What's an LED light anyway?

At dinner the other night we were discussing LED lights and their use in commercial spaces. Everyone tried to explain what an LED actually is and no one really knew- so, we decided to do a little research. Turns out, it's fairly complex and technical. Wikipedia (gotta love that Wiki!) had the most comprehensive and easiest to understand explanation. If you are scientifically inclined- we'll send you over to them for all of the detailed analysis and for the rest of us- here's a brief rundown:
  • LED is short for light-emitting diode
  • Developed in Russia in the 1920's and first used in the US in the 1960's
  • "Simply put, the light-emitting diode is a solid-state device, much different than an incandescent lamp. It comprises an alloy crystal placed into a reflective cup and chemically bonded to tiny wires, then encapsulated in epoxy. When electric current runs through those wires, the crystal material is excited. That excitement is dissipated in the form of energy, a small part of which is heat, most of which is in the form of light." (www.ies-1.com)
  • Early devices emitted only dim red light (think clock radio!), now available across the spectrum with high brightness
  • In 2003 a new type of blue LED became available commercially and was the brightest light of its kind.
  • Today LEDs are produced with higher intensity, longer life and less energy useage than incandescent and compact flourescents.
  • White light is produced by combining red, green and blue (RGB). Much energy is being devoted to producing clear white light through phosphorous coatings and the development of organic LED polymers.
  • Learn more about the energy saving calculations LED lighting can offer- it's substantial- and a beacon of light to the future.


A Big Win

Big breaking news on Friday- the House of Representatives passed the historic American Clean Air and Security Act! A major step in advancing climate change legislation. Read the full press release and learn more details about this landmark effort at The Environmental Defense Fund website. Now it's on to the Senate- fingers crossed!!


Get out there...

The rain of the past few weeks is gone - and we are on to the real summer sticky hot weather. It's the absolutely perfect weekend to get out and have a picnic, take a walk, go for a boat ride, or just sit on your porch with some lemonade.

What are you doing this lovely weekend? Whatever it is, enjoy it - and we'll see you next week, hopefully with a little more vitamin d than you had before!

GOOD stuff.

We first found out about GOOD when we picked up the magazine last year - and only recently did we check out the website to see that they do so much more.

Focusing on current events, building community, and eco minded subjects - GOOD currently produces a website, videos, live events, and a print magazine. Launched in September 2006, the company has garnered praise for its unique editorial perspective and fresh visual aesthetic and is quickly positioning itself as a significant new voice in our culture. The current issue - all about transporation - is incredibly eye opening.
Pick up an issue and visit GOOD's site for more information. Because you give a damn.


New Found Love

You know that giddy butterfly feeling you get when you find love? We got that old feeling when we found the We Love Typography site and thus, the amazing piece seen above by Julene Harrison (Made By Julene) - our hearts skipped a beat, and our knees might have even buckled.

The idea is very simple; We Love Typography (or WLT as it is known) is an image, video and text 'bookmarking' site wholly dedicated to type related content. Swoon.
Anyone typophile can snoop around via their search tool to find all sorts of goodies, not to mention incredible under the radar artists and designers. We are partial to the color search. Simply type in a color, for example: (we also tried things like italian and helvetica)
The creator of We Love Typography first came up with I Love Typography, a wealth of information and studies on type - we love this guy! According to his site, (ILT) is "designed to inspire its readers, to make people more aware of the typography that’s around them. We really cannot escape type; it's everywhere: on road signs, shampoo bottles, toothpaste, and even on billboard posters, in books and magazines, online ... the list is endless, and the possibilities equally so."

You can't deny love - so get to these sites for some serious typographic fun.

Images via We Love Typography, Made By Julene


Color of Love

We knew about the cool new king and queen stamp, but after getting a wedding invitation in the mail this past week - we were really smitten. What struck us most was the color palette - really unusual and incredibly versatile. To our enjoyment, the invitation we received used our stock and incorporated the stamp colors seamlessly - cottonwood, goldenseal, ash, jackpine, wind and cloud as a little accent. Lovely!

What we didn't know was all the excitement surrounding the release of this stamp! It seems everyone has been desperately looking for postage for a wedding that's not pink, and understandably so. This brings us to Paper Crave and Erin Vale Design - two designers and bloggers who were inspired to whip up some patterned prints inspired by the love stamps!

You can download Paper Crave's freebie designs for use in wrapping gifts, lining envelopes and countless other diy projects.

Download Erin's imprintables for use in your own invites! We paired the note with our 100% pcw goldenseal envelope. Royally perfect!

Images via USPS, Paper Crave, Vale Design

Bustin' A Move

It's just about our 1 year anniversary of moving into our lovely neighborhood warehouse and offices in Chicago. Not only did we luck out being in one of the coolest neighborhoods - Ravenswood, with all its' great cafes, parks, public transportation, festivals, farmers markets just to name a few perks - but we were totally sold when we saw this in our soon-to-be shipping dock:

To all the fire marshalls out there, the extinguisher is brand new and all in the warehouse know how to use it if need be! Until then - we will just be bustin' a move as we ship all your lovely orders!


Neocon 2009 + OFS Brands

It was a hectic, but really good past week around here, and with just a few minutes to spare to visit Neocon 2009, the interior design industry trade show, we stole a few minutes to visit the Leed Gold Certified showroom of a friend's furniture business: OFS Brands.

The beautiful showroom in the Chicago Merchandise Mart has won industry and city recognition and Mayor Daley launched "The Green Office Challenge" from the showroom this past March. The company specializes in commercial office furniture systems, conference room and hospitality furniture and even offers a line of hospital room furniture. From the beginning, long before a commitment to the environment was of concern, and in fact was unpopular, the business focused on responsible forestry, the reduction of chemical use in the manufacturing process and disruption to natural eco-systems.

Just when we thought we have conquered wonderful world of environmental certifications (in the paper world, of course), we entered the complex world of furniture environmental certifications!! In visiting the showroom, we learned about many of the environmental factors that effect the furniture industry and about the many certifications offered in this field to ensure environmental stewardship. OFS Brands has obtained FSC chain of custody certification which provides customers added reassurance that they are purchasing goods from well managed forests. OFS additionally requires that their suppliers do not use wood that has been harvested in areas where civil rights are violated, and bans the use of genetically modified trees and wood that has been harvested from areas that have been converted from natural forest to plantations.

Toxic emissions from furniture is a major issue for indoor air quality. Formaldehyde in particular is used in composite wood products, plywood particle boards and fiberboard. The furniture board and often fabrics continue to give off toxic emissions long after the furniture is placed within a given site. OFS has worked with scientists to create the EUROLUXE TM finish system to finish their furniture. It is a modified urethane clear coat that completely eliminates dangerous formaldehyde emissions found in most furniture finishes. The finish is applied with a patented spray process that uses nano technology to regulate the timing and mixture of hazardous materials. It enables them to finish very large and very detailed furniture with precision accuracy and durability while meting the strictest LEED furniture emission standards.

Another certification in the furniture industry is called GREENGUARD. The certification assures that products used to construct, furnish, decorate and maintain buildings meet some of the most stringent standards for public health in the world. The Greenguard Environmental Institute, a highly respected resource on indoor air quality. It has established rigorous standards for products used in public spaces to assure mold reduction in textiles, surface finishes and the toxicity of cleaning agents.

All in all it was a fascinating visit. Great to see a Midwestern family business that has grown strong over the years and continues to thrive. It has had strong environmental roots from the onset, an idea that has finally reached a point in time when this is not only encouraged but expected and OFS is a industry leader. Special thanks to the showroom for showing us around and all the great environmental info!

All photos via ofsbrands.com


Happy Father's Day

To My Dad on His Day
To my dad on his day,
Of whom I am a living will:
May your happiness fulfill
Your goodness, as is just and right.
Deeds are seeds upon the night
As wind and wonder have their way,
Delivering the destined light.
- Author Unknown

"By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong." - Charles Wadworth

"Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher's mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again." - Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby

"Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope." - Bill Cosby

"Any fool can be a Father, but it takes a real man to be a Daddy!!" - Philip Whitmore Sr. and quoted by Barack Obama 06.21.09

Father's Day quotes from fathersdaycelebration.com


Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Happy Friday! It's been a very busy but great few weeks since the National Stationery Show. With that comes lots of follow up and sample requests. As we are in such an industry of tactile product - everyone has to touch and feel the product, and we totally get it! This week the big task of the mass sample request list was upon us, and we had some fun mixing and matching colors, sizes and patterns...are you one of the lucky recipients? Watch your mailbox!

Along with a sampling of all our styles and colors, qualifying wholesale accounts will receive a catalog, swatch deck, info on all our green initiatives and a few other goodies to get you ready to order. Want one? To request a Green Paper Company sample pack, contact us!


Very Cool Packaging for Good

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF), the largest multinational conservation organization in the world for 45 years, working in 100 countries and supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally....is doing some pretty great design work to go along with their wonderful mission.

One such project that caught our eye is a series of origami 'bags' to raise awareness for specific endangered species. The package is empty paperbags, containing simple step by step instructions on how to fold the bag into an origami animal. Proceeds from the bags are directed to the WWF to help save the endangered animal and it’s dying population.

While we are on the subject of how cool the WWF is, check out this short video they have put together about changing your everyday thinking about what we use. Makes you think - and hopefully take action!

Images via The Dieline, World Wildlife Federation


Our Red Tote at the Market

Yesterday was our local Lincoln Square farmers market day - and we hit it this week - filling our lovely red tote with asparagus, strawberries, greens and even some fresh baked pie! Find our Market Tote 100% pcw Greenote on our website, and find your local Farmers Market at Local Harvest!


Summer Lights

Planning a party or just want to hang out on a early summer eve? These lanterns will add a glimmer of cool to any yard or garden with an eco-light foot print. Relax- summer's here!

(via hgtv.com)
Shoji modern solar lantern from puremodern.com

Genesis blue fire solar light from puremodern.com

Shoji Lanterns - set of 3 battery operated from collectionsetc.com

Garden gnome with solar lantern from exterioraccents.com


Wearing Green

Eco-friendly fashion featuring alternative fibers and responsible production is on the rise - among the many talented design houses, here are a few of our favorites; Stewart + Brown, Lara Miller and Linda Loudermilk. Fabulous green fashion, with the added bonus of supporting independent designers.

Lara Miller

Linda Loudermilk

See each designers site for details on the alternative fibers used and sustainable practices they employ. Images via Stewart+Brown, Lara Miller, Linda Loudermilk.
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