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    Zero Waste Tip- Shop Small and Local

    Zero Waste Tip- Shop Small and Local

    One easy, fun and satisfying zero waste step is to shop small and local whenever you can.  Sure we all buy some items from big companies both in stores and online.  We can choose to make some purchases small and local, both in our community and online.  If we value diversity, independence and innovation we all collectively need to make sure we vote with our money for some of our purchases.

    Zero Waste Tip- shop small and local

    The easiest and tastiest way to shop small and local is to support farmer's markets.  Markets have so much more than veg and fruit.  Cheese, breads, flowers, prepared foods, skincare, dog treats, art and handcrafted goods.  One of the best things about traveling is to visit the local market for a taste of regional foods.  It's easy to BYOB- bring your own bags and containers.  Get to know your farmers and makers and they will happily accommodate you with bulk and package free purchases.  It's also a great way to feel connect, vendors love to talk about their wares and how to prepare seasonal produce.  You're buying fresh healthy foods and supporting communities and family farms.

    Zero Waste Tip why to shop local

    Another way to support small is to shop Main Street including coffee shops, restaurants, art and craft store as well as speciality shops.  Part of what makes towns vibrant is the business community.  My tip is to pick a few items you really value and buy them from a local vendor.  For me, it's coffee.  I love my morning cup, well cups and have a routine that involves grinding beans, boiling water and a slow pour.  For a long time I purchased good coffee from a major retailer at a very decent price.  The problem?  The containers were trash- made from mixed materials that couldn't be recycled.  I didn't know what to do with all the containers and ended up with a cupboard of empty coffee canisters.  I decided to buy my beans locally and to reuse the brown bags.  I've had the same bags for a few years.  I pay a bit more for my coffee but it's always delicious and I feel good supporting my local roaster, sipping great coffee and creating zero trash.

    Online is another way to support small and local.  I heard on the news the other day that FaceBook, Google and Amazon were the three biggest companies in the world.  I know everyone loves Amazon's free and fast shipping but it's important to support smaller, more independent companies if we want diversity and innovation in our economy.   The support can be very similar to picking an item to purchase from a local shop.  it can be anything you enjoy and value.  Tea?  Skincare?  A speciality sauce?  Spices?   If the company is small feel free to include a message about how you value plastic free shipping and chances are they will do their best to accommodate you.

    Zero Waste tips for beginners

    Many small businesses walk a fine line between staying in business and offering goods at a reasonable price.  I'll read a complaining post on social media about how shocked a customer is with the packaging or shipping on a "zero waste" product.  Often this item is bought from a big box company at a price that doesn't reflect the actual cost.  Folks- the truth is if the price is to good to be true- someone or some place is paying the true cost. Becoming a sustainable shopper means choosing better and buying less crap. 

    Each step we make, no matter how small makes a difference.  Vote with your money, support small, local and sustainable businesses.    


    Earth Day Bingo

    Earth Day Bingo

    What a long strange trip it's been lately with the Covid-19 virus, stay at home orders and a whole lot of stress.

    Tips for Earth Day while staying at home

    But somehow life still goes on and it's the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  Our original plan was to do some trash picking up, a recycle drop off, community connections and prizes.  Instead we are offering Earth Day Bingo.

    Earth Day Bingo is fun, creative and you can win prizes while making connections.  Plus you can help out small businesses.  Each square is open ended and allows for creativity.  Everyone's situation is different.  At first, I had "take a walk" but realized not everyone was living the rural life.  If you are in a city taking a walk is so different than my reality.  We share big ideas and common feelings but each of us has our own reality.

    There are nine squares to fill in.  The center- Planet Earth is the free square.

    The most important square is Be Registered to VOTE.  Each state differs but don't wait if you are not registered.  A great site for info is The Environmental Voter Project. 

    Donate- donate time, blood, money, items.  There are so many community and grass root initiatives that it can be hard to choose.  Here in Maine since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the lack of PPE safety equipement a drive was created to sew fabric masks for essential workers in retirement homes, public safety, grocery stores and more.  Check out Sewing Masks for Maine

    Shop Small- this is more important now than ever.  If you value community, innovation and just plain old spunk please use some of your purchasing power to support small businesses.  Green America has a great blog about the power of voting with your money.  

    Plant Something- focus on a bit of green.  Start some seedlings.  Repot a house plant.  Get some seeds sprouting in the kitchen.

    Make Less Trash- This might be the hardest square to fill in during the quarantine because it's so limiting what you can purchase at the store for food.  One big change for me was to shop from our local farm and buying my milk in glass jars.

    Notice Nature- If you are stuck inside look out your window- chances are a bird is tweeting.  If you are lucky enough to walk or hike safely be grateful- nature is a gift to treasure.

    Repair or mend- clothes, furniture, a relationship.....  Our recent blog The Joys of Slow Stitching has ideas for using a needle, sewing or knitting to help reduce Covid stress.

    Share an Eco Tip- we'd love to hear about your experience with zero waste, being mindful, voting with your money and any tips or strategies to help make staying home a community and growing experience.

    We are offering prizes!  3 in a row gives you a code for $5 off our website.  You can only use the code one time per order.  If you fill the cardin share with us to be entered into our Eco Extravaganza Bundle- cool stuff from our downeast shop which is currently closed.

    Come on and play some bingo!



    The Joys of Slow Stitching

    The Joys of Slow Stitching

    We've done a few social posts about the joys of slow stitching.  I posted "stitch-meditation" and someone commented knitting is "hand yoga".  Did you know knitting and hand stitching have many benefits beyond the sweater, scarf or mended pair of jeans?

    Benefits of slow stitching

    Knit for Peace did a study of knitters in the UK and found "that knitting has physical and mental health benefits, that it slows the onset of dementia, combats depression and distracts from chronic pain,”  I thought the chronic pain part was interesting but it makes sense, focusing on something else gives you a mental and therefore a physical break.  I know I rely on hand work either knitting or hand stitching to help me destress especially after listening to the news.  

    The Craft Yarn Council sponsors #stitchawaystress in April as part of National Stress Awareness month.  This year's campaign is "all about self-care and its intersection with yarn crafts."   They'll have all kinds of cool tips including "how to incorporate self-care into your life, meditative stitches to practice, soft yarns to soothe your nerves and so much more!" 

    I loved Eileen's thoughts on the Stitch Away Stress video where knitting helped her go from "react, react, react to calm down".  Kristy spoke about how stitching helped deal with her anxiety and most importantly created an opportunity for breathing.  Watching the video made me feel good, sometimes I think the only time I really breath is in yoga class.  Now I can consciously expand into breath awareness while stitching.

    Don't get stressed if you're new to knitting or crocheting there are plenty of youtube videos and Craft Yarn council's learning center has a list.  Even better than a video is a class at your local yarn shop, giving you get stress relief, creativity and community.   

    A few years ago I discovered the designer and slow fashion advocate Natalie Chanin and her company Alabama Chanin and The School of Making.  I bought the book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design and the world of hand-stitching opened up.  I stitched every cold winter morning so I can start my day with something good.  I made my dress for Carly's wedding using bottle caps as circle tracers.  It was such a great project for travel because the materials were easy to pack and therapeutic to use.

    Benefits of slow stitching

    Katrina Rodabaugh is another slow stitch inspiration.  Her book Mending Matters  has specific details for mending mostly jeans including the inner thigh tear.  There's a big focus on "how to" with great pictures and lots of details.  There's also Katrina's thoughts on "the relationship between fiber art, sustainability, and slow fashion."  It's both practical and inspirational.

    Benefits of slow stitching

    If you want a bit of community in your stitching think about joining 25 Million Stitches, a public engagement art installation incorporating activism, stitching, community and raising awareness about the plight of refugees worldwide. "There are no bad, ugly, or uneven stitches in this project. Uneven stitches and personal designs make the panels more unique and beautiful. We encourage you to be creative! "   It's a chance to be creative and stitch for good but don't wait to get started, panels need to arrive in CA by April 30th. 

    We hope this blog got you excited about the joys and calming effects of working with your hands.  What are you working on?  We'd love to hear.  



    Zero Waste Tip- Pick Up Trash

    Zero Waste Tip- Pick Up Trash

    March is all about being "greener".  One of the best tips for committing to your zero waste journey is to pick up trash. 

    Zero Waste Tips for Beginners

    Make it part of your routine.  It's easy if you're a regular walker, when you see trash stop and pick it up.  I have a bag and a pair of old gloves that I use because you never know what you might find.  I take it with my on my daily beach walks and sadly can always fill it up.

    Another option, especially if you have kids is to make picking up litter part of your holiday routine.  There are so many benefits  including family time together, being outside, a feeling of accomplishment and a growing awareness about how litter affects our world.  

    Once you become an official "trash picker" your knowledge about packaging grows.  All the useless food wrapper crap you pick up is disheartening.  It helps you be stronger and committed to remembering your own reusable bags, water bottles, cups and straws. 

    Zero Waste Tips for Beginners

    Trash has a huge negative impact on wildlife.  Trash looks like food or perhaps a good material to use in a nest.  Plastic in particular continues to break down into "microplastic" which is easily confused for something yummy.  I've picked up styrofoam cups with bite marks in them.  More and more stories are coming out about the amount of plastic consumed by ocean animals. 

    Zero Waste Tips for Beginners


    It can feel uncomfortable at first to pick up trash because most folks simply won't be bothered.  They might not litter but they won't pick up someone else's trash.  I'm always amazed on a beach walk how many folks simply pass by a piece of trash without a thought.  Most of us feel a bit weird when we first take a step towards making our planet a cleaner, better place to live.  The truth is feeling awkward for a bit is easy to get over.  What you are doing with the simple step of bending down and picking up trash is setting an example for others.  Small steps can yield big results.     

    In Maine, I pick up a lot of food and drink containers but also find a lot of commercial fishing trash including rope, buoys, traps, gloves and bleach bottles.  Fortunately there is a lot of creativity in the trash picking world.  One of my favorite Maine based companies is WashAshoreStore .  Erin makes dog leashes, collars and more from rope washed ashore.  All the items have a great nautical style and repurposing instead of using new is the way to go.  She'll also up-cycle worn leashes and accept rope you've collect if you happen to be in the Portland, ME area. 

    I just found out about an Etsy shop OceanPlastic making jewelry from the tiny bits of micro plastic picked up on Florida beaches.  She has rings, bracelets and earrings with the teeny bits of plastic set in a clear resin.  We need this kind of creativity to use what we have simply lying around on our beaches and trails.

    There are no easy and simple solutions to our planet crisis but we can't give up.  Each step we take no matter how small does make a difference.  Set the example and be a proud "trash picker" in your neighborhood.



    Generosity Battles With Jealousy- My Personal Struggle

    Generosity Battles With Jealousy- My Personal Struggle

    Quite awhile ago I read an Instagram post by a holistic hairstylist and social media influencer.   Her post really stuck with me because its the core of one of my biggest struggles.  The battle between generosity and jealousy.  It's a struggle in my personal life sometimes fueled by glamorous and happy social media posts. A good walk usually sorts me right out.  But in my business it's a major battle.  A small business often is your heart and soul.  

    She posted about the joys of handcrafted skincare that really resonated with me.  Here's what she said-

    "Small batch botanical skincare is my absolute favorite because of the connection I feel to the story.  It's kinda like shopping at the farmer's market...the feeling you get knowing where you buy your skincare is a beautiful experience."  

    When I read this I could feel my heart open up.  It's exactly what I feel.  I often think of Dulse & Rugosa as either skincare farmers or skincare chefs.  Our goal is to encourage folks to take the same time, thought and care with their skin as they do with their food.  It's my values whipped up into a face creme. 

    dealing with jelousy

    Her post was about a beauty brand.  They make small batch, good ingredient, eco friendly skincare which looks absolutely lovely.She reviewed their strawberry scrub, makeup removing creme and night creme.  She also had a really gorgeous photo.  I had serious product and photo envy.  I could feel the green with envy, gut sucking meanie negative thought parade getting ready to march all over me.  I had to really battle with myself, my rational kind self that sometimes get hidden with unfair comparison and negative self talk.  The fact that another small batch, positive skincare company  exists in our world should not send me down the roller coaster of self doubt and envy.  But it can.  

    international woman's day

    In general, I don't follow a lot of other skincare brands.  Our brand is us and I don't want it clouded with comparison to other brands.  There are so many good skincare brands out in the world.  Products made by ethical, passionate makers.  And we all have skin.  I have to remind myself of that fact.  We all have skin.  I know generosity, encouragement and helping is how we all should live.  I also know that it's not always easy.  We have setbacks, customer complaints and our own mind games that compare ourselves with others and see only our faults and short comings.

    The struggle is real but in the end we're better for recognizing our faults and finding ways to do a bit better.  It's not always easy but it's always worth the struggle.