Web designers Check in here!

Grassrootsmodern has been stumbling along for a long time with what I think is fairly mediocre web design. Problem is I've always been too cheep to shell out any cash to get "professional" help. Well folks, the time has come. I actually need a good web designer/ graphic designer for a couple different projects. I have three specific needs. If you fit one or all of the above, contact me or leave a comment.

1. A competent wordpress template designer.

2. A plain jane website web designer.

3. A flash designer (don't even get me started about how much I hate flash, just trust me on this one.)

In all areas I'm looking for someone who can produce a simple clean web standards compliant site. Bonus points for thinking outside the box and not costing me my firstborn. Yeah, did I mention I'm a cheapskate?

Interested? Contact me! This could be the beginning of a beautiful new relationship.

Elan Form Chilewich case


Everyone that knows me knows that I am completely helpless without my iPhone. So why not splurge a little on this amazing little piece of technology and give it a little fashion update.

Impact resistant polycarbonate iPhone® covers are the result of a unique collaboration between Sandy Chilewich and Griffin Technology. Chilewich's signature mini basketweave vinyl textile is adhered to the two piece Griffin EasyDock™ design. These covers provide access to all controls and ports, and allow quick docking without removing the case.

I love the carbon fiber/tweed look of them. The $40 is a little expensive, but maybe I'll buy one for my iPhone for Christmas.

Available from Apple or the MoMA Store for $40.

Node Electrical outlet


I'm fascinated when people are able to rethink old ideas and come up with something completely new. The Node electrical outlet was designed to address the issue of not enough wall sockets. It's unique design allows you to plug in multiple two pronged cords. While I'm not sure that it is really any more practical than your traditional electrical outlet (it may be less practical really, no three prongs here) you can't deny it looks better.


If anyone finds out if these are available stateside, let us know.

Available from Metaphys

Tokyo Flash expands it's collection

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Tokyo Flash has long been one of my favorite sites for unique watches. The recently have broadened their product range to include bags, clocks, hats, jewelry, t-shirts, lighting and design goods. With all those new different categories it seems like it would be hard to have a line as original as their watches, yet they seem to pull it off quite well. While the "fashion" items don't get me too excited, all the design goods show off the classic simple japanese style. While some items like the Juke Tower look like they could be right out of a Muji store, others like the Erect calculator have a certain craziness that make it a classic Tokyo Flash piece. Due to the weak dollar pricing ranges between $50 - $200 on most items. It's going to cost you if you want to be the cool kid on the block.

Available from Tokyo Flash from $50+

Sound Machine

200901260743.jpg Though I am usually a big supporter of form and function I sometimes find the absolutely pointless wrapped in a pretty package quite appealing. Take for example this "sound machine". It's a good looking little red box that is packed with all sorts of useless sounds at the touch of the button. Some of the more interesting ones include bronx cheers and shotguns, plus the old standbys canned laughter and applause. They will be shipping out this spring, and are on pre-order now for $17.

Available from Unica Home for $17.


 Photos Medium Magnosmall5OK, I'm not going to even try and claim that this is affordable, but it is beautiful. I'm not quite sure what my obsession is with simple looking radios, I don't even listen to the radio. Nevertheless the Magno Wooden Radio by Singgih Kartono is one of the best looking ones I have seen in a while. Heavy on the looks, and low on the technology, this little guy only does AM/FM and two shortwave channels, but it does have a audio in for your mp3 player. Available from A + R for $210.

Notice something new?

It's been just over two years since I updated the look of the website here at Grasrootsmodern, and in those two years we have seen an incredible amount of growth thanks to you. So much grown in fact that we were starting to look like a fat man in a little jacket here. Our sidebars suffered the most with a lot of navigation and other content being pushed down way to far by advertisements. So we loosened our belt and added an extra column just for our sponsors, after all they make it possible to pay some of the hosting bills. Being the cheapskate that I am, I did all the coding myself, instead of paying someone so if you see something funny please let me know. Also if there are any improvements/features that you would like to see, speak up! Hopefully you all like the new look.


200808210656Well I have been avoiding it for long enough. I finally took the plunge and set up a facebook account. I'm hoping that besides being a fun way to stay in contact with some of my old friends, that it can also be a good way for me to get in touch with some of the awesome people that follow my blog. So if you feel so inclined, add me as a friend. I also set up a Grassrootsmodern group on facebook. I thought it might be a good place for some further discussion on living modern affordably.

My facebook account.

Philippe Starck Wind Turbine

200808080727Just the other day I was watching a TED talk about wind energy, and thinking about the huge potential that it has for small scale applications like residential homes. I was wondering what it would take to throw a small turbine on my roof. Would it be ugly? Would it be expensive? Today I come across a story that design giant Philippe Starck has beat me to the punch. He has designed a small attractive wind turbine that can create up to 80% of a homes electricity. The price is expected to be between $800 - $1,200, which is way more affordable than solar. I looks like it may not be available for a while, but it definitely looks like a winner.

See the New York Times story "And Now, to Try and Catch the Wind"

Affordable MacBook?


The latest Apple buzz online is the new 3G iPhone, which is twice as fast and half the price, but what I'm excited about is the price of a new MacBook. I have been wanting a laptop for a long time, but I have never been able to justify it. I finally needed one for school, so I started to do some shopping around. What I found is that you just can't beat Apples pricing. Their current "Back to School" deal is offering a free iPod Touch with the purchase of any qualifying Mac and they have a free $100 printer deal. That ads up to $400 of free goodies! Even better is the fact that I already have a iPhone, so I don't need a iPod touch, and I already have a good printer too. So I plan on selling both for cheap. Let's assume I get $300 for both, that makes my brand new MacBook cost $700 after an education discount. You can't beat that. Thanks Apple!

Anyone local want a cheap printer or iPod Touch?

Portable Radio

 Wcsstore Momastore1 Images L 67182I know that radio's are so old school now, but if you are lucky to live in an urban area with some good radio stations they can still be a good deal. While this portable radio doesn't compare with the iPod when it comes to technology, it's 3.5" x 2" x .75" footprint comes pretty close. I have to admit I am loving the old school styling of it as well. It comes with headphones as well as a built in speaker, and best of all, it will only put you out $19.Available from MoMA Store for $19.

Modern DIY Projects

 Uimages Ny 1-30-Moddi-2I have been coming across a bunch of good DIY projects online lately, and I thought that I would share some of the recent ones I have found. The most impressive of them all is this Ikea hack by the folks at Moddi. It uses some off the shelf pieces as well as some Ikea goodies, and the result is a great looking murphy bed for under $200. You can buy the plans from Moddi for $8, and with a little elbow grease have your very own affordable modern murphy bed. Plans available at Moddi for $8.  Pictures Sh4105A If your not feeling quite that ambitious, you could always tackle a smaller job, like this DIY stuffed animal. This little kit comes with two hand screened pieces of canvas. All you have to do is follow the instructions, cut them out, sew them up and stuff them. It would be a nice and easy little project, and you have to admit that Claus is one of the cutest racoons you've ever seen. Available at Egg Press for $26  Wp-Content Uploads Process2 If you don't have a kid to make a stuffed animal for, or just aren't into that thing, you could always treat your laptop to it's own little felt cozy. Grace over at Design Sponge has posted a great little how to on making your very own laptop cozy. This one is even easier because there is absolutely no sewing involved. The end result is a very nice looking protective sleeve for your laptop. Full instructions at Design Sponge

Colorware iPhone

200710090747Colorware PC has been adding color to the sometimes dull drab computer world for quite some time now, but just recently has it offered it's services to the new iPhone. You can design your own style, and buy directly from them, or you can send your iPhone in to them to have it spruced up. The fee isn't exactly cheap, $149 for an 8GB iPhone, but in lieu of recent iPhone price drops, that still makes it cheaper than a plain one was several months ago. Colorware has also included the new iPod Nano, Touch, Classic, and the new iMac in it's lineup. Available from Colorware.

Vers 2x

200710080723In a market that is absolutely flooded with iPod and iPhone accessories it's hard to get my attention when a new product comes out, but Vers has done just that. Vers currently has only one product in their line, but its a good one. The 2x is a stereo for your iPod/iPhone with a similar shape and design of Apples Hi-Fi. Instead of plastic though, Vers has elected to go natural. The enclosure is made of beautifully crafted eucalyptus and pine with a cherry veneer. The packaging is also just as natural, made of 100% recycled paper. No idea yet on how it sounds in real life compared to the Hi-Fi, but priced at $179 it is sure to be a big competitor. Available this fall at Target and others for $179.


 Commerce Images Products Nan 001 Lg2Before I got married I was one of those people that would wake up the first time my alarm went off. My wife is the exact opposite and used to even have two alarm clocks (one across the room). Now a days I can hit snooze for 1/2 hour, no problem. For those of you looking to break your snooze habit, Clocky is here. You can set how many snoozes you get before clocky takes off rolling forcing you to get up to turn him off. Clocky circulated around the internet as a concept idea for a while, and I'm please to see that he made it to production. He is available in blue, white, orange, and mint. Available from elsewares for $49.

Today’s the day!

200706290658Unless you have been living in a cave for the last 6 months, you have heard about the iPhone. It is the most hyped up phone ever to be released, perhaps even the most hyped apple product ever released too. Surely there is a good reason for all the hype right? Well lets hope so. Despite any potential downfalls, such as a virtual keyboard, you have to admit the iPhone really is a revolutionary product. The question is, at a base price of $499, will they really sell as many as they think they will. I admittedly am a mac addict and will probably be waiting in line for the 6 PM release today.

How about you, will you be buying a iPhone?

Data & Rough Electrical

Dsc 0006 2I mentioned yesterday that I have been working on the electrical for the past couple of weeks. I worked until almost midnight last night to be ready for our rough electrical inspection today. Hopefully it passes, I can't wait to get some insulation and drywall going on this project. Along with the electrical, I have been wiring the addition for all the modern luxuries. I ran two coaxial cables, and two cat 5 wires to each bedroom, and to the hall where the computer will be. It is a small cost up front (about $100) and will be a lifesaver in the future. We will probably never fully utilize them since we don't have a phone land line, and don't even own a TV. We will use the Cat 5 for internet though. Also, it feels good to know any future owners won't be cursing me for not doing it right.

Ikea: Break the rules bed making

200703050627Ikea and Shycast have teamed up to have a contest about making your bed. Applicants can submit a video under five minutes that shows a creative or different way that they make their bed. The grand prize is a $5,000 gift certificate to Ikea. As far as I can tell, videos are rated by the public, and the one with the most votes wins the grand prize. I was pretty surprised by just how lame the top three videos were. It seems like anyone with a little creativity and a video camera could easily take the lead.

See the videos at Shycast.

Dwell revisited

 Images Mar07 Cover Homepage200702192215I have to admit, Dwell Magazine has been a love hate relationship for me. When I first discovered it several years ago, I was thrilled to see that there were like minded people out there. I read it religiously every month, and then.... Well things changed. The houses got more expensive and it felt like they were loosing their sense of direction. I even went as far as to write the editor to ask what happened to the ideals of the fruit bowl manifesto. I got no response and my subscription lapsed. Yesterday while I was at Lowes picking up some stuff to tile our bathroom, I saw the new copy of Dwell, and the cutline caught my attention. Modern Living on a Budget. That sounds more like it. The story turns out to be a good one, about a Austin couple who managed to stumble into a 1200+ square foot newly built modern home for $110,000. That includes the land. The story actually inspired me to wander over to Dwell's new website to see what was new. There is a bunch going on like a podcast, a daily video (but no video podcast, who knows why) a blog, and the big surprise was a forum/community area called Dwell Connect. I took the time to sign up, and wasn't completely impressed, but it is at least a step in the right direction.

Please excuse me while I pay some bills...