Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010- Why should we care?

Earth Day was founded on April 22nd in 1970 by US Senator Gaylord Nelson as a way to teach and encourage "out-of-the-box" thinking on ways that we can better take care of our environment in addition to the prevention of further destruction of our precious resources. The logo above was used as a back-drop for the first Earth Week in 1970 on the CBS prime time report with Walter Cronkite. 40 years later, we are still celebrating this important event but truly Earth Day should be everyday and it is for many scientists, non-profits and passionate and intelligent writers and activists. But it can be overwhelming to hear all the facts, fears and doomsday threats. And the science can be so abstract and non-urgent as it discusses events that can happen several years down the road. The facts are argued daily and the details are still being studied but the science is clear that there is a problem that needs fixing. What are some of the problems we hear about? Climate Change. Pollution. Plastics in the ocean. Chemicals in the groundwater. Endangered species. Too much waste. Too much oil. Too many big cars. We can go on and on. All topics are related to the same issue that we have created a society that encourages over-consumption, disposable products that aren't disposable and use of harmful chemicals to fight or kill everything that eventually causes more problems than it fixes. Why should we care you ask? Well, here are 2 very important reason's why:

1. Urgency- Climate change is affecting us sooner than we initial thought. "We've known for some time that we have to worry about the impacts of climate change on our children's and grandchildren's generations. But we now have to worry about ourselves as well."- Margaret Beckett- British Secretary of State for the Environment
2. It's also about ourselves and our resources- "At the end of the day, when we all talk about saving the environment, in a way it's misstated because the environment is going to survive, we're the ones who may not survive or we may survive in a world that we don't particularly want to live in." Kenny Ausubel, founder of Bioneers (from the 11th Hour).

Want more facts? Here are 5 quotations by some very intelligent people that you might find interesting:

1. There have been many significant events that have occurred in the last 10 years that directly and scientifically point to the fact that the planet is warming up and fast such as "trickling meltwater from the glaciers of the Andes Mountains that will soon leave many people on Bolivia's mountainside villages with no water to irrigate their crops and, after that, not even enough to drink. It is visible in the rising waters of the Pacific Ocean that recently prompted the Prime Minister of New Zealand to offer a haven to the residents of the island of Tuvalu as it slowly goes under. It is evident in the floods that in 2002 inundated whole cities in Germany, Russia and the Czech Republic. . . and in the United States, the record-setting 412 tornadoes that leveled whole towns during a ten-day span in May 2003." - Boiling Point by Ross Gelbspan
2. "As the oceans get warmer, storms get stronger. In 2004, Florida was hit by four unusually powerful hurricanes. . and Japan set an all-time record for typhoons (10 vs. 7 the previous year). In 2006, Australia was hit by several unusually strong, Category 5 cyclones including Cyclone Monica, the strongest cyclone ever measured, off the coast of Australia- stronger than Hurricanes Katrina, Rita or Wilma."- Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth
3. "Asthma is a chronic health condition characterized by shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. The symptoms and severity of asthma attacks can range from mildly annoying to painfully debilitating, depending on the individual. In the United States, more than 20 million people — about 7 percent of the population" ( There have been several studies linking pollution to asthma.
4. "Let us not destroy especially the forested mountains. Because if you destroy the forests on these mountains, the rivers will stop flowing and the rains will become irregular and the crops will fail- and you will die of hunger and starvation." - Wangari Maathai from The 11th Hour
5. "Malaria. Dengue Fever. Encephalitis. These names are not usually heard in emergency rooms and doctors’ offices in the United States. But if we don’t act to curb global warming, they will be. As temperatures rise, disease-carrying mosquitoes and rodents spread, infecting people in their wake. Doctors at the Harvard Medical School have linked recent U.S. outbreaks of dengue fever, malaria, hantavirus and other diseases directly to climate change".- Laurie David,

I could go on and on. There is so much information and so much evidence. Just keep your eyes and ears open, learn as much as you can and take action. Here are 5 things you can do today to help reduce your impact on the climate change.

1. Sign up for clean energy! You can actually get your electricity from a wind farm even if it is not in your backyard. We do. See

2. Replace your lightbulbs with super efficient compact flourescent lights (CFLs). With the conventional light bulbs, "only 10% of the energy they consume actually generates illumination, while 90% of it is lost in the form of heat. While CFL bulbs cost more upfront they last up to 10,000 hours-10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 66% less energy"- Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth

3. Stop idling your car- outside your home, while you talk to a friend, at the drive thru.

4. "Paper manufacturing is the fourth most energy- intensive industry not to mention one of the most polluting and destructive to our forests. It takes an entire forest - more than 500,000 trees- to supply Americans with their Sunday newspapers each week." Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth. So, of course recycle your newspaper or read it online. Use cloth paper towels, cloth napkins and resuable plates at picnics instead of paper ones. Click here for more ideas.

5. Walk to your destination. Ride a bike or use mass transit. Enjoy the outdoors. It's what we are fighting for!

Also, see read the NRDC site, follow them on twitter, donate to their cause. We do. We give 1% of our revenue to the NRDC. They are an amazing organization and actually get things done!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday's Vintage Obession- Milk crates

1. vintage bottle carrier
2. milk jars in crate
3. vintage milk crate
4. milk bottle crate

This is certainly a late post but it I have been crazy busy! I just drove back yesterday from a little jaunt to Cape Cod to visit family and spent all day today catching up with orders and work. We got a huge response to the Lucky Magazine's Deal-of-the-Day on Thomas Paul Portland plates so it's been quite hectic! Woke up this morning with no milk for my coffee or for my daughters' breakfast. Not having my coffee was rough; my daughters of course did just fine. So perhaps that's why I have "milk on the brain." My little late Wednesday vintage obsession is milk crates. I love any vintage item that looks cool and also serves a function. These pieces are perfect for holding just about anything- tea towels, aprons, magazines, napkins or what about cool vases or old bottles with fresh flowers just for a little decoration? I love the idea that milk at one point was delivered to your home. We've got to get that going again, don't you think?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday- Green Ideas-The Anti-Ziploc Bag- Lunchskins! Chic and Smart!

Have you seen the "garbage patch" in the Pacific Ocean? It's pretty horrible. It is located between Los Angeles and Hawaii and is a floating mass of plastic garbage, roughly the size of Texas. It has been increasing tenfold since 1945. Did you know it takes roughly 400 years for plastics to photograde? They never biodegrade. The floating plastic is then eaten by whales, turtles, birds-you name and it then it kills them. If you want to know more, listen to this great NPR story.

Not to get on my soap box but we must find ways to rid "disposable" plastic from our lives. Because it is not really "disposable." Recycling of course is # 1 in the effort to combat this problem. Reusable products is another- items that can be washed and reused (and then recycled) is key. I found this great line of lunch and snack bags in Oprah's O magazine. It was started by 3 green moms to combat the use of plastic sandwich bags. This idea came about after learning that 20 million sandwich bags go into landfills every day! Yes, every day. I had to check that number. So they created "lunchskins" which are very chic and very smart reusable bags that can be used for sandwiches and snacks and then wiped down or put in the dishwasher! So easy and so necessary! The sandwich bags are $8.95, the snack bags are $7.95 and their sub bags are $10.95 and they are lead free, bpa free and phthalate free. Their designs are bold, bright, fun and have Merimekko feeling to them. And you can also pick up a Klean Kanteen bottle and disposable and biodegradable cornstarch forks and spoons! I've seen (and blogged) about several of these bags, but to date, these are my favorite! They will also help you do fundraisers at your school. Brilliant!

They have calculated that since they started selling these lovely creations, more than 12 million plastic lunch bags have been saved from entering landfills or our lovely oceans. Their goal is to reach 100 million by 2011! You've got to love this determination! And they give 1% of their online sales to What's not to love?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wedneday's Vintage obsession- Raffia Melmac

Clockwise (click on link to purchase) from left to right.
1. set of 4 bowls
2. set of 3 mugs
3. 12 pastel mugs
4. set of 2 tumbers

Melmac was the brand name for molded melamine resin popular in the 1960s and 70s. It was also the name of the fictional planet to the alien Alf in the 1986-sitcom but we're not going there today. It is basically melamine- which we love and have several options from Thomas Paul. These stylish raffia (or burlap) wrapped mugs and tumblers just remind me of the 70s and fun little pool parties or backyard sprinkler soirees! I love the pastel colors- but they are also ultra chic in mustard and orange. You can find items like these on ebay and etsy for not too much money. They are great for outdoor entertaining and for kids- who tend to drop everything (like mine)!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thomas Paul's new scrimshaw collection- they've arrived!

We have done so well with Thomas Paul's melamine plates. The sea life collection of dinner and dessert plates, turtle tray and coasters continue to be our best sellers. So we were thrilled when we saw Thomas Paul's new scrimshaw melamine collection; we think they are a sophisticated update and we've been waiting for them to arrive! There are 11" dinner plates, 9" dessert plates, 4 1/2" coasters and a wonderful whale tray. They are navy and white and depict lovely illustrations of an anchor, ship, pelican, lighthouse and a whale. The coasters are sailing knots. Except for the tray, the plates and coasters are all available as sets of 4 (with all different images). We love them and we know you will enjoy giving them as hostess, wedding or birthday gifts or keeping them for yourself! They are in stock and ready to ship!