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Thursday, October 16, 2014

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5 green tips for winterizing your home and garden


fall garden

As the first cold fronts of the season, armed with their accompanying storms and winds shake the brightly colored orange and fall foliage from many northern yards and forests, it’s time to take stock and prep for winter.

Here are five simple tips for making your seasonal transition a smoother, greener, and more economical endeavor:

large composter

  • Gather all ye leaves and compost. Don’t bag the piles of fall leaves that are covering your lawn and haul them to your already-overloaded local landfill. All that organic material is valuable stuff. Invest the time, energy or funds in building or purchasing a composter (you may need more than one). There are online plans for building a designer composter, or you can just go DIY and create one out of heavy duty fencing wire, or cut the bottom off an old trash barrels. The nutrient rich soil that will be created in just a few months of composting can be used to revitalize your lawn, gardens or planters.  (more…)
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DIY Halloween – Costume Wings in 6 Easy Steps


diy fairy wings

With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to think about what you’d like to dress up as. Most people buy from places like Party City where they pay high prices for a one-time-use costume. And most of these outfits are usually tossed after Halloween, finding their way into landfills. So instead of choosing a store bought costume this year, a smarter, greener option would be to make one yourself.

I flew around the ‘net and found lots of inspiration, like this: In just 6 easy steps you can make a pair of simple wings for a fairy, lady bug, butterfly or winged creature costume. The main components of these wings are items you can find around the home: old wire hangers and nylons. Add face paint, some appropriate body wear, and you’re ready to take flight.

old nylons

Supplies: nylons or pantyhose you no longer need, paint, elastic, ribbon, a hot glue gun and metal wire. If you don’t have old wire hangers hanging around the house, you can pick up some wire at a craft store like Michael’s.  (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 any 2-legged creatures shelter.

forest animal art

Why purchase a piece of mass produced art from virgin wood, when you can decorate your home with art that is OOAK, handmade and loaded with rustic character – while also saving living trees? Surround your wee ones with nature and they’ll hopefully learn to appreciate and value it. A great way to bring the spirit of the outdoors inside. The pieces featured above range in price from $45 to $135.

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

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Monday, October 13, 2014

The Abattis Bioceuticals Biocube System – the Future of Sustainable Farming?


Farming - Landscape

Where does your food come from? Who is producing it and what goes into it? These previously questions are being uttered from a growing number of people in the United States, as tales of inefficient water use, polluting fertilizer runoff, or our consumption of mysterious genetically modified crops commonly sweep across our news feeds and regularly grace our dinner tables. plants and produce We are blessed with a wealth of arable lands and favorable climates in the United States which have historically secured the availability of affordable foods in our society, so why must we overuse artificial fertilizers, poisonous herbicides and pesticides or implant genes from fish into our tomato plants? The answer: the American farmer is ultimately limited by the amount and distribution of flatland available for cultivation. (more…)

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

4 Ways to Green your Pumpkin Carving


carved Halloween pumpkins

For most fans of Halloween, myself included, a favorite tradition is not the piles of candy or dressing up, but the carving of the pumpkin. Every year, each one in family gets to pick out a pumpkin to carve and display the night of Halloween. Sadly, when the spooky fest is over, our masterpieces end up in the trash … which got me to thinking about all the other families doing just that. In the US over 1 billion pounds of pumpkin are grown every year, if most of us are just chucking our pumpkins in the trash when we’re done that’s is a lot of bio-matter going to the dump. The situation leaves me with two questions: Why are we carving pumpkins? And how can we make having a Jack O’Lantern more eco-friendly?

The tradition of carving pumpkins started back in Ireland as part of an Irish myth involving a man named Stingy Jack. Stingy Jack got in trouble with the Devil and after his death was banished to wander the land with only a coal in a lantern as his source of light. As a result of this myth people began the tradition of carving turnips or potatoes with evil faces then lighting and displaying them in doorways and windows to ward off Stingy Jack and other evil spirits. When Irish immigrants brought their tradition of carving over to the states they improvised by adopting the use of pumpkins instead.

And thus the tradition was born. Now to answer the meatier question – here are four easy ways to make a Jack O’Lantern more eco-friendly.

pumpkins

  • Choose Your Pumpkin Wisely: Buy local and buy organic. Buying from local farmers reduces emissions due to transportation, reduces fuel consumption and supports local business. Also most local farmers tend to use less pesticides and fertilizers. Which blends into buying organic, even if you’re not going to eat your pumpkin buying organic cuts back on the pesticides and fertilizers that go into pumpkin production. Pesticides and fertilizers run off into the environment where they are detrimental to natural systems.

pumpkin cake

  • Save Your Pumpkin Meat: Pumpkin is edible and can be eaten as is or cooked. Instead of buying the big monster pumpkins, opt for the smaller ones who’s tasty flesh can be carved out to make cookies, bread, soup and cake. Nutritional note: fresh pumpkin is cholesterol free and high in vitamin C. There are dozens and dozens of pumpkin recipes online to choose from.

roasted pumpkin seeds

  • Save The Pumpkin Seeds: The seeds that you harvest from your pumpkin can be separated (more…)
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Eco-Fashion Friday Finds – Spooky Green


red riding hood cape

Want to keep your costume simple, classic and eco-friendly? Loving this Little Red Riding Hood hooded cloak made of organic cotton and soy spandex. The cape/cloak will cost you $85 and answer all those “Who are you dressed as?” gazes. Just avoid encounters with any big bad wolves. From Nancy Campbell and Soul Role.

xray halloween maternity shirt

What does a Halloween costume say about a person? If you have a bun in the oven, or just want to start the rumor that you do, this t-shirt will get the job done. This X-Ray Pregnancy shirt (above) featuring a little x-ray baby is screen printed by hand and made of bamboo and organic cotton. $24.99 from Bump Covers Maternity Wear

recycled silver skull necklaceIf you’re looking to accessorize for a Halloween event or just give off a goth, spooky vibe, you may consider a nicely designed, handmade skull necklace in recycled sterling silver (above). This necklace smiles in the face of mortality. $190 from Me&Ro

childrens eco felt animal masks

If you’re in need of a last minute costume solution for the kids – or you want costume solutions that will (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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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Let the EWG Seafood Calculator Determine the Best Seafood for You


circling school of fish

Most people know the health benefits from regularly including fish and other seafood in their diets; they provide us with the essential, long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. A third, short-chain form of Omega-3 is found in several plant seeds and nuts, but the forms found in seafood are proven to have more effective health benefits. On the other hand, there are opposite reports of the health risks associated with eating seafood due to an increase of toxic mercury levels in the world’s oceans. In fact, a recent study concluded that in “ocean waters shallower than about 100 meters… have tripled in mercury concentration since the Industrial Revolution.” Emissions from coal fired power plants, smelting, cement manufacturing and certain mining activities are only some of the industries contributing to a unnatural amount of airborne mercury, which is eventually deposited in water bodies around the world, infecting marine life. So while the Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood are essential to our health, harmful levels of mercury could accompany them. Luckily, the cost – benefit analysis between these two traits in different species of fish has been spelled out in a quick and pleasing “seafood calculator” from Environmental Working Group. (more…)

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