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At first glance, Nina Edwards Anker's sconces and chandeliers look like ancient scrolls of parchment or sheets of buttery toffee wrapped around LED bulbs. They’re actually made of dried algae. And Anker doesn't disguise it. Her shades for lighting have the imperfections of their natural state. The honey-toned translucent colors are rich. The designer says she wants to keep the integrity of the material and display its unique properties. She is just one of many designers in home decor and fashion who are thinking beyond traditional materials. They're finding ways to meld design with sustainable sourcing and production methods. New materials for textiles, tiles and more include cork, cactus, mushrooms and recycled plastic, to name just some.

What's decor’s new — and old — favorite material? Velvet was all over the fashion runways in 2022 in designer as well as casual clothes. And as often happens, what happens in fashion does the same in home decor. Interior decorators say velvet is hot. But don't say it's trending because it never really went away. Decorators say the velvet adds a little luxe, texture, coziness and depth of color to a room. They say performance velvets are easier to care for than the old-fashioned versions and still look and feel good.

Whether you're taking a break from all the bustle to savor the season this week or looking for appealing activities to share with visiting family members or houseguests next week, local presidents' residences in Albemarle and Orange counties offer options. 

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Cleaning glasses may sound like a simple enough task that doesn't need instructions. However, there are right and wrong ways to clean them, and not knowing how to clean your glasses properly you could ruin them.

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