Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop has decided to “get wise” in her daily, educational Instagram posts. After succumbing to the very real issue of “mom brain” (view her original post here), she started 2013 with a personal mission to reclaim her sanity. “[T]hose chubby miracles are actually tiny burglars that loot 7 percent of your brain. Maybe forever!” as she puts it. So far she has tackled subjects from plants and paints to TV shows and candy. I personally tune in every day, often sharing with my husband, to exercise my own fragmented mind. He’s partial the eloquent grammar lessons, and I’m quite inspired by the artwork itself. Her watercolor and ink drawings, as well as her paper cuts, are spontaneous and whimsical.
Christine is a mom and successful business owner (Yellow Owl recently collaborated with Schoolhouse Electric and was just featured in the NY Times today!) whose daily discipline of educational fodder should inspire mothers, new and old, to learn something new every day… and names of super heroes and Strawberry Shortcake’s friends do not count (anyone else’s toddlers know how to navigate Netflix?). Start following her posts on Instagram or Twitter and get smart. Now.
A rather large, non-legible sheet of paper arrived at my doorstep recently, reminding me of an important feat I recently added to my repertoire – a diploma for a Masters of Science in Sustainable Design from Philadelphia University. Yay! I completed my degree in early December, with a whopping 90-page thesis I still cannot believe I’ve written (this includes the title pages, images, and bibliography in there to sound extra impressive, too). But… now what? No more can you simply graduate and get a job in your studied field. You have to network and do free internships and apply everywhere. It’s exhausting. Additionally, I’m tasked with answering the question on everyone’s mind… “What exactly is ‘sustainable design’?” To which I have a standard answer to give inquiring friends and family alike: “It’s environmentally-friendly building methods and materials.” Simple enough, eh? I often get responses such as, “Like LEEDs [sic] and stuff, right?” from contractors or, “I love reclaimed wood and vintage things!” from starry-eyed mothers and aunts. Yes, yes. It IS those things… but so much more to me.
I started graduate school rather impulsively. After becoming a mother and looking for something more “green” in my field, I joined a young professional committee at a local USGBC chapter. I knew no one and wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but it found me. A chance meeting with someone who’d been in my shoes before led me to applying for the graduate program. A week later (I kid you not), I was in classes and still not sure what the hell I was doing. Most of my classmates were like me – needing a change from jobs that had nothing to do with sustainability, or wanting to advance their knowledge beyond the aesthetic green movement. The rigorous program really helped us focus on the aspects of sustainability that were important to each of us. For me, I realized that my passion for residential interior design and sustainability inspired me to know more and be more for my community. My thesis, entitled, “A Sustainable Home in an Age of Consumption,” initially grew out of a challenge from my professor to demonstrate that meaningful homes are inherently sustainable. I became consumed with the academic research on the topic, ranging from environmental psychology journals to US Census data to social impact business models. Today, I’m literally writing the book on my passion: the real value of home.
Now that the sting of all-nighters and PowerPoint presentations is safely in my past, I’ll have to indulge you on some interesting concepts soon. However, I’d love to hear your thoughts on family, food, traditions, and what is important in YOUR home. Leave a comment here or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planter is made from unglazed earthenware (a naturally porous material) and has a core vessel which slowly irrigates the soil, as shown below. This sustainable water conservation technique, called Olla, is still used today in dry climates.
Planter is available for pre-order now for only $45.
Though I always carry with me a notebook and a few different writing instruments for sketching, FiftyThree’s Paper app is quite intriguing. Watercolors with the mess (although that’s half the fun, right?), Rewind (don’t you wish you had a Ctrl+Alt+Del on your pad?), and custom journal covers are just the beginning of this fun and intuitive app. If only I had me an iPad… that’s a write-off, eh?via hwentworth
Scientists, musicians, and researchers in the UK are busy… working on a “paper app.”
“The Listening Post” is an example of such an app in development. It’s an interactive concert poster that allows viewers to press on conductive ink to hear clips of music from different bands – even book tickets! While it’s still in the beginning stages of production, this could mean a whole new kind of media interaction. ”We’re trying to recapture some of the tactile experience you got with vinyl records. There’s a really different reaction from users to physical media as opposed to digital media, especially when it comes to music,” said Paul Thomas, head of the Liverpool-based Uniform agency that helped co-ordinate the poster’s creation.
“Printing” music with conductive ink seems relatively inexpensive, so we may be experiencing this new technology soon – tapping along the walls at Starbucks or sending less-bulky singing cards to friends and family. My question (of course) – how do we recycle that?
We recently joined the yupster revolution and bought ourselves a DSLR. Um, yeah. But it’s ok – we don’t think we’re photographers or anything. With the responsibility of owning such a beautiful machine, we thought we’d get to know her a little better. Enter Project Basho, a photography studio in Philadelphia with (affordable!) classes ranging from beginners to professionals. We scored a Living Social voucher, making it even more of a deal. Both Tom and I attended a few beginner’s courses, and love the down-to-earth, accessible atmosphere they have going on there.
I recently attended my first class – I’ll admit I was a little anxious stepping into a studio with my Canon Rebel not knowing much more than where the on/off button was, but soon I felt comfortable asking anything. Now my only problem is I want to take more classes. Fortunately, they have a rotating schedule of different classes, workshops, and tutorials that can easily fit into my schedule. Interested in taking classes? Be sure to tell them Mrs. Jamie Adjemian referred you – and score me some free bucks there, ok friend?
Not only do does Project Basho teach, but you can rent space, attend exhibits, teach, and much more in the converted studio. And please do check out the upstairs – the subtleties in architecture, such as reveals around doors instead of trim, pocket doors, curved wall, and even the center-screwed floor tiles all tie in to the calming energy of the studio. (Interior designers notice these sorts of things.)
So apparently the Tappan Zee Bridge is scheduled for demolition? I’ll admit I’m quite busy at the bottom half of New Jersey, where we choose to attach ourselves to Philadelphia instead of NYC. However, I still think I should have known. At least someone is ahead of the game. Actually, a few people. The Tappan Bridge Park Alliance initiative, led by Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner and White Plains Councilwoman Milagros Lecuona, has started a petition to save the bridge and restore it as a park and walking path. Originally proposed by resident Jean Schneider in a letter to the governor, the park is a way for New York to re-envision the structure for a similar purpose – connecting two pieces of land across a river – but with a different mentality. It’s an interesting concept that few other cities have considered. The project’s mission has realistic aspirations, beginning with a feasibility study to determine whether it is, in fact, possible. I’d assume the next step would be to determine the fiscal responsibility and maintenance of establishing the linear park, all while garnering support for the project.
I can safely say that I’d rather be skipping with an ice cream cone than sitting in gridlock. And it would probably take just as long to cross the Hudson River by foot than inch across in my car.
From the creator of the iPod comes Nest, an intuitive thermostat that “learns” your thermal comfort patterns. It pays attention to the climate, your preferred temperature settings, and your living/working patterns, helping to save household energy consumption (not to mention a few bucks). It goes on sale in November for a surprisingly affordable $249 at Best Buy, and claims to work with 85% of American HVAC systems. Bonus: It’s pretty.Check out how it works here and here.via hwentworth via 9to5Mac
Hooray for Instagram! I use this app daily and am so excited for the new v2.0 features, like these filters. I like being able to take a picture and immediately reminisce as if it were taken years before. Instant nostalgia, so to speak.