The 50% Dirtier Challenge

First of all, let me apologize for not printing this sooner – and say Happy Halloween, as well!

I have been wanting to do some challenges on this blog for a while now, but never followed through because I know with my tiny blog, I will be lucky to get one person to join me, LOL. But…what the heck! Why not?

I have been talking to people about showering a lot lately – it is just one of those subjects that seems to come up a lot. There have been so many conversations about the American proclivity for taking two showers a day. In fact, I even ran across this article recently about Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey showering twice a day (under not one, but TWO shower heads). Now I know two people who are entertainers have no need to shower that often. Even Jennifer Aniston supposedly only showers for three minutes in order to conserve our resources.

So here it is – we are entering November, a cold month, in which most of us won’t be sweating that much (presumably). I’m not going to propose specific numbers here – just a percentage. Though, admittedly, a large one. Fifty percent. Yep, fifty percent less. If you shower twice a day, then cut back to once a day. If you shower daily, cut back to every other day. Believe me, this isn’t as hard as you may think. If you are cutting back to showering once a day, you won’t even notice the difference. If you are cutting back to once every other day, you will barely notice. Just use a little dry shampoo if your hair feels dirty and feel free to do a little soapy action with a washcloth in certain areas (like the armpits, crotch and feet) that you want to stay fresh.

If this is way too far past your comfort zone, then you have one other option. Time your next shower, and for the rest of the month, commit to finishing each shower in half the time. Fifty percent less time in the shower if you can’t fathom taking 50% fewer showers.

Are you in? If so, please sign up here in the comments by stating your 50% less showering goal. I’ll do a couple updates over the month – even if no one signs up, LOL! And if you just see this post a week or two into November, you can still sign up – go for it! Even if you are only involved for a week, please join in.

As for me, I already only shower every other day, and since I have yet to have success showering every FOURTH day (even I have some limits!), I’m showering every third day. But I do intend to cut my shower time in half, as I tend to take very long showers.

If you decide to join in, please remember to compare November’s water bill to your previous bill to see how much less water you used. You may not save much money (water is cheap), but you might be surprised at how much water you can save by simply showering less. Also, take note of how much more time you have on mornings you don’t shower – you may not want to go back to your old routine!

So come on! Join in!

My Copper Crush

You may remember my recent feature on Full Spiral Jewelry. Creative jewelry designer, Jess, creates amazing pieces from recycled metal. I absolutely love her store’s description: Jewelry for forest pixies and urban gypsies. Handmade, organic, nature-inspired & eco-friendly adornment for your (r)evolutionary journey.

Jess is kindly offering a 10% off discount for Five Seed readers! Just use the code 5seed. You can buy her pieces here or here.

I’m very excited that Jess wrote this amazing piece on copper and its properties. It is so informative and interesting! Enjoy, and be sure to check out Full Spiral – it’s a great idea for Christmas gifts!


As a jeweler, copper is my favorite metal to work with and wear. You might say that I’ve got a bit of a copper crush! But when I sat down to write this piece, I was stumped. How could I articulate my intuitive love for this metal?

Looking for inspiration, I slipped on my copper rings – the big swirly ones adorned with colorful earthy stones – the ones that make me look like a gypsy lost in the forest. Suddenly ideas started to flow, and I knew what to say. Putting on my copper rings was like a flipping a switch on my creativity.

Copper Triple Wrap

Copper is more than a pretty organic material. Copper channels, inspires, enables. It’s a conduit of energy, enabling healing on both a physical and emotional level. I’ve always been drawn to it intuitively, but it turns out it’s also good for the body, the soul, and the earth.

Copper and Arthritis

The most well-known health benefit of copper is its reported ability to help relieve arthritis pain. While scientific research supporting this claim is sparse, there are many stories of people who have found wearing copper jewelry to be therapeutic. Energy healers believe copper jewelry works because it absorbs negative ions. My opinion? It’s much less risky than any pharmaceutical drug, so if you’ve got arthritis, by all means try it. What we do know for sure is that copper has been used in healing for thousands of years – so consider the wisdom of our ancestors and follow your own intuition.

Raindrop Copper Silver Hoop Earrings

Copper, Energy Flow and Healing

Think about the most common contemporary use for copper: electrical wire. What is copper’s purpose in this case? To conduct energy in the form of electricity. It follows that copper can conduct energy in other forms, such as stimulating mental and psychic energy and encouraging the flow of energy within the body. Hence my shift in clarity and creativity when I slipped on my rings to write this article.

Other reported energetic and health benefits of copper include:

• Increasing energy levels & combating fatigue
• Improving blood circulation
• Helping bone formation/healing
• Aiding in detoxification
• Reducing inflammation
• Stabilizing metabolism
• Skin healing
• Stress reduction
• Increasing self-esteem (maybe that’s just cause you feel like an earth goddess wearing it!)
• Improving communication and concentration

Copper as a Health Indicator

When I wear copper, it acts as a barometer for the state of my health. When I feel balanced, am eating right and sleeping properly, my copper jewelry leaves no mark on my skin – but when I’m not taking proper care of myself, I get that gray stain as a gentle reminder to look after my health. Thanks, copper!

Copper and Environmental Health

The best quality of copper is that it’s 100% recyclable. In fact, 80% of all copper ever mined is still in use according to the International Copper Association.

As a jeweler whose work is inspired by nature, I feel that it’s important to use materials that respect the earth. I have a great supplier who shares this ethos, and I’m able to buy recycled, re-milled copper and silver for most of my pieces. But sometimes I like to work with stripped electrical wire directly, which is one-upping recycling in my opinion! It’s a bit of extra work to strip and untangle the wire, but it’s really rewarding to turn an old pile of cables into a wearable work of art like this wedding tiara:

Forest Floor Tiara

Wearing Natural Materials

Just like the food we put into our bodies, the clothing we drape ourselves with, and the personal care products we use, the jewelery that we wear next to our skin has significance beyond its aesthetic beauty. As energetic beings, we’re impacted by the materials with which we interact, so it’s important to carefully consider what kind of energy you want near your body. If you’re wearing polyester pants or plastic jewelry, you’re putting that synthetic barrier around yourself. Wearing natural materials opens you up to the flow of the energy all around us.

Copper and Spirituality

To me there’s something spiritual about copper – and it turns out I’m not the only one who gets that sense. The ancient Egyptians not only prized copper as a jewellery material, but they also formed it into amulets and ritual objects often used with mummification ceremonies. Among other cultures who adored this metal, the Navajos of the American Southwest made gorgeous copper pieces. I get really excited about their copper and turquoise pieces – two natural materials that I just think belong together!

Copper Turquoise Armband

Copper and Creativity

Ultimately I love copper for its organic beauty, its spiritual sense, its primal sensuality. I love it because it ignites my creative spark.

If you like to wear copper, I’d love to hear from you! What do you love about copper?

Photos used with permission.

Good Seed: Lolailo

Since the Christmas shopping season has starting sparking up, I wanted to feature some small businesses here on Five Seed so you can find what you want while supporting small, sustainable businesses who offer handmade, green items. One such business is Lolailo owned by one of my Eco Etsy teammates, Gloria.

Here’s what she has to say about green business, creativity, beauty and natural remedies (yes, we covered it all!):

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

When I am not unemployed, I am a winemaker. But I have been a craftster for much, much longer. I grew up in Spain. My mom is a very creative person, and I’ve been crafting since I was able to hold a pair of scissors, pretty much. I live near the Napa Valley, I am married to a winemaker, and I must say we drink quite well at our house. In my newly found spare time I have reconnected with my crafts, which is something that had been falling by the wayside little by little. I also take classes at the community college by my house and practice kickboxing.

Gloria, owner of Lolailo

Tell me a little bit about your business. What green elements of your business make you proud?

My love for corks came through my job. I was fascinated by the typography and design that each producer used. I was dismayed at these very interesting and diverse corks ending up in the garbage after a tasting, so I started hoarding them. I investigated what to do with them, and of all the many crafts you can use corks for, the bulletin board was my favorite. I am a pragmatic person, so I like things that have a function. I go to thrift stores and garage sales and look for frames suited to become cork boards.

What makes your business unique? How do you keep your creative juices flowing?

Corks are a very irrelevant thing. Not all that many people drink wine on a regular basis. When you do, you open the bottle, drink it up, and the cork goes into the trash. I bring the cork into center stage for all those who never figured it could have a second, and useful, life.

I get a lot of inspiration from the frames themselves. There is nothing standard about creating something out of a “found object”, so when I’m ready to tackle a new project, I just throw some corks into the frame and start playing with them, forming a design, changing it, and eventually I come up with a plan.

What makes someone truly beautiful, in your opinion?

Tolerance, flexibility and quiet confidence.

What makes you feel truly beautiful (beyond makeup and hair care) and what does “true beauty” mean to you?

I am never more beautiful than when I come home after a good workout. I don’t exercise just to look good. I want to have the best health possible, and the strength and the reassurance I get from working on this goal is what is reflected in my face.

True beauty is a combination of qualities. Like I mentioned before, a kind view of those that are not like you, an ability to listen to those you may not agree with, and the strength to know who you are all come into play.

What do you think about beauty in today’s society?

We are a superficial bunch with collective ADHD and don’t have the time to reflect on what is artifice and what is real.

What are your favorite natural remedies?

During allergy season, my eyes get really puffy, so I save used tea bags in the fridge and put them over my eyes for 5 or 10 minutes when I feel like scratching my eyes out.

I have a glass cooktop, and the best thing to remove stubborn, burnt spots is to put a bit of baking soda on them, plus a few drops of water. Make a little slurry, walk away, come back in 10, wipe off with no effort.

Thank you so much, Gloria!

Look for more of Lolailo on Facebook, Twitter and Kaboodle!

Photos used with permission.

Skinful Thoughts

I am so pleased to present this wonderful guest post on using the power of your thoughts to create beautiful and healthy skin. You’ve heard me talk about this before – I’m a strong, strong believer that our thoughts and beliefs play a part in our health. As yogini Rainbeau Mars said in a recent interview, everything we do or think in one area affects all the other areas of our life.

When I thought about diving deeper into this subject, I immediately knew who should be the one to write it: Melanie Jade Rummel of My Magical Journey. This woman has been a huge inspiration to me since I “met” her – both because of her commitment to decreasing the amount of plastic in her life and because of her strong belief that we can manifest the things we want in our lives with the power of our thoughts. I knew no one else could illuminate this subject like she could.

So here is Skinful Thoughts by Melanie Jade Rummel:

As a clinical hypnotherapist and joyful living coach, I know the power of positive thinking. Here are three ways you can use your thoughts to appreciate your natural beauty and help your skin heal if you are experiencing skin issues:

● Always focus on what you love about your skin and yourself. What we focus on is what we create more of in our life. If you have a zit on your chin, for example, don’t examine it every time you look in the mirror. Instead, make a conscious decision to look at all your blemish-free skin and admire the beauty of it. I found it funny in my own life when I started doing this and realized that 99% of my face was perfectly clear. Why was I worrying about the 1% that had a zit? I have since realized that I only break out when I am severely stressed, which thankfully doesn’t happen very often anymore. Have you noticed this in your own life? Spend more time relaxing, meditating, and enjoying the beauty of life, and your health and how you feel about yourself will greatly improve.

● Visualize your skin healing. Set aside time to quiet your mind and your body. Take a few slow, deep breaths to settle your mind. Then, imagine relaxing light coming into your body and causing every muscle to relax. As you are taking several minutes to do this, also tell yourself that you easily let go of any thoughts that are not relaxing. See those thoughts floating away. When you feel focused and relaxed, imagine sending healing energy to the area of your skin that needs attention. Be creative! You can imagine that you are in an amazing spa getting an incredible facial, and that the cream the technician is spreading on your face is specially formulated to heal your skin. You can imagine a Divine healer coming to help you heal. Let your imagination help you heal yourself. When you are ready to end your meditation, affirm that the healing you have received continues throughout the day even without you focusing on it. Feel the feelings of having perfectly clear and healthy skin until you feel like that is what you have.

● When you speak about yourself, remember that you are speaking to your precious Spirit. Pay attention to your words. Are they lifting you up or bringing you down? Recognize how your soul is affected by your thoughts. You are a beautiful being doing the best you can in your life. You deserve all good things, and you deserve to be treated well.

Our beauty hangups and skin conditions can be great opportunities for us to recognize our innate healing powers and practice self-love. I hope these tips help you to live more joyfully and to appreciate your own Divine perfection.

Thank you so much, Melanie! Readers, be sure to visit her at My Magical Journey.

A Few More Lip Balm Updates…and a Sale!

A bit more on lip balm tubes today, and stay tuned tomorrow for a fantastic article on skincare by Melanie Jade Rummel of No New Plastic.

A few lip balm tubes are up on Etsy! More to come. I was able to get the labels to stick by turning them – a look I’m not fond of, but it is necessary to keep them on!

Speaking of the look…the honest truth is that I’m not happy with the way they look at all. Normally, I’d find a way around this, but in this case, I’m stuck with 200 tubes and the sticker labels. In order for them to be truly professional-looking and really get what I want, I’d have to have them printed by Eco Vision. At this time, I am unable to do that for two reasons:

1. I don’t have the money.

2. I’m struggling to find focus in my lip balm line.

To address the first issue, I hope to be able to afford to have the tubes printed at some point early next year.

The second point is far more of an issue, however. I’ve been struggling with lip balms a lot. I am always changing the recipes to get a better consistency, and to find ways to offer vegan options – but once I have a bulk order of tubes printed with ingredients – there’s no going back for more experimentation!

Additionally, I’m trying to find lip balms that work for Five Seed. I started out doing the basics – cocoa butter based lip balms with various flavors (mint, orange, lime, etc.). I was tempted to do more “typical” flavors over the summer – chai, clove, fennel, etc. I already ventured into traditional vanilla, mint blends and patchouli (all three of which I carry now). But…EVERYONE makes lip balms in those flavors. If you are a bath and body vendor, it’s kind of a given that you will offer those traditional blends.

While I may or may not continue to offer those (it is nice to have the traditional favorites on hand for customers), I am working on developing some lip balms that are really unique. There may be a million bath and body stores out there or a million fiber shops or clothing designers or…whatever – but each one should reflect the creativity and uniqueness of the owner. We are all different and my dream is to define Five Seed’s niche over the next few months.

Until then, I don’t feel comfortable committing to a bulk order of pre-printed tubes! So please, please bear with me at this time and forgive my really ugly lip balm tubes! ;) I hope to see improvement in that area early in 2011. But the tubes, as they are, are no less functional and are filled with lip balms that people seem to really enjoy! Also, they are made from 100% PCW recycled paper and organic adhesives and are home compostable, according to the company. (I’ll be doing an experiment on this after my tube runs out!)

In celebration of the debut of my ugly lip balm tubes (LOL!), I want to offer Facebook fans and blog readers a discount on all lip balms (tins and tubes). Ten percent off until Sunday, October 17, 2010. Sale ends at 6PM PST. You must use the code LB10 in the Notes to Seller section of the checkout. Your discount will be refunded to you via PayPal.

Lip Balm Update

As you regular readers probably know by now, I found some lip balm tubes made from recycled paper that are compostable (supposedly in your own back yard bin – I’ll have to test this one out!), from a company called Eco Vision. I was reluctant at first – it is still a disposable container, after all. But this comment from Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish helped me decide:

My opinion? Go with the compostable paper if you can afford it. Metal requires mining and a lot of energy to produce, and like you said, what are people going to do with the tin when they’re done with it? I guess the only better option would be if you took the tins back to use again for more lip balm.

But the beauty of the tube is that you will tap into a whole new customer base of people who don’t want to use a tin because they don’t want to use their fingers. Those are people that would be buying and throwing away plastic anyway.

Like you, I usually avoid disposables too. But in this case, I think compostable is the way to go. Just my several cents.

So, I went ahead and bought a small order. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to have them printed through Eco Vision at this time, but I hope I will be able to in the future. The “default” design (the pink and green leaves) isn’t exactly appealing to me. I mean, it’s pretty, and all, but it doesn’t go with Five Seed’s design at all. Further, I’ve discovered that labeling these isn’t as easy as I thought it would be (more below).

Unfortunately, these little tubes are pretty hard to work with! It’s one of those things where you really have to get a knack for it. My boyfriend made me a really cool holder for these guys, which helps a lot. But getting the product into the tube without dripping is hard for me. I’m a little klutzy. Getting the tops to fit after they’ve been filled is also a challenge, LOL!

Once I (sort of) mastered this process, I was dismayed to find that my labels do not like the surface of these tubes. Ugh! So while I was hoping to upload a few of these lip balm tubes today, I’m facing another delay. I have no idea what to do to keep the labels from slowly coming off the tubes. I tried packing tape on one, but that’s just slapping plastic on something I went to a lot of trouble and expense to make plastic-free! :\ (Now I see why you need to have these printed by Eco Vision!)

So my apologies for the delay. I’m so disappointed that I’m having so many problems getting these uploaded, as I’m so excited about them and just want to see them in the shop, ready to roll. I’m still hoping I’ll be able to come up with something workable by Monday. Cross your fingers. Suggestions and ideas are also welcome! :)

Ecouture: Inner Wild (Part 2)

Thanks for coming back for the second installment of my interview with Inner Wild! If you didn’t catch the first part, click here.

I’m a knitter and just finished my first pair of fingerless mittens. Your fingerless mittens are, however, the most beautiful and unique that I’ve ever seen. I assume you create your own patterns? Without divulging any trade secrets, can you talk a little bit about this process?

I love that you said that, how gorgeous of you! Well done you for making yourself something lovely.

Yes,everything in my Inner Wild store is my own original design and to my own patterns. I’ve knitted clothes and toys for friends, family and myself my whole life so I am experienced enough now that I just automatically freeform and work out a pattern as I knit – or often I draw a picture of what it is I want to make so I can reconcile what’s in my mind with how it would work technically.

I create by intuition when knitting. I know roughly how many stitches I need to cast on based on the ply (thickness) of the yarn, needle size (I do play with that however, using unrecommended tension and so on) and type of garment in whatever size.

As I knit I either refer to a ‘pattern’ I’ve made up previously and scribbled on a piece of paper (I have a folder full of these ‘patterns’) or if it’s a completely new yarn or design, I write the ‘pattern’ down using a form of counting lines like those you see in movies on prison walls(!) for number of rows as I knit with little drawings and phrases like ‘cast off purlwise WS” so I can theoretically make the same item again.

This sounds great except that often when I attempt to make the exact same warmers or jacket or whatever, I will find I don’t understand my own pattern – “C4B” – did I mean cable back 4 of 8 stitches or 2 stitches of a 4 stitch cable? – or I misinterpret a phrase or I’ve not written down something I thought obvious at the time like “4mm needles, double 4ply yarn”.

All of this renders the whole pattern writing a flawed affair but it gives me a guide. It is tricky however you keep track of what you’re doing when you are creating, it interfere with the process of inspiration to have to write everything down.

I have come to terms with the fact that everything I make will always be one-of-a-kind, because I am completely incapable of the consistency or whatever it is that allows people to make exactly the same thing over again. And that works because everything from Inner Wild is an individual piece for an individual.

However, I love pattern books and my mother’s pattern collection, including vintage Arran and Lopi pattern books and Women’s Weekly knitting magazines from the 1960′s is one of my most cherished possessions. I also have patterns from the 1930′s for things like baby’s “pram sets” which are printed matt silver and are adorable!

I do like working to a formal pattern but I am incapable of folllowing them – for example, at the moment I’m knitting a poncho for a friend’s baby. I’m using a modern pattern but don’t think they have it wide enough for a baby so I have used the number of stitches for a 5 year old size with the length given for a 3-6 month old. Also, instead of plain garter stitch I’m doing a 6 rows garter, 4 rows stocking stitch so even with this simple one I find it difficult to keep to a pattern. Who knows how it will turn out?

I usually think about what I am in the mood to make but remain undecided – I’m Libran, we always keep our options open – then I check my heaving yarn stash. Something jumps out at me. I check how much of it I have which dictates what it will be. Then I muse about what texture I want it to be or if I am going to mix it with other yarns and I am I in the mood to knit cable or a fancy lace stitch, what will the edging be? I love this process of potentiality and inspiration.

Finding one’s unique expression of creativity can be a challenge in a world that seems full of endless ideas. I am so inspired by people who take something that seems ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary (like your work). Can you share your ideas about how to tap into one’s creativity and find a unique way to express oneself?

Extraordinary is one of my favorite words so thank you for saying that.

I talk a lot about creativity on my Inner Wild Therapy blog. How to tap into one’s creativity? I would say you must first be yourself.

For any kind of sense of satisfaction and contentment, you need to be the beautiful individual you are – and feel confident about how much the rest of us want what you uniquely create for us.

You must know that every single thing you do is creative, even if it’s destructive, you’re still creating something new in this moment. Just like there’s no-one else exactly like you, no-one else can create exactly what you can create in the way you do.

When you’re making goods to sell on Etsy, you can easily get very insecure about your skills and and controlling about your process and that’s when things start to fall apart on you – you’re not allowing the spirit of creativity space to come in.

You can find yourself wanting to make things you think LOTS people will want to buy but not only are you coming from a place of fear and insecurity, you have a lot of competition for those kind of general items – like Walmart!

You need to work with your own creativity, surrender to the things that please YOU to find your niche, and in turn you will connect with like-minded people and that is sheer joy for everyone.

For example, why try to be a perfectionist with exact angles and not a thread in sight if you are not naturally that way inclined? Why knit a perfect super chunky cowl just because you can and it looks like lots of people like them?

If you don’t really WANT to make a superchunky cowl, don’t! If it’s not in your nature to be a perfectionist with your loose ends, don’t flagellate yourself trying to be one – as I did! It only recently dawned on me that if I love ragged edges and deconstructed garments, a few other people might too.

But it is very challenging to bring your authentic self to the creative process – especially if you’re inviting the whole world to check it out as you are on Etsy. It’s the same as when I’m writing my novel; I catch myself covering up my voice when I am speaking a raw truth, I have to strip away the persona I’m hiding behind and re-write.

It’s human nature to be nervous when you’re naked and vulnerable. And yet that is where the creative fulfilment is for us all.

Also, I find the more I open myself up to what might occur while I am creating, the more pleasing what I make turns out to be. This is especially the case with what first appear as mistakes  – embrace them as absolute gifts that move you into a space of other possibilities.

I always enjoy the ideas mistakes bring me. To let your creativity flow, you must also honor your intuition. Often your intuition is forced to subvert your brain via the art of ‘mistakes’.

I have a great recent example of this. I made two pairs of Fall Leaves Warmers for friends and then made a third to put in my shop. I don’t know if i dropped a needle size or didn’t cast on enough stitches (see point 4!) but they turned out narrower than the previous ones.

Mistake? Lo and behold, I receive a convo from a lady telling me she loves my Fall Leaves Warmers but is worried they won’t fit because she has very small hands! Yes, they fitted her *perfectly*.

Trust in the process, and especially in your errors and wanderings, weird irrational thoughts, because in my experience when you do, whatever you’re creating always turns out more perfect in stranger ways than you could ever imagine. And isn’t that just exhilarating for your inner wild?

Many thanks to Flora. I continue to be inspired by her words and her designs, as a store owner, knitter and fellow creator!

Photos used with permission. Click here to see more from Inner Wild.

Ecouture: Inner Wild (Part 1)

A few weeks ago, I saw an item on the front page of Etsy that drew me in. And once I clicked on the store, Inner Wild, I couldn’t leave until I looked at every single item. I was so impressed with owner Flora’s knitwear and creativity. I love knitting so when I see knitters on Etsy, I have to stop to browse. But Flora’s designs are like nothing I’ve ever seen. I immediately wrote to her to ask if she would be willing to let me feature her work here and answer a few questions about life, Mother Nature, business, knitting and creativity.

Here’s what she had to say:

Please tell me a bit about yourself.

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Yancy, it’s so lovely here! My name is Flora and I’m a mother and writer. I’m also Founder of Inner Wild and Inner Wild Therapy. I live in a beautiful, wilderness enclave in Scotland with my darling daughter, big dog and three cats.

Much of my time is spent wrangling, feeding, playing with, walking, entertaining, caring for and loving them.

I’ve lived in London, Australia and New Zealand for most of my life working as a Writer and have recently come full circle back to my homeland.

I love the name of your store, Inner Wild. Can you tell me a little bit about it?

Inner Wild, ah. In a lovely expression of its own individuality Inner Wild seems to mean different things to different people.

I believe that when people align with their sense of individuality and creativity, when they allow themselves to be supported by nature, when we are more mindful of wilderness and wildlife and choose to live a more simple life – that is, when we nurture our inner wild – we feel centered, content, happy, fulfilled.

My Inner Wild Etsy shop has self-seeded from my Inner Wild Therapy blog. It’s where I indulge one of the passions I’ve had my whole life from childhood – knitting – and create individual pieces for individualists. I hope that my creations will nurture the inner wild of people like me so they feel good about the wonderful human beings they are while wearing them.

When you express your individuality it’s a powerful feeling. And there’s an exquisite sensitivity around it too. Natural fibres, textures and colors cosset us. Traditional hand stitch work and ancestral stitch patterns somehow give us a primal sense of belonging.

One person may see a sexy, raunchy wildness in my clothes. Another might sense the breathtaking silence of a vast wilderness. You may like how my wrist warmers remind you of your mom gently holding your wrist when you were little …

Whether you see my Inner Wild clothes as a way to express the wildness of your spirit, please your inner child, enhance your love of wilderness or as a tactile, physical comfort that calms the wild places of your psyche, or just something pleasing to look at but simply practical to wear while chopping firewood or mending a fence or wandering about on a city break, or to wrap your baby up in actual, hand-knitted cotton wool — all of that works for me.

Your store seems to reflect a love of nature. What kind of role does nature play in your business and in your life?

I love that there is ‘nature’ around us and that some things, like kindness and generosity can be part of our ‘nature’.

I think that the more we disconnect from nature the more discontented, disillusioned and disconnected from ourselves we become. It’s that simple to me.

We are part of nature, we are affected on a cellular level by the moon, ocean tides, seasons, visual beauty, storms that invigorate us, the scent of flowers that intoxicate, sunrise and sunset rhythms, the sound of birdsong, making eye contact with wild animals … mud after rain, a neon sunrise… These things move us intrinsically and involuntarily because we are human and we need them.

I believe our developed, consumer-based society has become so disassociated from nature and especially the natural rhythms of life that are fundamental to our survival emotionally, mentally and physically as to undermine our humanity.

Nature heals us, effortlessly, if we let it. Nature shows us lessons about life and death, changes and flowing and surrendering if we only notice. The more we are in nature, and in our own nature, (our individuality) the more content we feel.

I love those moments of contentment. I feel very contented knitting. It’s a simple skill that lets you create something to wear or play with from a long length of yarn.

I love thinking of my female ancestors who would knit clothes for their families while they carried baskets of peats on their backs to burn for heat. I carry on the tradition by knitting at the bus-stop with my child’s packed lunch and on my back!

I have a real sense of accomplishment from making clothes for my Inner Wild shop. This is part of my nature – making tangible/physical creations is good for me when, as a writer, much of my time is spent on the intangible/mental plane.

I want to capture the feeling of nature, remind you of the things you love, give you the wonder of hand knitted clothes, the colors of nature and wildlife, a sense of connectedness and of kinship.

I hope that the nature of Inner Wild clothes is that they help people to reflect and express their love of wilderness and wildness and more than that, to honor the rest of us by expressing your inner spirit, your individuality, your inner wild.

Please come back tomorrow to hear Flora talk about knitting, imagination, intuition and her inspiring creative process.

Photos used with permission. Click here to see more from Inner Wild.

Good Seed: Ojamiya

Today, I’m “chatting” with the lovely Amy of Ojamiya, one of my teammates on Team Eco Etsy. Amy sells altered bento boxes, a great way to keep your lunches green. Here, she talks a little about business, Japan, lunches, creative upcycling and going green green green!

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

(Giggling – this is always hard for me to answer.  Where do I start?)  I’m an avid shop owner and stay at home mom.  I live in a small town in the upper midwest with 2 amazing kids, a fabulous hubby and two lazy fuzzballs (cats).  It’s a very abnormal day if I don’t have a project brewing.  I love learning about Japan and doing photography, fiber arts, sewing, computers and walking.

Tell me a bit about your business. Please share some of the green aspects of it.

My shop, Ojami on Etsy, started out of my love for Japan.  The first items I sold were otedama sets (a traditional Japanese juggling and jacks game) and I’ve been adding from there.  The bento obsession came from wanting to provide a healthy lunch for my kids. Bento is a Japanese boxed lunch and lends itself naturally to reducing the amount of throw away waste from lunches.  No plastic baggies, no bags from junk food (because you don’t put in junk food), no throwaway plastic silverware.

I keep looking for ways can make my business more green.  Here are some of the things I’ve worked in so far:

- I love a good fabric find and upcycle garments into bags whenever I can.
- My boxes, labels and packaging are all recycled or recylable – even the scraps cut from my shipping label can be used as packing.
- I try to keep any paperwork that I can digital. (And do computer backups!)
- Fabric scraps are usually just threads before I am willing to toss them.  Small scraps can be re-used into otedama balls or ornaments.
- All my products are recyclable and most can be reused many times over.

What is your creative process like?

I must confess my creative process is pretty random, unlike the rest of my business and personal life (where I obsess about being efficient in both).  Ideas tend to pop into my head at what ever time they feel like, so there’s always a notebook or sticky note handy – in my purse, on my computer, on my dresser,…  When the idea is worked out enough on paper, I’ll tinker with it in the evenings after the kids go to bed.  Sometimes the idea works as well in reality as it looked on paper and it’s a product right away.  Other times, there’s a lot of trial and error.  Working through the problems usually requires me to turn on music or a story to help keep me focused.

My weakness in the creative process is wanting to try to do all the ideas.  I love to try new things.  There’s not enough time – and that was a very difficult realization for me.  I’m learning to pick the most important and the best, and let the rest go.  Just because it’s “good, doesn’t mean it’s “the best”.

Problems I’ve had to try to solve for myself or my family usually result in my best ideas.  My passion will be the strongest about these ideas and products, too.

I’d like to encourage everyone to keep trying at things that you feel are important – your products and your dreams.  Just because something doesn’t look like it will work right away, doesn’t mean it won’t.  Be stubborn.  Step outside your usual way of thinking.  Turn the problem on its ear and question the assumptions.  Adapt.  The difficulties and how we get through them are a big part of what makes us who we are.

Can you share any tips you might have for packing easy, affordable, green lunches in your beautiful bento boxes? Perhaps some for on-the-go adults at work (or wherever) and some for parents packing lunches for their kids?

My passion with the bentos is that my kids get a healthy alternative to the junk offered at our school.  No chips, pop and a cookie for lunch.  (Seriously, our school has had to send home letters about that!)  I don’t go for extra cute or fancy in my lunches – simplicity is key.

A few general lunch packing tips:

- Make meal a plan and use it to help with your grocery list.  Even if you don’t follow it EVERY day, you at least have a plan and the supplies on hand.  (This sounds basic, but you’d be surprised at how many people only plan the evening meal and don’t consider lunch!)

- Go ahead and have the same veggie or fruit more than once.  If you can’t just buy a few berries or one head of broccoli, use it up over the next few days.

– Stock up on your favorites.  Use fresh when ever you can, but make sure you get fruits and veggies in!  My fridge always has grape tomatoes, snap peas, and oranges.  My freezer always has frozen berries and veggies for times in a pinch.

– Allow for a “treat” every once in a while.  I let my kids have PBJs on Fridays.  (No sugar in my peanut butter, but they get the sugar from the spreadable fruit or honey.)  If it’s been a tough week, I’ll tuck in a teaspoon sized candy or treat.

– If you’re usually rushing out the door, like my family and I do, consider making your lunch at night or at least do any cooking for your lunch at night.  I’ve been eating breakfast before my kids get up, and doing the food prep and packing lunch for them and for myself while they eat breakfast.

Bento specific tips:

– Make sure you have the right sized box for your calorie needs.  When packed to the rim with no space and with the proportions of 3:1:2 for grain to protien to veggie and fruit, the calories are approximately the number of milliliters of the box.  See Lunch in a Box’s guide for more detail – Bento boxes usually look very small compared to American lunch boxes.  But the space is completely filled and the boxes are a good gauge for a healthy amount of food.

– After washing, pat fruits and veggies dry so they don’t get other things wet.

– A little lemon juice on cut fruits and avocados helps keep the color nicely.  (And it’s really yummy on bananas.)

– Lettuce and spinach work great as food dividers (i.e. to keep rice off your orange sections).

– Reheat any leftovers for food safety.  Then cool them before sticking them in your bento box, so they don’t get evaporation on the lid.  (I usually warm up foods first, then stick them on a plate and in my freezer to cool them while I make the rest of the lunch).

– If you have temperature sensitive foods like poultry, use a bento box with a lid that’s an ice pack or strap an ice pack to your box closest to where the sensitive food is.

Be sure to look for Ojami around the web at:







Thanks to Amy for this informative and inspirational interview!

Photos used with permission.

Your Stories on Skin Care

From the lovely Leanne Daharja (NZ) of Hazeltree Farm (formerly known as Cluttercut):

1. Washing my hair less often.

I have dry hair, and find that washing my hair once a week is absolutely often enough to keep oiliness at bay. Any more, and the chlorine and contaminants in our tap water start to dry my hair out. I also never use shop-bought shampoo and conditioner (except very rarely when travelling) – I’ve been using bicarbonate soda (baking soda) and apple cider vinegar for nearly three years now, and my hair has never been better.

2. Rarely using soap, unless I’m truly dirty! And showering less often.

I don’t use soap. Water and a loofah work fine most days. I only use soap if I’m truly dirty i.e. have ground in dirt from the garden. Soap – no matter what claims it has or its maker has – dried out my skin and causes me to have rashes.

I’ve also started showering less often, and find that in our cool New Zealand climate that works brilliant for me. Apparently the Norwegians only shower once a week – I’m building up to that, but even showering less than daily is helping my skin improve as it re-establishes natural oil balance.

From the lovely Chandelle (California) of Chicken Tender:

Photo used with permission.

Yarrow, lavender and peppermint liniment

***Please submit YOUR natural beauty tips to I am happy to include links to your blog and/or store. Just include the following: your name (or initials, screen name, etc.), location & age (optional), link, and of course, at least one natural beauty tip!