November 30, 2008 at 6:58 pm (Artisan Stories, Bambootique, Events, Fair Trade Products, Gift Ideas, Portland area)
This weekend Lake Oswego holds its 4th annual Holiday Market. The two-day market features holiday crafts, local vendors, entertainment, festive food and drink and an all around great time. Bambootique is proud to participate for the first time this year. Stop by and check out our fair trade gifts from around the world.
As I write this blog post I’m in Tegucigalpa, Honduras visiting a co-op of Lencan women who make jewelry for Bambootique. I’ll have some of the best pieces featured for the first time at the Lake Oswego Holiday Market, so be sure to come by and see them for yourself.
Lake Oswego Holiday Market
Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7
West End Building, 4101 Kruse Way, Lake Oswego
Admission is free!
Everyday Just Living Home
November 26, 2008 at 2:27 pm (Artisan Stories, Bambootique, Caring for the Planet, Fair Trade Products, Gift Ideas)
Antigua, Guatemala is one of my favorite little cities in the world. With cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture and fantastic handicraft shopping, it’s a traveler’s dream.
A few years ago, before I founded Bambootique, I picked up this gorgeous blue candle at a little corner shop by the city’s famous arch. I was drawn to the candle not only because its color and texture were unlike any other but because it claimed to help preserve the cloud forest. I didn’t really know then what that meant, but I bought it and when I returned home gave it to my dear friend Lisa as a birthday present.
Fast forward a year or so when I established Bambootique. I was on the hunt for great fair trade products and remembered that candle. I called up Lisa and thankfully she still had the candle and its wrapper, which connected me with Proyecto Eco-Quetzal, a Guatemalan non-profit that sells the candles.
Now candles from Proyecto Eco-Quetzal are one of the central product lines for Bambootique. They embody every value central to my company. First of all, they are incredibly beautiful candles. They are produced primarily by skilled women. They are a traditional craft of the Mayan people. They are produced in a community village setting. They are 100% natural vegetable wax and dyes, with no added scent and lead-free cotton wicks. The best part is, these candles really do save the native cloud forest of Guatemala.
The candles’ wax comes the seeds of a native tree, the arrayan tree. The seed pods are collected and cooked to extract their natural wax. Because of the economic possibilities of these trees, the native people are fighting to keep their forest intact rather than cut it down to make farmland. The arrayan tree also happens to be part of the native habitat of a Guatemalan bird, the quetzal, hence the organization’s name. Both the trees and the bird have been threatened in the past, so the work of Proyecto Eco-Quetzal and its Mayan artisans is essential in preserving both.
Check out the full line of eco-friendly candles from Proyecto Eco-Quetzal here.
Everyday Just Living Home
November 24, 2008 at 2:01 pm (Caring for the Planet)
Quick fact: 19 million trees are cut down every year just to produce phonebooks. When was the last time you even opened one? If you’re online and reading this blog my guess is you, like me, can’t even remember.
Any phonebook delivered to our house immediately bypasses the front door and goes straight into the recycling bin. I hate them and have no need for them since http://www.switchboard.com or http://www.yellowpages.com do the same thing. If you’ve been wondering how to stop getting those pesky piles of paper phonebooks go to http://www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org/stop-yellow-pages/ and opt out. They’ll notify your local provider of yellow and white pages.
Thanks to my cousin-in-law Paula for this great tip!
November 21, 2008 at 11:42 am (In the News, Microloans, Women's issues)
A few years ago I discovered a print magazine that made me want to cry it was so good. The first few issues of World Pulse magazine were so inspiring I read them from cover to cover in one sitting. The magazine focused completely on women’s issues and stories from around the globe, unlike any other women’s magazine I had ever seen. There were stories about orphans in Africa and global midwives. Other articles discussed women’s roles in the global fight on terror and drug wars, and women’s involvement in shaping the political landscape of South America. Everything I read was very grassroots and looking at the lives of everyday women around the world, especially although not exclusively in the developing world. I was thrilled that founder Jensine Larsen had stepped out to produce such a publication and filled a glaring void in our news media.
From their website,
World Pulse is a global media organization dedicated to broadcasting the untapped voices and innovative solutions of women worldwide.
After just two issues of this fabulous publication, my subscription stopped arriving. I learned sadly the magazine was doing restructuring and was taking things online, at least for the short-term. This month though, the print magazine comes back and I can’t wait!
World Pulse is offering free issues of their next debut edition. You can request yours on their website. Features include:
- How women are transforming global communication using new media and cell phones
- Women leaders on the future of microfinance
- Women shaping the face of the coffee industry
- Articles will link to the World Pulse community site: PulseWire.net, so readers can jump into the story and directly connect with featured leaders
November 19, 2008 at 2:40 pm (Caring for the Planet, Green Baby, Green Kids, Saving Money)
As mom to an energetic toddler, I face a common dilemma – how many toys does one toddler need? The ones we have can get boring at times, especially as the weather gets colder and we’re stuck inside more. But how much money do I have to shell out for new, fun, educational toys that I know she’ll outgrow in a matter of months? On top of that, I struggle with the environmental impact of all those resources (wood or plastic) for toys that are used for a short time. We do buy a lot of used toys from garage sales and consignment stores, but I don’t like to have so many toys at once that they take over the house.
That’s why when I discovered Baby Plays, I signed up immediately. Baby Plays is essentially Netflix for toys. It’s a mom-owned business through which you rent toys for a month or two at a time and when you’re done, you pack them up, send them back and get a box of new (to you) toys!
The system is simple. First you set up a wishlist of twenty toys you’d like from their great selection of hundreds of toys. You pick from a variety of plans (based on number of toys, how long you get to keep them, etc). Then after about a week your first box shows up!
I signed up for a bi-monthly plan of 5 toys at a time. It’s $27.99/ month so I’m paying about $54 to rent five toys for two months, including shipping. That certainly saves me money from if I were to buy all those toys new – our first shipment contained toys worth $135, based on a quick calculation on amazon.com. With Baby Plays I can pick toys that I want (instead of what happens to be for sale at that day’s garage sale!) plus I get to send them back when we’re done. I do not want to have a house so overrun with toys we run out of storage space, plus I love that we’re reducing our consumption of natural resources.
Our first delivery contained a toy camera, a wooden puzzle, a Curious George hammering table, a small play house complete with doll, table and chairs, and a parking garage with three cars. Grace loves all the toys and they are all unlike any toys she already has, so she’s still having a great time even though we’ve had them for about three weeks now.
My daughter Grace now gets very excited any time a box arrives at our door, yelling “toys toys!” Try explaining to a 21-month old that she’ll have to wait two months for the next delivery!
November 17, 2008 at 3:29 pm (Bambootique, Eco-fashion, Fair Trade Products, Gift Ideas, On Being a Business Owner, Portland area)
I’m throwing a big THANK YOU out to all of you who attended Bambootique‘s Holiday Fair Trade Trunk Show this weekend. Over 70 of you attended and it was a great mix. We had everyone from babies to moms to grandmas plus husbands, neighbors, and out-of-town guests! An especially big thank you to those of you who brought friends or family and introduced them to Bambootique for the first time. The more people learn about fair trade, the better for all the artisans involved.
If you’d like to attend the next trunk show, contact me and I’ll make sure you’re notified. Trunk shows are held twice a year, once in the spring (April/ May) and again in November.
A big thank you also to Connie, Mary Lee, Kecia, Becky, Karin S., Megan, Karen P. and Katie, who all helped me prep the week before as well as during the event itself. I couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you also to my long-suffering husband Steve and my daughter Grace, who put up with a house-turned-showroom for three days. Finally thank you to these fair trade companies who all donated free samples and/ or literature to the goodie bags, which every attendee took home to enjoy after the show.
Trunk Show Photo Gallery
November 14, 2008 at 9:05 pm (Bambootique, Fair Trade Coffee)
While visiting a winery in southern Oregon this summer, my husband and I picked up a bag of locally roasted coffee. We were intrigued when we read that the coffee beans came from one of the Ethiopian co-ops featured in the movie Black Gold. We bought the bag and it. was. delicious.
The coffee was rich and smooth and dark, which is what we love in a good coffee. It was roasted by Noble Coffee Roasters located in Talent, Oregon (Rogue Valley), so when we ran out I emailed their owner, Jared Rennie, to see how I could get some more. Turns out the Harar is a single origin coffee which Noble roasts only once every twelve weeks. Jared suggested I get on their mailing list so I would be notified the next time they roasted it. After much waiting and much sub-par coffee in the meantime, my shipment of Harar whole beans arrived today! I breathed in the aroma as soon as I opened the box and tomorrow morning I expect to enjoy a cup of heavenly bliss!
The great news is, the coffee arrived just in time for Bambootique’s trunk show this weekend! If you’re in the Portland area and are planning on stopping by, I’ll be brewing my new favorite fair trade coffee and sharing it with you.
You can order Noble coffee yourself through their website. If you try it, let me know if you loved it as much as I did!
November 10, 2008 at 8:48 pm (Bambootique, Events, Fair Trade Products, Gift Ideas, Green Kids, Portland area)
I grew up going to the Nutcracker ballet every Christmas. I loved the magic of the performance and still hang on my tree a ballerina Christmas ornament my mom bought me one year following the show.
Just in time for this weekend’s trunk show, I got in these Nutcracker Sweet (not a typo) lipbalms from Anti-Body. They are made from fair trade shea butter and coconut oil, essential oils and nothing artificial. A bit sweeter than their Chocolate Raspberry and Peppermint cousins, this set of three includes Strawberry, Chocolate Hazelnut and Plum. Yum! Each tube represents a different character from the beloved Nutcracker Suite.
Anti-Body also makes luxurious body lotions, bath fizzers, and body soaps, all using organic, fair trade ingredients, no parabens or other harmful chemicals and only essential oils for fragrance. They smell fantastic and it’s all thanks to nature, not to harsh chemicals, plus your skin just drinks it all in.
Anti-Body’s products are available on Bambootique‘s site and will be available to try and buy this weekend, Nov. 15 and 16th, at our Holiday Fair Trade Trunk Show at my home in Tualatin. The public is welcome, just email me for address and directions.
November 7, 2008 at 11:30 am (Bambootique)
Social networking is all the rage and I am completely addicted to Facebook. I’ve found old friends from as far as back as my high school days in Australia! It’s a fun social platform and I’ve taken my involvement a step further by creating a page for Bambootique. Become a fan and show your love of fair trade to all your friends!
I’m using the page to upload new product photos as they come in, put up pictures of our artisans so you can see the faces behind our great fair trade products, this blog feeds into the page, plus I’m posting any new info about upcoming events. You can see who else in your community loves Bambootique from the list of fans, which is growing every day. If you have other ideas of what you’d like to see on the Bambootique Facebook page, just leave me a comment here.
Now go become a fan of Bambootique on Facebook!
November 6, 2008 at 1:07 pm (Bambootique, Eco-fashion, Events, Fair Trade Products, Gift Ideas, Portland area)
Next weekend (Nov. 15 and 16) will be my third annual holiday fair trade trunk show. Every year it gets bigger and better with more fab products to choose from plus just more all-around fun. This time around I’m adding free swag bags and a kids’ corner with snacks and toys to keep little ones busy while you shop.
I just got in these incredibly soft alpaca wool scarves from Bolivia. Aren’t they gorgeous? They really pop with their bright colors plus I’m a big fan of the unexpected geometric shapes. This first one show below is my favorite. They’ll all be front and center at the show right when you walk in, and I doubt they’ll last long.
Trunk Show Details:
When: Open house style, come any time during the dates/ times listed below
Saturday Nov. 15 10am-4pm
Sunday Nov. 16 1-5pm
Location: My home in Tualatin, Oregon (email me at beth at shopbambootique dot com for address/ directions)