Imagination and brain power – Fun Fact Friday: did you know?

Bettcha didn’t  know it was The Botanicals Birthday today! Happy Bday to the gang!

Do you know 10 Great facts about Organic Cotton?

Here are three now use your imagination and knowledge for the other 7!
Organic cotton is….wonderfully soft, saves energy, lasts longer to see the other 7 great facts about organic cotton read more here.
Confessions of an Eco-Friendly Shopaholic: Ten Reasons to Buy Organic Cotton

MORE Fashion Facts… Thanks to Saky Sacks for theses!

Green Fashion Facts - from Saky Sacks

Whimsy, Imagination, and Architectural Design

“Office Decorated With a Refurbished Vintage 1960s Fighter Plane   by Amanda Sengstacken, 04/04/11
REUSE IN A BIG WAY!  – “When Adam Kushner, principle of design firm KUSHNER Studios, set about designing a creative office environment, he thought big – really big. He and his team hauled in a vintage 1960s MiG fighter plane and refurbished it on-site, creating the ultimate thinking spot (and company mascot). The plane now acts as an important part of Mr. Kushner’s personal office, and may be the most unusual re-use of a fighter plane to date!”  Inhabitat

Adam Kushner, principal of design firm KUSHNER Studios, office
Office Decorated With a Refurbished Vintage 1960s Fighter Plane
house clad in used tomato can tiles in Patagonia’s dense wilderness.
house clad in used tomato can tiles in Patagonia’s dense wilderness.

A stunning studio house clad in used tomato can tiles? Imagination!

Bariloche-based designer Manuel Rapoport has built himself a stunning studio house clad in used tomato can tiles in the midst of Patagonia’s dense wilderness. The shiny house was built with tins leftover from local bars and restaurants, which are preserved with a protective coat of varnish every 6 years. “Manu”, the designer-maker, has always been interested in recycling and the use of readily available resources – he says “I don’t need to use titanium to have my very own Guggenheim, I can use tomato tins.”   SEE  MORE PHOTOS

Imagination and food – now that is always fun!

New great Restaurant in NYC  called LAUT, located in the Union Square area. The Blossoms went, well actually just Tanka went, Sakura was shopping as they were visiting NYC.  How could a girl resist!  However, Tankas meal was so good they are going back (together) soon. The reviews are amazing.  NYT states “Lurking in all the fusion in this restaurant near Union Square is some of the best Malaysian food in Manhattan.”  Address: 15 E. 17th St. (bet. B’way & 5th Ave.) Manhattan, NY 10003 (and for the local New Yorker, yes they do delivery!) (Food Photo from LAUT) Laut Website

Question? Food Porn? What?!?
Is the body  you want just a figment of your imagination? Here’s the site for you! http://www.tastespotting.com/ “Sarah Gim certainly didn’t invent food porn. But she’s perfected it.

Gim runs TasteSpotting, a virtual buffet showcasing some of the most arresting food images available online with a collection that tops 140,000 stunning photos. The majority of the 5 million clicks logged each month come from visitors who graze with their eyes and gobble up kitchen inspiration and recipes. They drool. They lose themselves in the aspiration of it all. A red beet salad adorned with chives that were sprinkled just so. A snowflake cookie with impossibly perfect pink icing. And a plump fig, torn open and lovingly captured in a photo that is so simple, so transporting that it borders on heartbreaking.” Article from the LA Times

I just picked the first image ( easter is coming up and ….) for it’s fun factor – but the site is full of  fun, funky, serious foodie images and links!  This one is from aspicyperspective.com. Recipes included!

Imagination Week and so long to Twinkles.

Imagination Week. This should be fun!

Twinkles-Spring Thaw
Got to go - Melting! See you next winter.

What are those fuzzy lines between imagination, memory, and dreams?  Is that the core of imagination?  Hard to say… any ideas? Comment to The Botanicals and let us know your thoughts. We think imagination is all that plus freedom of your “inner self” to let “it” out . What’s”It” ? “It” is whatever form suits you – drawing, music, words, dance, acting, cooking, singing, etc. it’s all good.

The first order of business this week is that Twinkle, Goddess of the Shimmering Snow, wants to say Goodbye until next year. It is getting way to warm for her and she is  heading  North to stay cool and not melt away.   As you may remember, she comes in with the winter winds but that means she must leave when the spring temps arrive.  She left many charts and reports on the “dirty snow” from pollutions. She is worried.  Her message as she heads out-of-town:
1) Please, conserve your “ things needs” – you may just want instead of need it . It all ups to used fuel/energy to make the items, deliver to items, and then to possibly trash the items. 2) Please, conserve on your gas and get some exercise. Don’t drive if you can walk or bike ride!
3) Please pay attention and – Recycle your stuff… Reuse what you can…. Reduce your carbon footprint.

Spring time in Boston means Baseball. Baseball means Red Sox.

Opening-Day!
Red Sox: Opening Day

Bummer-we lost: Texas Rangers 9 – Boston Red Sox 5

The Botanical Beauties & Beasties usually take the weekend off. They need their beauty rest. BUT, since it was Opening Day yesterday… Ollie just couldn’t resist! Boston is a Red Sox Crazy town and that is where Ollie’s heart is.

There may be some tweeting! @botanicalbb

REUSE your energy     REDUCE your waste   RECYCLE your stuff

Fun Fact Friday…Did You Know?

“Thought and beauty, like a hurricane or waves, should not know conventional, delimited forms.” Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

Eco-chic green fun fact: Blue jean insulation–a new building material made of industrial scraps from denim production–is gaining popularity. It’s more environmentally friendly than traditional fiberglass insulation, which contains formaldehyde, a chemical believed to cause asthma and allergies. (eco-chick.com)

Beauty  fun fact: Scientists tell us hair is as strong as aluminum, can hold one third its weight in absorbed moisture and can be stretched to one and a half times its length, when wet.

Fun Fashion facts:  (2 of these)
The Invention of the Bra.
Would you believe the bra wasn’t patented until 1914? The bra was created by a young New York socialite named Mary Phelps who grew weary of having her camisole show when she wore a lace blouse. Using handkerchiefs, she designed the first rudimentary bra which she eventually had patented in 1914. Women everywhere loved Mary’s new design and the first bra took off in a big way. It was later that a woman named Ida Rosenthal started designing bras with different cup sizes.

The Function of Buttons On Jacket Sleeves. Have you ever asked yourself why there are buttons on the ends of jacket sleeves. According to information passed down through the ages, none other than Napoleon Bonaparte dictated that buttons be attached to jacket sleeves to stop the annoying habit soldiers had of wiping their runny noses on their jacket sleeves.

The Origin of Beauty: 1225–75; Middle English be ( a ) ute < Old French beaute; replacing Middle English bealte < Old French beltet < Vulgar Latin *bellitāt- (stem of *bellitās ), equivalent to Latin bell ( us ) fine + -itāt- -ity (….and so Southern Bell easy to figure!)

Definition of Beauty: The combination of all the qualities of a person or thing that delight the senses and please the mind. Agree?


Beauty in Sustainable Architecture – more specifically, home dwellings

Yum: Reading Home-Design Book and House Plans

This turned into a little bigger of a subject matter than Yum bargained for: Here are some interesting excerpts for an array of sites…. She went from the small site to the broad stroke of HGTV. First she asked herself and of others – “What does living green mean to you?”

One of her favorite inserts came from Pure Green, and it’s photographer and friend, Erin Monett. puregreendesign.blogspot.
“Living green boils down to respect.  Respect for one’s health and quality of life, and respect for all the earth and creation. I believe we’ve only been given one planet. As far as I’m concerned we have (and continue to) mess it up. It’s our moral obligation to take ownership and make that wrong, right again. Everyone can learn to live a little greener! Make educated decisions about what you are feeding your children, pouring down your drain, and financially supporting in your purchases    BTW- thanks to Céline MacKay, Editor in Chief and founder of Pure Green Magazine!

Then Yum asks herself a bigger questions of what is ” Sustainable architecture” – since your home is indeed architecture of some kind or another. In it’s most simple form Yum says- it simply means that your architecture (home) strives  to be as small a negative impact of the environment as possible. That is done first with design and the materials of your home to enhance it’s efficiency, then what energy that you will consume as the resident of that home, and again, how can you maximize the efficiency. How can your home and your own footprint be as  small as possible on the world?

Further poking around Yum found and liked this:  (HGTV) The 8 categories and the total possible points for each are as follows:

What Makes a Home Green?
  1. Innovation and Design Process. 9 possible points are given for using special design methods, unique regional credits, measures not currently addressed in the Rating System, and exemplary performance levels.
    2. Location and Linkages. 10 possible points are given for placing homes in socially and environmentally responsible ways in relation to the larger community.
    3. Sustainable Sites. 21 possible points are given for using the entire property so as to minimize the project’s impact on the site.
    4. Water Efficiency. 15 possible points are given for indoor and outdoor water conservation practices built in to the home.
    5. Energy and Atmosphere. 38 possible points are given for improving energy efficiency, particularly in the building envelope and heating and cooling design.
    6. Materials and Resources. 14 possible points are given for selecting environmentally preferable materials, efficiently using materials, and minimizing waste during construction.
    7. Indoor Environmental Quality. 20 possible points are given for improving indoor air quality by reducing possible air pollution. 
8. Awareness and Education. 3 possible points are given for educating the homeowner, tenant, and building manager (for larger multifamily buildings) about the operations and maintenance of their home’s green features.

How this for truly a GREEN DWELLING! Super efficient small dwelling  http://www.minibpassivehouse.com/ Follow link to see a lovely drawing of the home.

Next: A home in Michigan that the front glass is put in to reflect the water it is on so it “blends” instead of sticking out from its surroundings. “Because modeling sustainable building practices was a key goal of the project, Baker was averse to demolishing the existing cottage on the property. Instead, builder Luke Gingerich and his crew at Golden Rule Construction removed the pitched roof from the cottage, stripped it to the studs, and used the framing and foundation in the new house.

The old cottage now makes up most of the private quarters, including a small o…ffice, laundry room and master suite downstairs, plus a den, a bathroom and two small bedrooms upstairs. It connects to the new pavilion in a modular, very modern floor plan that doubles the size to 3,000 square feet.” Read the whole story and see a photo of the home.

Do you love to look at house/home photos. Yum does, I do and if you do too- a whole array of amazing Sustainable Homes around the world. Lush photos, a brief description of the homes. Brought to you by  http://www.besthousedesign.com/category/houses-design/green-house/. FAB!!!!!!

Last but certainly not least. So – what makes a home a Sustainable Home?   According to  http://sustainablehouseandhome.com/what-makes-a-sustainable-home/ which is a site is dedicated to those principles that we believe will have the greatest impact to limit our footprints on this blue and green planet we co-inhabit.

“This is a simple answer in terms of coming from a knowledge of these things.  However, when trying to come up with a concrete and succinct answer, it is sometimes a bit more difficult.  The simplest answer is to say that what makes a house a sustainable home is that it is not only built from materials that are harvested or manufactured in a way that is supportive of the larger global environment, but that is in constant balance and harmony with the environment that it is a part of as well.  In other words, it is constructed of materials that support a more ‘green friendly’ – we’ll get to that as well – approach and is also surrounded, supported and maintained in this fashion as well.”

Sounds good to Yum – she is ready to go and start designing her Sustainable Home!

Yum has had a great time this week – she learned a ton and hope you did too. Happy Beauty to one and all!

Tomorrow- Fun Fact Friday…

Botanical Beauties – Meet The Blossoms honoring Japan

In honor of Japan. Meet The Blossoms (Sakura and Tanka) – the newest creatures to join the Botanical Beauty and Beasties. Their core is from Cherry Blossoms, but they are created from blossoms of all kinds.

Given the state of disrepair and tragedy in Japan The Botanicals believed it would be nice to have a breath of beauty. Hence, this weeks theme of Beauty and why The Blossoms came to stay. Sakura and Tanka are all about beauty, strength, and unity with, and for, one another. They hope that the possibility of closing your eyes and resting is possible, even when mass chaos surrounds you, and that hopefully there is a bit of beauty in your minds eye at that time of respite.

cherry blossom is the flower of the cherry trees known as sakura (桜 or 櫻; さくら). Cherry blossoms are indigenous to many East Asian states including Japan, Korea, and China. Japan has a wide variety of cherry blossoms (sakura.) Cherry blossoms are celebrated for their beauty.

Why the name Tanka and what does it mean?  Tanka (短歌)  is a short poem and part of a larger Group called Waka, which literally means Japanese poem. The term waka originally encompassed a number of differing forms – Tanka being one of the five. Of the five only Tanka survived and so the term aka eventually came to refer only to tanka.

Beauty ON us… Are you an Eco-Fashionista?

Save the Earth with Good style! You walk around – why not look good and so promote Sustainable Beauty!

Fashion and Green – it can be tricky but doesn’t need to be…With a little effort there are LOTS of choices in Green fashion today – Green (as in Eco) is the new black  for fashion! Join in the trend – it’s actually pretty easy!

Yum researching resources for Eco Fashion Beauty

Yum has done some research – she found a very nice link from Eco Chick. Here’s the link Online Resources for Ecofashion, Beauty and Green Goodness … and then there are some easy finds- Levis Jeans has an organic line and waterless (!), Whole Foods has some great clothing and Premium Body Care… Many brands are adding “green fashion and beauty” to their collections. As M.S. would say – “It’s a good thing.” Wondering about waterless – check out http://airdye.com/Synthetic textile-dyeing consumes 2.4 trillion gallons of water a year, enough to fill 3,700,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. AirDye reduces water use up to 95 percent.** “

Sticking to our Boston base from yesterday – check this out!  A “Boston-based IVEE is a fashion forward sportswear company dedicated to creating luxuriously comfortable sportswear embodying simple glamour and natural elegance.” Items look very nice on line…I am anxious to try some out! http://www.iveestyle.com/ Here is a way to carry all your cool green stuff around – check out Green Style On The Go®  at www.sakysacks.com. Very Cute! Very Pretty!

Are You Up on Eco-Chic Green Fashion Lingo? Learn the green fashion terms.

100% Organic Cotton: To be considered 100 percent organic, cotton must be “certified by a third party (such as the USDA), following strict guidelines for growing the fiber, using no disallowed synthetic chemicals.

Bamboo: A textile made from the pulp of the fast growing bamboo plant that’s soft, highly water absorbent, and anti-bacterial.

Fair Trade: Fair trade companies look at more than just the bottom line. They look at development as a whole and create more of a partnership with suppliers, which makes for a fairer exchange system where workers get paid fair wages and work under good conditions.

Hemp: A strong fabric sewn from the fibers of the fast growing cannabis plant (a variety that contains virtually no THC, the active ingredient in marijuana).

Recycled/Upcycled: Material that’s been reprocessed at the end of its life into something new and useful.

Sustainable: Describes a product created by a process that can continue indefinitely without causing environmental destruction or usurping resources.

All sorts of fun fashion green info here!

http://www.squidoo.com/eco-chic#module11609300

Beauty in Gardens:Boston Common and Boston Public Garden

This week is all about Beauty.

Yum will be the spokeswoman of the week. She feels with all that has gone in the world in the past few weeks we all need a break and breath of fresh air- hence the theme of Beauty this week!

Yums Story/Job: Yum is a magic fairy. She flies over the land and sea and keeps all in love and peace. She has extraordinary sight, so she sees all, knows all, and helps all.
 (Mixed floral)

The focus of today will be natural beauty – enhanced by humans for our joy of beauty – served up by Public Gardens! Since Yums home turf before she moved to Botaniumus was New England – and the Boston area in particular she want to chat about Boston famous Commons and gardens.

Boston Common was America’s first park, the Boston Public Garden its first public botanical garden.  The commons have seen the likes of George Washington & John Adams in 1768. In WWI victory gardens sprouted up in an WWII  The Commons gave it’s all in giving up most of its iron fencing for scrape metal. It was in the Commons that Charles Lindbergh promoted commercial aviation!

Peaking out
Yum and Charles Lindbergh (Photo from top-10-list.org)

In the 19th Century Bostonians added trees, fountains and statuary. The Common became the park-like greenspace we know today. The park includes ballfields, a totlot and the Frog Pond, which provides skating in winter and a spray pool for children in the summer…. The Public Garden was created in 1837, Boston Common in 1634. What a difference two centuries made. From its inception, the Public Garden was decorative and flowery, the Common pastoral and practical. The Common’s walkways were for crosstown travel, the Public Garden’s paths for meandering. The Common was America’s first park, the Public Garden its first public botanical garden.

This style of park, featuring the gardener’s art, was ushered in by Victorians who had new techniques readily available to collect, hybridize and propagate plants. They had access to showy annuals. Greenhouse-grown plants could assure that displays would be seen at their peak. With such abilities, they bedded-out the Garden in intricate floral patterns of blazing color and planted exotic imported trees. These features are clear in the design by George Meacham, who won the public design competition for the Garden. The prize was $100. … We (Boston Gov) maintain the Victorian traditions for the most part, and we feature the Garden as one of Boston’s great attractions…The plants used in bedding-out the Public Garden are grown in the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s greenhouses. Over 80 species of plants are cultivated there for future plantings in the Garden –

All information is from http://www.cityofboston.gov/Parks/emerald/public_garden.asp

Fun Facts Friday – and the last day of Power Source Week.

Help for Japan:
Donate to the Red Cross http://american.redcross.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ntld_main
Donate to Doctors without Boarders: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/overview.cfm

How much of our electricity is generated from renewable sources?
How much of our electricity is generated from renewable sources? http://www.eia.gov/energy_in_brief/renewable_energy.cfm

* Did you know that just one wind turbine can produce enough electricity to power up to 300 homes? Or that biomass is actually stored solar energy?

* It almost always takes less energy to make a product from recycled materials than it does to make it from new materials. Using recycled aluminum scrap to make new aluminum cans, for example, uses 95% less energy than making aluminum cans from bauxite ore, the raw material used to make aluminum.

* Gains in Home Energy Efficiency Offset by More Electronics and Appliances

Total residential energy consumption rose approximately 13% over the past quarter century. This was lower than both the rate of population growth (+24%) and new housing starts (+36%) due to energy efficiency improvements in heating and cooling equipment, water heaters, and major appliances. Efficiency gains were offset by increases in the number of homes with clothes washers, dryers, and dishwashers. Additionally, a growing number of U.S. households now have multiple televisions, computers, and refrigerators.

The percentage of homes with central air-conditioning has more than doubled since 1980, with nearly 60% of homes having a central system. All areas of the United States show a significant increase in air-conditioning equipment and use in recent years. Cooling now accounts for 8% of total residential energy consumption in the United States, double its 1980 share.

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  • 500–900 AD: The first windmills were developed in Persia for pumping water and grinding grain.
  • in 2007 : Wind power provided 5 percent of the renewable energy used in the United States.

1860 :Auguste Mouchout (FR), a mathematics instructor, was able to convert solar radiation directly into mechanical power.
2001: Home Depot began selling residential solar power systems in three stores in San Diego, California.

1898:Marie Curie (FR), 2x Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry & Physics, discovered the radioactive elements radium and polonium.
2007: Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 was the first U.S. nuclear reactor to come online in the 21st century. Shut down in 1985, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) decided in 2002 to restart the unit. It had the capacity to supply electricity to about 650,000 homes.

B.C.:Hydropower was used by the Greeks to turn water wheels for grinding grains more than 2,000 years ago.
Today: Between 6% and 10% of U.S. electricity comes from hydropower, depending on water supply and annual rainfall. In total, the United States has about 80,000 megawatts of conventional capacity and 18,000 megawatts of pumped storage capacity.

all from Energy KIDS (http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/index.cfm)