Thursday, August 19, 2010

Seed Cathedral

image via gabyu

This year's Expo in Shanghai features one of the coolest pavilions ever - the Seed Cathedral.
Built using 60,858 transparent fiber optic rods, each containing a plant seed specimen, this innovative structure sits at the centre of the UK Pavilions site.
Visitors inside can watch in awe as light passes through the fiber optic filaments and illuminates the interior while gently moving in the wind, creating what I'm sure is a very dramatic effect.
Over 25% of the world's plant species were collected to take their place in this otherworldly showcase. How beautiful this must be...too bad it's not permanent.
Read more and see more pictures of this "animate sculpture".

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


image via weburbanist

Could I live in a shipping container? Sure! If it looked anything like these beautiful converted studios and living spaces.
Quite an interesting idea. And it's one that seems to have grown legs in recent years what with a shortage of affordable housing and society's desire to salvage and recycle building materials, either to be more green or simply to fulfill a need for safe shelter. It doesn't hurt that our ports are full of abandoned containers looking for a new home. Many importers choose to abandon them because it's cheaper to buy new ones than to have them sent back, meaning there are plenty used ones for sale. They can be great solutions to temporary housing, having been used as student dorms, hurricane shelters and disaster recovery efforts.
I'm a fan of the more permanent re-imagining of the cargo container. It's a twist on the mobile home that has architects designing new ways to integrate these stackable, durable and inexpensive shells into beautiful office and residential spaces.

One man has been chronicling his adventures in container redesign here.

This one, featured recently in Dwell, is one of my favorites.

image via dwell

Monday, August 9, 2010

Garden State

swiss chard, carrots, beans, beets and lettuce...yum.

It is good, very good, to be able to grow your own food. Watching our garden grow from seed to luscious, leafy produce has done more than promote watering taste buds, it's helped promote a bond with the earth, the changes in weather, even the birds and deer who occasionally pay a visit to try to steal a nibble.
When I was a kid, my parents grew food in our backyard. I have fond memories of digging in the dirt to uncover golden skinned potatoes, peeking under broad leaves to find squash and zucchini... and not so fond memories of picking beans and pulling weeds. I still hate picking beans.
mom helping out with the garden during her visit this june.

Our modest raised veggie bed that we built at our cabin this spring has yielded some yummy results so far and despite one month with no rain and little supervision, we managed to get a decent harvest when we were up this weekend.
Being the first garden my husband or I have had in our adult life, there are definitely some lessons learned that we can apply to next season. I've discovered the importance of garden markers (I don't know how many times I planted seeds on top of other seeds) and that bean seedlings don't like to be transported 2.5 hours by car and ferry (my poor little beanlings took a beating on the commute from our city home where they were germinated).
Perhaps the biggest lesson of all is to keep a close eye on our cat when he's in the vicinity. Those raised veggie beds nearly became his personal outdoor litter box on more than one occasion, saved only by a last minute squirt with the garden hose. I guess you could say my cat learned a lesson, too.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I want to paint this.

It's 10:30pm and I'm at work. As I sit here I occasionally flipping between programs, I catch a glimpse of the image I set to my desktop.

I've been encouraged to start painting again. Real deal painting, brushes, messy paints and everything. I'm thinking this photo I took last week would be a good candidate to get me back into what has become my "lost art".

Monday, August 2, 2010

Road trip!

My husband and I hadn't had a vacation together since our honeymoon. 3 years ago. Our schedules are somewhat demanding, I suppose, but there's no excuse for that. Fortunately the stars aligned this past week and we were able to book some days off together for an anniversary getaway road trip to the Rocky Mountains.




we started off the trip with two days at our friend's annual ranch party in Princeton...thanks Birmingham family!

from there it was on to Osoyoos, Canada's only pocket desert, for some hiking, jetskiing and sunbathing in 38 degree heat.

this is one of the most stunning places in the country, in my opinion. just outside of Waterton Lakes National Park.

the prairies meet the Rockies in the most immediate and dramatic way.

at Waterton Lake. what a great opportunity to try out my new sigma 10-20mm.

the best way to see the Rockies? on a forestry service road, of course! no traffic, no tourists, lots of spectacular views.

that's not to say we didn't indulge ourselves by visiting some of the old tourist standards. Moraine Lake, Alberta.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pillow Fight

I'm in the market for a few accessories to accent the coastal look of our Pender Harbour home.
Number one on the list is to find a couple of throw pillows to dress up an otherwise drab couch.

In a perfect world, I could ditch the couch and just get this loverly chair instead:)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

All hail Ter·rar·i·a!

No frogs or toads were harmed in this process.

n. pl. ter·rar·i·ums or ter·rar·i·a (-ē-ə) A small enclosure or closed container in which selected living plants and sometimes small land animals, such as turtles and lizards, are kept and observed.

I post this definition because today people kept asking me why I had a big bag of moss sitting on my desk. I explained that I was going to use it in a terrarium, to which most of them replied, "What's a terrarium?"

I've always wanted to build one, but having learned some difficult lessons as a child, trapping frogs and toads (and then forgetting that I had trapped them) I thought it maybe didn't suit me. Of course, a plant terrarium - that is something I can probably handle.
So thank goodness for Etsy's latest DIY article featuring 10 or so great little tutorials for fun spring projects. This particular one, posted by tinyterra, caught my eye for being so clever.

Last night was one of the few nights where I found myself slightly bored so I moseyed into the bathroom and finally replaced all the dead lightbulbs over the vanity. Step one of my first terrarium project complete. Dis-assembling the bulb was easier than I thought it would be, but please DO follow the advice to wear safety goggles and gloves. Nobody likes shards in the eye. I used white sand from a beach trip and spanish moss, both red and green. I couldn't find any air plants but it looks just as nice with the moss.

Throwing away lightbulbs is annoying so I'm excited to now have a use for them. With the move to compact fluorescents, better to save our incandescents from the landfill - and make some terrariums!

clockwise from left