Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My obsession with skid pallet decor continues....

PART 1: Repurposed Skid Pallets, A Way to Look at the World here.

(The recycle-upcycle-repurpose movement has truly mainstreamed.)
It's wonderful!
We already know that we need to slow down our over-zealous desires to consume shiny new things.... right? But it can be so hard!

So, here are some guilt-free ideas to spice up your interior. New materials optional.

Unique Palette Ideas & Furniture Made to Measure: Creative ways to use wooden pallets!

Pallet Accent Wall, DIY !
(Please sand and seal.. pallets are sprayed with pesticides during shipping)

Wooden Skids Used as Shelving

Desk Love.

More Wood Palette Coffee Tables: These just keep getting better.

Okay, so this is more of a desk than a coffee table. STILL, AMAZING.

Who would have thought they could look so classy?

Painted Union Jack Repurposed Skid Palette Wonder

Bright Chartreuse Coffee Table. Modern Interior Decor!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How NOT to save the planet with persuasive advertising

If there's one thing that working in advertising has made me- it's a critical viewer of all ads.
Creative copy writers can spin a lie on it's head and make it look as innocent as Pollyanna herself. When they add a little heart-string-rhetoric to the mix, they can effectively create an ad that delivers just about any message, and still have us shaking our heads in approval at the end of the clip.

It took a few minutes for my alarm bells to go off on this one.  
This is one of those "It's so good it's scary
" ads.
Quite literally.

The persuasive rhetoric promotes ethical tar-sands oil.
(Ethical oil?)

It suggests that by purchasing oil from Saudi Arabia, we are inadvertently backing the discrimination of women in those countries. It says that we are "funding their opression." Instead, we should buy ethical oil.... (and if we continue using this same string of logic) by not buying this "unethical" oil, we can then help to liberate those same women? Right? (No!)

This backwards half-truth rhetoric is so pervasive in political ads and campaigns; we must be easily swayed by flags and trumpets and pretty green fields, and anything that makes us feel proud of our home country. It is stunningly scary when we see these same tactics being used to sell us a point of view on something that is so blatently harmful to the environment.
Tar sands oil is not ethical. 
Spin it as you will master spinsters, I will not buy it. 
Sell me a story of solar power, wind energy, or about cars that run on water using hydrogen. Please stop assuming that our vision is so easily blinded by pulling the wool of "liberation" over our eyes. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Repurposed Skid Pallets - a way to look at the world

The organic / upcycled / repurposed fad must be reaching its peak.
While wonderful to see, my wish is that people add a few trendy pieces to their decor and stop for a moment to think about the why and the how of it all.
The why:
We desperately need to change our habits if we want the earth to sustain our human population and the growth of developing nations.  Culturally, we are changing some of our habits (recycling, composting, and "going-green", if you will.) The eco-trend has found its way into every corner of our lives... and that includes every corner of your home. Eco-fashionable home decor makes sense. Start with what you can, and change as you can.
The how: 
By repurposing waste, we are doing the good green thing. On some level it makes us feel like better citizens of the earth. (In the 80s I got the same fuzzy feeling when I bought bottled Evian.)
The caveat: 
Decoration is just frills. Yes, it's true.
(I am a designer. Please realize that frills are very important to my life / environment /overall well-being. Yes, perhaps that is  shallow. Moving forwards.) 

Let's keep the momentum (which is amazing) and start to examine the other important things in our lives. Things like the food we eat and where it comes from, the supply chain of the things we buy, the politicians that we vote for and the repercussions of our choices - our use of the world's resources and our community, our dependence on oil...

It's a lot to think about. And home decor is, by comparison, so mild. I don't mean that we should strip away any of the great eco-things that are popping up everywhere. They're great! They're phenomenal. 

If nothing else, I hope we embrace these trends with a vigour that inspires even more humanity and compassion - and positive change.  If we can change ugly, old and dirty skid pallets into works of modern eco art- we can do.. well,  just about anything.

Without further ado - my selection of repurposed skid pallets:

From Creature comforts

From Apartment Therapy

From /caisak.blogspot.com/
Pallet Garden

The grandaddy of upcycles: from skid pallet to Barcelon-esque Daybed

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Eco Logo Drywall *love*

Well, I never in a million years thought I would *love* a drywall.
But I do. I know it's not typography or really cool upcycled furniture... but there's a lot about this particular drywall that is making me swoon.
#1 It's going to be in my new home (and that makes me really excited about everything that goes into it... I had to show restraint and not blog about concrete and nails.)
#2 (The bigger reason) The new abode is being drywalled with ECO LOGO Gypsum board.

Google and Ecosia tell me that this means that the VOC levels of the drywall are certified to be under a certain ppm. (Wonderful! No need to worry about too-much off-gassing.)

I am fawning over Great Gulf Homes, and I love the initiative that they are taking to bring safe and sustainable (FSC woods) into the construction of our new place. Thanks! I cannot wait to begin decorating.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

FSC New Home

So hubby and I recently purchased a new home.
It's framed and on it's way towards completion.
(October 2011.)

I was so amazed when I was walking through the space, and saw that the wood frame is FSC certified. Great Gulf Homes, you have my hoorah- thanks for giving us the right base to build a home on!

Sustainably harvested wood must be more and more common; nobody told us about the great wood choices that they would be making when we purchased. I realize now that it is definitely something that I should have asked about when making the decision to buy. (Hangs head in shame.)

Lesson learned. (Yes, some days I do learn.)

My take-away: Even when you think sustainable is out of the question- it might be within reach. There's no harm in asking for the materials that you want. Quite obviously, they are attainable, within budget, and being used right under my nose. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Longing to Bring the Outside In

Oh we are so longing for a stronger connection to nature.
The proof is in the... rugging.
A few shots of grass-like loveliness, and a living rug to boot.

Rug Design By Dhesja

How To Knit This Rug Found Here

From Re-nest

Living Moss Rug - Toildrop

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Henry Sofa : FSC Love

West Elm's Henry Sofa
We went to West Elm today. Great store, great furniture and decor, great prices...
and I fell in love with their Henry sofa. Simple, unassuming, and devilishly comfortable; the Henry caught our attention from a distance. Things only got better as we swarmed in a little closer. The price was a mouth dropping $699, which was appealing. The little tag on the side is what really made me excited about the little guy:
1) Solid wood frame made with FSC wood. (Forest Stewardship Council's sustainably harvested wood is one of the highest standards in the industry)
2) The springs in the couch are made with 70% recycled metals
3) The Foam in the seating and arms is made with 20% soy
4) The pillow filling is made with recycled water bottles
5) The padding/fiber on the seat is made with recycled carpeting

With a price and aesthetic like that, along with a curriculum vitae that would make Al Gore nervous, what's not to love?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Upcycling Bullets into Anthrobots

Wow. I just happened upon these steampunk eco-artworks. Perfect little critters made of discarded watches, old nuts, bolts, and bullets. How's that for a 180 degree upcycle?
(We think it's a metal-gear solid one.)

From violent ammunition to steampunk anthropods, artist Tom Hardwidge's creatures express more than the hipster aesthetic you might glean at first glance.

For just a moment, imagine these bullet-locusts flying through the air in true matrix fashion.
The visual appeals to my senses and to my imagination, and serves as a rusty omen of a looming warfare-caused doomsday. Lifeless, unnatural, and completely manufactured by human beings.

See more at the artist's site http://www.arthrobots.com/

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Greener Look. Greener Heart?

From http://emmas.blogg.se/index.html
As we move beyond the era of recycling novelty we are starting to surround ourselves with things that look and feel green. Natural fibres, raw wood, dried branches, mini-containers with living moss - the style is fresh and organic and lovely. It's that summer and lemongrass feeling of a spa in your own home,  and the look is eco-divine.

From http://lalalovelythings.blogspot.com/
From http://www.anthropologie.com

The more I think about this look, however; the more I wonder if we aren't giving ourselves the illusion of being eco-advocates.  I am a huge fan of FSC or repurposed wood. If given the choice I would chose organic cotton over regular cotton, of course. It makes me feel great to purchase sustainable products for my home. Sometimes, it makes me feel so great, in fact; that I stop thinking about what I need to do to make the world a better place. I feel like I have done my part by buying up beautiful eco-friendly things.

So here's where my contemplation begins and my doubts creep in... do dried tree stumps, moss stolen from its natural fauna & fake animal antlers make me a greener, better person? I'm pretty sure they don't.
They certainly allow me to look that way, though. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Designing Posters for Change

Designers, artists, architects, song writers, singers, actors - creatives of all types have the power to weave truths in a powerful way. Here's a poster project that I can get behind and promote with all my hype-hype-heart and gusto. Wonderful messages, wonderfully designed, communicating to the masses in a way that works. These are my kind of designers -I'll have to get involved with this one!

My only question to Green Patriot Posters : Where can we order these wonderful prints? I have wallspace and these are just about perfect for my office.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Saving the Planet with Advertising

The persuasive and clever designer can move through empathy & emotion.
As a visual communicator I feel an ethical responsibility to deliver authentic, real advertising that doesn't bend the truth or greenwash a product.

This WWF campaign (Ogilvy and Mather) is a true testament to great visual rhetoric.
Honest, real, and emotion driven. Well done!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A thousand words....

Sometimes design's ability to express an idea so poignantly shakes my soul.
These toy soldiers by Dorothy is one such case. "Casualties of War"
Heartbreaking. Haunting. Beautiful.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Inspiration: "We Were Made for These Times"

Sometimes being open to the news and the truth and the world can be a daunting task. Especially, if you are yelling GREEN and everyone else is yelling blue. Time to pull out one of my favourite power poems to help push through the heavy heart moments of change instigation. I don't know Clarissa Pinkola Estes, but I admire her spirit. Lo admiro mucho, y cuando necesito reunir mi mente con mi corazon, siempre regreso a su poesia. Hope you enjoy!

"We Were Made for These Times" by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times.
I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The luster and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking.
Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes.
For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency too to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails. We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear.
Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely.
It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing.
We know that it does not take "everyone on Earth" to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire.
To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these -- to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are act of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.
If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do. There will always be times when you feel discouraged.
I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here.
The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here.
In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for. This comes with much love and a prayer that you remember who you came from, and why you came to this beautiful, needful Earth.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D
Dr. Estés is a psychoanalyst; Member Hispanic Journalists; Post-trauma specialist, Columbine High School and community, since massacre, 1999-2003; Board member: Author's Guild, New York.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Earth Day Gifts for Clients

Today, in honour of Earth Day, 2011, we donated fruit-bearing trees on behalf of 20 great clients. I purchased the trees from Trees for Life : a great non-profit whose mission is to help end world hunger by planting fruit trees in the developing world. They plant native species that can thrive, and that can eventually feed the person who takes care of it. I like the way they think. Each person that is helped is asked to share seeds with two other people and to teach them what they have learned. It's great companies like this that we want to connect with. Tackling social justice, education initiatives and global warming issues in one shot (via first world donations in small, payable amounts) is pure genius. 
Maybe we will contact them someday and offer to promote their great cause. I'd love to create green designs for them, and their donation certificate could definitely use a facelift. Hmmm. That's fruit for thought. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Urban Garden Heaven

I've just found urban garden heaven.
This vertical garden design was spotted on kickstarter.com - an amazing site where you can pledge to fund the creative ideas you like. I am going to back this amazing live decor, and purchase a set in advance of production. (Just look at these gorgeous prototypes!) I imagine it right by my kitchen window, touting herbs for my salads. *Just about perfect*

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Breathtaking Earth

Designers can only hope to emulate the perfect beauty that is mother nature.

The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Terje Sorgjerd filmed these sequences from a mountaintop in Spain. After seeing the Hubble photographs I was sure that I had seen the most beautiful images that I would ever see.... Terje has managed to capture the intense raw beauty of the skies in a way that rivals those from space. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Walking the Walk

Yesterday I was locked out of my house. A simple slip up and a wonderful moment in my week. The sun was out, I had my laptop, so I walked to my local coffee shop for my fair trade double-double.

{{ This is actually noteworthy 
because I never walk to the coffee shop.}}

The walk gave me time to think.
It gave me time to breathe.
It gave me time to let the brain create.
I was literally whistling as I step-stepped down the road and I realized that I was, for the first time, really walking the walk. My zero carbon footsteps took me where I needed to be, and that realization left me quite rattled. It had been so long since I had walked - well anywhere, really - and it's such a simple thing to do.
Here I am, working hard to use recycled papers and solar-powered websites, and I am missing out on the simplest idea of all.


It's healthier, it's cheaper, it's non- polluting, and there's no excuse not to do it.
I'm making a goal this summer to walk.
If you see the red beetle booting around town feel free to give me the thumbs down. 
Red thumbs-down buggy no punch backs.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Design that Matters : The Green Party of Canada Animation

I've been busy busy designing and creative thinking. (Ahem, hence the 2011 lag in posts.) We recently created a design piece that disallowed me to neglect my "Green Graphic Design" blog.

Here's a YouTube clip of the Green Party of Canada animation that we sent their way last week. It was such a satisfying experience to be designing communications for something that I feel so passionately about. It was the most feel-good work I've done all year! You can see it on the national campaign site at Green Party Canada.

It reaffirmed my decision to go solo and to look for GOOD clients, working on POSITIVE projects that matter. Sometimes I lament my jump from the road-to-riches to the road-to-goodwill, but this week I am nothing but smiles.