where green living, parenthood, and interiors intersect

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gnaw in peace....

Attention parents of teething babies!!

This is the cutest wooden teething ring set I've ever seen, made of sustainably harvested cherry and finished in nontoxic beeswax. Plus, it's made in the USA and comes in a biodegradable drawstring jute bag. If you have a child growing in her first chompers, please send me your mailing address so I have an excuse to buy a set!

Peace, Love, Drool set available from Land of Nod; click below for their rather impressive assortment (for a big box retailer) of eco-friendly children's products (I'm also especially fond of all the art supplies they carry from Clementine Art).


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rest Assured

(My little angel, now 5 years old, sleeping in organic pureness since Day One.)

I have watched my son buzzing around the playground countless times, daydreaming of ways to bottle his energy. I would certainly be rich if I could. If there are other parents out there working on this, email me and perhaps we can partner up. ;)

I know his vitality is partly contributed to the rock solid sleep he gets each night, his uninterrupted sweaty slumber that reinvigorates him to meet each new day of toddlerhood full of zest (sleep he gets while I'm up finishing the dishes, paying bills, or preparing for the next day or the hours I rise before him to get a half day's work in...all leaving me with about the same amount of total energy that he possesses in his elbow alone).

But during the hours that I do sleep, I rest a lot more soundly knowing how safe, pure, and natural the bed is that stages his dreamtime renewal, from the all-natural mattress to the organic cotton bedding. Since he was a tiny newborn, he has rarely slept on anything but the purest cotton, wool or bamboo. And not only do I believe these conscious choices are better for him, greatly contributing to his peaceful rest, but they are also for the health of the planet that he will spend his all his waking and sleeping hours on.

A few scary facts: the world's conventional cotton crops, grown in over 80 countries, consume roughly 25% of the insecticides used on our planet and are responsible for roughly 10% of the pesticides released into our air. Many insecticides and pesticides are highly toxic and 5 of the top 9 types used contain probable carcinogens. It is believed that in the 1990's, nearly 50% of Egyptian Cotton workers suffered from chronic pesticide poisoning, including neurological and vision disorders.

Don't know any Egyptian Cotton workers personally? Well, a significant number of crops are dusted domestically affecting our air, national water supplies and ecosystems, even those that are nowhere near a cotton field. The toxic growing process permeates every single production stage, no doubt winding up in the end product: the actual pillowcase you rest your head on every night.

While conventional cotton still undoubtedly dominates the bedding market, there are more non-toxic, organic choices than ever for your little one's room, a remarkable improvement from the sleepless nights of my 3rd trimester when I surfed the internet finding little more than boring, solid natural, baby pink, and powder blue organic cotton crib sheets. Now what's best for our children and the earth can now also be the focal point of a pretty stylish boudoir.

The folks at Q Collection Junior have been leaders in the organic baby market for years now and their Animal Crib Set (available in Sweet Lime, shown, or Cardamom) is the perfect marriage of adorable design and truly authentic eco-friendliness.

To ensure a restful night's sleep for your littlest night owl, Honeyami's Night Owl Organic Crib Set is free of toxins as well as frilly design: clean, serene, yet playful pale blue owls and blue-on-white patterns are a unique eco-friendly design statement.

I love the ease of purchasing a crib set, but as a decorator I tended to mix and match, a la carte, when purchasing my son's bedding. This was also a result of budget, the fact that I didn't use a cribskirt and paired all the sheeting up with a solid white bumper cover over an organic cotton bumper insert. So I stocked my son's dresser drawers full of fitted sheets; with diaper leaks and drool, we needed back-ups for the back-ups. Nowadays, there are just as many bedding 'separates' as there are cute sets. Here are a few of my favorites, miles away from the boring organic cotton solids of yesteryear.....


Giggle's Better Basics Line would have saved me many nights of sleepless prenatal web surfing. This simple, crisp stripe (available in blue, shown, as well as pink and orange) could be incorporated into virtually any color palette and design style.

As a longtime fan of Serena & Lily's bedding, I am thrilled to see an infusion of organic cotton crib bedding and textiles-by-the-yard into their line, all in the design-friendly patterns and colors their collections are infamous for.

Geometric lines of chocolate and a lighter mocha hue live in contemporary harmony on the DwellStudio Zig Zag Chocolate Organic Fitted Crib Sheet.

As children grow into energetic tots, safe and restful sleep remains just as vital, so I'm pleased to find adorable modern options in the eco-friendly twin size bedding category too.....

Pixel Organics adhere to relentless organic standards for children's apparel, which they have carried over into these cheery, abstract Stalk of Wheat sheet coordinates.

The gender-neutral design and vibrant color palette of the De-Vine Collection is a versatile, organic choice from mass market retailer Pottery Barn.

My son knows that sunsets are my favorite things; I'll pull over the car and pause in their beauty on a regular basis. What better way to end your child's day than by snuggling under this beautiful abstract sunset print from Amenity Home?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Yellow Fever

After testing nearly a dozen paint colors for the front door of my beach house last summer, my son, Ryder, and I decided on a bright acid yellow to contrast our house's crisp white exterior. I thought this was a big surprise for me because I typically don't like yellow. There's not a stitch of it in my closet and its interior application conjures up images in my mind of a buttery hue on the walls of a country style family room.  Blah. 

But that's just denial talking, Amanda.  Used in a fresh way, it's a jolt of sunshine, can be modern and even serene, is timeless and of course fun.....and is finally getting my recognition.

The walls of my son's first room were a pale greenish yellow.  How could I overlook that? Search google images for "yellow baby room" and the very first query result is a room I designed over four years ago for a client featuring a bold combination of magenta and yellow (bottom image above).

Oh, Yellow, I've been using you all along....I'm sorry I never gave you enough credit.  

And now, upon arrival home every day, even on a gloomy winter afternoon, my own front door makes me smile from the inside out and so do the other inspiring nursery images featured here.  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Infinite Bliss

Although I'm not a practicing Buddhist myself, I have always been inspired by the religion's wisdoms, practices and symbols. And now, apparently, so is the home decor industry. One common Buddhist symbol - and also my favorite - known as the Endless Knot, Eternal Knot, or Infinity Knot is popping up on everything from bed sheets to wallpaper, enforcing the idea that everything is indeed connected.

"The endless knot (Skt. shrivatsa; Tib. dpal be'u) is a closed, graphic ornament composed of right-angled, intertwined lines. It overlaps without a beginning or an end, symbolising the Buddha's endless wisdom and compassion. It indicates continuity as the underlying reality of existence. It is conjectured that it may have evolved from an ancient naga symbol with two stylized snakes

The intertwining of lines represents how all phenomena are conjoined and yoked together as a closed cycle of cause and effect. Thus the whole composition is a pattern that is closed on in itself with no gaps, leading to a representational form of great simplicity and fully balanced harmony." (excerpt from www.religionfacts.com)

To bring harmony into your home, check out a few of my favorite interior treasures that feature this poignant symbolism:

A Madeline Weinrib cotton rug in a pale celedon holds a special place in the front room of my Long Beach cottage, giving me a daily visual reminder of the universal interconnectedness that the Infinity Knot represents. It came in a rainbow of colors for a modern twist on the ancient imagery, but unfortunately appears to be discontinued (glad I got mine when I did!).

Even though I purged most of my jewelry in recent years, the simplicity of the turqoise and silver pendant above has given it a high-ranking spot on my birthday wish list.

The raw patina of hand-crafted copper medicine plates in 8", 10" or 14" squares is an appropriate medium for enduring Buddhist wisdom.

The printed grasscloth above from Stark Wallcoverings (available through designers) marries the beautiful raw texture of natural grasses and the geometric lines of the symbol. This paper could adorn four walls or perhaps just the back surface of an open shelf.

The classic embroidery of Serena & Lily's new Gobi sheeting collection is an elegant representation of the Knot.

Years before getting a tattoo of my son's name, the only other body art I've ever considered was an ethereal representation of this very symbol. My eventual rug purchase was much less painful and far more representative of the simple ways I like to bring spirituality into my home decor, but no less reverent of the truth embodied by the Infinity Knot. Next, I want the necklace and the sheets. Understanding that the very concept of desire is anti-Buddhist, I guess I'll have to work on that in another life!