Archive for December, 2011

more last minute giving

December 31, 2011

Based on friends’ suggestions and some last minute requests from orgs I support, here are a few more choice picks for year-end donations. You’ve got just under 12 hours left to give! (Unless you live in another time zone, of course.)

Ample Harvest

This org was brought to my attention by the founder of AgainBags (who also happens to be my cousin). According to Ample Harvest, “an estimated 100 billion pounds of food, enough to totally eliminate hunger, is thrown away annually in the United States.” But it doesn’t have to be this way. Ample Harvest helps distribute the abundance of home gardeners with extra produce, linking them with food pantries so that families across the country can have access to fresh, healthful food.

Brooklyn Greenway Intitiave (BGI)

Wouldn’t it be nice if more city folk felt safe enough to ride their bikes everywhere? In a borough where the public transit system does not connect many neighborhoods, BGI aims to create a waterfront bike path that will do just that. They’ve already made great strides in providing 4 miles of bike lanes in Red Hook and Williamsburg. You can help them realize the other 10 miles.

Center for Environmental Health (CEH)

BPA and lead in children’s toys, pesticides in food, water & soil, indoor air pollutants – these are just some of the issues that CEH tackles through outreach, policy action, and public education.

Center for Biological Diversity

We are facing the Sixth Great Extinction, and unlike past great extinctions, this one is human driven. The Center for Biological Diversity is set on protecting the species most at risk by safe-guarding habitat and the vital resources we all depend on – clean air, water, and soil.


What is the positive flipside of NIMBYism? In Our BackYards (ioby). This awesome org kicks community projects in the NY metro area into high gear, linking people who want to better their neighborhood with the means to do so. Want to turn an empty lot into a thriving garden? How about teaching your community about the benefits of composting? With ioby, it’s possible.

Trees NY

Did you know there is a program in NYC that teaches everyday folks how to prune and care for street trees? A couple of years ago, I participated in this program to become a Citizen Pruner, thanks to Trees NY. Life is tough for street trees, and this org also helps to protect them from damage, like being girdled by overprotective tree guards.


last minute giving

December 29, 2011

Got a few extra bucks to spare? Feeling generous? Want to write off some donations for tax purposes? Whatever your reason for year-end giving, here are some of my favorite groups who could use some support…

High School for Public Service Youth Farm (c/o BK Farmyards and Green Guerillas)

I can’t think of a better way to invest in the future than this. Providing high school kids with hands-on education, like skills to grow produce for market. Empowering, creative, productive – one activity that includes so many lessons (math, marketing, planning, nutrition, etc).

Just Food

Everyone deserves healthful, nourishing food and Just Food works to ensure that New Yorkers get just that. Through outreach, education, and community supported agriculture, this awesome org helps to ensure that everyone has access to local, fresh, affordable produce.

Food & Water Watch

The government sure isn’t protecting our food and water from contaminants, industrialization, homogenization (quite the opposite in fact). Food & Water Watch fights for food and water rights, like putting a stop to hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. And from now until Saturday, they’re matching every donation, dollar for dollar.


The Hudson River sure has cleared up since the Clean Water Act was put into effect. Unfortunately, it is still not being enforced, as the river continues to be polluted by storm run-off, combined-sewer-overflow (CSO), and residual industrial contaminants. Riverkeeperregularly tests and reports on the quality of the Hudson River, as well as supports policies to keep our watershed clean and safe.

YES! Magazine

This here is one of my most favorite publications. Looking for inspiration? A shift from the normal “bad” news that circulates on TV and in newspapers? Ad-free, corporate-interest-free feel-good stories? YES! is your friend. Show them some love!


Mountains serve as a vital source of fresh water, wildlife habitat, recreation, and so much more. So why are we letting big corporations completely level these life-giving places for dirty-burning coal? iLoveMountains aims to put an end to this disgusting community- and ecology-killing practice.

crafted at the canal – my last holiday fair of the year!

December 11, 2011

Wow, I’m still recovering from yesterday’s super successful Holiday Market at PS321 in Park Slope. It was an amazingly well-put-together fair and the crowds were enthusiastic about all of the great offerings from crafters (like me). What I love about fairs like the PS321 Holiday Market are the people I get to meet and introduce to Raganella’s Botanical Solutions. And speaking of great people I like to meet…

So I’ve got one more fair this year, and I’m really excited about it. It’s being put on by Build It Green! (BIG!) NYC and Sustainable NYC, at the new BIG! location on 9th Street near the Gowanus (a perfect location for them IMHO; scroll to the bottom for more info). What I’m most psyched about is the people – the trash crafters and upcyclers – I’ll be in the company of that day. Here are just a few of the amazing artists & designers who will be there selling their goods:

Christian Rathbone (fine rugs)

Second Souls (sculpture)

Bespoke Glass Tiles



Wilder Alison (fabric art)


Rebutton Studios

and so many more. I’ll have my teas, herbal extracts, and body care goods for sale, as well as some special holiday deals. Come on out and get some one-of-a-kind gifts for your loves, and yourself!

Crafted at the Canal
A Holiday Reuse Craft Fair

Saturday & Sunday (I’ll be there on Saturday)
December 17 & 18
10am to 5pm
Build it Green! NYC (new location)
69 9th St, BK

get your {fashion} fixx

December 8, 2011

I just had to take a little break from making toothpaste and body scrubs for this weekend’s holiday fair to tell you about this amazingly fun experience I had last night. As you may know, in addition to my love of herbs and natural body care, I love to remake things. Well, last night I got to play around with some tired old and moth-eaten clothes, remaking them into some fabulously fun frankensteined fashion (oh wow, who loves alliteration?).

Down in DUMBO there’s this hidden little gem of a place known as Metamorfixx, home and studio of Petra Hanson, fashion designer, artist, musician, and now teacher. She gave me and 2 other friends lessons on how to take our worn out duds and make lovely new ones using various techniques. Two of my favorites were the sew-free t-shirt knot and on the opposite end of the spectrum, the super industrial Merrow serger.

Petra shows us this cute tank dress she made using the knot technique.

I took a t-shirt Livi got from a stoop sale and an old moth-eaten sweater to make this get-up I call Björkenstein.

I found out about Metamorfixx from my dearest friend Livi (Olivia Cleans Green), after she went to an Evolver reskilling event where Petra demonstrated her fabric “fixxing” skills.

Livi doesn’t usually where trousers, but she loved the look of this tuxedo pants jumpsuit. She fixxed it by cutting off the legs and inserting triangle-shaped fabric where the old inseams were. In the back, for added flare, Livi used some blue satin from a formal dress she’s had in her closet for many moons.

So how can you get your fashion fixx? Get in touch with Petra. She’s now teaching small workshops like the one I attended last night. You bring the clothing and she supplies the notions and know-how. It’s *sew* much fun! (Yeah, I know I’m a dork).

could you, would you, should you? yes! the PS321 holiday fair

December 5, 2011

If you live anywhere near Park Slope, Brooklyn, you know PS321. It’s that big school on 7th Avenue between 1st & 2nd Streets where kids are often spotted screaming with delight in the playground, or where the flea market is set up on the weekend. While that flea market can offer some sweet finds, the holiday fair put on by the school this year ain’t your grandmama’s flea. They’re calling it Stuff You Should Buy. A well curated collection of wares will be available – gorgeous baubles from Hecho en Brooklyn and Up Studio, creative terraria dioramas from Twig, adorable kids’ clothes from Overall Baby and Muny, and so much more. I’d say I’m in good company.

Saturday, December 10
10am to 5pm
Stuff You Should Buy
The new Holiday Shop at PS321
180 7th Ave, Brooklyn
(btwn 1st & 2nd Sts)

friends of friends & friends of animals: it’s a double holiday trouble weekend!

December 1, 2011

Hurray for Holiday Fairs! One of the most fun ways to sell my wares is out on the street with the people. I get to hang out with other craftspeople, represent my goods, and see the looks on folks’ faces when I tell them to sniff the sweet coffee body polisher or sip on the red bush spice tea.

This weekend, I’ve got a double header. Starting with the Brooklyn Friends School Holiday Fair and wrapping up with the super fun Vegan Shop-up, Holiday Edition. I hope you’ll come out to say hello, sniff some samples, and get a taste of tea.

Saturday, December 3
10:30am to 5pm
Brooklyn Friends School Holiday Craft Fair 
375 Pearl St, Brooklyn

I’m really grateful for Annie Bruce of Brooklyn Owl for bringing this one to my attention. BFS has been putting on this event for many years now and I have a feeling it’ll be a sweet family affair. Proceeds benefit Horizons at Brooklyn Friends School, an academic enrichment program benefiting downtown Brooklyn public school children.

I’ll have a wide range of body care products (think: delicious smelling body scrubs, delicate facial scrubs, and yummy creams), plus some herbal concoctions to help you stay healthy this winter. If you happen to be in downtown Brooklyn or Brooklyn Heights, stop by & say hi to Annie and me (we’re sharing a table) – and bring the kids if you’ve got ’em.

Sunday, December 4
12pm to 5pm
Vegan Holiday Shop-up!
@ Pine Box Rock Shop
Bushwick, Brooklyn
(off the Morgan Ave L)

Where else can you sip on delectable bloody marys that are more like a meal than a drink, snack on the tastiest vegan treats (like Brooklyn Hummus – super yummus!), and hang out with some of the coolest people you’ll ever meet? (Like Sarah of Woodside Bakehouse and Tara of Meow Meow Tweet!). It is guaranteed to be a rockin’ time at the Pine Box Rock Shop. I’ll have an array of goodies, like healing herbal extracts, tasty tea blends, and mouthwash. Come on out and channel your inner vegan (even if you aren’t one!)