Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gather and Give Thanks

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all others."
~ Cicero

The photo above is by Jessica Vogelsang from THIS post, 
which has possibly the most beautiful food photography ever.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sarah's Top Ten Holiday Gift Guide

The gift giving season is upon us, dear readers, and while I'm opting for a mostly handmade Christmas here in our house, I still enjoy scouring shops for wonderful goodies made by others. This year, I've found some lovely new goodies to covet in addition to my stand-by favorite things. First, here are five goods that have made their way into the fabric of my life. 

From Aurora Shoe Co.
From Roxana Illuminated Perfume
Botanical Scents (my favorite is Noir)

From Taproot Magazine

From One Man's Trash (a favorite handmade jewelry haven of mine)

From the Watermark Bindery

I also love cocktail gifts. They're perfect for both my male and female friends, plus they have an elegant culinary feel. My two favorite drinks to make and imbibe are Gin & Tonics and Moscow Mules. My motto is always "give what you'd love to receive"!

Homemade Gin Kit

From Sur la Table
Copper Moscow Mule Mugs

I'm always on the hunt for sustainable, eco-savvy clothing and textiles. The three gifts below are perfect for almost everyone you know. The Turkish Towels are the ultimate multi-taskers. I've seen them used as scarves, towels, table cloths, baby slings and wrap skirts. The folded leaf skirt from Live the Life you Love, while I've not tried one on myself, looks like something I'd wear every day. The fabulous tee-shirts designed by Phoebe Wahl come in both male and female sizes. I've already ordered a few!

From Turkish T
From Phoebe Wahl and Taproot  | Tee Shirts
Feminism is FreedomSupport Local Farmers

So there you have it!
My top ten gifts for the season.
Enjoy the giving season, but remember to stay out of the malls this Thanksgiving.
Instead, patronize local artisans, shopkeepers and farms.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The New Art Studio

Hello dear readers. As you know, I've been rearranging my entire home this fall. Why am I doing this? I wrote a bit about it HERE a few weeks ago. But there is another reason. Do you remember THIS beautiful studio space (below) I created in my converted garage?

It was lovely and I have so enjoyed using it for the past 18 months. But we have some new developments that require I vacate this space. My radical homemaking journey has helped me to re-evaluate my home. Where can I conserve resources? Where can I cut down on waste? Where can I engage in the sharing economy and get my home working for me? How can I use my home to create community?

The answer? Make this space available as a rental. In the coming year, we will have one of my favorite couples in the entire universe moving into this studio space. We will partially barter and partially rent. I like to consider it more of a co-housing situation than a rental. We'll share meal making, share in the backyard garden project, divide a little of the child care and all have a happier, more connected, more financially solid life in return.

So, where is the new studio? We have four bedrooms. One is the master, one is shared by my sons, the third is a TV den and the fourth is a guest room. I flipped my boys into the guest room and moved my studio into the boys' room. The one sacrifice I've had to make is that the art studio will also house a queen sized bed for guests. We have family visiting all year around and a guest space is a must. So here is the new art studio, doubling also as a guest room. It's a little hap-hazard, but I think it works beautifully for our purposes.

I had a little helper join me for the photos.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Live the Life You Love by Hooked Productions

Hello readers! Today I'd like to introduce you to our newest sponsor, Cari from Hooked Productions. She and her partner, Brenden, run a sustainable clothing company from Upstate New York. They created Live the Life you Love as a means of inspiring everyone to live deeply and enjoy all life’s moments. They hope their work serves as a gentle reminder to live happier, active, and healthier lives, to chase your dreams, blaze the path, and joyfully explore the glorious world at your feet or across the ocean.

I'm thrilled to have Live the Life You Love as a sponsor this month - and just in time for the Christmas gift giving season. Visit their website for beautiful skirts, leggings, tee-shirts, hoodies, jewelry and more.

An interview with Cari of Hooked Productions:

1) What does your perfect day look like? Sleeping late, drinking great coffee, eating organic whole food meals, going on an outdoor adventure, and seeing some great live music.

 2) What is your go-to garment from your line of clothing - that piece that you just cannot live without? My go-to is the Folded Leaf skirt in Black/Charcoal. I can wear it year round. In the summer I wear it a lot with the Vibrating Lotus Scoop and flip flops, and in the Fall/Winter I pair it with our new Shining Star Leggings, any of our bamboo long sleeves and boots. However, I am currently obsessed with our Shadow of the Moon Organic Cotton Hoody, which we just put out, and which I could live in.

 3) What do you love about being a small business owner? Creating our own reality. We are a husband and wife team (with 2 amazing, very active kids) so it is great to be able to run our own ship, have flexibility, be involved in every aspect of our business and our kids lives and be able to create things on a constant basis. It has its challenges, self employment is not for the weak at heart, but it works well for us. I wouldn't do it any other way, I don't think I could.

 4) Talk to me a bit more about your company's green efforts in terms of materials, sustainability and social integrity. We have always tried to use the best practices we can. We use a lot of bamboo and organic cotton. Our bamboo is sustainable and uses the most eco friendly process available. We are starting to use recycled polyester (mostly in blends) which is made from recycled water and soda bottles. I think this so cool and great at so many different levels. Our printing process is environmentally friendly, using non phlalate inks and using soy based washouts. We are a small business so we have limits as to what we can do but we are constantly searching/striving for better. We are currently manufacturing as much as we can in the US and always looking to be able to do more here, as importing from elsewhere leaves a large mark on our environment and economy.

Vibrating Lotus Tee

Folded Leaf Skirt

Lotus Circle Tee

Here is a photo of Cari and Brenden living the life they love!
You can learn more about them and their clothing company HERE.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bath Remodel | Day 1

Hello dear readers! I have some exciting news today. After much planning and saving, we're embarking on a handicapped accessible bathroom remodel for my son, Charlie! As many of you know, Charlie has Cerebral Palsy due to stroke and is therefore in a wheelchair. Our two full baths are so tiny and so difficult to get to that we have been unable to begin potty training with Charlie (now four-years-old). We're also only able to bathe him once every couple of weeks. Stupid, right?

The answer? A new bathroom with a wide door, a walk in shower, an unobstructed toilet and room enough to turn around in a wheelchair. We've been planning for this remodel for a while now, but a mold issue in the existing half bath has created a situation whereby we must act now. So we've moved up our time line and there are currently two men in my laundry room stripping everything down to the studs. I've included the "before" photos below.

If you're interested in helping us create this bathroom for Charlie, please visit his website or you can contribute directly to his assistance fund via Paypal using the button below. As always, thank you so much for your support!

This bathroom remodel is going to create a much higher level of normalcy for Charlie 
and we couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Today, a poem...

In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Home Tour | Axel Vervoordt Tribeca Penthouse

This apartment is off the hook. It looks like it should be tucked away in rural France or somewhere in Prague. But no. This home, designed by the ridiculously talented Axel Vervoordt, is in Tribeca, NYC atop the Greenwich Hotel. The hotel as well as the Penthouse are owned by Robert DiNiro. Everything about this place makes me very happy. According to the Greenwich Hotel website, it's rentable for 15,000 dollars a night! So... yeah... a girl can dream.

See all of the photos HERE.

Photos above by David Prince for Vanity Fair.

Definitely go to the Greenwich Hotel website and check out this incredible space. There are beautiful photos of all three penthouses as well as images of rooms, lobbies and other accommodations. All in all, it's a spectacular place.  Here are more photos of the apartment, all found on the Greenwich Hotel site.