Wednesday, January 28, 2009

rubie green

Designers sometimes get a bad rap because many people think that all we do is pick out fabric all day. Well that isn't hardly true but I do have a certain fondness for the stuff. I get pretty darn excited when I walk into a showroom filled with wall-to-wall swatches of patterns and textures and colors, oh my!

So imagine my delight to have stumbled upon someone who seems to have that same giddy excitement, and a passion for green as well. Her name is Michelle Adams and she owns a textile company called Rubie Green. Her prints are bold and happy and come in the most usable colorways! My current favorite is Indian Lake (the fish).

These fabrics rank incredibly high on the eco-charts too. They are made in the US on 100% organic cotton fabric, whitened without bleach, and then printed with zero VOC water-based inks and finished without the use of chemicals. And because the printing process they use is so efficient they only use a gallon of water per day! That is pretty impressive.

Check out the company in all their eco-fabulousness at

I would also like to credit Patrick Cline, the photographer, for the stunning pictures. Take a look at his website (this guy is kind of a genius) Brand-Arts

battery solutions

We all know that it's bad to throw used batteries away, but do you know what to do with them instead? I currently have a pile of them, rechargeable and not, sitting with the rest of the e-waste that I have collected over the last year. Every once in awhile I see e-waste drives around Orange County but sometimes you just want the stuff gone-now!

So, here's a company I discovered at the Go Green Expo last week. For $24 they send you an iRecycle Kit postage paid box that you fill up with your e-waste and ship back to them. It holds approximately 12 lbs worth of stuff (you can't even ship a regular box that cheap anymore...) and they take most batteries and small electronics like cell phones, etc.

I have heard horror stories about how batteries get shipped off to third world countries and are disassembled there and then dumped into their landfills. Double whammy here folks! These people are exposed to the mercury and then get to drink it in their water later on. Yikes.

Well these guys aren't okay with that and their goal is to safely recycle the products here (under strict regulations) so they can re-use the precious metals and properly contain the toxic materials. And just in case you need to know more about the big bad world of batteries, here is the website. Please go check them out. And recycle your stuff!

Monday, January 26, 2009


My Website will be up soon but in the meantime I thought it would be a good idea to post some of my work out there on the web.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Go Green Expo

I visited the first annual Go Green Expo LA on Friday. I probably should have posted something about this before I went, but the expo runs in Los Angeles through Sunday if you are so inclined and I would definitely say it is a worthwhile trip. The show will be in Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta throughout the spring.

We walked the floor, which had a large collection of green businesses ranging from non-profits to skincare to electric cars and everything in between. But the real highlight was the discussion panels which ran almost consecutively throughout the day. As a greenie in Orange County I hear a fair bit of what is happening in LA but am a little bit disconnected from it. Los Angeles has always been a leader in the green movement so it would come as no surprise that a large number of 'eco-celebrities' would show their faces at this event.

I've never been big on celeb sitings. In fact, I have been told numerous times that I was up close and personal to a celebrity after the fact and I didn't even notice (just ask me about the Tom Cruise story). But the green movers and shakers I can recognize in an instant and I did a fair bit of head turning as I walked the show. So imagine my excitement to get the lowdown from the guys and gals that are making things happen in a big way. The panels were very informal and the audience had lots of opportunities to share their thoughts as well. Never before had it seemed like there was such a big 'family' of sustainably minded people.

Check out for information on the show and it's exhibitors. Here are a couple of my favorite things:

Fuel the Film

I had the opportunity to see Fuel yesterday at the Go Green Expo. Afterward there was a panel discussion with Director Josh Tickell, Peter Fonda, Mariel Hemmingway and Tony Tracy. Getting their insight was invaluable as each of them have had a different path and mission in creating a greener, more conscious world.

The film is is both devastatingly real and incredibly optimistic. The work and passion that has gone into creating it inspired me to do a lot more than I have been doing. As Mariel mentioned during the panel, it's about "showing up" in your own life and affecting others from there.

Please check out the website - watch the trailer and find out where you can go see the film. I guarantee that it is worth every second of your time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

flushing the competition

I do realize that it's a little bit odd to start out by featuring a toilet (is that some kind of symbolism? Or maybe just a sick sense of humor.) Actually, this product just doesn't get near the attention it deserves. As a designer I am fairly attuned to things that are well designed- or not- and this one is a winner in my book.

This is a dual flush toilet by Caroma. I think by now most of us realize the concept of the two-flushes, but just for fun I'm going to spell it out. Flush one is for liquid waste and flush two is for what we lovingly refer to as 'a number two.' Get it? Thought so.

An average toilet in this day and age uses anywhere from 1.6 gallons to 5 gallons (depending on when and where the toilet was installed) of water per flush. That is a little crazy, especially going back to the 'number one' use. So it seems like a good area to invest some time in creating new technology.

And so it is that Caroma, along with many other toilet manufacturers now, has come up with the concept of having a dual flush system, which uses only about .8 gallons on the one flush and 1.6 for the regular one. And the true design genious here is that they are virtually un-cloggable! Seriously, I tried this at a showroom. It's oh so un-eco, but we shoved wads of (recycled) paper towels in there without any problems. And I kid you not, we flushed a potato. I'm talking Idaho potatoes, not the little ones. It just sucked it right down. Amazing.

So to Caroma and friends, my hat is off to you. Thank you for making a great product that contributes to a solution rather than adding to the problem.

Cameron Sinclair at the TED Conference 2006

Okay, so I know this video is a little bit old but it's one of my favorites. Cameron is such a genius and a really nice guy. I've only actually talked to him for about a minute in my entire life, but it was long enough to form a bit of a crush really. It's people like him that restore my faith in humanity, because sometimes it's just really hard...please watch.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome, Thank You and Goodnight

'Greening the Orange'
This is a fun little catch-phrase coined by...well, I'm not sure who exactly. But the message is quite clear that we do, in fact, have a community of people who want to see some green in Orange County. I happen to be one of those folks.

My interest in eco-consciousness has no real starting point. I did not have an epiphany after working for the oil industry or seeing the effects of global warming in a video. I was actually just taught as a child that the earth is a nice place and it would be, well, rude of us to do things to harm it. Like littering, or killing animals, or throwing things away that could be recycled. In the Midwest, where I am originally from, we had city recycling programs since the late eighties (gasp! no way!) Not that the general area of the nation is necessarily 'green' but they did have that fundamental down pat pretty early on.

I was not brought up a hippie treehugger by any means and we sure did eat our share of meat and potatoes, but I learned a respect and awe of the environment then that has carried through to today. So now that I am a hippie treehugger I can honestly say that, yes, I love Mama Earth and I always have.

So welcome to my blog. My goal here is to expand my network of local greenies and also to teach what I know about Green Design. I am an Interior Designer by trade and have discovered a wealth of information and resources over the years. I think it's important that we constantly share information with anyone who is interested and willing to learn. I'm pretty sure it's what Mother Nature would want...