Extraordinary Things Start Small: WunderAround Blown Glass Trunk Show at Herban Lifestyle 11/29

photo 10.56.48 PMHere is our interview with Etsy artist Beth Hess of Wunder Around. She will be demo’ing how to make terrariums using her handblown glass vases at our Small Business Saturday event, which takes place Saturday, November 29 from noon to 4pm at our Merrifield Store.

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When did you start your line and why?
I enjoy making colorful, functional pieces of blown glass that can be used (and enjoyed) everyday. I’m well into year two of my Threads Collections. These are highly touchable pieces with lots of texture. I started making white vases with various colors of “thread” on the outside and the collection has grown from there. I started my Duos Collection last year after returning from a trip to Iceland. The colors I saw there just begged to be recreated in glass. I started the Duos Collection to capture the intensity and juxtaposition of colors that I saw, and continue to find new color combinations around me everyday.

What were you doing previously?
I’ve always been a crafter and I love to experiment with new mediums and techniques. I took my first glassblowing class five years ago in June and fell in love with it. My professional background is in communications and I spent more than a decade helping nonprofits and businesses tell their story.

What do you love about owning your own business?
Doing it all. I enjoy things like making signage and updating my website in addition to the actual making.

What is the most challenging thing about owning your own business?
Doing it all. There’s always more that I could be doing, so prioritizing and making the best use of my time is a constant battle; along with keeping up with things like bookkeeping.

What inspires your work?
Color and the challenge of transforming 2,080 degree clear glass into something else entirely. Each color behaves differently as you’re working with it. I love the challenge of making an idea a reality in glass, the process of working with the glass itself and seeing what happens when light passes through the results.

Where do you see your line going from here?
I’ve been working for a while now with two-colors in each piece and recently started adding a third, and working on some new shapes to highlight them. I don’t know yet where it all will go, but am enjoying the process.

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Artist of the Month: Paige Mattson of Sprout Bottle

IMG_6104The following was written by Paige Mattson of Sprout Bottle.

Sprout Bottle is a handcrafted, reclaimed beer bottle, garden kit.  Each 4-pack is uniquely blended with organic soil, fertilizer and seeds and packaged with recycled materials to lighten our impact on the planet.  All of our ingredients are sourced in the US and distributed from Virginia.

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Sprout Bottle strives to provide a high quality, unique product that is sustainable and affordable. As part of our commitment to be sustainable, Sprout Bottle has partnered with 1% for the Planet.  This means that 1% of all Sprout Bottle sales goes to save land, protect forests, rivers and oceans, make agricultural and energy production more sustainable, getting toxics out of the environment, plastics out of the oceans and more.

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You can find more about Sprout Bottle on their website, Facebook Page and Twitter Feed.

Herban Lifestyle Store Grand Opening, Feb 8th!

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At the end of November, we moved into a large studio space in the Merrifield neighborhood of Fairfax. The space has a showroom in the front, which we have turned into the Herban Lifestyle Store! To celebrate our new space, we are hosting a Grand Opening on February 8, 2014 from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. We will have food & beverages (including delicious treats from Thunder Pig Confectionary and Momme Meals), samples, product-making demo, discounts and a drawing to win a free DIY kit! For more information, check out our Eventbrite invitation or Facebook Event Page.

At the store, customers can see and sniff our entire line and learn about the various organic and Fair Trade ingredients that go into them. The store also serves as a gathering spot for people to share practical ideas about sustainability, self-sufficiency, creative reuse, and safer products. You are welcome to join events or use hands-on resources at the store, including:

• Workshops where you can learn how to make your own truly natural personal care and household products, as well as other green crafting techniques, including a Couple’s Valentine Craft Night on February 12 and Make Your Own Organic Spa Products on February 19.

• A learning library for those of you who want to make your own bath and body products, plus a variety of USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified ingredients and sustainable packaging.

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logoWe hope you can join us!

Join Us for Ballston Arts & Crafts Market Opening Day 5/12!

Please join us on Saturday, May 12th, from 10:00am to 4:00pm, for the first Ballston Arts & Crafts Market of the 2012 season! It’s a great opportunity to pick up some handmade goodies for Mother’s Day 🙂 The market will be held at Welburn Square, 901 North Taylor Street, between North Stuart and North 9th Streets (across the street from the Ballston Metro).

The first month’s market will be filled with uniquely wonderful handcrafted pieces perfect for those last-minute Mother’s Day gifts! The selection will include elegant jewelry by Sarah Cecelia, funky photography by Kosmoceratops – Art Squared, adorable critter plushes by RedStar East, graphic leather belts and dog collars by Jon Wye, organic bath & body products by Herban Lifestyle (yay!) and much more.

For opening day, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training will be on hand with information and an artist raffle to benefit their charitable organization. There will also be music by singer/songwriter, René Moffat (noon – 2 PM)
and free cool tote bags from Luri & Wilma, DC’s eco-chic online magazine.

Herban Lifestyle display from the 2011 Ballston Arts & Crafts Market

Held on the second Saturdays of every month from May through October, the 2012 Market dates are: May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, September 8 & October 13. For more information, a complete vendor list, updates and a glimpse of the Market’s art, check out the Ballston Arts & Crafts Market blog.

Just Brush It Off

image copyright Yupedia

The other day I visited a new massage therapist/holistic health practitioner in Falls Church who recommended, among other things, that I use dry brushing.  Several years ago, my naturopath recommended that I include dry brushing in my daily routine, so it was already something I was accustomed to, and genuinely enjoy.

This technique has been used for hundreds of years. Dry brushing removes dead skin cells and increases blood flow to the surface of the skin, which stimulates the lymphatic system and increases the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins. Dry brushing also stimulates hormone and oil-producing glands, opens your pores, removes dry skin cells, helps break up fat deposits, and leaves your skin feeling soft and looking rosy. Plus, it feels wonderful!

While it is important to clean our skin regularly to get rid of dirt, oils and environmental pollutants in order to keep our pores clear and our skin healthy, skin also plays an important role in our health – it is our largest eliminative organ, excreting 25-30 percent of the body’s toxins every day! The less our skin is able to eliminate waste, the more strain is placed on our liver, kidneys, lungs and mucous membranes, and the more likely our bodies our to harbor toxins, which can lead to disease, weight gain and, horrors, cellulite!

Giving yourself a dry brush massage is easy. It is best to do it before a bath or shower so the dead skin cells can be rinsed off. Use a soft, natural, vegetable bristle brush that is designed specifically for this purpose. You can find them in spa stores and many natural food stores. You can also use a dry loofah. Begin by brushing from your fingers and toes and work in circular motions up your limbs toward the heart. Brush all of your skin, using light pressure, except the sensitive skin of your face and inner things. Finish off by brushing from your back towards your stomach. If you don’t have a body brush, you can also use washcloth or loofah, but the dry brush feels the best!

If you integrate dry brushing into your regular bath or shower routine, you will see noticeable improvement in the appearance of your skin. Enjoy!

Join Us on 12/1 for the West Elm + Etsy Handmade Holiday Workshop & Mini-Market!

On Thursday, December 1st, West Elm stores across the country will be featuring gifts from local Etsy sellers, and Herban Lifestyle will be representing at Tyons Corner, in McLean, VA! At the Handmade Holiday Workshop & Mini-Mart, guests will have a chance make a holiday craft with an Etsy team and support a local charity. The Capital Region Etsy Street Team (CREST) will be at the Tysons event, and handmade ornaments and gifts donated at the event will benefit Jill’s House, a Vienna, VA non-profit that provides respite for children with intellectual disabilities and their families in the Greater Washington, DC area.

If you live somewhere other than the DC area, you can visit one of the other 37 West Elm locations to participate in the festivities, and contribute gifts and decorations to local charities chosen by each store. For more details, visit the West Elm website or RSVP on the Handmade Holiday Workshop & Mini-Mart Facebook Event Page.

So, I hope to see you on December 1st, from 6pm to 9pm!

West Elm
7866 L. Tysons Corner Center
McLean VA 22102

Goodwill Treasure Hunting


My husband recently purchased some new suits, so purged his closet of his old ones. I offered to take them to Goodwill, as I had heard of a new store opening in Falls Church and wanted to check it out. I had received a promotional postcard a couple of months ago announcing the store’s grand opening, touting it as a “green” way to shop. This was definitely a new marketing angle, and had peaked my curiosity as to how this new store would look.

So, earlier this week, I took the suits and a couple of bags of miscellaneous household items to the new store. The facade was rather attractive, evoking a cross between the free-standing Anthropologie in Westport, CT and a casual-chic American-style restaurant. A sign on the door indicated that this Goodwill store is a Live Green Spot (Live Green is a DC-based membership organization that partners with companies, like Herban Lifestyle, that score high on true eco-friendly practices, quality and price). So I dropped off my donation at the side door, then headed inside for a peak.

The interior was well lit, and there were fun, bold splashes of accent color throughout. The merchandise was well-organized, making it easy to browse. It felt like a well-organized discount department store, complete with dressing rooms. There was a huge selection of glassware and dishware.

Goodwill is a great, green concept. All of the merchandise could have ended up in landfills, but instead it is getting a second life. Besides offering many items that are in perfectly good condition for reuse, I know many crafters use Goodwill finds to fashion entirely new creations. I enjoy browsing Goodwill from time to time for unusual containers and sweaters, which I felt and refashion into ornaments or other decorative objects. Last year, while visiting Connecticut, I amassed a dozen wool sweaters in a rainbow of colors from the Goodwill stores in Wilton and New Milford.

I had a short amount of time, so wasn’t able to peruse the sweaters. But I did come across a big collection of Christmas baskets adorned with jingly bells. I snagged several of them, which I will use to put together gift packets for friends and neighbors.

Do you shop at Goodwill? If so, what are some of your favorite finds?

Here are a few of the sweater cupcakes I made.

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