Raising the bar: Wool dryer balls are now more local & sustainable than ever!

IMG_1534One of my favourite products and something I’m really proud of are my wool dryer balls. These neat little bundles are awesome alternatives to dryer sheets for a few reasons. They can:

  • Cut drying time by up to 30%,
  • Reduce static,
  • Soften your clothes, and
  • Be indefinitely re-used

I’ve been making these as part of my natural green cleaning products for the home for a little over a year now, and they are great! Have had great reviews from customers and it’s one of my best sellers at craft shows & markets.

So why change my product & process if everything is going well?

I’m constantly striving to make my products as sustainable as possible. Sourcing out local ingredients and supporting local farms and businesses is a key component of my philosophy. Previously, I had been using yarn from a Canadian wool mill and roving from a local wool shop, but the roving was from a variety of sources including the UK and New Zealand. While I loved the quality of the roving that came from overseas, I still wanted to find a completely local source to reduce my carbon footprint and help support local Alberta businesses and industries. An interesting tidbit of knowledge passed on to me recently was that Alberta wool used to be so undervalued that farmers often burned it rather than get it processed, because it just wasn’t worth it. Crazy eh?! Is the Alberta wool of lesser quality? I don’t think so. I was very impressed with the quality of the roving from Alberta and found it among the softest roving I have ever come across. Definitely, not something that should be burned!

IMG_1501 IMG_1492My dryer balls are now either 95% or 100% made from Alberta roving wool! 

The next step was more more sustainable packaging. I had been packing my dryer balls originally in cellophane packaging, then more recently in stainless steel tins. The tins were meant to offer customers a reusable container that is long lasting and great for storing the dryer balls in between uses. While this is great, I decided that after reading the Story of Stuff (they have a neat video too), I could not longer encourage the use of stainless steel packaging for my product strictly for the purpose of offering a fancy looking package that would last a long time. The amount of energy, mining, and environmental degradation that goes in to the production of stainless steel is mind boggling! I instead have opted for kraft cardboard made from 100% recycled paper. If customers don’t want the package after they get home, they can recycle it or compost it. A simple, sustainable package that I think is much better for the planet than what I was offering before. The other good news is that the boxes can hold up to 4 balls in each. Sweet!

Check out the variety of colours and natural, un-dyed wool dryer balls that are now part of my collection!

PS. My wool dryer balls are available on my etsy store in set of 3, 4 or 6. You can request a custom number and colour set on my etsy store too by sending me a message there. You can also buy them in person from me at my next event: Mercer Collective, March 16, at the Mercer Building on 104th & 104th, 10am-4pm.

Husking Lavender Buds – DIY

Perhaps like many of you, I had seen lavender buds before and seen lavender plants, but wasn’t sure how the buds were removed from the stem so that you end up with just lavender buds.

It turns out that it’s shockingly simple. You just husk it by hand with your fingers. The buds are like little lavender corn cobs shooting out from the sides of the stem and you just husk them off in a downwards motion. Lavender stems don’t really have leaves on the stems, so this makes it quite easy and not too messy to do the husking. Or at least the stems I had didn’t have leaves. The little brown pieces you see in the bottom photo are the outer skin of the bud. What protects it on the plant before it bursts open as a flower.

Why was I husking lavender you ask? My mom sent me home with some lavender from her garden in stem form, so I had to figure out what was the best process for getting it off so I could use the buds in my soaps and scrubs. I love lavender! I swear, I was in a blissful place yesterday when I got to sit down for a bit and husk lavender in my studio. The aroma was so gentle, relaxing, and almost sweet smelling. It definitely had a slightly different scent to it than other BC lavender I have bought in bud form previously from a herbal supply company.

What do I do with the lavender buds? I like to use them in soaps, facial scrubs, yoga eye pillows, & felted dryer balls. Come and see what products I have at City Market on 104th Street this Saturday! It’s the first outdoor market of the season and I’m excited!

New listings in my Etsy store (Soapnuts cleaning trio & felted dryer balls)

ImageSoapnuts Cleaning Trio: Deluxe Collection.

The trio includes:

  • 1L bottle of liquid laundry detergent (your choice of scent from: Lavender & Lemongrass, Lemon & Clary Sage, Lime & Bergamot, or Unscented) (40-60 loads/bottle)
  • 500mL Veggie wash (20-30 washes/bottle)
  • 250mL spray bottle of: Citrus-infused all-purpose surface cleaner (made with fresh infused orange peel cleaner & soapnuts)

Felted Dryer Balls. Unique, needle- felted handmade with Lavender buds in the middle. Dryer balls are an all natural alternative to dryer sheets. They are made from wool and contain a terrycloth sachet filled with lavender buds in the centre. These might balls, get rid of static, soften your clothes and can even cut your drying time, which saves you money. They can be used indefinitely too. So, no more waste in the land fill.

Tree Collection (Set of 2)

Purple Collection (Set of 4)

Market Collective, Calgary, Alberta, March17 &18

Hi everyone,

I’m excited to announce that I got selected to be in the Market Collective event in Calgary the weekend of March 17 and 18. St. Patrick’s Day weekend! Perhaps you will find some lucky deals or a clover or two!

In case you haven’t been before, Market Collective is a 2 day affair of crafty-arty goodness! Come and meet local Albertan designers, crafters, artists, musicians, etc. who make, create and design handmade items from clothing to photography to soap and to jewellery, etc. It’s a great way to support local artisans, get ideas for projects, and connect with the handmade community.

I’ve been busy in my studio these past couple of weeks and will be up until the event, to bring you new items I have been working on, such as felted dryer balls, felted soaps, new hand creams, lip butters, soaps, soapnut products, such as my popular laundry detergent, gentle warrior yoga mat spray, veggie wash, and more!

Not only are these events great for supporters of handmade, they are great for the artists themselves, giving us a venue to connect with others, share tips, tricks, and get ideas for each other. I’m looking forward to going to down to partake, so if you live in Calgary come on by!

The information on where and when to find this great event, is in the poster on the right. Hope to see you there!