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A Minimalist Christmas | The Tree Alternative

With the world of things like Pinterest at our fingertips, it’s no surprise that people are jumping at the alternative of easier and smaller Christmas Tree solutions. When I was 18, I had rushed my boyfriend (now husband) to a big box store to buy a fake tree on sale. It had lasted several years which is great, I love decorating trees, but in a few of the places I had lived over the past few years, it was not ideal to have even the smaller scale tree I had. I didn’t even know there were other options!

It’s hard for people to justify investing in a tree that they only have out for a month in a year, and still be able to store it (and storage is valuable real estate in the apartment world!). Along with the tree, the decorations, lights etc., also need to be stored somewhere, so now it’s impeding even more.

For those who love the traditional tree-feel, I’ve seen many people go for the 2-3’ trees (in various colours: white, purple lights, black with red lights, traditional green with white or multi-coloured lights), which can be placed on tables (read: away from mischievous pets, and small fingers). I know my hubby and I lived in this very cramped basement apartment for 2 years where my (what I thought was small) 6’ tree took up most of our hall space! It was very invasive! A 3’ tree would have been far more practical, but still offer my love for decorating trees.

I have some friends who have kindly provided/shared with me some of the things they’ve done to overcome their tree space challenges.

1: The DIY Tree

My friend Morgan says: “Each of the top smaller pieces are on their own and the longer bottom lengths are cut in half so they’re each 2 pieces.” She followed up to mention her boards are comprised of cardboard, cork, batting and then felt. As of right now they’re tied together and hung with a string in the back, however she’s looking at finding a better hanging solution. She puts a little shout-out on Facebook to her friends, who collectively (over the years) make her decorations for her tree. It’s a great solution for conserving her space, while also creating a personal touch to her space.

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2: Au Natural

I really love this look; my friend Jessie was inspired from something she saw on Pinterest. She actually had her dog find the sticks, “I used a pocket knife to debark and make them the right length. I used walnuts to polish them.” Which is a great personal touch. She adds lights and a few simple colour themed decorations to it to help keep it simple, but still stunning.

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3: Simple Tinsel

This was a fun and very simple artistic way of giving that look of a tree, just up on the wall! My friend Meagan here used tinsel by itself. Please be careful with tinsel if you have pets, it can be very harmful if swallowed. That said, it’s a fun way to create texture in a very simple way! There are many ways to put a creative spin to this, or if you do not like tinsel, you could use other variants of garland, or purely just lights etc. The options are endless!

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These of course are just a few of the very many choices out there in the world. Feel inspired and have fun!

Wishing everyone a very happy holidays from Nested Green.

Green Jobs | A little Speech

While juggling a few different things in business right now, I have an exciting update on a recent event we were very pleased to participate in. Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) had invited us, well… Katherine, to speak to students and those interested in a career that revolved around the environment. The speakers promoted passion but also sustainable business structures to help inspire those interested in this field.

With approximately 50+ students and those interested in changing career paths, it was actually a larger turn out than we expected. The few other speakers were engineers and large corporate businesses focusing on sustainable environmental factors from a much larger scale.

With a quick speech from most speakers, Katherine insisted on telling us where she got started in the business. When we spoke to the many people eager to chat with us, they seemed inspired and enlightened to find a natural business… on a smaller scale. This made us very happy!

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Of course our evening went much longer than we anticipated… with hearing hopes and dreams from many others, we attempted to guide them in the best direction possible to help achieve their goals. It made us both so excited to see so many eager faces ready to jump into the work of environmental design (and living!).

Suffice to say, Katherine enjoyed telling her story so much she (and I) can’t wait to go and do something like this again! Despite her recovering from illness, she did very well in her speech… come take a look for yourself!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uH1UEEvhv8&w=420&h=315]

Designs from the Mat… Hippies and Hemp to the Rescue

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I was called a “hippie chick” once. Well, probably more than once but at least one time that I specifically remember.  I took offence since I didn’t own a tie-dyed t-shirt or drive a Volkswagen Westfalia.  Could it have been that I let my hair grow too long??  What I didn’t realize at the time was that the person who called me this term was referring to my social and political outlook on life.  I should have thanked him for noticing.  I was born in the year that “Hair” hit Broadway, but my parents were the furthest from being Hippies.

On the other hand, our neighbours in Calgary, Alberta were Hippies. I played with their daughter and went on outings with the family in the luxury of a Volkswagen Westfalia.  One outing in particular may be responsible for my fascination and reverence for mid-century modern design … I may have been all of 5 years old.  We were treated to a visit to a custom build home in the middle of ranch country. The home had lofting ceilings, sky lights and spiral stair cases… all covered in moss green shag carpet… no, not the ceiling.  Giant pillows in paisley patterned fabrics, low tables and hanging lamps swagged from the lofty ceiling was all that adorned the grand main area.  Despite the serenity of the country side, I could not help but notice the oil well pumps cluttering the vista from the giant windows.

The Hippy movement of the 60’s and 70’s opened up alot of alternate thinking in the youth of the time. The use of natural products such as hemp were considered illicite due to it’s relation to cannibis sativa, commonly known as marijauna… or weed.  Hemp was a cash crop in the United States long before the country was even that… Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.  Growing industrial hemp in the the U.S. is illegal (although many states are moving to remove the restrictions). In Canada it is highly regulated… pardon the pun.  Check out the links below for a brief history lesson on why such a useful and environmentally progressive product was made illegal.  Hemp can replace the use of fossil fuels for plastics, energy, paper, concrete.  Wonder why wealthy industrial tycoons with interests in forests, metals and oil used their influence to manipulate the government and the country’s population??  Henry Ford produced his Model-T car with “hemp plastic” with an engine that ran on clean burning hemp oil (Ethanol) … where is this product now?? Mr. Ford’s friends at Standard Oil (J.D. Rockefeller) and the United States Steel Corporation (Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and Charles Schwab) were not happy with Henry’s use of products.

Hippies embraced Eastern and indigenous peoples’ philosophies, home grown foods, natural products, social reforms, holding governments to task for their actions and sharing “Truths” amongst those who will listen and those curious to learn. Was there a dark age of knowledge that all that is good for us was burried? With the aid of the internet and those who wish to expose that which is wrong in the world, the information that has been hidden from us for hundreds of years is finally being revealed. Well, it’s probably been out there all along but we just weren’t programmed to hear it.  Remember the X-Files?? The Truth is Out There.

There is a growing interest and a resurgence in the philosophies and political views of the Hippie movement.  How can our future be anything but bleak with the continuation of a system that propagates unwellness for our air, water, food, animals and ourselves by pushing plastics, pollution and politics that create wars, famines and plagues? Hemp, the carbon negative resource of the past has the potential to replace the poisons of our current economic and political systems.  I’ll get off my soap-box now… back to the mat!!

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More Information:

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2012/12/05/how-hemp-became-illegal-the-marijuana-link/

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-other-cannabis-war-20140603

http://naihc.org/hemp_information/hemp_facts.html

http://www.hempcar.org/ford.shtml

http://higherperspective.com/2014/02/5-uses-hemp-show-legalized-immediately.html

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/4-ways-hemp-can-save-the-world/

http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/perfect-plant-7-great-uses-for-industrial-hemp.html

http://hempethics.weebly.com/what-is-industrial-hemp.html

http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/industry-markets-and-trade/statistics-and-market-information/by-product-sector/crops/pulses-and-special-crops-canadian-industry/industrial-hemp/?id=1174595656066

http://beforeitsnews.com/blogging-citizen-journalism/2013/06/hemp-anti-bacterial-fabric-homes-fuel-and-more-something-that-all-americans-can-agree-on-2448220.html