What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Eco-Friendly Fabrics

The material we choose for our clothing can make a difference both in the terms of the environment and in wearing comfort.  I recently posted about the eco-friendly socks my husband likes.  Did you know that other clothing can be eco-friendly without breaking the bank?  In fact, using eco-friendly materials that do not need dry cleaning can save you money.  Look for clothing made from:
  1. bamboo - This material traps warm air yet breaths well with wicking.  This action draws moisture away from the skin to the outer layer of the fabric.  Bamboo does not hold odours and is said to have anti-bacterial properties.  This fabric is soft to the touch but is rugged and durable.  It is a little more expensive but pays for itself in durability.  The main drawback is solvents used in the manufacturing process can end up back into the watershed although if the fabric was woven this may not be an issue.
  2. hemp - Hemp is a hardy cash crop that grows well in Canada.  It requires no fertilizers or pesticides and very little water is required.  Hemp is a bit more rugged than bamboo and it even provides UV protection.  It is about 4 times more durable than cotton.  The main drawback with hemp is the price.  While the popularity is growing, hemp is still a niche market which is reflected in the price.
  3. organic cotton - Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world.  Avoid this problem by buying organic cotton grown without the use of pesticides and fertilizers.  You will pay extra for organic cotton because it is more susceptible to pests.  Cotton is comfortable but the least durable of the other eco-friendly.  Aside of the price, organic cotton is hard to find.
  4. wool - Wool is about as natural of a fabric as you can get.  It is an excellent insulator, ideal for outdoor clothing.  If the wool garment has been pre-shrunk and well made it can last a lifetime.  The main complaint with wool is it can shrink when wet and there's the itch factor.  
Other fabrics you may want to consider that are also eco-friendly include:

  1. soy - a natural byproduct of food production that can be woven into fabric
  2. merino wool - specially bred  for superior fleece
  3. alpaca - lighter and softer than sheep's wool, about 100% hypoallergenic, 50 natural colours
  4. linen - made from the fibers of the flax plant, natural cooling fabric
  5. polar fleece - made from recycled plastic bottles, does not breath well

Garden Gnome

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Garden Gnome

Garden Gnome

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Eco Power Crew Socks

Eco Power Crew Sock

We have preferred cotton socks for pretty much as long as we have been married. They became a family affair right from the time the kids started wearing socks. Cotton socks are healthier for you feet because the act as a wick drawing moisture away from your feet while letting your feet breath. This is very important for your overall foot health. Cotton is a wonderful natural fiber that is not only durable but eco-friendly as well.

My husband picked up a 10 pair package of Burlington® Eco Power crew socks at Sam's Club ($10.95). These looked like the regular cotton socks he buys except the label made from recycled materials caught my eye. These are even better. They are a cotton and bamboo blend that not only wicks moisture but they control odor naturally. The green seam stands for earth friendly yarns. This gave me an opportunity to learn a bit about bamboo since until now I thought bamboo was for harder type materials. What I found out is bamboo is one of the world's most sustainable resources. When spun into a fiber it offers a natural moisture wicking property. It is one of the softest, most comfortable yet toughest fibers you can buy.

This small find doesn't seem like all that much in the big picture but I'm quite pleased none the less. It is one more eco-friendly product we can add to our repetoir of eco-friendly products. What's nice is the eco-friendly socks where not more expensive than 100% cotton socks or synthetic socks and in fact were a bit cheaper. So my husband ended up with an eco-friendly healthier version of the cotton sock he likes at a lower price. This was rather refreshing because eco-friendly is the new buzz word so some manufacturers and stores charge more for eco-friendly products. That wasn't the case here.

Garden Gnome