Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday Eco Fabulous Seller - Nicole from Brizel Handcrafts

Nicole not only has one eco friendly boutique, but 3.

Brizel Handcrafts focuses on One of a kind (OOAK) special occasion items such as Brigit Crosses; Silk Tapestry Hip & Table Pouches, Silk Tapestry Boxes & mini Rugs, Hip Button Belts, Key Message Bracelets & Tagua Nut jewelry.

Brizel Supplies has colorful vintage buttons from around the world and beautiful handwoven sashes from Guatemala.

Brizel 4 The Animals contains beads, charms, buckles, fabric, destash goodies, vintage and estate items, interesting books and other quality items !

Wow! Talk about a busy and dedicated woman! Not only does she manage all 3 boutiques, but she does them in an environmentally aware frame of mind.

"I approach everything that I do and make... with a consciousness and awareness... that is focused on the well being of everything and every being that might have been effected in producing any and all components that were used in making the product. Its a tough process... because essentially there is an impossibility to this task... every action has an impact, for better or for worse. I try to be concerned not only for the environment but also for animals and humans. Being a green business, to me, means that I want to minimize that impact as much as possible."

When Nicole buys crafting supplies, she is environmentally aware. Some are made of something that was reclaimed; like the Silk Sari Yarn she uses. She also rescues items from being thrown away; like the Guatemalan sashes. If it a vintage item that wants to be re-used; especially the buttons she uses, she takes every opportunity to recycle it.
Not only does she stick to the 3 R's (Recycle, reuse, reduce) but she uses eco-friendly products too; like the renewable tagua nut wood. Her ceramic clay beads or silk yarn made from banana fibers are all natural materials. Finally, she also uses local materials like the apple wood that she grows and prunes herself.

"Then I also apply those sensibilities to how I package my products- both in presentation and shipment." Jewelry goes into handmade draw string bags that will be cherished and re-used by the new owners. "I try to find packaging supplies that are made from recycled materials and that would also be easily recyclable or reusable by the recipient." Nicole reuses packaging materials as extra measures: such as bottle caps, gently used bubble wrap & envelopes, paper & plastic bags and colorful pasta boxes.
With that in mind, she never compromises on the beauty of the presentation as she wants to keep everything looking lovely and on a professional level. "I love what I do and I want it to show :)"

Lastly, Nicole tries not be excessive about anything because she believes that being green is about being humble with all resources !

You can check out Nicole's Eco friendly stores here

Check out her blog!

You can also find her on Flickr

These are some unique places definitely worth checking out!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Proud New Aunty!

I am a proud new Aunty to a beautiful baby girl name Criseyde! Obviously, since I make children's clothing, guess who is going to have the best wardrobe in the entire world? Here she is in her first Planet Playground dress! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The wonderus mysteries of Vinegar!

Yummy. Vinegar on French fries. One of my favorite things! Not only do I love vinegar for my food, but it is a great natural ingredient that helps eliminate all kinds of scary toxic cleaners, and does other amazing things too! Here are some of my favorite tips.


1) I think everyone knows by now, that vinegar is a great glass cleaner. It rarely leaves streaks, and does an amazing job! This method is cheaper, more effective, and better for the environment than using any generic glass cleaner.

2) Vinegar is great to run through your coffee machine. It gets rid of all that gross mineral buildup and you don’t have to worry about chemicals getting into your coffee system!

3) Vinegar is also a great disinfectant. It is a great replacement for bleach or any harsh cleaning products.

4) Have pets? They have accidents too, just like children! Spraying Vinegar on pee spots (especially on carpets) and rubbing it in with a rag eliminates the yucky odor and helps get rid of the stain. Helps eliminate harsh carpet cleaners.

5) Have a stinky smell in your house/apartment/room? Fill up a bowl or glass with vinegar. Put it in a safe place (where it won’t spill) and watch it suck in the odor (the color will eventually turn from clear to yellow or brown) while giving off fresh scents of vinegar!

6) Want to avoid using wasteful SOS pads? For stubborn baked on foods/grease, soak dishes in 1/4 cup of vinegar, and hot hot water. Soak for an hour. Come back and see the grime almost lift off the dish.

7) For cleaning interiors of stoves and stove racks, use 1 cup to 1 ½ cups of vinegar mixed with hot water. This eliminates using harmful aerosols.

8) Putting a bit of vinegar in the bottom of your garbage bin can help keep pests and insects away.

9) Did you get annoying glue stuck to your hands? Wash them in a bit of vinegar. It will help the glue soften before you use soap and water.

Natural Medicines

1) Suffering from a migraine or a headache? Put some vinegar on a wash cloth and place it on your forehead. It will make you feel a lot better.

2) Feel like you have an ear infection? Swimmers Ear perhaps? Swimmers Ear is a fungal infection, and almost every type of fungus is quickly and effectively cured with vinegar. Try making a solution of 50% water and 50% vinegar. Drop it into your ear and wiggle it around. Make sure it gets all the way in. Results happen fast.

3) Do you get clogged sinuses? Boil some vinegar and place in a cup or a small bowl. The vapors will help un-block the infection due to it’s aroma.

Feel free to comment on any of these tips! Let me know if you have tried any of these techniques and how they worked for you! Also, feel free to add some more!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Feature - Eco Fabulous Seller Lolaness

Lolaness is an online boutique through Etsy that provides creative, custom Etsy kits and graphic design products created by a professional graphic designer. They sell everything you could think of to make your etsy shop and products as beautiful as can be. From stickers and labels to customized shop banners, this is definitely a shop worth checking out!

Lolaness makes their boutique green by printing every product on a minimum of 50% PCW (Post-consumer waste), and recycled paper. They also focus on offering products that require no shipping at all. If you have a good printer at home, you can "get away with printing your own packing slips and mailing labels from a beautiful custom design that was emailed to you rather than having it printed and shipped. It eliminates all the waste involved in shipping a product."

If Lolaness has to ship something, they always use recycled packaging in the form of recycled boxes and repurposed containers. They avoid using Styrofoam peanuts or other non-biodegradable materials.

Check out the Lolaness blog at
You can also follow her on twitter at
And of coarse their shop

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Feature - Eco Fabulous Seller Rachel From Sew Good And Trendy

Rachel makes beautiful, trendy, functional eco friendly bags!

Her mission is “To show the world that environmentally conscious choices can be made without sacrificing convenience and personal style.

Bags from Sew Good and Trendy are as green as they can be. Rachel does everything she can to use eco-friendly materials. All fabrics used in production are natural, organic, or reclaimed. Buttons used for these fabulous bags are tagua (a natural vegetable ivory), reclaimed, or made from other natural materials.

"I even use a recycled soda bottle/cotton mill scrap canvas for interfacing. My bags look beautiful and I hope people feel great using them knowing they have as little impact on our planet as possible!"

In addition to using green materials, her purses come with a reusable shopping bag that is super cute and folds up into a pocket in the bag so you never leave home without one. Her most popular tote/shopping bag is called the Chic Sack. "This bag actually fits onto the typical plastic shopping bag stand for easy hands-free loading. Not to mention the bag is lovely, made from all eco-friendly fabrics, is reversible, and rolls up into it’s inside pocket to make for storage or a perfect travel pillow!"

Rachel also practices her business in a green manner as well. She recycles shipping materials such as recycled paper, tags, mailers, etc.

I love her products! They are very cute and trendy! This is a store you must check out! You can shop for her products at
For more information about her store, product and practices, check this website out!
Want to keep up with her environmentally friendly updates? Follow her on Facebook (face book fan page)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How to recycle coffee grounds

Let’s face it. Life would suck without coffee. The person who invented coffee is a genius. Not only is coffee great for waking up our tired minds, but there are many things that can be done to recycle the coffee grounds which usually end up going in the garbage.
Try out these fun tips! You will be surprised…..

1) When times are tough, re-freeze used coffee grounds and then use them again to make another pot of coffee. This can be done up to 3 times. (The more they get re-used, the less strong your pot of coffee will be.)

2) Coffee grounds can be used as a natural fertilizer. They increase the nitrogen balance in your garden. Put them in your compost. Not only do they help break things down, but they help keep smelly odors limited, and keep skunks and pests away.

3) Add coffee grounds when planting or replanting plants, trees or shrubs. The coffee grounds help keep the moisture contained in the plants, and help the plants seek moisture when dry due to lack of rain or watering.

4) Coffee grounds make a great organic cleaner! Put the coffee grounds down your drains, sinks, toilets, tubs, sewer drains etc. They will help pull out hair, buildup, grease, etc. What the coffee grounds will do is cling or coat to the gunk, which eventually sucks it down the drain. This is a great way to reduce nasty harsh household chemicals.

Feel free to comment and add to the wondrous list of things coffee can do!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Feature - Eco Fabulous Seller - Mary from Herban Lifestyle

Mary sells high-quality herbal bath and body products (salts, balms, soaps, creams, and more) that are handcrafted in small batches using natural and organic ingredients, pure-essential oils, earth-friendly packaging, and made with Love and Gratitude.

By using 'Natural and Organic ingredients', it means all of her business' products are made from organic, fair trade and/or ethically wild-crafted herbs and essential oils, organic fabrics and fill. "We never use artificial preservatives, artificial colors, fragrances, or surfactants, synthetic, petroleum-based or other chemical ingredients."

Herban Lifestyle adheres to these standards as a signer of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. They always follow standards to Whole Foods' Premium Body Care Standards. They are also certified CRUELTY FREE by the Leaping Bunny!!

Herban Lifestyle is green in many other ways. When they are packaging their product, they use only 100% recycled paper labels, and all packaging and shipping supplies are recycled, recycleable, and/or biodegradable. "To ship, we only use the US Postal Service; did you know that the USPS holds “Cradle to Cradle”Certification at the Silver level for human and environmental health?"

To further ensure environmentally responsible business practices, Herban Lifestyle always offsets 100% of their carbon footprint through purchase of CleanCurrents and CarbonFund RECs, and they are an Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Partner, which means they purchase green power in amounts that meet EPA’s requirements.

"In the everyday running of our business, we are conscientious about being green as well. We use fuel-efficient vehicles, compact florescent bulbs, cloth bags when shopping, and we reuse, recycle and compost everything we can, from paper, ink cartridges and packing peanuts, to herbal waste and compostable trash bags!"

Herban Lifestyle is also a member of Green America and the Sustainable Business Network of Washington. They pledge to practice ethical business and labor standards. Everything they sell is handcrafted in Falls Church, VA. They do absolutely no manufacturing! In their efforts to be conscientious members of their community they also donate 5% of gross revenues to charity, including Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest), Sierra Club, Herb Research Foundation, and Martha’s Table. They donate goods to local charities (such as EcoVentures and Common Good City Farm) for their fund raising efforts. They additionally purchase their 800 number through Earth Tones, where 100% of their profit goes to grassroots environmental causes. Their website is hosted using 100% solar power via Solar-powered servers use 60% less energy and generate 50% less heat than conventional servers.

This is definitely a shop worth checking out. Not only are their products sustainable, but they are committed to practicing a green lifestyle through their business endeavors.
Check out their yummy goods here!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Are Fireworks Good for the Environment?

So I went to see fireworks last night in celebration of Canada’s 142nd birthday.
They were so beautiful. I remember sitting there in a daze of complete awe. Just watching the many different colors light up the sky makes the world seem so wondrous. I think it was the best Fireworks display I have ever seen. It was a great show, it lasted about thirty glorious minutes, and when it was over the crowd was cheering, obviously in the same frame of mind that I was.
When the fireworks ended, and hundreds of kids were screaming with excitement running back to their family car, while everyone else was rushing and honking at each other to get out of the parking lot, I patiently waited to avoid any of the thrilling conflict that surrounded me. It was then I looked up into the sky, where to my disgust, I saw firework residue floating around in the air, almost like we were standing under a war zone.
That got me to thinking. As beautiful as the display was, and how it made almost every person watching it feel ‘at one’ with the environment, how harmful was it, really?

Fireworks get their ostentation from various chemicals; chemicals which are toxic to man kind. Fireworks contain metallic compounds which is what makes them colorful. Gunpowder is what makes them explode into what looks like glorious confetti. They often contain radioactive, carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting substances. These things creep into our natural environment, such as soil and water. The residues from our fireworks turn into toxic rain and smog, which get into our lakes, rivers and bays. A lot of these chemicals are relentless to the environment, as they do not break down.
Statistics show that about .03% of the planets toxins come from fireworks, every year. That seems very little, but if you add up all the years fireworks have been available, plus all the years to come, it seems … well… wrong.
Although this bothers me, it probably will not prevent me from going to see them again. Even if I decided to boycott these types of events, I would still see them if I were to stand out on my balcony. So, I doubt I will ever stop going to see them. There is just something too magical about a black sky lighting up at night, plus, it makes me smile.
Happy Birthday Canada. Hope you enjoyed the pollution we decided to get you. I know we did.