Friday, 17 December 2010

twinkle twinkle...

Seasonal Shorts 3 - lighting up the season...

There are many things which are synonymous at this time of year. Mulled wine, mince pies, turkey, crackers and trees. Oh, and enough lights to create a spaghetti network of landing strips through all of our streets.
A trip to any of the DIY sheds at this time of year will reveal a myriad of lighting options for your tree, inside your house, outside your house, on your house. Coloured, plain, static, flashing. Mains powered, battery powered, solar powered.

So, what would be our eco choice for lighting?

Well, lets start with outside of the house. I am not a particular fan of trotting reindeer and the like, so we opt for plain and simple lights, placed on our pyracantha. Even though we could get exterior grade lights outside, we have a fantastic set of warm white (slightly yellow rather than blue white which is cold) LED fairy lights from the Solar Centre. They have a few fade or flash settings with a timer and are powered by the small, efficient and easily located solar panel.

If you are partial to an icicle or two, you can also get solar versions of these in varying lengths, again from the Solar Centre - check them out here.

Next, inside. Solar panels are obviously out, but LEDs are in - using vastly less amounts of energy than the usual 'bulb' string types, along with the benefit of being very low temperature - so your vintage handknitted bauble from grannie will not go up in smoke. LED lights used to be the exception in the DIY giants - now they are the norm, with most places stocking a variety of colours and lengths. Or you could check out these guys...

Outside - done. Tree - done. Table? Yep - do not forget about the eco alternatives for your seasonal table.

Candles - you can opt for soy candles, or beeswax candles, or even organic candles such as these. Or you can have more LED lights like these. Or you can have, movable, solar powered lights such as these - charge 'em up outside, then bring 'em in, or use independant, rechargeable lights such as these.

There are so many eco options that we are now spoilt for choice, so whatever colour you choose, have a green, twinkling season!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

decs in the halls...

Seasonal Shorts 2 - the decorations...

Yesterday I wrote about the tree, so it only makes sense that today I talk about what to drape along and onto the boughs.

And this can be a real bone of contention. Some people have the same decorations each year. Some purchase a whole trees worth each year, with a different colour scheme to match 'the in colour' as reported in the glossy lifestyle magazines around November.

Do you purchase plastic ones which will last years and years but will end up being binned when the cat bashes one from the tree and you end up standing on it, usually barefooted, early in the morning before the coffee has taken hold, or do you go for natural decorations which may not last as long but are, well, natural and probably compostable?

But what about vintage glass ones (which I found a whole box of, from the 1940's in a charity shop last week for £1.50) - surely they are better, if not incredibly more breakable, than that modern plastic counterparts?

There are many, many standpoints, and so it goes on.

We have a combination of all of the above, which, in all honestly, is what most people have. The amount of people who do have that 'picture perfect' television chat show style co-ordinated tree are few. Most of us have a few old baubles and decorations inherited from our parents when we set up home, a few newish ones and maybe even a few made each year from pine cones, ivy etc. For me, the best type of tree is the eclectic tree - one with a real personality and history of the people who have lovingly decorated it.

But, if you are going to buy new decorations, I would urge you to consider recycled and natural options. And here are a few of my favourites:

Nigel's Eco Store - recycled glass, cd and circuit board decs.

Ecotopia - Fairtrade, recycled paper mache baubles

Love Eco - how about a British wool taxi cab or a seedy paper bauble?

Plant a Bloomer - yep - more plantable baubles!

Or, why not make some of your own?

Mini-Eco - lovely and simple origami decorations

E-how - a myriad of pine cone ideas...(I would just leave them natural though!)

Or how about some gingerbread wonders? check this out!

So, get decorating!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

back into the Wilderness...

Seasonal shorts number...1 - the tree...

Now we are officially on the countdown to Yule /Christmas, there will be a veritable flurry of blogs - one each day, looking at a whole raft of seasonal greening up. Today is the first - the tree...

I am a big one for tradition, and there is a very seasonal tradition in our lives that is undertaken, each year, usually split between the months of both November and December.

On the first of November (or the closest Sunday to it anyway) we choose it, and in the middle of December, we go and dig it up.

Yep - I have blogged about it before here, and here, and this is the tradition of choosing and subsequently collecting our annual fir tree, which is always, without fail, collected from the truly wonderful Wilderness Wood in Hadlow Down, Sussex.

We always have a Douglas Fir, which has beautifully fine, fluffy and fragrant needles, and we always have Sussex tea and gooseberry conserve and elderflower cordial cake (or ginger cake) when we both choose him and collect him.

If we are feeling extravagant, we also have an organic sausage from the outdoor barbeque.

I love it, and if you are in Sussex you MUST consider doing this next year.

You can read all about the wood (which you can of course visit all year round) here.

Friday, 3 December 2010

to 'critical reclaim'...

Well - we have finally done it.

It has taken an age to do so, and if anything, the snow finally gave us a chance to get to grips with and set up the studio shop.

That's right ladies and gents - we now have our Ebay shop online!

'critical reclaim' will feature all the studio designed bits and pieces, including our limited editions and one off pieces along with the very best in interesting and beautiful reclaimed and salvaged items we find on our travels, from vintage furniture to lighting, industrial stuff to random stuff.

Our teacup bird feeders are online now, (as posted previously) and we will be adding more items over the next few days, so keep your beady eyes open!