New sweet potato dye spares bugs and pleases vegans

March 11, 2019 by  
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Cochineal beetles are rejoicing this month as the Hansen sweet potato proves a viable alternative for producing the carmine color crushed beetles have long added to foods and cosmetics . Chr. Hansen, a bioscience company based in Denmark and founded in 1874, developed and commercialized the Hansen sweet potato™ Ipomoea batatas . “For the first time, we’ve created a whole new variety of vegetable to create the natural color our customers are asking for,” said Jakob Dalmose Rasmussen, vice president of commercial development at Chr. Hansen Natural Colors. Vegetarians have long wanted an alternative to this common coloring, but the sweet potato took time to develop. “Over 10 years ago, we discovered a promising pigment in a root vegetable’s tuber, but the plant’s pigment content was on the low side. We took this plant and embarked on a process of selective breeding using traditional, non-GMO methods. The result is a plant-based , brilliant red that gives our customers a natural alternative to carmine and synthetic colors,” said Dalmose Rasmussen. Related: California becomes the first state to ban animal-tested cosmetics Chr. Hansen launched its FruitMax® line of concentrates to provide a variety of red coloring options. “Strawberry red is a popular shade for food products — from cakes to confectionery to milkshakes,” noted Dalmose Rasmussen. “But until now it has been nearly impossible to make a fire-engine red color with no risk of off-taste without using carmine.” Cochineal beetles live on cacti in Latin America. Their color comes from carminic acid, a substance which deters predation and makes up almost a quarter of the insects’ weight. The Incas and Aztecs both used the beetle for dye. Once Spaniards arrived in the New World, they quickly discovered that the cochineal beetle dye was far superior to anything they had in Europe, and dried bugs became the second most valuable export after silver. It’s still big business. In 2017, Peru exported more than $46 million dollars’ worth of carmine. Over the centuries, people have used the beetles to dye everything from cardinals’ robes to modern lipsticks. As the Hansen sweet potato gains popularity, perhaps the cochineal beetles will be able to relax on their cacti. While some studies indicate that plants also feel pain, the legless tuber could neither run nor be reached for comment. + Chr. Hansen Via Food Navigator Image via Aunt Masako

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New sweet potato dye spares bugs and pleases vegans

Is cargotecture the future of construction? What you need to know for your next project

March 11, 2019 by  
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As the construction industry continues to evolve and adapt to innovations like green buildings, the push for more sustainable materials  and the efforts to reduce waste, there is one trend that is pushing the limits of design — cargotecture. Steel shipping containers have been a key component of global trade for the past 50 years, and now these steel boxes that are 8 feet wide by 8-and-a-half feet high — and either 20 or 40 feet long — are becoming a recycled building material that you can use to build your own home. There are millions of shipping containers all over the world just sitting in various ports, as returning empty containers to their original location is extremely costly. But now, these shipping containers are being used to build everything from low-cost housing to fabulous vacation homes instead of being scrapped. However, could cargotecture be too good to be true when it comes to building a home? Here are the pros and cons of using shipping containers for your next construction project. Related: Massive shipping container shopping center to pop up in Warsaw Pros Cost-effective The shape of shipping containers makes them ideal for repurposing into buildings . Compared to building a similar structure with brick and mortar, on average, a cargotecture can be 30 percent cheaper. However, the savings will depend on the location and what type of home you are building. Another thing to keep in mind is that a cargotecture home won’t be the same as what you are used to in a traditionally-built home— if cost is a top priority. The look and function will be different, and you will have to make compromises.  You can upgrade to get the features you want with a little more money. Ultimately, you can definitely cut costs when using cargotecture. Structural stability Since steel containers are designed to carry tons of merchandise across rough ocean  tides, they are “virtually indestructible.” Earthquakes and hurricanes are no match for cargotecture, which make containers an excellent choice for building a home in areas prone to natural disasters. Construction speed A traditional housing structure can take months to build, but with cargotecture, all you need is about two to three weeks since they are basically prefabricated. Not to mention, modifications can be made quickly off-site. Or, if you are a hardcore DIYer , you can build a home out of a shipping container much easier than you could with lumber, a hammer and nails. You can also customize a layout by stacking the containers for multiple floors and splicing them together for a larger space. However, there is a lot of modification required when you use cargotecture. Depending on the design, you may need to add steel reinforcement. Heating and cooling can also be a major issue, so you definitely need to have a temperature control strategy in mind. Recycling materials When recycled shipping containers are used in cargotecture, it can be extremely eco-friendly . Repurposing the containers instead of scrapping and melting them can save a lot of energy and carbon emissions while preventing the use of traditional materials. Safety Good luck breaking into a cargotecture structure. Unless thieves have some dynamite or a blow torch, they are not getting inside. This makes cargotecture a perfect choice for building in rural and remote areas. Related: Stacked shipping containers transform into a thriving arts space in Venezuela Cons The green myth The downside with cargotecture is that sometimes it’s not as green as you would believe. Some people are using brand new containers instead of recycling old ones, and this completely defeats the purpose of cargotecture. And, to make a container habitable, there is a lot of energy required because of the modifications like sandblasting and cutting openings. Plus, the amount of fossil fuels needed to move the building makes cargotecture’s ecological footprint larger than you might think. Health hazards Obviously, when shipping containers are made, human habitation was not a factor in their design or construction. Many shipping containers have lead-based paints on the walls and chemicals like arsenic in the floors. You must deal with these issues before moving into a cargotecture home. Temperature control We mentioned earlier that modifications need to be made when you use cargotecture, and one of the biggest concerns is insulation and heat control. Large steel boxes are really good at absorbing and transmitting heat and cold. This ultimately means controlling the temperature inside your cargotecture home can be a challenge. You don’t want to be living inside an oven or a freezer, right? Building codes With cargotecture still being relatively new, it has caused some issues with local building codes. When you build small structures and don’t use traditional building materials , you should always check to see if they meet local regulations. Images via Julius Taminiau Architects, Mattelkan Architect, Whitaker Studio

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Is cargotecture the future of construction? What you need to know for your next project

Studio Wave’s Magical Wooden Hut Celebrates Nature and Color in Kent, UK

March 13, 2013 by  
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UK-based Studio Wave created this magical timber hut for holding a variety of sustainable craft workshops within Dartford Central Park’s Ecology Island . Made from local materials and decorated with the help of local residents and graphic designer studio Nous Vous , the ‘Ecology of Colour’ shelter will hold activities ranging from natural dyeing to bird watching, drawing and candle making. Read the rest of Studio Wave’s Magical Wooden Hut Celebrates Nature and Color in Kent, UK Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , Art , crafts , Ecology of Colour , England , Kent , natural dyes , park , studio wave , wooden house

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Studio Wave’s Magical Wooden Hut Celebrates Nature and Color in Kent, UK

Carne Griffiths’ Ethereal Portraits are Made From Coffee, Tea and Booze

January 22, 2013 by  
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The London-based artist’s beautiful portraits are a mash up of colored lines, shading and drizzles. Deep browns and shading are rendered in black coffee, its dark nature creating weighty stains on the page. Teas bring out the neutral palette of Griffiths’ faces and forms, while vodka dilutes brighter colors into hazy and gauzy hues. The sustainable and unusual use of the brews and booze fosters Griffiths’ fantastical subjects. Each of his colorful portraits resembles a wood nymph or fairy, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy- with each blurred line. Floral and geometric touches are combined with delicate facial features of woodland beauties. Griffiths’ liquor-colors also delve into the world of line, with complex abstractions that mesh the same color, line and blur that he treats his portraits with. The natural pigments of coffees , teas and alcohols lend to the undercurrent of Mother Nature within each of his pieces. The beautiful pieces are currently part of a group show in Hong Kong entitled Trailblazers, curated by Coates & Scarry . + Carne Griffiths Via This is Colossal  Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Carne Griffiths , Coates & Scarry , Coffee Art , eco design , food dyes , green design , natural dyes , sustainable design , sustainable dyes , tea art , Trailblazers , vodka art

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Carne Griffiths’ Ethereal Portraits are Made From Coffee, Tea and Booze

Formafantasma Crafty Vessels are made from Flour, Agricultural Waste and Limestone

February 10, 2012 by  
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Using sustainable design as a bridge between craftwork and the industry, this collection of earthy vessels combines low-impact materials and old world techniques to create durable, functional objects. Designed by Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of  Formafantasma , the Autarky Vessels are handmade containers created using only natural materials and plant-based dyes that have been cooked at low temperature. Made from a biomaterial consisting of 70% flour, 20% agricultural waste and 10% limestone, these designs take a critical approach to sustainability, focusing in on an autonomous way of producing goods while rediscovering old techniques. Read the rest of Formafantasma Crafty Vessels are made from Flour, Agricultural Waste and Limestone Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “natural materials” , agricultural waste , Andrea Trimarchi , Autarky vessels , Botanical , composite material , Design Academy of Eindhoven , eggs coating , flour containers , Formafantasma , green materials , green products , green resources , italian design , natural dyes , natural limestone , Simone Farresin

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Formafantasma Crafty Vessels are made from Flour, Agricultural Waste and Limestone

DIY: Six Homemade Sweet Treats for Your Valentine

February 10, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of DIY: Six Homemade Sweet Treats for Your Valentine Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Agave Kiss , Chocolate Covered Apple , Chocolate Spoons , diy valentine’s day gifts , green valentines day , Heart Shaped Toaster Pastries , homemade sweet treats , how to ideas for valentine’s day , Love Pancakes , Valentine Whoopie Pies , valentine’s day treats

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DIY: Six Homemade Sweet Treats for Your Valentine

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