Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday gift ideas

Tis the season to get busy shopping!  For those of us who prefer to let our fingers do the walking, here are a few gift ideas from the internet.


Fabulous semi-custom stationary from   Set of 20 notes and envelops. $45.00


Succulent Wreath from VivaTerra.  13” diameter hand-assembled wreath made out of living plants! $79.00


Tin can Angels with bottle cap faces are hand made in Guatemala!  Made from old aluminum cans from VivaTerra.  Set of 4: $17.00



Colorful handmade beads from Bead for Life, an organization whose mission is to eradicate poverty in Uganda.  You can purchase these colorful bracelets or necklaces (made from paper) that range in price from $5 to $20.


“Love our Oceans” Gift set from glassybaby.  These glass candle holders are made from a multi-layered glass blowing process.  100 per cent of the sales price of this set goes to assist Conservation International, an organization whose mission is to “responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity” including our beautiful oceans.  Set of 3:  $120


This recycled sailcloth collection of bags, shower curtains and dog beds is a must have for all those who are nautical-minded!  The bags are durable and affordable and come in a wide range of sizes!  Available from Ella Vickers.


Amaryllis Flower Kit.  Make beautiful flowers out of paper!  Visit Paper Source to find this kit and many others!  $14.95


At last, tools designed for fun!  Get these hammers and screwdrivers in mulit- or nauticual-stripes from for $24.50.


Finally, here are some wonderful gifts available on Etsy …


This “Blooming Neck Gardens” scarf features hand-crocheted flowers on a crocheted chain.  It is handmade with love by Scarf it up at Etsy.  You can own it for just $48.00!


Delicate and dainty, this Family Tree Initial necklace features your initials and creates a personal statement for the wearer to keep close to her heart.  From Soul Peaces on Etsy.  $47.00

These chalkboard plant stakes will assist you with labeling your garden this summer!  The best thing about them is that they don’t cause glare from the sun AND they are reusable!  Get this set of 5 plant stakes from  bradensgracewallart on Etsy for just $12.

This beautiful line of clothing pins can dress up any outfit!  Get them from Bien Aimee at Etsy for under $30.

Happy Black Friday everyone!  Feel free to post about any other great gift items you might find when you are out and about on the internet!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

If plants could read

Then you might want to show them these …



Made from recycled soda, juice and soup cans by VivaTerra, these colorful letters can add a little kitsch to your garden walls.  Run, don’t walk to purchase these as they are currently on sale for just $29.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

2010 World Expo Closes in China

The architecture every one is talking about these days is not in Dubai, but China.  On October 31, the Chinese finished hosting the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai where over 73 million people visited the 5.28 square kilometer (1300+ acres) site.  Nearly 200 countries participated in the event whose overall theme was “Better City – Better Life” signifying Shanghai’s “new status” as the “next great world city.”



Perhaps the greatest part of the Expo are the Pavilions.  This year, there were five central themes exploring urban development.  They included Urban Footprints, Urban Planet, Urbanian, City Being and Urban Future.  There were both National and Corporate pavilions.  Here’s a look at a few of the National pavilions.


The Latvian Pavilion theme was “Innovation City of Science and Technology.”  It featured an interior wind tunnel.


The Australian Pavilion had curving walls and a red exterior symbolizing it’s great natural monument Ayer’s Rock.  Its theme was ImagiNation.


The Chinese Pavilion’s theme was “Chinese Wisdom in Urban Development.”  It featured elements of traditional Chinese architecture dating back 2000 years that utilized interlocking wooden brackets or “dougong” for the roof.  This building was called “The Crown of the East.”


Japan’s Pavilion featured a purple membrane exterior and was modeled after a breathing organism.  Its theme was “Harmony of the Hearts, Harmony of the Skills.”  The Chinese called it the “Purple Silkworm Island.”


The Brazilian Pavilion’s concept was to highlight the cultural diversity and dynamism of its cities.  Its theme was “Pulsing Cities:  Feel the Life of Brazilian Cities.”  The green intersecting wooden lace exterior was symbolic of its forests and a recyclable material.


Canada’s Pavilion, shaped like the letter “C,” invited guests to enter through a gap in its exterior where they then proceeded through an interior courtyard to the building entrance.  It featured a virtual waterfall and the Cirque du Soleil.  Its theme was “The Living City:  Inclusive, Sustainable, Creative.”


The French Pavllion appears to be floating and features the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of France.  Its theme was “Sensual City.”  The exterior is made of a special concrete mesh and featured planted walls as well as a green roof garden. 

“Norway, Powered by Nature” themed the Norway Pavilion.  The wood structure was made up of 15 “trees” covered with a semi-transparent roof that provided enough solar energy to make the entire pavilion self sufficient.


“Balancity” was the theme of the German Pavilion.  It featured a cone-shaped structure that housed a revolving Metal Sphere.


Designed as a “hand-weaved” wicker basket, Spain’s Pavilion was themed “From the City of our Parents to the City of our Children.”  Each panel on the exterior was hand made and unique.


The United Kingdom’s Pavilion featured the theme of “Building on our Past, Shaping our future.”  It was dubbed as the “Seed Cathedral” and the area around it represented wrapping paper, that had fallen away to reveal the treasure inside.  It featured a tour of it’s major cities including London, Belfast, Edinborough and Cardiff, as well as a special Olympic Corner previewing the 2012 Olympics.


Finally, the United States’ Pavilion was designed around the theme of “Rise to the Challenge.”  It was a large grey steel structure that symbolized an eagle spreading its wings.  It conveyed four core concepts of sustainability, teamwork, health and the spirit of striving for success and presented the U.S. as a place of opportunity and diversity.

I can only dream of going to something like this one day.  I can’t imagine being there! 

These great World Expos or Fairs take place roughly every three or four years, depending upon which country commits to hosting it.  Italy will host the World Expo 2015 in Milan.  The history of these world fairs began in London in 1851.  Their purpose was to express the hopes of the day, showcase outside cultures, scientific advances, new inventions and also, to generate revenue.  To learn more about the history of these great events, go Here.

Finally, Shanghai has announced its plans to build a World Expo Museum and intends to conserve expo exhibits and popularize world expo history.  To read and learn more about the 2010 World Expo, visit their website Here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shipping Containers in the Sky

Sky is the Limit 2008 was designed by Mesarchitecture as a Tea House in Yang Yang, South Korea.  Basically, the structure suspends two shipping containers 20 meters above the ground.

Sky is the Limit 2008

Here’s a view inside one:

I’d like to go up there and have a look, but would hate to be up there on an especially windy day!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hot fireplaces for modern homes

“Gate” by Carsten Gollnick for Conmoto is a built-in fireplace for the home that looks like furniture.  It consists of twin glossy black cabinets with glass fronts.  One side contains the wood-burning fireplace while the other stores the wood. 

How simple is that?

If you’re not into the vertical design, look at this horizontal fireplace design from Peter Maly for Conmoto.

Or consider this round option called “Roll Fire” by Sieger Design for Conmoto.  This flueless fireplace could fit just about anywhere indoors or out.

Who would have predicted 10 years ago that we’d now have moveable fireplaces in the home or furniture that doubles as fireplaces?


Saturday, October 9, 2010

A New Look for Chiquita Bananas

This summer Chiquita Bananas had a contest to design new stickers for their bananas.  100,000 votes were cast for the 50 top finalists with winners being determined by popular vote and the 18 winners are pictured below.



And the winners are...


Allan N Contest Submission   Dave A Contest Submission   Tayler W Contest Submission    Aviva M Contest Submission

Kristen  S Contest Submission   Stan B Contest Submission   Brittany  B Contest Submission    Dana T Contest Submission

Jessica C Contest Submission   katie a Contest Submission   Belinda G Contest Submission    Ben M Contest Submission

Megan Meade C Contest Submission   Kori M Contest Submission   Max I Contest Submission   Kim M Contest Submission

Jon K Contest Submission   Mary V Contest Submission

Look for these stickers to adorn your favorite bananas in November.  Fun!