Pink Gradient Ring
This unique, original ring design is hand embroidered in a gradient pattern featuring four shades of pink silk ribbon ranging in color from magenta to light pink.
My village – a collection of 10 soft houses
There is just something about these little houses that makes me smile, whimisical and quirky, how fun! I think these would make a great conversation piece, a refreshing and different twist from the type of pillows we’re used to seeing. I am a fan of anything unique and a… details »
Fused Argentium Bubbles Cuff Bracelet
A light and airy modern silhouette has been created by fusing argentium sterling silver wire circles into an elegant cuff bracelet.
Months ago, near the end of a particularly long afternoon in the book store with my two daughters, I ran across a shiny, green, soft-backed book that would steal my heart forever. Or at least for a few months. Carleen Madigan’s The Backyard Homestead has informative, diagram-enhanced chapters on everything from raising chickens to brewing your own beer. Tucked within are two chapters I am particularly fond of; milking your dairy goat and making cheese.
Living with life-long cow’s milk allergies has spurred an insatiable fascination with real, raw goat’s milk and all of it’s products in me. Having recently spent more days than not in Chicago, the very epicentre of blankets and blankets of billowy cheesy goodness, cheese is one of those products that is of considerable interest at current.
Unfortunately, I haven’t the time for a goat right now and in Michigan (along with the better part of the United States) it is illegal to purchase raw milk.
Luckily, all is not lost. What we can purchase legally are goat shares. In Michigan, and in states who uphold similar statutes against the purchase of raw milk, it is legal for people to drink raw milk from animals they personally own. Goat shares – the purchase of a portion of a dairy animal to become a co-owner of that animal, a shareholder – allow families like ours, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to obtain the raw milk they want, to legally acquire it.
And for those in states where even shares aren’t available, either legally or because of logistics, family owned and operated goat dairies offer handmade cheeses to fulfill every craving, even if not made raw. Pure Luck Goat Dairy in Texas is one such farm, and their cheeses are available for purchase online.
Sold on the idea? To get started finding the laws that apply to the purchase and consumption of raw milk in your area, check out RealMilk.com. Or google goat shares + your state abbreviation to skip straight to shopping for a source of raw milk near you. (Even in states where raw milk purchase is legal, goat shares are often available for those not wanting or needing their own dairy herd.) And if you have the time for a goat and cheese making or just want to covet them the way I do, find an independent book store near you to buy your own copy of The Backyard Homestead.
“The Moustache Merchant” archival art print by Penelope and Pip
At first, it was easy to ignore; but, as November started to take on steam, I began to notice that several of my male acquaintances, including my fella, had curious, patchy bits of stubble gracing the usually-smooth area above their upper lips. One or two lapses in grooming would probably have gone unnoticed, but this was starting to look like a facial hair conspiracy!
Support your ‘stache! Weather-proof moustache wax in scented or natural by Mans Face Stuff of Portland, OR
Upon further investigation, I discovered that my friends were taking part in a global follicular fund-raising effort called Movember. To show their support for prostate cancer awareness, all that they had to do was make a commitment to grow a moustache for 30 days and encourage their friends, family and coworkers to donate to the cause and (literally) change the face of men’s health.
Modern, organic moustache teething toy (above), handmade from hardwood by Little Alouette
Movember was started in 2003 by a group of friends in Melbourne. While talking over a few pints in a pub, the “Mo Bros”, as they’ve become known, decided to bring back the ‘stache and do something for men’s heath. Although there was no money raised that year, the 2004 event attracted over 400 participants and raised an impressive $55,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
Moustache necklace (above), hand-cut from recycled leather by Crooked Sister
Since then, the movement has ballooned to a quarter of a million moustachioed participants and over a million donors. In 2009 alone, $47,000,000 was raised for the global beneficiary partners. I was proud to hear that Canada’s campaign was the second largest (after Australia), raising close to $8 million for Prostate Cancer Canada.
Hand-thrown porcelain dog bowl by Julia Custer at Handmade Green
How can you participate? Well, for some of us (ahem) it is physically impossible to grow a Selleck-worthy Movember moustache of our own, but we can get in on the fun by cheering on the participants, making a donation, hosting or attending a Movember party or event and sporting a faux-stache as a symbol of solidarity.
Cozy, unisex fleece neckwarmer with leather moustache by Ha Ha Bird
As you can see by the fabulous, handmade goods in this article, there is a handlebar for every member of the family…even Fido. And, to help clean things up on December 1st (once the “after” pictures have been taken, of course), I’ve included a luxurious, organic shaving cream.
When it’s time to say “goodbye”…Organic cedarwood and orange shaving cream in recycled glass bottle by Twig & Leaf Botanicals
For more information on Movember, or to donate, please visit the global Movember site and choose your region.
It’s been on the handmade radar for years now, organic fabrics. I remember when finding them was like digging for gold and just as expensive. But with more and more market demand for eco friendly, organically made fabrics they are finally easier to source, come in nicer colors and patterns and penetrating the high fashion markets.
New York Fashion Weeks Spring 2010 Trends by Stylelist actually had organic fabrication as one of the top trends. When I first opened my shop on etsy you could find organic tote bags and t-shirts pretty easily, that was in 2007. As etsy sellers have become more fashion forward the designs have become more sophisticated too. Pretty Birdie’s Stephanie Teague really wowed me with this great trench coat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.