property in relation to the universe. Since boats, ships and yachts are perpetually in motion, this school of Feng Shui is not relevant for this kind of project.

The most well-known school of Feng Shui is called Form School. The flow of energy in a space is enhanced by intentional selection and assignment of furniture, or by specific placement of a decorative item. This school is appropriate for any interior design project including boats and yachts.

Feng Shui Tips for boats, ships, yachts and SuperYachts:

  1. Proper door alignment is critical for good Feng Shui.  An oversized door opening into a small space like a bathroom (head) means guests will be in there very often with indigestion or sea-sickness. A remedy would be to hang a mirror or beautiful art on the outside of the door.
  2. Any boat is already rich with Water energy so stay away from dark colors like black or navy blue and uneven patterns or shapes. This creates too much water energy which can result in very uncomfortable journeys.
  3. Avoid spiral staircases without risers. This causes chi to escape, acting like a hole in the center of the ship. A Feng Shui cure for this scenario? Glue 5 lucky Chinese coins under the first and last stair.
  4. Position your bed against a solid wall so you can see the door to your room but be sure not to be in line with it.  The wall symbolically protects you, your dreams and goals. The sightline to the door keeps you in control and in the power position.
  5. Looking for passion onboard? Red fresh flowers are sure to spice things up! Be sure to change the water every day and discard the flowers as soon as they start to wilt.

Prince Albert II of Monaco’s Wood Forever Pact promotes the use of wood on SuperYachts from well-managed forests and sustainable sources. Green and sustainable choices make for good Feng Shui and a better world. EcoChi® designs utilize wood from managed forests whenever possible. Taking care of our natural environment nurtures us-it is the circle of life that the 5 Feng Shui elements are based on.

Debra Duneier is a Feng Shui Master Practitioner, Certified Eco-Designer, accredited LEED® Green Associate and award winning Author of EcoChi: Designing the Human Experience.

related: more Feng Shui tips from The Alternative Consumer

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Friday, July 25, 2014

eco-fashion friday finds: a mixed bag

nau dress micromodal

You can always rely on Nau to provide eco fashion options that pack both style and sustainability. This Repose striped dress (above) is made of luxurious and eco-friendly, Micromodal. The dress possesses a sexy, casual sophistication, feminine silhouette and luxurious feel – loose draping dolman sleeves over a clean, body-skimming skirt. The wrinkle-resistant Repose wears well – for a night out, a business trip or just looking good. $98 @

hand printed organic yoga leggings

Do you practice yoga? Artist and yoga practitioner, Erika Wynn, adds her own Muladhara chakra design to these wearable works of art. (above) These hand designed ‘chakra’ leggings have been screen printed with eco-friendly ink on organic material, using handmade stencils. (more…)

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

7 ways to green the work day grind

bicycle symbol on traffic light

Here a few simple tips for making your daily trip to the office a little greener and more civilized.

  • Start with a nutritious breakfast. Load up on some fiber, fresh fruit, protein and a little caffeine if you need it…
  • Get organized. Where are you going and how are you getting there? Figure out the most efficient route to work.
  • Use public transportation – it’s a lot safer, less stressful – and generally cheaper – than driving yourself. Public transportation – utilizing trains, buses, or a shuttle can also eliminate lbs of emissions each week. Buying a monthly ticket can save additional cash.
  • Carpool, walk or use that bike. I know you hate how your friends drive but carpooling can save everyone some money and emissions. Getting on your bicycle or walking to work can help you reduce your waistline, eliminate your need for a costly gym membership and keep you out of the doctor’s office. AHA recommends 30 minutes of walking a day to maintain heart health.
  • Bring your own lunch. Save money, calories, avoid temptation and peer pressure by brown bagging it. I know you’ll be ridiculed as “that guy”, but hey, the money saved and positive health impact of eating better will go a long way to mitigating any lost self esteem. You can always plan to eat your homemade chow at some scenic or serene spot, as opposed to a cafeteria or lunch counter – cutting down on your daily exposure to chaos and turmoil. Stepping away from the desk is a great way to take a break and get a fresh perspective.
  • If you have to leave the office for a quick bite, avoid the perils of fast food emporiums where even a simple cheeseburger can top 1,000 calories and food oozing with processed mystery stuff, harmful fats, toxic salt and processed sugars.  Make lunch a food adventure. Try to frequent small neighborhood dining establishments that feature fresh, healthful, local ingredients made by local chefs and foodies. Change things up and frequently try new places. Your stomach and psyche will thank you.
  • After reversing your commute take some quality time with your family, pet or spouse. Shake off the remaining constraints of your office or cubicle by getting outside for a half hour for some exercise or fresh air. Try to avoid the temptation to power on the tv and disappear between the pillows on your couch upon returning home.

related: more green tips from

image credit: bicycle symbol on traffic light photo via

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What to do With Old Paintings? Make Them Cool Again!

vintage painting

One thing you can do to give your home a new look is hang good paintings on the walls. Perhaps you already have some paintings up on display but if they have been there for quite some time or if they were painted years ago, it is a good idea to invest some time in cleaning them up.

All paintings get stained and collect dirt over time which makes them dark. Cleaning up a painting will allow the vibrant colors to show again. Hanging up paintings is an inexpensive way of sprucing up the interiors. So if you don’t have any paintings already, buy some art prints.

Here are some things you can do by yourself if you happen to find an old print that you like.

Repairing Tears
The first thing you need to do is check the print for any tears. If you do find a tear remember to never use adhesive tape to repair it. Use starch paste and Japanese tissue paper or Ilene’s glue and a piece of cotton canvas to repair the tear.

Start with laying out the painting on a flat and clean surface. Use a backing paper beneath the painting at the place of the tear. The dimensions of the Japanese tissue or cotton canvas should be a little longer and wider than the tear itself. Apply the starch paste or glue onto the tissue paper or the canvas. Stick the tissue paper or canvas onto the tear.

Now place acid-free tissue paper over this spot. Place a book or any other heavy object to apply even pressure on the treated area. Leave it to dry in this position undisturbed for a day.

You might see some white lines around the tear when you turn the painting over. Use a fine-tipped brush to touch-up the colors and no-one will be able to notice the tear.

Hanging a painting over a fireplace or in a smoking room will cause soot and grime to collect on it, making it very dull. A painting needs to be cleaned carefully. If one isn’t careful, paint can come off along with the dirt.

Place your painting upright and start by using a dry brush. Gently rub it all over the painting. Work from the top towards the bottom of the painting. Bread with a doughy consistency such as sourdough will also be great to get rid of the dirt on the painting. Scoop out the inner portion of the bread and roll it over the painting. The dirt will stick onto it easily.

You may wish to take your painting outside the house for this step to avoid creating a mess inside. You can brush off the bread crumbs using a dry brush. Do this carefully; crumbs left behind can become a breeding ground for mold and insects.

A painting consists of many layers; first a primer is used on the canvas, followed by paint and lastly, about two coats of varnish. Varnish yellows as it ages. Aged varnish can be removed by using a varnish remover.

Test the varnish remover or emulsion cleaner on a small area before you start. Use cotton swabs dipped in the solution to clean the painting. The cotton swabs need to be rolled back and forth gently. Never scrub the painting.

Avoid dipping used and dirty swabs into the cleaning product you’re using. Make sure you only work on small areas at a time. Stop immediately if you feel you are removing paint along with the varnish.

Once the varnish has been removed, allow the painting to dry completely. You can touch up the painting with paints as required. Allow the painting to dry again and then apply a fresh coat of varnish.

Varnish should be applied with a flat-bristled brush. Apply only in one direction so that brush strokes aren’t obvious. Once dry, apply another coat using brush strokes in the opposite direction for an even finish. Varnish will seal the painting and protect the cleaned surface from dust.

If you find that the frame is rotting or has become dull, you should definitely get a new frame for the painting. A frame in the right material and color can make a painting look better than it actually is. The right frame can also help any painting fit in with the existing decor in a room.

If you are going to frame the painting by yourself, be sure to use acid-free backing and paper wherever necessary. If the painting is going to be hung in a humid environment, avoid wood or metal frames and go for acrylic, glass or stainless steel.

Hanging or Storing
Avoid hanging the painting in places where it will be subjected to moisture, smoke or direct sunlight. Paintings should normally be hung at eye-level. But if you are planning to hang a painting in a corridor or a place where people may bump into it accidentally, hang it a little higher.

If you wish to store the painting, use bubble wrap and acid-free tissue paper to cover it on both sides and then place it in a box. You can line the box with acid-free tissue paper too. Store the box away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing paintings in attics or basements as temperatures and humidity levels in these places are often damaging to paintings.

Adding paintings to your house is quite an inexpensive way to make an impression on your guests. You only need to look for good paintings. If you come across a nice painting that needs restoration work, you can save a lot of money by restoring the painting yourself.

Just be careful while you restore a painting. If the painting is expensive and you aren’t sure of yourself, you can leave the job to professionals.

Author Bio
Sophia Mann writes on paintings and art. Her interest in the visual arts developed early when she attempted to duplicate a drawing her brother had brought home as a school assignment. She has been fascinated with this medium of artistic expression ever since. She also paints in her spare time.

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handmade decoupaged botanical necklace

handmade botanical wood necklace

Art meets commerce … Husband and wife, Margaux and Walter Kent are the owners of Peg and Awl, a Philadelphia-based design shop offering a mixed bag of finely crafted fashion accessories and items for the home, both inside and out. A collective of artisans, they feature funky finds, often olde, forgotten, tossed materials and transform these remains into useful and decorative objects.

peg and awl owners

The attractive Botanical Wood and Leather Necklace, 7 Blocks above, is carefully created from scraps of antique wood, reclaimed leather and paper, pieced together with ph neutral adhesive, covered with matte sealer and a dose of love. The decoupaged botanical images were lifted from a medical journal from the 1800s. All made in the USA.

find @ PegandAwl ($96)

related: more eco-fashion finds from The Alternative C0nsumer

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