November shopping...not to be confused with Christmas shopping
November shopping...not to be confused with Christmas shopping
It is only November, so still time to focus your eco-friendly buying on your own homestead..even if you have half an eye on gifts
This is not a Christmas gift guide. But you may be thinking about how to make your home just that bit more comfortable for when hordes of friends and relatives descend for Christmas...and you'll no doubt want to assure everyone that eco's the name of the game chez vous.
Having noticed far too many bare lightbulbs hanging in flats in the streets of London, Deco's thoughts are turning to lamp shades. Graypants (not those hideous grey tracksuit bottoms..) is a Seattle-based eco design studio that makes very lovely recycled cardboard pendant lights. Moon Scraplights are available in the UK at www.carolinemcgrath.co.uk.
We love Cornwall designer Stephanie Wheeler's hand-made paper lampshades (for pendant lights) made from old sheet music, which would give a musical note to a room in need of a little something. The creamy colour of the faded paper gives a warm light, even used over energy-saving lightbulbs.
And Desinature's Honey felt wool pendant with its cutout beehive pattern is a simple, inexpensive (£31) shade that creates interesting light effects. Available at Two Red Trees, a portion of what you pay will go towards Tree Nation's planting schemes.
For luxury and vibrant colour, consider Janey Whitehorn's beautiful hand-marbled silk which she uses to make lampshades, cushion covers and scarves. Marbling involves floating inks on a liquid and uses the chemical compound alum and the fixing agent carrageenan, derived from Irish moss.
And for a bit of Christmas sparkle, Snowflake FSC-certified paper lanterns from The Hanging Lantern Company are magical. From £13.99.
Winter is not far off, and with crippling gas bills due to hit the mat or the inbox, it's a question of how to get by without having the heating on all the time.
Strapping a hot water bottle around your waist is a good one.. but imagine how useful it would be to have a long rather than a short and wide bottle that you can sling around your neck or drape down your back..
Enter the novel YuYu bottle, which is a natural rubber tube that comes with its own super soft cashmere/merino wool button-up cover. Rubber comes from Sri Lankan trees and the design includes air bubbles that act as heat pockets which keep the water hotter for longer. Bottles are manufactured in Sri Lanka by ISO-accredited company, and the covers are made in China.
But when you can't avoid putting the heating on.. we've all been told to put tin foil at the back of radiators to reflect heat back into the room. Far more effective than foil are Radflek's laminated foil reflectors that you slot behind the radiator.
The company says many radiators waste around 40 per cent of heat because that heat is just going into the wall. Radflek reflectors work, it says, by redirecting heat back into the room. Sheets rest on radiator brackets so are easy to fit. Prices from £21.99.
Alpaca fleece cushions from Pure Lana won't appeal to everyone, but they are soft, tactile and warm. The company says the fleeces come from young animals that have died of natural causes in the Andes and are not killed for their fleece.
Furniture-makers are increasingly trying to use less material in their products and Spanish company Sancal's recent Casta chair - designed by Jose Manuel Ferrero of Estudi Hac - is a good example of less being more and recyclable.
Casta is made from steel tubing, with oak armrests and the fabric frame with integrated cushions are made from Omega, a recyclable polyester from Danish textile experts Gabriel. The design has eliminated the need for any elastic webbing. Available in the UK at www.nest.co.uk.
Bradford-based Co2nscience is an interesting eco company that's developed a material from 100 per recycled plastic bottles that can be used to print photographs on. Upload your pix and your Stetcher Print can come in whatever shape and size you want - so you can get away from squares and rectangles at long last.
For charming, slightly quirky china, we love the work of London-based designer Lou Rota. Her bone china plates and bowls are made in Stoke-on-Trent and she hand-decorates them with images of birds, insects (nice ones..) and flowers..but not in an olde world twee style.
Ali Miller is another London-based artist and designer who has her chinaware made in the UK. She decorates pieces with her own imagery, which often features pretty creatures ..such as butterflies, which you see on her Hampstead Heath teapot (handwash only).
And there's nothing twee about the work of Edinburgh's Moody Monday, who've brought out The Secret Music, a range of table mats and coasters made from cork-backed eucalyptus board with melamine facing. The design studio's signature patterns are inspired by modern urban life and are an intriguing combination of the graphic and slightly surreal.
Keeping with tableware, Belgian designers Objekten have brought out Tree Mills for salt and pepper. Made in Germany from oak or walnut they are fairly pricey at £64 but they have high quality Danish ceramic grinders and should last for donkeys' years. Available at Triitme.com.
Upcycled horseshoes make for an appealing six-bottle wine rack. By Antony Dala for www.makethemostof.co.uk
Eat Sleep Live has developed a new grey limewash finish for its reclaimed wood furniture, which it says is proving very popular. The new shade still allows you to see the grain, grooves and nail marks of the old wood.
For cinema aficionados, vintage movie posters make wonderful artwork. At The Movies, which has opened a showroom in Thayer Street in London's Marylebone, has an awesome collection, prices from £50 to £35,000.
And bird lovers will be pleased to note that following on from the success of her Perched Birds wallpaper, artist Louise Body has produced prints of her exquisitely painted feathered friends. Choose from framed or unframed (60x90cms) prints - the latter cost £75. Printed in UK on heavy artists' paper using water-based inks.
And last but not least, for storage, Lovestruck Interiors' painted pine crates on castors are fun and particularly useful given they can be moved around so easily. They're made in the UK and have a distressed finish to make them look like old market apple crates. £50/£65 small/large.