Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Little More Grey (and Pussy Willows!)

I was just enjoying my daily check-in at SouleMama, and one thing leads to another and another in the Web and, depending on the time of day, sometimes I'm still making discoveries four hours later. In this case, I kept it to ten minutes of discovery, which I will share with you now.

Every weekend, SouleMama features carefully selected sponsors and their giveaways and discounts. She selects small businesses that share her values in terms of handcrafted goods, environmentally responsible materials and business practices, lovely products that are beautiful and useful, and business owners who are thoughtful about their lifestyles. Today she featured Aurora Shoe Company. I really like the way the owner explained the values of thinking about what we are purchasing, from whom, what materials were used, where did they come from, etc. Here is an excerpt from SouleMama's interview with Aurora Shoe Company:

~:: We're always inspired by other small business owners who, like us, have committed to a culture and a lifestyle that build our local economies and support our own ideals. It's so easy to become a blind consumer today, always buying the cheapest goods without taking the time to think about where they've come from or what their real value is. We're proud to be a part of the growing sector of America that is much more conscious of how their money is spent and where their goods come from.

There is so much creativity and industry all around us - we just have to be willing to look a little farther (or in our case, closer) than the nearest strip mall to find it!

When we buy handmade we're demonstrating a value that goes beyond price.  To buy handmade is to invest in an art form, a way of life and a cultural ideal.  It's to take part in a system that supports the individual, the artist and the entrepreneur in a society and an economic system that leans in the opposite direction. ~::

They also pointed out that the goods on the shelves in American stores often have prices that don't reflect the cheapness of their quality because of the costs of import taxes, marketing and shipping.

I have not even come close to making a complete switch to local, organic, environmentally responsible food and goods made by people who are very conscious and intentional about their work. I still frequently shop for convenience and low pricing, and usually out of necessity. But I have been subtly, gently influenced by SouleMama and Etsy and my own attraction to supporting the business owners in my own community, and will continue to move in that direction as I am able.

I clicked on a link in SouleMama's post about Aurora Shoe Company that led me to an Etsy shop called Madder Root, which sells handprinted, organic tea towels, napkins and produce bags. I found this pussy willow tea towel in oyster gray, which I thought was a perfect little follow-up to my last post about shades of grey and pussy willows! I can add oyster gray to my list of shades of gray, and it falls in the gray, not grey, category, according to my rubric for when gray should be spelled with an "a" or an "e"! I sure do love that bowl of eggs in soft shades of brown, gray and cream!
lovely pussy willow tea towel from Madder Root's Etsy shop

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Shades of Gray

I love shades of grey. I love the word gray, and I love the name Gray. I love it when people name their daughters names like Mary Gray. I can't decide which spelling of gray I prefer: gray or grey. Considering my affinity, affection and fondness for gray, this is something I should have an opinion on. I do now, after thinking about it for a moment. Grey is for slate, steel, charcoal, pewter, gravel and all the hardest, darkest shades of grey. The "e" makes the word harder and more steely, I do believe. Gray is for softer shades, like dove, heather, feather, blue-gray, seaspray (that's a West Elm color), winter-sky gray, pebble, pussy willow.

By the way, is there anything prettier than pussy willow? Hardly. Hydrangeas, tulips, peonies, orchids and gerbera daisies take my breath away, but the pussy willow soothes me like nothing else. I could fill this post with 100 images of beautiful gray things and pussy willows. And put it all to a David Gray soundtrack, because I like him too and it's just so perfect that his last name is Gray.

Fortunately for you, dear blog reader {I keep that singular because I think there may be only one or two of you, maybe three on a high-traffic day}, I do not have time to post that many pictures of gray things. But I will toss out a few. I'm bedding-crazed right now, probably because I can't afford to buy any and I've decided it's time to even though there just ain't the budget for it right now. Here's a set I'm drooling over:
 This is BlissLiving Home's Ashley Citron bedding, available online. It kind of takes my breath away.

Maybe I should just stop there, for maximum impact. I forgot to mention how much I love gray with mustard yellow, or any yellow, really. Let's just call it citron from now on because citron has such a lovely, Frenchy ring to it. Why say yellow when you can say citron or dijon? But yellow's a pretty word, for English.
 I own this tablecloth, but I purchased it for a table I no longer own and my current table is too big for it. It's folded on top of my linen armoire because it deserves to see the light of day and it makes everything prettier. It's the Williams-Sonoma Marseille tablecloth in dijon (not citron). ;-)

Okay, back to bedding after that brief detour to table linens. Three "hellos" in a row, all from West Elm.

 Sadly, I have to go to bed now in my so-not-gray-and-citron/dijon bed. But at least it's cozy and white. I leave you with some pussy willow as my parting gift:
 From Le Papier Studio, a lovely online shop that is a sponsor for SouleMama, a favorite blog.
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photo credit: