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Monthly Archives: August 2012

  • Modern Home Decor Energy Savers – Window Coverings

    Whether your intent is to help save the world, save some of your hard earned money each month, or simply have more control over your home’s temperature, there’s a multitude of benefits from simple home-efficiency improvements. Making tweaks to your current living space can save some serious bucks when added up throughout the year.

    We’re currently focused on finding efficient window coverings to keep the cool in and the heat out and vice versa, depending on the time of year. According to, window draperies can reduce summer heat gains by up to 33% and winter heat loss by up to 25% if installed and maintained properly. So, draperies not only add striking style to your living space, they serve a noble purpose in the pursuit of energy efficiency.

    In your quest to find the perfect drapes for your needs, you’ll find there are different levels of insulation properties. From sheers to blackout drapes, each option offers a level of light filtration and privacy to suit many purposes. Websites like and offer clear level indicators for light control, privacy, and efficiency.

    Luckily, style doesn’t have to suffer for this energy saving addition to any living area. Drapes can bring a dramatic dose of color or a punchy pattern that really livens up a room. We love the look of traditional drapes with artwork for the home by Eli Halpin. Or how about a modern geometric pattern to pair with some bold Eleanor Grosch canvas wall art? Don’t forget to consider tiebacks for your drapes. Fun options include these from Urban Outfitters, or try your hand at some DIY tiebacks.

    So, when looking for a practical way to spice up your living space, consider adding drapes for a clean style addition, or bold statement making kick – and save a little money while you’re at it!

  • Stairs that Garner Stares

    Here at GreenBox, our favorite way to add interest to a room is, of course, canvas fine art. But we love home decor in general, and we are all for anything a crafty homeowner can do to personalize his or her dwelling space.

    That's why we really enjoy peeking at other people's stairs. Now, for years we thought of steps as a means to an end: a way to get from point A to point B and back again. But why can't they be something much more? Here are examples of some truly impressive steps we've seen lately.

    Let's start with these blue steps. A simple striped pattern from top to bottom. We can imagine that some carefully placed masking tape is the secret here.

    These next two look to be wallpaper. We love the combination of all the prints and colors! Each step is a bit different. The tile-like blue ones look great with the pop of red in the center step, and the number steps have a fun and playful addition.

    These speaking stairs are terrific, especially for those of us who love words. There are several examples of these around the Internet, and it's a really clever way to personalize your space. Two things to remember, though: the quote has to go from bottom to top (so that you read as you climb), and it has to be a quote you won't get sick of for a long, long time. As for the one in the photo, there's a real danger there of getting the Doors stuck in your head every time you clmb the steps!

    Finally, check out these steps up to a gallery called blue door artists in Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida. Like we said, these folks are artists, so we'll just admire these and not pretend we could recreate this look at home.

    So there you have it--this is on our list for our own home. Some day. One step at a time.


  • Labor Day, Set to Music

    Got plans for Labor Day? Other than taking the day off, that is. We love the whole concept behind the holiday--it's at the very end of the summer, when everyone's coming off a season that's (we hope) a little more restful than the other three. And then there it is! One final day off. A Monday even. To celebrate something that everyone already is, in one form or another; a worker! Good stuff.

    There are lots of things to do for Labor Day, including just hanging out with friends and having a picnic, but there are several music festivals happening that weekend. To our mind, that sounds like the ultimate way to spend Labor Day: not only are you relaxing, you're being entertained, to boot!

    Let's start with the Chicago Jazz Festival. It runs from August 30 until September 2 and its amazing lineup includes Allen Toussaint, Dianne Reeves and Tito Carrillo. Concerts take place all over town (there are 9 performance venues involved) at this annual event that turns the Windy City into an all-out party.

    A Party is happening in Philly, too, with the Made in America Music Festival. It's being curated by Jay-Z, who hand-picked more than 2 dozen acts to perform over the 2-day festival (September 1 and 2). Jay-Z himself headlines, along with Pearl Jam. And did we mention this festival will feature Run DMC?

    Finally, if you find yourself in the Aspen, Colorado area for the Labor Day Weekend, check out the Jazz/Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival. Known as JAS, it runs from August 31 to September 2 and its fun lineup includes the Steve Miller Band, Sugarland and Kid Rock.Good thing the music is all about sound, because you won't be able to tear your eyes away from the spectacular setting.

    Whatever you choose to do on Labor Day, enjoy. And if you'll be at work, try to set aside another day to be your own Labor(less) Day. You deserve a day off. We all do!

  • Give Us a Ring! (please!)

    OK fine. We don't get our personal jet packs or hovercars here in the 21st century. We can handle it.

    But this, we really, really want. It's the ORB, and we started hearing about it way back in 2009. It's a teeny-tiny Bluetooth headset that hooks on the ear. When you're not using it to talk, it becomes the ultimate conversation piece. Just twist the hinge and it becomes a ring that spring-adjusts to any finger. And, get this, there's something called a Flexible Organic Light Emitting Device (FOLED), which is a ticker-tape style screen that displays caller ID, calendar reminders, and voice-to-text information while it's on your finger!

    This was originally scheduled to launch in January of 2010, and--hello!--we are still waiting. We will trade you 2 jet packs and 3 hovercars for just one ORB.

  • Mark Lawrence

    Computers make so many things in our lives possible: face-to-face chats with loved ones far away; convenient storage of the digital equivalent of stacks of paper; even mapping out point A to point B without refolding any paper.

    For artist Mark Lawrence, computers have made possible an entirely unexpected thing: a career as an artist. Lawrence’s digitally altered paintings—a riot of color, light and patterns—grace the walls of homes in the US and even hotels in Hong Kong. We talked to him about his technique and how he ended up with the title “artist:”


    GreenBox: Let’s start by talking about your technique. How do you produce these fine art pieces?

    Mark Lawrence: These are watercolors and acrylic paintings I have done, which I then scan and digitally alter on a computer.


    GB: How did you arrive at this technique?

    ML: I created it. I am a computer geek at heart. A tinkerer. I started out with Photo Shop, and it’s just kind of grown. I am curious about things and I love art.

    Back in the day [before employing this technique] I created everything traditionally, with watercolors and acrylics. But then I became fascinated with the ability to do and undo. Because with painting, especially watercolor, you can’t undo what you’ve done. If you want to change it, you have to start a new painting. When you have the ability to alter a piece digitally, you can do and undo as much as you want.


    GB: Do you have formal art training?

    ML: Well, I took a few classes. I got a business degree in college. But I have always been interested in art. I took some oil painting classes as a kid. In fact, as a teen I would go out and paint driftwood and sell it at a gallery. Art is something I would do in my spare time to relax me. In hindsight, I spent a lot of spare time doing it!


    GB: You’re not a full-time artist, then?

    ML: No. I am in the mortgage industry. Maybe that’s what drives me to create art!


    GB: How does one go from being in the mortgage industry to selling fine art canvases?

    ML: I never intended to sell art, to be honest. I would do my things on the computer and since it was on computer it was easy to put it online. I put it up on Flickr. Soon, I was getting thousands of hits a day from people wanting to buy it! It just happened organically and it just kind of grew. I’ve been doing it 7 or 8 years now and it just builds up over time. Just because someone saw something online on Flickr. It’s amazing how the Internet works.


    GB: How does it feel knowing that your art is hanging on so many people’s walls?

    ML: It’s very humbling to me. One time I got a call from a designer in California who wanted to buy a couple pieces for a hotel in China. I actually told her no, I was working in the mortgage field and didn’t know anything about selling pieces. So she talked me through it. She really wanted it! And I’ll be doggone if it’s not hanging in the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Hong Kong.


    GB: What advice would you have for people who, like you, have a passion they’d like to pursue?

    ML: Don’t stop. You’re never going to please everybody with what you do, but in my case I can’t turn it off. I just feel like if I can’t make art I’ll just explode. I can’t please everyone— even my wife doesn’t like some pieces!—but pleasing everyone is not my goal. It’s a God-given talent, and when I meet Him face to face I hope He’ll say well done. He’s the ultimate creator.


    GB: One last question: what flavor of ice cream would you like to create?

    ML: Sweet pickle. I love sweet pickles. I tried a diet for awhile and one of the things you are allowed to have, unlimited, is cucumbers. And my wife found Splenda-sweetened pickles. I’d love to say I lost weight with it, but that wasn’t the case. I do love sweet pickles, though.


    View Mark Lawrence GreenBox Art Collection

  • Melissa Lillie on Show

    Read about GreenBox Art + Culture artist Melissa Matsuki Lillie and her solo show in Baltimore, plus her upcoming mural unveiling in North Adams, Massachusetts.

    It doesn’t matter where in the world you are – art is all around you! We love hearing about all of the great events that GreenBox artists participate in, and this month we’re pleased to support Melissa Matsuki Lillie during her show at Baltimore’s Jordan Faye Contemporary.

    Lillie’s show Transverse runs through July 28 and you can find her originals for sale on the gallery walls. Can’t spring for an original? You can shop Melissa Matsuki Lillie’s collection exclusively on

    Another exciting upcoming event for Lillie is the Mural Project in North Adams, Massachusetts for DownStreetArt.  Here is some event info:

    "On Thursday, Sept. 27, from 6-9 p.m., the DownStreet Art Last Thursday Celebration will feature exhibition openings at galleries throughout North Adams  including MCLA Gallery 51, The Mohawk Gallery, the Jarvis Rockwell Gallery, NAACO Gallery, PRESS Gallery, The Artery Gallery, the Blackington Gallery, Gallery 107, and studio21south. The mural by North Adams based artist Melissa Matsuki Lillie will be unveiled on Holden Street."

    If you find yourself in New England this coming fall, we encourage you to check out Melissa Matsuki Lillie’s murals, and if you’re in the Baltimore area this month, stop by Jordan Faye Contemporary! In the meantime, you can shop her exclusive collection of stretched canvas art for GreenBox Art + Culture.

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