Posted by in simple living

hello dearies!  it feels funny to not have written a shop help post yesterday, but just in case you missed the news- biz articles will only be posted occasionally, as this fall i’m offering a brand new e-course for online sellers called selling the handmade way- i hope to see you there!

shop ethicallyethiopian coffee travel bag

lately, i’ve been thinking a lot about shopping ethically.  every time i’m in the store and reach for an organic goody, the annoyingly cheaper alternative always seems to scream at me.  it’s for this reason why i constantly  have to remind myself why it’s important to shop with a conscience.

shop ethicallygo green grocery market bag

you may say, why is it important to shop ethically? with every purchase you make, you vote for what you believe in, what you support, and what you want to see more of.  if we increase the demand for more organic, local, fair trade, sustainable products, then companies will respond and the prices will come down.  with every purchase, we send a message directly to the manufacturers about what we want and what we like to buy.  the products we purchase have a direct effect on our economy, our personal health, and the health of our planet.

shop ethicallyergonomic coffee sleeve pattern

how to do you begin? i like to start off by asking myself a few questions:

  • - do i really need this?
  • - will i be able to use this for long time, then recycle it?
  • - how far did this have to travel to reach me?
  • - who made it and how were they treated?
  • - is it labeled honestly or with clever marketing?

shop ethicallyorganic lunch tote

so how do you shop ethically? there are a few guidelines that i try to adhere to anytime i can.  first, if there’s an organic option, i always try to support it!  if you can’t afford to buy everything organic, do some research on what is most important to buy organically.  for instance, (for health reasons) it’s more important to buy organic strawberries than it is to buy organic bananas, because the thicker skinned fruits aren’t as susceptible to absorbing pesticides.

next, always buy your fruits and veggies seasonally and try to buy them local if you can.  preserving seasonal foods while you can will save you from contributing to the thousands of miles these foods must travel out of season.  read more about our initiative to eat more seasonal and local foods here.

always read the labels. with statements like fresh, all natural, cage free, no added hormones and no added gmo- it’s hard to know what’s what!  often times there aren’t any regulations behind such statements, so it’s important to find out where it’s coming from- an agency, the government or the company itself?  be conscious of marketing efforts and don’t fall victim to thinking items are good for you just because they’re covered with green labels and leaves.  to find out more about what these statements mean and who’s behind them, read this article on making sense of food labels.

shop ethicallyfair trade coffee

choose fair trade. fairly traded goods mean that the people who grew the food or produced the item are getting paid and treated fairly, meaning they’ll be able to stay in business!

purchase with a conscious. go beyond personal health and look for the most recycled, low packaging options available.  support recycled paper goods for your kitchen, bathrooms and office and always look for the products that have the lease amount of packaging.  instead of buying single use items, invest in melamine plates for picnics, cloth towels for napkins/paper towels and reusable grocery bags to shop with.

buy  handmade! that’s an easy one, right?! if you think there might be a handmade alternative, skip the big box store and support small businesses.  visit places like etsy, artfire or your favorite handmade blog to find alternatives.

shop ethicallycheck ME grocery list

it’s not always easy (or most affordable) to shop with a conscious, but don’t think that your efforts are wasted or go unnoticed. whether it’s one ethical purchase or a hundred-  you really do make a difference and your health as well as the health of the planet will benefit from every sustainable decision you make!

do you have any tips, advice or suggestions?

simple living

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DIY Trellis Ideas

August 12, 2010

Hello!  I hope you are all doing well!  How is your veggie garden harvest going?  I’m overwhelmed with zucchini right now, but the rest of my veggies are taking their sweet time!  I’m not too worried though….I know once those tomatoes get going I’ll be more that satiated!

This week I thought I would show you guys some neat trellis ideas.  I’m planning my garden beds for next year and plan on making a couple of easy to build trellises for my climbing veggies.  This year I used pretty basic trellis, and although it did the trick, it was not ideal.  I mostly had problems with my tomato trellising  and next year I am planning to grow my tomatoes up this trellis:

photos Robbie Caponetto, from Cottage Living

The trellis looks very simple to make, and even easier to take apart at the end of the season.  I do not have lots of winter storage space, so being able to disassemble the trellis is a major plus for me.  The instructions are at

I’ve mentioned DigginFood as one of my favorite blogs….and it’s no wonder – I found many lovely trellis ideas that Willi had created or shared.

Pea trellis at This Old House via DigginFood

These tomato trellises are great for containers. I’m planning to use more containers in my vegetable gardening next year.  I had problems with invasive quackgrass in my garden beds, and I’m sure this damaging weed is responsible for some of the lack of production in the vegetable garden

Tomato trellis at The Gardener Chef

And just for a bit of whimsy in the garden…. how cute is this tepee hideaway trellis idea from Sunset Magazine!!!  I’m absolutely going to try this out next year…along with the bamboo stake trellis…so lovely!

Are you already beginning to think about next year’s garden?  Or are you practicing living in the moment!  I have so much going on my life right now that I’m taking simple pleasure in designing a garden for myself…it’s one of my ways to relax and tap into my creativity. Do you enjoy garden design or are you more spontaneous in your gardening? Although this may not be the best time of year to plant, I’m seeing some really great sales in the garden centers.  If you do decide to take advantage of the savings, make sure to water your plants very well for the rest of the growing season.

Caroline Finnegan owns Ladybug Landscaping, a full service organic landscaping company. based in CT. She is a NOFA accredited landcare professional and when not designing gardens can be found rearranging her furniture or out at a flea market finding new goodies. She almost always has dirt under her nails.

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diy porcelain paint pens

{valentine’s plate}

you know i always talk about my next creative endeavor? well, i can assure you, this will be it!  welcome to the world of porcelain paint pens, friends!

diy porcelain paint pens

{tea for two and fine}

it always amazes me when i find a new craft, it’s like how did i survive without knowing this? you can purchase porcelain paint pens from any craft store (like michaels or a.c. moore) and get to creating your own pottery in no time. draw on your design, bake it in your conventional oven at 300°f for 30 minutes and you’re done!  (i also read that it’s good practice to place your piece in the oven at room temp, let them preheat together, then cool off together before removing).

diy porcelain paint pens

{diy painted porcelain}

and the best part is? you don’t even have to be an artist! all you have to do is doodle, write, scribble, or play.  i love projects that allow you to turn thrifted, boring or inexpensive pieces into personalized art- and this one definitely qualifies.

diy porcelain paint pens


porcealin paint pens diy

{porcelain decoration tutorial}

think about all the possibilities- plates, bowls, mugs, subway tiles, coasters, pitchers… i have a set of plain ‘ol porcelain plates just waiting to be doodled on!

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my first book signing!

August 10, 2010

Posted by in bonnie forkner

new sulky book

today i have my first book signing!  i designed a new reversible half apron, especially for joyce drexler’s latest book, sew, craft, quilt and embroider confidently (in stores soon).  i’m so excited!

new sulky book

with nationally recognized artists such as sue hausman, you’ll find step by step instructions to projects that will keep you inspired (and busy) for months to come.

new sulky book

we’ll be meetin’ and greetin’ at a stitch in time today from noon to 2:00, if you’re local make sure to come out and see us! i’m off now to go practice my ‘signature’…ha!

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three potato four

August 10, 2010

Posted by in vintage finds

three potato four

well this is it. my dream store.  i keep a list of vintage finds that i’m on the scout out for, and i think three potato four just helped me mark all of them off the list.  from vintage letterpress letters to nautical preservers, you name it and they have it!  owned by janet morales and husband stu eli, this biz is run by a family full of collectors.  they’ve been busy working on a storefront to open soon in philadelphia, and i may just need to book a trip!

elsewhere :: {site} {blog} {facebook}

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a very story photography

August 9, 2010

Posted by in photography

a Very Story

don’t these images help you take a deep breath of fresh air?  sarah richmond lives in tennessee and does an amazing job of capturing the simple beauty around her.  filled with unending stories from her entertaining husband and two minis, a very story captures the very stories that make up life.  enjoy browsing her blog, etsy shop and flickr account to see more of her beautiful work!

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mary kate mcdevitt

August 9, 2010

Posted by in handmade

Mary Kate McDevitt

{hand painted cards}

happy monday lovelies! i just wanted to say, “hello”- that’s all! did you have a good weekend?  we’ve been out of town for the last few days, so it feels really good to get back home and in my ‘usual’ spot.  this week i have my work cut out for me.  actually, it’s not ‘cut’ out yet (i still have to do that part), but i’m making a bunch (and i mean a bunch) of new aprons in preparation for the indie craft parade in september!  i don’t do many craft shows, so making all this inventory is new to me, but i’m trying to get a head start!

Mary Kate McDevitt

mary kate mcdevitt’s work shows some of the most pretty hand lettering and illustration i’ve come across.  her feel good sayings make her shop a happy place to visit and turns mundane tasks like writing to-do’s and thank you cards into a time to look forward to.  with a wide array of mini goal chalkboards you’ll feel inspired to start checking off tasks in no time!

mary kate mcdevitt elsewhere :: {shop} {blog} {flickr}

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fun with paint chips

August 6, 2010

Posted by in handmade

paint chip leaves

when i saw these paint chip leaves on skinny laminx, i definitely had a, “why didn’t i think of that?” moment.  i keep a stack of pretty paint chip cards in my sewing room for inspiration, and they are just asking to be cut up into pretty flowers, leaves and city silhouettes!

paint chip leaves

so to leave you for the weekend, i’ve compiled a list of some fun paint chip projects.  head to the hardware store and have some fun!

have any other diy ideas? hope you have a sunny weekend! love, bonnie

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