Weedier Than Ever: Hemp t-shirts, youth sizes, and better shipping

I’ve wanted to print the PLANT WEEDS: THE “S” MAKES IT LEGAL design on hemp from the beginning, so I’m psyched that I now have hemp shirts over at the shop.  Hemp is pretty amazing:  It breathes well, is antimicrobial, and is more durable than cotton.  It also grows like a weed, so doesn’t need all the babysitting (e.g. herbicides or pesticides used by conventional growers) that cotton needs.  It’s a pretty awesome textile, plus these shirts are soft and cozy.  I love that ONNO, the Colorado-based company that makes these, only sells shirts made from sustainable materials (hemp, bamboo, and organic cotton).  That shows a level of commitment to sustainability that most mainstream/designer brands don’t demonstrate.  ONNO has also taken important steps to ensure that the production of these shirts is fair and humane.

You’ll find charcoal and ice blue in the unisex cut and earth green and dusty purple in the women’s cut.  The women’s cut, by the way, is a really nice one:  the sleeve shape and tailoring is flattering, but rather than being skin-tight, the t-shirt shows off the fabric’s beautiful drape.  That gorgeous drape also makes the unisex shirts flattering on all sorts of shapes:  They don’t, for example, look boxy in the shoulders on me the way most unisex shirts do.  Click here for hemp t-shirts.

After multiple, enthusiastic requests for youth PLANT WEEDS t-shirts, I’ve had some printed up on USA-grown and made organic cotton shirts.  These have a satisfying, comfy feel that will get softer with wear and washing, just like your favorite pair of jeans.  Plus, the garment-dyed colors are gorgeous.  Click here for youth shirts.

I recently came across this info, in Pietra Rivoli’s The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy:

There are a handful of creative and contrary farmers growing organic cotton in west Texas, but they account for less than 1/3 of 1 percent of the cotton produced.  (“It rounds up to zero,” one conventional grower sniffed.)

While I’m not sure where the boundaries of west Texas are, I’m pleased to be sourcing from some of those “creative and contrary” farmers, SOS from Texas.  Here’s to using our buying power to create demand for organic practices and nudge that percentage higher.  Here’s a video by SOS, showing the journey a t-shirt takes from their farms onward.  I was interested to see that – unlike conventional cotton growers, who spray defoliants before harvesting – SOS waits for a frost, which, of course, defoliates naturally.

Last but not least, I’ve also started using EcoEnclose’s 100% recycled mailers, which are recyclable and even reusable, thanks to a nifty second sticky strip.  Lightweight and durable, and made in the USA, this is an awesome mailer.  Full disclosure:  Depending on the size of your order, it may be shipped in a reused box of good quality, a Priority Mail flat rate container (also recycled and recyclable), or a smaller, 88% recycled poly mailer (because I goofed and ordered one package that was 88% instead of 100%).  The customer service at this Colorado-based company has been great, and there was even a note with a little drawing of a plant on the packing list.  Ordering packing supplies might not sound exciting, but it kind of is when it’s obvious that you’re dealing with real, live people that care about the environment.

 


It’s a Giveaway!

giveaway graphic 10-2015One of my favorite holidays is just around the corner, and, to celebrate, I’ve put together a giveaway!  This will end at midnight on Halloween, and one winner (picked at random from the comments below) will get these treats:

  • a PLANT WEEDS: THE “S” MAKES IT LEGAL t-shirt.  It’s a unisex size XL in a nice dark chocolate brown.
  • a copy of Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide
  • three travel-sized spray bottles of Urban Moonshine bitters (one each of their maple, original, and chamomile bitters)

I’m pretty excited about this little package:

UM spraysUrban Moonshine bitters – in addition to being delicious – are ideal to have around during the approaching holiday season.  You can read here all about how bitters help curb sugar cravings, balance the appetite, soothe gas and bloating, and relieve upset stomach.  There are always more sweets around than usual through November and December and – whether I want to pass on having an extra cookie at work or alleviate the effects of indulging at a family party – I find it’s a huge help to have bitters close to hand.  These little spray bottles are convenient and also just fun.  Urban Moonshine’s maple bitters are a delicious choice for the bitters newbie (or anyone who’s mad about maple).  Their original bitters are yummy and complex, and the chamomile bitters are beautifully aromatic and soothing.  I’m a big fan of dandelions (as you can tell from the seed featured on the “Plant Weeds” t-shirts), and all three of these contain organic dandelion root and leaf.

RG Med HerbsRosemary Gladstar‘s Medicinal Herbs is a perfect introduction to herbalism for the beginner, but also has tons of material and recipes for more experienced herbalists.  This is the book I like to keep on hand to give to people who you can tell really want to try herbalism but just haven’t taken that first step yet.  The photography is gorgeous and – like most, probably all, of Storey Publishing‘s books – the design and layout are inviting and easy to use.  Rosemary’s style of writing is personable and rich, and her instructions are accessible and practical.  This book features sections on 33 easy to obtain plants, including culinary herbs like basil and turmeric as well as wild and weedy species like dandelion and plantain.  There are plenty of recipes in this book for enjoying during winter months, but it’ll also have you planning your garden and forays into foraging come spring.  You might even decide to set aside some space in your garden for weeds!

Image-2The PLANT WEEDS – THE “S” MAKES IT LEGAL shirt is my own design, and is locally printed by Amalgamated Culture Works.  It’s made of super soft organic cotton.  You can read more about these t-shirts here, and if you can’t wait until November to find out if you’ve won, you can order one here.

How can you enter to win these goodies?  I’m glad you asked!  You can enter up to four times.  When you log in to leave a comment, make sure to enter a correct and valid email address, so I’ll be able to get in touch with you.  Leave a comment for each individual entry:

  1. What’s one of your favorite weeds?  Do you harvest it?  Have you planted it?  Tell me in the comments of this post.
  2. Visit a Vaguely Bohemian shop.  Poke around a little.  Come back and – in a comment on this post – tell me what’s most important to you about these shirts (that they’re organic? that they’re printed locally?) or something you’d like to see (e.g. a different color or fabric).
  3. Follow Vaguely Bohemian via your method of choice, e.g. email (sign up in the righthand sidebar, under “Stay in the Know”) or  twitter (@vaguelybohemian).  Comment and tell me you’ve done this.  Are you already following Vaguely Bohemian?  Comment and tell me so.
    PLEASE NOTE:  You can also find Vaguely Bohemian on Facebook, but following on Facebook is excluded from this method of entry, due to Facebook’s terms.
  4. Share this giveaway, or a Vaguely Bohemian shop, via your method of choice.  This might be word of mouth, on your own blog, on twitter, etc.  Comment on this post and tell me you’ve done this.
    PLEASE NOTE:  Sharing on Facebook is excluded from this method of entry, due to Facebook’s terms.

Good luck!  The entry period ends at midnight EST on 10/31/15, and the winner will be drawn on 11/1.

Giveaway ends 10/31/15 at midnight EST. Open to residents of the US only.  (Shipping address must be in the US.)   Winner will be selected randomly and be notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Vaguely Bohemian will send the prize to the  winner directly. The products offered for the giveaway are free of charge, no purchase necessary. This giveaway is administered by Vaguely Bohemian only, and Facebook and Twitter are in no way associated with this giveaway.  If you have any additional questions – feel free to send us an email!


T-Shirts for Sale!

Visiting Jamaica Cottage Shop in southern Vermont.

Sporting one of the new t-shirts on a visit to Jamaica Cottage Shop. (More on that later.)

What an extraordinarily enjoyable whirlwind of a summer, with some days feeling like I was at the edge of the whirlwind, traveling swiftly, and some days in the center, when time stood still.  I was fortunate enough to make it to three remarkable events this summer – the New England Women’s Herbal Conference, the International Herb Symposium, and the SCA’s Pennsic War – and I look forward to reporting back on each of them.  First, though, I want to introduce you to the “Plant Weeds: The ’s’ makes it legal.” t-shirts that are now for sale here at Vaguely Bohemian.

Since I’m a person who tends to research things ad nauseum, this was quite a process.  I researched different printers and methods of printing, different t-shirt manufacturers and materials, etc.  I discovered that t-shirts are pretty interesting.  I’d never given much thought to this basic garment, but the variations just within t-shirts are impressive.

I also learned that, even with an item as ubiquitous as t-shirts, the options are limited.  In an ideal world, I’d be printing on gorgeously crafted locally-made t-shirts made out of locally-grown hemp.  Slightly more realistically, I set out to find organic cotton or hemp t-shirts that were Union-made in the US, and that were also available in both the basic unisex fit and a nicely-styled and reasonably-sized women’s cut. My printers don’t have a source for a shirt like this, and my own research hasn’t been able to uncover one either. At first I found this frustrating, but ultimately I think it’s a sign of how important it is that consumers choose mindfully.  The more we choose to buy organic, sustainable shirts made with good labor practices, the more those will be offered.  My ideal t-shirt might not be on offer now, but so long as I choose the closest I can get, I’m encouraging the market to choose sustainable, ethical practices.

So what shirts did I end up with?  I chose to use Aurum Organic blanks.  These shirts are made abroad, but the company itself is based in Burlington, Vermont.  Although Aurum Organic is owned by a larger manufacturer, this is as local as I can get for t-shirt blanks, and supporting a strong local economy is important to me.  They’re also printed locally, by the brilliant people at Amalgamated Culture Works in Burlington.  It has been an absolute pleasure working with Amalgamated Culture Works, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

The t-shirts are soft, well-made, and styled beautifully.  The colors are rich, and the women’s fit is perhaps the best fitting women’s t-shirt I’ve ever put on.  For me, this isn’t the most important thing in the world, but I think that it’s not a bad thing for clothing to be both sustainable and flattering.  I’m working on obtaining a size chart, but I’ve found that I take the same size in these that I take in most other brands, so I’d say they run true to size.  This was also important to me.  I tried on one national-brand t-shirt that ran at least a size and a half small in their women’s t-shirts, and I think that creates unrealistic expectations for women.

Most importantly, to me, the t-shirts are 100% organic.  Why was this my priority? The Rodale Institute reports that cotton growers use 16% of the world’s pesticides and that cotton is one of the top four GMO crops in the world.  (Whether or not you believe GMOs can be used for good, there are troubling issues around the patenting and corporate control over seeds.)  Organic cotton is GMO-free and grown without the use of synthetic pesticides.  Conventional methods of growing cotton aren’t good for the earth, the farm workers, or the consumer, so any cotton t-shirts I sourced absolutely had to be grown using organic methods.

While I was in the midst of all this research, it sometimes seemed like this would be a perpetually “in process” project, so it was pretty magical to send my design to Amalgamated Culture Works and, a few days later, pick up a box of crisply printed, gorgeous, real t-shirts that I could see and touch – and wear!  I’m pretty chuffed, and I hope you like them, too.  If you do, please consider placing an order and/or sharing a link to a VAGUELY BOHEMIAN shop: Witty weedy wares on the web:  You’ll be supporting my own local microbusiness Vaguely Bohemian, as well as a local independent printer, and organic practices of growing fiber for clothing.  Also, there are more designs and more options in the works, and your purchase will help make those a reality.  Thank you for your time and consideration!


Updates at VaguelyBohemian.com

Updates at VaguelyBohemian.com are currently underway.  After years of working through Blogger, I decided it was about time to go indie and set this up as a WordPress site.  So far, so good!  Please pardon any bumps in the road; all should be going along smoothly in no time.  Thank you for your understanding!

Catch-Up and a Change of Address

My knight has been on yet another journey, as I have (for a while at least) moved out of the Great Big City and back to the Country.  Following the move,  I celebrated Pine-Scented Festivities, then flew to the Southern Hemisphere to visit Summertime.  Now, for an undisclosed amount of time, I am back in the Country…except when I’m visiting the Great Big City, which still has its appeal (you know who you are…)

And that, my ether-friends, is the Abridged Version.

PS:  You might have noticed that this blog has moved to a new address.  The parent site for this blog, formerly AndTheDonkey.com, has moved to VaguelyBohemian.com.  We bid AndTheDonkey a fond farewell as we send you back into the ether…you were a good URL, but just took too much explaining.


Wish You Were Here

Once upon a time, I sat down in a hotel room and – for lack of anything better to do – started a website. But print is my first love, and before too long, I had had way too much fun with VistaPrint. There was a postcard promo going on, and I came up with just under a dozen postcard designs promoting my new domain – before I had properly figured out what I wanted to do with the site itself.

Alas, this binge of postcard printing was – though fun and creative – neither green nor particularly resourceful. For the last couple of years, I’ve trucked around (or stored) stacks of postcards that periodically became more out of date. Finally, on Wednesday, I packed the whole lot into my backpack and hiked around Philadelphia leaving a few at this cafe and a few at that organic market. And now, they’re out in the world to do their job, and hopefully bring a few new faces this way. Wahoo!

While I came across a lot of great spots, I have to put a plug in for my fave new find: Walnut Bridge Coffee House. With big picture windows looking out onto a busy road, I thought this cafe would be cute but harried. On the contrary: full of cozy couches and displaying so much artwork some of it is leaning against the furniture, the Walnut Bridge Coffee House feels like a place apart. Outside, the cars rush past – but the inside invites great conversation or quiet contemplation. So next time you’re in the neighborhood, get out of the city traffic and give it a try. (This place will definitely make the cut when I get around to creating a boho travel guide to Philly.)


New Horizons at AndTheDonkey.com


Look! New pages are popping up and old ones are getting dusted off and shined up! AndTheDonkey.com’s subject is now “a signpost for the vaguely bohemian.” Please forgive any broken links and other messiness during the next couple of weeks while these improvements are pulled slowly but surely out of our metaphorical hat. Check it out!