Tag Archives: sustainable

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.

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Greenbuild 2013November 21, 2013


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

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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.

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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.

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A Bridge to Tappan ZeeFebruary 7, 2012

© Milagros Lecuona

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.

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Two Thousand and TwelveJanuary 4, 2012

Happy New Year!

I’ve overwhelmed thinking of the year ahead so instead I’ll try to appreciate the year that has passed – adventures had, lessons learned, and accomplishments made. 2011 was a year of personal development for me, including my first solo trip (3 weeks in beautiful Scandinavia!), a new business venture (check out my latest – and favorite – project here), and I became an aunt (the easiest accomplishment ever). I could not have made it to 2012 without my ridiculously supportive husband and the never-ending energy of my toddler. So thank you, family!

What about the resolutions, you say? Can you really ever say, “I’m not making any resolutions this year”? It’s a new year, and everyone must have a few things they want to do differently, but I just want to survive. After looking back on last year’s resolutions – which I barely accomplished #1 and fell way short on the others, I think I’ll just try my best to get through 2012. I’ll be completing my degree (thesis – ugh) and getting my 2yr-old ready for nursery school (which includes a big girl bed and potty-training – UGH). So, yeah, 2012 will be a grin-and-bear-it sort of year, but I love a challenge.

For now, enjoy the View above! Typographic ice sculptures from Nicole Dextras :

“The Ice Typography series consists of three-dimensional words fabricated in ice placed outdoors that speak to how the viewer’s gaze frames and informs the landscape. The installations have varied from 8-foot high ice letters on the Yukon River to 18-inch high letters set in downtown Toronto. When the ice texts are installed on site, the temperature determines how long it will take for them to change state from solid to liquid. This phase of transition becomes symbolic of the interconnectedness of language and culture to the land as they are affected by time and by a constant shifting and transforming nature.” via LPP

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FIELD TRIP: Art Star Craft BazaarNovember 23, 2011

I hadn’t planned to get to Art Star Craft Bazaar this weekend. In fact, as most things do these days, it sort of snuck up on me. However, after fellow Philly creative Susan over at Fleurishing kept tweeting about such lovely things, I squeezed a little time out of my Sunday afternoon to get over there and experiment with my new camera. Yeah, I looked all sorts of official with a camera – too bad I was so busy chatting that I didn’t notice my focus was way off.

It was the end of the weekend for the slew of talented crafters when I arrived – hour 14.5 of 16, to be exact. They were tired but still quite friendly, eager and willing to share stories of their process and love of their particular talent. Let’s meet a few, shall we?
Skylark Studio – I had seen Karen’s work before but it was lovely to see and touch it in person. She explained to me her continuous development of designs that have outlasted the indie scene’s anticipated expiration date, such as the birds and antlers that still seem to dominate sales. My favorite piece was a simple pendant with a new variation of her fish-scale design. Unfortunately, my camera skills were off to a rocky start and the photos didn’t quite turn out. No worries, though, as I was having a lovely time chatting with her! Quality time with an artist is worth a few blurry shots.
Kin Ship Press – They were featured etsy sellers this summer, where they share the inspirations and process. By the way, I need this mug to remind me to actually enjoy my coffee.

Gioconda Padovan – “Feel free to try!” came a pretty little voice, inviting me to use her custom-made stamps designed with her original drawings of buildings, people, and objects. A simple concept made popular in recent years by Yellow Owl Press – infinite possibilities for customers to create their own works of art. (Photo from GP site)
Meerwiibli – This coat stopped me dead in my tracks! I loved the color, the collar, the pattern, the pockets – everything. I watched as a waify little thing tried it on with her cool colored tight and rugged boots, then asked her if it was as warm and cozy as it looked. When she replied, “yes,” I knew I had to move on because I went any closer, it would have some home with me.

Brainstorm – They were working with a paying customer when I wandered up (I promised Tom I wouldn’t spend any money, but I surely took some notes for Santa). I love to see what this team dreams up, and am always happily impressed with the quality and rich color they accomplish with their prints.

Forage – Anything made by Shauna and Stephen is infused with their sense of humor, romance, and impeccable craft – Forage is no different. This was my first encounter with the bowties, and, as expected, could have scooped up a few if only I had the kind of gent who’d brave the bowtie. I’ve decided to hone in on my husband’s cousin who is getting married this spring… Matt, there’s a handsome green gingham with your name on it! And the wedding party would look dashing, dear boy! Let’s pair it with some Whitney Deal dresses for some homespun matrimony. (Photo from SHiH – mine were quite awful.)

Gilbert & Leona – Another item on the Christmas list – the bucket bag. Made of recycled and/or post-manufactured leather, it would have been a total step up from my days with the diaper bag. I’m just about done those and am in the market for a new one. Not too heavy, wonderful color, and I’m sure it would patina quite nicely…

Diamond Tooth Taxidermy – The feathery headpieces here were so elegant and pretty, I almost wished I had some fancy place to go wear it. But fancy means finding a babysitter, shaving my legs, and staying up past my bedtime… how about I just wear it around the house with a cocktail?
Concrete Polish Studio – I’m normally attracted to simple jewelry with little to no detail, but these chunky, sparkly rings drew me right into the booth. Perhaps I need to shake things up, and go straight to the double finger quartz knuckle duster? Yup, I think so. (Photo: CPS)
Farmhaus – This was the first public debut of their works at the craft fair. I was getting pretty handsy with all the cutting boards – great qualilty and a simple, modern design with crisp edges and a convenient hole at the corner for hanging. But my favorite piece was a (sold) hunk o’ wood, sanded and waxed up, on a trio of big red castors. If Lucy has been there, she’d be riding that around the place fo’ sho’.


Penelope Rakov – I had two questions for this vendor: How do you make that? and Do you like your name? The latter had more to do with taking advantage of meeting my first Penelope, a name I can’t seem to explain nor question why I like – I just do. More importantly, do you see those earrings? I had to ask how she does it – was it clay and resin, I asked? No, no – glass! In her Philadelphia studio, she plays with stupid hot glass, stretching and combining colors and patterns to create really stunning pieces. The resulting jewelry has depth and personality breathed into each piece.
Diane Koss – Cutesy But Not Too Cutesy added some frickin’ awesome baby hoodies to make your little one an adorable monster. Also a good gifts for wee ones of friends and relatives who would never, ever admit that their kid IS a little monster.
Namoo – Where were these quilts when I was planning my nursery? Actually, that’s exactly what I said to owner / maker Insung Kim, before telling her that this just re-enforces why I need to have another kid ASAP (just kidding! Let me graduate first). Her color and textile pairings were neutral and fresh, and she was sweet as pie, telling me about her desire to incorporate with more organic and natural fabrics. All the better, Insung! All the better…

Lil Fishy – This booth just had the darnedest baby gear – because every tot needs a scarf with a penguin on it! Plus their tagline is “It’s important to be little.” Well stated.
Girls Can Tell – I’ve seen these neat diagrammatic linens and lunchbags around the webs, and I had just seen their ad for their new shop in Grid. So I stopped in, chuckling aloud at a few illustrations (magical unicorns and Chicago architecture, specifically). The tea towels were so soft I could have bought a stack right then and there… but put them on my Christmas list instead.
knitknit – The embroidered felt necklaces here are so elegant and charming. The soft autumn palette only compliments the woodsy animal folk Nguyen Le draws and embroiders free-hand. (Photo: KK)
Huldra Press – Marianne was fresh out of business cards when I got to her at the end of the day – a sign she was in quite the demand this weekend! When I asked her about her work, she gushed to me about her craft, telling me her favorite creations often came from crisp metal letterpress on recycled kraft papers. Her mellow color schemes and simple forms made quite a palatable collection for the show.
Solidio – Wood buckles, frames, and jewelry all made from custom furniture scraps. Mitch was kind enough to tell me a little bit about the company and their commitment to reducing waste by using scraps for these finely crafted accessories (or to feed the wood stove and keep warm!). (Photo: Solidio)
Red Prairie Press – I only had time to quickly pass through the racks here and fell in love with the soft raglan Arrow sweatshirt, taking note of the size I’d need for Santa (medium). Then I moseyed on over to the site, where I read up a little on Rachel Bone, who creates it all herself in her house. Crazy, right? I also found this awesome Eagle print pullover with a rad Lenape Indian folk art inspired design. I’d look pretty awesome in it. (Photo: RPP)
There were many more but these were a few favorites among the bunch. Glad I stopped by – lovely to meet everyone! Hopefully my photo class at Project Basho next weekend will get my skills up to par for next time.
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Gardening for KidsNovember 22, 2011

A new children’s book has popped up over at Woolly Pocket – Dudley and Omar’s Moving Garden, meant to teach the youngsters about responsible gardening. As a parent, I find that teaching my daughter something makes me see it on a whole new level, as well as teaching me a thing or two. It’s on my life list to start a garden and maybe this will be the ticket to cross this one off!

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NestOctober 27, 2011

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

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New Sanna AnnukkaAugust 29, 2011

Here’s another little gift idea: Sanna Annukka’s new Soul Bird, handcrafted in England from sustainably-sourced oak.

In Karelia there was an ancient belief in the Sielulintu or Soul bird. The Sielulintu was thought to deliver the soul to newborn babies and also to transport the soul to the afterlife at the moment of death.

It was believed the Sielulintu protected a persons soul at it’s most vulnerable; when dreaming, and it was tradition to keep a carved wooden bird by the bedside to keep the soul safe during sleep.

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