Categories: Design

Throwing a Welcome Spring Party

Spring has been slowly unveiling itself since Daylight Savings was ushered in last weekend. What better way to welcome the season than with some fun ideas of throwing a spring party to welcome new life, growth and birth. Whether you’re celebrating it in remembrance of the resurrection or in the spirit of gift-giving and Easter egg hunts, here are some modern and eco ideas on how to throw a refreshing spring party.

Spring Party Mood Board

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How to Help Those Affected by Hurricane Sandy

Photo by Tod Seelie

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the East Coast. Residents of New Jersey and New York City are still feeling the intense effects of Hurricane Sandy. The devastating storm has destroyed entire homes in its wake. The hardest hit areas, including Rockaway, Queens, are still struggling to get heat and hot water. The freezing nor’easter last week just added salt to the wound. No matter where you are, there’s lots you can do to help. Recovery efforts have already revealed how strong we are as a nation to pull together after a disaster.

If you’re on the ground, consider volunteering time to help clear basements or distribute donations. You can find the most up-t0-date information at Occupy Sandy.

The easiest way to help out if you already have an Amazon account is to contribute something to the Occupy Sandy wedding Registry. Instead of cleaning out your closet to come up with donations consider fulfilling a specific request. People on the ground are constantly updating what is needed most. You can buy cleaning supplies, hardware, or baby items that will be delivered straight to relief efforts.

Architecture for Humanity is a global community that helps to rebuild spaces, often in green ways, in post-conflict areas.Their recent report just how much is needed to rebuild the coastline. Text REBUILD to 85944 to make a $10 donation.

The American Red Cross is on the ground feeding hot meals to people and distributing blankets. You can contribute directly on the website.

An entire DIY community for kids!

Did you know that 65 percent of kids entering school this year will end up working in careers that haven’t even been invented yet? According to Cathy N. Davidson of Duke University, that means the need to be creative in life is essential. The new site makes it easy and fun for kids to start enhancing their creativity skills early on. The website and app presents a multitude of projects kids can create at home. Once they complete the project, they earn virtual skill patches, similar to a Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts badge. They can share photos or video of their project to further enhance the feeling of pride of a job well-done. The projects range from easy and homemade, like making pickles or a smoothie, to medium-skill such as making an animal mask or rock collection, to complex, such as knitting a scarf or even making your own bicycle fenders.

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Amazing Recycled Paper Art

If there’s one thing we love it’s paper. And we especially love when people turn it into art. One new artist takes it well beyond origami, creating gorgeous 3-D art out of recycled paper. Ali Golzad is an artist living in Texas, originally from Göteborg, Sweden by way of Tehran, Iran. With a background as a graphic designer and creative director, his latest project asks us to question how we normally look at waste and see something beautiful: “Over the years I have developed my own technique using various mediums,” he says. “Aside from my formal graphic design training and time spent as a Creative Director you could say I am a self taught artist. My urge to create while still caring for our planet enabled me to look at ordinary objects in a new light and transform these commonly discarded materials into something meaningful.” We love the innovative use of paper techniques to recreate well-known figures. More pictures after the jump.

Is This the World’s Best Water Bottle?

It started as a Kickstarter campaign. Designer David Mayer set out to create the perfect water bottle. The result is a square bottle that never rolls. Although the stainless steel bottle looks simple enough, it’s made from 16 different parts, in a process of 65 steps. Best of all, the bottle has a top and bottom lid that can be removed for easy cleaning. That comes in handy especially if you’re the type to tote around juice or smoothies and know the annoyance of washing a regular bottle.

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Turn that Pop Bottle into a Party

There’s no shortage of portable speakers on the market. But it’s hard to find ones that aren’t bulky or battery-draining. Designers Lin Nien-An and Cheng Ya-Fang have found the answer, creating the funnel-inspired Green’s Voice Speaker System, that turns any empty plastic bottle into a party. It’s the perfect picnic accessory this fall.

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Stunning Eco-Designed Keyboard

If you find yourself sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day or more, longing to be out in nature, perhaps a desk makeover might help lift your spirits. The new Orée Board is an eco-designed keyboard fashioned from a single piece of wood, offering a warmer desktop experience for the user. The name has a double meaning: “the outer edge of the forest” and “the brink of something new.” Orée chooses wood varieties from sustainably managed forests, offering natural and renewable material sources with each product. Each board is cut into three sheets to preserve the wood grain and minimize waste.

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Take a Ride and Visit a National Park


Did you have time to get a vacation in this summer? If not, that’ll give you all the more reason to visit one of our National Parks this fall. The amazing Sierra Club has put together a fun subway map depicting all of our country’s great treasures. How many stops have you made along the way? Unfortunately, getting around our parks isn’t nearly as easy as this map would have you believe. However the clever design reminds us just how rich our country is in natural wonders.

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A Guide to Ecodesign

Back in the day, being eco-friendly often meant automatically having a flagrant disregard for good design in favor of a more hippie aesthetic. Today all that has changed. Indeed, to earn the title of eco-design today, a product has to not only be good for the environment, but also look great in the home, in your wardrobe, in the school or office. A new trilingual handbook, Ecodesign: Ecofriendly Objects for Everyday Use, written in English, French and German by Silvia Barbero, Brunella Cozzo, Paola Tamborrini serves as a guide for designing with an eco-conscious today.

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A Greener Popemobile

Pope Benedict XVI made waves last year when he took a ride in the first green Popemobile, a Mercedes M-Class hybrid. Now His Holiness has gone a step further, with two fully electric vehicles designed and gifted by Renault. It’s not bad being the Pope. Renault made one car, based on the Kangoo maxi Z.E., specially for the Pope for travel at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. The other gift is a blue, bulletproof version, to be used by the Corps of Gendarmerie Corps of Vatican City for the Pope’s security.

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