Archive for the Earth Friendly Tag

Stuffies with a Story

As the parent of a toddler, it sometimes feels like I am living in the eye of a hurricane.  My girl is one pudgy-cheeked ball of motion, noise, and sometimes utter chaos.   So when bedtime arrives and she is feeling snuggly and quiet, my husband and I really soak up those moments!  Of course when a kiddo feels like cuddling there is nothing better than a special squishy friend, and these adorable buddies from Stephanimals are so cool that every kid is bound to love them.

Each one is handcrafted to be “Unique Like Nature”, and they even come with a soft story book that helps kids learn about the animal and their habitat!   The quiet moments are a great opportunity to talk with kids about things that are important to your family, and Stephanimals share stories of conservation and knowledge about the world’s critters.

 

This sweet duck would make a great Easter gift, don't you think?

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At the moment, my girl makes a "Roar" sound for almost every animal... perhaps she is trying to tell us she wants a lion?

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But wait!  It gets even better!  Stephanimals donates $2 from every single sale to charity, (in 2011 all funds raised will go to Nature Canada)  Awesome, right?  They don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk… and you can too!

 

Counting sheep never looked cuter!

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There are lots of different fabric choices for each animal, make sure you visit the Stephanimals site to see them all.   There’s also links to lots of eco-friendly groups and products, a fun page full of activity ideas, and an animal info section where curious minds can go to learn and explore!

~Remembering my special childhood bedtime buddy.  Her name was Ellie… she was an elephant.  Yes I know, the creative juices run deep in me, can’t you tell?
:-)  Jennifer

 

Turn Over a New Leaf!

I will admit that I was a bit of a bookish child growing up.  Don’t get me wrong, I certainly climbed my share of trees and rode my bike for days on end, but I have always found a good book to be something totally magical.  It’s not at all surprising then, that for a good chunk of my life I entertained dreams of being a writer.  I outlined plots, sketched characters for my great Canadian novel, and lurked around corners to hone my skills as an investigative reporter. Now I’m all grown up, and even though I may not be a Canadian Lois Lane, a really nice notebook can still make me swoon!

Why would you settle for a plain old boring notebook, when you can have something as fresh and pretty as these?

Original watercolour artwork decorates the cover, and the pages are all reclaimed and recyled paper

New Leaf Handmade Goods is the partnership between sisters Maria and Cecilia.  Based out of Swift Current Saskatchewan, they have blended their love of paper and fabric with artistic talent and thrift-store sleuthing to create these beautiful books.  The paper inside is all reclaimed, recycled or repurposed, so they are lovely to look at and easy on planet earth!

Perfect for a budding songstress, ready to be filled with poetic lyrics!

Mixed in among the blank pages in each notebook, you can find reclaimed treasures like sheet music, tracing paper, and map pages that give each book some serious personality.  Maria and Cecilia even include a few notes about the origins of “your” paper, so you can truly get a feel for where the pages came from.  Then it’s up to you to fill each page with whatever your heart desires.

Let your dreams soar...

There are even some childhood favorites that will bring back happy memories.  I just read this one to my little girl a few days ago!

Some of the original story pages are mixed in with the blank sheets. So much fun!

Want to see what else the sisters have to offer?  Head on over to the Etsy shop where you will find plenty more notebooks to choose from, as well as a whole bunch of great pillow covers like this:

oooooh I love this one so much!

Then, when you are done browsing, stop by their Facebook page or Twitter stream and say Hello,  or visit the blog for musings, DIY and even a newsletter.  Also, make sure you wish the girls a Happy Birthday because New Leaf  turns one year old in just a couple of weeks!  Congratulations Ladies, and keep up the great work!

Cheers!
~Jennifer

Peace and Harmonie

As many of you know, I have recently returned to my “outside-the-home” job after maternity leave with my little munchkin.  This also means, among other things, a return to planning and packing lunches.  So far I have managed to get something together every day and avoid starvation (or a desperate McDonalds’ run).  However, usually my lunch has ended up thrown into a big ugly shopping bag.  So what’s the big deal with that? Nothing really, but picture this: Me, attempting to look “professional” and “put together” (ha!), carrying my purse, baby’s daycare bag, and a grocery bag lunch, while balancing the baby on my hip and fishing my keys out of a pocket.  Yeah, that’s what I thought.

So, while it might not be a huge deal to have a stylish and pretty bag to carry my lunch, I think it will make a difference in how I feel about myself each day as I dash off to work. Enter: Urban Harmonie Designs.  I think these eco-friendly, reusable, and super-chic lunch and snack bags are fantastic!

This is light years better than a shopping bag, am I right?!

The pink polka dots are girly and cute, but not over-the-top. Perfect for work or school.

These bags are made with laminated cotton, and are free of all the nasty stuff that normally accompany most plastic items.   Even better: you can just wipe them clean with warm soapy water!  Vicki (aka Urban Harmonie) has a love for all things vintage, so her fabric choices often have a retro feel.  Her bags are all handmade in her Vancouver studio.

I know one rainbow-loving girl who would probably eat just about anything as long as it came from this colourful snack pouch!

This one is even reversible, you could change it up depending on your mood!

Urban Harmonie can be found on Cargoh, Etsy, Twitter, Facebook, and her very own website.  Why not pop by and say hello?

Now if only I could be as inspired about what to put *in* the lunch bag!
~Jennifer

Getting Swept Away…

There is something so magical about the ocean.  How anything so huge and powerful can also be calming and soothing is a mystery to me.  Whenever I am near the sea I find it almost impossible to tear myself away.  I love that feeling of being a part of something so much bigger than yourself, and the beauty of nature as the water crashes into the shoreline.

It has been a few years since I have been able to sit ocean-side, and lately I am definitely feeling like I need to feel some salt water in my hair!  But, since that is not in the cards at the moment, I have been feasting my eyes on jewelry that has been touched by the sand and surf.  I especially love the light and lovely pieces by Victoria BC’s Swept From The Sea Designs.

sea glass + beach pottery pieces + freshwater pearls + sterling silver = one fabulous bangle!

The little turtle charm looks perfectly at home on the green glass, so cute!

Picture the warm glow when the summer sun hits these sweet earrings.

I love the soft, tumbled look of the sea glass.  It has an earthy feel that sets it apart from straight coloured glass (of which I am also a HUGE fan, as many of you know by now).

I love the deep blues in these pretty dangly earrings! Sea glass in those shades is apparently quite rare, that must be why I like it so much!

Would a little bit of sea glass be the perfect finishing touch to a crafty project you have in mind?  Swept From The Sea Designs has groups of glass pieces for sale in different colours, and even some sea glass buttons that could be just the ticket.

Indulge your inner mermaid with a visit to the Etsy shop, and don’t miss the Winter White sale section!  I am off to feast my eyes on a little piece of the west coast… Enjoy!

~Jennifer

When Life Hands You Lemons: Make LemonPie!

Here at my house we are in the midst of a not-so-fun baby milestone.  My little girl is getting her first molar(s) and it is turning out to be a pretty difficult experience for all involved.  The poor kiddo is either whimpering in her sleep, sobbing in pain, or clinging on for soothing snuggles and cuddles.  We are doing our best using all the standard teething tips and tricks, and hopefully soon those sneaky teeth will come through and all will be well again.  In the meantime, anything that offers comfort to my little girl is golden in my books!  I think these adorable hug-able fleece pillow monsters from LemonPie are just the ticket.

Toothy the Hippo would be a perfectly squishy friend to help sooth a teething baby

Lobby the Lobster has cozy claws!

Chimpi is a great monkey friend, perfect for bedtime cuddles.

These pillow pals would be perfect for a kids bedroom, or playroom, or the living room for a fun-loving family!  I believe that every day should have smiles and snuggles, and these LemonPie monster creations supply plenty of both.   The pillows come in regular size (about 7″ x 7″) or large (about 9″ x 9″) if you want more squeezable fun.   Visit the Cargoh store or the Etsy shop to meet the rest of the LemonPie monster family.  Head to the blog , facebook, or twitter, and get to know Klaudea and Lawrence (aka: the LemonPie team).  There is even a giggle-worthy Monster’s Day Out video on YouTube!

Because everyone deserves the comfort of a warm, friendly hug… even if you aren’t busy growing molars!

~Jennifer

Billy Would Chuck Wood

Lately Sarah and I have both been feeling the need for a little “me time”, some quiet space within our busy days that is just for us.   A peaceful moment filled with things that inspire us and make us happy.  Since lovely jewelry always makes me smile, I knew that I wanted to share some with you today.  Billy Would Designs are made with reclaimed hardwood, and feature smooth, elegant, organic shapes and designs.  The moment I saw Adea’s work, it was as though a wave of calm washed over me, and it was just what I needed during an otherwise hectic morning!

This serene tree within a circle is just perfect

Let go of what is weighing you down and soar with these graceful feather shaped earrings!

Of course we believe that men should accessorize too, and Billy Would has a whole selection of items made from used and broken skateboard decks that would be perfect for any gender!  I know that Sarah’s husband received a fantastic pair of cuff links for Christmas, and I am tempted to play follow the leader* and get a pair for my dear husband!   I also really love the belt buckles and the vintage feel… so cool.

The wear and scratches are a constant reminder to have fun and let loose, just like whoever used to ride this board.

You can find Billy Would products in her Cargoh store, or click here for a list of retail locations, maybe there’s one near you!  You also won’t want to miss her website to see an even bigger assortment of her beautiful work.  If you tweet, then follow along on Twitter, or join the party on Facebook!

~Jennifer

*hey, I am the little sister, and while I heartily deny ever “copying” Sarah, I will admit that from time to time she has been known to get to a good idea first!  At which point it’s not so much copying as it is a vote of agreement. :-p

The Emperor’s New Bag

Every girl understands the value (and necessity) of a good handbag.  The right one can tell the world about your personal style and what’s important to you.  So I am seriously kicking myself that I didn’t find out about Kitty Empire until it was too late to ask Santa for more room on my Christmas list!  These vegan friendly bags are made with vinyl and vintage fabrics, and the graphics are modern but earthy.  Erin (or should we call her the Empress?) gets her inspiration from her collection of ceramic woodland animals, as well as art and literary characters.

I love the rich burgundy of this messenger bag, and the flower and bird motif is lovely!

Is the Cheshire Cat a childhood favorite? Check out this Alice in Wonderland tote!

I think this bunny is playfully watching the leaves swoop and swirl in an autumn breeze...

Not in the market for a whole new bag?  Maybe your wallet has seen better days?  There are some very cute little wallets that might just be calling your name!  I am particularly fond of the little deer, or this wise old owl:

"Whoo Whoo" better to join you on a night out? ;-)

Kitty Empire is a member of Etsy for Animals, and 5% of this month’s sales will be donated to Farm Sanctuary, so animal lovers can feel extra-jolly about their purchases!

You can find Kitty Empire on her Etsy shop.
Cheers!
~Jennifer

Everything’s Folky Dolky…

I love our Christmas tree.  I love that the ornaments are all different, and have been collected over the years.   Sometimes I admire those colour co-ordinated, perfectly put together “decorator” trees, but in the end they always leave me feeling a little cold.  For me, I think the heart and warmth of the tree comes from the tradition and stories behind all the decorations.  The other day I found these cute little felt penny rug ornaments from Folky Dolky, and I think I may have to stock up for next year!

Felted from upcycled wool clothing, they are an earth-friendly choice too!

Or get them with a monogram!

Then, after I had already fallen for Julie’s ornaments, I saw something else that caught my eye (and my breath!).  These pretty little felt brooches would add a stylish touch to almost any outfit.  They would also be a great stocking stuffer or gift exchange idea for the fashionista on your list.

These soft neutrals compliment almost anything, and the layers of petals give it added dimension!

This cream one is my favorite! The middle showcases a vintage reclaimed button.

Julie gets plenty of inspiration from living in Newfoundland, and loves the added touch of history that comes with using upcycled materials.   I have to agree, and I think her pieces would fit right in on my tree… and in my wardrobe!

See it all in the Folky Dolky Etsy shop, and put a little bit of “the rock” on your tree.

~Jennifer

Sculpted Light: A Glow Like No Other

A few weeks ago, I sent my brother and his fiance on a mission.  There was a craft show in another town that I wanted to attend, (but couldn’t) and they were conveniently going to be in that very town, on that very day.  So they happily became our C+H street team and off they went with instructions to “gather information on anything that you think is cool”.  They had a great time, and soon reported back that they had found some really neat stuff.  One of their favorites were these beautiful pieces from Sculpted Light.  When I went online to see what they were talking about, I was pretty impressed too!

Joanne begins by making her own tissue-thin paper using unique fibers from plants like forsythia and hollyhocks.  This gives her paper beautiful texture and depth.  Then she shapes them into stunning free-form sculptures using reeds, and finishes them off by attaching a light inside.  The result: gorgeous sculptural pieces that glow warmly from the inside out.

Is it ambient lighting? is it art? It's both!

A graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, Joanne uses organic materials and found objects like leaves and feathers in her work.  My favorite piece (called “Orchestra”) looks like this when sitting on a table or shelf:

Simply gorgeous!

Or it can be mounted on the wall and look a little something like this:

Elegant, romantic, and lovely...

Awesome, right?  And if you are looking for something to make your holiday greetings stand out from the crowd, look no further!  Sculpted Light has these fantastic holiday lantern cards that will definitely *not* end up in the recycling on boxing day:

Just roll the card into a cylinder and slide it over a votive candle, the glow shines through your holiday message for everyone to enjoy

These pieces combine the best of art and functionality, and give a warm, earthy glow that is truly unique.
You can see more from Sculpted Light on Joanne’s Cargoh store, her Etsy shop, Facebook, Twitter, or the Sculpted Light website.

Let there be light!
~Jennifer

Hopping Along Towards A Greener Holiday

First, you choose the perfect gift for someone special.  Next, you wrap it and make it look lovely.  Then, you place it under the tree and wait to see the expression of joy as they unwrap it on Christmas morning.   There is something so special and festive about seeing all the different shapes and pretty colours under the twinkling lights, knowing that each one was chosen or made with love.   However, there is one thing that is not so festive: Garbage.  All that wrapping and packaging, while it looks great, can add up so quickly, leaving you (and the earth) with a big mess to clean up.  So what’s a girl (or boy) to do?  Reuse whatever bags or paper you can, or even make the wrapping part of the gift.  You could wrap your mom’s gift in an antique handkerchief from a flea market, or your best friend’s pretty bangle in a colourful scarf, even comics and old magazines can find a fun second use before they get recycled!  Of course, we have crafty Canadians who have come up with even more creative solutions, like the reusable fabric gift wrap from Hop Frog Pond.

These simple to use and stylish wraps are as easy on the eye as they are on the earth!

Christmas trees all ready to sit under your tree!

Wrapping gifts in fabric has been a tradition in Japan and Korea for centuries, and I say it’s time for everyone to hop on board.  It’s really quite easy to do, just click here to see some wrapping instructions.  Each one can be used over and over again, saving you money and reducing waste.

I love this one, it's perfect for men or women. Use it for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, and more!

Don’t forget to get the little ones in on the act: it’s never to early to learn about conservation and being kind to our earth.

Just right for a little birthday girl or valentine, so sweet.

Hop Frog Pond (also known as Doris), is from North Vancouver, BC.  She loves colour and great fabrics, and doing her part to be kind to our planet.  Find out more about her and Furoshiki wrapping on her website, or stop by the Etsy or Cargoh shops to see all the available styles.  Then head over to Facebook and Twitter to share the love.

I’m dreaming of a Green Christmas…
~Jennifer