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Holidays

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Christmas Trees for Tree Huggers

Becky

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Recently, a friend posted this on Facebook:

just curious to know why environmentally conscious people buy real Christmas trees? am i missing something?

I think she was; surely the carbon footprint of manufacturing, shipping and eventually disposing of fake trees is worse for the environment than tree farms, where trees are grown as crops, right? It’s ain’t exactly clear-cropping trees off a mountain (the one complaint I found about these farms is that some use pesticides, otherwise, what’s not to love about them?). Give us your two cents in the comments section.

However, there are some other solutions that should really satisfy the tree-hugging crowd either way; those that upcycle materials like bottles, cans and even over in Belgium, those throwaway extra pieces of china that no longer match anything. Here’s a peek at some very clever tree reuse projects.

1. Design Boom recently posted a 30′ -high tree in Brussels, Belgium, composed of  over 5,000 donated pieces of blue and white china. The tree is by the design firm mooz and it is super cool:

2. Over on Flickr, another lovely tree is made of bottles was beautifully shot by Flickr member gdanny:

found via rubyreusable

3. Here’s a living room tree made out of just-the-right shade of green glass bottles:

4. This outdoor beer can version could bring in a pretty penny at the metal scrap yard:

3 and 4 have been labeled “redneck Christmas trees.” I think we can come up with a much nicer name than that, though it’s eluding me at the moment, because “beer hugger tree” is not a great tagline. Let me know if you come up with a better name for them in the comments section!

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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Gift Guide for Her

Becky

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So far we’ve looked at Gifts for the Office, Gifts for Kids and Gifts for Dudes. Here’s a look at some ideas for the ladies.

First, we’ll take a look at scarves from pom pom trimmed to adorned with jungle animals. We have all shapes and sizes, see the whole selection here. In the meantime, here’s a sampling:

Scaves at Design Public

Design Public Jewelry
Gifts for Her - Bits and Bobs
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Friday, November 30th, 2012

Around the Web This Week

Becky

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Hey all! Has this been the world’s longest week or what? I am so excited that it’s finally Friday! There haven’t been many minutes to spare for web surfing (do people still say that, or is it totally 1995?), but we’ve been having fun playing around with our formerly semi-dormant Pinterest account.

1. Pinteresting. If I dive into Jonathan Boivin’s pins, I may never get another post written, so I’m just dipping in a toe. If your eyes need to rest on a lot of cool stuff, check out his Architecture Board. I love a house perched in the woods, especially photographed in snow. Thanks for leading us to the Delta Shelter by Olson Kundig Architects Jonathan!

2. More ethereal architecture. Jonathan’s pins led me over to Gis Van Vaerenbergh’s site, which led me to this amazing project, Reading Between the Lines. A vernacular church reimagined in the landscape, rendered in concrete and steel:

photo by Filip Dujardin

3. Art Basel and shoes. Alright, going in a vastly different direction, I was catching up on a little Neiman Marcus blog action and came across these handpainted Charlotte Olympia Lichtenstein-inspired shoes. In honor of all the Art Basel festivities, Ms. Olympia will be in the Bal Harbour Neiman’s store December 4, hand-painting her Dolly platform pump in the shoe salon. There’s some private event buying and pre-ordering involved. While I wouldn’t dare teeter around on such a platform, I’d put them in a lucite box and admire them:

image via NMDaily

Speaking of Art Basel, I’m in love with this piece, from Spain’s galería elba benítez:

image from Art Basel via galería elba benítez

4. Christmas tunes. What else is going on this week besides trying to avoid bad holiday music? My favorite Christmas song will always be Joan Jett’s version of Little Drummer Boy, with Christmas In Hollis by Run-DMC running a close second, which can be found on the first A Very Special Christmas album with the awesome cover art by the late Keith Haring.

For an entire album that makes for some nice tree-trimming background music, you really can’t go wrong with A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

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Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

When Do You Start Haul Out the Holly?

Becky

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I’ve been hearing from many people that the day after Thanksgiving means it’s time to digest then head on up to the attic and haul down the Christmas decorations. I still struggle to find great images of those who can balance some traditional Christmas kitsch with modern style; they usually come in from some far-off Scandinavian land.

However, I think these holidays are one of those times when you can be as traditional, tacky or completely insane as you want, I mean, if your decorations are too minimal and too cool for school, you could find yourself featured on Unhappy Hipsters. Why not make your electric meter go around and around like the Griswolds, well, besides the expense and the waste of energy and all that stuff?

Do you immediately start de-tangling your lights and get your Yuletide on starting on Black Friday? Do you bust out your tacky Christmas sweaters? Start writing those holiday cards? Or have you been camping out at Best Buy? Do you whip out National Lampoons Christmas Vacation or It’s a Wonderful Life? Will the neighbors come after you with pitchforks if you use colored lights instead of white?Do you head off to the tree farm to pick the one with the least crooked trunk? Do you start to wrap gifts over the weekend or are you still recovering from a Black Friday tazering? Let us know what you do in the post-Thanksgiving haze in the comments section.

By the way, if your religion does not celebrate Christmas, I am sorry. The endless loop of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” playing in all businesses must be even more annoying for you.

  • Image 1 and 2 from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Warner Brothers
  • Image 3 from Sherman’s World
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Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner? Give a Little Back This Year

Becky

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I assume many of you are wrapping up your work as quickly as you can, facing traffic jams and long airport security lines today. No matter what a pain it is to get home, we all seem to deem the Thanksgiving holiday totally worth it. We’re thankful for our family and friends, for what we do have even during these tough economic times, no matter the outcome, we’re happy the election is over, we’re thankful for the big meals we’re going to overindulge in.

image from bricabrac blog

While you look around and think of all you’re thankful for, please remember those in need. In my family, we all bring books to donate to the Bristol Connecticut Boys and Girls Club, an organization that was very close to my late grandparents’ hearts. Why not make helping others a traditional part of your joyous gathering? If you are hosting a group, shoot out a quick text or email letting everyone know you’ll have a big box or two out and ready on Thanksgiving. Have your guests bring things that are most needed this time of year. If you’ll be too exhausted to do a drop off, enlist someone else, or simply pick a charity and collect cash donations.Here are some easy ideas:

Gather non-perishable goods to a local food bank. Simply search “food bank” and your city’s name to find out what they need.

Extra warm coats and/or blankets are needed so much this time of year. Make sure these are in good shape and clean before donating.

For those old towels and blankets  that aren’t in such good shape, donate them to an animal shelter.

If you are visiting a loved one in the hospital, give blood while you are there.

Supplies for teachers at a local school. Many school budgets are so stretched that teachers need to bring their own supplies.

Many victims of Hurricane Sandy still need help. If you live close by, Gothamist has a good list of ways you can help with Thanksgiving donations. If you don’t live close by, support The Red Cross. If you know a victim personally, they may not say it, but what they probably need most is cash. Think about taking up a collection for them at Thanksgiving dinner.

Please add any of your own charitable suggestions and giving traditions in the comments section.

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