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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

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!

November is here! My birthday month arrives with a crisp chill in the air and my favorite holiday in the distance. November also marks the ‘official’ or maybe unofficial beginning of the holiday season. So to give you a head start on things happening in Chi Town this month, we’ve compiled some of our favorite suggestions for what to do with your schedule before it goes totally mad!

Read the rest of this entry »

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


by Irena Djuric

This Friday morning, shoppers will be camped out in parking lots and pressed up against store doors with a hunger for the things turkey and cranberry sauce just can’t satisfy: rock-bottom deals.

Those who have been in the Black Friday trenches before will testify that “it unveils the beast hidden within,” and we’ll take their word for it. While how you spend this Friday is up to you (we won’t be there at 5AM to check, for fear of our lives), we at Sprout Chicago would like to take a moment to promote thoughtfulness over tackiness, exuberance over excess, and old fashioned giving over gadgetry.

Here are a few of our suggestions for holiday shoppers: Read the rest of this entry »

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by Lydia Krupinski

As promised Sprout is bringing you the very best in conscientious consumer tips for the upcoming holiday season. One such suggestion is shopping local as much as possible! There’s no better way to cut your carbon footprint then buying directly from the maker.

megan lee designsOne way to tap local artisans is the DIY Trunk Show on Saturday November 21st. Since 2003 this unique collection of artists and entrepreneurs has been bringing their handmade goods to Chicagoans.

Swing by next weekend and pick up some fresh goodies from Edgewater Soaps, beautiful screenprinted dresses from Megan Lee Designs, or handcrafted modern kitchen ware from Circa Ceramics.

What: DIY Trunk Show

When: Saturday November 21st 10am-5pm

Where: Pulaski Fieldhouse 1419 W. Blackhawk Chicago IL

If you’ll be stopping by, make sure to bring a reusable  shopping bag.  And don’t forget to come by my Pierogi Picnic booth to say hello!

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 »

circle ringI <3 Handmade!  I <3 Sales!

So what can be better than a site-wide Etsy Sale!

Starting June 10th to June 14th, shop owners throughout Etsy are cutting prices. Begin your rummaging on Etsy’s main page by entering “yart” and things like “eco,” “recycled,” or “organic” and you’re sure to make some awesome discoveries.

Happy Hunting!!!

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