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Entries in outdoor (18)

Tuesday
Apr052011

material world: aluminum

Aluminium, or aluminum, is a silvery white chemical element that happens to be the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon. It is however the most abundant metal since it accounts for about 8% of Earth’s solid surface weight.

Similar to iron, aluminum is extracted from other elements—mostly bauxite ore via electrolysis—and can be found combined in almost 300 different types of minerals.

photo by: libbyrosot

It’s one of the most versatile materials—lightweight and pliable as a thin sheet of foil, or dense, sturdy and heavy when cast.

Cast aluminum, left and below, is a fairly Medievil process where aluminum is heated to a liquid form, then carefully poured into a mold—or packed sand which has been shaped by a mold pressing.

It does however take time and talent to create the molds, to shave or sand off excess aluminum, to solder pieces together, then to polish the rough casting to a mirror-like finish.

photo by: außerirdische sind gesund

As an extruded aluminum tube, shown right, it falls in the middle since it’s lightweight and incredibly sturdy—making it an ideal material to use for furniture and bicycle frames.

With a melting point of 1220°F, aluminum is perfect for cookware and bakeware. Whether as a muffin cup, anodized aluminum pots or foil baking pans, they all conduct heat well but remain fairly cool.

Salts can oxidize the finish—actually creates a protective surface, passivation, which acts as a barrier and protects the aluminum underneath; and aluminum doesn’t rust so it’s particularly favored by the aerospace industry, for many types of outdoor furniture, and as aluminum siding and trim for buildings and homes.

photo by: blondewarningAluminum has been produced for commercial use for just over 100 years but during Napoleon III’s time—1848-1852—it was considered a precious metal even more valuable than gold.

During Jimmy Carter’s Presidency, beer can collections gained popularity and value when his brother Billy Carter introduced Billy Beer.

It was around that time that fully detachable tabbed openers gave way to the current attached version since many had been ‘stored’ in the can, then swallowed accidentally.

Since the late 1960s, when beverages switched from tin cans, aluminum has again achieved superior status since transportation costs are less due to the lighter weight and more recycling can be done instead of mining virgin aluminum.

100% recyclable with very little prep or stripping to be done, aluminum is one of the most recycled materials since it’s easy to gather, cost-effective to recycle—it takes about 5% of the energy to process vs producing virgin material—and when recycled, aluminum maintains most if not all of its natural properties.

Because of these inherent characteristics, a high percentage of cans, vehicles and construction materials, like siding, are consistently recycled throughout the world.

Monday
Apr042011

how did we get here: the tie-1-on sectional

What’s the story behind the tie-1-on sectional?

We started here, last year, in Milan…

got comfy thinking about it here…

then talked about it over a few of these…so we added a few of these…hence, the name.

Thursday
Mar242011

vertical woolly pocket herb garden how-to

During our summer catalog shoot, our stylists created a woolly pocket vertical herb garden
or pantry for a foodie!

We used fernleaf lavender ‘lavandula pinnata’ and two types of rosemary—‘rosmarinus tuscan blue’ and ‘rosmarinus prostratus’—but any preferred herb or edible flower should work
just fine.

For instructions on how-to create a large woolly pocket vertical garden, go here.

Thanks to curtis and april, CB2 catalog, for making us look so good!

Friday
Mar182011

vertical woolly pocket garden how-to

Like many urban spaces, space can be tight and like a concrete jungle, natural light can be highly diffused and outdoor water sources can be scarce—which is why a vertical woolly pocket garden can be a creative and rewarding solution.

For our summer catalog, the location was sheer brick and concrete so we added lots of greenery to the walls and transformed the space into a lush, almost tropical getaway with 28 pockets.

Made from 100% recycled plastic water bottles, the pockets are soft and pliable. They’re also modular and a breeze to install—just overlap the grommets and ‘wallpaper’ the space, which eventually will be completely covered with foliage. Grommet to grommet, they’re 22” across and 13” vertically—using these measurements, we recommend measuring the full wall to calculate how many pockets would be needed to fill it and to map the installation.

hint: to mount or attach them, hardware is included but we always recommend checking with a local hardware store for the best type to suit your walls.

The felt-like material is breathable—which, unlike container gardening, eliminates the need for drainage—but each pocket includes a moisture barrier to protect the walls that support them. Much like a self-watering planter, they’re engineered so roots feed from the bottom via a ‘tongue’ that wicks moisture to plant roots as needed and emulates natural conditions.

Once the pockets were secured, we planted 3-4 plants per pocket—the 6” pot size of Boston fern, creeping fig, and needlepoint ivy. All of these plants are great outdoors in the spring and summer—after all danger of frost—but are only hardy in zones 7-10. So if you live in a different zone and want to recreate this look, check with a local nursery to see what’s best for your area.

For a broader range of zones, following is a short list of optional plants—bountiful blue® blueberry, banana split® soft leaf yucca, adams needle, austral gem ‘bird’s nest fern’, holly fern, leatherleaf fern, gold fountains sedge, sparkler sedge, apricot queen New Zealand flax, compact sprenger asparagus fern, and creeping lilyturf.

hint hint: woolly pocket gardens also make great flower or herb gardens.

Thanks to curtis and april, CB2 catalog, for making us look so good!

Thursday
Jun102010

the hester street fair

The Hester Street Fair is a new weekly event that takes place every Saturday and Sunday in Manhattan’s lower east side from 10am til 6pm.

At the turn of the century, Hester Street was the site of the busiest outdoor market in New York City.

Today, it’s a small, fun mix of vendors—lots of delicious food, vintage goods and new jewelry/craft items.

Have a look around and watch for Vashali’s mini-terrariums in whirly candleholders!

Thanks to jen, store manager soho, for this submission.