Category: sustainability

Small Scale

Monday 10.10.11

As a kid, my fantasy was to live in an RV. I was fascinated with the idea that everything had a dedicated spot and that there was essentially no space for anything extra. Dining tables converted to beds in the evening, and there were built-ins galore. Like a lot of people, my dream house has since morphed into a series of small sheds: One for sleeping, one for cooking and eating and relaxing and definitely one for working. If need be, I could easily combine both of the “non-studio” structures into a single unit. When I came across the Just Sheds site I found myself plotting some teeny future compound.

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How to Fold a Plastic Bag

Monday 10.03.11

This is a video re-post from when I first started this blog. I don’t know about you, but I am proud to say that I have “almost” completely eliminated the use of plastic grocery bags. However, when you are faced with one, here is my friend Keiko’s very special technique for folding said item into neat little package for handy future use.

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Foraging Expedition

Thursday 09.29.11

We went for a little mushroom hunting walk in the woods a couple of weeks ago and this is what we found. The colors and textures amaze me. Unfortunately, none of these are particularly edible. If my father is reading this: Dad, please know that we absolutely draw the line at eating any wild mushroom that has a close cousin that will either make us sick or worse! Anyway, we have a favorite wooded spot along a small creek which often plays host to a bloom of hedgehog mushrooms (Hydnum repandum). Hedgehogs are a distinctively meaty variety that have little spines instead of gills. And they are prized for both their taste and their texture. We didn’t find any that day. Maybe this weekend we’ll get lucky. The last image is from the farmers’ market at the ferry building in San Francisco. Fantasy land.

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La Macchinetta

Wednesday 09.14.11

The Bialetti Moka Express coffeemaker is a miracle of design, simplicity and longevity: no filters, no glass, just coffee, water and a flame. It was designed by Alfonso Bialetti (who happens to be the grandfather of Alberto Alessi) in 1933. I know there is a profusion of brewing options out there and, depending on how much of a connoisseur one is, probably many “finer” solutions to procuring a morning cup of coffee. That said, I’ve had this little pot since I was 22. I lived in Italy at the time, and I thought I should do as the natives do. So I bought one. I’ve since graduated to larger versions this same design, but that aside, I’ve been making my coffee the same way for as long as that.

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The Best Little Wood Stoves

Friday 08.12.11

I don’t want to proselytize too much, but these wood burning stoves are fantastic! In a recent conversation with a designer who is planning to build a studio adjacent to her home, I found myself waxing lyrically about the beauty and efficiency of our own Morso stove (we have the little Owl…the 5th image down). The Danish company has been around since 1853, so in my opinion it’s got some cred. These stoves are so efficient, that when used properly there is no smoke coming out of your chimney and virtually no ash left in the stove itself. I was originally looking at some really fancy (read: expensive) stoves, but we couldn’t imagine spending that kind of money on a design for which we were not even that keen. They were lovely, but essentially too cold and hard-edged for our humble little A-Frame. There had to be something else out there that embodied the essence of Scandinavian design, but with some warmth and character. Morso designs run the gamut from very classic Danish court style to ultra modern. And, what’s even better, they use 98% recycled materials in the production of their stoves.

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Kitchen Management

Thursday 08.04.11

Simple, clean and the most durable solution I’ve seen to date for kitchen storage. These metal enameled canisters with ash wood lids, designed by the women behind the Viennese studio Dottings, are so nice and so practical! Keep in mind that while these are indeed opaque, you can easily write on the surface so that you know what’s inside. I came across these while I was wandering around vineet kaur’s tumblr blog. Photos by Christina HĂ€usler.

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Tuesday 07.12.11

I rarely talk about fashion. Mostly because I have a lot of mixed feelings regarding the throwaway nature of a majority of the industry. This isn’t to say that I don’t like clothing or shoes, or whatever. I do. But I don’t necessarily want to be a party to their bad habits. Enter Upla, a French bag company which has been in the business since 1973. They are most famous for their “fisherman’s pouch” (besace du pĂȘcheur, en francais), a classic messenger-style satchel. The design has remained virtually the same since its introduction. It comes in a variety of fabrics and leathers, and I guarantee that it will be one of the last bags you ever buy. This is a concept I can totally get behind. Fair warning — these aren’t cheap. In fact, they are quite pricey. Especially the leather ones. But, if you decide to spring for one, I swear it will last…forever. I have one bag that goes back to 1985, and it is still in mint condition. The only drawback is that the bags are nearly impossible to find here in the US. Although a search online yields a few used ebay options, your best bet is to pony up for the shipping, and just order from the French site.

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