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December 2016

Welcome to Our Monthly Newsletter!

We hope you will enjoy this month's articles.  

This month's topic is:  


Bokhara Oriental Design


Air Purifying Houseplants,

Toxic Air Purifying Houseplants.

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If there is a topic you would like us to cover in one of our upcoming newsletters, please call us at  607-272-1566 or contact us by clicking here.


The Bokhara oriental rug design, as with the Hamadan and Heriz designs for the study of Oriental Rugs by Design, consists of an an easily recognizable pattern.

However, the same caveats must be repeated:        

  • The way to accurately identify a handwoven oriental rug is not just from the design, but from the way it is woven and the materials used.

  • Many countries produce rugs with designs that may copy another country's rug.
  • Because of the individual nature of hand-woven rugs, we can study the most common examples (and there will be variations!) but we must be aware there are many exceptions to every example and the terms 'always' and 'never' cannot be used when it comes to the study of oriental rugs and their designs.

The term 'Bokhara' does not so much refer to a particular rug as it does to a particular design.

The name, Bokhara, comes from an ancient city in the area known as Turkestan. Located on the famous Silk Road, Bokhara has long been a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion.

It was an important shipping center in the 19th century and rugs sold commercially through the city of Bokhara were simply designated as 'Bokhara rugs.'


The unique Bokhara oriental design originated with nomadic Central Asia Turkmen tribesmen, primarily the Tekke, whose wanderings took them east of the Caspian Sea and north of Iran.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the nomadic Turkmen tribes clashed with the Russian government which wanted to forcibly subdue them. As a result, the way of life of these tribes changed drastically as did the production of Turkmen Bokharas.

Fortunately, the Turkmen tribes who continued to wander in Northern Iran continued the weaving tradition and many settled in Afghanistan.


Bokhara rugs continue to be woven by the nomadic tribes of people in Central Asia in the area now known as Uzbekistan. Many rely primarily upon the madder plant for the tremendous variety of red and red-brown hues.

Although red and rust fields are the most common colors, they can also have ivory, navy, green, slate, teal, peach, rose or orange backgrounds.


The very popular, easily identifiable and adaptable Bokhara oriental design will almost always have some kind of combination of a row or rows of medallions known as guls (sometimes as elephant's feet motifs), octagons, or even roses. These guls are commonly dark blue, black or brown with ivory accents.

So popular is this Bokhara oriental design, you can find these rugs in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, and if you are fortunate enough to find one from an estate sale, an old Russian Bokhara. The design can also be found in good quality machine made rugs around the world as well.

The traditional color of a Bokhara oriental design rug is red, but Pakistani and Indian Bokharas can also be found in rust, tan, orange, light and dark blue, green, aqua and gold.

Iranian, Afghani, and Russian Bokharas use wool foundations while Pakistan and Indian Bokharas are usually woven on cotton foundations with higher wool pile than the others.

The more common knot is the Persian, also known as a Senneh knot or asymmetric knot.

To learn more about the Bokhara oriental rug design with photos, as well as the Bokhara design in different countries,  please continue reading here.


Air purifying houseplants? Yes, very definitely. No one gets through elementary biology without learning about the ability of plants to convert the carbon dioxide we exhale to the oxygen we cannot do without, converting light to food during the process of photosynthesis.

But there is more to some of these amazing plants, especially the ones that are able to remove certain toxins from our indoor environment. These are the air purifying plants. 

Please note: Some varieties can be toxic, especially if ingested by humans, dogs, and cats. In this article we will focus on the non-toxic varieties. For homes without pets, please see the next article.


The processes of photosynthesis and respiration are reactions that complement each other and occur in reverse. In simple terms, living organisms supply plants with carbon dioxide. The plants use the carbon dioxide to produce their food and release oxygen which all living organisms need for respiration.

Photosynthesis actually takes place in the leaves of plants which are made up of very small cells called chloroplasts. Each chloroplast contains a green chemical called chlorophyll. The chlorophyll absorbs the sun's energy. This energy is used to split the H2O water molecules (from the roots and stems) into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is released into the atmosphere and the hydrogen and carbon dioxide are used to form glucose or food for plants.


Houseplants don't actually exist in nature. Their ancestors once grew wild in the rain forests, deserts, woodlands, or prairies. As indoor plants, they have been forced to adjust to totally new conditions. Their root systems are no longer deep enough to seek water and nutrients and there is no rain to clean their foliage. 

They are totally dependent upon us for their care and watering. But that is a small fee to pay for the enormous favor many of them do for us by purifying our indoor air quality.

Some of the harmful toxins a number of houseplants have the ability to absorb from the air in the home and work environment include Toluene, Xylene, and Styrene, as well as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nicotine, radiation, bacteria, and viruses.


In our homes as well as our businesses, we can be continuously bombarded by contaminants that may harm us.

There are at least 350 common toxins found in the home. These include Benzene, Formaldehyde, Acetone, Carbon Tetrachloride, Chloroform, Dichlorobenzene, Ethyl Acetate, Methylene Chloride, and many more.

These toxins come from the building materials and products we use every day. Technology has its dark side once we are made aware of the number of contaminants and the amount of radiation emitted by just our computers, tablets, and smartphones, even our TVs.


To find out more about the benefits of air purifying houseplants as well as the top recommended ones, please continue reading


Toxic air purifying houseplants will do an excellent job of absorbing toxins from our indoor environment as long as they are out of reach of dogs, cats, and small children.

The list below notes the toxicity of each plant, the types of air pollutants they absorb, and a brief description of care.

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)

The Peace Lily is not a true Lily. If ingested by humans or animals it can cause painful symptoms and sometimes death. It can cause burning and swelling lips, mouth, and tongue, difficulty speaking or swallowing, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea in humans. For animals it can cause burning mouth, excessive salivation, diarrhea, dehydration, lack of appetite, and vomiting. If it is left untreated, Peace Lily poisoning could lead to renal failure.  

This plant can remove all three of the most common VOCs - Formaldehyde, Benzene and Trichloroethylene. It can also combat Toluene and Xylene.  

The Peace Lily should have bright light in the winter and diffused light in the summer. The soil should be moist but not soggy. They should be fed every 2 months. 

Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata 'laurentii')

The Snake Plant is also known as Mother-in-Law's Tongue and Hemp Plant. The toxicity level is low in humans but can produce symptoms such as mouth pain, salivation, and some nausea as well as possible dermatological problems (although it is mainly toxic if ingested). It can cause excessive salivation, pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in cats and dogs.  

The Sanseveria is one of the best plants for filtering out Formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues, and personal care products.

It is a succulent plant that only needs dim daylight and not much watering. An occasional hour in the sun daily would be good for this plant.  

These plants also absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen at night (the opposite of the process most plants follow). This slight oxygen boost may be beneficial to better sleep with these plants in your bedroom.  

For more information on some of these amazing, though potentially toxic, air purifying plants, please continue reading here.

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