I’m Rebecca, I’m the artist, seamstress, photographer, designer, model, admin, janitor, etc. behind retrofied. Retrofied grew out of a love for vintage fabrics – and a need to do something with an insanely large fabric stash.

All bags and patterns are original retrofied designs. Each design is something I have created to meet a need in my own life and love sharing with others.

Herban Lifestyle


Mary Kearns grew up in a very environmentally conscious household. Her mother was into organic cooking and being “green” long before it was the latest and the coolest. “I was so embarrassed,” Mary says, recalling her school lunches wrapped in waxed paper, instead of plastic bags like the other kids had. “But now I’m thankful that I was made aware of these issues so early.”

Her mother’s awareness and activism has paid off. Mary Kearns is now the owner and founder of Herban Lifestyle, an all-natural bath and body product line made in Falls Church, Virginia. Herban Lifestyle is certified member of Green America, a signer of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, and an Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Partner. Herban Lifestyle products are all handcrafted by Mary, using only organic, fair trade and/or ethically wildcrafted herbs and essential oils. Additionally, Herban Lifestyle labels are all printed on recycled paper with vegetable inks, and Mary only uses packing and shipping materials that are recycled, recyclable or biodegradable.

bodyscrub label

When I met with Mary to talk with her about her business and her inspirations for creating green and sustainable body products, I was thrilled when she offered to show me how one of her most popular products was made. I even got to choose the scent! My love for all things citrus led me to pick the tangerine dreamsicle lip balm.

tangerine essential oil

Using one of her own recipes, Mary led me through the process of making her lip balms. The process was surprisingly simple, but definitely an exercise in patience and precision. After I decided on tangerine, Mary showed me her (extremely well organized) storage room, where we gathered all the necessary ingredients. The first step was melting the beeswax, which comes from Mary’s all-natural supplier in a big, honeycomb-shaped slab.

breaking up beeswax

After the beeswax is melted, the other ingredients are added, including jojoba oil, organic shea butter and organic olive oil, which all play the role of moisturizer. To achieve the delicious tangerine dreamsicle scent, organic tangerine essential oil and organic vanilla extract are added to the mix. Mary uses a ceramic double boiler to melt her ingredients, because certain types of metal react poorly with certain oils. When everything is completely blended, the mixture is ready to be poured into the lip balm containers, which have been cleaned, sterilized and dried.

pouring liquefied lip balm

The jojoba oil and shea butter give the mixture it’s soft golden color, not the tangerine essential oil. While the lip balms cooled, a dreamy and sweet citrus-y scent filled the entire room. It was easy for me to understand why Mary finds making her delightful goodies so relaxing!

An interest in aromatherapy is what first prompted Mary to make her own body products. Back in the late ’90s, she subscribed to a body product of-the-month club, and soon became interested in experimenting beyond the simple recipes that were sent to her. She also became intrigued by the therapeutic and healing properties of essential oils and herbs, and how to combine them to achieve the greatest result.

Life eventually led her away from her initial endeavor to make and sell natural body products, but her interest in herbalism and making skin care products had not diminished. When she found herself living in the DC area and beginning formal herbalism studies, she knew the time was right.


Mary opened her Herban Lifestyle Etsy shop in May of 2008, and now has nearly thirty different products, all made from the highest quality natural and organic ingredients. Her favorite items to make are the body balms, and her favorite scent to use is lavender, although her line includes a variety of mild essential oils.

felted wool soap

One of her most popular items is her Fuzzy Soap, which is handmade, organic soap wrapped up in vegetable-dyed, hand-carded wool. The wool is wet-felted to cling to the bar of soap, creating a built-in holder that is exfoliating as well as naturally anti-bacterial. The day I visited Mary, she had several that were nearly ready for packaging, after laying out to dry for several days.

Mary’s product line also includes natural and organic products for men. The Herban Lifestyle MAN grooming kit was featured in Etsy’s Valentine’s Day gift guide for LXTV in New York, and continues to be a popular item with new and returning customers.

herban lifestyle for men

Although green business practices and using all-natural and organic ingredients are major priorities for Mary, she has found that not all her customers are drawn to Herban Lifestyle for those reasons. “Some people just like quality body products that smell nice.” She certainly has that market cornered.

finished lip balms

You can find Herban Lifestyle products at a handful of DC area stores and at several online locations, including the Herban Lifestyle web site, the Etsy shop, and the World of Good web site.

Bikini Babes

I’m lucky enough to be going on holiday soon, so I’ve actually been the target audience to all the swim wear on offer in the high street. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted looking through rails of clothes and trying on various combinations of bikini tops, tankini tops, bikini bottoms, coordinating skirts and one-piece swimming costumes. It’s actually been doing my head in. You can’t do it quickly either! In order to try on swimwear, you have to take (almost) absolutely everything off! (Then of course, you need a different size and being a British citizen, rather than an American one, (and not shopping in high class, super expensive establishments), this means getting at least partially dressed again, scurrying across the shop and back to the changing rooms hoping for better luck this time.)

Ok, enough of my whinging. Shopping is supposed to be fun isn’t it? Well, it’s always fun on etsy! I can waste hours of my time window shopping on etsy, but it’s so much more enjoyable because the swimwear is different, unique and so much more a joy to look at. Unfortunately this didn’t occur to me until just now, and just now is too late to order something in time for my holiday. For some reason I suppose I assumed swimwear wouldn’t be available handmade.

One of my favourites is the one above by My Sugar Doll. Little poodles printed on the lycra fabric is genious! It’s very cute, but a little bit naughty as well.

I am always a fan of 50s style clothing and I actually discovered this swimwear maker in an article in an antiques magazine! Anna Winston makes them by the sea near Hastings, UK, where I regularly used to drive down to for fish and chips, usually in the rain, where we’d park by the shore next to the fishing boats and watch the waves crash on the pebbles! Ok, enough of my reminiscing – take a look at these gorgeous swimming costumes. I love them. “If a woman feels comfortable and elegant on the beach then she’s more inclined to enjoy herself,” she says. I completely agree.

I also love this electric blue bikini, made to order by LoveLucyBea. In her shop there are all kinds of unusual designs in lots of different colours. Definitely worth checking out. I just love all the ruffles!

If you’re wondering what I bought for my holiday in the end, well I bought a bog standard purple bikini and made myself a pixie style dress to wear over the top (from my roll of black lycra I usually use for waistbands), and cut little holes in it so the purple shows through.