White Carnation

Keep an eye on this one. Her shop is small right now, but I have a feeling she could turn it into something really good…

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White Carnation: I know making clothes out of old clothes and recycled fabric might not save the world- But having a resourceful attitude is one step in the right direction, right?

I love using reclaimed or recycled fabric, and natural/organic blends. Functionality, efficiency, and beauty are awesome.

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Greening Back to School

It came in the mail the other day, addressed to “Parent(s) of ____”. Inside the envelope, bearing the familiar school logo, was a sure harbinger of fall – the mascot’s eighth grade supply list. As far as lists go, I have to say that this one isn’t bad. Gone are the days of crayons, finger-paints, oversized scrapbooks and epic shopping trips that would take us to 4 different stores before we could find the right brand of printing practice paper. This year, the teachers are taking it easy on us with a short list of easily procured items; binders and loose-leaf, pens and pencils; pretty standard stuff. In fact, I think the only difference from what I would have brought for my first day of grade 8 was the techie addition of a pair of 2GB USB memory sticks. If we had had them back then, I know I would have coveted these upcycled Lego memory sticks custom made by Stefan of 123 Smile (pictured above). Data storage has never been so much fun!

I wonder what supply lists will look like 25 years from now; perhaps schools will be completely paper-free by then. In the meantime, look for notebooks and filler-paper that contain recycled content or carry FSC certification. With more and more companies jumping on the eco-bandwagon, it’s becoming easier (and more affordable) than ever to find “green” alternatives. And, while you’re at it, encourage your kids to conserve paper as much as possible. I shudder to think of my old habit of writing on only one side of the page. Using both sides is not only eco-friendly, but it will allow you to use your notebooks for twice as long; something you will definitely want to do if you are using a book as cool as the one pictured above by Disconsolator. Hand-screened with an original design on organic cotton cloth, this 5×7” book is filled with 72 (144 front/back) sheets of unlined FSC certified paper; perfect for jotting down assignments and doodling in study-hall.

The only thing that is better than having a fresh supply of paper is a good, sharp pencil to attack it with. Check your local stationary store, or do a quick search online, for pencils made from reclaimed newspapers, money and even denim. To keep your supply clean, sharp and at your fingertips, choose a durable pencil case, like this one by Vancouver’s Galstudio; handmade out of recycled bicycle inner tubes & reclaimed fabric with a sturdy plastic zipper to keep everything safely inside. The fun printed fabric that lines the case is a colourful surprise and keeps everything inside from sticking to the rubber.

Of course, once the school supply shopping is out of the way, our thoughts will turn to the always-important back-to-school wardrobe. If I remember correctly, the goal of every eighth-grader is to find a balance between blending-in completely and showing a little individuality. Since the standard “uniform” of boys his age is the ubiquitous “jeans and a t-shirt”, my son lets his personality come through with his trademark messy hair and his clever t-shirt choices. These shirts by Non-fiction Tees, with their brainy designs, are perfect for kicking off Jake’s school year in style. Who knows…they might even earn him extra credit with the science teacher (if not the grade eight girls)!

Announcement: Galstudio is having a Back-to-School contest! Share a favorite school memory of your own on Galstudio’s Facebook page for your chance to win a FREE Scuola Pouch like the one pictured in this article!

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How to: Shop a Farmer's Market

I would be remiss not to mention that this week, August second through the eighth, is National Farmer’s Market week. Declared by Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, National Farmer’s Market week has been giving growers and local food junkies something — or some time, rather — to celebrate since it was originally recognized by the USDA in 2000.

I personally celebrated by plunking down just over twenty dollars at our local market on ten pounds of blueberries and five more of green beans. The green beans — aside from those that barely made it home before being eaten straight from the bag by my daughters — now reside in my freezer, a reminder that a long and cold winter is quickly approaching us here. And the blueberries, you ask. As I type this the blueberries are gracing every part of my kitchen. Three nine by thirteen trays are covered with them in the freezer, two trays of my food dehydrator are graced with their pureed goodness hoping to become tasty fruit leather by tomorrow morning, two more trays are dehydrating whole berries for trail mixes and the refrigerator shelves are covered in five more pints awaiting distribution to family, friends, and yes, my morning yogurt.

These days our market is like our second home. But I also realize not everyone has such an intimate relationship with their local growers and remember the feeling of intimidation and sheer confusion the first time I stepped foot in a city market. So, in honor of National Farmer’s Market week, I’d like to offer a few tips for successfully shopping a farmer’s market. If you’re a newbie on the handmade and homegrown scenes I hope they’re of help. If you’re an old pro, consider sharing your tips in the comments.

Market Tote by RosyUndPosy at Etsy

1. Bring a bag. Or if you’re a heavy shopper like me a few bags, a wagon, and a helper for when your arms get tired. In fact, consider bringing containers and small bags in addition to your bigger bags. These will help you corral the five peaches, three carrots, loaf of french bread, block of goat cheese, and pint of blueberries you go home with, rather than just tossing them all together and having to sort them out later.

2. Spend Time If it’s your first visit, or even if it’s not, don’t rush. Go early and plan to spend a few hours browsing the offerings. You may be surprised to uncover more than just tomatoes and cucumbers await. Plus, there’s nothing better than being surrounded by fresh, local produce and soaked in morning sun.

3. Be Friendly Make friends with the vendors. Ask them about their products. Most are happy to answer your questions and excited to get to know the people whose homes their produce will be consumed in.

4. Seek Out Deals If you’re a repeat customer and not looking for the morning experience, consider going at the end of the day. Near closing time many vendors will mark their goods down for quicker sale. It’s better they go home with someone who will eat them than have to be carted back to the farm and potentially go to waste, after all.

5. Above all have fun! Shopping for groceries at the Farmer’s Market isn’t the grocery shopping we’re used to; the grocery shopping we dread. There are no flourescent lights poorly lighting the aisle, no wilting over-priced lettuce, and for the most part no surly cart-wielding consumers. Enjoy the moment, your fellows shoppers will be doing the same.

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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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Try Handmade Visit Erika Jurneys profile on Pinterest.