Monday, October 20, 2014

The 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge...Week 3



Hi there! I hope you had a lovely weekend. Yesterday I finished The 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge. If you're just joining me, you can visit my Week 1 and Week 2 posts to see what I've accomplished up to this point. I've enjoyed the whole process, but the third week was the most fun yet! 



This week I...



Restyled Old Favorites

inspiration outfits
Inspiration for my restyled outfit.

Yes, more restyling, but this is a productive activity that can help you stretch your budget in multiple ways. 

  • Finding ways to restyle your existing pieces helps you maximize their usability. When you can use one garment several ways, that's one less piece you have to buy.  
  • Restyling helps you get to know your closet thoroughly. You'll be less likely to impulse purchase when you know what you already own and therefore, what pieces you need to purchase. 
outfit
My restyled coat and boots. Any suggestions for a top?

Assessed Wardrobe Needs

coats
I may never need to buy another coat ever again!
Day 16's task was about figuring out what pieces you need to purchase. By the time you reach this point, you have a very good understanding of your wardrobe and probably have an idea of what you need to replace or supplement. This is a good time to plan ahead for future seasons and take advantage of sales. The end of season sales will be starting soon. 

My favorite things to purchase during the sales are coats, jeans, shoes, and handbags...which is probably why I won't need to buy any of those things for many many years! If you peeked in my closet, you'd probably think "This is a crazy coat lady!" or "What a jean junkie!". On the other hand, there's a definite shortage of tops. Shirts and sweaters are priority items on my purchase list.

Explored Online Stores

Day 17 was all about getting comfortable with online shopping. I've been online shopping for many years and love it. I've developed a good understanding of how styles and cuts fit and look on me. Many stores now offer free shipping and free return shipping, so if you don't love something, it's painless to return it. I spent this time researching sustainable retailers and narrowing down the ones from which I'd like to purchase.

Shopped!

jeans
I ordered some tops to go with these jeans!
This was the moment I'd been waiting for! What can I say? I love shopping! Before I hit the computer, I made a list of the pieces I need and had my monthly budget ready. I was able to find several pieces that fit my needs and my budget. I'm so excited for them to arrive! I discovered a fantastic brand that I'm eager to share with you. 

Reevaluated My Knowledge of Sustainable Fashion

The first week I evaluated my experience level on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being inexperienced and 5 being expert. I gave myself a 2. Although I felt I had a good grasp of the basic concepts of sustainable fashion, I knew there was still much to learn. After completing The 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge, I have rated myself a 4. I feel like I actually knew more than I originally thought. Many of the daily tasks reinforced things I was already instinctively doing, but gave me more of an organized focus. The Challenge has given me the tools and confidence to create and maintain a sustainable wardrobe. 

Final Thoughts

I'd like send a huge "Thank you!" to Summer Edwards, the creator of The 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge. It's very evident that she put a lot of thought and time into creating this challenge. She asked me to write a testimonial for her to publish alongside information about the challenge. As it perfectly sums up my thoughts, I'd like to share it with you:

Being a newcomer to eco-friendly fashion, the 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge has been extremely beneficial in helping me evaluate all aspects of my fashion choices. The easy to follow tips have helped me with everything from making the most of my existing wardrobe, to creating a realistic budget for future purchases, to making informed decisions about fabrics and labels, to repurposing unwearable garments. I've loved the creative challenging of restyling some forgotten pieces and sharing my outfits on Twitter. One of the greatest things I've learned from the Challenge is that while often expensive, sustainable fashion isn't necessarily out of reach. I now understand that by factoring the cost per wear of a quality, sustainable item that will last for years versus a cheaply made item that will only last for a few wears, you can actually save money in the long run by building a quality over quantity wardrobe. I now feel that I have the tools to make a positive environmental impact through my fashion choices. I highly recommend the 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge to anyone interested in creating an eco-friendly wardrobe.

If you'd like to take part in The 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge, visit Tortoise and Lady Grey to sign up. It's a small investment of time with a big pay off to the environment! 

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have wonderful day!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Eco-Friendly Flowers

roses


Hi all! I hope you're having a great week! If you've been following my blog for awhile, you've probably noticed that I often use fresh flowers in my photography. There have been numerous studies that show that fresh flowers have a positive impact on your mental and emotional well-being, so I always try to keep some around my home. Flowers instantly brighten a space and make a house feel like a home. When sustainable flower retailer The Bouqs Co. invited me to try their flowers, of course I accepted. Gorgeous flowers that are also eco-friendly? Yes please!


The Bouqs Co. is an online flower retailer that works exclusively with farms in California and South America that are certified as being sustainable and eco-friendly. These farms also provide living wages, childcare, healthcare, and adult education for their workers. Flowers ship directly from the farm, thereby ensuring that stems are not wasted in the supply chain. 


Ordering Process

The ordering process was fast and easy. The Bouqs Co. offers a curated selection of 40 beautiful bouquets that is updated each season. This helps make choosing the appropriate bouquet simple. Checkout was quick and straightforward.  


Shipping and Packaging

box

I ordered from the Volcano Collection, (flowers grown on the side of a volcano in South American), so shipping took 6 days. If you order from the California Collection, overnight delivery is available.
roses
The roses arrived very carefully packaged in a sturdy box. The blooms were wrapped in corrugated cardboard for extra protection.


The Flowers

roses
Day 1. The vase is mine.
I chose the beautiful bouquet of orange, long stem roses named "Dawn". The color perfectly compliments my fall decor. I love that The Bouqs Co. includes 10-15% extra blooms in each order at no extra cost. This ensures that if you order 12  roses, you receive at least 12 perfect flowers. I ordered a dozen roses and received 14. 
roses
Day 2
The blooms were fragrant and absolutely gorgeous! In order to give you an accurate feel for the color, I did very minimal editing to these photos. For the first several days the orange color was rich and saturated. After the blooms fully opened, it became softer, lighter, and more muted, but still lovely. After opening, the roses were huge! I was very impressed with the size...definitely statement-making!

roses
Day 5


Care and Longevity 

roses
Day 7
By following the easy care instructions, you can expect your booms to last 4-21 days, depending on the variety. Mine looked beautiful for a week before some started looking wilted. I then cut the stems short and divided them between two small containers. Most of them perked up and lasted for 3 more days. 


The Bottom Line

roses
Day 8
Would I order from The Bouqs Co. again? Absolutely! The flowers are gorgeous and the prices are very reasonable. Plus, they're sustainable! 
Although my order was free, this review is my honest opinion. I will only ever recommend a product or service that I would personally use myself. 

If you'd like to try these beautiful flowers for yourself, visit The Bouqs Co. They currently ship to all 50 states. Shipping to Canada will be available in 2015. 

Which of the 40 bouquets would you choose? 

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!


*Disclaimer*
I received this bouquet for free and will receive a commission from purchases made through the link. Commissions will help with the costs of improving and keeping the blog running. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Autumn Traditions...Walks in the Woods

forest clearing


Hi there! Hope you had a great weekend. I spent lots of time outdoors with my family enjoying the beautiful fall weather. 

Autumn brings the return of many favorite traditions. Recently, I shared with you our yearly trip to the pumpkin patch. This week the cooler weather is bringing the return of long walks in the crisp evening air. 


forest clearing

We pull on our cozy warm knits, bundle up the kiddos, and head out into the evening. The signs of the season are lovely...the pink glow of the sunset on the mountains, geese flying overhead, the crunch of leaves underfoot, and the scent of fires in fireplaces. 

forest

Sharing these simple, seasonal details with my family gives me such a feeling of peace and sense of well-being. Returning home and walking in the front door, the house feels so cozy. It's dimly lit and decorated with warm fall colors and scented with our favorite autumn scents in the wickless candle warmers. 

Finally, nothing chases away the chill and warms cold hands better than a nice cup of hot apple cider.

Apple Cider Recipe


The following is my favorite recipe for apple cider. Because I'm not a cook, it couldn't be any easier!


Ingredients:

apple cider ingredients

  • apple cider--can be found at your grocery store
  • cinnamon sticks
  • star anise
  • orange
  • cloves (optional)
  • spiced rum (optional)

Directions:


  1. Heat the apple cider. If you're making a lot, pour into a large pot and heat over low heat. Or, you can heat it in a slow cooker. This is also a great way to keep it warm for hours.
  2. Once hot, pour desired amount into mug.
  3. Add 1 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise, and 1 orange slice to each mug.
  4. For a little extra detail, I like to stick several cloves into the orange rinds. 

The citrus in the orange balances the sweetness of the cider and gives it a slight tartness. The spices add a subtle depth of flavor and also a pretty aesthetic touch.

Optional:


Adults only:
For a little extra warmth, add a shot of spiced rum to each mug!

apple cider


That's it! Hope you enjoy it!


What are your favorite fall traditions?



I'd love to connect with you on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! Have a wonderful day!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

October's Artistic Challenges


Hi there! Hope you're having a great week! October is well on its way and so are a couple of artistic challenges. Inktober and Print October are taking place on social media through the end of the month. 


Inktober

Really quick ink drawing.

Inktober is all about ink drawings, 31 days of 31 ink drawings. If you followed my #drawingaugust progress you probably noticed that I love drawing with ink. My style with ink tends to be fast and loose. That way I don't over think things or worry about it being perfect. I'm really into drawing flowers at the moment. I enjoy the challenge of trying to render the contours and shadows using line and texture work.

For more information about Inktober, and to see some of the work being done by artists all over the world, visit INKtober on Facebook or search the tag #inktober on Twitter and Instagram.


Print October

Serigraphy print. It's difficult to tell from the photo, but that's a Pegasus with a banner.

Printmaking is one my favorite methods of creating art. I particularly enjoy serigraphy, also known as silkscreen. It's a form of printing made famous by Andy Warhol. I don't always have access to the necessary equipment, so there are several other techniques I can use to easily create prints at home. Some that I will be using this month are linocut, collography, and counterproof.


Linocut

linocut print
Linocut on handmade paper of Pisces, my astrological sign. 

Linocut uses a sheet of linoleum or a woodblock with a linoleum surface on which you extract cuts to create white space on the paper. The uncut surface will create the inked areas on the paper.


Collography

Collography is a collage method of printing. You glue various materials onto a base to create a printing plate. The raised surfaces of the collage will create the inked design on the paper. 


Counterproof

Counterproof is the technique of placing a dampened sheet of paper on top of a charcoal or pastel drawing and applying pressure to transfer the image.

It's exciting to see what artists are creating, do a Twitter or Instagram search using the tags #intober, #inktober2014, and #printoctober. You're more than welcome to join in too. Just post your work using one of the appropriate tags. As always, I'll be sharing as much work as I have time to create. Hope to see you there!

You can see more of my art and photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Monday, October 6, 2014

20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge...Week 2


Hi there! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. I've completed the second week of the 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge and thought you might like an update on my progress. 


The Challenge



  • If you're just joining me, the Challenge was created by Summer Edwards of Tortoise and Lady Grey. It's designed to help you create a sustainable wardrobe through 20 daily emails containing simple, helpful tips. 



This week I've...

1.  Evaluated my fashion spending and created a budget. 

Before this challenge, I had no idea how much I spent on clothing. Creating a budget will help with making more careful choices...no more impulse buys!


2. Learned about Sustainable fabrics.

silkworm cocoon image Wikipedia
There are quite a few choices for sustainable fabrics. But the one I learned the most about was silk. I was surprised to find that conventional silk is eco-friendly, but the worms are killed in the process...by being submerged in boiling water! Cruelty-free "Peace Silk", on the other hand, is harvested from the cocoon after the moth has emerged. It takes 2000-3000 cocoons to produce just one pound of silk. I haven't seen anything made from Peace Silk yet, but I will only ever buy it from now on!
adult silkworm moth image Wikipedia


3. Re-Purposed & Repaired 

I was pleased to discover that I'm well on my way in this area (see this post). I love to use irreparable clothing for craft projects and often use my husband's old t-shirts as rags. Shhh, don't tell him! I'm not talented at sewing, but happily, I've found a seamstress whose rates are extremely reasonable to repair the few items that need mending. 


4. Restyled

Pieces that are similar to ones that I will be restyling from my current wardrobe.

I was thrilled to to do more restyling. It really makes you feel good to know that by helping the environment, you're also saving money! Plus, it's fun to try to make pieces from previous seasons work with today's trends. Having fewer new pieces to buy also means you can invest in better quality items. 



I've had the items pictured above for a couple years. I thought they were a good options to recreate the look in the magazine photo. Now I just need to find a suitable top. 
Faux fur coat: Awear
Corduroy pants:  J Brand (similar here, here, and here)
Belt:  Prada (similar here and here)

5. Explored Shopping Options

This is another area where I've already been making progress (see this post). I live in a very small town that has few options for sustainable shopping. For me, online is definitely the way to go. I'm looking forward to doing some shopping and sharing my choices with you! 

Overall, this challenge is a small investment of time, but provides a large benefit to the environment (and your wallet!). If you think you might like to participate, head on over to Tortoise and Lady Grey for more information and to sign up.

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!

Are you on social media? I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!



Sources:
Wikipedia
Oats and Honey