Tag Archives: eco-friendly

fashion

Feel Good In Organic Shoes From Payless

In case you haven’t heard, Payless now carries a line of eco-friendly footwear [all styles under $30].  The line is made by zoe & zac and are packaged in recycled boxes printed with soy-based inks.  The styles are fashioned out of organic cotton, hemp, nickel-free hardware, etc. … and most importantly, they look pretty good.  Here are a few of my favorite summer looks:

zoezac

Learn more about these green shoes by clicking here. XO!

cooking spotlights

Spotlight: Lucid Food Author, Louisa Shafia!

I love cooking, but I rarely follow recipes to the tee.  If I want to find out how to make something, I usually scan the ingredients list, close the cookbook and just wing it.  Last Christmas one of my gifts was Louisa Shafia’s cookbook, Lucid Food.  It is one of the first cookbooks I actually read and actually followed all the directions.  Food is personal and her cookbook tells a story through her appreciation of food.  She has had the honor of cooking at Millenium and Roxanne’s in San Fransisco and Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit in New York City.  Her love for food and eco-friendly practices resulted in the start of her catering business, Lucid Food in 2004. Her cookbook features seasonal recipes that draw from a variety of cuisines.  Indonesian Corn Fritters, Seven Vegetable Miso Soup, Crispy Yuba Rolls, Watermelon/Apple/Lime Shake, Dungesness Crab w/ Fennel & Orange, Poached Quince in Orange Blossom Water … is your mouth watering yet???  A wide range of delicious food peppered with eco-conscious tips and earth friendly alternatives – and it’s all pretty easy to make.  Cooking good food doesn’t have to be complicated and Louisa’s food is a testament to simple & sophisticated dishes.

lucidfood

After featuring her recipe for Cucumber & Pomegranate Salad on my blog, Louisa sent me a thank you email [much to my surprise] and gladly obliged to answer a few questions for the blog.  Through our email conversations, I learned that she lives in my old home of Williamsburg [Brooklyn] – which made me like her even more!  Here is what she had to say ….

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fashion

Spring/Summer Purses [that are kind to your wallet]!

Your purse is one of your most important accessories.  It holds things that are near and dear to you – the things you need to get through each day.  Keys, phone, make-up, credit cards, glasses, tampons, breath mints, bobby pins … and the list goes on and on.  It is a reflection of who you are – not just on the inside, but the outside too.  A great purse is the key to looking and staying put together … I mean, if we trust these bags to hold such precious commodities, shouldn’t it look good doing it?

The fabric choices from Charm Design just scream SPRINGTIME!  SUMMERTIME!  I am in love with these zippered pouches, but they also have a wonderful selection of shoulder and tote bags too.  Pretty, fun, and simple – just the way I like it!

charmdesign

The hand woven cotton on this bag from Tippy Thai is the perfect pick for warmer weather.  There are lots of rich color selections to choose from in a variety of natural fabrics [cotton, hemp...].  Excellent casual bag.

orangered

Don’t be afraid of carrying leather in the hot summer sun.  While it may not be the ideal choice for a day at the beach, a leather tote is perfectly acceptable [and looks so cool] for a day lunching and shopping or a night on the town.  The bags at Hoakon / Helga are made from vintage leather jackets and other upcycled materials [awesome!].

ecoleather

You’ll definitely turn a few heads carrying this bright yellow pouch from Farrago Bags.  Their bags also come with a key chain monogrammed with your initials for a personal touch.

yellowpouch

These simple and classic sailor totes from Bayan Hippo are just the thing for a day at the beach or strolling through the park.  Choose from a wide assortment of colors … I think I’m going to have to get one of these!bayanhipp

This bag by Spongetta is made from upholstery remnants and wrapped around two rattan rings.  Great bag to just pick up and go with!

brokenwindow

How chic are these metallic zip pouches by Marketa in NYC?!  You can fill it up and toss it in your bag to help stay organized or use it as a clutch for nights out when you don’t want to lug around a huge purse!  There’s something about shiny things that just makes you want them … meow.

metalliczip

This gorgeous handbag [the manzanilla] by Zelaya was made with incredible attention to detail.  A raw cotton fabric [manta] is used and then embroidered with polka dots and sewn together with thread dyed using chamomile tea and finished off with a hand carved wooden handle.  It’s elegant, yet casual and I think it’s probably my favorite bag.  This one goes on my covet list for sure.

manzanilla

fashion

Beautiful Fair Trade Heart Pendant Necklace

I was smitten with this necklace the moment Tammy Wilson from Earthlover sent me a sneak peek.  Crafted by hand using imfibinga seeds (awesome), this pendant hangs from a 24″ hand knitted cotton string.

imfibinga2

This necklace is part of the Be Sweet product line, working with villagers in South African tribes  – their mission is to “bring socially and environmentally friendly products to fashionable consumers that evoke an individual style and help support community development around the world.”  A portion of their proceeds are donated to a school in the Eastern Cape, where many of the artisans’ children attend classes.  What makes a better gift than a gift that gives back? Nothing.  This necklace is available at Earthlover for $21.00 … and if the necklace isn’t for you, there is a gorgeous heart shaped pin!

creativity

Alternative Wrapping Paper Ideas

I’ve been buying gifts like crazy online today, trying to get my orders shipped so they arrive before the big day.  Pretty soon, the boxes will start piling up and I’m going to need to bust out the tape and ribbons and rolls of – WAIT!  NO!  There’s got to be a better way.  I can’t see all that paper getting shoved into trash bags and tossed in the garbage this year without feeling guilty.  [Thanks to an article I read on Earth 911 informing me that most wrapping paper cannot be recycled due to dyes, additives, the tape, etc. and that around 4 million TONS of wrapping paper and shopping bag waste is produced during the holiday season.  This is definitely going to lead to a post on ways to reuse wrapping paper.]

Know someone that loves to sew?  Wrap their gift in old sewing patterns!  Even if they don’t sew, the idea is still really cool – I’m stealing this one for sure!  Read the full tutorial by Rikkianne at Creature Comforts.

rikkianne

This idea is similar to the one above, but with a masculine touch.  Recycled architecture plans [via re-nest]!  Now, where can I get my hands on some of those?  [Andy Taylor, are you reading this?  lol]

archtctpresents

These wrapping alternatives are even better than the traditional wrap if you ask me … so much more personal and creative.  I love the idea of wrapping up wine bottles with tea towels – two gifts in one!  These lovely designs are from Studiopatro in San Fransisco.

teatowelstudiopatro

A burlap sack?  Yes, a burlap sack.  It never looked so good thanks to Faded Plains [there are some other great wrapping ideas to check out there as well!].

burlap

So what have we learned?  Traditional wrapping paper usage is wasteful.  Tea towels, burlap sacks, old sewing patterns or blueprints, newspaper, wallpaper scraps, old book pages, magazines pages, shopping bags … geez – almost anything is a better alternative.  Take a look around your house and wrap up something unique.  Then send me a picture. XO!

ELholidays300x150

creativity

DIY Bows, Plantable Gift Tags, & Holiday Cards!

I love the holiday season!!!  Twinkling lights, festive decorations, and of course PRESENTS!!!  This year I want to be a little more eco-conscious than in years past, so I’ve been searching the internet for creative ways to top my gifts and send out my holiday greetings without wasting tons of paper and going through endless bags of bows.  [And don't worry ... I'll be talking about wrapping paper solutions later in the week.]

Check out this tutorial on making your own bows from magazine pages from Talk Crafty To Me [they also have tons of fun holidays crafts!].  I think they look even prettier than store bought bows and the customization possibilities are endless!  I am going to be making some of my own bow creations this week and will definitely share the results with you.  How about you?  Will you be making your own bows?  What are you using to make them and CAN I SEE THEM??bow

I am really digging [no pun intended] all the plantable cards and gift tags hitting the marketplace.  Grace Graphics in Eastern Oklahoma turns out these plantable creations using recycled fibers and soy & vegetable based inks.  She has quite a selection of Christmas and Hanukka cards available and I just love the “Seeds n’ Greetings” phrase printed on the gift tags!  1 dozen gift tags for $11.50 and cards are $3.75 each.

seedsngreetingsletitsnow

I came across a lovely little blog today called ormolu, belonging to Kaitlin Sheaffer who is a mom who loves paper, handmade, and interior design.  She has an Etsy shop filled with all sorts of wonderful things like these A is for Angel Alphabet Gift Tags – 26 for $8.00 …. and these Love Song Paper Chains [that I completely ADORE], which would make an excellent garland [there are also some Christmas themed chains available] – approx. 1 yard for $4.50.

aisforangel

As I perused through the holiday cards on Etsy, I smiled and maybe even chuckled a little when I saw this letterpress print by Paper Elixer.  I laaaave it!  $4.00.peacejoylaaave

Be sure to check out all of the great holiday deals at Earth Lover!

earth lover

fashion spotlights

Spotlight: Tammy Wilson of Earth Lover

Back in June I featured the Batik diaper bag from Earth Lover.  A few weeks later I received a lovely email from the owner, Tammy Wilson, thanking me for including this item.  We wrote back and forth a few times and it became apparent to me that this shop was something special and I wanted to know more.  We set up a ‘phone date’ and talked our heads off about everything under the sun.  In her sweet southern drawl, Tammy told me all about her wonderful family and the journey through life that eventually gave rise to Earth Lover.  “Sometimes you just work your way to a place. It is not a lightening bolt. Not really a sudden brilliant idea- just a place that you find yourself on your personal journey, and then it evolves from there.”

Fourteen years ago, Tammy retired from a long career as a Respiratory Therapist.  Since then she owned and sold several small business – all of them born out of passion for the things she loves.  She took a few years off when her son started high school, but fears of an ‘empty nest’ and a need to give back to the world won Tammy over in 2008 when Earth Lover was founded.  Her daughter, Micah Elaine, is working on her Masters in Teaching in Atlanta and her son, Spencer Ryan, has been working on restoring a ’67 VW Microbus [his recycling project] and plans to attend MIT after high school.  These amazing children were part of Tammy’s inspiration, as she wanted to set an example for them as they go out into the world and choose their roles in society.  Since she had experience importing goods and a love for handmade, starting a green business and working with Fair Trade products seemed like the perfect fit.  With the support of her architect husband, Tammy got busy searching for goods from all over the world, “that not only bring joy into the lives of the recipient, but give back so much to the world and the beautiful people struggling to live in many parts of it”.

Tammy calls Earth Lover an alternative shopping experience.  It’s a place to shop, to learn, and to give.  “If my site can make my customers think about how simple it can be to help others through a small purchase of a beautiful product, then maybe they will begin to think about ALL of their purchases and one tiny step at a time we can make a difference.”

You can find earth-friendly products at Earth Lover for your home, your pets, your children, yourself, and your friends.  Like these handmade Fair Trade Christmas Stockings – perfect for the upcoming holidays!  Handmade in Guatemala and Armenia, the stocking on the left is made from recycled burlap coffee bags and the stocking on the right is 100% cotton with a fluffy wool top!

Click on images for more info.

coffeestockingarmenianstocking

Wrap yourself up on those cold winter nights in the comfort of a Swazi Blanket.  Handmade from 100% cotton by the lovely women of Swaziland and made available in the USA through Creative Women [a Fair Trade organization based in Vermont].

Click image for more info.swaziblanket

Q & A

Tammy Wilson of Earth Lover [You wouldn't believe how shy she was about sending me a pic!  For a while I thought she might have one eye, a warted nose, and horns! - LOL.  Soooo not the case - great picture, Tammy - thank you!]

tammyearthlover

What is your best selling item right now and why do you think it’s so popular?

jutebag“Right this VERY MINUTE my best selling product is the Recycled Jute Backpack- it is CUTE , colorful, unique, and a great price. It is starting to slow down, now that back to school has settled in, but still quite popular. Right behind that would be my Cruelty Free leather backpacks, messengers, and the Hemp Messengers. They are just great products, unisex, and really hard to find in cruelty free leather. I have a hard time keeping them in stock, as the Fair Trade makers in Nepal have limited production, and I ALWAYS sell out!”

Where do you find the products you sell?

“EVERYWHERE! I have products from Fair Trade members, local artists, small US companies, Non- profits. And I have NEVER been to a wholesale market!! (I KNOW!!)  SO much of what I have is found by web searching for hours on end, late into the night- and from networking. People involved in Eco products, and Fair Trade tend to be very open and helpful, so it is not uncommon at all to be working with one group or person, and they share with me about another – I love that!

What is your favorite way to relax?

“Can you define that word, I am not familiar….. I am only 5’2” – and I frequently remind my friends and family that I am actually about 6’ Tall- I am just wound very tightly!! Haha! I do quilt- by hand- I know, who DOES this any more- but it is very relaxing. And I cook. Too Much. (Not too often, just too much- can you say LEFTOVER?) In the spring I grow vegetables.  Organic, of course.  I can totally chill in the garden for hours picking weeds.”

Why do you think people should buy eco-friendly and fair trade goods?

“Why WOULDN”T you??? Maybe I am naive, but I really believe that if people are educated about their choices, it is just not a choice any more!  If I ask anyone if they would rather have this handbag, or flower vase, from a sweatshop somewhere in the world, or a filthy polluting factory- or this other product from a Fair Trade Co-op that is supporting the welfare of people and making products in a way that considers the impact on our environment…Really, WHO is going to say, “Oh. I really Prefer the Sweat shop, thank you!” I really do believe it is just a matter of OFFERING an option, and educating the shopper. Maybe I am just a True Believer- but I really do believe that people are inherently Good, and would much prefer to choose Good when it is effectively offered!”

What’s something silly that most people don’t know about you?

“I talk too much to have any secrets. Really!  Ha! I don’t know…I am a vegetarian (no surprise really).   I am terrified to fly.  So I may never see many of the places that I work so hard to support – how sad is that?  Maybe someday…but I am REALLY terrified.  I have flown- lots of times- but it is hardly worth the trauma and I am getting more terrified every year.
I also like to sing stupid made up spontaneous songs during any time of great stress for my loved ones.  Yea, they REALLY appreciate this.  I recently had a Greatest Hits  involving the SAT!  It is REALLY silly, but it does relieve stress when someone is making a complete fool of themselves on your behalf.  Shannon, that may be way too silly for ANYONE to know!!” -
Tammy, you are not alone.  I sing about diapers, going to the grocery store, taking a bath, and a few other things I won’t mention.

BIG THANKS to Tammy Wilson of Earth Lover!!! This shop is definitely one to watch!

XO!



creativity

Reuse Those Lightbulbs!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I am STUFFED and was just killing some time on the computer when I saw this awesome How To on Instructables.  This light bulb vase is such a clever use for your burnt out bulbs [that you are now replacing with CFLs - wink].  The base is just an aluminum ring from a recycled hard drive and they have some other options for keeping the bulb upright as well.  They have also made a light bulb terrarium – LOVE IT.

lightbulpvase

creativity

Please BEAR with Me

Although today’s post is all about teddy bears, I couldn’t resist taking advantage of the play on words in the title.

As you may have noticed, Furious Shirley has a different look – part of many new features I am adding to the blog.  So, “please bear with me” this week while I finish tweaking the new design.  Soon I will be introducing my guest bloggers, some giveaways and discounts as well as launching a Gift Gallery in time for the holiday season!  Now, back to lovable snuggable teddy bears!

This adorable teddy bear from Aurora is hypoallergenic and made from sustainable materials – the outer covering is soy based and the inside is stuffed with kapoc filling.  With stuffed animals like these on the market, is there any other choice?  Oh, and did I mention that it comes with a super affordable price tag?  $10.50 at Rush Creek Merchants.

ecoteddy read more »

decor

Eco-Friendly Home Decor

Lately, the snippets of free time I usually spend working on blog posts have been eaten up by my new obsession of looking at apartment listings online.  We are going to be moving to Chicago at the end of the month and it is all I can think about.  I am so excited about getting to unpack in a new space, buy a few new pieces, and decorate!  I love mixing vintage and modern and using neutral colors with bold accents and I visit various home decor blogs and online stores religiously!  Eco-friendly furnishings and accessories are one of the hottest decorating trends, with many major store brands adding environmentally friendly lines at affordable prices [well, some of them] and more and more independent stores popping up every day.

Tamara Komuniecki, Editor-In-Chief of Long Beach Magazine, recently did a guest blog piece over at decor8 that made me fall in love with Union Eighteen.  Handmade from the manufacturing waste of the carpet industry, these beautiful RAW rugs are one of a kind.

unioneighteen

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