Soy Lovely

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Soy has long been labeled a healthy and sustainable crop, with dozens of uses in the culinary world, but have you seen how many other uses artists and designers have found for soy in the worlds of fashion, beauty and housewares?

Shown above: soy, acrylic and wool scarf from Fluur; soy milk beauty bar from soapsrus; solid perfume (soy-based) from sweetanthem.
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Soy is considered a sustainable, or renewable, crop because it is fast-growing and quickly replenished. Like most legumes, soy also helps fix nitrogen in the soil, enriching the land for use in raising other crops. The fibers left over after soybeans have been processed to make oil, soy milk or tofu can be recycled into a silky fiber used in clothes and accessories. Soy silk, as it’s called, is often blended with cotton or other fibers to create a range of fabrics and yarns.

Shown above: letterpress print printed with soy-based ink from hijirik; soy/bamboo fingerless gloves from reasdesigns; hemp, organic cotton and soy top from conscious clothing.
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Soy is also used to take the place of petroleum-based substances, like oil-based inks in printed artwork, or paraffin wax in candles. Soy ink is becoming more and more popular on presses. Soy candles burn cleaner and are better for your health than traditional candles. And soy products are used as a base for many natural beauty products like soaps and perfumes.

Shown above: soy and organic cotton cowl-necked top from conscious clothing; soy candle from nettiescrub; letterpressed coasters with soy ink from UncommonEnvelope.

  • Handknit Hugs
  • Gone to Pot
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  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids
  • Felt circle goodness
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Handmade Mother's Day Gifts

New in the Gallery

handmade upcycled postcards

4 lovely recycled 4″ x 6″ postcards (10.5 x 15.5 cm) Made from a vintage spelling text printed in 1944. I should probably keep this for improving my spelling! But it’s in poor condition and these postcards are adorable.Using Postcrossing.com I’ve used a lot of my own postcards.… details »

Life is Beautiful Inspirational Handmade ACEO Resin and Wood Belt Buckle

My art is my therapy as well as inspiring to others. I created this belt buckle to evoke feelings of appreciation for the beauty of life itself.Original one of a kind ACEO mounted on stained wood base and coated in thick resin. Resilient and enduring, a fashion and… details »

Beer Cap Coasters

These coasters are made from epoxy resin and recycled beer bottle caps. They come in a set of 4 and make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves beer, is decorating a new home, or just really hates getting rings on the table.Each coaster is 3.75″ square (9.5… details »

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  • Handknit Hugs
  • Gone to Pot
  • And the award goes to…
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids
  • Felt circle goodness
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Handmade Mother's Day Gifts

Tomato, tomato.

I don’t have a green thumb (by any stretch of the imagination), but last year’s tomato crop was so dismal that I barely harvested enough fruit for a caprese salad, never mind a batch of marinara sauce. This year, however, is looking much, much more promising. With the first “early girl” turning red as we speak (and plenty more on the vine), I am beginning to see a bowl (if not multiple bowls) of pico de gallo in our near future. Of course, that will have to wait until we have ourselves a real harvest, because the first one is going to be sliced and eaten with nothing but a sprinkle of crunchy fleur de sel. If I can hold off long enough to slice it, that is.

Bolstered by my tomato victory, I am already getting organized and planning next year’s garden. At the risk of getting cocky, in addition to the varieties available at my local garden centre, I think I might try my hand at some heirloom varieties. I have always been attracted to heirloom varieties, partly because of their funny names and unusual appearance, but also partly due to their nostalgia and historical significance. This repurposed organizer (above) by Red Truck Designs is the perfect catch-all for seed packets, sketches, clippings and photographs. The piece’s designer, Susan, has even attached strong magnets to the vintage forks (included) so that you can hold even *more* ephemera and inspiration.

I don’t know where I got the idea that have heirloom varieties would be hard to grow, but I have kept away from them for just that reason. After doing a little bit of research, though, I have discovered that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Other than getting them started, I’ve been assured that they’ll be no more difficult than my usual tomato plants. And, with a little luck and a lot of sunshine, by this time next year I could be sitting down to a salad of Cherokee Purples, Yellow Brandywines, Striped Romans and Black Krims grown from seed by The Bear Foot Shaman. My mouth is watering just at the thought of it! After all, rather than being grown for the perfect appearance and long shelf-life of modern varieties, heirlooms are known for their TASTE.

No smell is more evocative of gardening to me than that of the tomato plant itself. Sometimes, on a hot summer’s day, even if I am not working in the garden I find myself running my hands through the leaves and over the stalks of my tomato plants just to pick up the lush and pungent scent. I swear; it’s better than any perfume. The Dirty Housewife Soap Co. has captured that scent in this vibrant, verdant soap (pictured above). Containing Chlorella, a single-celled algae touted as a true “superfood”, each 5oz ruffled bar will leave your skin soft and smelling of summer all year-round.

Of course, it’s not enough for tomatoes to just taste and smell good. They have to up the ante by being good for you, too. Thanks to a certain ketchup company’s marketing, we have all heard of lycopene, a powerful phytochemical found in, you guessed it, tomatoes. Responsible for giving tomatoes their vibrant red hue, lycopene is an efficient anti-oxidant compound that attacks damaging free-radicals in the body and promotes healthy cell-growth. Although it is best known as a preventative measure for prostate cancer, lycopene is beneficial for both sexes. Maybe we should change that old adage to “A tomato a day keeps the doctor away!” Let these cute little earrings by Mouse Market (pictured above) remind you to eat your tomatoes and get your daily dose of the good stuff, because the less time you spend in doctors’ waiting rooms, the more time you can spend in the garden!

  • Handknit Hugs
  • Gone to Pot
  • And the award goes to…
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids
  • Felt circle goodness
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Handmade Mother's Day Gifts

Big Little

Hand embroidered pea coat

I craft these original classic children’s coats from premium vintage New Zealand wool, featuring my original hand embroidered dandelions and three large buttons to fasten. These are exquisitely crafted jackets, fully lined and built to last. This little coat is a size 1-2 , made from 100% pure New Zealand wool in grey.
Lining is a gorgeous winter red.

Dandelion pea coat

Handmade by Big Little.

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  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids
  • Felt circle goodness
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Handmade Mother's Day Gifts

Goodness Gracious

Looking for something spectacular for your yard? Stop looking now. I’ve found it.

Designed to become an everlasting part of your family tradition, The Great Bowl O’ Fire is an unique work of art hand-cut by artist John T Unger. No two are exactly alike, as the flames are drawn free-hand. Gather friends and family to celebrate around a roaring blaze year-round. The raised bowl allows you to sit comfortably without having to lean forward to stay warm. Keep your feet toasty, tucked below the rim of the bowl and bask in the full-body radiance that a raised firebowl offers. An outdoor fire pit is a great way to extend the outdoor living season.

The Great Bowl O’ Fire makes a stunning focal point for yards, patios and gardens. Unlike many outdoor firepits which look dirty or empty when unlit, The Great Bowl O’ Fire functions as a gorgeous sculptural element either hot or cold. By day, the flame shapes cast intriguing shadows both inside and outside the bowl and the rich tones of the patina suggest a warm blaze. At night, with a fire burning, the bowl casts flickering shadows as lively as the fire within.

The Great Bowl O’ Fire is a gorgeous sculptural element even when not in use. The play of light and shadow as the sun moves across it is as entrancing as the dance of fire.

  • Handknit Hugs
  • Gone to Pot
  • And the award goes to…
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids
  • Felt circle goodness
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Handmade Mother's Day Gifts