Build you own terrarium with Tom Dixons gorgeous glass vessels

February 7, 2018 by  
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Tom Dixon keeps on delighting us with his brilliant designs – from renovations of historic buildings to amazing lamps and even a brilliant IKEA collab . Now, Dixon is unveiling his PLANT collection, comprised of beautiful terrarium vessels which you can customize with your own floral arrangements. Each of the mouth-blown vessels has a distinct double-headed form that allows you to create beautiful micro- ecosystems . No two pieces are the same. Variations in the glass, from thickness to shape, contribute a truly unique vessel made to showcase the qualities of contemporary craftsmanship and freedom of form. Related: Tom Dixon’s Converted Water Tower in London is a Modernist Home in the Sky—and it’s Up for Rent! The designer’s website also features a visual “how-to” guide for people to create their own terrariums by using a combination of small rocks that collect water drainage, soil made for succulents and a variety of smaller plants. The PLANT collection is already available online and starts at $165. + Tom Dixon Via Cool Hunting

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Build you own terrarium with Tom Dixons gorgeous glass vessels

Eco-Friendly Groundhog Day: Celebrate in Upcycled, Healthy Style

February 1, 2018 by  
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It’s almost Groundhog Day, that day when Punxsutawney Phil emerges … The post Eco-Friendly Groundhog Day: Celebrate in Upcycled, Healthy Style appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Eco-Friendly Groundhog Day: Celebrate in Upcycled, Healthy Style

How to make your own green terrarium to keep or give away for the holidays

December 14, 2017 by  
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If you have a green thumb but minimal garden space, why not create your own mini-world full of lush and beautiful plants by making your own terrarium? If you’re in the southern hemisphere instead, remember that having green plants around is a surefire way to keep away the winter blues, plus plants are certain to help improve your indoor air quality . Terrariums are easy-to-make, low-maintenance gardens, and can last almost indefinitely with minimal water. Don’t believe us? We assembled seven terrariums of various shapes and sizes in a single weekend, and they’re all adorable. Read on for our easy terrarium DIY to learn how to make your own to keep or give away for the holidays. MATERIALS: A clear glass jar, vase, bowl, glass, or whatever interesting glass container you have on hand Rocks, pebbles or recycled glass chunks Activated charcoal (sometimes called activated carbon) Potting soil appropriate for your plants Moss (optional) Figurines, sticks or decorative items (optional) Various small plants A scoop, spoon or shovel Scissors Gloves Source your containers from a thrift store or an antique store, or just scrounge around your house for an old jar. Even simple jelly jars or canning jars can make beautiful terrariums. They can be left open or closed—it’s totally up to you. All other supplies can be bought at your local gardening center. As for the plants, the sky is the limit, but generally speaking look for small plants that you can fit inside your jar and won’t grow too tall. Some plants will have multiple stems so you can break them up even further. To ensure that your terrarium will be successful, keep succulents and cacti together, and keep fern and tropical plants together, because they require different amounts of water and soil. You’ll want cactus soil for the succulents and regular old potting soil for everything else. The rocks are used as a false drainage layer while the activated charcoal helps keep the terrarium healthy, and the moss can be used for decoration and to help soak up and retain water. STEP 1: Prepare the Container Remove any price tags or stickers from your vessel and wash both the interior and exterior thoroughly to ensure that there are no unwanted residues that could affect the health of your plants. Envision how you want to arrange your plants inside the jar. STEP 2: Add Your Drainage Layers Once the container is ready, fill the bottom with rocks or pebbles. This is to create a false drainage layer so water can settle and not flood the plant. The depth of the rocks totally depends on the size of your container, but aim for 1/2″ to 2″. STEP 3: Add the Activated Charcoal The charcoal looks exactly like what you would expect it to and it’s messy. Sometimes it comes as small granules and other times it comes as shards—either works. You don’t need much, just enough to cover the rocks. The charcoal will improve the quality of your little world including reducing bacteria, fungi and odors. Related: How to Make a Recycled Glass Terrarium STEP 4: Add Soil Again, cactus and succulents need a special soil compared to most other plants, so be sure to get the appropriate bag depending on which plants you’re using. Add enough soil so the plant roots will have plenty of room to fit and then grow. Aim for a depth slightly greater than the height of the plant’s pot. STEP 5: Plant Take your plant out of the pot and break up the hard soil ball until you get down to the roots. If you’re breaking the plant into multiple parts, be gentle. You may also want to trim the roots if they are especially long; don’t worry, they’ll grow back. Using a spoon, your fingers, the end of a brush, or even a pencil, dig a well to place your plants roots in. Add more soil around the top and compact the soil down around the base of the plant. Continue placing your little plants in the container and try to keep them away from the edges. The leaves are likely to touch the sides but aim to keep them away as much as possible. STEP 6: Add Accessories After you’re done planting you can add little accessories like a blanket of moss (dried or living), little figurines, old toys, glass beads, shiny metal object, sticks, stones, or even a layer or rocks. This is your little world and you can put whatever you’d like in there. Related: 7 Eco-Friendly Summer Crafts for Creative Adults (and Kids!) STEP 7: Clean and Water You’ll likely have dirt all over the sides of the container, so wipe them down so you can enjoy the beautiful living world inside. Give the terrarium a little bit of water. Unlike most of your house plants, a terrarium doesn’t need to soaked: just a couple of shots of water should get it started. Tips & Tricks – Over time, monitor your terrarium’s water needs based on how dry the soil is. For terrariums with closed lids, if water is dripping down from the top, open the lid to let some evaporate. Likewise, you may need to add more if it looks parched. You shouldn’t need to water them very often. – If leaves die or wilt, remove them from the terrarium immediately to maintain the health of the little eco system. If an entire plant dies, take it out. – Don’t place in direct sunlight. Remember that these are essentially little greenhouses and direct sunlight through the glass will trap heat and scorch the plants. Place in indirect light for best results. – Afterwards, enjoy your little world or give it away and make another! Lead image via Pixabay . All other images ©Bridgette Meinhold

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How to make your own green terrarium to keep or give away for the holidays

10 Ways to Upcycle Baby Food Storage Containers

November 13, 2017 by  
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After you’ve had a baby and she’s old enough to … The post 10 Ways to Upcycle Baby Food Storage Containers appeared first on Earth911.com.

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10 Ways to Upcycle Baby Food Storage Containers

5 Easy EEK-o-Friendly Halloween Decorations

October 26, 2017 by  
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Unfortunately, many of our holidays have become an opportunity to … The post 5 Easy EEK-o-Friendly Halloween Decorations appeared first on Earth911.com.

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5 Easy EEK-o-Friendly Halloween Decorations

People are using recycled laptop batteries to power their homes

August 23, 2017 by  
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Why spend thousands of dollars on a Tesla Powerwall when you could build your own – for a fraction of the cost? This is a question many alternative energy enthusiasts have asked, and it is ultimately what has led hundreds of people to develop their own versions using recycled laptop batteries. Now that plans for DIY Powerwalls are being shared for free online, several people have created rigs capable of storing far more energy than the Tesla version. On Facebook , YouTube and in forums , people are learning how to safely create their own DIY versions that cost much less than a Tesla Powerwall. One of the most popular powerwall builders is Jehu Garcia . He told Vice, “It’s the future. It’s clean, simple, efficient and powerful.” Joe Williams , another DIY powerwall enthusiast, added ”The end result is being able to rely on something I not only built myself but understand the ins and outs of to power some or all of my electricity in my home. That is inspiring.” There are several DIY versions capable of storing more energy than Tesla’s Powerwall. On the French forum  Diypowerwalls.com , user Glubux said his powerwall can store 28 kWh of energy. “I run all the house with it, in fact I even bought an electric oven and induction cooking plate to use the extra energy during summer,” they said. Australian YouTuber Peter Matthews claims he has created a gigantic battery that can store 40 kWh of energy. Reportedly, it harvests power from over 40 solar panels on Matthews’ roof and stores nearly enough power for his home’s electricity needs. “The only things I don’t run are the big air conditioners and the water heating system,” he said. The alternative energy aficionado created DIYpowerwalls as well as the most popular powerwall Facebook group . Related: Mercedes takes on the Tesla Powerwall with a new battery for buildings Most of the powerwall hobbyists recommend using 18650 lithium-ion batteries for their projects. The batteries are usually encased in a colorful plastic and can be found inside electronics, such as laptops. If sourced online or from a computer store, the batteries will cost more than $5 a piece. If obtained second-hand, from old Dell, HP, Lenovo and LG laptops, it’s possible to save hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars on the project. Of course, one might meet challenges collecting the batteries , as tech companies frown upon their creative repurposing. A positive effect of the DIY powerwall trend is that it reduces waste . According to Carl E. Smith, the CEO and president of  Call2Recycle , approximately 95 percent of consumer batteries which are sold in the US are not recycled and are ultimately thrown away. ”Virtually all batteries can be recycled into valuable secondary products which is the biggest reason why they should not be landfilled and should be recycled instead,” he said. Though it can be time-consuming to source the used batteries, it’s a worthwhile investment according to DIY powerwall enthusiasts. And, if one carefully follows instructions when building their own version (such as those that follow), the risk of burning down one’s house is minimized. Ultimately, there is a risk associated with creating your own energy storage device, but the trend can’t be ignored as it grows in popularity. Via Motherboard Vice Images via  Daniel Römer ,  Jehu Garcia ,  Glubux

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People are using recycled laptop batteries to power their homes

This DIY trellis doubles as a lush private oasis with seating

August 22, 2017 by  
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Looking for ways to spruce up your yard with some nifty DIY outdoor furniture ? This wooden trellis, built by Notcot ‘s Jean Aw and Shawn Sims, is a head-turning project that combines a vine-supporting exterior structure with a cozy wooden bench on the inside. From one side, its a beautiful yard feature that hosts lush greenery, but from the other side, it is the perfect cozy spot for entertaining and relaxing. The trellis doesn’t function only as support for beautiful passion flowers, but also doubles as a private nook with an L-shaped wooden bench . The couple wanted to create a private space for their back yard that’s comfortable to lounge on. They paired it with smaller coffee tables, transforming it into a multifunctional space where they can relax, dine or work. Related: This pallet-based patio proves that even renters can have stylishly-remodeled spaces Passion flower vines growing up the wooden structure acts as camouflage that hides the seating area, turning it into a lush, private oasis. The structure is sturdy enough to withstand the elements. Head on over to Notcot to see how it was done. Via Notcot

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This DIY trellis doubles as a lush private oasis with seating

You can build one of these tiny backyard offices in less a week for under $7000

August 17, 2017 by  
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Austin-based Sett Studio designs tiny offices that take conventional workspaces to task. These micro-offices can be used for a variety of applications – and they can be set up in no time for an affordable price. The firm’s newest design, named NOVI, is perfect for those looking for a mobile outdoor workspace – and the DIY version can be built for just $6800. As the tiny living concept is gaining in popularity, an increasing number of people are taking that idea to the office with  flexible spaces that bring them closer to nature. This year, Sett Studio is launching a new concept that weds their award-winning contemporary design with an affordable price. The NOVI DIY can be built by anyone with little to no construction experience. The firm provides full sets of instructions on how to assemble the unit. Related: Tiny workplace on wheels can make each day at the office different! Users can choose to built the structure themselves or hire a contractor. Sett Studio can build the entire project on side and have the unit completed in under a week. The DIY unit costs $6800 and is currently available only in Austin , Texas. + Sett Studio

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You can build one of these tiny backyard offices in less a week for under $7000

Revolutionary glass building blocks generate their own solar energy

August 17, 2017 by  
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There’s a new building block in town, and it generates its own clean energy. Researchers from Exeter University developed new glass blocks that are embedded with small solar cells . Not only do the blocks generate energy, but they also provide thermal insulation and allow natural light to enter buildings. Called Solar Squared, the blocks are embedded during the manufacturing process with an array of optical elements that focus sunlight on tiny solar cells . The blocks are made to ensure maximum solar absorption, even in tricky urban areas. “The modular design is completely scalable, and allows for seamless architectural integration,” according to an Exeter press release . “The streamlined nature of the technology enables it to be embedded in conventional construction materials, meaning that its applications are myriad.” Professor Tapas Mallick and Dr Hasan Baig, along with IIB Research Commercialization Manager Jim Williams, hope their patent-pending design will revolutionize the construction industry . Related: Tesla’s new solar roof is actually cheaper than a regular roof “Deployment of standard solar technology is limited by the large area requirement and the negative visual impact,” said Dr Baig from the Environment and Sustainability Institute in Cornwall. “We wanted to overcome these limitations by introducing technologies that become a part of the building’s envelope. We now have the capability to build integrated, affordable, efficient, and attractive solar technologies as part of the building’s architecture, in places where energy demand is highest, whilst having minimal impact on the landscape and on quality of life.” There are challenges, though. Dr Baig says it’s difficult to communicate how the building product serves a dual purpose, and that expectations of price should reflect the same. “People tend to make comparisons with standard solar panels found on roof tops but it’s necessary to also include the value of the underlying building material in order to quantify the value proposition.” For this reason, the group aims to ensure that Solar Squared will cost less than conventional glass blocks with the added cost of electricity . They are currently seeking test sites and investors – in case you know someone who can take this to the next level. + Solar Squared, Exeter University Via New Atlas

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Prototype 9 is a retro electric roadster with the Nissan Leaf’s heart

August 17, 2017 by  
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Infiniti is bringing us back to the 1940s with its Prototype 9 roadster, which is set to debut this month at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. On the outside the Prototype 9 is a sexy retro concept – but under the skin it’s all about the future, since it’s powered by the next-generation Nissan Leaf’s electric powertrain. “Prototype 9 celebrates the tradition of ingenuity, craftsmanship and passion of our forebears at Nissan Motor Corporation, on whose shoulders we stand today,” stated Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President, Global Design. “It started as a discussion: What if Infiniti had created a race car in the 1940s? If one were to imagine an open-wheeled Infiniti racer on the famous circuits of the era, such as Japan’s Tamagawa Speedway, what would that look like?” Related: Why the new Nissan Leaf won’t need a brake pedal The Prototype 9 is powered by Nissan’s new EV powertrain, which mates a 30 kWh battery with a prototype electric motor. The electric motor generates 148 hp and drives the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. The Prototype 9 has a top speed of 105.6 mph, and reaches 62 mph in 5.5 seconds. It also has a maximum EV range of 20 minutes if you drive it really hard on a track. While the Prototype 9 is going to debut later this month, we won’t have to wait too long to see the next-generation Nissan Leaf. The 2018 Nissan Leaf is scheduled to debut on September 5. Images @Infiniti + Infiniti

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Prototype 9 is a retro electric roadster with the Nissan Leaf’s heart

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