Monday, February 22, 2010

{eco} style: Harricana

This week is special on PGD.  This week, I am honouring my mom;  she deserves to be an honourary guest because, not only does she support me (my dad does too!) in everything I do, she tirelessly searches the internet for cool stuff for me.  Whether its new products for the store, or something she thinks I'd like in general, she readily calls me on any given day with a list of links.  She's awesome, and has become my unofficial personal reasearcher.   She insists that she enjoys doing it, but, this week I've decided to feature Sylvie's finds, just to let her know that I really appreciate her.  So, today, being {eco} style day on PGD, Sylvie (my french mom) brings you Harricana.  She actually had found several ethical fashion brands, but this one was my favourite, partially because they have a great website.  So, who is Harricana - they recycle old stuff into great new stuff, and they're based in Montreal! 

{creator: Mariouche Gagné}

"Since 1993, our expertise allows us to communicate emotions from generation to generation by recycling high-quality fashion apparel. By recycling old furs, we have saved the lives of more than 600,000 animals over the past 15 years. It has also enabled us to extend the life of more than 60,000 coats, silk scarves, cashmere scarves and wedding gowns, which would never have been worn if they had not been remod-elled. We give gorgeous materials a second life and transform them into unique pieces, proving that fashion can also be sustainable.

Since we are very concerned about ecology, we make it a point of integrity to produce all of our crea-tions in Canada under ethical manufacturing conditions."

Here is a look at their winter collection - stay tuned for their summer collection {think a little less fur, more silk.}

{they have a home collection too}

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mary Wins The Inukshuk

Congratulations Mary - using random. org, I entered numbers 1-10, and lucky number 2 was chosen (which is weird, that's the same number that won the last giveaway on PGD)! Please email me {puregreendesign[at]} with your contact details and I will ship you your prize!

*You have 5 days to contact me, after which I will pick another name.  I hope you enjoy your gift!

Stay tuned to PGD for more giveaways, green design & green living.  Thanks to all who entered.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

{eco}: read: Make Your Place

I came across this little book, Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills - a quirky and charming hand-illustrated book that is kind of like home-ec for greenies (from what I can discern on the internet; I have yet to order my copy for only $5!!!)  The book illustrates home made solutions and remedies for a well-kept green home.  It's hand-drawn nature reminds me of one of my favourite cookbooks, Mollie Katzen's The Moosewood Cookbook (if you're a veggiesaurus this is a must).  I haven't featured books here yet on Pure Green, but it's one of my favourite past-times, so why not?  My reading list is also a mile-long, so I'm doing a little vicarious reading with you here as well.  So, if you feel inclined, pick up this 'zine' published by independent publishing house Microcosm Publishing.  They have many great reads that I'm dying to browse through.  I also love that they are so upfront and sincere about their limited marketing budget, and so I am more than happy to answer spread the word on their behalf.  As a small company, I certainly get that.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

{eco}: design: Joe Manus & Shiner

I got an email today from Joe Manus of Shiner, designer of INCREDIBLE furniture made from recycled materials.  I've seen this type of thing before, but often the designs are either not aesthetically pleasing or not functional.  These are neither.  I'm thoroughly impressed, and am more than happy to post about it.  Shiner is full of personality - using common materials for uncommon designs.  I love how he describes himself and what he does:

"Joe Manus remembers his first black eye. He was 7, he deserved it, and he wore it like a badge of honor. Ever since, the shiner has become his personal emblem for something tough, dark, and proudly damaged.

Now Joe applies the manufacturing techniques and brutal aesthetic that earned his reputation for high-end boutiques and nightclubs in Atlanta to his first collection of modern, eco-friendly furnishings. It’s dirty, sexy, clever and dark. Of course, he named it Shiner.

All materials are selected with environmental responsibility in mind. Steel is 85% recycled. Cardboard is 100% recycled. Plywood comes from responsibly farmed, new growth timbers. Hardwoods come from drop cuts from board manufacturing that were destined for the landfill.
All goods are cut using CNC technology, which means maximum yield because of close nesting of parts on a panel, low labor overhead and low energy equation overall.
All leftover materials from cut panels go to fuel the timber kiln that dries our hardwoods or to be used in the production of biodiesel."

{the lights are probably my favourite.  made with recycled cardboard!}

{a few of my other faves}

Monday, February 15, 2010

{eco}: Style: Manimal

These last few weeks have been a little haphazard here on PGD.  I'm constantly trying to get some sort of publishing schedule, but alas, planning is a) not my thing b) scheduling can be boring and c) inspiration abounds and I get excited about something and post it, hence throwing things off...Oh Well.  Anyway, back to the here and now: I mentioned in an earlier post that clothing is a realm in which I struggle to be green, because there isn't much choice where I live, I have a limited spending budget, and I just can't seem to commit to buying jeans just have to try them, because what looks good on her doesn't necessarily look good on me.  (If anyone out there reading this has done this successfully, please, share your story with me.) But, that being said, sustainable fashion is progressing in leaps and bounds, so I've decided to bring you an {eco}: style column, which is really on giant wishlist on my part ( a warning: if you're looking for glam, this won't be for you).  And, I've decided that on Pure Green, style day is going to be Monday.  So, today, I'm bringing you Manimal, an artisan brand that make killer moccs (anyone who knows me knows I LOVE moccs...I have two pairs at work, booties and slip-ons, which I rotate daily.  All my other shoes have ceased to exist).  Manimal is committed to the hand-made, and their eco-conscious mantra of waste-not, want-not rings true with my desire to dress in {green}.

Top Right: Ribcage Flat $160
Middle: Suede Fringe Bootie: $200
Bottom: Woven Bootie: $240
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Giveaway for Valentines!

Hey everyone, I have good news today.  The folks at Painted Turtle Wooden Toys were kind enough to give away one of their adorable stackable Inukshuks to one lucky Pure Green reader.  Painted Turtle is a small, family owned company from Muskoka, ON, who make quality, hand-made toys out of sustainably harvested lumber.  Each toy is lovingly made by hand and is finished with hemp oil.  So, to make one of these lovelies yours, either for your child or for a special kid you know, enter your name by leaving a comment, and I'll choose a winner at random.  This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the U.S., only (sorry!); giveaway closes next Friday, February 19.

Happy Valentine's Day!

And, oh yeah, Painted Turtle Wooden toys are available at Sustain!

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Green Design - Kelly Laplante

I'm always excited to find and share with you new green designers (well, new to me) who are doing what I so admire - green design!  Part of what I do each and every day is educate our customers about living green, and that it's really SO EASY!  That's what's great about it - you can make it yours, and find your own ways to be green, so that it fits your lifestyle.  Kelly Laplante seems to embody this - her design firm, Organic Interior Design, embraces organic and vintage, but her projects seem to really reflect the homeowner's style and budget.  She professes that it's pretty much impossible to be 'eco perfect', but she strives to be the exception to the rule - she and I seem to strive together.  I'm happy to have found her and even happier to bring her here, to you.  She can help you see that being green means a lot of different things, and that you can make it fit any style.  What's more, Kelly's firm is enjoying lots of great press these days, so you may see her around lots more.  Also, she's been nominated in Traditional Homes 25 Young Designers to watch, so if you feel inclined, you can give her your vote!

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Friday, February 5, 2010

The Green Traveller - Quebec's Ice Hotel

I've been wanting to feature this amazing place for quite some time, but I've been humming and hawing about whether it belongs in the green travel category.  I mean, yes, its built with snow and ice, something we have no shortage of here in Canada, but, it has to be rebuilt every year, meaning that resources are consumed each time.  Well, I've looked into it a little more, and here is what I've surmised:

The ice hotel is built every year in December.  It takes about 20 workers for the construction and 10-15 more for the finishing (there's a whole lot of polishing going on to get the ice that sparkly!).  Here is what makes the practice sustainable, in my mind: snow is renewable, of course; to construct the hotel, they use pre-forms made of wood and steel that have been prefabricated, and they can use over, even though some of the details change from year to year; there is very little electrical, so the main source of light is fire; and, judging from everyone's snowsuits and that the place is made of ice, there's no heating, hence less energy use.  Pretty cool huh? (Seriously, no pun intended!)

The hotel is located in Sainte-Cathrine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier (a bit of a mouthful), Quebec, and is the only ice hotel in North America.  A stay is worth about $219 /couple/night (not bad, considering!).  They have a slew of winter activities available, but I expect you would spend most of the time gazing around, jaw-dropped, in wonder at this amazing feat.  As long as global warming doesn't take it out of operation, I will visit someday.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

DIY - Organic Sugar Scrub

Replenish dry, winter skin with a super easy to make sugar scrub.  I absolutely love this DIY, I use it at least once a week.  The organic sugar provides gentle exfoliation, while the alph-hydroxy acids found in it naturally tone the skin. 

To Make:
1 cup of fine organic sugar
2 tbsp. of organic olive oil
1/2 tbsp. of organic avocado or sweet almond oil
a few drops of essential oil; suggestions - lavender is great for night-time, mint is a great wake-up!

NOTES - go slow with the oil, you don't want too much in the mixture.  I don't add any colourants, it's natural, so what's the point?  Keep the mixture in a resealable jar, use a few spoonfuls per scrub!

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Buyer's Guide 2: Chocolate for Valentines

Personally, I don't need an excuse to eat chocolate and I'm not going to turn down a delicious chocolat from someone special on Valentines, but, in Pure Green's second buyer's guide, I thought I'd help you make a more sustainable, and still delectable, choice.  The truth is, our relationship with chocolate isn't so sweet - you may be supporting deforestation, child-labour and illegal pesticide use when you bite into your favourite bar!  Don't despair, many companies are using responsible cocoa, and I don't mean to be overly negative or sensational.  But every decision we make as a consumer sends a message - I've researched a few chocolate companies and collected my findings here, making it that much easier to buy green. 

3 things to look for when buying chocolate:

1. Organic {obviously} - This one is kind of a no-brainer, but ever thought about why its so important?  Well, cocoa is grown in countries where pesticide use is less regulated; this may mean that pesticides banned by many countries (with the resources to research their effects) are still being used in second and third world countries.  Any use of pesticides is harmful to the eco-system, and let's face it, its not good for you either.  Further, cocoa isn't meant to be grown in the sun - doing so requires more irrigation and more pesticides.  Which brings me to buyer's guide tip #2:
2. Look for companies that support shade-grown or reforestation projects.  This means that you are now supporting a company that doesn't chop down the rainforest to grow cocoa, or perhaps they are funding reforestation to grow their crops, which in turn supports biodiversity.  Cocoa is meant to be grown in the shade anyway, like coffee, meaning that you get better tasting chocolate.
3. Lastly, look for fair trade.  You'll recognize the little black and white symbol.  The means that no child labour was used, and the farmers are being paid fair market prices.  This allows independent farmers to use their own land as well.  Some companies go one step further, and offer market shares to their growers! 

Here's a small collection of widely available brands you can try that meet all of these standards:

From Left:
1. Divine - These guys are pretty awesome. Besides having great packaging, 45% of their company is owned by the growers!  Their packaging is biodegradeable too.
2. Endagered Species Chocolate: this brand was developed to help spread awareness about endangered plants and animals.  Besides being fair trade, organic and shade-grown, their facility in the U.S. in LEED Certified.  How great is that? Theses guys also have baking goods.
3. Theo: describe themselves as 'bean to bar' - they import organic beans into the U.S. and manufacture it there too.  Most companies import the finished product from Europe.
4. Dagoba - Hand poured and hand wrapped chocolate.  This company is very committed to the environment as well, sponsoring reforestation and ecology programs in Costa Rica, as well as green energy and urban greening programs in the U.S.

P.S. - for the Canadian contingent, also check out Cocoa Camino.
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Eco Style {for men}: F.Rock Bags

I have Ariana from Boston to thank for this tip: sustainable company F.Rock from Boston - makes gorgeous messenger bags for men.  The designer of F.Rock is NicolĂ© Keane, who says "she is inspired by the look of a well-dressed man, nuances of menswear design and the vision of a closed-loop production system."  Doesn't that sound amazing? 

"F. Rock is a new Boston brand that draws on vintage days when clothing and accessories were richly crafted and made with quality in the USA, not mass produced or sent overseas for production. We have taken traditional lines of days past and added an urban edge through hardware, fabric selection and an easy-use organizational system. Most importantly, our bags are constructed from 100% reclaimed fabrics and leathers from factory scraps."  {from the website

The fabrics are scraps from premier men's designwear companies, the lining is organic cotton and the hardware is from a local company.  Very nice.  I'd love to get one for my guy.

{p.s. anyone else got a great idea?  i'd love to hear from you. as always, PGD is open to reader input.  send me an email or a message on twitter, either or, i'd love to chat}
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Monday, February 1, 2010

Highlights from IDS 2010

Artifice - Not the first time I've seen this, but I'm always amazed.
Above: Christina Covello Designs   Shawn Place
Left: Coup Design Group  Right: Ridgely Studio Works

Science & Sons - I think this is cool: the radio only plays CBC 1 & 2; I get all my new favourite music on Radio 2 Drive with Rich!

I didn't get a chance to get to this year's IDS show in Toronto. I heard it was a good one.  However, I did have a chance to look up this year's event, and chose some eco-friendly highlights to share with you.  Thank you to Kitka Design and Modern Karibou's flikr stream for sharing!

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