Thursday, December 23, 2010

What is the Impact of how do you shop???

I know I have brought up some of these points before and frankly I think the best way to really get something is by repeating it.  As annoying as that can be.  :)   So I wanted to share with you on how I shop, or maybe it what I shop with.  I know a lot of people have finally bought some of those recycled plastic shopping bags, which I personally am disgusted by.  You cannot wash them effectively.  I have made some of the mesh shopping totes.  I don't like them, all my stuff pokes out.

Being "Green" is definitely not always convenient.  But I personally think it is worth it to put this extra work in.  Mind you, once something becomes a routine, it really doesn't  seem like much work after a while.  Not to mention I do feel a large sense of responsibility as a citizen of this planet to invest my time and a bit of money into trying to preserve it.

So what do I use?  My favorite bags, which I sometimes get funny looks for, are the ones made from recycled T shirts:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/fashiongreentbags?ref=pr_shop_more
Why do I love them so much?  They reduce plastic consumption, they are reusable,  recycled themselves and they are handmade!  They are washable!!!  Whoooohooooo!!  I can dry them in the dryer, or on the line.  They stretch to hold lots and lots of stuff.  They cute sayings or logos that get peoples attention.  They are handy, I keep them in the car.

Oh, please don't think that my post will end here.  I think there are 3 more areas where we really need to crack down on our plastic consumption while grocery shopping.

My next item is my set of 3 hemp/organic cotton blend produce bags.  I don't often use these for produce, but mostly in the Bulk Section or for storing your bread.  If you are going to use them for produce, I find for items  like lettuce and celery its best if to dampen the bags and then store your items in the fridge.  They are washable, handmade, handy ( I just stash them with my grocery bags), and reusable.  They are naturally antibacterial, and anti-fungal.   The only downside is the Tare weight aspect, you are slightly increasing the weight of your purchase by using this bag, but I frankly think its a small price to pay to live greener.  Sadly, I have found that most cashiers are not trained to subtract the tare weight of items.  My advice is if you can keep an extra one handy than the cashier can use it to zero in the scale.  I find that Organic/or Farmer's Markets are really a lot more friendly to this.  You can find them here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/ecomum

A special Note on Bulk shopping.  Here are just a few of the up sides to bulk shopping:  you save $$$, often times you can buy the brand names in bulk with out all the plastic packaging waste.  You buy what you need, no more, no less.  Bulk is cheaper in price 9 times out of 10.  Also, I really think it helps me not get drawn in to feeding my family "instant food".  It helps me keep our meals home made.

My next item is my own design.  My Hemp Produce Sacs, they are made from hemp, which is eco-friendly, and sustainable.  They are washable and dryable by hand or in the machines.  They are naturally antibacterial, and anti-fungal.  They are handmade.  They come in 2 sizes.  Again these do have a "Tare Weight".  Tare weight is the weight of the bag or container when empty. It's usually a legal requirement for stores to subtract the weight of the empty container when weighing your produce or bulk purchase.

 My last area of shopping is I often look for items with less packaging.  Yes, some packaging can be recycled but what if we never had to use it to begin with?
Consumption.  That's something that has made me really start to think about.  How much water, electricity, gas or petroleum products and bi-products does it take to make highly processed items?  How much pollution does that therefore cause? 

I wish I could offer my family a more just world.  A world where I have the choice to work or not work and choose to take care of my family.  Truth of the matter is most of these items are not new fangled items, they are forgotten items that many of our ancestors used until the second half of the twentieth century.  Your sandwich would have been wrapped in cloth and carried in a metal bucket or cloth sac with the rest of your homemade lunch.  You would have brought your groceries home in handmade bags or baskets.   

Truth is I am beginning to find items designed for convenience are really not so convenient when it comes to our health and our future.  There is no convenience in the Pollution we are doing to the planet, animals or ourselves.

Namaste, Shanti and Shima,

Chriss

Friday, December 3, 2010

Invest in a Girl, Change the World

I am so pleased to announce that I was able to donate $64.00 dollars to Girl Effect from Sales of certain items in my Etsy Shop. 

Next months Goal: Raise enough money for at least one Micro-Loan to help a Girl or Girlsl start her own business. You can help by directly donating to this link:  Girl Effect or by buying certain items in my Etsy shop:  Girl Effect Items in my Etsy Shop


I am hoping to make this Cause an ongoing Monthly donation with charitable sales from my Etsy shop.  I think it is truly a win/win/win.       

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Giveaway Winner

And the winner for November is Paula Lemos!

I want to thank everyone for all the their imput and taking the time to enter.  I will not be doing a giveaway for December as it is a very busy time of year for me.  I look forward to offering more giveaways in the New Year and wish all my follower a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season.

Chriss

Friday, November 19, 2010

Girl Effect.....will you help?

I have special announcement.  There is a very special cause called Girl Effect.  Please watch the Video: 


I want you all to know that if you have been considering buying an item from my Etsy Shop,  now is the time.  Because I will changing things around a bit.  I will be donating 50% of the purchase price of certain items in my Etsy Shop.  I hope that you will help me support this cause.

A friend of mine emailed me some information today.  The moment I saw this I knew that I had to get involved.  Here is my story. 

"Give me a fish and I eat for a day.  Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime."
To make a long story short,  I remember being about 9 years old and telling my Mom that I was going to join the army, become a Nurse and go to countries like Romania, and Turkey.  I was going to nurse all the babies and children in the orphanages with HIV.  Hold them, feed them, love them.  
Let's just say that never happened.  I did become a Mom at a very young age and I did have a hell of a lot of help.  I had so many "Angel Mothers", some taught me: to cook, some to shop, some to budget, some to sew, some to listen to, some to talk to, some to deal with my anger and angst for the world that no longer had any value for me.  I remember hearing very often, "that's such a shame".  Frankly, the only shame I saw was that attitude of those around me.

I never let being a teen mom stop me from doing anything.  I became a Health Care Assistant and have worked with the elderly and disabled for over 11 years.  I was a volunteer Fire Fighter and Level 3 First Responder for 3.5 Years.  I have two more beautiful children.  I am married to the most incredible husband.  I am an amazing cook.  I grow lots of food for my family to eat.  I have my own business that is not only Eco- Friendly, handmade and awesome, but it supplements my income.  And many other spectacular details of my life I won't mention here.

What's the shame in that?

It all started with a belief.  A belief that even though I didn't live in a perfect situation, I still had value, worth.  I could still get an education, work, raise my family, learn skills to get us through the tough times.  I was not a lost cause.
Neither is any other Girl.
Needless to say this cause spoke volumes to me.  Please visit the website today and see what you can do to help.  http://www.girleffect.org/    or visit:  My Etsy Shop


Namaste,

Chriss

Monday, November 15, 2010

November Giveaway!!

So who wants to win a Set of 2 Large Organic Cotton Produce bags and 2 Hemp Tawashies from The Art of Zen.......Crochet?

Say No to plastic in the produce section too! Our demand for plastic drives up the demand for oil, as do our demands for all the other products made from oil. I wanted to come up with an earth friendly alternative to those plastic bags in the produce section (crochet style of course), and these are the best of the best. These produce bags are reuseable, light weight, stashable, washable, easy to use, handmade and made from an earth friendly product. These will last for years.  These bags are made with 100% Organic Color Grown Cotton Yarn, are hand crocheted (how could we get greener than human power?), totally reusable, and your are supporting the handmade movement!! It doesn't get any better than this. This truly is a win/win.
FYI: The "tare weight" of Each bag is 10 grams or .02 of a pound, simply ask the cashier to subtract this amount at checkout if you are paying by weight for your produce. Tare weight is the weight of the bag or container when empty. It's usually a legal requirement for stores to subtract the weight of the empty container when weighing your produce or bulk purchase.

So, you want some hemp Tawashi your face? Say No to plastic and disposables in the shower too! Our demand for plastic drives up the demand for oil, as do our demands for all the other products made from oil. These Tawashies are reuseable, light weight, machine washable and dryable, handmade and made from an earth friendly product. These will last for years.
These facial scrubbies are made with 100% Hemp yarn, that are dyed with fiber reactive dyes,(these dyes are easier on the environment), they are hand crocheted. Each one measures 8 cm or 3" across.
I've been trying these out for a while and this is the best of the best: dual sided (double thickness), perfect little strap for hanging up and out of the way to dry. These are soft and gently exfoliate your skin. Your skin will love you for it. Very compatible with any cleanser type. Perfect for travellers, camping and those who are on the go!!!
Did you know Hemp is naturally mold resistant and anti bacterial? That's two reasons why you will love my Hemp Line of Bath/Kitchen Products!

On to the details, what you need to do to be entered:

1)  You need to be a follower on my blog, if you aren't already!!  :)

2)  You need to email me at theartofzencrochet@live.ca telling me what I should make more of in my Etsy shop, here is the link to my Etsy shop: The Art of Zen.......Crochet
Please be sure to follow all of the instructions, it makes me so sad when people don't follow the instructions and then I cannot enter them in the Giveaway.  Sadly I don't have time to email everyone to sort it out.  :)

Dead line for entries is November 29 2010 and the Winner will be announce on November 30 2010.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sale in my Etsy Shop!

Sale this Weekend in my Etsy shop:  http://www.etsyonsale.com/shop/chrisssmith22

All items are 10% off!  Some items will no longer be available after Sunday so get them while you can.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Winner of the October Giveaway!!

We have winner.......drum roll please........Daphne White!

Daphne has won herself a pair of my Hemp Wool Fingerless gloves.  Thank you to all of you who entered and took  the time to critique my shop,  I have already taken alot of your advice into consideration not only to serve you better but inspire and further my creativity!

I will be doing one more Giveaway in November, so stay tuned!

Namaste,
Chriss

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Did you know.....

....that becoming a Fan on Our Facebook page will enable you to access exclusive offers and coupons?  Christmas is coming and there is no better time to drop by and "like" our page.  I will be posting special coupons for my Etsy shop very soon that can only be used by my Facebook Fans....... 

Here's the link:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/TheArtofZenCrochet

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thanksgiving Sale!

I am having a Thanksgiving Sale to celebrate Thanksgiving Here in Canada! All items in my shop have been discounted 15%! Sale ends midnight on Monday, Oct. 11 2010.

This is your opportunity to get some great items at a super discount.  Christmas is not far away!  http://www.etsy.com/shop/chrisssmith22

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's Giveaway Time!

How would you like to win a pair of my Grey Fingerless Mitts? 




Simply visit my Shop here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/chrisssmith22

Instructions:
I want to know what you like, don't like and what you think I can improve upon in my Etsy shop! Then email me at theartofzencrochet@live.ca , with October Giveaway in the subject line, telling me what you think.
(: please follow the directions above to be entered, those who don't will not be entered for the giveaway :)

Have fun!  This Giveaway closes @ Midnight October 25 2010.  The winner will be announced on October 26 2010.

Thank you and Happy Harvest Season!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Free Patterns for Hemp Produce Sacs

I know you're so excited right?  These sold quite well in my Etsy shop.  But I just don't have the time to make these on an ongoing basis to sell.  What's more "Green" than sharing?  I am sharing these simple patterns because I want people to use them!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Art of Zen.......Crochet is finally on Facebook!

Please come and join us on Facebook! 
Here's the link: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/The-Art-of-Zen-Crochet/150876738267126

Get more info on Local and online happenings.  Plus receive exclusive Facebook Fan's only Discounts!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back in the Game!!!

Just an update to let you all know that I have reopened my Etsy shop, and I will be more listed items very soon.  I am in the process of setting up wholesale so that I can make my handmade items available locally, as well as online. 

An important new aspect of The Art of Zen........Crochet is that I have decided to go all hats.  I will be selling off other stock I have.  But that doesn't mean that patterns for free or for sale will not be available.  I will be working on releasing those soon.  I may reintroduce select items down the road, but I don't want to bite more than I can chew.

I am hoping to reintroduce product giveaways in October, so stay tuned for that.

A big thank you for sticking with me in this tough period of transition.  It will all be worthwhile,

Chriss 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Etsy shop will be closed.....for the time being.

Life hands us twists and turns and sometimes due to those we have to lighten our load.  So, I will closing my Etsy shop for the time being.  I want to thank all my followers for their support.  As much as I love to create items, I have to keep it manageable.  I like to think of myself as a "locavore".  So selling my items locally makes the most sense and is less taxing on my time and energy, therefore allowing me to put the energy into what matters the most, Family and our health and well being.  

I will still be selling my patterns on Ravelry.  I am hoping to add more patterns thru the fall and winter both for free and for sale.  I will be posting my free patterns here on the blog.

I will also still being posting on my other blog:  The Zen Veggie, here:  http://thezenveggie.blogspot.com/

I will still be selling the items I make Locally thru Radway in Cowichan Bay,  Prudence Organics in Duncan and The Community Farm Store. 

Thank you again for all of your support and I hope you will continue to follow along with me on my journey.

Chriss

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What I have been doing......

I have had my Etsy shop on vacation mode for a few weeks now.  I have had a very busy Spring and Early Summer that a break was in order to regroup and recharge my batteries.  Even more importantly I wanted to spend some quality time with my family over that summer.

I have also been making some major changes in my personal life that really required most of my focus and energy.  I have started a new Blog, it's called the http://thezenveggie.blogspot.com/
It's a written testimony of my experience of trying a lacto ovo vegetarian diet for 30 days. I will be posting my experiences daily, sharing recipes, and giving my honest opinion about vegetarianism.
Please check it out and follow along if you are interested.

I have also been educating myself on "living greener",  there really are so many things we can do.  But the key to making lasting changes in life is to do it steps.
I found this incredible video called "HOME".  Its about climate change.  If watch nothing else this year on climate change, watch this video.  http://www.youtube.com/homeproject


Happy Summer Days,


Chriss

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"The Art of Mindfull Living", Did you ever wonder if those Felted Wool Dryer balls Work?

I seem to be a bit fixated on laundry and shopping the past few months with my personal life and small business  "go greener" makeover, but the more info I find the more I realized as green as I thought I was being, I still have work to do.  I know, your thinking what does this have to with Felted wool dryer balls?

A lot really,  I think a lot of the time when we are trying to make positive changes in any area of our life we can get stuck in these little ruts that give us the illusion that we have reached our destination.  There is no destination.  Its all a journey and we need to grow, expand and revise our goals, repeatedly.  I think its ok to take time to master a skill or develop healthy habits, but not be limited by them once we have reached that goal.  You can always be and do better.  This is not say we shouldn't be satisfied or have a sense of accomplishment and appreciate what we have accomplished, only that we really never are able to fathom what we are really capable of until we are pushed and motivated. 

I had been using Biodegradable Laundry Detergent for about 5 years, over time this naturally progressed into making my own laundry soap with handmade soap http://www.etsy.com/listing/49748245/house-bd-biodegradable-eco-friendly and storing it in repurposed containers.  Its been a lot of fun experimenting with making my own cleaners and soaps, something my Great Grandmother and other ancestors must have done.  Admittedly, most of what they used would have been washing soda, borax, vinegar and bar soap that was purchased.

I honestly believe when we have this creative process to make what we need, it gives us a much deeper connection to the universe, as opposed to stopping by the grocery store a buying it.  This is part of living in the present moment.  My sense of appreciation for what I have is much deeper, because "I made it".  This applies to a lot of aspects of my life; Growing my own food and preserving it, making laundry soap and my own cleaners, crocheting, sewing, practicing Dru Yoga,  playing with my kids, sharing my skills with my kids, etc.
 
Felted wool dryer balls do work!  They cut drying time because they retain heat and help your clothing move and open up in the dryer more.  I noticed a significant difference in the drying time.  (Not that I use my dryer much this time of year as the weather outside has been incredible for drying clothes.  I agree, using a dryer is not very "green", but the truth of the matter is most people use the dryer.  Not to mention, "going green" is usually done in steps by most people, and not everyone is able or willing to go as "green" as others are. )  My clothes were soft as normal, I also did not notice an increase in lint.  As for static, I felt there was less, but we don't own much synthetic clothing so static has never been a huge issue.  This was a fun recycling project for me.  I had this super coarse wool from one of the first sweaters I took apart.  I was having a hard time finding something to use it on it was so scratchy.  Needless to say, I found a use for some of that wool.  I was thinking of using the rest of that wool to make more, but then what to do with them?  I end up with a lot of little scraps that are perfect for making these as it doesn't matter if you have a bunch of knots throughout the ball.  They are a fun little project.   Here is the link:  http://goodmama.typepad.com/goodmama/2008/05/make-your-own-wool-dryer-balls.html  The tutorial suggests washing the balls to felt them.  I just threw them in the washer whenever I was doing  a load.

Namaste,

Chriss

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June Giveaway Winner!

The Winner of my June Giveaway is.......

Kelli Robinson.  Her favorite item was  
A Bit of Lace Refined Hemp Summer Scarf in Slate and Lilac and she won a $10.00 Gift Certificate toward any item in my Esty Shop!
The Lacey body is done in a Smokey Slate Gray hemp yarn, the Blossom edging is in Lovely Lilac lace weight hemp yarn. 


Thank you to all who entered!  I will be announcing July's Giveaway Soon!

Friday, June 18, 2010

New: smaller Hemp Produce Sacs, and a Spiel on our plastic/petroleum consumption

Hemp Produce Sac in Smaller sizes are now available in my Etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/chrisssmith22?section_id=6059673
Its the same Great Hemp I use on the Larger Bags

Saying to "No" Plastic has become a newer mission.  Why?
 Well,  our demand for plastic drives up the demand for oil, as does our demand for any and all petroleum products.

Reduce.  Reuse. Recycle.
Reduce.  If I reduce my plastic consumption considerably by no longer using plastic in the produce section, how does this effect my dependence on Petroleum?  How about if I can considerably cut my plastic usage for all my food and household needs?  Maybe one person doing this isn't such a big deal.

So now, I dedicate myself to making an available alternative to plastic in the produce section that is all natural reuseable, light weight, stashable, washable, easy to use, handmade and made from an earth friendly product.  Don't get me wrong there are some other wonderful alternatives out there.

Are these bags perfect? Or are they a solve all?
No,  you are going to have to remember to bring them with you shopping, ask the cashier to subtract the "tare weight" (Tare weight is the weight of the bag or container when empty. It's usually a legal requirement for stores to subtract the weight of the empty container when weighing your produce or bulk purchase.) at the check out, wash them, and then remember to have them ready again for next time.

Frankly, it sounds like a pain, right?

Not any more painful than our increasing dependence on Petroleum products, and we are all pretty aware what effect that is having on the Planet, wildlife, our economies, politics (WAR), and the future as a whole.  What are we leaving our children and our children's children?  What is happening to the health of our wildlife,  including many fragile eco systems and that of our Food?  

Truth is, we can all learn to make small changes everyday that add up to a big change in the end.  I think we are worth it.  
  "Nothing in life worth doing is easy."                                       

I am not asking you to purchase my bags, or even other alternative bags available.   I am only asking you to consider the effects  your dependence on plastic and petroleum products has on our World.
Let's start reducing our Plastic/Petroleum dependence today, to make for a healthier tomorrow.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June Giveaway!!!

This Months Giveaway is Pretty Simple:  The Winner will receive a $10.00 Gift Certificate for my Etsy Shop!  (Gift Certificate can e redeemed toward any item in my shop)


Here's the Instructions, (you need to follow all of the instructions in order to be entered, those who don't will not be entered.  This happens way too often and make me sad....) 

1.  Become a Follower on my Blog. 
2.  Go to my Etsy Shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/chrisssmith22  Find an item you would like to use the gift certificate on.
3.  Email me at theartofzencrochet@live.ca telling me what item you chose.

This giveaway will close on June 29 2010 and the Winner will be announced on June 30 2010.

Thank you to all who enter and support us!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

DIY: Repurposed Brown Paper Bag Envelopes




It's Environmental Week here in Canada, and what better way to celebrate than to share a recycling Project!

I have had Great success with these envelopes.  I find them easy to make, I am recycling (Imagine that?) and boy do they  save me some $$. 
 Please read the instructions thoroghly before beginning.





Supplies:

Ruler         white glue
scissors     old craft paint brush
Brown paper bags (use good quality)
Rotary cutter and cutting board optional





You should be able to get 1 Larger envelope and at least 2 small envelopes from a standard Brown Paper Bag from the Grocery Store.









Take your Brown Paper Bag and Unfold it.  Rather than marking with a pen you will be using the folds in the bag as your cutting lines.




Lay your bag on one of its sides and carefully following     
the fold lines on the side cut out the side only, leaving the
bottom intact.  Repeat for the opposite side.








You will have something that looks like this.




Now lay the Long piece flat, and keeping what was the bottom of the bag against your work surface,  i will be referring to this as the "back" throughout this Tutorial.  (I had to use a smaller piece in order to fit it into the picture, but the theory is the same).......







 ................fold up the front as shown,leaving a 2.5 cm (1") flap on the top of the back piece. 
Fold the back piece at the top over the front, making the fold line up with the top front piece.........








..................Open up your piece of paper, working along the sides 
and fold a 2.5 cm (1") Flap on each side.                                              






With the piece facing you vertically.  Following the folds you made earlier







............you will now need to carefully cut along the sides only up the the first fold, ( this fold separates the front from the back of the envelope.  Trim 2.5 cm (1") strip on each side of the bag as shown.









Open up you piece and turn your bag so the  Top flap is facing you.  You will now need to cut the corner off  on each side as shown.                




                      




       
Now is a great time to apply some white glue
to what was the bottom of the bag to reinforce
the folds there.







Fold the top flap up over the back piece.


 
IT"S GLUING TIME!!!
Put a nice line of glue on each side flap.  Spread the glue carefully with your brush.


  Now fold up the side flaps and press firmly into place.






  
TTTAAADDDDDAAA!!!!                                                                                              
 Let your envelopes dry over night!  I prefer to seal the tops with some packing tape as I pack my with envelopes with materials such as fabrics or crocheted items.

Decorate with stamps, markers or however you see fit.  :)
Just some notes:  I don't often like to use Bubble envelopes, but I think you could easily glue in some pieces of bubble wrap before gluing the sides down.  I also thought you could buy some Craft Paper that I have seen in the Post office and use this to make envelopes, should you prefer to.   I hope that you enjoyed my Tutorial, this is my first.  If you  have any questions or comments please post them here and I will gladly answer them.                             

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Winner of My Giveaway for May!!!

Drum roll please..............

The Winner is Elsie Brockett.  Her special selection was for a pair of "Angies Fingerless Mitts in Sicilian Olive.

Thank you to all who entered and please stay tuned because my Giveaway for June will be announced shortly!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May Giveaway!


So for my May Giveaway I would like to hear what you want to win from my Etsy shop!  Simply visit my Shop here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/chrisssmith22

Instructions:  Find an item you would like to win from my Etsy shop and email me at theartofzencrochet@live.ca , with May Giveaway in the subject line, telling me what item you chose and why you want to win it!

(: please follow the directions above to be entered, those who don't will not be entered for the giveaway. :)

Have fun!  This Giveaway closes on May 30 2010 and the winner will be announced on May 31 2010.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

April Giveaway Winner!!

Well,  we drew a winner for the April Giveaway.......drum rolls please!

The Winner is Joanniel!

Thank you to all who entered.  Please stay tuned as I will be announcing May's Giveaway shortly!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Zen Cleaning: Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

My recipe for Liquid Laundry Soap:
( I am putting some info at the end of this post about the ingredients)
All these ingredients can be found in the Laundry Section of your Grocery Store, when in doubt call first.
Ingredients:
1 Liter of Water
1 cup of bar soap grated  (I used an Organic bar that I like)
1 cup of Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Baking Soda
3 3/4 Liters of Water
Large Bucket with lid for Mixing
Some Clean Empty Laundry Soap Jugs, preferably reuse your old ones, or ask around

Directions:
In a Large pot on the Stove Boil 1 liter of water, grate your soap onto a plate.  Add Soap to boiling water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir.  Keep mixing and simmering until all the soap is dissolved, the liquid should become clear and you should not see any particles floating around.
Remove from heat.
Add hot soapy water to your Large Bucket.  When working with any powders, avoid breathing in the dust. Now carefully and slowly add Borax, washing soda and baking soda and mix until they are dissolved.
Now you will need to slowly add the 3 3/4 Liters of water, mix, mix, mix.
Put the Lid on and let cool over night.  Now you need to mix well and put into your containers for use.  I suggest you shake before using, as it will gel.  But the more you mix the less it has the tendency to take on the texture of snot.  This doesn't bother me, it is effective, environmentally friendly and inexpensive to make.

TAAAADDDDAAAAAAAAA!  You just made Liquid Laundry Soap!  This Soap is low sudsing and safe to use with Top and Front Loaders.  I use about 1/4 cup per load and I have a top Loader.  You may want to use a bit more for a heavily soiled load. All the ingredients are safe, septic safe (we are on a septic system), natural and biodegradable. 

Just in case you missed my last post about the Powdered Laundry Soap:

White Vinegar makes a great fabric softener and eliminates odors.  I use a "Downey Ball" filled with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup and let it do its thing. 

So are you ready for a recipe for dishwasher detergent?
Mix equal parts of Borax, Washing Soda and Baking Soda and store in an Air tight container.  Use 2 TBsp per load.
Oh and did I mention that you need not purchase "jet dry"!  Just put white vinegar in the jet dry rinse agent dispenser!!!  Super Shiny dishes and it deodorizes your dishwasher too!!

Now for some info on the ingredients we used:

"Baking Soda: is a naturally occurring substance, created from the evaporation of Lake water in the hot desert climates.  This stuff was used in Ancient Egypt.  Baking soda chemically destroys grease and fat."  It freshens, clean and makes things sparkle!!

Borax:  "is the fifth element on the periodic table of elements. Carried by streams flowing out from the runoff of Nearby mountains during wet seasons, the mineral rich overflow becomes concentrated in temporary lakes  that then evaporate  in the barren desert climates.  Ultimately the concentration accumulates to produce the crystals we know as borax.    It is a great cleaning agent, weed killer, and disinfectant. "

Washing Soda: is a sodium of carbonic acid and is domestically well known for its everyday use as a water softener for laundry.  It effectively removes oil, grease, and alcohol stains from clothing.  Also great fro descaling.

White Vinegar: "No matter the origin-a first fermentation of sugar to alcohol, and then alcohol a second fermentation to vinegar.  Acetic Acid is born!"
It has been around for over 10,000 years and used by the ancients for cooking, cleaning and healing.
Vinegar neutralizes Alkaline soaps.  So it makes a great rinse agent.

Soap:  "consists of sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids and is obtained by reacting common oils or fats with a strong alkaline solution in a process known as saponification." " Soaps are useful for cleaning because soap molecules which dissolve in water. Although grease will normally adhere to skin or clothing, the soap molecules can form micelles  which surround the grease particles and allow them to be dissolved in water. Applied to a soiled surface, soapy water effectively holds particles in colloidal suspension so it can be rinsed off with clean water."

A lot of science I know!!


My next installment will include a how to on Homemade Liquid Hand Soap!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Winner's of my Earth Day Giveaway!

And the winner's are:

1st prize:  Katelyne Shuttleworth

2nd prize:  Margie of Hamsa Healing

3rd prize:  Jonah Wainberg

Thank you to all who entered!  I willing be doing more great giveaway's!

Chriss

Kreativ Blogger Award!!

I recently received this inspiring a Award from Junckshop.  You can check out her Etsy shop:http://www.etsy.com/shop/junck  and her Blog Here:  http://junckshop.blogspot.com/ 
She makes Jewelry and such by repurposing what would otherwise be thrown away!  Thank you for making my day!

By accepting the award, I must now complete the following 7 steps to give this award its proper respects!! They are:

1. Post the award on my blogspot.
2. Thank the person who gave it to me.
3. Link to the person who gave this to me.  See above!
4. Share a list of 7 things that you probably don't know about me... 

5. Choose 7 great bloggers to give the award to.
6. Share a link to their blogs.
7. Leave a comment on their blog.
Seven things you wanted to know about me......
1.  I crochet with my left hand.....so yes, when I write patterns I have to literally reverse some components!!! (not as easy as one might think.)
2.  I really detest Spiders in my house!  The kids will capture them (and any other insect!) and set them free outside.
3.  I am fanatical about my household recycling, I wash items that some people would throw out so that they can be recycled.  In my home, "If it can be recycled, it will be."
4.  I love Thrift Store jeans!  They are so comfortable and soft.  And I always find the style I need and want!
5.  I dream of world peace.  I dream of living beyond tolerance, I dream of humans accepting humans.
6.  I put as many vegetables in as many dishes as I can when I am cooking.  Sshhh!  Don't tell the kids or my husband!
7.  I love my life.  :D


Here are the Bloggers I have chosen to receive the award:
http://babazoobee.blogspot.com/

http://soapstarcanada.blogspot.com/
http://vaughnde.blogspot.com 
http://nuorganics.blogspot.com/ 
http://mckinleyscloset.blogspot.com/ 
http://tresbelleknits.blogspot.com/ 
http://adorebynat.blogspot.com/ 




I hope you all have some fun with this!!  :D

Friday, April 2, 2010

Zen Gardening: Reconnecting with your food!

I wish I could put into words how it feels to really provide for your family and no, I don't mean in a monetary sense.  This is probably one of the single most important things I do as a Mother, Wife, Woman and Human Being.   Not to mention, it seems in western society  this is becoming a forgotten way of life that is making a come back.  (Thank heavens!)

I am not a stay at home Mom. I am married to an awesome Husband., I work outside my home caring for our Elderly, I have my home based business "The Art of Zen.......Crochet",  I have 1 daughter aged 14, and Two boys ages 7 and 4.  I am busy, but being with my family, "providing" the best food I can grow and make for them is an absolute for me.  I am giving the gift of Nutrition and therefore "Health" to my children.  Not to mention,  I am passing these skills on to my children.

So how do I do it?  How do I make the best food a priority? We grow as much of our own food as we are capable, and every year we grow more.
 Are we Vegans or Vegetarians?  No, we eat meat.  We try to eat local meat and wild game.

The Truth is not everyone can or is even willing to grow a garden.  Understandably, not everyone  the has room or the time.  So what about community gardening?  One great program available in quite a few communities is a box program, where you have a "share" in a local farm.  Take your children blueberry or strawberry picking at a local farm.  Take the produce home, wash and can or freeze, or even better let the kids help you make freezer jam!  Its not hard.  Grow a Tomato plant on your patio, and enjoy going out to pick them and eat them right off the plant, still warm from the sun or make your own tomato sauce.  My children love being told to go into the garden and have snack.  We keep the hose handy to wash what they get, and they enjoy amazing food that they have helped us grow!

If you do plant a garden, don't do it alone, involve your family, ask them to help.
We could never get the garden planted without my children's help.  One of us will go along and make the holes for the seeds, another one will put the seeds in, then another will cover them up.  It gives my kids a wonderful sense of worth to be directly involved wit our well being as a family.  You don't need fancy equipment.  Just, the right soil for what you are planting, and an appropriate container or bed. 

Have you  ever been cooking a meal, and then decided to go get something out of your garden to add to that dish?  Bringing what you have grown or purchased locally to your table is such an amazing feeling!  It gives me true gratification, elation, satisfaction and zen to feed my family food we have produced our selves or has been grown locally.  I know it is "good food", that it will truly Nurture their bodies, and give them what they need.
Winter time?  Grow some sprouts in a jar, or lettuce on your window sill! 

Need more info on Gardening?  Our Elders our one of our best sources for tips on how to grow food.  Personally I have been lucky enough to learn from many Elders on how to grow my food.  Try contacting your local gardening center and see if they carry books written by Agriculturists in and for your area.  Your local library will have loads of books.  The Internet can also be a great source of information.  If you are new to gardening, pick only a few easy items to start with.  

Want to learn to cook and preserve your food?  Try searching for a "Community Kitchen"  Group or even check out the Health Food Stores in your area.  You can learn to make the most of a dollar, the art of bread making, baking, stews, soups, casseroles and so on.  Most often you can find groups will plan events such as canning, or learning to freeze your own produce for little to know cost.  You just bring your own supplies and food, and then get to learn how. 

Harvest time in the fall is when most of these groups get together.  But you could start your own.

So I am challenging you to try growing some of your own food and see what difference you can make.

Remember its about the journey, not the destination.

Happy Zen Gardening!

April Giveaway!

Here it is, my Giveaway for the month of April:




Lovely Lilac Triangle Scarf in Bamboo Yarn.
Bamboo is super soft and an amazing fiber to wear!
What you need to do to get a chance at winning this?

1.)  Become a follower of my blog, believe me it'll be worth while as there will be MONTHLY giveaways!)
2.) Email me @ theartofzencrochet@live.ca with your name and please put April giveaway in the subject line. 
That's it!  I will announce the winner at the end of April! 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Oh Canada Team Sale on Etsy!!

We are having an Easter sale on Etsy!  Simply search "ohcanadateam" on Etsy to find team members, search
 their shops for the Easter eggs in the listing photos, and you will get a sweet deal!  Sale Starts Sunday March 28 and ends April 5!  Each Store will have a different sale, so be sure to look for details.


Have Fun and Happy Easter
 from the Oh Canada Team!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Zen Cleaning: Homemade Laundry Detergent Powder

This Post is a recipe, review and why about Homemade Laundry Soap.  Its something I have been wanting  to try for a long time, for Multiple reasons.  Which I will take the time to list here:

- To Save $$, who honestly doesn't need to do this?
- To learn to be more self-sufficient,  I think we all take way too much advantage of "Modern Conveniences"
- To use natural products, that are tried, tested and true
- To know what I am exposing my family to
- To lessen my/our carbon footprint aka live greener
- To have another skill to pass on to my children
- To ease the stress on our septic system
- To not poison the water of those around me that also have wells
- To restore my "Zen Cleaning" (ie, getting rid of the negatives, and enjoying the mindfulness of cleaning, YES THIS IS POSSIBLE!!) 

I am sure there are more reasons.  So I started researching recipes online, most were basically the same: Bar soap, Borax, and Washing Soda.  I started delving more and more into the homemade laundry detergent I found more recipes for Fabric Softener, cleaners, and even dishwasher detergent!  The best part was most of the ingredients were the same!

I decided to try the powdered laundry soap first, because it seemed easiest and if it failed I wasn't at a major loss.  So here goes:

Grate 1/2 Bar of Fels Naptha Bar Soap ( I didn't use it because I couldn't find it) or Ivory, Sunlight, or whatever you like, I personally chose an Organic Lemongrass Soap that smelled pretty and doesn't irritate my skin
1 cup Of Borax 
1 cup of Washing Soda
1/2 cup of Baking Soda (maybe you want to use a whole cup if you have greasy clothes)

Add all of the above ingredients to your Food Processor and process until combined!  Easy huh?
Now you only need about 2 Tablespoons( if you have a "scoop" from protein powder, these work great) for a full load.

My review:
The soap dissolved easily, we use only cold water to wash our clothes, so this was a major plus!
My socks were definitely whiter.  My Clothes were clean, no grease stains on my shirts, everything looked clean.  My clothes were soft, not coarse or stiff.  I was not itchy, and I have sensitive skin.   This was very cost effective!

Homemade Fabric Softener!!!
I have never been a user of fabric softener, just seemed like a waste of $$ and I always found the scents over-powering.  But on my journey to find more recipes for Laundry Soap I found a great one for Fabric Softener.
Frankly, I fell in love with the idea, immediately.  Only problem was that I don't have a new washing machine with a fancy dispenser, and who ever remembers the rinse cycle?  Not, me!!!  So, I caved in a bought a "Downey ball" for $1.99 at the Grocery Store.

Recipe:
Vinegar 1/3-1/2 cup
Downey ball

Fill your Downey ball with vinegar, pull the top, toss it in the washer and walk away, it does the rest!

Review:
My towels were fluffier and softer. No Static cling.  Nothing smelt like vinegar either.  Very Cost effective!!!

Next:  Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap.  I will review it and then compare it to the powdered.

Enjoy your "Zen Cleaning"!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunshine Award

Here are the rules of this award...

1. Place the logo within your blog or post.
2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within the post.
4. Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blogs.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.
Thank you to http://redrubyonfire.blogspot.com/ for awarding this reward to me!!








My 12 nominees are:

babazoobee
eco friendly freckles
Twilight Earth
tresbelleknits
Musings of the Mod Menagerie
Peacock Tres Chic
SoapStar
Stampout Cancer
ilutegijaDesig
HappyBabyBunz
Jac-Ber Creations
Prairie Peasant


Friday, March 19, 2010

Sometimes trying something new is inspirational (and frustrating)

Yes, something new.  I have never in all the years I have been crocheting tried to do crocheted appliques.  I have listed one item,  it has some views and a few hearts, too.  Little did I know that applique would soon be application of perspective.  Here I was thinking that it would be easier to sew items and add crocheted appliques or pieces! 

Oh,  by the way, did I tell you?  I was wrong?!  I have been working on two items for what seems like weeks and I am still not done.  I have been enjoying the sewing and getting my skills back up to par.  But I never thought that combining the two would prove to be such an amazing challenge for me.
Going against the Grain has always been appealing to me.  Taking things to the next level.   
Now maybe you are wondering why I have this happy note to my entry? 
Because so often, when we embark on a new journey we only have the destination in mind.  And as you know this is just not the way to get the most out of life.  This journey has taught me so much about my skills, ones that are great and ones that need some work.  It challenges me to be better, to never be satisfied with my best, because my best is actually a matter of perspective.
So, try something new and give yourself the gift of new perspective! 
I love trying new things, even if weeks of work leads to utter failure, frankly it hasn't.  How many times have my ideas not worked out on one tangent but amazing led me to an idea that became a new pattern to sell or a design. 

So be fearless with your inspiration and ideas.  Treat each one as a delicate newborn that needs to be nurtured in order to grow and develop.  
Be passionate in your pursuits, you never know which one is gonna take you to the next level.

Now you tell me how trying to make a new item has taught me this much?  How did I find all this inspiration in material and yarn.

Approach all your projects with passion, even if that means a sharp pair of scissors and an inflamed temper!


Failure isn't failure, unless you give up entirely. 


Luv,
Chriss

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Whhoooohoooo!  Our Team made the Front Page on Etsy!!


We all couldn't be more pleased!  A big thank you to Splurge who was the creator of the Treasury.  :D

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Earth Day Giveaway!

April 22 2010 is Earth Day!  I am having a giveaway to celebrate!

Absolutely anyone can enter.  All I require is that you email me at theartofzencrochet@live.ca (please enter Earth Day Giveaway in the Subject Line) telling me what you do to go out of your way to live greener!  One entry per person please.  Deadline is April 20 2010 at 6pm PST.  (I will not sell, post or share your email with any one, or organization.   It is merely a way to contact you, should you win.)


1st prize:  One of my Caps made from Recycled T shirts!




2nd Prize:  1 Hemp Shopping Bag and Produce Bag

3rd Prize:  Hemp Dish Cloth and Scrubber Set

Please feel free to spread the word and please visit my Etsy shop to see more of my Earth Friendly Creations!
The Art of Zen.......Crochet @ http://www.etsy.com/shop/chrisssmith22

Please visit my Friend's Blog as she is having an amazing Jewelry Giveaway!
http://joanniel.blogspot.com/2010/02/jewellery-contest-giveaway.html

Please note pictures are for  exemplary purposes only and may not be the exact prize awarded

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hats, how I adore them!!!!

How I adore hats.  They can make or break an outfit.........Having an eco friendly hat to wear is really important to me.  My hemp hats are lovely, but hemp isn't always the best choice for a hat.  Hemp is beautiful, has lovely drape, but after washing it can be too drapey.  So I had some t shirts around.  (I do enjoy cutting things up).  And I came up with the t shirt newsboy caps.  ----->

But I wanted something a little more......Classic.

I had bought a pattern a while back from a designer I love, http://www.etsy.com/shop/stubbornwoman ,  and she allows you to sell items based on her patterns as long as she is credited with the design.  I love her shop.  she has some super classy hats.
Now,  I like to make things my own, in case you couldn't tell, and some times my ideas are a little off the beaten path.  I love to create mt own "take" on things.  So here is what I came up with;  a lovely flapper cloche  made from recycled t yarn. I enjoy making yarn from t shirts.  The only problem is making sure I have enough on a certain color to complete a project.
These hats are classy and fun.  Comfortable, breathable, washable, stiff but moldable.  You can fold it up and stash it in your bag, and when you are ready to put it on again it will look great!


Hats are a wonderful and fun accessory and you don't have to lower your standards when it comes to being "green".  More to come soon, so stay posted!

 ~Chriss~
P.S.  Thank you to all my new followers.  :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Fringe Benefits............

Well, now there has been so much going on in my little world in the past week or so.
I finally joined an Etsy Team.  Its called the Oh Canada Team.  http://team.etsy.com/viewteam.php?id=713
I am so ever glad I did!  I enjoy the interaction with other sellers daily.  The way everyone shares is so amazing.  Some do treasuries, other tweet (like me), so do features on blogs, other have really great tips on selling and advertising, everyone encourages and supports other team members.  It has been great.

My Charity Pattern got featured on a really great blog,  http://stampoutcancer.blogspot.com   So please check it out!  The Ladies who run this also run a shop on Artfire, where all proceeds are donated to Cancers of the Blood.  It really is amazing work that they are doing!  :)

I am doing a Virtual Craft Show with Cafe Handmade for the next 12 weeks to promote my Etsy shop, so please stop by and vote for me!  http://cafehandmade.com/index.php/2010/01/the-art-of-zen-crochet/

Or to join and do your own go here!  http://cafehandmade.com/index.php/join-virtual-craft-show/#usermessage2b

I am still working hard on my "Hemp for Home Collection" , so stay tuned and look for new items and patterns coming soon.

Over and out.

~Chriss~

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Just a little update on Our Charity Pattern...

I just wanted to let everyone know, that to date we have raised over $180.00 by Selling Our Charity pattern "a Scarf for Rainee".  You can purchase this pattern on Ravlery:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pattern-a-scarf-for-rainee-crochet-pattern-for-charity or at my Etsy shop:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/chrisssmith22


Thank you all for supporting our cause.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I need your help and support!!

I need your help and support!! 

I am trying to get my Brand out there! And I need your help. I make eco friendly accessories using hemp, bamboo, and cool recycled stuff. I am partaking in a challenge to get more advertising. If you would simply click the link and vote for me it would be a great help! Thank you for supporting my work! :) 

http://cafehandmade.com/index.php/2010/01/the-art-of-zen-crochet/

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lettuce on my window sill, Living the Handmade Life.......

I have never been one to crochet a dishcloth, but I have recently found myself doing many things I thought I was above doing.  The more this is happening, the more I am realizing that my business and I are evolving.


I want to crochet a dishcloth, and a dish towel, a market bag and a scrubbie for the dishes or scrubbing the bathtub all made from hemp.  And I want to use them and then if they pass all the tests, I want to offer them for sale in my shop.  I won't sell anything in my Etsy shop (or anywhere else, for that matter) that I myself will not use.

One of my tests is bringing to my business what I stand for personally: 
I don't buy windex, I use vinegar to wash my windows.  I don't buy tide or sunlight for the laundry, I use Buffalo Recycled Soap ( Local company that recycles bar soap from hotel rooms and make it into laundry soaps.)  I grow sprouts and lettuce on my window sill most of the year.  I start my tomatoes indoors from seed in February.  I compost.  My kids wear hand-me-downs. I make my daughter guacho capris out of recycled t shirts and tank tops, she loves them.  I love thrift store shopping.  I eat purple potatoes I grew in my garden (they taste the same and are so pretty).  I eat seasonally,  I buy my food grown as close to home as possible.  I make my own freezer jam with local honey, and my own berries.  I cook from scratch, everyday.  My husband makes his own sausage, smoked salmon, and pepperoni.  I live in the countryside.  I recycle anything and everything I can.  I don't change my home decor for the sake of doing it.  I love making my prized possessions last.........    


So is born my eco friendly home line,  I will be eventually offering a pattern collection for those DIYer's.  It all takes time and I want to do really thorough job of it.

Carpe Diem!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Free Lacey Crochet Scarf Pattern


Free Lacey Scarf Pattern!

I recently made this for a customer, it turned out so elegant and lovely I decided to share it on my blog.

You will need:
approximately 330 yards of Dk or worsted weight yarn ( I used AllHemp6 in Aubergine)
size 9 mm and 4.5 mm crochet hooks
Darn needle
Gauge:  Not really to important as this is lacey.
I suggest if you need to join in this scarf because you need more than one ball of wool, do the join on the stitch at the beginning or ending of a row so the end can be woven into the Sc edge.  
with larger hook
Row 1:  Chain 20,  sc in second chain from hook, *skip 2 chain, 5 dc in next chain, skip 2 chain, sc in next chain, repeat from * 2 more times.  3 shells.
Row 2:  Chain 3, 2 dc in first sc, *skip 2 dc, sc in next dc, skip 2 dc, 5 dc in next sc,  repeat from * 1 more time, then skip 2 dc, sc in next  dc, skip 2 dc, 3 dc in last sc.  2 full shells, and 2 1/2 shells.
Row 3: Chain 1, sc in first dc, *skip 2 dc, 5 dc in next sc, skip 2 dc, sc in next dc, repeat from * 2 times more.

Repeat row's 2 & 3 to desired length.  The length of the Scarf I made was about 60" long.
Fasten off.  Do not weave in ends.
Sc Edging:  With smaller hook:
Row 1:  Join with a sc to any stitch, (except a corner),  you will now work 2 sc in each stitch, 3-4 sc in each corner, some of the stitches that are smaller may only require 1 sc, you will want the edge to lay fairly flat, it shouldn't ruffle.  If you find the edge ruffling, try working 1sc in one stitch and then 2 sc in next and repeat that pattern. 

I hope you enjoy this pattern and Happy Crafting!!
You may use this pattern for personal use only, not for items to be sold.