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  1. Kay (Old Cowgirl) Montoya says:

    Hi MaryJane,
    Who does the photo’s that accompany your E-Mails? They all are so beautiful. They would make a beautiful callender.

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Game Changer for the Planet?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could do something simple like change your attitude for a weekend and it might change the world we live in for the better?


Earth. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; NASA

Of course, there’s a long list of things we can be doing to improve our world, but what about three whole days of no blame? Meaning, for three days we won’t find fault in anyone, including ourselves. Because, really, does it actually matter whose fault something is? If everyone is willing to fix the problem, then what does it matter how it happened? This weekend is all about putting our energies into fixing and finding solutions as opposed to blaming and finding fault.

I like this notion. I like to think that a change in my attitude for a few days could really encourage others to change theirs. Why not? Worth a try? The least it can do is give me perspective, which never hurt anyone, that’s for sure!

If you’re intrigued, visit


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I am in with you , Megan! It seems like we are rapidly becoming a nation split on how to accomplish anything. Besides not assigning blame, I also believe we have to be willing to listen and compromise. If we don’t listen and compromise, then we continue to assign blame for the problems be they at home, community, nation or world. It is a vicious circle of blame game with no resolution. Perhaps you are right, that one solution might be to start small and just change one’s attitude for a few days and encourage others to do likewise. It is worth a try!

  2. Rebecca Meyers says:

    Besides being a farmgirl at heart, I am also a follower of the prophet, Baha’u’llah. There is a verse He wrote which I say whenever I start to get upset with anyone. It goes…..”O Son of Being! How couldst thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Whoso doest this is accursed of Me.” This helps keep me on track! Grins, Becka

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    What a blue-eyed baby! Such a face!

  2. Avis says:

    Flowers and a Cat what a perfect photo combination!

  3. Nancy Couden says:

    What a cute kitty–and with the flower–a beautiful combination.

  4. Toni H says:

    What an absolutely gorgeous kitty…

  5. Peggie says:

    Beautiful kitty! Great picture!

  6. theresa beck says:

    oh, those eyes! What is she thinking?

  7. Venus says:

    Super cute kitty! I love your blog. I learn so much. Thankyou!

  8. Nancy COughlin says:

    Lovethe cat photo. My cats will not cooperate for a photo and like to lick the camera lens!

  9. Debbie Fischer says:

    Oh my gosh, what a sweetie and just he perfect picture!

  10. Kim Platt says:

    Oh, what a beautiful and purrfect picture!! The kitty reminds me of my then-boyfriend-now-husband’s kitty, Misty, who passed away a few years ago. My Hubby agrees!

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Greenbean Recycle

Fingers crossed!

Here’s a nifty idea hatched on the East Coast that I hope will soon head its wagons west …

Greenbean Recycle (or “GB Recycle,” as all the cool kids call it) is an innovative approach to keeping cans and bottles—both plastic and glass—out of garbage cans.


Image by Benoit Rochon via Wikimedia Commons

The gist:

  • Recycle a can in a vending-type machine
  • Get an instant deposit in your Paypal account
  • Learn the energy benefit of your one simple action

The Greenbean machine will happily keep tabs on recycling competitions between you and friends, too.


Photo by Jarrod Jones, MIT Department of Facilities

“When users see their names on a leader board, they are more engaged to come and continue recycling,” says inventor Shanker Sahai. “Recycling is a boring chore and sometimes you don’t know how your effort makes a difference or even if it is recycled and re-used, so by showing a user that even one bottle or can makes a difference in real time, the user is encouraged to keep recycling.”

And, hey, the Greenbean makes fun crushing sounds.

Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    What a great idea! Pure genius! We are very lucky in our community because recycling bins are provided to every family for paper and cans/plastic etc. They are picked up weekend on the roadside with the regular garbage pick up. It makes it so easy to be a good earth steward when the community embraces the need. In addition, our grocery stores have recycle bins for their paper bags, plastic bags, and styrofoam containers. At my last job in the hospital, we had a “Green Team” which helped implement many simple and easy ways for employees to recycle in the cafeterias and break rooms. There are so many creative solutions possible but strategic location availability has a lot to do with compliance. the new GB recycle does a great job of making the process easy and fun!

  2. What a wonderful idea! It’s win-win-win! And what better place to start, but college campuses. I hope there will be many more in every major city/town across the country. I could see these at beaches, amusement parks, playgrounds, sports stadiums, etc…<3

  3. karlyne says:

    What a brilliant idea! Where I live in Podunk we have no recycling, and, seriously, one of these machines in front of the local gas/convenience store would have a huge impact!

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  1. Terry Steinmetz says:

    A pink lily pad flower I’ve never seen. I’ve only seen white ones. This looks so inviting!

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    You should put all of these beautiful flower photos from the farm into a book! They are all so picture perfect!

  3. Jaimey says:

    I love this photo! The lotus flower is my favorite. It’s one of the most beautiful flower that can grow in the ugliest of places. 🙂

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Run through a quick mental list of all the “stuff” you own …

Now, which of the items you cataloged do you cherish?

You might name the quilt your grandmother stitched by hand,


The Old Quilt by Walter Langley via Wikimedia Commons

your lucky boot laces,

a seashell charm given to you by your toddler.

From chipped plates to wedding dresses, the one thing that most of our cherished possessions have in common is the fact that there are stories behind them.

In other words, it’s not so much the item that matters, but the history it holds.

This realization fueled the founding of Madesmith, a unique branding agency and distributor of gorgeous goods—jewelry, clothing, shoes, skin-care products, and home goods—handcrafted by artisans in the U.S. whose stories are an integral part of the entrepreneurial process.

Madesmith founders Sheila Iverson and Sumeera Rasul believe that stories are vital to crafting connections between consumers and the real people who make the things we buy, transforming shopping into a more mindful experience than we commonly get at the local discount store where cheap merchandise is often made thousands of miles away.

“When you shop at Madesmith, you’re not just buying a mug; you’re making a connection with the 28-year-old ceramic maker Clair Catillaz,” explains Patrick James of CoExist. “You’re not just buying a kitchen knife; you’re understanding the link between the hobby of a 29-year-old actress and the life’s work of her blacksmith father.”


Photo courtesy of

Every week, Madesmith shares stories of makers and designers who produce handmade objects sustainably. “We know that you appreciate old-fashioned craftsmanship just like we do, and through these stories we aim to bring you closer to the makers, their locally made products, and the process,” says Sheila Iverson. “Get to know who makes the thing you use, and how it’s made.”


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Mary Jane, this story is so perfect for all that we talked about at lunch in July! Don’t you think? It is about branding and reaching out with stories. Ralph Lauren, in his PBS commercials, talks about how he wants to touch people’s lives and dreams with his ideas and line each season. About taking the elements of each season and finding ways to inspire people and lift them up in something beautifully and carefully designed. Hand crafted works show depth and beauty because they reflect a real person who is speaking to us through whatever it is that they make. We first connect to the simple beauty we see, but I believe we buy when their story touches us in some way. We all want to feel connected and we all have hopes and dreams. Sometimes a simple purchase keeps those dreams alive when life and work threaten to bring us down. Madesmith helps by doing the difficult marketing piece which is what either makes or breaks these artists to be financially successful. Thanks for sharing this important story!

  2. Thank you for introducing me to Madesmith. It’s a pleasure to find business that supports the efforts of American (U.S.A.) artisans and producers. The stories are precious and important to us, and the work is valuable to the vitality of our nation and consequently, the world.
    My best wishes for their success.

  3. Joan Kosal says:

    Hi—I am new here and it will be nice to meet everyone with new ideas. Best Wishes and God Bless. Joan

  4. Kay (Old Cowgirl) Montoya says:

    I love buying from other crafter’s and artisans who put themselves in every creation they make. I would much rather buy from someone here in the U.S. or Canada. I feel to much of our beautiful workmanship is being done over seas by people who are paid little and who have to make things so fast that the craftsmanship is just not there. Thank you for introducing me to Madesmith.

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