Stephanie Weber of Pickle Things has lived in Portland for the past five years. In her own words, ‘I love it here. Of all of the places that I have lived, I feel the most at home here. I like that it is so beautiful, has a great neighborhood/community feel, progressive and eco conscience and has fabulous restaurants.’ She lives with a dog, birds, fish and soon a cat and roommates who actually own all the animals. A self-described independent, perfectionist who cannot sit still, Stephanie loves fabric (specifically vintage patterns), cool glass jars, 70s embroidered wall hangings, screwball comedies from the 30s-40s, macaroni and cheese, vegetable gardens and rain. Don’t miss Stephanie’s shop and her blog.
Please welcome the newest contributor to Try Handmade: Rebecca Hadfield! Every week she will be bringing you eco-goodness with her column “Going Green.”
Please stop by the comments section after reading her first post and make her feel welcome!
With the rapid advance of technology, the electronics manufacturing industry is disposing of its obsolete parts at an alarming rate, making e-waste a concern to both the industry itself, as well as the public. By diverting unused computer and electronics components from the landfill and into our jewelry boxes, crafters such as Ruth Smith are leading the eco-crafting brigade.
As soon as Erika gave me the go-ahead to write the “Going Green” column on Try Handmade, I knew my first piece would be about Ruth Smith of PeriwinkleDzyns. Not only is Ruth a friend of mine, she is an an amazing crafter whose work is innovative, clever, and eco-friendly. Her beyond-cool jewelry appeals to such a broad audience – from the geeks to the chic. “Initially, I expected it to only appeal to geeks. You know, IT workers like myself; gamers, computer nerds and such”, says Ruth.
Hitomi Kimura is the designer and screen printer of kalla Design, textile and surface design studio based in Ibaraki, Japan.
In 2007, after studying graphic design and working for a publisher in London, England, Hitomi started her own small business in Japan, selling her screen printed matters.
All the printed products are hand screen printed with water-based eco-friendly inks and then some of them are carefully machine sewed by the designer herself.
Many natural soaps take advantage of herbal ingredients for fragrance and medicinal properties. Some herb and plants are believed to heal or soothe a number of skin ailments without the use of chemicals. Three worth mentioning are tea tree, lavender and calendula.
Tea tree essential oil, which has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, also smells great. It can be used alone, or combined with other ingredients in soaps that are friendly to irritable or acne-prone skin.
Lavender has been traditionally used in aromatherapy and bath and body products for everything from potpourri to candles to soaps and creams. It is also believed to be calming and helpful to those suffering from headaches and depression.
Calendula comes from the marigold plant. It promotes skin healing and repair. And it is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Of the herbs mentioned above, I find calendula to be the most soothing and gentle. Tea tree fragrance is my favorite in the morning for its energetic scent, or at the end of a hot day – especially if sunscreen needs to be removed.
During the summertime I am able to enjoy fresh lavender. I am fortunate to have a large, healthy lavender plant. So I dry the lavender and make the oil myself, then use it as a moisturizer all winter. In soap, it’s a great fragrance to hand over to sweaty children. They smell better almost immediately.
Dr. Flowers’ store has a great variety of natural soaps. They smell wonderful and arrived promptly, wrapped in embroidered cotton sleeves. The soaps have a wavy cut, which makes them pretty to look at and shows off the herbs within. And I appreciate the eco-friendly packaging.
My order from Dr. Flowers also included small heart shaped soaps, that look nice in the bathroom. And they are very appropriate to have this time of year with Valentine’s Day coming up.
So, you’ve taken a pledge to give only handmade gifts this Christmas. Your ornaments and decorations are all one-of-a-kind creations gathered from the local craft fair and visitors to your home are going to be treated to local artisan cheeses and breads before being sent home with homemade fudge and gingerbread from your own kitchen. It sounds like you’ve got the bases covered…but you’re not planning to use boring old store-bought wrapping paper, are you? Of course you’re not!
I have always been a proponent of the fabric gift bag. Not only do they look so cute under the Christmas tree, they are almost infinitely reusable. Considering the cost (and waste!) of paper wrapping and plastic ribbon, fabric bags will pay for themselves within just a couple uses. These colourful, reversible gift bags by Pidoodle are doubly-good for the environment because the fabric used to create them was repurposed from thrifted garments. A dedicated thriftier and “fickle crafter”, Carissa seeks out used (and sometimes damaged) pieces at charity shops and gives them a second life by dying, silk-screening and sewing them into gift bags. She even includes a piece of tulle to replace expensive and fragile tissue paper. How clever!