28.1.19

VALENTINE'S DAY IS FOR EVERYONE!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY

Valentines Day is for everyone and not just couples in love.  

It is about self love, family love, friendship love, fur baby love, neighbourly love, loving the planet and all that nature has to offer us.

Help spread the love. 

Wishing you love today and each day of the year in everything that you do. 

Cheers!!!














Soulier Design Studio specializes in sustainability, eco-friendly design, products + lifestyle

HAPPY "GREEN" VALENTINE'S DAY | HOLIDAY


HAPPY GREEN VALENTINE'S DAY !!

It is possible to enjoy an Eco Friendly Valentine's Day to show your love ones that you care while being kind to your planet at the same time. 

Valentine's Day ranks very, very high up there with Christmas for extreme consumerism. Gifts, gifts and more gifts = lots and lots of garbage and lots and lots of emissions polluting the air from all the trucks delivering those gifts.

Eons prior to Valentine's arrival, tv commercials bombard us with commercials about cut flowers, chocolates, dinner reservations, lingerie, perfume etc. The store shelves have been packed with Valentine cards, balloons, gifts~in non recyclable paper, I might add, heart-shaped boxed chocolates and stuffed teddy bears for the past weeks and weeks! We are all being prompted to purchase, purchase, purchase all this STUFF! 


Not to rain on your parade and as lovely as all this gift giving is, Valentine's Day further exhausts our Earths dwindling resources.  I recently read that it is estimated that over 1 billion Valentine Cards are mailed out all around the world.  

Wow, isn't that incredible! It is just really too bad that most end up in landfills with all the other piles of waste already there.


As a society we  need to become more conscious consumers and really stop and think, " hummmm, so many trees were destroyed making these cards and boxed goodies" and then consider an environmentally kinder alternative.  

Cut red roses-eco friendly?  Think again.  One of the least actually. Those red roses had quite a journey getting to your local supermarket.  They most likely were grown in Ecuador or Columbia due to the perfect year-round climate. However, they are drenched with fungicides, insecticides and herbicides to keep away the critters. Unfortunately, the workers are unprotected mostly women and children and ultimately end up with a multitude of health issues ranging from respiratory to neurological. Once the roses are harvested then they begin their very long voyage in a refrigerated, emissions pumping truck to your local supermarket where they sit in an energy sucking refrigerated cooler waiting for your purchase. 


Hey, I know it appears that I am turning what is supposed to be a day of love and romance into a day of doom and gloom. 

That is definitely not my MO.

My intention and my gift to you on this Valentine's Day 2019 is to get you to step back for just a moment. Step back from getting sucked into the pressures of the overwhelming consumerist vortex and the feelings of duty, guilt and obligation that you absolutely must buy gifts this day. Because we sometimes loose sight of this, I also want to gently remind you that the greatest gift that you could possibly give to your love ones and them to you, is love and affection year-round, spending valuable uninterrupted time, creating wonderful memories together and showing true appreciation for each other.  Just speaking the words I LOVE YOU is a symphony to the ears! NO card can ever replace that.

On a personal note, I feel so very blessed as this is how my husband and I live our life each and every day. 

It really doesn't get much better than that does it??

Now, if you are looking for a few fun ideas to make today extra special, try some of these easy on the pocketbook, earth-friendly ideas. 

Mother Earth will truly thank you.



Photo - courtesy of  Jaymi Heimbuch

Ditch the box of truffles this year and spend time making this yummy fondue for the two of you to enjoy using Fair Trade Extra Dark Chocolate. The recipe includes some interesting ingredients such as a little chili powder, cayenne pepper, dark rum and cinnamon. Marry it with your favourite fruit!

  
 Photo - Courtesy of Heirloom Flower Seeds

If you really still want to give the gift of flowers, how about giving some heirloom flower seed packets to be planted in the garden. Flowers are beautiful, very eco-friendly as they feed the birds, the bees and other important insects in the garden. If you plant perennials you can enjoy their beauty for years to come.


Dinner, Movie, Candles + Wine are always a nice way to spend the evening especially when it is in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Staying at home translates into not having to deal with or waste time on the crowded roads, at the restaurants or movie theatres, your evening is on your schedule and keeping your car put in the driveway means that there are no car emission contributions by you.  Bonus!! It's a win, win evening. Flickering candles - healthy bees wax only please, some organic wine from a local winery, a lovely home cooked meal, a Romantic Comedy on the big screen and voila ~ you have the perfect ambiance for a romantic Valentine's date with that very special person in your life.

And REMEMBER

LOVE .... knows no age


Enjoy!

Pictures courtesy of Google

Soulier Design Studio specializes in sustainability, eco-friendly design, products + lifestyle

27.8.18

TRANSFORMING A SCHOOL BUS INTO AN RV | PART ll

One of my most popular posts, with several thousands views, is on TRANSFORMING A SCHOOL BUS INTO AN RV.  People find this subject so fascinating!

What my husband and I learned when we were considering this project was that school buses are a wonderfully safe vehicle to convert. They are kept in optimal maintenance condition because they are transporting children to and from school each and every day. The side metal panels are also heavily re-enforced in the event of a collision.

If travelling is something your family likes to do, converting a school bus into an RV, may be a fantastic DIY project that the entire family can enjoy. 

We were very fortunate, when we purchased our bus (for $500.00) what a deal, that all the seats had already been removed. Yeah!!  This is one of the most labour intensive jobs of this entire project.

Just like designing a space in your home you should plan the layout carefully dividing the space into various sections.  Our bus was 40' long and our layout plan included a sleeping area in the rear of the bus, a bathroom area, a kitchen/eating area, a living area and the driver area at the front of the bus. 

We didn't install or wire an electrical source for our bus since it was parked at our property and not used for travel. Our bus was used as a safe way to camp and sleep without having to worry about bears having us for dinner.  However, if you are travelling with your bus, you will need an electrical source to power appliances.  Other necessities include a stove, sink and refrigerator and of course a sleeping area.

Installing solar panels on the roof to power the bus and appliances is definitely the way to go to create an eco-friendly bus.

Converting another school bus or possibly an Airstream, I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them, is definitely a project that we would like to tackle again in the future.  We certainly learned a lot from our first fantastic experience and really had a blast!  
Here are a few fabulous school bus and Airstream interiors with some great ideas to get you started just in case you are thinking about trying this fun project.


If this is camping, I'm in!!


Airstream Interiors by Christopher Deam  

  

  

Rachel Horn and husband renovated this Airstream with Style   


photo - Pinterest


photo - Pinterest


photo - Pinterest



How about you. Is this something that you might consider trying?

If you would like to read Part 1 of TRANSFORMING A SCHOOLBUS INTO AN RV you can find it here.

Soulier Design Studio specializes in Sustainability and Eco Friendly Design and Products http://www.soulierdesignstudio.com   

16.8.18

INCREDIBLE LIVE EDGE TABLES - MY NEW LOVE | SUSTAINABLE INTERIOR DESIGN

My new love is live edge tables and I would really love one in my kitchen/dining area. 

Live Edge refers to the natural edge of the lumber or slab under the bark. Many of the slabs that are available, are either a full or partial live edge and a combination of straight and natural edges and often consist of multiple slabs connected with butterfly joints called inlays. These inlays are used to reinforce areas that have been weakened by cracks, knots or large bark pockets.

George Nakashima was a highly recognized furniture designer/architect and well known for making pieces from raw wood left in its natural state. What most woodworkers saw as imperfections he saw as beauty.  His tables, chairs and cabinets typically were made from slabs of free-edged wood and very organic in nature. Mr. Nakashima died several years ago but his vision has been carried on by his daughter Mira at Nakashima Studios in Pennsylvania.

This coffee table piece is an example of his work which shows the bark live edge.

Picture courtesy of Nakashima Studio

Jeffery Greene another seriously talented and highly respected furniture designer whom I have recently discovered and admire, also designs live edge furniture and was influenced by the work of George Nakashima. 

It would be absolutely impossible for me to choose one of his tables as I am completely blown away by all of them.  These tables are like nothing that I have ever seen before; each is an exquisite piece of art.

I would like to share a few examples of his work and I am certain you will agree with me!


Silver Monolith Base - Live Edge Dining Table 
(I would like this as my Board Room Table)

Clear plexiglass leg base - Dark Finish Live Edge Dining Table 
(This one would work perfectly in my kitchen/dining area - I want it!!!!)


                                         Clear plexiglass leg base - Light Finish Live Edge Dining Table



Golden Forest Base (SOLID CAST BRONZE) Live Edge Dining Table
 (Actually, I wouldn't mind this one either. Just love the forest base, comes in silver as well)


Live Edge Book Matched - Buried Black Walnut Slab

All photos - courtesy of Jeffery Greene.

Sentient is located in Brooklyn, New York and is a furniture design and fabrication company. Their work is also incredible. Here are a few examples.





These last two photos show examples of the butterfly inlays referred to above. 

Photos - courtesy of Sentient

                                     We would love to hear from you.  Which are your favourites?

Soulier Design Studio specializes in Sustainability and Eco Friendly Design, Products and Lifestyle. 

                              Please visit us at http://www.soulierdesignstudio.com

18.6.18

HOW TO BUILD A GEODESIC DOME ~ ORGANIC SUSTAINABLE LIVING

I  have this re-occurring dream where I see myself strolling out to our backyard and picking the best tasting, fresh, organic, nutritious, chemical free, non GMO fruit, vegetables and herbs all year-round. 

Then....... I wake up. !!


As you know, my husband and I live in Pickering, just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada which translates weather-wise into a climate of months and months of cold weather and snow, making our growing season quite short.

Sustainable Living by growing your own food has so many incredible benefits. The following are just a few........... 

  • It is a wonderful way to support the environment. So much of the food that we eat has had to travel long distances to get to our supermarkets.  Just think about all those carbon emissions  as a result of their transport and how that negatively contributes to climate change.  
  • It is a wonderful way to support your well-being - Freshly harvested food grown in nutrient-rich soil in your own backyard means that you are consuming more vitamins, minerals and enzymes which means better health for you. Food which has traveled long distances to get to us loses so many of these vital nutrients.
  • It has therapeutic advantages; Gardening is relaxing to the mind, requires some physical exercise and the entire process of growing your own food is pleasurable and fulfilling. 
  • It reduces your monthly food bill 

So, in an attempt to support our goals of living a truly healthy and sustainable life, I have been researching for quite some time now, a manufacturer/supplier or instructions on how to build a geodesic dome greenhouse  for our backyard. There are many manufacturers out there, but not all have a quality dome structure which will withstand our Canadian winters and snow. You will also come across loads of websites with instructions on how to build one from scratch.

Now you know we love a DIY project and will attempt to build anything ourselves if  at all possible, but sometimes as they say, "you have to know when to HOLD THEM AND KNOW WHEN TO FOLD THEM!"

We decided that we did not want to go the DIY route with this project, by following some obscure directions found on the internet. Our greenhouse will have some DIY elements for sure as we will be constructing it, but from a purchased kit which includes all the necessary materials for a perfect result. 

We want to build this correctly the first time as there really is quite a science to the Geodesic Dome Greenhouse design. 

Firstly let me tell you a bit about a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse as most people have never heard of them. It is a spherically designed greenhouse structure as opposed to the typical rectangular shape like most greenhouses. A Geodesic Dome Greenhouse is constructed from a number of triangular forms made from wood struts and metal hubs and covered by polycarbonate glazing panels which fit together to create the dome shape. The beauty and benefits of this shape are many; the dome can withstand very high winds, the snow slides right off, they are extremely energy efficient and requires little or no heat.


During my research,  I found this incredible company in Colorado called Growing Spaces who have been designing/producing Geodesic Dome Greenhouses for about 25 years.  There are many, many geodesic dome greenhouse manufacturers but in my opinion they pale in comparison to the Growing Spaces dome.

They have a variety of sizes and packages to suit your particular needs. Their smallest greenhouse kit is 15 ft. which includes a covering of UV resistant, shatter-proof polycarbonate glazing panels, a set of pre-cut, color-coded struts and framing. Features like automatic opening vents, solar powered undersoil heating/cooling system, Reflectix insulation, materials for the pond and a shade cloth are included.


Plus ~ for climates such as ours there is a a snowshed entryway that has a door with a window, all hardware, and a 24" foundation wall with structural siding. 



 Here are a few other pics all courtesy of Growing Spaces.







Pretty incredible, don't you think?

Can you see yourself building a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse? 

Can you imagine having your own abundant supply of organic, fresh produce just steps away, in your backyard all year long, even in the winter months?

Can you imagine being truly sustainable and enjoying greater health and wellness?

We surely can!!

Please visit Growing Spaces for more information.

Soulier Design Studio specializes in Sustainability, Eco Friendly Design, Products and Lifestyle.


23.3.18

EARTH HOUR 2018 | MARCH 24, 2018

Please join Soulier Design Studio by celebrating Earth Hour on  Saturday March 24, 2018. 


Let's do our part to take action over climate change and make this the best Earth Hour Ever!!!.


It's easy.... just switch off all non-essential lights in your home for one hour between 8:30 - 9:30 pm in your local time zone.

Celebrate your earth and your commitment for change. Make it a candlelit dinner with friends, play a game of cards, Chess... the possibilities are endless.

Join the conversation and the call for action!!  

connect2earth.org

We would love to hear how will you spend your Earth Hour??


Soulier Design Studio specializes in Sustainability, Eco Friendly Design, Products and Lifestyle

8.3.18

PRESS FOR PROGRESS | INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY | MARCH 8

Let's Celebrate all women today. Their social, cultural, economic and political achievements.





International Women's Day has been running since 1911.  

Join the #pressforprogress movement and the call for action.
Do your part to help drive gender equality. 

Press the Join this Thunderclap button for more information.

www.soulierdesignstudio.com