Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New organic textiles at Rubie Green and Plover

I just noticed (though am no doubt late to learn) that there are new-for-fall fabrics and bed, table, etc. linen at Rubie Green and Plover Organics, respectively. I'm not really in the market for any gorgeous new textiles at the moment, but maybe you are? Yes, your kids will probably stain them, but you can't put your life entirely on hold until your kids have grown out of the aggressive staining phase, right? I really like the Rubie Green Habibi, and the Jackie leopard print, even though I am generally not into leopard print, this one is very sort of streamlined and spare and sweet and doesn't remind me of dead animals in the slightest.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Organic cotton tea towels, and other treats

I just discovered this newish line of treats called Hammocks and High Tea. It's been covered by Daily Candy and Lucky mag, so I'm not sure why I didn't learn about it sooner. It has gorgeous looking organic cotton tea towels and recycled paper notecards, among other fun stuff. The notecards are a little pricey, but I ordered some of the tea towels and will report back on whether they live up to expectation once they arrive. I am rather obsessed with tea towels for some reason, and Hammocks and High Tea makes them in lots of cool prints like a Suzani-inspired one and an ikat and a paisley and a chevron . . and organic too, so what could be better?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Green Purelle alternative

My husband and I often bicker about Purelle ("bicker" is a word I'd hoped I'd never use about my marriage but, alas, something about having two kids under three turns you into your parents). I say that the chemicals in it have got to be bad for our beebs, he says that a few chemicals are better than viruses and bacteria. Lately I've been surrendering and using the stuff more, because I'm so weary of having sick kids, and am willing to sacrifice principle and maybe even safety to try to fend off the viruses. But I've discovered this new stuff that will hopefully put an end to the discussion: Clean Well, an all-natural, alcohol-free blend of plant oils "proven to kill 99.9% of germs." Costs $5, comes in a purse-friendly little bottle. We'll see! The founders have a blog, too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sustainable/ethical/stylish textiles

I've admired Les Indiennes fabric in magazines but for some reason only just realized that it's organic cotton, with nontoxic dyes, and made fair trade-style in India. In addition to textiles they do tabletop, bedding, throw pillows and lovely little accessories, and you can buy it all online. Not cheap, but so beautiful. I'm adding the napkins to my mental wish list.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mango wood lamp love

I sort of lust after this lamp from WS home, even though it's way out of my budget and I am not really even in need of a lamp. I've seen similar ones in decor magazines over the past few years (did Palecek make one?), and maybe the look of a big chunk of wood carved into a classical silhouette is trickling down. And mango wood is very sustainable, or so I've read, so if one were to splurge on this lamp you could at least feel good about that part.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chic eco dollhouse

In an uncharacteristically organized move I just ordered my daughter her Christmas gift (she's not yet three, so Santa can still get away with getting her just one big-ish one, and leave the relatives to round that out), the mod dollhouse by Plan Toys from Oompa (free shipping too--sort of love the weak economy!). Love that it is solid wood and finished in non-toxic paint. And while she would probably prefer the bigger, less green option from PB kids, I am appreciating the fact that she's still not old enough to really understand retail and will hopefully just be thrilled with my doll house of choice. My friend with older kids tell me I've got about six more months until that all falls apart though!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Found: Perfect coffee table!

I spent the past three years hunting for the perfect coffee/cocktail table, so I know that it is very, very, very hard to find one that is both eco and family-friendly. By family friendly I mean round or oval (so no pointy corners to gouge small tumbling heads) and not glass (so many of the round ones have glass tops for some reason!). By earth-friendly I mean not made of toxic particleboard or plastic! Also, I wanted one that was at least 4 feet in diameter. I hate a small coffee table. I know that some people prefer to have one or two little ones that they can navigate around easily, but I like to have ample room to spread out magazines and meals. Anyway, it was worth the wait, because I finally found a vintage coffee table (on 1stdibs) that meets all my requirements and even exceeds them, because it has that uniqueness that you can only get with vintage (though the fact that it's been around since the 1950's makes it extra-distressing when I see my daughter drive a toy firetruck across the surface).

But, had I come across Room and Board's Bradshaw table first I definitely would have purchased it. It fits all of my requirements (big, round and solid wood--though the wood is not FSC-certified or anything, so I suppose it could be more eco), and in my opinion is close to perfect. Could work with mod, trad or just about any decor, and I bet if you buy one you will have it for decades.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fab organic fabrics on sale!

Mod Green Pod does very chic, not at all crunchy, fabrics and wallpaper. I've long lusted after them, but they're a little pricey so until now have not purchased. But, they're having a 50% off sale on many of their designs, and I am thinking that one of the ticking stripes would be the perfect thing for a pair of brown blah chairs I have been wanting to makeover for a while. The "butterfly jubilee" pattern would be excellent for a window shade or headboard in a little girl's room.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The very safest sippy cup

Until recently I had my daughter drinking from one of those Sigg kiddie bottles with the cute cartoons recently, but I became concerned about what exactly they're lined with when I read this post on Treehugger on the subject. I couldn't shake the sense that Sigg sound a little shady and evasive on the subject of BPA, and the owner of one of my favorite green living stores heightened my protective mama bear instincts/toxin paranoia when she said that despite the company's reassurances she has reason to believe that there is some BPA in the liners of the Sigg bottles, and that her store only sells Kleen Kanteen sippy cups as a result (the KKs are stainless steel, with no mysterious plasticy liner inside). So I tossed my daughter's Sigg into the recycling bin that night, and hoped she wouldn't notice. I played up the special-ness of her brand new bottle when I handed her the Kleen Kanteen the next morning, and she didn't even seem to mind that her dog-cartoon-covered sippy had been replaced by this less embellished version.

By the way, did you know that BPA lines soda cans too? I shudder when I think of all of the Diet Cokes I downed in my 20s (not to mention beers in cans--do you think BPA lines beer cans?), and hope that it didn't do too much damage to my then-unconsidered, now-very real, offspring.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Organic crib bedding on sale!

I just popped over to the Plover Organic website in search of a quilt or duvet for my 2 year old, because she just started to nap at school and I want a more snuggly blanket for her to use there than the cheap-o fleece one we're using at the moment. I was delighted to find that their spring/summer line is on sale, and I am thinking of snapping up one of the quilts for just $65. Though I'm hesitating because of the dire economic news. Does she really NEED a $65 organic cotton duvet for her naps on the floor of the preschool? I feel like she does, but am going to have to think it over a little more. If the economy enters some sort of death spiral will I look back on that purchase and think how foolhardy it was?

But the fall line is on the site too and the designs are gorgeous and strike a spot-on balance of mod/trad/boho that means you could probably use them for ages and never get sick of them. Plus the Plover pieces are not only organic but also meet the Oeko-Tex 100 Standard for non-toxic-ness with their dyes and everything, so they are certainly a company you can feel good about supporting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Amber baby necklaces

Lately I've been taken with these amber baby necklaces, so I just ordered one from Nova Naturals for my little guy. The amber is supposed to sooth teething pain and have general curative properties, which may be a bunch of bunk, but I think they have sort of a sweet Euro-hippie look about them. A friend who spends winters in St. Barth (because her husband is a boat captain, not because she is some sort of jet setter otherwise) says that many of the little locals down there wear them, and I love the way that they look on her sons. My little guy is quite the bruiser, so a necklace might look a little odd on him, but I'm going to give it a try. If it eases his new tooth suffering at all it will most definitely be a keeper.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Splurge vs. Steal Rug

Somewhat related to my rug post below, it seems like this one Madeleine Weinrib wool flat weave is THE hot rug of the moment. It's on the cover of the September Elle Decor, and I've seen it featured in similar spots. But the fantastic news about it is that you can get one that looks nearly identical, in photos anyway, from Ikea (the Rand rug, for $299 for a 9x12). Since it's wool and has those stark white stripes it is not so terribly family-friendly, but at that price you could simply replace it once it got too horribly dirty. Okay, you're right, that isn't a very eco-friendly sentiment whatsoever, and I'm not planning on buying one because I know that my kiddos would grind Play Dough into the white parts within hours. But I'm just saying, if you want the rug of the moment look on the cheap, head to Ikea asap! (These rugs can't be purchased online, but Ikea has a service that lets you find out in advance if something is available at a particular store).

Monday, August 4, 2008

Lovely cotton rugs

Like any design magazine junkie, I've long lusted after Madeline Weinrib's rugs and home goodies, but thought that they were all way too high-end for little old me. I've just discovered, though, that her cotton rugs are not so terribly expensive—about $1k for a room-spanning one (though I need to do a little more research and am not sure if the ones shown above ring up at that price). Although that's hardly spare change, I know that MW's throw pillows can easily cost one third of that, so I was a little surprised. The three gorgeous ones above would all be pretty family-friendly (i.e. stain and dirt masking!) but not at all in the horrible way that that term is usually used when it comes to interiors.

Green mommy gift idea

As a mom it's easy to fall into totally-unselfish mode, but every once in a while an occasion comes around (holidays, birthday, new baby, anniversary . . ) when somebody or somebodies need to give you a gift. If you are both an earth-minded mama AND deep into the habit of thinking about everybody but yourself, you are probably at a loss for what to ask for, and may find yourself telling curious gift givers to just buy you some organic cotton tee shirts or donate to the NRDC on your behalf. But no, no, no! You are no good to your family or the cause of earth consciousness if you let yourself get bedraggled and under-pampered! So, at least once a year, ask for something fabulous. Of course, vintage anything is always earth friendly, but if you need to give a husband or other style-challenged gift giver extremely clear instructions, let me suggest the In the Rough collection by NYC jeweler Sarah Perliss. It's all made of recycled gold and ethically mined stones, plus it has a very subtle, slightly rough-hewn quality that will suit your chic but self-effacing earth mama self. I have the little X earrings and may have to put one of the diamond pieces on the mental wish list I maintain just in case anybody inquires.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Stylish organic kiddie sweater

Thanks to Under the Nile, Speesies, etc., it's now pretty easy to buy basic baby clothes like onesies and pjs in organic cotton. But it's much trickier to find serious pieces like sweaters in eco-friendly materials. So I love this brand new striped organic cotton sweater from PB Kids. It's really sweet and stylish I think, and unisex too, so you could pass it on to any younger or future children, regardless of gender. Little girls could even wear it over a floral print or frilly dresses to tone them down a bit. I had sort of a hard time finding cardis for my daughter that weren't too precious and girlie, but this absolutely fits the bill. Yes, at $58 it is quite expensive for toddler wear, but many of the things at my local chic green kids shop cost even more.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Exotic accent

Vivaterra creates these takes of traditional moroccan wedding capes, which can be used as throws or rugs or, I suppose, wall hangings. A friend of mine uses one as a living room rug and it looks lovely and very cool--a "what is that and where did you get it and how were you smart enough to think of it?" sort of item. You'll have to trust me that the sequins and fringe really do look quite cool on the floor.

Now the white hue isn't terribly family-friendly, but it's really more of an off-white, and that combined with the texture means that you could live on it for quite a while before it started to look really dirty I'd think. And, since it's technically a blanket it shouldn't contain a lot of glues or possibly harmful backings . .

These Moroccan rugs are often used with mid-century modern furniture, and really warm it up a lot, so don't think you have to have an exotic or haute hippie look going on to use one of these.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Earth-friendly crib craze?

Today Ecofabulous reports that Nicole Kidman's new tot is sleeping on one of Q Collection Junior's Solare cribs, which are certified by the Greenguard Environmental Health Institute as having very low emissions. The cribs look lovely, but at $1000+, are much too spendy for most of us. I shelled out quite a bit less for both of my kids' cribs, but made sure that they were made of solid wood, so hopefully emit fewer toxic fumes than those made of composite. I found my infant son's crib through Dax Stores, which seems to be a good online resource for affordable earth-friendly furnishings. I chose the Jenny Lind-style crib made by DaVinci (photo above), which supposedly is finished with only non-toxic paints and made of wood sustainably harvested in Asia. It's made in China, but, hey, you can't have it all--and at $250 or so it is a much better option for most of us than the Q Collection cribs. I must add, though, that my son has an organic cotton crib sheet from Q Collection (not sure how much it cost--it was a gift), and the cotton is deliciously soft and the color is lovely. So if you want a little touch of eco posh in you babe's bed, you might consider some linen from the company.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Obsessed with Otomi

I've fallen in love with Mexican Otomi textiles after seeing them in Domino and on some of the big design blogs. These bright, graphic animal print embroideries are handmade by Mexican Otomi indians, and while the cotton doesn't appear to be organic or anything, the dyes are said to be natural and it qualifies as eco enough, I think, to be supporting this centuries-old tradition instead of buying textiles that are mass-produced in China, right? You can order them (along with a lot of other beautiful goodies from Mexico) at Jacaranda Home.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Green and gorgeous tables

The Paris coffee table from Eboniste is, in my opinion, the epitome of loveliness. A little trad but a little mod too, with "feminine" curves but also possessing sturdy and graphic qualities that should keep the husbands happy. It's hard to imagine a design scheme that wouldn't accommodate it. And hard to believe that such a high-design item is actually green, but apparently that's the case. These tables, and a bunch of similarly chic side and console tables under the "green" category on Eboniste, are made of reclaimed elm and mineral finishes.

That said, I do prefer a round or other coffee table without hard edges because of the rugrats careening around my living room. Also, something about soft edges on centrally-placed tables just feels better to me on a visceral level (I've heard that round tables create better feng shui than hard edges, so perhaps that's what it is?). I recently bought a round coffee table from the 50s because, of course, vintage is the green-est route of all.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More rug possibilities

While not as fantabulous as the coveted John Robshaw dhurries, the flat woven cotton rugs from Dash and Albert seem like a fail-proof option for a family home. They've got a country vibe going on, but many of the striped styles are simple enough to work with urban or contemporary furniture I think. And they're cheap--around $400 for a 9 x 12. Interestingly (I guess) my googling led me to discover a blue and white striped dhurrie known as the "beach house rug" from the movie "Something's Gotta Give". I remember a decorator friend of my mother-in-law's telling me a few years ago that ALL of her clients were obsessed with recreating the Diane Keaton character's house in that movie. Apparently people are still fixated on it, because this rug is sold out until October 2008.

If I had it in me to start a business right now, I would think that stylish cotton rugs would be a money machine--really seems like demand is exceeding supply, doesn't it?

Dhurrie lust

I am currently obsessed with dhurrie rugs—I need a big area rug that's relatively easy to clean, patterned (to hide stains pre-cleaning and when cleaning fails), and with no PFC stain coatings or toxic glues or backings. Oh, and it can't be too expensive either! You would think that almost every family with young kids would need just such a rug, so why is it so difficult to find?

I thought that my quest had come to a delightful end when I discovered the super-stylish, versatile dhurries on John Robshaw's website but, alas, they seem to be out of stock, with no indication that they'll be back in stock any time soon. I've sent them an email asking for details on the apparently in-demand dhurries (every color/pattern and size is sold out, so clearly I'm not the only one craving these exact rugs). Stay tuned.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fumbling towards earth-friendly

I'm on a quest to create a home that meets these three criteria: Beautiful, gentle on the planet, safe for (and functional with) little kids. Although there are suddenly so many "green" items to choose between, it's hard to sort out which ones are truly nontoxic and eco-friendly, and also make sense from a functional standpoint.

So, as I ponder and obsess over these issues, I'm going to share my discoveries and curiosities here, both as a personal scrapbook of sorts as well as to (hopefully) help out other people on a similar path.