livingwellbamboo

Ninja engineer looks at life with eco-friendly bamboo clothes.


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Bamboo and Lawnmowers…

Thanks for waiting for part two of the best of bamboo. Continuing our journey into why this plant is so amazing and useful to our daily lives and how we do not realize just how we rely on it.
Let’s get on with part two!
-Environmentally Friendly- (a) Hey folks, this is a grass. Other than those specialty grasses, when have you not seen grass be able to grow, especially when watered often? A bamboo grove (yes grove, not lawn), can be harvested in 3-5 years over and over versus 40-200 for trees. Remember, too that in that time, the bamboo will grow up to, and lots of time over 60 feet. Try finding a lawnmower for that lawn!

– No harsh chemicals are required to help bamboo grow. Actually, no chemical aids are required at all. Plant the bamboo, and let the bamboo grow. Yes, there are chemicals in the viscose making process, but they are washed completely out afterwards, and are neutralized before leaving the process.

-Compare that to cotton. To grow enough cotton to make a t-shirt, 1/3 pound of pesticides is needed. Cotton is about two percent of all crops grown in the world, yet cotton uses more than twenty percent of all pesticides and insecticides. This kills the land, and remains in the cotton throughout the life of whatever is made from the cotton boll. How many people are allergic to those toxins, and how many acres of land are destroyed, and how much of our water systems are threatened by the leaching of those chemicals.

-Environmentally Friendly- (b) Bamboo is often used in areas that need regeneration. Do you have land that has been overgrazed or over built, or has is the soil filled with toxins? More oxygen is produced per acre than trees, 30 percent more. Some bamboo even sequesters up to 5 tons of carbon dioxide from the air per acre. Bamboo requires very little water to grow effectively. Cotton on the other hand requires almost 5,300 gallons to produce 2 pounds of cotton.

-Thousand of Uses! Buildings, chopsticks, I phone covers, lunchboxes, keyboards, flooring, clothing, sheets and towels, yummy and delicious food, building supplies and construction equipment. I’m not sure if it is used in airplane construction or if it has gone into space… but it should!

-Panda Safe- This one is easy and fun! We all know that bamboo is the favorite food of pandas. Did you know there are thousands of varieties of bamboo? Well, be assured that your favorite bamboo sheets have not taken the food out of the mouths of a baby panda. The type of bamboo used to create your favorite yoga pants and top are grown on family farms in China. The “Moso” variety bamboo has been farmed forever for use in construction and building trades. Over 7 million acres are dedicated to this type of bamboo! The pandas get their own version of this wonderful plant and we are told there is no problem with the supply.

Why are you still reading? Get out and spread the word! (hmmm, I wonder if they make a bamboo butter or some other kind of spread for my breakfast…)

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Top Ten Reasons for Bamboo Clothing 6-10

As promised, here is the first installment of the top ten reasons to enjoy bamboo linens and clothing.
Comfort- Wow, Viscose from bamboo drapes like silk and is softer than cashmere. There is no itching, or scratching involved with bamboo clothing or linens. The fiber quality of bamboo rayon fabric ensures long term wear comfort. The unique fibers allow the bamboo to absorb and hold dyes more effectively and the colors will stay true and vibrant longer. Bamboo fabric is naturally round and has no “spurs” like cotton that often irritate the skin.
Breathable- Bamboo rayon is amazingly breathable, yet has fantastic insulation qualities. Backpackers, who have thermal needs, yet want their gear light as possible look to bamboo first. Bamboo eliminates the need for big bulky winter clothes. Light and comfortable are great for the office environment too. The moisture wicking properties of bamboo rayon draw moisture from your body, creating an air layer right next to you. Bamboo is 60 percent more effective than cotton in removing humidity from your skin, and rivals merino wool for its wicking properties.
Anti Fungal- Bamboo “kun” is a naturally occurring property found in bamboo. This antibacterial ability allows bamboo clothing and linens to be antibacterial, antifungal, and odor resistant. Think about that for a moment. Can cotton offer these possibilities, or even wool? Bamboo Kun is why bamboo has no natural growth issues. It is a very hardy grass and takes care of itself easily! Bamboo grows easily in extremely wet weather as well as arid conditions, so you can see how well “rounded” this grass truly is.
Hypo allergenic- Everyone loves baby sheep, except for those who are allergic to the lanolin. Lanolin comes from the German for “wool” and “oil”. The more common term is “sheep sweat”, lovely word picture there, isn’t it! Great stuff, unless you are allergic to the stuff. About 6 percent of the population has this allergy. Cotton doesn’t do any better. The chemicals and pesticides used to grow cotton cause allergic reactions to about as many people as wool. Bamboo, on the other hand, contains none of these allergenic properties and is often prescribed for those who are at odds with cotton or wool.
Ease of Care- Silk requires hand washing and careful drying. Want tiny clothing? Dry wool in anything other than the cool setting! Cotton, with its harsh chemical additives, usually needs hot water to get clean, and a good drying is required, since cotton doesn’t want to give up its hold on the water. Let’s look at bamboo fabric. Cool water, gentle detergent, cool drying. If you feel the need, go for the heat, but you don’t need it, bamboo will be fine with either. Bamboo rayon handles the jobs to be done without all that wasted energy… and Mother Earth likes that!

Stay tuned, I will have another set of these soon!


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Spring Cleaning in the Winter

My heart goes out to those in the Heartland area today and tomorrow. Dancing Pants called today to whine about the people in Tucson who are unable to drive in snow. Wait, Tucson? Yes and its coming our way… It’s almost spring (in our family, the first day of spring is Opening Day of baseball)

Spring time is a wonderful greening of our hearts as the sun gets out and warms the corners of our house that has not seen the sun. but until then, we have all this white stuff.
Yet, late winter and spring also brings storms, sometimes severe and devastating.

It’s almost time for spring cleaning; we have decided to get an early start this weekend. Putting the winter away and creating the house for living as easily in as out. Taking those heavy comforters off, putting summer time blankets on. Trading heavy robes for lighter ones. I’m going to have to sort through my winter Hawaiian shirts and look toward the purchase of some new ones to update the wardrobe.

So, what are you going to give to Goodwill and update this spring?
In other news, vendors are up and playing nicely with each other. I have another vendor I’m working to put on the site. If I can count properly, there will be another 100ish products to knock your socks off! Very exciting to see this site grow with such wonderful product and partner with awesome vendors!

Also, had a chance to actually “get away from my desk”, “go outside and look at the store” from the customer’s point of view. And am making some changes to the clutter.

I. Hate. Clutter.

And the store was cluttered. My oh my, is it! Let’s see, how about a standard font and a standard size… Or how ’bout being able to make multiple orders of the same item… And you’d think with the wording on some of this stuff, I just got out of the third grade…

But the trash can is out, and the vacuum is going!

Chef is going to toss her tops this year and start fresh with some bamboo tops. She is excited to see a new set of fun, colorful tops in her closet. I’m looking at some new polo shirts and Mr. Physics wants some t-shirts that are not so harsh under his dress shirts. Not going to talk about what Joe Foo wants… he is always doing his Air Force escapades and who knows with all that aerial escapades!

We have added new lines to our site and we are very excited to offer the fashions from Jonano and their sister company Sami Baby, which is obviously all about babies and little ones. You can also see the new items from Sassimi. Wow, their clothes are wonderful and stylish and will fit almost any type of need you will have.

I’m waiting for the new styles from Yala and also from Midori. I have seen what they have in store; you will be as excited as I am. New colors, new styles and additional features to some of their current lines.

Hmmm, perhaps I should fire up the grill tonight after I get some of these dust bunnies under submission. Who said grilling cannot be done with lake effect snow flying?!


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No Snow Job Here!

I’m sitting here waiting for this “Big Snowstorm” to blow in. That is what lake effect is called here in Michiana. In other words, expect it when you see it… The Chef and I have a project that will give me some face time with everyone. Yes, my face is perfect for radio…
In the coming weeks, we are going to opine about various bamboo topics. Not to worry, these are basically idea formats for upcoming excitement.
Top Ten Reasons- A short version of the best reasons to purchase bamboo clothing, bedding and those most excellent towels!
Anti-bacterial- Even through the process of making the rayon, bamboo viscose does keep buggies and ucky things away.
Anti-microbial- Um, yes. But remember, this is like asking if a pine tree is the same thing as a tree. Bacteria are microscopic. Do the math.
Rayon or all natural- We shall talk to the feds on this one.
Warm in the winter, cool in the summer- Wait, what? Speaking truth to power here. It’s all about candles.
Wicking- Explaining all the wonders of why you want to get water away from you as fast and efficiently. And when I say water, I mean sweat.
Durable- Will bamboo clothing last as long as cotton.
Hypo-allergenic- I have an aunt that can’t iron her cotton items and can’t wear wool due to the allergies from lanolin in the wool and the cocktail of chemicals in cotton.
Bamboo, good for Gaia- we look at cotton vs. bamboo and its growth patterns. Which one helps Mother Earth and which one uses chemicals that can kill a person with one drop?
Easy care- Put the iron away with bamboo clothes!
Absorbency- So what if bamboo can hold more water? Oh, that is actually a good thing?!
Bamboo Oxymorons- Conservative equals Liberal and Frugal equals Lavish.
These are some of the items we will be pondering. I’m very excited to offer these new ways of thinking and I hope we can get a good discussion going. This is our life, and all we have is now.


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Safe Sox…

“Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage resulting from poor circulation of oxygenated blood, particularly in the extremities. Because the feet are the farthest from the heart, they are the first affected by decreased circulation. Compression hose or socks provide an increased level of support from the feet to the knees.” – Thanks Wiki!

Yeah, so? Actually, this is something to consider especially when one sits all day. Not that I would know, but I have named my computer screen “Inigo Montoya” and it is my closest friend… When one sits all day working to make a better world, or get to another level of WOW, knowing that circulation is actually occurring in your lower extremities.

Compression socks (or support socks) are a good thing to have in my world, and yours if you think about it. Our legs and feet are bent and have to get the blood up and down through all those pressure points that are caused by (in too many cases) bad chairs. Personally, I think blood loss is caused by dress shirts and ties, but that is another rant for another day.

Diabetic socks are thick, loose-fitting (but not saggy) socks made from breathable material. They are made not to constrict the feet unnecessarily. Many are also padded on the soles and completely seamless.

Compression socks prevent blood from pooling by applying graduated levels to the feet, ankles and lower legs. By applying pressure to the surface veins, arteries and muscles of the legs, they force the blood through narrower channels of the leg. This causes higher arterial pressure and more blood is returned to the heart. More blood up means less blood pooling in the legs and feet.

This lack of circulation is called Edema and can cause phlebitis. Phlebitis is an inflammation and swelling of the veins and arteries. Thrombosis, a blood clot (not a Swedish death metal band) causes obstruction of the blood vessels, can also be a problem.

My friends, I’ve seen lots of compression socks and most are of the come from the UGLY factory. Why oh why would I want to wear them with my stylish Hawaiian shirts?

Enter EcoSox to the rescue! They have compression socks made from bamboo rayon. Lots of colors to choose from and boy do the feel good! I’m sitting here right now, with my feet and legs styling, and feeling good. What’s not to like?!

They are nice enough to use as dress socks too. Chef has decided they are cool enough to wear in place of her trouser socks, so there must be a business style that is acceptable. My son, Mr Physics loves them as he stands and teaches. Joe Foo, the best son in law ever, likes them while he does all those secret Air Force escapades too.

One word of caution, if you are seriously in need of compression sock, of course you will want to consult with a physician. I only stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so let’s all be safe outside, ok?

Oh, Inigo says he likes my socks too…


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Laundry Day

Its laundry day here, and I got to thinking, does one have to do things differently when washes bamboo product? Yes. And that is good since you don’t need to use warm/hot water. Bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial; washing in cold water will clean your linens. Bleach is not needed and fabric softener will leave a film on the surface of your clothes.

Get these guidelines:
• Machine wash cold
• Gentle cycle with like colors
• Mild detergent. No bleach
• Tumble dry low
• TIP: to speed drying time, add some non bamboo items, such as a cotton towel, to the dryer, as this helps draw the moisture out of bamboo faster.

Your bamboo clothing or towels will feel a bit stiff, almost like canvas, directly out of the washer. Not a problem, that is normal. What is amazing is that stiffness disappears when you pull it out of the dryer! Wet, heavy, stiff clothes become soft, puffy, cloud-like silkiness! Remember, bamboo sheets can get soft wrinkles since that wrinkle resistant chemical (formaldehyde) has not been used. Fire retardant chemicals have not been used either as many are allergic to those toxins.

Bamboo linens are best cared for by washing in cold water and drying on low, which will also add longevity to your linens. Bamboo fibers are shorter than cotton, so washing in hot water can cause the linens to pill. If you were not able to take the linens out of the drier immediately, it is fine to use high heat for 10 minutes to fluff them smooth again; you may also do this if drying on low did not get the last of the dampness out.

If you choose to tumble dry your bamboo products, you should expect the same shrinkage as with any traditional cotton product. Most bamboo sheets and bamboo apparel can shrink 3%, but will still fall within the normal sizing dimensions.

Although not necessary, I advise line drying your products whenever possible. Why? Line drying is better for the environment as well as energy $$ savings! I don’t recommend this option if you can see your air. Smoggy clothes don’t smell good, trust an ex-Los Angelino…

What about ironing? Garments may be ironed with low heat. Caution: keep your iron setting no higher than ‘synthetic’. Bamboo cannot handle the same degree of heat as a cotton garment. Also, do not steam iron, as spitting may occur and noticeable rings will appear until the garment is again washed.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to truly know the feel of our fabrics until you have it in your hands. We have attempted to explain each fabric blend on our pages to help you with your purchase. Here is a roundup of blends:

100% viscose from bamboo – Our lightest fabric. It is extremely soft and has the feel of silk.

70% viscose from bamboo/30% organic cotton – This blend is heavier than 100% viscose from bamboo, but extremely soft. Blending cotton with bamboo allows more options to create stylish looks and this blend is typically easier to manufacture than pure bamboo.

Lycra/spandex blends – Lycra/spandex is a stretchy, man made material that is blended with bamboo to give shirts or yoga pants a slim fit and added structure. It does not drape like typical bamboo or cotton. In using these blends, some of the soft characteristics of bamboo are reduced, but are still more comfortable than the average cotton/lycra/spandex blends currently on the market.

Ta-da! Laundry is done and so is this missive.