Friday, November 4, 2011

the dirty life...

Afternoon folks....

I told you I'd be back :)

I was feeling compelled to share a little more product love for you today, but to give you a bit of backstory on my inspiration for this post...

For the past two weeks I have been reading a book called The Dirty Life and it has me all in a tizzy. It's got me thinking about organic food, about the idea of farming as a lifestyle choice, and about the talent that it takes for a human being to write such a beautiful and enthralling story about refocusing their life and finding a new calling.

If you haven't heard of it already, I would highly recommend it. The author, Kristin Kimball left her life in New York after meeting the man who would become her husband and right hand man (or more appropriately, she became his right-hand-woman) on Essex Farm in northern New York. The story really pulls you in as you have the opportunity to read about how their relationship started, why she decided to leave her life in the city, and the struggles she and her husband went through to turn a huge piece of land into a living and breathing farm that now supplies 150 humans with delicious, organic produce, meat, grain, and dairy products. Isn't that incredible to think about? They have become an all natural food market for 150 human beings. 150!

(photos courtesy of Kristin and her husband, Mark, working the land on Essex Farm)

But anyways... the reason that I brought up the book, and my interest in it, is because we have some new goodies in the shop that sort of relish in the same vein. Us girls here at Gus & Ruby Letterpress, we really love the idea of buying local - we jump at the opportunity to take a trip to the farmer's market for fresh produce, and adore the fact that we can buy products for you kind folks that have been made with lots of love here in the US of A, by talented craftsmen and designers. So when we came across Further, Claudia Pearson Illustration, and Simrin, we had to take advantage of the incredible work they do and get their goodies in the store ASAP!

Further is a new line for us and the story behind the product is a really incredible one that involves a man named Marshall who drives a bio-diesel fueled automobile. Marshall spends his days collecting depleted waste grease from some of Los Angeles' fanciest restaurants, and originally was converting it into bio-diesel for his car. Pretty clever guy... right?!

Well one day, Marshall's wife caught him in the garage at his make-shift laboratory and told him that things had to change - the byproduct of the distillation of the grease that Marshall was working on was building up in barrels. But this byproduct, glycerin, still hadn't seen it's shining day because it wasn't until Marshall's wife put the kabosh on his utilization of their garage space that Marshall decided to take things one step FURTHER... (get where the bizzy name comes from?!)

Marshall started bottling the glycerin as hand soap (with the lovely addition of natural oils like bergamot, olive and exotic grasses), and returned it to the restaurants from whence the depleted waste grease came. Now the restaurants had soap to wash their hands - and Marshall's wife had a clean garage!

Now we're carrying Further hand soap, hand lotion, and candles, and we LOVE THEM! The simple packaging and lovely scent that they emit is just right - not too floral, and not really spicy either.

I just love this stuff - it's the perfect fit for any kitchen or bathroom (and I think a great gift for Moms & Dads who so lovingly spend their time making us delicious meals when we go home to see them!)

And maybe you should pair the soap with a lovely little tea towel?

Claudia Pearson Illustration is one of my all-time favorite lines that we carry in the shop! (I feel like I say that a lot - but I suppose that that's a good sign, right?)

This year, we will have Claudia's hand drawn lovelies in calendar form, but also in these super sweet tea towel sets. I think that her work is so playful and bright - it's just the best!

Claudia also came up with this super-adorable collection of hand-drawn recipe cards. As a set of 12, these are such a great gift for the food-lover in your family! Each one has a unique design printed on the front (with matching recipe on the back), and the quality of Claudia's work is definitely frame-worthy! The assortment and color palette would work as a great little installation of artwork in your kitchen, and all of Claudia's designs are focused on buying seasonally and locally!

And we know it's a bit of a stretch for our usual offerings, but we fell in love with these hand-screen printed jute placemats from Simrin. This time of year, everyone is getting geared up for family and friend gatherings around the house, and I think that either of these place mat sets could be an awesome touch of whimsy with your regular holiday decor!

These could be the perfect little bundle to stick in your daughters stocking for her college apartment, or first home! Just roll the set of 4 up with some red satin ribbon, and you're good to go!

Well, I think I've rambled on for long enough today. I hope you all are gearing up for an awesome weekend (complete with a trip to visit us at the shop to see some of the newbies we chatted about today!)
Enjoy this lovely sunshine, take care of yourselves, buy local... and come out for Portsmouth Restaurant week!

Lots of love -

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