Filed under: DIY, savvy tools | Tags: Be Jane, home improvement and women, savvy tools
I’m constantly googling women + tools, women + home improvement, etc. to find the latest news, trends etc. in the market. Just recently, I came across www.bejane.com– an online forum to help women with home improvement issues. It was started by Eden Jarrin & Heidi Baker (pictured above) to inspire women and give them the knowledge & confidence to achieve their goals at home and in life. You can get advice on just about any home improvement project you can think of and watch how-to videos for all sorts of things. Not only that, they have a whole section under lifestyles dedicated to going green with instructions on things like how to start composting. I think it would be hard to find another company with a mission more in sync with our own. As to be expected, the forums are filled with women lamenting about the lack of good tools appropriate to their needs. Hopefully, we’ll be able to provide those for them. We’re getting closer, but it’s definitely a long process. In the mean time, check out be jane and tackle your own DIY project.
Filed under: design
So I haven’t posted highlights from ICFF this year. Overall I didn’t see too many ‘new’ items at the show. It was an exhausting day for me treking the city 8 months pregnant but it is always nice to see what is new and educate yourself. These were my favorites that I saw while I was there.
I’m pretty impressed with the Hida Collection of furniture that I viewed last year. They have now picked up a retailer in the US but I haven’t used or seen their products used yet in the US. The wood is made from compressed Sugi wood that is a grown in Japan. Apparently the wood is soft and not used for construction but with compressing the wood it can be used for furniture.
Look at me making a smoothie … on a bike! The pedaling motion is creating enough energy to power the blender and make me a tasty treat on a hot summer day!
Kelsey – Vail, CO
Finding green materials & products is one of the biggest hurdles for designers & consumers in general. A group called the Pharos Project has been working diligently to solve that problem. I had the privilege of hearing one of the founders, Tom Lent, speak at a USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) meeting a week or so ago. Apparently, the whole thing started with a casual discussion at another USGBC meeting a few years back. Designers & Architects were complaining about the market, all the greenwashing, and how even if a product says its green, you don’t really know what that means. A few napkin sketches later and the pharos project was born.
It’s not in use yet. They’ve been developing this for awhile, because they want to make sure they get it right. They’ll be doing some testing with private companies this summer, doing beta testing in the fall, and ideally launching early next year, from what I understand.
It’s meant to be the most comprehensive green review of products out there. All products are rated on a scale from 1-10, in 16 categories, which are divided up into 3 sectors: Health & Pollution, Environment & Resources, & Social & Community. It’s all represented on an easy to read circular chart that gives you a good idea about all aspects of the product at a quick glance. There are many other green material rating systems being developed right now that cover some of these categories, but most leave out Social & Community. This sector includes some vital things like the occupational safety of employees of the company, consumer safety, fairness & equity, community contributions, & corporate leadership.
All the information is gathered from questionnaires the manufacturers themselves fill out, plus third party certifications like energy star & green guard. They even have a percentage next to each category showing their confidence level in the rating. i.e. If the only information available is from the manufacturer, their confidence level would be much lower. There are also forums where you can argue the rating if you disagree.
The entire database is stored online and seems to be incredibly user friendly (at least in theory). You’re able to filter your searches and prioritize categories. For example, if you only want to see products with good air quality ratings. Or, you can filter all products with ratings in all categories of 3 and above.
I can’t wait for this to get launched. I was so impressed by Tom. He seemed to be so genuine in his desire to create a good tool and help fill that need in the industry. It wasn’t about money or the green trend. You could tell this was something he believed in and that he had put a lot of thought into. I think it could be incredibly helpful and really streamline the entire design process. I’m hoping that eventually it could be extended to all products on the market. Maybe it could even become part of a required label on the packaging. Manufacturers would be held directly accountable and with all the information out there and in people’s faces, I have a feeling that bad behavior would start changing quickly.
Filed under: design, environmental issues, travel | Tags: Green Guru Designs, Jeremy Collins, Recycled Art, Recycled Bags, Teva Mountain Games, Vail
Every year I can always tell summer has finally come when the Teva Mountain Games come to Vail. I had the opportunity to join in the festivities a couple weeks ago and I couldn’t believe how popular it was this year…it was flooded with people! To give you a little background…the Teva Games is basically a celebration of all mountain sports. Locals and athletes from around the world come to compete in events such as kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, trail running, fly fishing and even dog jumping. Aside from the sports, tons of tents are lined up throughout the village where the events take place. If I had to guess, the tents consisted of approximately 40% outdoor gear, 30% health foods, 30% anything “green”… aka lots of great shwag!
Not only am I recommending that everyone check out the Teva Games, but I wanted to share with you all some of my favorite finds.
Green Guru Gear – Located out of Boulder, CO and is an “innovative eco-conscious line of bags and soft goods developed for people who want tough, dependable, functional gear, yet do not want it at the expense of the environment”. All products are made of billboards, car/bike intertubes, climbing ropes, bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton. They make anything from messenger bags, to wallets, bracelets, clothing, goggle straps and even surf and snowboard bags.
Re-Art – Artist Jeremy Collins along with a couple other artists created amazing art on site. All of their pieces contained only materials found in junk yards and were auctioned off at the events. I was astounded by how great the “trash” art turned out and am now regretting not bidding on anything. The best part is that Collins is from my home town Kansas City and his studio is in the Crossroads district!! If you check out his website, it looks like he uses all types of media in his art. Unfortunately he doesn’t have any of his recycled art shown on his website, but I’m hoping that is was such a hit that he starts producing more.
There is so much more that I could share with you, but I don’t want to spoil you all in one day. I hope you find as much enjoyment in the above as I did!
Kelsey – Vail, CO
Only 2 days ’til Friday…
View from the Great Wall of China
As Jackie mentioned in an earlier post, the Midwest was hit by some major storms…again. One of the other towns hit was Manhattan, KS. This college town was struck with by a tornado the same evening of the Chapman. These are the old stomping grounds of the 5 non blondes. We probably spent more time ON campus than we would like to remember, but lots of memories and sleepless night were spent in the Little Apple. Below are pictures from the horrible storms and the 20 million dollars of damage to campus left behind.
I promise we aren’t turning into a weather blog, but we spent 5 years in the little apple and I had to share some of the wild pictures.
-Alison, KC, MO
Have you ever seen hail damage like this???