Archive | January, 2010

Valentina – A Very Special Valentine

I was struck by cupid’s bow a few months ago when I first saw the dolls at Gingermelon’s Shop. The faces – especially the eyes on these dolls grabbed hold of my heart immediately. The detail in the eyes, lips and face, puts them in a league of their own. Check out Valentina, a sold doll from Shelly’s site that is on it’s way to making one little girl very happy this Valentine’s Day.

Valentina

Isn’t she exquisite?  Each of these little lovlies from Gingermelon is a handcrafted doll and the dress, shoes, and undies are designed and created with obvious devotion from doll maker Shelly.  The process of embroidering the doll’s face is true art and most importantly, the doll’s body is made from unbleached muslin. This fact if so important because it’s not made from the usual material of choice ~ PVC plastic. The clothing is designed with linen/cotton blend and the shoes are hand-woven and hand-dyed felt – there is no scrimping on quality with these dolls. The hair is made from organic cotton, silk bamboo, or Alpaca blend, and is so soft and silky to touch.

I find it so interesting when talking to doll makers that at the end of the journey of making these dolls, they love to watch the personality unfold and come to life through their creations.  After a doll is completed, names and clothing selections seem to call and Shelly really listens. The clothing on the dolls is just lovely and the best part for me is that it’s removable and by request can be purchased separately. It is very hard to find a doll where you can purchase quality vintage clothing for dolls and it really lengthens the number of years the child will play and love their doll. My Sophia was truly amazed that her Gingermelon doll “Hannah” has underwear that slide up and down and shoes that come off. It’s wonderful to know that these options exist outside of having to go the Barbie route in order to enjoy the play of dressing up dolls.

My 3 year old Sophia loves her doll so much and I’ve removed the shoes so that they don’t go missing and disappear. These dolls aren’t for young children because there is a button on the shoes and they can’t be ‘loved roughly’ although my little cutie just can’t help herself.  The Valentina doll I teased you with is sold but the good news is you can find more on the Gingermelon shop that are gorgeous and available to purchase. Use the ‘contact Gingermelon’ option to chat with Shelly to create the perfect Valentine or special gift for your little sweetie this year.

Ailie doll

Lillian

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Ecocessories – A Very Cool Story For Valentines

I love a funky, unique, and greener business concept so when I was introduced to the Ecocessories jewelry line and the designer Jessica – I couldn’t wait to write about this awesome company that recycles jewelry. And with Valentines Day on the near horizon and everyone wanting to show their love and devotion with a more eco-friendly message this year, the timing is perfect.

An amazing aspect that owner Jessica has included in her business model is recycling jewelry and then passing savings onto her customers. Who doesn’t have some mis-matched single earrings, broken necklaces, or dated costume jewelry cluttering up their jewelry box? You mail it to Jessica and will receive 15% off a future order. And when you take a peek at her one-of-a-kind creations, you’ll be loving the savings and feeling great that 100% of your old jewelry’s components will be recycled into a new design.  Take a peek at these Valentine pieces any only one word comes to mind… “Swoon”!

red_river_organic_necklace_4_medium red_river_organic_bracelet Red-Sizzle-Pendant-Necklace1_medium

I asked Jessica why so many moms, brides, and everyday women would want to purchase jewelry directly from a designer. I loved her answer and wanted to share. “A designer has paid the highest attention to detail in your jewelry design. A designer goes to great lengths to provide a high quality item, and will often stand behind that craftsmanship such as with Ecocessories lifetime guarantee. A designer has a low environmental impact and the products are created in favourable and fair working conditions. Designers are transparent about the creation of their items and the story behind a piece is part of its charm! We also deliver superior customer service with customization services available and adjustments to existing pieces if need be. Most of all, we care – about our products, our processes, and our customers!”

Jessica’s designs are made from sterling silver that is free from harmful metals and of the highest quality. Chemical-free alternatives in her silversmithing processes keep her designs not only lovely, but environmentally safe both in production and design. Working with a designer is the best-case scenario for those that love unique and one-of-a-kind pieces.  Jessica loves asymmetrical design and calls on her collection of recycled beads to assist in her inspiration, along with seasons and what is inspiring with fashion.

I personally am drawn to jewelry that represents interests or a story in people’s lives. What a magical concept to wear a piece of jewelry that not only tells a great story but also includes an earthy element. The Ecocessories online store and the ocean and Cypress jewelry collections really had me at first glance.  In my opinion, Jessica’s real specialty is her nature inspired designs that are artistically interpreted long before she starts to hand-forge shapes, signature clasps, and silver.

Antique-Ocean-Oval-Pendant-2_medium Antique-Ocean-Circle-Earrings-3_medium cypress_street_organic_bracelet

The above pieces are currently available on her site and are one-of-a-kind. They are named Antique Ocean Oval Pendant, Antique Ocean Circle Earrings, and Cypress Street Organic Bracelet. With names like that I wanted to hear the story behind the Cypress line. With many of you knowing that my beautiful Province of BC is hosting the Winter Olympics next month I thought the inspiration behind the Cypress piece would be fun to share explained by Jessica.”This line was inspired by many afternoons carving down the slopes of Mount Cypress in West Vancouver. I remember the first time driving up there, the road was lined with such vivid blues and greens. Then when we were almost at the peak, everything turned white as soon as we turned a corner. It was the most awe-inspiring moment, almost like the trees had been sprayed with whipped cream. I’ll never get over the amount of life and colour the forest and the mountains contain here in BC and often like to reflect that in my designs.

Have you already fallen in love with a piece and are nervous about the cost?  Go to the Ecocessories site and fall in love because they are affordable and offer a rich history with a wonderful eco-story standing behind each piece. Jessica is also offering Mommy Footprint readers a 10% discount on any Ecocessories order. Simply type MommyFootprint during step 2 of the online shopping cart after entering your address. Or just be direct and let’s call it ‘helpful’ and forward the Ecocessories link to you partner and make his Valentines shopping easy this year.

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Norwex Mattress Cleaner

A few months ago I purchased the Norwex Mattress Cleaner. I first learned about this dust mite ‘warrior’ a few years ago from attending a Norwex party and who wouldn’t like the sound of a product that feeds off dust mites? With the recent articles on toxic beds, I thought it would be great timing to introduce those concerned about dust mites to this spray.

What have I learned about dust mites?  For my family, they have the potential to cause health problems because I have 1 child with eczema and another recently diagnosed with asthma. If you allow dust mites to accumulate, members of your family might have a sensitivity or allergic reaction (cold symptoms or asthma symptoms) to the feces that collect from the mites.  Even organic mattresses, duvets and bedding can accumulate dust mites – they can attach themselves to all fibres, although a wool environment isn’t as conducive for them.  Actually, it’s pretty interesting if you ask around about dust mites, many people have heard very creepy stats about what percentage your pillows or mattress weigh soley from the fecal matter left from the mites. One of those things if you over think ~ you’ll go a little nutty.  Well for people that can’t afford to replace bedding, pillows, mattresses with new or organic – here is an aid to help fight the war on dust mites ~ Norwex Mattress Cleaner.

This mattress cleaner is environmentally friendly and contains a unique enzyme that eliminates and removes all organic waste found inside a mattress (or pillow, duvets, etc.).  What does this mean? The enzyme in this spray will feed on dust mites, feces, pet dander, organic matter and dead skin cells until they are gone.  When there isn’t anything left to feed on, they disintegrate into carbon dioxide and water.

My question to Sandra who has sold Norwex products for years, is how do you know it’s worked?  It isn’t a product where you can visually see the results. I did use the product on my mattresses and pillows a few months ago and I did notice I was breathing better, but that is the tough sell for greener cleaning products because ‘natural’ solutions are harder to see for proven results until they are used over a longer course of time.

The mattress spray is safe for children and pets, but I’d really hold off from using on crib mattresses or crib bedding. If you over-spray the product (directions are included regarding how many squirts per pillow or different sized mattresses), an allergy-sensitive person may react. A regular regiment for the mattress spray is every 3 months for a home with allergies and asthma or 5 months for a home without these problems. Other places this spray can help is with favourite stuffed animals, duvet covers, pet beds, RVs, carpet, and pillows. For $35.99, this mattress spray is a great price to purchase some peace of mind with getting rid of unwanted dust mites in your bed.

I did ask Sandra if the mattress spray would attack mold within a mattress, but the answer was no.  Good news with the spray is there is no vacuuming involved – simply squirt it on the mattress and let it dry. Vacuuming your mattresses with a traditional vacuum can make dust mites worse because you bring them to the mattress surface and depending on your vacuum, might make them air born. Convenient and very easy to apply – a great idea for people that are concerned about sleeping on hotel mattresses or hospital…pack your spray, use on the mattress and bedding, leave to dry and rest easier.

Related Articles:

Is Your Child’s Bed or Crib Toxic?

Tips To Immediately Reduce Toxins Your Bedroom

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Party or Snack Time – Froggy Fun!

Everyone knows a cool mom that crafts and makes snacks or meals that dazzle the mind. Well I know a mom of two young boys that puts extra effort into all these areas and the bonus is she loves to share them! I’ve asked her to pop-in and share the successful recipes or crafts that are hits with her boys and her first post is awesome. Without further a-due – here’s Rhonda!

froggy apple

We all know how important it is to eat fresh fruit and vegetables everyday. This is especially true for the cold and flu season throughout the winter months because they are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. This is when you need to become creative with that same boring apple that your child has everyday. We all like to have some variety in our diet and it is not always easy to get a youngster try new things, so why not make it fun? I am always looking for fun ways to introduce new foods and make the same old ones more exciting for my two boys. I know they are not always receptive, so I try to involve them in the fun. Most children love to help out not only in the shopping experience itself but in the kitchen as well. This is one of my favorite healthy snack ideas that I found on Family Fun Magazine.

Cut a green apple into quarters and remove the core. Cut a thin wedge from one quarter for a mouth. For the eyes shape cream cheese into two half inch balls and set them in place. Insert a chocolate chip point side in, into each cream cheese ball. Use green grapes, cut in half, for the legs and feet. Slice four halves to create toes. Arrange as shown. I used lettuce leaves for lily pads but you could cut out paper lily pads for the full effect. Hope your children enjoy them as much as mine do! *Pesticides are used on most produce (especially apples), so whenever possible buy organic! It tastes better too!

Eat Healthy and be Crafty, Rhonda Berggren

lots of froggies

Pictures were taken by Rhonda so you can see just how easy and fun this snack can be!

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Tips To Immediately Reduce Toxins Your Bedroom

In researching ways to remove toxins from your bedding, mattresses, and bedrooms, I received tips from the co-founder at Sleepy Sheep and  Saplings that I wanted to share. These tips are things you can do immediately that will ease your anxiety level with dust mites, bacteria, mold, and chemicals. I appreciate that these two solid business owners would pass along product knowledge and freebies that can improve the health of our homes. Here are some tips you can implement tomorrow from the experts!

Chelsea from Sleepy Sheep told me that sunlight is a natural virus killer. To immediately de-tox your bed, pull your duvet down and expose pillows and sheets to sun light.  Open your curtains in your bedroom during the day as this allows moisture to evaporate from your mattress and allows sunlight into your bedroom, which helps prevent mold and fungus from growing.

Wash your pillows monthly to keep dust mites and other allergens at bay. A clean pillow improves your sleep by helping you breath properly while you sleep.

When taking your bedding (or clothes for that matter) to the dry cleaner, try to find a cleaner that markets themselves as green. Why? Many dry cleaners will use a chemical cocktail to finish your items called sizing. Ask that this step not be used to finish your bedding so that sizing or Teflon agents aren’t being added to your ‘cleaned’ bedding.

Chris from Saplings Sustainable Kids Decor offered some great tips for removing common toxins from your bedroom starting with wall decals. These popular wall stickers are the hot decorating choice with parents because of their convenience and versatility, but most on the market are made from PVC (poison plastic that off-gasses chemicals). Look for decals that are stamped vinyl-free or PVC-free and are made from polypropylene or fabric.

One of the easiest ways to improve the air quality in your child’s bedroom is to use VOC free paint. Chris recommends the new Natura line from Benjamin Moore and Yolo Colorhouse in rooms they have done….both brands have great quality and are a safer paint choice.

Smell your room! Basically, your sense of smell is one of the best things you can rely on when safeguarding your room. If you are using anything that has a strong smell, be it your paint, bedding, decor ~ be cautious. Anything you put in your child’s room should be odour free straight out of the package (** great tip **)!

The last tip from Chris can be read in it’s entirety from this article and the great thing about it is you probably have most of the ingredients at home! A recipe to decrease chemical residues and smells from dyeing process and use of conventional scented detergents &/or fabric softeners:

Wash several times or soak overnight in a tub of water with one of the following:

1/2 cup of vinegar
1/2 – 1 cup of pickling salt (don’t use in an enameled tub as it will cause it to rust)
1/4 – 1 cup of baking soda (will have to rewash several times to remove residue).

For any and all organic bedding & decor requirements, the owners at Saplings are ready to answer your questions. They’ve done the research and put together their site to keep the confusing nature of shopping for organic bedding simplified.  Two of my favorite rooms from their site are below.

George Room to Grow


Pink Inspiration In Full Bloom

Looking for more information on PVC? Check out the category on Mommy Footprint called PVC Info. Discover why this plastic doesn’t belong in your bedroom or anywhere near children.

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