Posts filed under ‘Ideas’

Protecting The Future, One Seed At A Time

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As a new gardener, I’ve been quickly learning about different plant varieties I can grow, in what seasons they grow best and how to take each plant from seed to maturity. The first seeds in my new garden have sprouted and are well on their way to maturity. The layout of the garden has been planned, and seasonal, organic vegetable and fruit seeds have been chosen. Everything seems to be in order, or so I thought it was.

A fellow gardener and I were looking over my plans and plant choices when he noted I did not have enough biodiversity in my selections. I had evidently chosen plants that would increase pests in my plots, and I had none that would keep them away. Additionally, some of the plants I wanted to raise together for seasonal and ornamental reason would kill each other if left on their own for too long. This might sound like bad news, but this is why I asked him for help. I wanted to have the right information before I began planting my sprouts into the ground. Now I have a better understanding of what to plant, where to plant it and in what seasons I should start sowing.

After our conversation, I promised to plant a variety of seeds that would not only produce a tasty product, but would help protect my garden and the gardens around the neighborhood. I was able to source a fantastic nursery near my home that specializes in seeding heirloom vegetables and fruits. I found this curious as I did not know what they meant by heirloom. Evidently, an heirloom vegetable is a plant that was commonly grown during earlier years in human history, but is not commonly grown at present for one reason or another. I became fascinated by these vegetables and quickly learned as much as I could. I discovered that many heirloom vegetables are becoming extinct. I was quite appalling to me.

There are a vast number of wonderful and beautiful vegetable and fruit varieties I was blissfully unaware of until now. Knowing of them now is bittersweet as many of them are endangered. Right then I made a promise to myself, and vowed to grow a number of endangered varieties in my garden. One might suggest we simply let nature run it’s course, but I disagree. The more common vegetables and fruits are ones you see at the supermarket. These varieties were often selected because of their tolerance to pesticides, frost and drought. Nutritional value and flavor was usually a secondary concern if at all. I am certain there are exceptions, however, the homogenization of our horticultural world is only increasing the number of heirloom species that are becoming extinct ever year. I might be an in-experienced gardener, but common sense told me this probably isn’t good.

Cary Fowler, a biodiversity advocate and member of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, gave an excellent TED Talk on this issue. I certainly recommend giving his talk a listen. It is incredibly fascinating, and he highlights some very important arguments for maintaining the biodiversity in the Earth’s crops.

I would like to think I am doing my part by deciding to grow a number of heirloom vegetables along with more common varieties in my garden. I have great hopes and expectations for my plot as I have meticulously planned every detail. However, I do realize that the best gardens always come with time and dedication. It is going to be a long process, but I am very excited for the outcome. The most exciting part for me is knowing that I am aiding in the continued existence of endangered vegetables and fruits. That in itself, is all the drive I need to continue with this endeavor.

Video via TED Talks

Image by Carmen Dirica

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September 3, 2009 at 12:23 pm Leave a comment

Sustainable Architecture and Design by William McDonough

Architect William McDonough discusses the negative impact industry and large cities have on the environment, and ways in which good design can reduce carbon footprint. McDonough suggests a “cradle to cradle” design method that considers the full life cycle of a product.

I love sustainable design especially when it involves architecture and urban planning. His plans for a fully sustainable city in China are just phenomenal. It’s designs like these that give me hope for our future. I only wish I had the knowledge and experience needed to make a significant impact.

Video via TED Talks

August 26, 2009 at 7:09 am Leave a comment

Stunning Sea Life Jewerly by Barbara Umbel

I was absolutely stunned when I discovered Barbara Umbel’s sea life jewelry designs. At first glance, her pieces seemed too perfect to be actual sea shells. I was amazed to discover she actually uses seashells, gemstones and freshwater pearls found on Pawleys Island in South Carolina.

Barbara’s designs are beautiful, and the creative use of materials found in her environment is very inspiring to me. All of Barbara’s designs are one-of-a-kind, and can be found on BarbaraUmbel.com or Barbara Umbel on Etsy.

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Images via Barbara Umbel

August 11, 2009 at 3:40 am Leave a comment

Link Loving: Portfolios, Typography and Green Design

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I have been throwing myself into the study of design and and it principles these past couple of weeks. I did take a break from it for a bit while Dennis and I sorted our new flat, but I am happy to be at it again. Here are a few articles I’ve found very inspiring and informational.

• Very cool collection of illustrations, typographic work, lettering, web design and user experience work via I Love Colors. I love this blog and I love the articles.

• Beautiful and creative way of creating card and garland by using recycled paper scraps. This article was written by Laura Normandin and posted on Design Sponge.

• PRINT Magazine is hosting a webcast on August 4th Pangea Organics CEO and lead designer. The will discuss their sustainable packaging and biodegradable soaps and products. Tree Hugger has given us a small preview of their accomplishments and company policies regarding sustainable design.

• I know I’ve asked myself this question before, and Nubby Twiglet provides some very informative answers with tips for creating a print portfolio.

• Interesting article by Jason Santa Maria regarding the use of print design principles that might not work the same for the web. I have to say I agree with him on this one.

• A fascinating inside look into the inspiration and work of Alice Savoie. In this interview, Alice discusses her studies, her process and future projects. The interview is via I Love Typography.

August 10, 2009 at 2:29 pm 1 comment

Fashion Crush: Melissa Plastic Dreams & Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Collaboration

I nearly fell over when I saw these in a window while out taking a stroll in the Lanes this Sunday. Two of my favorite designers have collaborated to create these fabulously funky shoes. I have written about Melissa Plastic Dreams shoes before and I have good news to report. Since then I have tried them on and they are quite comfortable. Additionally, the claim that they smell of bubble gum is very true. Now, Vivienne Westwood has collaborated with Melissa Plastic Dreams to bring us this new collection called Anglomania. Let the girly screams commence.

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Images via Melissa Plastic Dreams

August 2, 2009 at 2:35 pm 1 comment

Ethical Homeware by Bridget West

I am very fond of Bridget West’s company and products. She designs and produces ethical products for the home made from recycled textiles and their labels. Almost every piece is unique, and the rest of her designs are digitally printed onto organic hemp cotton canvas. Aside from her product design business called Pieces of You, Bridget runs eco-workshops and she lectures on the topic of ethical design and consumption. She is certainly someone I admire greatly. I love her designs as well as her dedication to her cause.

If you are interested in any of the products below please visit Pieces of You where you will find many more lovely products.

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Images via Pieces Of You

July 30, 2009 at 2:58 pm Leave a comment

Jimmie Martin Restyled Antique Furniture

Jimmie Martin is a luxury brand furniture design studio based in London since 2004. They purchase each antique piece from auctions, and restyle them to create beautiful and eclectic designer furniture. All of their designs seem to one-off or custom made pieces.

Their work is very unique, and it’s really no surprise Jimmie Martin won “New Designer in Practice” at the Design and Decorations Awards in 2005. The founders have come up with a truly clever idea, and their end product is amazing. I really do want to decorate my home with these pieces. I haven’t seen anything like this before, and I am really very impressed. What do you think?

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Images via Jimmie Martin

July 23, 2009 at 8:41 am 1 comment

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