Buy props used in MaryJane’s books and magazine!
All proceeds (minus shipping and packing) will benefit www.firstbook.org, a non-profit that provides new books to children from low-income families throughout the U.S. and Canada.
We all love doing our repurposing projects, ranging from the practical …
to the playfully unpretentious …
to the positively … perfunctory?
Anyway, whatever the (re)purpose, we love ’em!
But you must admit that there’s something stupendously special (and infinitely inspiring) when someone elevates repurposing to the heights of entrepreneurial artistry—someone like Traci Claussen of REpurposingNOLA Piece by Peace.
If you’re wondering who NOLA is, you’re probably not from the South (neither am I). NOLA, I learned, is the shiny new acronym for that legendary city that has risen from the floods of Katrina: New Orleans, Louisiana.
And Traci Claussen has put her fashion sense to repurposing her city “Piece by Peace,” using castaway fabric from urban industries to craft couture items with a conscience. Traci talks about her business in this video interview:
“She began designing bags for her own travels: an eco-duffel for a trip to the Jurassic Coast of England; a burlap HoBo handbag for running around town; a RE-weekender Bag for trips to the coast,” explains her blog. “She made adjustments to the prototype after each trip, to add or edit options that would make it more useful for the next trip.”
Now, Traci tailors her designs to meet the needs of her travel-savvy customers. She offers a BURLAP line, featuring her original three designs and seasonal favorites, as well as a signature CARPETBAGGER line and a VEGAN line of totes. She also stocks her online store and physical shop at 604 Julia Street with gorgeous, eclectic goodies, including clothing, candles, and cosmetic collections—all locally made and mostly repurposed, of course.
“I design for the wanderlust in my heart,” says Traci, “because people with innate wanderlust share a compassion, a thirst for local people and the planet. That chronic thirst to grow and learn, help others, bring people together, celebrate appreciation for the individual—it inspires communities.”
Hop on over to RepurposingNola.com to pick up a little more inspiration—and maybe even a Christmas gift or two!
The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,102 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,722 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Stitching and Crafting/Nellie Will-Do Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I was excited to kill two birds with one stone, figuratively speaking, naturally. The first bird: earning a new Merit Badge with my crafty, sewing skillz. The second bird: bulking up my fashionista closet.
Now those are two things I can get behind. Can I get an Amen?
I’d been hearing a lot about re-fashion. Like up-cycling, and re-cycling, you might say, but this type of doing good for your planet makes US look good, too. Win, win! How can you, too, earn this badge and look at clothing differently? I’m so glad you asked.
Who knew, am I right? The possibilities are fantastic, and so is the fashion!
Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)
Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)
My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Kristie Bulla!!!
Kristie Bulla (#3679) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning a Beginner Level Farmgirl Gratitude Merit Badge!
“My mom had sent me a seriously blinged-out blank journal with my initial on it. This thing was so silly and shiny and sparkly, it made me giggle. I didn’t know what I would do with it until I read through some of the merit badges and saw the part about keeping a gratitude journal for the Farmgirl Gratitude badge. How perfect!! I was not in a position to purchase The Book of Awesome, but I did read a lot of entries from the Amazon site, and I read from www.1000awesomethings.com when I ran out of things to read from my first source.
On the day I started working on this badge, our oldest dog, Dakota (our practice kid right after we got married), passed away. Although heartbreaking, I was able to find a gift in that he went peacefully in his sleep with no suffering. Just last week, my purse was stolen while shopping with the kids, and I was yet again able to find the gifts and lessons in that less-than-positive experience. I think actively focusing on gratitude really helped me through both scenarios and then some.”
I know you love a good story as much as I do.
But a good old-fashioned story?
All the better.
The yarn I want to share with you on this lovely Thanksgiving is a rare gem—after all, it’s a rarity to find a tale that is rich in the atmosphere and traditions of this cherished holiday. But, one glimpse at the author and you’ll know just what I mean …
That’s right—Louis May Alcott (how thankful we are for her!) wrote a wonderful little account of the fictional Bassett family’s Thanksgiving in 19th century New Hampshire, aptly named, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving.
Picture this …
“Thanksgiving morning is here, and the Bassett family’s cozy kitchen is filled with the hustle and bustle of the holiday. But this year something is different: Tilly, Prue, and their brothers and sisters have been left in charge of everything from the roasted turkey to the apple slump. They tie on their aprons and step into the kitchen, but are they really up for the challenge of cooking a Thanksgiving feast?” (Excerpted from the back cover of the children’s book adaptation beautifully illustrated by James Bernardin.)
Why are the children left to cook for themselves?
It’s a bit of a mix-up, really, but I don’t want to spoil the story for you. Suffice it to say, a neighbor brings word that Grandma Bassett isn’t feeling well, so Ma and Pa must rush off to her aid by horse-drawn sleigh, leaving the children to prepare for Thanksgiving on their own.
Mustering their best intentions, the children embark on a series of humorous mishaps—for instance, forgetting the sugar in the plum pudding and spicing the stuffing with wormwood and catnip. As if the story of seven children scrambling to prepare the feast isn’t entertaining enough, you are sure to swoon with nostalgia as you read Ms. Alcott’s romantic literary rendering of the simpler times we all long for today …
“The girls, after a short rest, set the table and made all ready to dish up the dinner when that exciting moment came. It was not at all the sort of table we see now, but would look very plain and countrified to us, with its green-handled knives, and two-pronged steel forks, its red-and-white china, and pewter platters, scoured until they shone, with mugs and spoons to match, and a brown jug for the cider. The cloth was coarse, but white as snow, and the little maids had seen the blue-eyed flax grow, out of which their mother wove the linen; they had watched and watched while it bleached in the green meadow. They had no napkins and little silver; but the best tankard and Ma’s few wedding spoons were set forth in state. Nuts and apples at the corners gave an air, and the place of honor was left in the middle for the oranges yet to come.”
Oranges, gladful guests, and a delightful meal all manifest before the happy ending of the story (if that’s a spoiler, I do apologize).
Tilly and Prue even manage to produce a perfect apple cobbler dessert, using the very recipe that is included at the end of the story: Louisa May Alcott’s Apple Slump.
You want the recipe, won’t you? Well, just visit the Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House website, where you can write down the recipe or order your own keepsake calligraphy copy for $2.50.
Now, let me send you off to read the story for yourself. There are several ways to enjoy An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving and make it a new annual tradition:
• Read the full story online (for free) at Ibiblio.org.
• Listen to the entire story (also for free) at Librivox.org.
• Order a copy of one of the illustrated children’s book adaptations from Amazon.com.
Oh, and, I also found a film based on the story (haven’t seen it yet). Take a peek at the trailer:
And, with that, I wish you a Thanksgiving full of joy, laughter, and delicious food shared with those you love.