outdoor living…
entertaining al fresco

  • Start by arranging your outdoor space to suit your needs. Are you doing lots of afternoon cookouts by the grill, or are you offering more sit-down dinners al fresco? Consider how you’ll use your space, then start looking for stylish, sustainable outdoor furniture that fits your lifestyle.
  • Don’t forget to light up the night. Once the sun goes down, you’ll need to throw some light on the area. Try a combination of solar lanterns and candlelight for a truly stunning look that’s also sustainable. No electrical outlet required!
  • Treat your outdoor spaces like a room. Go ahead, add an outdoor area rug, toss on some cushions or pillows, and provide your guests with comfy throws for when the nights get a little chilly. Add a vase with flowers and break out the table linens if you like.
  • Use what you’ve got. You don’t need a huge space to make outdoor entertaining work for you. If space is tight, try serving finger foods that don’t require sitting at a table to eat. Or serve the meal inside and enjoy after dinner cocktails on the balcony.

Treat your outdoor space the same way you treat the inside of your home—it’s another room in your home, it just lacks a ceiling. Decorate it to reflect your personal style, and make it a place you and your guests can use and enjoy every day. Nothing beats being outdoors with good friends and good food when the weather’s fine. Especially in early spring, when we’re ready to throw off winter’s chill and enjoy the sun and fresh air.

the truth about teak…
lasting sustainable style

Teak is a classic when it comes to outdoor furniture, and for good reason. It’s incredibly durable, long-lasting, naturally water- and bug-resistant and ages exceptionally well. It’s an investment that will look good for years to come. While teak outdoor furniture does come with a high price tag, its longevity makes the investment worth it. But there are still things you should know before you invest in teak outdoor furniture.

  • Teak weathers
    Most teak comes unfinished, or “natural”, which will weather over time to a silvery gray color. You can find sealed teak, or seal it yourself if you prefer to preserve the warmer color of fresh teak. Be aware, you will have to reseal on a regular basis to maintain the finish. If you like the weathered look, just leave it be, your teak furniture will start graying before the first season is over.
  • Care and cleaning
    Even in its natural state, teak requires care. Some suggest oiling, which can preserve the color, and prevent the wood from over-drying in the elements. Oiling can lead to mold or mildew, especially if your teak furniture is in an enclosed or moist area. If your teak furniture is in shade, or an enclosed area, it will fade more slowly.
    There are also teak treatments that offer the same results as oiling, without the risk of mold or mildew. In full sun, oiling or treating the teak once or twice a year will help preserve its color and prolong its life.
    Cleaning teak is easy. Just brush off any debris and use a mild soap in lots of water with a bristle brush to scrub the teak. Rinse it well and let it dry in the sun.
  • Sustainability
    At one time, the demand for teak was a major cause of deforestation in natural teak forests. Old-school plantation teak didn’t have the same color or quality as old-growth, “natural” teak. Today, it’s easy to find FSC-certified plantation teak that rivals old-growth teak. Sustainable plantations practicing slow-growth methods produce stunning woods that are also kind to the environment and respect indigenous peoples.

Armed with proper information, it’s easy to decide if sustainable teak outdoor furniture is right for you. Of course, you could also look at outdoor furniture made from recycled milk jugs.

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new for spring…

Spring has sprung and there are dozens of new items perfect for transforming your home into a green oasis! Here are just a few of our favorites:

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table linens…
their proper care and feeding

Linen may be one of the oldest textiles in the world, dating back to at least 8,000 BC. The threads are spun from the stems of the flax plant, a naturally bug and disease resistant crop that is also grown for its seeds. The fabric woven from these threads has a unique finish, is stronger than cotton, and can last for years with proper care. Linen is the classic fabric for tablecloths, napkins, and even bedding.

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why organic sheets…
are they worth it?

Ask most people why they buy organic produce and they might tell you it tastes better, or that it’s healthier for their families, or maybe that it’s better for the planet. The higher prices that organic produce can command is worth it. Ask them if they buy organic bedding, and most will say no, they’re too expensive.

When it comes to bedding, thread count isn’t the only predictor of quality. High thread count does mean a smoother feel, and usually a better quality sheet. But what really matters is what goes into that thread to begin with—high-quality fibers make better bedding, even if the thread count isn’t as high. That alone is one reason to make the switch to organic bedding—you’re starting with higher quality fiber.

Cotton may conjure up images of green fields and white puffy clouds that look like pure cotton balls, but the truth is, traditionally-grown cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops there is. Conventional cotton farming is bad for the soil, the air, ground water, and beneficial bugs and birds.

Organic cotton had been grown, harvested, processed, and manufactured without the harmful chemicals, resulting in a lower carbon footprint, and significantly less negative impact. Growing organic does take more time, and for now, costs more. But the results are worth it—the process hasn’t damaged the earth, and you’re sleeping in bedding that is free of harmful chemicals.

As more consumers make the switch to organic textiles, the demand will increase. Eventually, the price will go down as organic becomes the standard instead of the exception.

Want to make the switch? Do it in steps. The next time you need to purchase bedding or towels, choose an organic option instead. Keep doing that each time you need to buy a new towel, or sheet set. It’s easy, and it feels good. Start with just one set of organic cotton sheets, and see how good they can look and feel; you’ll be convinced.

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