Category Archives: SUSTAINABLE LIFE + DESIGN

IDLE

Inspired by Tom Hodgkinson’s talk at the Hello Etsy conference (along with a cover-to- cover read of his newest book, Brave Old World: A Practical Guide to Husbandry, or the Fine Art of Looking After Yourself, and a stubborn cold that followed me home from Texas), I decided to spend the weekend being idle – or at least as idle as I can be with my temperament and a five year old at home.

In the introduction, page xiii, Hodgkinson explains that the word ‘husbandry’ means “nurturing animals, crops, your children, yourself.” Brave Old World is written in the form of a monthly calendar or almanac, of sorts, that draws beautiful quotes and recipes from great authorities on husbandry like, Hesiod (8th century BC), known as the father of Greek didactic poetry, Virgil (70 BC), Pliny the Elder (AD23-79),  John Evelyn (1620-1706) and John Seymour (1914-2004). Continue reading

REFUELED + TEXAS TRAVELS

One of our favorite places to visit - Refueled – has a beautiful new look. (And we are thrilled to be shown as a sponsor at the bottom of the page.)  While we were working on a project last month, I had a chance to catch up with Chris Brown – Refueled’s creator and creative director:

I know very little about you.  What do you do when you aren’t doing Refueled?

Refueled, Inc., encompasses a number of things: publishing, design and film. As creative director behind all three entities of the company, I keep quite busy on a daily basis. Refueled magazine is published bi-yearly, spring/summer and fall/winter. Developing features, working with contributors, collaborating with photographers, and hitting the road for ideas and inspiration never stops. Once an issue drops, I am knee-deep in the next.

Continue reading

WABI-SABI CLEANING CUPBOARD

A perfect list from page 67 of Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House:

The Wabi-sabi Cleaning Cupboard

Hydrogen peroxide to remove mold and disinfect

Club soda to clean and shine fixtures and windows

Vinegar to cut grease and lime deposits and soap buildup, deodorize toilet, remove film on floors

Baking soda to scour and remove smudges or scuffs

Lemon juice to remove grease and tarnish

Salt mixed with water to destroy bacteria

Baking soda with vinegar rinse for stainless steel

Olive oil to polish furniture (mix 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar for a cleaner shine)

VIRTUAL BERLIN

If you can’t be with us in Berlin tomorrow for Hello Etsy, check this out:

“If you can’t make a DIY Summit in your area, be sure to tune in LIVE in our Online Labs. You can watch from anywhere in the world! Use this handy timezone conversion tool to find what the Eastern Standard Timezone converts to for your region. Be sure to RSVP for each event so you receive an email reminder to tune in. Use the #HelloEtsy tag on Twitter to join in the global conversation all weekend long!”

Use the arrows at the top of the photographs at the Online Lab to scroll through all of the great talks.

My talk:

Natalie Chanin – Connecting Your Business to Your Community

Saturday, September 17 from 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM EDT

See you there!
xoNatalie

 

WABI-SABI + UNPLUGGING

When I think of the philosophy of wabi-sabi, Burning Man and a Mustang Convertible are not the first things that pop into my mind. However, it is this sort of dichotomy that seems to define Robyn Griggs Lawrence… environmentalist, mother, writer, maker, visionary, mover, and shaker.  Robyn has been kind enough to share a bit of herself and work as we continue to explore all that is wabi-sabi.

Below you will find some answers that Robyn graciously agreed to supply. They appear in their original unedited form, her prose was too lovely and thoughtful to alter.

Continue reading

MENDING

Mending is not something we – as a culture – spend a lot of time doing these days.  Fast fashion and mass consumerism has taught us to simply throw older or imperfect items away and replace them with newer versions. I am all for the “Sewing Schoolyard” – let’s teach ourselves and our kids to mend – a satisfying task.

My favorite, 10-year old tea towels have seen better days; but, I just can’t find the perfect replacement.  I use our Alabama Chanin Tea Towels for most kitchen tasks but these have just given me so much kitchen love that I can’t bear to part with them.

In perfect wabi-sabi style, Olivia – our Studio Assistant (and budding pattern maker) – mended my old tea towels using scraps of our organic cotton jersey and Button Craft thread.  Using applique in combination with seed, whip and eyelet stitches, she repaired the holes and covered the stains.  Perfect.

Continue reading

ON BEAUTY

From page 51 of Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers:

“Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness,

Wabi-sabi is ambivalent about separating beauty from non-beauty or ugliness.  The beauty of wabi-sabi is, in one respect, the condition of coming to terms with what you consider ugly.  Wabi-sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else.  Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view.  Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace.”

ON THE UNIVERSE

I have immersed myself in Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers over the last weeks and these three, short sentences on the nature of the universe (see pages 46-47) make me so happy:

1. All things are impermanent.

2. All things are imperfect.

3. All things are incomplete.

To me, this seems the essence of wabi-sabi.  When I read these, it is like I have been given the okay to just be me today, and every day.  Sigh, what a relief.