We Still Need Chemical Reform

We Still Need Chemical ReformHere we are almost a year after my trip to Washington DC with my daughter and other parents and children and nothing has changed. We still do not have any chemical reform and some of the legislation being discussed does very little to change the system.

Many people think that the government, specifically the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protects us from dangerous chemicals. They actually do not! A law written before I was born is the only law that protects us from harmful chemicals. [Read more…]

Eco-Friendly Handmade Etsy Giveaway From Green Sisterhood

Handmade Giveaway by GreenSisterhood

I think the single greenest place you can shop is Esty. You can find green and eco-friendly items in larger stores but no place gives you the opportunity to find local (or within the US and CA), organic, creative, vintage, up-cycled, healthy items like Etsy can. There are thousand of creative people on Etsy giving us all an opportunity to make greener and healthier choices and I love to support it.

As some of you may know I am part of the Green Sisterhood, a group of environmental writers who have joined together to write about topics that are important to all of you. Behind the scenes we are also a great resource for one another for research and information. Being part of this group was one highlights of 2013 for me. As the year comes to close we put together a giveaway with some of our favorite Etsy sellers to thank you for being here.

So check out these shops and leave a comment (required) as to what other items you would like Santa to bring you. [Read more…]

How Etsy Can Help You Go Green

Background to Giveaway Button2I have written here many times about how Etsy is a great place to help you go green. In honor of Earth Day I am giving away a $25 gift card to Etsy to help you go green. There are thousands of Etsy shop owners that upcycle waste that would otherwise be in a landfill, create products that help you reduce the amount of  waste you create, and help you live an eco-friendly life. Here are some things you could purchase with the gift card that would help reduce your impact on the planet.

According to research Americans use about 12 plastic bags per trip to the grocery store. This equals about 100 billion bags per year in the US alone.  Only about 2% gets recycled (maybe more, I could not find statistics from the last two years). Many of these plastic bags fly through the air an into garbage patches in Pacific (estimated to be the size of Texas) and more recently a large garbage patch in the Great Lakes. Urban Prey has a great set of cotton grocery bags that have fun images with cool saying $24 for two bags. I love these bags, I think people would really notice them and stop to read them. (picture 4) [Read more…]

Etsy, ecokaren, and Hurricane Sandy

My friend and fellow green blogger Karen from ecokaren has put together a great fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy relief. As an Etsy seller she has created a shop that you should check out here. She sells a great collection of jewelry and make your own kits of organic scrubs and soaps (great gifts… just saying).

Karen, like me, lived in Sandy’s path and while we both escaped with out any of the major destruction that many of you saw on the news we were both personally touched by the footage and the hardship our friends and families have endured (and continue to deal with still to this day). Karen lost power for several days and was relieved to have her power return faster than many other people. She wrote about her time post Sandy here.

Like many of us here in the Northeast we wanted to do something to help those affected (I personally do not like the term victim). Karen has worked through her network to raise money for OccupySandy.org. Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. They are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street, 350.org, recovers.org and interoccupy.net.

In an effort to raise more money for Occupy Sandy, Karen is donating a portion of the proceeds of her subway necklaces to the organization. I personally love these necklaces. Karen begged her brother to give him his old subway maps to make these so they are extra special and obviously a great up-cycle. To see her full selection go to the ecokaren Etsy shop.

In addition to donating a portion of the proceed of her subway necklaces, Karen is generously giving away two $25 gift cards to Etsy and who could not find a million ways to shop on Etsy with $25 right?! To enter Karen’s giveaway go to her site here and enter (rules below, it ends at midnight Friday night so hurry).

While you are over at EcoKaren’s website check out the other great ecofriendly Etsy shops that donated to Karen’s effort to raise money for Occupy Sandy… maybe you will find some more holiday gifts!

What do you have to do to enter the giveaway? Here are the rules.

  • Must be aged 18 or older and live in the contiguous US to be eligible to win.
  • Give­away is open to ecokaren email subscribers only. If you are not, you can subscribe from using the form here.
  • Giveaway will end at 12:00 AM EST on Saturday, December 8, 2012
  • The gift cards are redeemable in any of the following stores or on ecokaren.
  • Rafflecopter will be used to keep track of your entries and choose the winner.
  • No pur­chase is nec­es­sary to enter the giveaway.
  • You must respond within three days after giveaway is closed to be eligible.

Browse through the shops of the generous donors (or on ecokaren on Etsy) so you’ll know what to buy when you win!

Etsy Spotlight: Anthology on Main

This week I am introducing you to Katie from Anthology on Main. I love to read and I buy very few paper books in this digital age but I am drawn to them at garage sale, the library, and the book store. I love what Katie has done with books that no one else has a use for now and makes them into beautiful things for you home. Be sure to read the whole interview because Katie talks about meeting her husband and how they might have met before… I know I met my husband two times before we “really” met so I love her story!
When did you start your Etsy shop?
My official shop opening date is mid-December 2011, but we were moving during the holidays, so I didn’t start listing items until mid-January.
Is your Etsy shop to support your hobby or is it your job?
When I first opened my shop it was definitely in the “support my hobby” category. My main reason for opening Anthology On Main was as a compromise with my husband. I have a habit of diving all-in with a variety of crafts and to be honest, they had started to take up far too much space in our home! (How many wreaths does a girl really need anyway?!) So, I decided to list my “excess” items and if they sold, awesome! If not, no big deal. My book page wreath sold really well and once I added my book page pomanders I was flooded with wedding orders! It was crazy and completely unexpected. From that point on, my shop became a job. And it’s a job that I love on so many levels!
Did you always sell what you sell now? If not what else did you sell?
At first I sold whatever I felt like making, with no really focus on specific materials. I listed a cupcake stand that I put together from stray china pieces, earrings, and scrap fabric wreaths to name a few. Now I focus on items made from used book pages.
Why did you decide to make eco-friendly item?
There is SO much wastefulness in our society today, it just felt like a natural way to go. And books seemed to be a perfect material. When we lived in Kansas I would help run the annual family garage sale with my husband’s grandmother and every year we had piles and piles of books that we could barely even give away!
How do you find your books to upcycle?
I get my books from a variety of places, depending on what I’m needing at the time. I get them from thrift stores, ebay, garage sales (my favorite!), and when a specific title has been requested by a customer I’ll buy through a used book store.
Do you pick specific kinds of books? How do you choose?
It depends on what I’m making. For my pomanders I generally do not use specific books unless it’s requested. My wreaths are about 50% non-title-specific and 50% title-specific. And my bouquets are almost always title-specific. It really all depends on what my customer is wanting at the time.
What is your favorite part of crafting and upcycling?
My very favorite part of upcycling is taking something no one wanted or thought was any good anymore and transforming it into something beautiful. I am a total fan of the underdog and showing people that, yes, there is value in “trash!”
Are you on Pinterest? What is your favorite part of Pinterest?
I am on Pinterest…how can you not be!? I love the instant access to millions of amazing ideas…as well as all the pretty pictures. I use it for nearly everything from recipes to organization to inspiration for my shop.
(you can follow me at https://pinterest.com/iamkatielloyd/ )
What kind of eco-friendly things do you do in your everyday life?
My husband and I try hard to be eco-conscious in our daily lives, from monitoring our energy and water consumption, to recycling every possible thing we can, to buying used versus new and selling or giving away our used things rather than throwing them in the landfill. When we were first married our home had a large and very sunny backyard where we had an enormous organic no-till garden. We grew all kinds of fruits and vegetables and canned everything we didn’t immediately consume. (Unfortunately, our current yard isn’t conducive to gardening. Booo.)
What do you find the hardest thing is to do to help the environment?
Convincing other adults to be more eco-conscious and yet doing it in a kind and friendly manner that gets them to take action is incredibly challenging for me! I’m definitely not a good “direct-sales” person.
What do you think is the biggest problem for the planet/people?
Greed. Whether it’s in the form of people buying far more than they would ever need, or world politicians and government officials doing for themselves rather than for their country’s people.
One fun fact about you…
I met my husband on e-harmony.com! We were at the very outskirts of the geographical radius we’d both set for how far we’d travel to meet someone, which was about 300 miles. But the funny thing is that he lived in Manhattan, Kansas, which is home to Kansas State University, and he graduated from KSU. When I was in high school the only college visit I went on was to KSU. At that time he would have still been in school when I went for my visit. I ended up going to Iowa State, but I’d love to know if we passed each other on campus that day. If we did, that would make one heck-of-a movie! :)