Gently Green What I Love Please Join Me
Gently Green

Five New Ideas about Old Things

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As a design advisor for this year’s Nantucket Historical Association’s annual Antiques and Design Show, I’m excited to both participate with a Dujardin Design tablescape created especially for the event, and to attend to see what the world of antique dealers and designers have to offer this year. I love using antiques in my interiors, both for my clients, and in my own home. These treasured parts of history are beautiful mixed into traditional or more contemporary designs, and as I tell my clients and friends, they are the ultimate in “green!”

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1) Antique furniture can be a beautiful addition to a sustainable lifestyle, as well as a link to the past. Not only do carefully selected pieces add artistry and the patina of age, they help to maintain your home’s indoor air quality. Created with less-toxic products years ago, antiques have long since completed any chemical off gassing.

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2) By restoring and repairing fine furniture, the resource-intensive cycle of endless new production is slowed, as is the fossil-fuel based packaging and delivery system.

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3) Beautiful and sturdy, wood pieces made before the 21st century were constructed with timber with tighter growth rings, which simply doesn’t exist today, enhancing its value as a treasured collectible.

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4) Antiques are recycling at its best. Beloved family pieces, delicate porcelain, fine china and the softly faded colors of aged Oriental rugs do not belong in a landfill. Treasures from another time can be loved and used again. An item that has been passed from home to home and hand to hand brings history to life, and honors the work of artisans who lived long ago.

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5) Antique collections are a very personal expression. I often find that a simple gesture, such as placing an antique tea caddy on a mantel, can inspire my clients to begin a collection of their own. Learning about the subtle differences between artisans, the period of time when an item was made, or the materials that were used to make it, gives us a greater appreciation for life. Whatever you collect, it is unique to you and your home, and cannot be duplicated.

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I encourage you to spend a summer weekend looking for old and rare treasures of your own. Being “green” has never been so much fun!

 

 

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Battling the Autism Epidemic

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I’ve written before about my concern for for the 70 million people affected by autism worldwide, and their families. Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders–autism spectrum disorders–caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, and repetitive behaviors.

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The numbers are rising, as confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control’s new statistics: 1 in 68 children, 1 in 42 boys have autism. It is an urgent public health priority that requires increasing global awareness, services and research. World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), celebrated each year on April 2, was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to shine a bright light on autism as a growing health crisis. Autism Speaks recognizes that day with its international Light It Up Blue campaign.

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Thousands of communities participate, with iconic landmarks, businesses and homes across the globe uniting by shining bright blue lights in honor of the millions of individuals and families around the world living with autism.

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I’m doing my small part by helping to spread the word through my blog and Facebook page, as well as providing financial support and participating in Walk Now for Autism Speaks. The Nantucket Walk will take place this year on August 16th, starting from Jetties Beach. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across America. Please visit Autism Speaks here to find a walk in your area!

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Autism Speaks is a worldwide organization co-founded by Suzanne and Bob Wright. They are tireless in approaching autism from every avenue, and transforming lives, one person at a time. A new documentary, Sounding the Alarm, has been produced. The film follows autism families as they follow tangled rules and regulations, and steadfastly fight to find and afford the right care and treatment for their loved ones throughout their lives.

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Watch the trailer here. It’s available now on Netflix.

What I Love

A Bookstore on an Island

A Bookstore on an Island   mitchells books 687x292 In the fictional bookstore in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, the author offers readers a glimpse into what it must be like to operate that endangered species, an independent, neighborhood bookstore. If you ever watched the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romantic comedy, You’ve Got Mail, then you’re familiar with the feeling of rooting for the small business owner, the bookstore owner whose heart and soul is tied to the community and the authors she serves.

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Bookselling, like most industries, is a complicated business, and I’m grateful for the many booksellers, large and small, that operate across the country. I’ve always been a supporter of my neighborhood bookstores, though, and as a constant reader who buys more books than I can read in a lifetime, I encourage everyone to support them. There’s something charming about the way each small bookseller arranges the world inside his door. Instead of working from a corporate merchandising plan, the lighting, shelves, books and comfortable chairs are one of a kind.

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Nantucket Book Partners, which operates both Mitchell’s Book Corner and Nantucket Bookworks, provides islanders and visitors with just that kind of experience . Both locations offer an enticing view into a wide-ranging inventory of books and boundless ideas for what to read next. As is fitting for an island bookstore, they have a wonderful selection of books about Nantucket, whaling and the island’s genealogy. And best of all, they are a true community resource, with book signings for local authors, advertised on their blog through “What’s on the BOOKS?,” a dedication to providing the best in customer service, a blog feature called “Meet a Nantucket Book Worm,” to let us look over our neighbor’s shoulder to see what she’s reading, and even offer space for a weekly Memoir Writing Group in the store.

As the faded sign on the porch of the Victorian cottage that is home to the fictional Island books says, “No man is an island; every book is a world.” A bookstore is a world, too, and we’re lucky to have two to call our own.