100% Organic Cotton Fabrics
For home sewers, businesses, retailers, and anyone who gives a scrap!
Meet Giraffa O'keefe - an eye pillow created by Herbal Animals. The fabric is a 100% GOTS certified organic cotton interlock. This fabric was a co-creation with Herbal Animals founder, Lauren. She wanted a giraffe design so we worked together to create a design that would work for her needs and then had it hand screen printed at a GOTS certified facility in India. She took half of the production run into her business and I have been selling the rest through Harmony Art. I love this co-creating process and am always happy to help people bring their vision to life.
I also LOVE LOVE LOVE witnessing the creative ways that different people use our organic fabrics in different ways! Stay tuned to our next blog post (I promise I'll get it up soon!) . . . where I will introduce you to Tamika our newest brand ambassador who has a whole new take on how to bring this Giraffe fabric to life.
Meanwhile, if you have a fabric concept you want help getting materialized (pun intended!), feel free to contact me. Let's talk!
Mothers are Marvelous!
Mother's Day is just around the corner. I am grateful we have a holiday for giving thanks and honor the Mothers in the world. My mom and I have had our share of rocky times but I LOVE HER SO MUCH and am SUPER HAPPY to have her in my life!
One of the newest companies to use Harmony Art organic fabrics is Aquarian Bath and they are offering something special right now. All you have to do is leave a comment on their blog and you are entered to win one of their flaxseed pillows (photo below). These pillows are the perfect thing to bring warmth and comfort for you and your mom. The pillows can go in the microwave for warmth or be stored in the freezer for use as a cold pack.
Not only do you have a chance to win a made-to-order lavender, lavender- rose, lavender-spearmint or unscented flaxseed pillow but the winner will win 2! One for YOU and one for your mom (or favorite mom).
Aquarian Bath uses USDA Organic flaxseed and USDA Organic scented herbs for their pillows. Just bounce on over to Aquarian Bath's blog for a chance to win. NOTE: deadline for entry is May 5th so don't delay!
Cheers to ALL the mothers in the world we truly won't be here without YOU!
Making Lemonade . . .
My dad had this poster back in the 70's. I have to admit as a young person it sort of grossed me out that the lemonade was pouring out of the guys nose. Frankly, I didn't get this at all.
Now, as an adult I get the sentiment (I still think the visual is gross).
Last week I had the unpleasure/pleasure of "making lemonade". We live in the woods. You can not see a neighbor in any direction. We love the remoteness but it means sometimes sharing our space with not-so-welcome friends.
In this case, the intruders were mice. They let themselves in and snacked on my pot holders. My first reaction was...
My second reaction was. . .
Now I have a perfect reason to invest in some new organic pot holders and oven mitts.
So I did just that. I ordered 2 sets from A Greener Kitchen. Aren't they lovely? What an improvement. "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" Indeed.
I fell in love with these simple little button hair clips when I saw them at Anthology in Madison, WI. I purchased one at their store and then tracked down the maker, dainty daisies and contracted her to make me my own set of Harmony Art organic cotton button hair clips. I sent her swatches of the fabric to use and this is what came back!
Aren't they lovely! They came packed in this sweet little box.
Michelle normally uses scraps from the clothing she creates to make these button clips but she made an exception for me. (THANK YOU!) I'd call that upcycling - turning a scrap into a colorful hair clip.
Dainty daisies has a brick and mortar location of their own in Appleton, Wisconsin. They also have a blog you might like to check out.
I just love all the crafty, creative, beautiful women & mother entrepreneurs. Three cheers for small independent designers!
I'm going to Graceland . . .
Graceland Black/White is now in stock and available from NearSea Naturals, Stitch Simple Organic Cotton Plus and Pure Fabricz. I look forward to your feedback on this new muslin organic fabric and colorway. What do you think?
Have you ever wondered how designs are selected and how come a particular colorway comes to be? Well, in this particular case, you can all thank Hot Mama Gowns! The founder and designer, Deidrea, contacted me and wanted a new black and white design for her beautiful nursing gowns. She looked through our password protected library of designs and selected Graceland and asked that I color it in black and white.
By splitting the production run with me, it allowed Deidrea to get the fabric she was wanting at a lower production commitment than is normally required. It also allowed me to offer this fabric to you.
By doing more what I call "custom runs" we hope to support the needs of the businesses we serve as well as bring more color and variety to the organic cotton world as a whole. If you have a business and want to work together to bring something special to life, feel free to contact me.
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.
It's a SMALL WORLD after all. . .
Ok, you asked for it... How did I end up having lunch in Timber Cove with Laurie and Tony from Sapphire International Ltd. (the makers of the Breganwood brand organic towels)? Well, the connection started in Kansas City. I was a keynote speaker for the Surface Design Association's annual conference (Off the Grid*). I was the first speaker of the week long events which is my favorite place in the line up since after that I can relax and enjoy the experience without my nerves getting in the way.
Well, I believe it was the following night, I was approached by a lovely woman who said (paraphrasing) "I could have given your lecture." Pardon me? "Truly, your story of feeling fed up with mass market and leaving to do your own more thoughtful thing, that's me too!" The conversation continued and I must admit our lives were pretty synched. No, Jennifer Libby Fay doesn't have an organic cotton line of fabric, but she did design for mass market (like me) and she left that world to create her own-one-of-a-kind fine art. She lived part time in Fayetteville, AK and part time in Bodega Bay, CA.
Now, the odds of anyone attending the lecture in Kansas City knowing where Gualala, CA is were slim . . . but having someone actually live a mere 1.25 hours away in another small coastal town was really quite extraordinary. So, how does this relate to Sapphire and China production? Well, Jennifer's husband is a mover and shaker with his own green line of kitchen products. Jennifer felt we should meet. It was Bill who eventually introduced me to Laurie and Tony over Caesar salad with pacific salmon overlooking the coast at a restaurant midway between Bodega Bay and Gualala. Laurie and Tony were on a business trip from Hong Kong and I had the good fortune of our chance meeting.
That lunch happened exactly 2 years ago today, October 18th, 2009. As my hubby always says, "You never know where a conversation may lead." In this case from Kansas City to California, Australia to China and then some.
*Note: They recorded the event and you can purchase a DVD recording of my talk and the others from the conference, in case you are interested.
Shower Curtain Success!
I do NOT like vinyl shower curtains. I use to design them for places like WalMart and Target. I can still vividly remember the smell that accompanied the samples that would arrive. They off-gas terrifically -- a sure sign of toxic chemicals invading the air you breathe.
We have an odd (deep) shower in our house and I have been looking for the perfect NON-vinyl liner for quite some time. You may remember my post about making a Tyveks one last year. Well, that worked for a while but the Tyveks molded and ended up not being a good solution. It came out of the shower super wrinkly and I didn't dare iron it and they did not disappear when the curtain got wet.
This summer I took the Tyveks one down and replaced it with my own organic cotton sateen fabric.
I used our Vein organic cotton sateen fabric. As many of you know by now, I do not sew so this curtain liner was made without a sewing machine! I knew I didn't want hems to trap extra water and hold moisture so I simply used the selvages as the top and bottom and tore (yep you read it correctly) the sides. The only tool I did use was to apply the grommets. If you know how to make a button hole I am sure that would have worked just as well.
I have been SUPER impressed with how quickly the fabric dries. It lets no water through and it can easily be tossed in the washing machine if you want to freshen it up. I don't have to iron it. If it has a few wrinkles, I just spray it down the next time I am in the shower and voila - no more wrinkles. I truly believe that organic cotton sateen (light weight) IS the answer to toxic vinyl shower curtains.
What do you use?
Working with China? YES!
When I attended my first All Things Organic conference and trade show back in 2004, I rode the bus back to our hotel with a buyer from China. We got to talking, he owned a natural foods store in China. I asked him why he came all the way to Chicago to source products for his store. Couldn't you get anything you needed in China? I have never forgotten his response: "They'll lie to you and tell you it is organic but it isn't." Oh my. That answer from a Chinese man about his own country's organics convinced me to steer clear of Chinese produced organic fabrics.
I have been approached by many "organic" fabric producers from overseas in the last 6 years. It only takes 2 questions: "What is your organic cotton fabric certified to?" and "Who is your certifier?" If they can't answer those basic questions I know they are clueless at best and potential frauds at worst.
Then I met Laurie and Tony from Sapphire International Ltd.. (Our meeting was one of those incredible small world experiences -- too long to go into here -- but if you are interested post a comment and I will post that story later.) As we ate lunch at the Timber Cove Inn there was an instant connection. Not only were they also members of the OTA, they knew about GOTS. They had been to the same Organic Exchange (now the Textile Exchange) conference I had. These were not phonies. They knew their stuff. We commiserated and collaborated, brainstormed and shared stories. They showed me videos of their weaving facility (in China) and explained the process.
When they asked me to create an Australian animal theme towel collection for their Breganwood label of course I said YES. Now, I must admit, I am a print designer by trade....NOT a woven designer so this was uncharted territory for me. Add to the complexity that they were experimenting with a NEW 4 color Jacquard weaving technique and it was an uphill battle getting the design figured out. The learning curve on this project was exceptionally steep but many emails and skype conversations later.... you can see the finished product above and below. I think we both learned a lot.
From the moment we met, I was impressed with Laurie and Tony. I am confident in their ethics and their commitment to true organic production. Yep, an Australian themed organic towel, designed in California and woven in China. It's true, textiles are indeed a global industry and there are good, honest, thoughtful people EVERYWHERE!
For your chance to win one of these cozy towels, just "like" Breganwood on facebook and then leave a comment on which Jacquard towel is your favorite before Sept. 30th. They will also have a booth at the upcoming ABC show in KY (booth 4402). Feel free to stop by and tell them hello if you are attending the show.
Mark your calendar or set your PVR! Diedrea Haysel, founder of Hot Mama Gowns will be on ABC'S Reality Show "Shark Tank" April 29th at 8pm ET. Hot Mama Gowns use Harmony Art organic fabrics exclusively in their line of 100% Organic Cotton hospital maternity gowns.
Here's a link to the press release. We'll have to tune in to find out what happens on the show.
I know where I will be on the last Friday night in April!
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.