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posted by Lydia Krupinski

It’s the eve of the eve of Valentine’s Day and you’ve totally forgotten to get a gift for your sweetie! What do you do? Make a handmade eco-friendly gift of course! Pinterest and blogs are teaming with easy tutorials that will give a personal spin on your v-day gift giving.

My favorite is the Birds on a Wire project. Unisex, stylish, and upcycled, this mini-art piece will speak volumes to your crush. Not into birds? Change up the subject to match your own message. This simple and easy-to-make project gives you the flexibility to take it in any direction you choose.

Do you have another suggestion for a handmade gift? Post your ideas in the comments below!

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Here is a collection of favorite items from my hubby and my Etsy hearts! The following are the perfect gifts for the discriminating green gentleman. Many of the items featured below can even be found locally – should you fear last-minute online shopping.

1) No Bottle Shampoo & Conditioner Pack by Ethically Engineered

2) Underwood Typewriter Necktie by Cyberoptix

3) Wooden Slingshot Catapult by Gift Go Green

4)  la pluie de pluie partent Print by Little Pink Pebble

5) Avant-Gardener T-Shirt by Black Sheep Heap

6) Wood Ear Bud Holder by Acoustic Design

7) Reclaimed Wood & Iron Steel Headboard by Blake Avenue

Not numbered: Vintage Camera Bilora Bella 127 Camera from Good Bones Vintage

If you have a full-out foodie on your shopping list this holiday season – don’t fear! Alisha of the blog i like it too! put together the following suggestions for getting the perfect gift for that gastro-savvy guest or friend:

1) Handmade Table & Bowls from Haymaker Shop

2) Bike Snack Sack from Green Heart

3) Chain Links Apron from Decorative Instincts

4) DIY Indian Spice Rub from Eating Well

5) CSA from Montalbano Farms

6) DIY 3 Bean & Barley Soup Mix from Eating Well

7) DIY Spiced Nuts from Martha Stewart

It truly takes a visionary to come up with a list such as this – and Caitlin Peters of Wanderlustings is just that! Her incredible taste combines with a soulful whimsy to bring Sprout Chicago these fantastic gift suggestions for women:

1) Navy Phantom Tights by Qoo Qoo Fashion

2) Vanilla Chai Perfume Oil by Long Winter Soap Co

3) Aqua “Life She Imagined” Print by Amanda Catherine Des

4) Craft Nail Transfers by Kate Broughton

5) Double Gal Vintage Bag from Bird Trouble

6) Bilbao Colored Handle Teacups by A Quartzy Life

7) Love Made Me Do It Ring by Manoy Metal

8) White Blouse by Arcelia Home

9) Gold Dipped Geo Earrings by A Merry Mishap

by Lydia Krupinski

Tis the season for holidays, food, family and friends. As some people prep for the fellowship, reflections, and feastings of Thanksgiving, others around the country are already salivating at the midnight shopping promises of big box stores and retail chains. While the term Small Business Saturday may not be as catchy as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the first Saturday after Thanksgiving has been designated as such to encourage consumers to support the vendors in their own communities.

In the spirit of this week’s holiday and the upcoming shopping stampedes Sprout Chicago would like to highlight a group that’s launching a special campaign to remind Chicagoans to spend their dollars locally this holiday season. Urban Folk Circuit is a group dedicated to supporting and growing the handmade craft and music community in the city. Started in July of 2010, the team unites artisans from around Chicagoland in monthly traveling craft shows that highlight the diverse talents and skills of handmade business owners.

Sprout Chicago caught up with Kelli and Jess, super-crafter extroadinaires and founders of Urban Folk Circuit, to pick their brains about crafting in the city and their latest campaign: Shop Chicago for the Holidays.

Read the rest of this entry »

posted by Lydia Krupinski

The annual Chicago Craft Mafia craft extravaganza, otherwise known as the DIY Trunk Show, is coming to Edgewater this Saturday at the Broadway Armory! Set apart from other shows of its kind, this indoor fair pulls together talent from a 100 mile radius of Chicago – making it a locavores dream! And with the holidays so close, it couldn’t come at a better time.

Commute up to Edgewater early via the Red line and hop off at the Granville stop. Hit up M.Henrietta’s for an awe-inspiring brunch. Then take a brisk walk over to Metropolis to arm yourself with caffeine and take Broadway three blocks south to the show! There you’ll find indie handmade crafters, papermakers, artists, designers and more! And yes – Pierogi Picnic will be there too, selling seasonal wares and also doing craft tutorials and free eco-friendly gift wrapping.

So get your holiday shopping off to a good and conscious start by not only finding one-of-a-kind quirky gifts, but by also supporting the small businesses that keep the local economy afloat!

What: DIY Trunk Show

Where: Broadway Armory at Thorndale & Broadway

When: Saturday, November 19th 10am-5pm

See you there this weekend!

Posted by Molly Kay Stoltz

Ginger is a familiar herb. Its golden root and slightly spicy taste has appeared in cuisine throughout the world, from China to the Caribbean. Its yellow flowers can also be found surrounding people’s homes in sub-tropical climates. Ginger is accessible in most grocery stores, and is incredibly easy to add to your diet.

Ginger is fantastic for a few reasons. It is considered a primary herb for boosting the reproductive, respiratory, and digestive systems because it helps improve circulation, making its effects felt throughout the body. Ginger can also be used over long periods of time with no known side effects (as long as it is used in moderation!).  Read the rest of this entry »

If you manage to get a head start on your taxes, and have the weekend of April 16th to get out of the house, then consider hitting up the urban-focused Green Metropolis Fair at the Irish Heritage Museum! This fest celebrating sustainability and city living will feature screenings of the films Dirt! The Movie and Vanishing of the Bees. In addition, a promising lineup of local vendors, including our pals Green Genes and Fair Earth, will be there promoting their goods and organizations.

It’s the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day and Chicago!

What: Green Metropolis Fair

When: Saturday, April 16th 10am-4pm

Where: 4626 N. Knox, Chicago

Cost: Free! But canned food donation recommended.

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Pierogi Picnic

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