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by Lydia Krupinski

It may not come as too much of a surprise that I heart thrift stores! The ultimate one stop shop for all things vintage, bold, and kooky. And when you”re looking to tread lightly on the planet – thrifting can be a great eco-alternative to buying brand spankin’ new products.

With this in mind I am starting a new series on Sprout that will feature my latest thrift shop scores. I love nothing more than to share new discoveries with like-minded folk – so I hope that you find these lil’ bits inspire you to go out and dig up your own treasures!

Plunder #1:

Village Discount Outlet

4898 N. Clark Street in Andersonville/Uptown

The Score:

1970s Vintage Sunglasses – so chic $1.60

Adorable Wooden Seagull Brooch $1.60

Nautical Striped Cotton Skirt  $3.20

“V is for Vegetarian” Cotton Tee $1.90

Rustic Wooden Skeleton Key Rack $5.00

Down on the Farm Chicken Wire Basket $2.00

Children’s Picture Word Book from 1947 $8.00

Favorite Find:

Our Plundered Planet by Fairfield Osborn from 1948 $4.00

Inside Jacket: “This book – which has aroused quite extraordinary interest in America – demonstrates brilliantly and unsparingly that we are following a course which one day may render our good earth as dead as the moon. It contains unmistakable evidence that a continued defiance of nature threatens even the survival of mankind.”

An early warning cry for environmental conservation in the United States. I am really looking forward to reading this incredible find!

Total Spent: $28.99 with tax


Lydia Krupinski

womancraftIt truly moves me to see how many people, groups, and organizations are out there making a difference in our community. I admit that at times I even feel overwhelmed at the thought. How can I keep up with all of them while also participating in their causes?

Well here’s one way we can all help. WomanCraft, an offshoot from the Heartland Alliance, is hosting a fundraiser to benefit their amazing cause. WomanCraft helps displaced and abused women get back on their feet by providing them with transitional paid work. They employ these women to create handmade recycled paper goods that are then sold at various events and markets. And if that’s not incredible enough, the work they’re doing has been recognized with a GreenWorks Award by mayor Daley and his eco squad.

Show your support of this amazing organization by attending their fundraiser.  And be sure to  keep your eyes peeled for their auction which will feature local indie goods, including a treat from Pierogi Picnic.

What: WomanCraft  Harvest Benefit

When: Thursday October 8th, 2009 5:30-8pm

Where: DIRRT Enviro Solutions Penthouse

325 N. Wells Street, 10th Floor

Visit WomanCraft’s website to learn more about the organization and how you can become involved!

You see them everywhere: totes at the grocery store, totes at the pharmacy, totes at fairs, totes on the beach. It seems that people can’t get enough of this affordable and  practical accessory. We’re encouraged to green bag all of our purchases in these fun quirky carriers…but how many of us stop to think where these bags are coming from? Are they themselves eco-friendly or are we just succumbing to another consumer cycle ?
For those of us wondering how to green even this small detail of our daily lives, Linda Miles offers a stylish answer. The sole owner of a whimsical and functional line of eco-friendly accessories called Fashion Green T Bags, Linda provides conscious consumers with a recycled alternative. Fashion Green T Bags specializes in what the name suggests: Tote bags made of discarded tees.
Not only does Linda Miles have an eye for design and a heart for the environment, this teaching veteran of twenty-six years has dedicated her life to helping people throughout her community. So Sprout Chicago feels honored to bring you the following interview with a woman who’s not afraid to speak out, get involved, and be heard.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
A. I live in Kent, Ohio in a development, but we don’t have neighbors behind us. Instead we have a gorgeous set of trees, a small lake and beautiful field. I create most of my bags in the dining area of my kitchen since I want to be near family as I work.
Helping the environment and helping local food banks have been my passions, so I started making bags and donating as much of my sales as I can to our local food banks.
Q. When did you first discover your creative potential?
A. I’ve always been a little “unconventional.” For my current store I wanted to stop using store bags and couldn’t find another tote option that I liked. I thought my totes were a totally original idea but it was someone else’s original idea somewhere.  ;) They’re so strong and hold so much that when I found out about Etsy I decided to make and sell some.
Q. What do you think sets your pieces apart from other Eco-friendly Etsy sellers?
A. My bags are extremely well made. The openings are all triple-layered and seamed and I use 2 different ultra-strong stitches to secure the bottom.  One tank shirt can carry a 5# bag of potatoes, 2 64 oz. juice jars and 2 large jars of peanut butter with room for more (if you can lift it.  These bags last forever.
All of my bags are made from shirts that are “final sale” at thrift stores because, especially in this economy, I don’t want to take something that someone else might wear. I wash all items in an HE washer using cold water and all natural soap nuts (an actual nut shell that contains soap and can be composted after use). I also reuse packaging materials whenever possible and I include little “treats” with each purchase.
Q. What does ecological “sustainablity” mean to you?
A. I have a difficult time understanding how so many people around the world believe that we can take resources, spew pollution by the tens of thousands of tons and expect there to be no negative impact. Everytime we can reuse or repurpose we give a minute fraction back to the earth, but when we act collectively, we can create a huge positive difference.  We have a duty and obligation to ourselves and our home to think and act globally.
Our home lighting is all CFL and we employ eco-friendly practices in our daily lives. We use an electric lawn mower, have our heating/cooling on timers and run them at temperatures that are not wasteful. We have energy efficient appliances and use vinegar and baking soday as our primary cleaners.  Each time we think of a new way to be more eco-friendly we incorporate that practice in our lives.
Q. Where do you find inspiration?
A. It’s distressful to see so many plastic and paper bags leaving stores every day. Each has such a negative impact on our planet.  The store totes I’ve used seem to fall apart quickly and don’t seem to be truly Earth friendly because of their short durability. If one can reuse an item longer, the positive impact is better.
Q. What advice would you offer for others looking to live a greener lifestyle?
A. Be totally aware of your practices. Look for every day activities that can be made less negatively impactful on the environment. Take reusable containers for leftovers at a restaurant or ask for reusable foil instead of plastic or styrofoam containers whenever possible.  Say “NO” to using plastic straws. Bring your reusable mug to refill instead of using disposable options. Be exceptionally aware of packaging. There are so many ways we can help.
Q. What is your favorite green website?
A.Stop junk mail for FREE!
Q. If you could be any vegetable, what would you be and why?
A. I might be corn. It’s yellow, my favorite color, spends a long time growing in the sun and is versatile.  I would lobby against my unhealthy uses however and work hard to make people realize that there are far better fuel options than I and that I’m actually more destructive as a fuel than I am helpful.

by Lydia Krupinski

sixer

You see them everywhere: totes at the grocery store, totes at the pharmacy, totes at fairs, totes on the beach. It seems that people can’t get enough of this affordable and  practical accessory. We’re encouraged to green bag all of our purchases in these fun quirky carriers…but how many of us stop to think where these bags are coming from? Are they themselves eco-friendly or are we just succumbing to another consumer cycle ?

For those of us wondering how to green even this small detail of our daily lives, Linda Miles offers a stylish answer. The sole owner of a whimsical and functional line of eco-friendly accessories called Fashion Green T Bags, Linda provides conscious consumers with a recycled alternative. Fashion Green T Bags specializes in what the name suggests: Tote bags made of discarded tees.

Not only does Linda Miles have an eye for design and a heart for the environment, this teaching veteran of twenty-six years has dedicated her life to helping people throughout her community. So Sprout Chicago feels honored to bring you the following interview with a woman who’s not afraid to speak out, get involved, and be heard. Read the rest of this entry »

By Lydia Krupinski

sf_yogurtcups

I have a confession: I’m not as diligent with my hygiene routine as I should be. I’m not talking no-poo, hippy, funk gunk level neglect…at least, not yet.

leopleredon

In contrast, my hubby David is the ultimate neat freak. He has taught me the art of the nail brush,  restrained nose blowing,  polite mouth wiping, and yes…the dreaded daily ritual of tooth brushing.

My common excuse for the liberal treatment of this habit has always been: “But honey, I don’t want to waste the water, or the toothpaste, and wear down the brush’s bristles! I’ll have to throw this one away, buy a new one, and contribute to the cradle to grave cycle.” As eloquently as I put it however, he never buys one second of my nonsense.

preserve_toothbrushLucky for David (and my dentist), companies like Preserve have taken action to reduce, reuse, and recycle personal hygiene products like toothbrushes. Preserve’s are made out of recycled yogurt cups, ergonomically designed, stylish, and inexpensive.

And if that’s not enough, when you purchase your Preserve Toothbrush from stores like Green Sky in Andersonville, they’ll provide you with a postage paid envelope to send back your old tooth scrubbers! You can also download the pre-paid mailer straight off Preserve’s website.

So if that’s not enough to get you brushing…I don’t know what is.

So no more excuses! Get out there and scrub, rinse, recycle and repeat!

By Lydia Krupinski

paper 1

A typical scenario: I’m downtown and realize that I’ve just run out of soy milk, so I stop at Trader Joes, and as is common, I don’t have my cloth shoppers with me.  My eyes turn downward. The guilt and shame of paper bagging envelope me as I leave the store. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview by Lydia Krupinski   Photos from Mandinka Designs

sir franklim satchelReduce, reuse, recycle…a common mantra that is repeated religiously by eco verts of all varieties. Many of us have found new and unique ways to practice what we preach. Mandy Curl is one such re-inventor. Mandy, along with her mother Liz, run the eco-biz Mandinka Designs, where suits are transformed into satchels, messengers, handbags, and more! Sprout Chicago caught up with Mandy via the internet to learn more about her biz and dedication to sustainability. Read the rest of this entry »

by Lydia Krupinski

Why in the world would I share this trade secret with you? Simple. Making clothing out of abandoned garments is not only easy, but a great way to add a personal  touch to your wardrobe, and FUN! This is a basic design that you’ll see throughout my Etsy site Pierogi Picnic, and one that can be catered to anyone’s tastes. So pull out those thrift tees and get cutting!

By Lydia Krupinski

cereal-boxes1

Need some sustainable mailing supplies, but tired of shelling out the dough? If you answered yes, then we have a simple DIY project that will show you how to make large mailing envelopes out of empty cereal boxes!

Just follow the steps below!

cereal-1Step 1:     Flatten out your cereal box

cereal-2Step 2:     Cut across one crease of the box.

cereal-3Step 3: Flip the box inside out.

cereal-4Step 4: Cut off all flaps but one.

cereal-5Step 5: Make two diagonal cuts on each side of the remaining flap.

cereal-6

Step 6: Using a zig-zag stitch sew around the box, leaving an opening beneath the flap. If you don’t have a sewing machine, use a clear packing tape.

cereal-7

You can decorate the outside of your  mailing envelope with stencils, stamps, or a collage. Then, all you need to do is fill it, stick some stamps on it, and send it on it’s way!

cereal-finale

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