100% Organic Cotton Fabrics
For home sewers, businesses, retailers, and anyone who gives a scrap!
Meet the Team: NearSea Naturals
This is a first in our Meet the Team series showcasing the fabulous retailers who stock and sell our fabrics.
Last month I took a trip to the Carolinas. One of the highlights was getting to meet the people at NearSea Naturals. NearSea Naturals was founded by Winnie Culp and her daughter Tara Bloyd in 2002! NearSea Naturals is one of the original organic fabric suppliers in the USA.
To quote NearSea: "With our focus on the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Profit, we endeavor to make those choices easier and more enjoyable by carefully selecting sustainable fabrics, yarns, notions, and goods as delightful to work with as they are beneficial to people and the planet."
In 2010, they launched their sister site: American Grown•Spun•Milled which focuses entirely on USA produced fabrics, from seed to shelf. When it come to living and breathing your convictions, NearSea Naturals tops the charts.
Why a picture of these dapper shoes? Well, these are Tim's work shoes. What? Huh? See, when Laura, Debbie and Tim get to work they take their outside shoes off and put on their work shoes. Yes, it's a bit like Mr. Roger's Neighboorhood (but in a good way!). These guys take contamination seriously! The area that houses the fabric is kept as sterile and sanitary as possible. Yes, I removed my shoes before entering the "fabric zone".
Laura does the cleaning each week and when she mops, the mop water in the "fabric zone" is perfectly clear unlike the front room where "outside shoes" are worn. She says the difference between the water is staggering. Hummmm....maybe my house needs to be a shoe free zone too?
What sets NearSea Naturals apart in my mind is their thorough thoughtfulness. They stringently assess not just the fabrics they purchase but the manner in which they are handled and treated in their care. The warehouse team (above) were so kind and lovely. I am sincerely grateful to have them on the Harmony Art team. The world is a better (and cleaner!) place with NearSea in it!
Now, how about hoping over to their Facebook page and "liking" them (American Grown•Spun•Milled has one too: https://www.facebook.com/OrganicCotton). If you have ordered from NearSea Naturals feel free to leave a comment about your experience. If you haven't yet, go check 'em out!
Check out Timmy T-Rex made with Chili Pepper Red Flannel and Space Cowboy Red/Green by Pauline at Funky Friends Factory! It's it great?! There will be three winners selected. You might win Timmy, or fabric + pattern or the pattern. Just bop on over to the Funky Friends Factory blog for entry and details. Note: Giveaway ends on Monday, January 23rd.
Funky Friends Factory specializes in simple soft toy patterns. The business is based in Australia but all the patterns can be purchased and downloaded instantly via pdf. By signing up for Funky Friends Factory newsletter, you can get a FREE Honey Teddy pattern.
While we are on the subject of giveaways, Monkey See, Monkey Do is giving away some of our knit fabrics... enough to make your very own version of this "yoga skirt" which features our Apricot interlock paired with our Solstice Interlock. If you have always been curious about knits but have been afraid to try them here's your opportunity.
So check out Monkey See, Monkey Do and enter to win. Note: Giveaway ends Tuesday, January 24th.
Good Luck! Happy Sewing!
The Gratitude Challenge
Since December 1999, we (husband and I) have been marking every new year with a gratitude list. Our challenge is to create a list of things we are grateful for that equals the year we are entering. The list must be completed by midnight on Dec. 31st. So, this year we came up with 2,012 things we are thankful for. Over the years, the challenge has morphed and changed. It went from a one night marathon event to a list we begin on Thanksgiving each year. Also, my dear friend Mary Sue has become a VERY important contributor to the list and we electronically pass the list back and forth until we collectively meet our goal.
If you have been following my blog closely, you may have seen that for the last five years I have offered a FREE ROLL of fabric to the first person to send me a gratitude list equaling the current year. I have not imposed a due date but have offered it simply to the first person to complete and share their list with me. In five years, I have had just one winner/ entry. On November 16, 2010, Tania completed her list of 2,010 things she was grateful for and selected as her FREE ROLL our Solstice printed interlock.
I am offering the Gratitude Challenge again this year! Be the first person to send me a list of 2,012 thoughtful things you are thankful for and win a FREE roll of organic cotton fabric. The fine print: the free roll must be chosen from my "limited release" fabrics (scroll down for list) and although the entire roll (approx. 50 yards) is FREE, the recipient is responsible for the shipping (UPS ground) charges.
I am grateful for the people who read this blog and for any entries I may receive. I guarantee this challenge, if you undertake it, will improve your mood.
Here's lookin' at you kid.
Paul in his element: up north + camera
This months marks the 7th anniversary of Harmony Art organic design. It seems unreal to me. Can it be? Really? WOW!
I can still vividly remember being in Michigan in January 2005, witnessing the "glorious transition to a freer life" of my father-in-law, Paul Susalla. He died on his 66th birthday, 7 years ago today. His passing was peaceful, calm and beautiful. We should all be so lucky to be at home surrounded by so much love.
If I hadn't quit my job to start Harmony Art I would have been in Germany attending the Heimtextil show rather than being in snowy Michigan with my family during this sacred passage. The timing has always felt like a confirmation of my decision.
This time of great sorrow will always be intimately woven into the start of the Harmony Art journey. Although I never told Paul about my new business idea/venture (it seemed so inconsequential in the moment) his illness helped inspire it. In the face of life's frailty, I was motivated to reflect and to act.
I miss Paul. I think he would be really proud of what we have accomplished. How I wish I could be celebrating another anniversary with him. When this time of year comes around it always feels bitter sweet.
To quote Mark Twain:
"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Life is short. Make your journey a great one! Thank YOU for SEVEN amazing years.
I want to introduce you to Debra Lynn Dadd who has been called the "Queen of Green. Debra's knowledge of how to live a toxic free life is not just theoretical; she has lived it and has lovingly been sharing what she has learned for more than 30 years! In honor of her recently published book, I asked if she would like to do a guest blog post for us.
I have long been a fan of Harmony Art Organic Design because toxic fabrics played a part in disabling my health, and I greatly appreciate that Harmony has created safe, organic fabrics that are also colorful and beautiful.
Back in the late 1970s my body became very ill from a multitude of exposures to toxic chemicals in my home from various consumer products—not that my home was any more toxic than any other American home, but even the average level of toxic chemical exposure was too much for my immune system, to the point where I could barely function in life.
One of the most surprising sources of toxic chemicals I found was the very sheets I was sleeping on every night. They were made from a polyester/cotton blend, coated with a permanent press resin that released formaldehyde day and night. One of my symptoms at the time was insomnia. Imagine my surprise when I learned that one of the symptoms associated with formaldehyde exposure is insomnia! Here we have bedsheets that cause insomnia and sales of sleeping pills are higher than ever before (in 2008, the New York Times reported that about 42 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled in 2007, up nearly 60 percent since 2000). I wasn’t taking sleeping pills, but it made sense to me that if formaldehyde on bedsheets caused insomnia, and I couldn’t sleep, I should just find some sheets without formaldehyde. It wasn’t easy to find formaldehyde-free sheets in 1978, but one brand did exist (no organic sheets at all then). I put them on my bed and I finally was able to sleep.
What an awakening! I not only saw that if I replaced one toxic product with a nontoxic alternative that symptoms could disappear, but I also realized that this disabling condition I was in could have been prevented in the first place if I had been using products in my home that were not toxic.
I did regain my health by removing all the toxic chemicals from my home that I could identify and replacing them, one by one, with nontoxic alternatives. And I began to write about toxic chemicals in consumer products and how to choose safe products. I felt everyone should know that toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products could make them sick, and that they have a choice to create a toxic-free home.
Now, thirty years later, I’ve written seven books, have a huge website, and the world is catching up with me. More than ever before the general public is becoming aware of the toxic chemicals we are exposed to in daily life. Today we have safe choices available for every product we regularly use in our homes. It’s just a matter of making the decision to live toxic-free and doing it.
Thanks Debra!! The world is a better (and less toxic) place with you in it! I have recently finished reading Toxic Free and I for one, learned a lot! We expect that if it is on a store shelf it is safe, but the sad fact is that it just isn't the case. The good news is that her book isn't all doom and gloom but is more an easy to read guide book to live a less toxic (and fuller) life.
NOTE: Debra is graciously offering her book at 30% off - $15.95 plus shipping AND you can get an autographed copy! Just place your order directly by calling Debra at 727-466-6812 or email her and mention Harmony Art. In addition to her books, Debra also maintains a web site directory of more than 1000 Non toxic products, offers personal consultations, a Q & A resource, hosts Toxic Free Talk Radio (I was a guest on her inaugural 12-hour marathon), speaking around the country and much more! WHEW!! Talk about one busy woman!
On a side note, if you are looking for organic sheets and bedding (and MANY other items) you can check out our products page or contact one of our retailers and make your own. Since Harmony Art organic cotton sateens are wide width (110") they are perfect for NON TOXIC sheets. Sweet Dreams.
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.