Wednesday, October 20, 2010

elSage has a new home!

elSage has a new home. Come check out the new, blog, home page and shop link here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

::Eco Encounters, of the back to school kind::

I'm currently immersed in everything school. Being a teacher myself, married to a teacher, the daughter and sister of teachers, this time of year tends to be a busy one. One of my favorite things is gearing up for school, the anticipation, school supplies (don't get me started on pens, post its and paper clips). I love school clothes shopping and looking forward to the first day. 

I was browsing around etsy and stumbled on some pretty killer back to school goods that also happen to be kind to the environment. 

Eco Encounters, Back to School

Sweet polka dot lunch bag

Unbelievably cool birch bark necklace

(I might like the name of this the most of all)

Super rad upcycled skirt

Reusable coffee cozy

Better yet, a reusable travel mug

Whether you're a teacher, mom, dad, student or TA you're probably schlepping some serious stuff, help yourself out with these     sweet bags.

 Stay warm and stylie with this organic cowl

What's your favorite part of the back to school season? 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

::Sustainable Saturday:: Half Pint Salvage Interview


Welcome to the second installment of Sustainable Saturday. I had the opportunity to chat with Karl, the creative force behind Half Pint SalvageKarl scours high and low to find some pretty sweet materials to re purpose and turn into amazing pieces for your home, office or studio. I like Karl for several reasons: he's out of Seattle (local), digs sustainable design, is super talented and has a beard.

Half Pint Salvage

elSage: Is Half Pint Salvage your only job or do you wear other hats in your daily life?

Karl: Half Pint Salvage is my part-time gig—although, I’d say some weeks definitely feel like full-time. I’m not able to live solely off the business…yet. But I’m definitely growing more and more each month. Currently, I’m also an accountant/wholesale manager/operations director, for my girlfriend’s screen-printing business, Blackbird Tees.

eS: How do you feel about sustainable design?

K: I think it’s absolutely essential. In my line of work, recycling and reusing salvaged materials means less waste. And by forgoing “newer” materials, my energy footprint decreases. Plus, my natural instinct has always been to see what’s available first (before I buy something brand new or mass-produced). Often times, the recycled and/or handmade option is just as affordable—and in some cases more accessible and aesthetically pleasing.


eS: What are some of your favorite sustainable companies?

K: I’m definitely a bit of a foodie, so eating healthy is a priority. Natural markets such as Whole Foods or PCC (local to Seattle) get my nod. When it comes to eating, I think Americans need to vote with their dollars. And buying organic, locally-farmed groceries is a great way to show companies that you’re voting for healthy food.

eS: Share something interesting about yourself.

K: I love traveling. In fact, back in 2004, a friend and I drove over 35,000 miles in one summer. We hit 39 out of 50 states and camped out almost every night--for 3 months straight. My only regret is that we didn’t bring a bigger tent.

eS: Did you grow up in the Seattle area? If not what brought you here? If so, what has kept you here?

K: I actually grew up in Virginia and lived there until 2004. I’m not quite sure what brought me to Seattle. I moved out here with some friends, and I think we were all simply ready to move as far away from Virginia as we possibly could.

Farmers markets, cute neighborhoods, and the glory that is our picture-perfect summer (albeit for 3 or 4 weeks) are what keep me happy here.

eS: Where do you find your materials?

K: Building salvage stores are my go-to supplier. You can find everything there—wood molding, bathroom fixtures, cabinet doors, windows, etc. Almost every material I run across inspires me. Sometimes I can spend the whole day just browsing and imagining zany building ideas in my head.

eS: Do you have any employees?

K: Me, myself and I.

eS: Where can people find you?

K: My Etsy shop. You’ll also find me out on the craft show circuit (most recently at the Renegade Craft Fair in Austin, TX) and local farmers markets in the Seattle area.

eS note: You can also find Karl on his blog, twitter,  and facebook

eS: Please shamelessly plug your favorite product from your shop.

K: Gladly! I am absolutely in love with one of my newest chalkboards, entitled The Executive, Mad Men Edition—created from a salvaged cabinet door. It has a painted black accent strip and sports modish, chrome hardware (found at my local salvage store). For some reason, I was against using black paint. But a recent custom order totally changed my mind.


eS: Do you have any business advice for sustainable companies?

K: Take the egg carton approach and use minimal, yet effective packaging—keeping waste to a minimum. And when possible, use recycled materials.

eS: If you could have a super power what would it be and why?

K: I absolutely loathe sanding and paint stripping—but unfortunately, for a majority of my products, it’s absolutely necessary. So my super power would be the ability to blink my eyes and have those steps magically completed. My hands and wrists would be soooo happy!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

::And the winner is...

The winner of the fabulous All Deck'd Out earring and bangle set is... Rachel Demsick! Congrats Rachel! 

Rachel was the 3rd comment and choose number 3! Rachel happens to have a sweet little etsy shop with her own sustainable goods, check it out.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

::Travel Tuesday:: 180 Degrees South

Travel Tuesday is here to share a super rad film all about adventure, travel, and eco awareness. The story of Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia Clothing, and environmentalist extraordinaire. We follow Chouinard and his friend Doug Tompkins' 5,000 trip of 1968 from Ventura, CA to Patagonia, South America is paralleled by Jeff Johnson in 2007. The story shares Chouinard and Tompkins adventures through photos and stories while following Johnson's adventure with beautiful footage and amazing scenery.

I totally identify with the passion, energy, tenacity and adventure of these men (and woman) and this film. If you haven't seen 180 Degrees South I highly recommend it. It you are a netflix user you can watch it instantly on your computer or iPad.

“The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong, that's when adventure starts” -Yvon Chouinard

Saturday, August 28, 2010

::Sustainable Saturday:: All Deck'd Out, Skate Fashion & Giveaway!

Fashion is changing, our culture is changing. You can feel the handmade and eco conscious revival if you look around at what people are buying and valuing. We are all becoming more aware of where things are made, how they are made and who our purchases benefit.  I believe that sustainability is the future, something we all need to strive for. 

Welcome to the first installment of Sustainable Saturday. This will be a regular feature highlighting all that is rad within sustainable business.

I have been in love with All Deck'd Out for months now, I received one of their necklaces as a Valentines Day gift from Hubs. I have picked up a pair of skinny studs for myself since and also gifted one of their belt buckles. I am so thrilled that they are my very first interview and the very first feature on Sustainable Sunday. I recently "chatted" with Nina from All Deck'd Out, she tells me how they found their sustainable business and a little about their favorite sustainable companies. Pssst... Don't quite reading because there's a giveaway at the end!

All Deck'd Out: Skate It, Break It, Wear It

elSage: How did All Deck'd Out come to be or what's the story behind your business.
Nina: We had some home renovation projects that required the use of a hole saw, so we bought a set. Dan being an artist thought it would be a great idea to try to make rings out of some old skateboards he had lying around. So we started off with making rings and next thing you know almost a year later we have a large assortment of jewelry and accessories, that we are proud to call our own. We are always coming up with new ideas and have some great plans for the future. 

eS: How do you feel about sustainable fashion? 
N: We love sustainable fashion. To us it just makes sense to give something a new lease on life. It allows a lot of room for creativity, and if it can avoid going into the garbage, all the better. Times are a changin'.

eS: What's your favorite thing about being a small business owner?
N: We would have to say that our favorite thing about being a small business owner is having control over our own survival. Because we are the owners we will always do what we need to do to ensure our level of quality. We set the bar high for ourselves and then we try to surpass it. We are artists and perfectionists. This could sometimes be a good or a bad thing.

eS: Do you have some favorite Eco friendly companies?
N: Two Eco friendly companies we can think of offhand are both recycled skateboard related. First would be Art of Board. This company make tiles out of, you guessed it recycled skateboards. They have done some amazing work, definitely worth checking out online. Second would be Boardgames on Etsy. Boardgames makes children's toys and furniture from old skateboards. We love the pea shooters and yoyos. Genius!  

eS: Please plug your most favorite product from All Deck'd Out...
N: If we were to plug one of our items, we would have to plug our Smooth it Out Bangles. When we went about designing our bangle, we wanted it to stand out amongst the rest. We spend a great deal of time ensuring that each bangle is perfectly round and smooth. This allows the color plies to pop. We want to make people to realize it's more than just a piece of skateboard; it is a functional piece of art. A lot of care is involved in making each one.


eS: If you could spend a month anywhere in the works where would it be?
N: If we could go anywhere in the world for a month? Um, we would say Greece. It just looks so amazing. The water always looks so blue and the houses always look so white. Not mention the vast amount of history.

So now you know a little more about All Deck'd Out, but wait there's more. More? Yes indeed, Nina and Dan are giving away a rad little set for one lucky winner. One Smooth It Out Bangle and a pair of Skinny Studs. All you have to do to enter if visit the All Deck'd Out etsy shop and leave a comment here saying what your favorite item is. I will randomly pick a winner next Thursday (9/2). Get an extra entry from "liking" All Deck'd Out's Facebook page, just remember to leave it as a separate comment.
*Giveaway is open to worldwide readers, you will receive set pictured above. Please remember to leave your contact information when you comment. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wedding Wednesday

This week I am feeling a little nostalgic and maybe even a bit sappy. Hubs and I are coming up on our fifth wedding anniversary and I love him more than ever. 

For me it's the season to enjoy the zen before the storm (my school year starts way too soon). We all need more flowers and peace in our life.

I think weddings should be the start of something amazing rather than a production and an endgame in themselves. If you're married, or getting married remember to hold hands, appreciate each other and stay as zen as possible.

What do you think about peace, love and zen? What do you do to accomplish these things in your life and your relationships?

Friday, August 20, 2010

::Garden Update::

Pretty excited about how our garden has turned out this summer. We returned from Puerto Rico to a jungle of garden goodness. We've been munching on salad, beets, arugula, strawberries, onions and most recently straight from the garden. Neither hubs nor I get many strawberries or tomatoes because the boy loves them so much! His love for tomatoes is well established but he surprised us this summer with an utter obsession with sugar snap peas. We're pretty sure it's because they look like balls. He is obsessed with anything round.

What's next for our little garden? We will be planting our late fall/winter crops soon. Kale and chard are both on the list.

There's something pretty amazing about eating from your own garden. I urge anyone who's interested in growing their own food to do so, it's really great. And so cool for the boy to see where food comes from and be introduced to healthy fruits and vegetables in the process.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

::Wedding Wednesday:: Simple & Rad

I get really excited about simple down-to-earth weddings, cool photos, and bearded men. This wedding has all of these things! I am also excited to find a few of the photographers for Labor of Love, David and Kendrick. Check out their site and I bet you'll find something to love too.

I love that this bride got her wedding dress off craigslist. I love the flowers, the quirky photos and the obvious love between the two of them. It all reminds me a bit of our wedding, which is fun to remember. Thanks to Labor of Love and Susan and Dan for getting married rad and simple.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Travel Tuesday

We spent last weekend close to home in the global sense. Lake Wenatchee is a few hours from our home. Every year we make an effort to do two sibling trips with hubs' two sisters, one brother and their families. The adult count totals eight and the kids total six, the oldest of the cousins has four years under his belt. These stats should give you and idea of the chaos that can come with these trips but there's also great bonding, conversation and eating that happens from adults and kids alike.

All packed up

On Saturday my sis in law and I biked our way to the lake. It began as a quick morning activity as it was supposed to be four miles. At mile seven I realized I'd been had, did I mention that I was pulling two small humans in the bike trailer? And that there were hills? And that lately I haven't ridden farther than several miles in any direction from our house? Anyway, it ended up being really fun (and twelve miles). I re learned some kids songs from my precocious nephew (who was behind his mama on his tag along bike), got my sweat on a bit and ended at the lake.

The boy and his cousin ready to hit the road

Every year I demand that we get group photos of everyone together, the sibs are all really good sports about it. I know that someday I will be thanked because we will have the documentation of life being lived and trips being taken.


The gangs all here (minus one bro in law but we gained a German friend who was visiting)

The point of this post is two fold... First family is rad whether they are blood related, or married-in, or honorary. And, you don't have to go far to have an adventure.

Abbey living life in motion in elSage

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

::Wedding Wednesday:: Boots

Went shopping today and fell in love with some Frye boots. Sat down to create a Wedding Wednesday post, boots still on my mind, and found some lovely boot wearing brides. Hope you like.

A little bit country...

A little bit rock & roll

Polka dots & red boots

New logo for elSage

I'm excited about revamping some things around elSage in the coming weeks before school starts up again. Be on the look out for some fun new stuff and (hopefully) a little bit of polish on the old. I have finished the new logo, carved and then doctored a bit in PS I am happy with how it turned out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

::Travel Tuesday, Puerto Rico::

We recently spent almost 3 weeks in Puerto Rico. I thought I would share some photos and musings from the trip. It was amazing how different it was to travel with a toddler. Everything moved a little slower. There was a distinct lack of sitting in bars until the wee hours, but we did make some pretty killer sand castles.

We stayed in Rincon for the first 12 days. A little town on the north west side of the island. The town itself is nothing special but there is an area called Puntas that's a drive out of town on the coast. This little gem is beachfront bliss. Nestled in an ocean valley and filled with expat surfers, Puntas gets my vote for best place to chill in Puerto Rico.
Some of the said expat surfers leaving Rock Bottom Grill

We stayed beach front (not in Puntas). It was rad to walk out the door and go for a swim or play on the beach. Swimming & walking along the beach daily were wonderful perks.

Crashboat Beach, Aguadilla
After our stay in Rincon we headed back to San Juan to drop off our friends who were headed back to the mainland. We had actually made reservations for the remainder of our trip and were headed to Fajardo, a town described by Let's Go like this... 
"Most travelers simply zip through Fajardo on their way to Vieques and Culebra and never see the real city. But Fajardo and its surrounding area deserve a closer look." 

Our reservations were at a place described as...  
"Puerto Real Guest House, C. Cometa 476 (☎ 863-0018 or 617-8755). Homey is an understatement for this small guesthouse—the lobby is actually someone’s living room. Amazing amenities for the price: A/C, cable TV, and small fridge."

I'm getting ahead of myself though. I already said that we made reservations, for our hotels. We quickly realized that we had forgotten to make a rental car reservation for the rest of our trip. We got to the counter and the woman said "no cars". We called several rental companies and they all said the same. Shit. We ended up in a taxi to the wonderful Fajardo, it was definitely the low of the trip.

We spent one night in our Fajardo accommodations and we were out. The boy did amazing with such depressing conditions but at one point he woke up, said "all done" and pointed at the door. I agreed and was about to get up with him and then realized it was 3 am... We had to wait a bit longer.

Next, it was on to one of the highlights of our trip. Nestled in the rain forest sits Casa Cubuy. This place is amazing. We spent our time reading in our beautiful room and hiking to the river. The restaurant has a similar view and good food. My birthday was spent eating pizza and drinking wine looking out at a mist covered rain forest valley.

Our last 3 nights were spent in the city staying at Da House. This bohemian hotel was once a convent and then housed artist studio space. It now serves a a great place to stay in Old San Juan whether you are looking for a party or clean, family friendly accommodations. Old San Juan is beautiful. The boy is currently fascinated with keys, we would walk through the city and he would point at every key hole and exclaim, "key". It was a good thing we weren't in a hurry.

 Old San Juan was unbelievable. I have hundreds of photos of doors and pretty streets, graffiti and plazas.

After that it was a very long travel day to get home (15 hours with all the lay overs I think). Next time we're flying first class direct.
For more photos check out our Flickr