Category Archives: Some Education

Canadiano, Crafted CoffeeDecember 19, 2013

Canadiano (from Fishtnk Design Factory) has redesigned the standard coffee pour-over with a block of wood. Using FSC-certified timber, a series of concentric circles are carved to form a cone, and a little stainless steel filter replaces the need for paper filters. The brew method is even similar to regular pour-overs, with a slow 2-4 minute pour. However, what sets these apart from the beehives is how the wood version absorbs the coffee oils and, over time, enhances the cup’s flavor (single origin beans, repetition of the same roast, and their Raw editions are recommended to really achieve this). Canadiano‘s current production includes cherry, walnut, and maple, with each species prescribed for different roasts. Walnut’s dark hues apparently help along those darker, earthier roasts (like Indonesian coffees) while maple and cherry capitalize on those citrus and nutty notes (think Ethiopian, Guatemalan, and Columbian). Perhaps my most favorite feature – easy peasy maintenance. Just a quick rinse after brewing to let those oils soak in. Honestly, I pretty much do this anyway with my Chemex and french press because I’m so lazy.

So let’s count up the pros here:

  1. It’s Canadian.
  2. It’s coffee.
  3. It’s wood.
  4. It’s sustainable.
  5. It’s virtually maintenance-free.

BONUS: The advertising:

Images & videos vía Canadiano.

Leave a comment Tags: , , , ,

Greenbuild 2013November 21, 2013

20131121-110147.jpg

Greenbuild 2013 is happening right now in Philadelphia, and I just had to take advantage of the nationwide sustainable conference since it was only a quick train ride away. I almost booked a ticket last year to GB2012 in San Francisco (after a happy hour of sustainable networking, of course – it’s how they get you). However, with the end of my thesis drawing near, I made the “adult” decision to skip it yet again. So yesterday was my first time to attend, and while I’ve followed through social media, blogs, and even local “Best of Greenbuild” events to get the skinny on the goings-on in previous years, I was really excited to be finally there myself. It was entirely overwhelming, of course. An Expo floor of almost 800 vendors, multiple educational lectures going on at once, and a steady stream of people throughout the day… so I decided to get myself together in a quiet room with others who seemed to have the same deer-in-head-lights-but-keeping-my-cool look. I sat my 7-month pregnant self down in the only non-conference chair in the room (a bright red Eames Womb chair) and heard the words of some great sustainable leaders of our time. Each presenter made the case for becoming a leader in a different way so convincingly, it was really quite powerful.

 

  • George Bandy, Vice President of Sustainability at Interface (Flor‘s parent company), elaborated on finding strengths to propel you forward from Clifton’s StrengthFinder. His own strengths of positivity and WOO (winning others over) shined through with his commanding presence and optimistic view of actually liking your job. The audience was asked what their own strengths were and it made me think, How often do I give myself credit for my own strengths? My own value? I recently felt the familiar stab of devaluation after relating to this article, but George’s outlook was a swift kick in the pants to figure out the next chapter of action.
  • Jason Dunlop, Vice President at Big-D Signature, presided over an interactive presentation session about brand and promotion through telling stories. He presented various ways of capturing the attention of an audience, whether it be a cold email to a company or a newsletter to a customer base. We then formed groups to put the methods into practice. The most fun and thought-provoking was the Pixar Pitch, which I aim to utilize in nailing down my own elevator pitch. We also created a #twitpitch (origin here) and unique email subject lines to inform yet intrigue a reader for a hopeful response. I could say that this introduced a new level of anxiety to casual tweets and emails, but I will acquiesce to say that it challenged us all the more…
  • Finally, Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity and author/editor of “Design Like You Give a Damn,” gave a casual yet stunning presentation of, essentially, grabbing the bull by the horns and just effing doing it (while concurrently presenting off the cuff when he realized he didn’t have a necessary computer cable). He openly talked about his own experiences – his naive yet driven start on international refugee architecture with the UN (inevitably the uber successful AFH), his project successes and failures, and his own mortality in the face of potentially dangerous situations worldwide. With an audience of emerging professionals, he was asked repeatedly, How can WE help NOW? His advice: call on someone bigger than you to get deeper involved, or lend whatever talent you have (big or small) to the cause, or start something on your own because you believe in it. Because that is exactly what he did – saw a crisis and responded. How often do we actually do that?

Overall, the lectures were incredibly informative and quite entertaining. Each presenter had a great sense of humor, too, which is something I always appreciate.

I should also confess that I am really at the conference to volunteer my time as an Emerging Professional at Greenbuild 2013. I want to share how the DVGBC’s local chapter committee had lifted me out of a rut and moved me forward in my career. But let’s save that for a bit later… the French press is empty and I’m off for another day!

 Final note: I was feeling so inspired to write this, that I woke up before the sun (and my husband and daughter) to make a pot of coffee and write this. For those who don’t know me, this is quite an amazing feat – the early rise and the punctual post. Kudos to George Bandy, Jason Dunlop, and Cameron Sinclair!

Photos: Instagram by Girls Can Tell | via Interface | via Big-D Signature | via TED

Leave a comment Tags: ,

miLES: Pop-Up Done RightOctober 22, 2013

If your neighborhood is anything like mine, empty storefronts have become the norm, city or suburb.

Enter miLES (“Made In the Lower East Side”).

Founder Eric Ho discovered that NYC’s lower east side had about 200 vacant storefronts and decided to do something about it. miLES has become a sort of “airbnb for storefronts” (Fast Company) for ease of dialogue between landlord and renter. Their recent (successful) Kickstarter campaign wrapped up funding for their Storefront Transformer, a modular kit that will provide flexible furnishings for temporary spaces.

mILES aims to temporarily breathe life into display windows, driving traffic into the space and giving entrepreneurs (and many more) a taste of space. With “pop-up” shops becoming more popular, the concept of temporary retail has become quite popular and exciting. Retail isn’t the only business to benefit, either. These vacant spaces could be occupied by eateries, artists, co-working spaces, shops for classes, or events. miLES also operates as a daily, weekly, or monthly installation space, giving even more flexibility to interested parties. Even landlords benefit from this exchange, as it drives potential buyers and provides some rent in the interim.

The Storefront Transformer incorporates the idea that design really can make things better. And just because they’ve reached their goal, that doesn’t mean it’s over. You can still fund the miLES project to enable even more pop-ups with more transformers. Check out all the awesome rewards: gifts, experiences, services, or even your own pop-up! Or stop by their upcoming shows this winter (below), if you’re in town.

If not, support it anyway. I think miLES could easily be adopted in other cities and towns. Businesses and individuals are given the opportunity to temporarily try on a store, promote their work, and develop a customer base, while enhancing the local community. Give this project legs and have it come to you.

All images from miLES Kickstarter campaign here.

Leave a comment

Proudly MadeJuly 8, 2013

Terrain’s blog, The Bulletin, features some great DIYs, recipes, and general eye candy. My favorite series has been Proudly Made, highlighting the passion and affection poured into these American-made brands and products. I only wish there were more posts! Stop over there sometime and see or yourself. Here are a few of my favorites:

Folk Fibers – Austin, TX 

Jacobsen Salt Co. – Netarts Bay, OR

Peg & Awl – Philadelphia, PA

All photos from Terrain’s original posts.

Leave a comment Tags: , , , ,

Get Smart with Yellow Owl WorkshopMarch 28, 2013

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.

 

Leave a comment

I graduated! Now what?March 18, 2013

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 hello@generalmerriment.com.

 

Leave a comment

Ancient Planter SecretJune 20, 2012

Joey Roth‘s newest design, Planter, is derived from an old system… not unlike his modern interpretation of the phonograph with his Ceramic Speakers.

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.

Leave a comment Tags: , ,

FiftyThree Paper AppApril 11, 2012

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

Leave a comment Tags:

Listen to the Music…March 15, 2012

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? 

via BBC

Leave a comment Tags: ,

Getting to know you, DSLRFebruary 15, 2012

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.)

Photo: Pia Johnson, as featured in the current show now Feb 11 – March 25.

Leave a comment Tags: