25 Unique Items Made From Wood

Wood is super cool and has been used for a plethora of different things throughout time. I want to show you 25 different items that are made from wood and they tend to give off a huge hipster vibe… so be prepared! They are awesome and you need to see what amazing things can be created from wood. Enjoy!



Argus C3 Vintage Camera

ILOTT

Enjoy the simple wonders of an amazing vintage camera from ILOTT. The Argus C3 in Mahogany will leave you in awe with it’s color film capabilities and sweet design.

 


 


13″ Macbook Pro Retina Case

Silva

Set aside the typical laptop case and go with this modern Bamboo case from Silva, LTD. The inside is lined with black wool to help protect the aluminum shell of your Macbook Pro — all while keeping you in style.


Canby Shades in ‘Walnut & Tortoise Acetate’ – Shwood

Shwood eyewear is literally the bomb and this pair of Canby style sunglasses are sure to get you some looks! Made with Walnut & Tortoise Acetate (or another style if you’d like) you cannot go wrong with these shades!



Beer Caps Map

This Is Why I’m Broke

This is seriously the coolest woodwork type gift I’ve ever seen! If you are a beer lover and like to hit the road and try beer from all over, this is a cool project you can work on! Just fill the map with beer caps from breweries you’ve visited and beer you’ve drank!



Wooden Watch
– RustiClub

Made by Apache Pine, this hand-made bamboo wood watch is absolutely beautiful.



Culvery Serving Set

Anthropologie

Made out of Sheesham wood and aluminum, this awesome culvery set will look elegant and fabulous on your dining room table.



Sexy Walnut Face iPhone Clock Dock

CDock

Don’t have an alarm clock? But have a smartphone? No problem! The CDock allows you to slide your phone into the interface and use it as an alarm clock next to your bed. Not to mention the style and wood selection is absolutely stunning.



The Human Bike
– Jan Gunneweg

“A piece of design inspired by man. The two wooden spokes (legs) provide a nice dramatic effect while cycling.” This was the inspiration behind Jan Gunneweg’s Human Bike design. This wooden bike is definitely a sight to see and I’m sure, to ride.



Teak Shower Bench
 – My Teak Shower Bench

Teak is gaining popularity as a material for shower & bath furniture because of its water-resistant properties. We just love the love of this teak shower bench from MyTeakShowerBench.com.



Wooden Wire Wrap
– Tomoni

“Wire is in my way. Wire management tool for cables.” The wire wraps from Tomoni are made out of scrap wood from their custom furniture. There are various wood options available and they will help you keep your wires clean and out of a tangle.



Wooden Stapler
– Alexcious

Nothing says industrial like a cool wooden stapler to place on your desk. “Naturally, the timber will acquire a patina with time and use making it even more attractive, but from the get-go this baby is beautiful!”



Unfinished Ampersand Sign
– TyingTheKnotForever

Calling all wood lovers, word lovers, and anyone in between. There is something so incredibly attractive about mounting a large ampersand to your wall. These ampersand signs are absolutely gorgeous and will compliment any decor!


Walnut Original iPhone Speakers – Koostik

These wooden speakers from Koostik will give you a phone sound experience like never before. The “new sound channeling provides additional volume and enhanced stereo effect.” The evolutionary design and refinement will leave you feeling completely satisfied with this purchase.



Portable Wireless Keyboard
– Orée

This super popular keyboard is made out of a single piece of either premium maple or walnut wood. It’s bluetooth capable and can connect with up to 5 devices simultaneously. You can customize and tailor the keyboard to your wants and needs.



Clothes Pin USB
– USB Custom Flash Drives

This super clever USB is also a clothes pin and can be hooked to your pocket, shirt, or backpack for safe-keeping, Genius!



Mixtape Coffee Table
– Jeff Skierka Designs

This coffee table is so dope and it made out of “high-grade Baltic Birch Plywood with Maple Veneer, solid American Walnut ‘tape’ throughout, and a hand-rubbed oil finish.” It was made just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cassette tape (December 1962).



Art of Manliness Beard Comb
– Skeggox

This beard come is the epitome of what it means to be a manly man in a man’s world! The Skeggox comb even comes with a dust bag and has a tiny ax etched into the woodwork. Lumberjacks flock. This comb was designed for you.



Folk Art Deer Head
 – Roost

If you haven’t seen enough wooden hipster items, here is another one to add to the list! These trophy heads are “hand carved” and they will add the perfect touch to many different room themes.



Hawaiian Koa Ring
– Touch Wood Rings

This is one of the most stunning pieces of wooden jewelry we have ever seen. This is a “Hawaiian Koa wood ring with a three tone juniper heartwood braided inlay.” These rings are handmade by British Columbia artist and craftsman David Finch.



Wood Bowtie
– WoodThumb

If you want to sport the coolest bowtie in town, this wooden one from Woodthumb is the perfect choice. They are made from reclaimed redwood that has been salvaged from old Northern California homes. “Endlessly classy without being too refined.”



Wooden Wallet
– SlimTimber

The wooden wallet from SlimTimber is simply a modern and contemporary piece of art and we love it! Designed to streamline your pocket and hand crafted from solid wood, it will do just that!



Wooden Coffee Scoop
– Brush Factory

“Scoop, there it is.” — This coffee scoop, made from Maple wood, is both sleek and rustic. I don’t know, but something tells me it’ll make that cup of coffee taste ten times better.



Phrase Drink Coasters
– Manifesto

And what better to set that great cup of coffee on than a super awesome reclaimed wooden coaster? These coasters will give you the positive start to your day that you need with the motivational phrases to ponder on.



Walnut Monitor Stand
– Grovemade

Give your PC or Mac a little extra style with this walnut monitor stand. It’s sleek and modern and absolutely beautiful! Not only does it look great, it also helps your posture and bring your monitor to true eye level.



Mango Wood Tea Drawer
– MOA Design

Last but not least is this incredible tea drawer made from mango wood. The three drawers pull open and help give you a unique place to store your tea and other favorite mix in beverages.


This is a guest post by a contributor!

Do you want to be a guest blogger for this blog? Go here to learn how you can become one.

13 Tips For Excellent Sleep

It’s no secret that many people have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep through the night. The overuse of electronic devices plays a large role in our rising lack of sleep, but there are other factors that contribute to the problem. Pre-bedtime habits often affect the quality of our sleep, as well as our ability to fall asleep quickly. Healthy, relaxing bedroom arrangements are also essential to great sleep – even the color of your walls can help you sleep better! If you’re like me, you’ve struggled with sleep, which has affected every aspect of your life. I’ve done the research, and I’m working on changing my sleeping habits so I can rest well and feel better. I’ve compiled a list of best practices that have helped me improve my sleep and my life.

Master bedroom. Changes: awesome new ceiling fan! Installed by Aaron Dabelow, Mike Zugschwert, and Emory Allen.Block out inconsistent, jarring noises

Jarring or inconsistent noises throughout the night interrupt sleep. Blocking out the noise with a fan – ceiling or standing, a sound machine, or earplugs will help you rest and sleep more deeply. I’ve used a fan to help me sleep since I was little; the white noise helps me fall asleep quickly. The only downside to using a fan is that eventually you associate the noise with sleep, which becomes a problem when your boss uses a fan in the summer to keep his office cool.

Maintain your mattress

I was surprised to learn that the age of your mattress can greatly affect your sleep. When it comes to mattresses, you want one that conforms to your body and sleeping needs – this includes the firmness of the mattress and the age. You should change your mattress every 7-8 years for the best quality. When you go shopping for a new mattress, talk to a mattress expert about your sleep habits. This information will help the expert pick out the mattress that is best for you. Another good rule is to wear comfortable clothing while mattress shopping, so you can test different mattresses for comfort levels.

Another mattress issue that can affect your sleep is the overall cleanliness. If not cleaned properly and often, dust mites will burrow deep into your mattress, triggering allergies and preventing you from deep sleep. Plan to vacuum your mattress once a week when you change your bedding.

pillowUse the right pillow

Ideally, your neck should be aligned with your spine. According to Business Insider, if you normally sleep on your back, you should use a medium-firm pillow; you may want to elevate your legs with a pillow for back support as well. Use a round pillow or rolled up blanket – place under your knees. For side sleepers firm pillows are best – the edge of the pillow should be right in the crook of your neck for maximum support. You should also use a pillow between your lower legs if you like to sleep on your side – from your knee down – this helps reduce lower back pain. Although sleep doctors say sleeping on your stomach is bad for your spine – it rotates the spine – many people find the position comfortable. If you’re someone who just loves sleeping on your stomach, use a soft pillow to cradle your head.

Quality Sheets

Yep, even your bed sheets play a role in your sleep, and it isn’t just the cleanliness of the sheets that matters. The average person produces up to a ½ gallon of sweat while they sleep – that sweat gets trapped on the top of synthetic fabrics, making your bed feel swampy. Yuck!

Buy natural fiber sheets – like cotton or bamboo – that will absorb and wick moisture from your body. Natural fiber sheets breathe better than synthetic – allowing cool air and body heat to move freely.

bathTake a hot shower or bath in the evening

A warm or hot shower relaxes your muscles and increases your body temperature. Once you leave the hot/warm water, your body temperature starts to cool. The change in body temperature helps induce sleep. Cool showers may also be beneficial because brain cooling results in deep REM sleep.

cellphone_bluelightReduce blue light

Electronic devices and televisions emit blue light. Any type of light before bedtime isn’t good for you – it throws off your circadian rhythm – your body’s biological clock. Blue light, although great for the daytime hours, disrupts sleep more than other light by suppressing the secretion of melatonin – twice as much as an average light. Your best bet is to remove all electronics from your bedroom, including TVs. This may be difficult, especially if you are used to watching TV before you hit the sack – but it will improve your sleep immensely.

Create a single-focused space

Your bedroom should be a single purpose space: Rest & Relaxation (R&R). Workout equipment and desks add stress and clutter to your zen space. Why is this so important? When you repeatedly do something in a room, your body starts associating that activity with the room. If you often do work in your bedroom, your body will start to associate the room with work and stress. Televisions in your bedroom can also be negative, especially if you get into the habit of watching TV late at night – the blue light keeps you awake, and engaging programs prevent your mind from resting. Limit your bedroom activities to, well, bedroom activities – sleep, rest, and romance – your body will thank you.

Keep your room dark

Your body’s natural clock associates light with daytime, making it difficult to slow down and enter sleep. Get rid of night lights or lamps that produce too much light. Buying blackout curtains or blinds will also help, especially in the summer months when nights are shorter. Additionally, exposing yourself to natural light for 10+ minutes every morning will help your body wake up and prepare for the day.

Keep your room cool

Most sources say the best temperature for a bedroom is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This number seemed really cold to me, but it seems that allowing your body to cool helps you sleep better and longer. Sleeping naked can help keep your body temperature low as it eliminates additional fabrics that lock in body heat.

aromatherapyUse aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is relaxing and rejuvenating. Certain scents, such as lavender, invoke relaxing, calm scents that allow your mind to slow down. The more you use particular scents to help you fall asleep, the more likely your body will be to associate sleep with those scents – invoking sleep easily.

Paint your room in warm, natural colors

Researchers say the color of your room can impact the amount of sleep you get. Blue, yellow, and green are the best colors for rest, while brown, purple, and grey are the worst. Creative colors, like purple, engage the brain, while dreary colors like brown and gray depress the brain. Light colors seem to be more associated with happiness and peacefulness, feelings that help you relax and drift into sleep.

Keep it tidy and clean

Decluttering your room will help create zen and tranquility in your space. I suggest using storage bins and reorganizing your closet to maximize your space. Making sure your room is clean – yes, even under your bed – is easier when your items are organized and can help you sleep. Dust triggers allergies – and sets off asthma – which can keep you from getting proper rest. Changing your bedding, cleaning your mattress, and sweeping under your bed can reduce dust particles and help you sleep with ease.

clockfaceOther

I’ve incorporated some other practices into my bedtime routine that seem to help. One has to do with my alarm. I usually use the alarm setting on my phone, but I always make sure the phone is placed face down, so I’m not distracted by the light. If you have a digital alarm clock, try turning it to face away from you, so you don’t stare at the clock and prevent yourself from falling asleep. Putting your alarm clock on the other side of the room will help you wake up and stay up in the morning. I’ve also created a relaxing pre-bedtime routine: I read or meditate in the last hour before bedtime, and, although my son hates it, I’ve made a no TV/electronics rule for the last hour of the day. Finally, I invested in an air purifier that I leave on most of the time. I not only sleep better, but I breathe better.

Just remember, changing your sleep habits is not an overnight process. I recommend working on one tip at a time – it worked for me, and it can work for you too. Quality sleep can decrease your risk of heart disease and a number of other illnesses, so stop making excuses and start living the life you deserve.

Happy Sleeping!

Sources:

http://ririanproject.com/2006/12/19/8-tools-for-8-hours-of-energy-boosting-sleep/
http://www.alaskasleep.com/blog/tips-creating-ideal-sleep-environment
http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips
http://www.styleathome.com/interiors/bedroom/article/7-ways-to-make-your-bedroom-more-sleep-friendly
http://bettersleep.org/better-sleep/how-to-sleep-better/the-ideal-bedroom/bedroom-makeover
http://www.businessinsider.com/what-kind-of-pillow-to-get-2015-3
http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

This is a guest post by a contributor!

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Why Choose Bamboo?

bamboo-919052_960_720

When you encounter a new type of textile, it’s easy to question its sustainable qualities. Why would you want to purchase bamboo sheets if the textile industry is wreaking havoc on bamboo forests? You can rest assured when purchasing bamboo products: its natural properties make it nearly impossible to eradicate, which actually causes a lot of problems for certain regions. What many people don’t recognize is that bamboo has an insurmountable growth rate, and it grows so quickly with so little agricultural assistance that it is considered by several states to be an invasive species–it is dense and resistant to factors that usually threaten tree and plant population. And as access to organic and sustainable products grows, it’s always nice to hear that your money isn’t funding the destroying of the planet.

Bamboo as a material for bed sheets is rising in popularity, but is still largely overshadowed by cotton. Understanding the bamboo plant itself can help you see why bamboo actually contains features people like about cotton, especially softness. Bamboo is reported to be as soft as silk, but without the heat trapping effects. In fact, bamboo is so soft that it doesn’t even need to have as high of a thread count as cotton thread count isn’t always the most important element when it comes to bed sheet softness. More importantly, the cotton industry is an intricate network of political and technological decisions that contribute to and reinforce a toxic ecosystem. So while you might find cotton to lie in your safety zone, bamboo is a simple alternative to what you’re accustomed to.

Cultural History

china-1177003_960_720

Bamboo automatically takes us to China-inspired artifacts and history. Incorporating the plant–its material strengths and visual qualities–into interior design injects a room or venue with thousands of years worth of Chinese style and craft. Bamboo, which offers tree-like qualities but is actually a grass, is easy to manipulate by hand. It is boundless in quantity in the regions it grows. In dynasties reaching thousands of years back, the Chinese used bamboo for utilitarian and symbolic purposes. In terms of utility, bamboo is durable yet flexible, so the ancient Chinese are recognized for weaving baskets and producing agricultural tools from it. But the list is endless in terms of what has been made in addition to baskets and agricultural tools–bamboo can be used to build fences, paper, rugs, hats, lamp shades, houses, toys, planters, chopsticks and other utensils, flooring, shoes, boats, etc. You name it, you can probably produce it with bamboo. This is why bamboo experts wouldn’t be surprised to find that bamboo can be used as bed sheets, ones that outperform the leading textile in the industry!

Bamboo is also symbolically rich, and has been for a long time. Bamboo inspires tranquility, as it transports us to its peaceful green groves. It symbolizes noble qualities, and is referred to in ancient Chinese literature and poetry. It toes the line of density and emptiness, as the plant itself is hollow, but it grows in bulk, so it is at once delicate and impenetrable. In other words, the bamboo reminded ancient Chinese artists that balancing grace and hardiness renders the spirit well-rounded, self-sufficient, yet self-aware.

An Alternative to Industrial Agriculture’s Cotton Production

The cotton industry is a giant in the wonderful world of textiles. Clothes, furniture, paper, and even dollar bills are made using cotton and its derivatives. The industrial revolution completely changed the way farmers grew cotton, the way that manufacturers processed it, and the way that distributors transported it. This allowed people easier access to the material, which is incredibly useful, but as time has moved forward and technology has advanced exponentially, the production of cotton has come to wreak havoc on the environment–and there don’t seem to be many signs of a solution to the problems it has spawned.

John_Deere_cotton_harvester_kv02Cotton production and distribution in the contemporary world relies on monoculture farming, which destroys soil to the extent that an entire industry has opened up around biotechnology, or the development of tools and chemicals designed to placate soil damage in intensely farmed land. Any farmer or gardener will tell you that it’s bad for soil to plant the same crop over and over again in the same plot. Healthy plants grow when relationships form between a crop and a given amount of soil. Crops release certain chemicals into the soil, and the soil reacts to those chemicals, usually by storing too much of the same chemical. Inversely, crops take up certain nutrients from the soil and its inhabitants. When a crop grows healthily, it strips soil of its biological components. But this isn’t so bad, as long as you account for this situation through crop management. The only way to retain biological features in soil is to cycle crops through, a process called crop rotation. For example, if a farmer grows wheat for a season or two on one of their fields, they’ll likely plant something like barley the next season. The deficits from the wheat can be made up by the barley, therefore replenishing the soil with the chemicals and elements the wheat drew out. This practice is followed by smaller-scale farms, but unfortunately there aren’t many of those remaining.

In fact, the agricultural industry itself has devastated smaller, family-owned farms, which has led to a reduction in the diversity and quantity of local food production. Large-scale, global production demands have completely reconstructed the way farms work. Additionally, monoculture farming is promoted and financially backed by government subsidies and incentives. Because economies depend on an expected (and often increasing) amount of a commodity, the systems designed to produce that commodity are reshaped to meet those needs. Cotton is one of these commodities. Due to the increasing demand for cotton in various industries, cotton is grown through monoculture farming. In short, vast amounts of arable land are devoted to cotton farms, the plots of which are not replenished by another crop the following season. This depletes the soil of various nutrients and life, leaving it vulnerable to what the agricultural world terms “disturbances.”

Disturbances range from a season of unexpectedly heavy rain to the occurrence of a fire. Infestation can also be seen as a disturbance, as can storms, heat waves, and contamination. When a plot is disturbed by one of these stressors, biological components of soil will work to return it to the state it was in prior to the disturbance. These small organisms include insects, bacteria, worms, and fungi. While of course there are destructive types of bacteria or fungi, and those can behave like disturbances, there are also health-promoting organisms required to keep a plot of land capable of producing healthy crops. Without a diversity of organic matter in soil, plots become susceptible to disease, hyponutrition, and infestation by pests. The agricultural field calls this diversity “soil biodiversity.”

But since cotton is so highly demanded, producing and distributing cotton is more important than growing crops as naturally and healthily as possible. In order to grow cotton that succeeds despite the poor nutrition available in the soil, farmers implement a variety of technologies. These technologies include fertilizers and pesticides, which lead to crops requiring genetic modification. The chemicals in these fertilizers and pesticides become so strong that they can damage the very crop they’re supposed to protect. To compete against the deadlier nature of fertilizers and pesticides, scientists have developed genetically modified forms of crops, more popularly known as GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.

The production of these chemicals are not only harmful to the environment, but their application has proven to be inefficient. Any part of these chemicals that are not taken up by the intended crop runs off into surface water and penetrates ground water. When these chemicals are introduced into water, they are indirectly consumed by people in that community or region. Chemicals applied by using a helicopter or sprayers fly off into the air, and make their way into the ecosystem. Then, environmental problems ensue.

An-2_plane_spraying_wheat_cropsEnvironmental detriment comes in many forms, and has extremely dangerous consequences. Applying pesticides to a crop year after year leads to harmful pests transforming, over time and generations, so that their bodies resist the pesticides standing in the way of their food. The same thing happens with fungi–on a genetic level, a fungus will change and modify itself to resist the chemical treatment of the crop. In turn, producers of agricultural chemicals (agrochemicals) create more intensive and harmful substances. The cycle repeats itself, and the agrochemicals industrial farmers use today is stronger and more harmful than ever. By definition and construction, tomorrow’s agrochemicals will have to be strong enough to eradicate pests modified to resist today’s agrochemicals.

Because these agrochemicals are so intense and basically poisonous, and because the soil that cotton grows in is depleted of natural nutrients, cotton is genetically modified to be able to handle the application of pesticides and fertilizers. Any cotton industrially farmed for textile production is genetically modified. There have been pockets of resistance from consumers and the fashion industry, but the cotton industry so heavily relies on resources and incentives from private and governmental institutions that an institutional rehaul would be required to truly change the way it is grown. The practices of monoculture are so ingrained, cemented, and rewarded that this change is unlikely.

And unfortunately, a pretty significant species doesn’t stand much of a chance in the face of agrochemicals: people. Humans, in a way, are also being modified–in the form of cancer. Approximately 40 percent of people today have been diagnosed with some form of cancer. Cancer is more prevalent in the past two decades than it has ever been, and a large amount of that is due to the production of industrial crops. It takes years, and lots of organization on the side of healthy farming advocates, for governmental policies to phase out chemicals proven to be toxic and even deadly. For example, methyl bromide was used widely as a pesticide. Methyl bromide is easily breathed in by humans, and it’s impossible to tell whether you’re ingesting it until your respiration system starts breaking down. The scientific community knew for a fact that methyl bromide had dangerous effects, but it took about ten years for the government to pass a policy disallowing pesticide manufacturers from making it. Media campaigns have made consumers feel like we are past the days of drinking toxic water due to a “Silent Spring” occurrence like that of the early 60s, but really, farming chemicals are only becoming more rampant and rewarded.

So we’ve discussed the harmful effects of monoculture farming and its use in growing cotton. It is clearly unsustainable, as most technological developments in the industry are used to bandage the problems the industry itself causes. What exactly are we talking about when we refer to sustainability? A sustainable farm manages the soil through tillage, crop rotation, and organic matter management. Organic matter management consists of ensuring crops are placed in ideal areas, making sure that the residues put out by crops are high-quality and not destructive, and a reduction of tillage, or plot cultivation. This practically defines bamboo farms. Bamboo farms don’t need a lot of water, they don’t require any application of pesticides or other harmful characters, they grow back quickly without help from machines or biotechnology, and they are consistently plentiful in regions where they are harvested. So if you’re looking for fabric in your bed sheets that sidestep the detrimental effects of industrial agricultural practices, you can confidently say you are a responsible consumer who is not feeding the beast that is the cotton industry.

The Plant Itself

Bamboo is one of the most easily renewable resources available for use in the textile industry. Although it behaves like a tree and reaches, or even surpasses, the height of other trees, it is actually classified as a perennial grass. The bamboo family is composed of over one thousand species, which makes for a variety of bamboo behavior and tendencies. But as a whole, bamboo serves as a powerhouse for intaking carbon dioxide and breaking it down into elements useful and necessary for human life. A bamboo forest fixes about 25 times as much carbon dioxide per year as other types of forests–it also releases far more oxygen back into the atmosphere than a typical forest. It’s astounding conversion of toxic elements into life-sustaining elements may concern us: if all this bamboo is doing such good for the world, why would we want to destroy it for manufacturing purposes?

The good news is that it would actually prove really difficult to eradicate bamboo. Bamboo doesn’t need any fuss to be made over it in order to grow swiftly and expansively–it requires very little water and its root systems make it easy for communities of bamboo to pop up aggressively. Even without agricultural irrigation, the plant can infest a region and stake its claim on wide areas of land. And while most plants used for use as fabrics, a bamboo will grow to be as tall as it will ever be in weeks–it approaches full maturity over the course of about three years. Home and garden experts caution homeowners against planting bamboo, because even though it can quickly wield a wall to shut out noise and sights from your neighbor’s yard, runner bamboo is virtually uncontrollable and can rapidly take over your entire yard and spread into surrounding areas. Since bamboo grows so densely, it chokes out other plants. It is also strangely left alone by pests of other plants, so bamboo growth doesn’t require the application of pesticides or growth-boosting products–if the need would arise to increase bamboo growth, it could be facilitated without the use of manmade chemicals and manipulation. Essentially, it’s a really strong weed that, when harvested, boasts a lot of utility. Several varieties of bamboo have actually made it into the Guinness World Records for growing approximately 3 feet in one day!

Cotton, on the other hand, requires the clearing out of land for massive farming, the application of unprecedented amounts of water, and the spraying of pesticides in order to ensure the crop is left uninfested by pests like worms, boll weevils, and aphids. We don’t always question the methods used to manufacture the cotton that we wear everyday, but the environmental consequences of cotton production are the central concern of many social justice and environmentalist groups. Leaders of the cotton industry, however, have secured ties with trade policy makers, and there doesn’t seem to be much chance that they will be pressured to manufacture cotton in new ways–particularly because the quantity of cotton production would be heavily reduced were the processes of farming and harvesting changed.

Mechanical Manufacturing

The bamboo industry hasn’t been on the scene for terribly long, so there is actually a lot of hope for developing as sustainable practices as possible. The most safe and natural process for turning the bamboo plant into a fabric is through mechanical manufacturing, spearheaded by the company Litrax based out of Sweden. Mechanical manufacturing uses a physical process for rendering the material soft and usable, and leaves the fabric with a luxurious sheen. The bamboo is processed as its contents are smashed and fibers expelled from its woody casing. This process foregoes the treatment of bamboo in harmful chemicals, and results in a more natural feel. This process is one of the most sustainable practices in the industry. Turning cotton into fabric requires tremendous amounts of water and energy. Besides that, the cotton industry began hundreds of years ago, and so it is largely established and advocates of sustainability find it difficult to challenge the institutions that promote its production. Bamboo production, on the other hand, is so young and new that its future is fairly malleable to the interests of those who would like to see a more sustainable textile industry.

Slow Fashion

The fashion industry has begun to incorporate political stances on the production of clothing lines. We’ve all heard of fast food–the fastest way to serve food to people is to churn out poor quality meals produced in poor working conditions and through the unethical handling of animals. McDonald’s is fast, but it also plays dirty. Forward-thinking designers of high and commercial fashion have begun to adopt this framework in a conversation about textile production. Sure, a company can use materials that have a quick turnaround, like cotton, but that quick turnaround comes at an environmental price. Most commercial clothing, or the clothing you can go to a mall and purchase, is produced through unethical and unsustainable methods. Proponents of “slow fashion” seek to establish a new relationship between the textile and the wearer: instead of burning through clothing that is poorly constructed to cut down on production costs, slow fashion designers advocate for consumer awareness of the process of clothing production. Bamboo as a textile is situated perfectly to be incorporated into this movement, as it grows freely without manipulation and it does not bear with it the more harmful aspects of industrial production.

The Search Begins

All in all, bamboo textiles outperform leaders in the textile industry. Its growth abilities and manipulable components are not matched by any other plant used for fabric. Enjoy navigating our site and finding the best bed sheets for your individual needs!

REFERENCES

American Osteopathic AssociationMayo Clinic, Jennifer Kohler, World Wildlife FundRoyal BambooBBCFashionistaMiguel A. AltieriLijbert Brussaard, Peter C. de Ruiter, George G. BrownUnion of Concerned Scientists

This is a guest post by a contributor!

Do you want to be a guest blogger for this blog? Go here to learn how you can become one.

Thread Count Doesn’t Matter!

We’ve all heard it, and at some time or another we’ve all raved about it: High thread counts equal ultimate comfort.

Well, we were wrong.

Thread count only plays a small part of our bed sheet comfort. So why does everyone think thread count matters so much? And if thread count isn’t the ultimate answer, what is?

I tackle those questions and more in this handy infographic.

thread count IG Second Draft (1)
 

Having trouble viewing the infographic? See what you missed:

Thread Count Doesn’t Matter: An Exploration of Bed Sheets

What is thread count?

The number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch.

Example: 60 vertical threads and 60 horizontal threads makes a 120 count.

Prior to 1960, 120 thread count was the most common.

180 was introduced in the 1960s.

Ply also plays a part in advertised thread count.

Ply is the number of threads wrapped into a single thread, so manufacturers may say a one-play fabric is 250 thread count and a two-ply fabric is 500 thread count.

Thread Count Myths:

Myth: 1000+ thread count

Truth: It is nearly impossible to get that many threads on a loom. Sheets that claim this high of thread count generally have a higher ply (double, triple, quadruple). It’s mostly a money scheme

Myth: Dual ply is better than one ply.

Truth: Often one ply is made out of stronger, thicker fiber.

Myth: A higher thread count equals higher quality and softness.

Truth: Once you get over 400 thread count, it’s all about the same – if you want better quality look for high quality material and expert weaving.

Top Four Quality, Natural Materials

Egyptian Cotton (ELS)

Grown in soil along the Nile River; moist atmosphere.

ELS = Extra Long Staples (cotton fibers)

Longer fiber means fewer splices and stronger thread overall. The long cotton fibers make a finer thread, more threads can be weaved together per square inch.

The porous nature gives the fiber a better wicking (ability to soak up moisture), so it is great for any season.

Pima Cotton (ELS)

Grown primarily in Southwest U.S., Australia, and Peru.

Fibers must be 1-3/8 inch or longer.

Supima uses superior quality pima cotton: finer count yarns for softer, finer fabrics.

Great for any season.

Bamboo

Primarily grown in Southeast Asia.

Authentic bamboo sheets are 100% organic, requiring no pesticides or herbicides to grow.

Bamboo is a sustainable crop: harvesting does not disturb the roots of the plant.

Two types of processing: mechanically or chemically.

Mechanical processing is expensive, but the most eco-friendly: the woody parts of the plant are crushed and natural enzymes are used to create a mush. Fibers are extracted from the mush with a comb and spun into yarn.

When mechanically processed bamboo fibers retain the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of bamboo plants (bamboo kunh).

Bamboo sheets adjust to body temperature making it excellent for warm and cold weather.

Bamboo kills dust/bed mites, making your bed cleaner.

Bamboo yarn is finer than cotton yarn making it easier to weave tighter together.

Linen

Made from flax plants.

Grows best in France and Belgium.

Softens the more it is used and washed; can last for 2 – 3 decades before showing wear.

Average linen fabric is between 80 and 150 thread count because of the thickness of the linen fibers.

Best used in a warmer climate.

The highest quality weaving is done in Italy.

Pure vs. Chemical Finishes

Textile finishing is the process that converts “woven or knitted cloth into a usable material.” Finishing affects the performance and feel of fabric.

Pure Finishes

Chemical-free

Hypoallergenic

Wrinkle easily, but are much healthier

Chemical Finishes

Most sheets are treated with chlorine, formaldehyde, and/or silicone.

Sheets labeled “wrinkle free,” “easy care,” and “permanent press” are treated with formaldehyde resin, a toxic chemical that will not wash out.

Other Bed Sheet Facts

Sleep Quality

Largely depends on your mattress, health, and bedroom cleanliness, BUT having cool, breathable sheets also helps.

Durability

Longer fibers make stronger, more durable thread. Thus, why ELS is so high quality.

Petroleum-Based Fabrics

Nylon

Polyester

Acrylic

Spandex

Organic cotton, though generally grown without pesticides, is often advertised as healthy and eco-friendly. However, the cotton is generally processed and finished with toxic chemicals. Know what you’re buying.

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