Here is the link to ReUsies new blog – we are hosting the blog on our own site now!!
Here is the link to ReUsies new blog – we are hosting the blog on our own site now!!
I mentioned in an earlier post that my family owns a cabin on a lake about 80 miles from home. This cabin has a large gravel area for parking but no one bothered to lay down a weed barrier before they put the gravel down so it is a giant weed patch that we can’t mow. I know there a lot of you out there with your own giant weed patches wondering what to do and I am here to tell you I found the answer: Read below…
Of course my mom and dad think I should dump a few gallons of Round Up out there and call it a day (I think my mom’s exact words were “poison is good”). I can’t bring myself to do that since there are fish, salamanders, turtles, snakes, and more importantly my kids, that live in the water all summer long. The lake is about 50 feet from our weed patch and I might as well pour the Round Up directly into it. I did some research on-line and the only answers I found weren’t too helpful. There are two things that come up time and time again when you Google “natural weed killers”, the first is boiling water from a tea kettle. Really? Don’t you think if the patch was so small I could cover it with a tea kettle’s worth of water I would just yank the things out myself? The second option, which I have actually tried at home with limited success, was vinegar. Again, my area is just too big, even for the Costco sized vinegar bottle.
So here is what did work – a blow torch, or flame thrower if you prefer. I was talking to a friend whose neighbor chooses this type of weed control and so I took a chance and bought “The Inferno” at Lowes. I hooked this wand up to the propane tank from our gas grill and I was off. I must admit I felt a bit like Rambo out there burning all of the weeds up but it worked like a charm! A couple of caveats though: It is great for a big gravel parking lot, but not sure I’d use it around my home or anything else flammable. Also, choose your footwear wisely. In hindsight I guess Crocs probably weren’t the best choice. The soles now look like a piece of pizza covered with melted cheese. Nonetheless, I highly recommend this method – it was fairly inexpensive (about the same price as a big bottle of weedkiller), it was quick, it was easy, and it makes you feel really tough when you’re using your flame thrower:). Best of all though, was knowing that I wasn’t using any toxic products on the ground where my kids run barefoot or near the lake where we all play in the water.
I just had to post this funny anecdote that happened today, it has nothing to do with my business, reusable snack bags, recycling, or anything green for that matter but I had to share! My daughter is a part of a choir group and today they had their “end of the year musical”. This much-anticipated event plays to packed pews in a neighborhood church. My husband, 5-year-old son, and I arrived early to get seats front and center and as soon as a hush fell over the audience my boy proclaimed (in a very loud voice) “MOM, LOOK AT GOD’S SIX-PACK ABS” as he stood pointing at the large statue of Jesus hanging on the cross (very thin, ribs showing, etc). Hmmmm, think I need to get my kids to church a bit more often? And who taught him “six-pack abs” anyways? - certainly not a term thrown around my own house very often!
My business partner and I spent the weekend at the Seattle Green Festival. It was a great event and I love meeting new customers and introducing people to ReUsies, but to be honest I find those events kind of grueling and I don’t much like working all weekend. Nonetheless, one of the parts that I do like is meeting the vendors in surrounding booths. They all have such interesting stories and great products and you just kind of bond after standing, talking and smiling for 16 hours…they become “Brothers In Arms” of sorts. I wanted to briefly introduce you to a few of my favorites and share a link to their sites:
I met Josie Gaillard, from Living Ethos, in the booth across from me. Josie is from the Bay Area and makes some of the most beautiful, reusable gift bags. Of course we like to encourage our customers to use ReUsies as their gift wrap for smaller items, but her bags are tough to beat. It’s funny because it was my husband’s birthday this weekend and I used the same shabby, paper gift bags that I’ve used a hundred times (I think I saw just about every family member’s name written and crossed out on one of them). I could have really used some of the Living Ethos bags, I encourage you to check out her site! It was also great to share information with another textile based company that manufactures in the USA…sadly, there aren’t many of us around anymore.
To my right was a woman named Jennifer Argraves who owns Crown S Ranch in Winthrop, WA. She was there (with her cute and well-behaved kids!) educating people about her family’s farm. It is a CSA and you can order different cuts of beef, pork, chicken and even eggs to be delivered to Seattle 7 times a year. Her animals are all treated humanely, raised without antibiotics on pastures that are pesticide/herbicide free and the cattle are all 100% grass fed. I learned a lot about sustainable farming just by the eavesdropping I did between she and her customers! Their tagline says it all: Better for the animals, Better for the environment, Better for you!
Finally, I had the pleasure of meeting (in person finally), Kari Erickson-Valenzuela, aka Mamma-K. She owns Mamma K’s Aromatic Play Clay. Mamma K’s makes gluten-free, 100% natural play clay. It comes in yummy scents like lavender, sweet orange, cardamom and lemongrass. I like to keep my nervous hands busy and so was playing with a little ball of cardamom as I stood at our booth. I know typically when you play with other doughs and clays your hands feel so dried out from all of the salt used, but after playing with Mamma K’s I think my hands felt better!
We’ve been at this venture (ReUsies) for over a year now and it has been so fun to see how the knowledge about reusable snack and sandwich bags has grown. Initially when we would go to shows I would say it was about 25% “oh yes, I’ve heard about these” and 75% “wow, what a great new idea”, now I’d say those numbers are reversed (granted we were at the Green Festival so that attracted a certain type of clientel). It’s just nice to know that people are becoming more and more aware of this option as a way to reduce their impact on the planet!
I’m just not feeling it this week…hmmm…what do I write about? My business partner, Becky, kindly absolved me from “Blogging Duty” when I don’t have much to say but I know my huge following will miss me:) I read somewhere that they need to invent a font for sarcasm, I could have just used it there!
One thing I came across that really resonated with me was from the Story of Stuff Project called “The Story of Bottled Water”. To sum it up, it talks about how, when we buy bottled water, we might as well be paying for jarred air. It goes on to detail all of the ills associated with this industry, the packaging, etc. I showed this little video to my daughter earlier in the week and apparently it had a big impact on her. We did a 5K run with this past weekend and she chose to forgo the bottled water they were passing out for the water we’d packed in a reusable water bottle in our bag. I’m telling you, this next generation is really going to make a difference for us!
I just love this picture, it is a couple of years old now, but still one of my favorites. I distinctly remember yelling at my kids “hold each other’s hands and pretend that you like each other just long enough for me to take this picture!” Nonetheless, it just soothes my soul to look at it. This is a piece of property that, as soon as the weather warms up, we head to almost every weekend in the summer. The first few trips down are always a lot of work to repair and clean up what has happened to our spot over the winter. There is always a lot of dusting, vacuuming spider webs, re-stocking what we are low on, yard work, firewood chopping, etc. but one of the biggest, and most depressing jobs is garbage clean up.
Typically in the summers on the weekends I go for long walks and always take a garbage bag with me to pick up trash on the road that leads into the cabins. This first trip I am cleaning up about 9 months worth of trash that has accumulated during the off-season. All I can figure is that this trash must be thrown from car windows, as there are very few residences along the road. Are there really still people who do that? And why do they eat so much fast food and drink strange drinks in cans? I bet you didn’t know you could buy something called Chelada which is a mix of Budweiser Beer and Clamato in a can…..yummmm….all of the interesting things I pick up out there!
I hope that if there is a place that is close to your heart that you do your part to keep it clean this summer. Take your kids with you, I do, and maybe you will even snap one of your favorite photos in the process. I know one thing for sure, my kids will never throw trash out a car window….and will never grow up to drink Chelada!
Becky and I just took all of the booster seats out, dropped the extra rows of seats, and picked up a big order of new ReUsies from Mr. Hong (our manufacturer…which we proudly like to point out is located in the good old USA!) We only get new patterns every few months, so when we do we get really excited. Not that we don’t like our “old stuff” we just get tired of looking at it! I equate it to how excited you are to get a new outfit only to hate looking at it/wearing it shortly thereafter.
So yes, the good news is we have a lot of new styles, here are a few aren’t they cute? We listened to the feedback we got from our customers and added the extra piece of velcro that is on the back of the snack sized ReUsie to the larger, sandwich size. If you’ve never seen a snack sized ReUsie it has the unique feature of an extra strip of velcro on the back that allows you to tighten the bag up on itself. This “tightening feature” holds your snacks securely and prevents them from accidentally spilling out.
OK, now for the bad news. We have to raise our prices slightly as the aforementioned Mr. Hong is charging us more to add this extra feature. We think the extra 20 cents is worth it (think about what you can buy for a couple of dimes??) and if you don’t you still have the option of buying the older patterns for the same price they always were.
We hope to see some of you at the Crave Green Party this Tuesday night, I’m excited as I don’t think I’ve ever had a venue where I could sell ReUsies and drink wine simultaneously – fabulous!!
Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day – my husband and kids are in cleaning up the kitchen (something I am sure I’ll have to finish up myself later but it’s the thought that counts right!