Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nature is winning

A couple days ago, I posted this about the new Toys R Us ad campaign. You could probably tell I was just a teensy bit upset about the pitting of plastic toys against nature play. Well, luckily, I wasn't the only one upset about it and with the help of a friend and my friend's kids, we did something about it. There are two versions of the video. See what you think:

Nature Is Winning

Nature Never Gets Old

Here's a bonus pic for you from the day's "shoot."

See the heron?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Artist/Vendor Profile: Cheryl Hazen

Name: Cheryl Hazen
Company name: Salvaged Tresures By Cheryl
Location: Battle Ground, WA
Website: Battle Ground Art Alliance

Your products/projects:
I am a glass mosaic artist, all of my art is recycled, reclaimed, and given a facelift and new lease on life. I use reclaimed items as a base, then add glass to make marvelous nature scenes. My favorite piece is a Celtic Tree of Life, I won "Best Interpretation of the Theme" at the Battle Ground Art Show & Sale. I cut out each "leaf" as a celtic knot and pieced them all together. I also "wove" the tree trunk and used old barn wood for the frame. 
I make table tops, birdhouses, bird baths, water fountains, old windows, wall-hangings, and a totem pole, cabinet doors & a gun rack. I currently am doing a series of Revelation Scenes. 
I have artwork in Fusions Artist Gallery in Oceans Shores, I will be showing at the Regional Library Nov. 1st, 2013 and the featured artist at Vinnie's Pizza for the month of Nov. I am a board member of BGAA and a member in Ridgefield art association. I've just undertaken a new project. It is called LandfillArt, and it is making art on a hubcap, so I will try to add glass mosaic to a metal hubcap and if selected, my piece will be put in a book. 
I don't have any "failures" but I do have UFOs (un-finished objects), and that is usually because I don't like them. I thought I could mosaic broken china, and I found a very pretty ceramic design with daisies, also found green plates with daisies and broke them. Well I tried to add "dishes" on a satellite dish--- I had never worked with plates or on a curved surface so it just kept getting worse, I did finally finish it, but I did not like it, it is just too chunky. But it is in the back corner of my shop! Still haven't done another broken china piece.

Green "Cred"
Creative reuse, Handmade, Durable, Made in the USA, Recyclable packaging, Recycled content product, Recycled content packaging, Reusable, Reusable packaging, Reused materials, Locally sourced materials

Why is "green" important to you?
I love the idea of the "hunt" and finding "treasure." Each piece I find is a treasure just waiting to be turned into something else, and given a second chance. I save these pieces from going to the landfill, and I try to make each item fun as well as functional. I just finished a raccoon clock, it started as a painted welcome sign with a flower on it. I saw a hollow in a tree, and cut off the flower part, added a ceramic raccoon to the side, When I found the raccoon I knew what to do with the welcome sign and then I wanted to make little faces coming out of the hollow, but before I made them I found a flat ceramic piece with painted raccoons on it that fit perfectly! I used browns & blacks to symbolize a tree. I just love the feeling of accomplishment when it all comes together like that!

Your origin story?
I have always been creative and have dappled in lots of crafts. I was a Campfire Leader and we were always doing crafts with the kids. 
I have experimented with ceramics, quilting, crocheting, jewelry making, clay, sewing, etc. My first mosaic project was a 6' table. I have an oval table from the 50's from my husbands' grandfather, and an oval mirror that came from my parents' 100 year old home. They fit together beautifully, then I got the idea to mosaic it, in blues, greens, purples. I added a green vine with white flowers, and huge dragonflies in each corner. The mirror is in the middle with the design around the edge. I used tiny plastic pieces for the tessera and glass gems for the dragonflies and black grout. I painted the aluminum legs purple. It took me all summer, but it is beautiful and I still use it for my patio table! But I liked the process of using tiny pieces of something and making beautiful pictures out of them and started using glass for the tessera and Salvaged Treasures by Cheryl was born!

Your inspiration?
I am inspired by nature, landscapes and animals. Sometimes I cannot sleep for all the new ideas running through my mind. Usually I will have to get up and draw out the ideas so I can get to sleep. When I find a base object, I usually get a picture in my mind of what that piece wants to be.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Toys R Us ad campaign is the perfect example of the clash between business-as-usual and nature

It's times like these I sure wish I was a better or more experienced writer. That I could dig deep and write a shining gem of cutting wit. Because, when I first saw this ad, I was appalled. Then, I was flooded with other emotions-of disgust, sadness, disappointment. I wish I had it in me to write biting sentences that would convey to my readers how sickened I am by this commercial.

Now, I'm not saying that kids automatically would have been excited to "Meet The Trees"-I've done enough outdoor and environmental education myself to know that toys are more exciting than trees, at least on the surface. But we'll never know, will we, because "Brad" is not (I strongly presume) an environmental educator. No-he's some shill for Toys R Us, duping kids into being excited about...wait for it...free toys. Are you kidding me? This is clever? That's like taking a bunch of kids on a tour of Willy Wonka's - sure they're going to be excited about all the free candy but it's not sustainable. It's fun for an afternoon, but ultimately it leaves you bloated and no better off.

To me, this ad is everything that is wrong with our consumerism society (our country in particular), our connection to the natural world around us (or lack thereof) and our cynicism about it all. Whoever was responsible for this ad campaign has obviously never spent an afternoon in the company of the amazing environmental educators that work tirelessly to impart some sense of wonder for all that nature gives us. But, let's face it, there's no money in taking a walk through the forest or enjoying clean air and clean water, so let's just make fun of it, shall we? Let's all jump in a bus and drive off to the nearest toy store where we can buy cheap plastic junk that's going to break after 2 days. That'll make "every wish come true."

I'm not saying every kid shouldn't get a new toy. I'm sure some of the kids on that bus will remember that trip for the rest of their lives. And, probably remember it fondly. But, you know what else they would probably remember? That time that Mom and Dad took them to the local park and played with them all day.

Ugh...I don't know. Maybe I'm overreacting to this commercial. Maybe it's that I grew up with the woods as my playground and I'm thankful for it. Maybe it's that I've spent my entire adult life trying to instill an environmental ethic in everyone around me so that those same kids will have clean air and water to grow up in, too. Maybe it's that I've actually seen (on more occasions than I can count) the sense of awe and wonder and excitement that comes from kids being in the outdoors. Maybe I'm just getting old and cynical myself. I hope not. I have no biting wit with which to finish. I just want to say: I think there's a better world than the one portrayed in this commercial. I'm going to keep fighting for it. I hope you will, too.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Artist/Vendor Profile: Art and Judy Cortez

Name: Art & Judy Cortez
Company name: Just Chime In
Location: Yacolt, Washington

Your products/projects:
Tableware wind chimes; Spoon bracelets and rings, Tableware necklaces and earrings; Beaded 'finger' bracelets; Beaded hair Accessories; Beaded figurine animals; Beaded car 'mirror mates'; duct tape wallets; Beaded figure pendants (magnets, pins and barrettes combs), Tableware key chains, Beaded rings. We used to make wine cork boards that were very beautiful but didn't market well.

Green "Cred"
Creative reuse, Handmade, Durable, Made in the USA, Recyclable packaging, Recycled content product, Recycled content packaging, Reusable, Reusable packaging, Reused materials, Locally sourced materials, recycled hand made price tags

Why is "green" important to you?
Our planet has way too many thrown away, perfectly good and reusable products! We are always on a "treasure" hunt for more materials that we can repurpose for our crafts. Also, we find that so many people who buy our products feel the same way. Re-use of retail items seems to just increase our passion to make new beautiful products from them, as well as refashioned price tags and reused grocery bags. When possible, we find used jewelry pieces, take them apart and utilize even the findings (clasps, chains).

Your origin story?
We began making wind chimes about 13 years ago in California using a few beads and refashioned silver plated tableware as just a hobby - a few handmade gifts for family and friends. Boldly, we sought out local venues in which to sell them as we built up our inventory - almost all supplies come from second hand stores. Over the years, we perfected our craft, craftsmanship, and designs - making the wind chimes more weather durable and creatively made. It was from patrons asking us if we had: spoon rings, spoon bracelets, and necklaces that spurred us on to develop those items. Also, when the economy became depressed, we began making items that were more affordable.

Your inspiration?
It seems that I am bombarded with inspiration and ideas! The more I pursue new crafts to make, the more ideas just spring up when I'm in the midst of doing anything else throughout the year. Our hobby-business has become my main focus and passion. I love to create new crafts - any idea is worth exploring and trying. My husband, Art and I work very well together - without his engineer skills, much of what we make and sell wouldn't be durable. Recently, I've begun to sketch and will probably start utilizing acrylics more often. One of my recent ideas came from looking at a department store ad and visualizing making my own version of a beaded product.

Your heroes?
My personal hero is Art, my husband, best friend, main cheerleader and support. It seems to be his goal in life to make me happy and my life more comfortable! We have 3 dogs who keep our hearts happy and funny bones well used! Our families are also very important to us.

Favorite celebrities?
Good question: my favorite singer is Josh Groban - he has an amazing voice. If he thought our products were works of art - I think I'd feel so very honored. Our goal is to sell as many of our products to local folks - to see their faces light up when they look at them, is very satisfying. More and more, people are beginning to appreciate the true value of finding treasures amongst the glut of NEW products at retail prices. Who doesn't like a treasure hunt?

Anything else?
Hey, most of us local craft vendors truly love our crafts. Creativity is in all of us and it becomes our artistic passion when visited often! If profit is the main goal, then one should look for a job instead.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Artist/Vendor Profile: Little Did You Know

Andrea of
Little Did You Know
This is the first in a series of vendor/artist profiles that I plan to do. Many of the artists that will be featured in the next few months will also be vendors at Check 'Em Off, Green. Unfortunately, our first artist will not be vending, as she lives on the other side of the continent, but I'm super excited to bring you her story.

I kept linking to Andrea's posts on my Facebook page and I finally realized last weekend that I should probably just reach out to her and say hi, at least. (To be honest, I was getting a little creepy...) I asked her if she'd be interested in being featured on my blog and she said yes! I'm so pleased for you to read a little more about her and what makes her tick.

Name: Andrea Torres-Cooper
Company/persona name: LittleDidYouKnow Facebook
Location: New Jersey, USA

Your products/projects:

The girl really likes her silk!

I mostly refashion thrift store clothing into modern items that fit my style and my body to a T. I'd love for this hobby to turn into a job, but for now it provides me the chance to learn and grow as a sewist. I find my materials at thrift stores, yard sales, consignment shops, and other people's trash...and the bigger the item the better, as they afford the most yardage. My favorite material to find and refashion is silk: I love the luxury of the fabric and the drape is everything, and this way I can afford it! 

I started out on very simple changes (cutting off the top of a dress to make it a skirt and simply hemming the raw edge) and have slowly graduated up to making things from scratch from thrifted fabrics as well. I made my nephew a Halloween costume of the Flash (including muscles) for his birthday last year and that was, for me, a big undertaking as it was from scratch.

Versatile and feminine!

One of my favorite "from scratch" projects is a lace mini skirt that zips up the back and can be worn over different colored opaque slips or minis to change up the look. I have definitely had my share of failures where something doesn't quite come out how I'd pictured it, but these are rarely complete failures. They simply go back into the pile until I come up with a way to rework them into something that I love! One such failure turned out to be really pretty and feminine...but it doesn't fit and making it fit would change the look of the piece completely. So, I admire it as it hangs on my wall waiting for the moment when I work up the courage to "fix" it.

Green "Cred"
Creative reuse, Handmade, Recycled content product, Refashioned, Reused materials, Locally sourced materials

Why is "green" important to you?
Sustainability is more important than most realize. I think many people have
the idea that they should recycle their papers, plastics, glass and metals, but is that really enough? Not really. I think that everyone has the ability to make changes towards sustainability that are just as effortless as recycling is, but once added up are infinitely more impactful. Within my home we take it a step at a time. I am a great advocate for implementing one change at a time into one's lifestyle to ensure that new habits are formed and cemented into everyday life. Sustainability is also super thrifty (in my own experience), which is an amazing bonus! 
Some of our changes came into place when we moved to the east coast: we sold our cars and have lived without them for 5 years, we bike and walk wherever we need to go and my husband commutes by bus to the city, in all of our apartments offering outdoor space we grew our own herbs and vegetables, most of our smaller furniture and appliances and clothes are second hand. This is just a handful of the changes we've made and the list for what we can do just goes on and on. So, take it slow, but make the changes that you can!

Your origin story?
Update some wedges with a little paint!
I have been an avid thrifter for several years, but was always limited to what was in style and that fit and was in reasonably good shape. I started seeing blogs a couple of years back that joined the love of thrifting with the ability to sew and change up an item of clothing into something completely new! I spent days just pouring over the befores and afters and was completely hooked. I had started sewing a year prior and had made some cushion covers, stockings, etc, and thought that I could absolutely try my hand at refashioning some of my old clothing that was sitting around waiting to be donated. So, I took the plunge and haven't looked back!
I love this one. From "meh" to chic-just remove the collar!

Your inspiration?

Pinterest idea: Pool noodles to keep
leather boots from slouching.
I would say that my biggest source of inspiration has been all of the contributors over at Refashion Co-op. I am constantly surprised by the visions that these creative people have for an item of clothing that was on its way to a landfill. They are so talented!
I also draw inspiration from Pinterest :) Whether it be items of clothing that are brand new/retail or other's refashions that they've posted, I have several boards just for refashion ideas, things to try, style inspirations and specific items to look for at the thrift store. I rarely have a vision of what I'd like to do that doesn't borrow from one or many other ideas that I've seen while surfing the web.

Your heroes?
My husband is someone I look up to for his work ethic. He comes from even humbler beginnings than my own and has worked incredibly hard to get his PhD and become a professor. He is incredibly encouraging as well, which makes the transformations of my thrifted finds a little more exciting to show him as he is always surprised that I was able to transform what he saw as "ugly" into something he likes. :) 

grandma's thread spools

My grandmother is another person who I see as a hero. She introduced me to a broader world view which helped to feed my desire to learn: I was inspired to travel and see the other peoples and cultures that she introduced me to and she sewed and knitted as well, a hobby she passed on to me.

Favorite celebrities?
I would say that I generally would love to have the refashioning/reusing community at large be a party to my creations. I have found that my inspiration comes from them and I'd love for "them" to see what they've inspired. Jillian, the Refashionista, was the first refashioner I was introduced to (through her blog, not in person), and Miranda from NewDressADay is another that have been major influences, so specifically it'd be cool to have them as fans as well ;)

Anything else?
Sharpie can be chic? Yep!
Just want to say thanks. Simply put, I appreciate the chance to share a small part of my story and to contribute in some way to introducing people to sustainable ideas that are more a hobby than a chore. 

When I started to write up this profile, I began to wonder about "Little Did You Know," so I asked Andrea and this was her reply:

I am and always have been an avid reader (hence "bookworm" in my email). Since I can remember I've been reading the classics and mysteries; they are my two literary genre loves. It has always fascinated me how drawn in I can become by the arrangement of words to produce fantastical, funny, harrowing, twisted, and just plain good stories. When I was trying to come up with a "title" or "name" for my page I wanted to marry my love of literature with my new love of refashioning. My husband and I threw a few ideas back and forth until eventually we came up with "little did you know". Little did you know...it can change the entire outcome of a book! Four words of foreshadowing that can turn your world upside down and leave you with the most unexpected outcome. This is how I felt as I'd perused the blogs full of before and after shots of amazing transformations...little did I know that someone could do that with that hideous garment :-0 As I started my own transformations, I had the same reaction when previously "unwearable" items became "fashionable" again. For me, it just made sense...and hopefully it does to you!

I'm glad to know the back story. I think I will find myself thinking "Little did you know..." when looking at various refashions, now. I think Jillian was one of my first Refashionistas, too. Refashion Co-op is incredibly inspiring and I can't believe I wasn't following Andrea on Pinterest, yet (remedied that about 10 minutes ago...)

I hope you enjoyed this first artist profile. More to come! 

-The Reuser

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Announcing Terra Linda Consulting-Bringing the Green To the Screen

Greetings friends and followers,

I'm so very pleased to announce the opening of my consulting business, Terra Linda Consulting.

For those of you that know me on a personal level, you know that I care very deeply about the environmental health of this lovely planet we call home. For the past six years, I've been telling anyone who would listen (Thanks, listeners!) about my passion and about small changes they can make in their everyday lives that would help preserve the natural beauty that surrounds us. Now, it's time for me to take that message to a larger audience. In fact, the largest audience I could think of-everyone!

How do I intend to accomplish that? By launching Terra Linda Consulting and encouraging and facilitating the portrayal of sustainable consumption on-screen, in movies and TV shows. You've seen me post a few times about this already and now I'm going to fully devote myself to it.

Another way to find a larger audience for sustainable items is through gift-giving. Maybe you were introduced to me through Check 'Em Off, Green? Organizing this event for 3 years has made me realize that there are great gifts to be had within our own communities and we don't need to rely on the bix box retailers for our gift-giving needs. TLC will offer corporate gift bags and personal shopping services as well as bringing the green to the screen.

I'm so excited for this new adventure and I hope you are too!

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