Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve

Today is Christmas Eve Eve, which for me usually means pushing to get all the presents wrapped, get packed to go, and finish the cooking. This year will probably be no different, but I wanted to take a few minutes to blog and wish everyone happy holidays!

I read in the New York Times yesterday that sales of handmade gifts are up this year, both in terms of craft fairs and craft supplies, despite all the negative reporting on retail sales. This is happy news.

I can't say that every single thing I bought for gifts is handmade -- how do you make The Dangerous Book for Boys? But I did get myself into the kitchen to make most of my gifts, and instead of yet another bottle of scotch I'm assembling a photo album for my secret Santa giftee.

I've always liked making my Christmas presents. One of my earliest memories is watching my Mom sew and braid calico fabric into wreathes for everyone on her list. She often made fudge for gifts, and sometimes hard candy. As a child I learned about "hard crack" and the virtues of waxed paper at her side.

Yesterday my kitchen was practically Santa's Workshop. Jae and I made dark peanut brittle (used turbino sugar instead of white for molasses-y flavor), chocolate enrobed dried fruit and nut clusters, and two kinds of cranberry chutney (spicy and sweet). We sipped little burnt orange martinis while we cooked, which made things all the more fun (and as a sometimes stressed cook, easier). And we got all the cooking done!

In our family, Christmas Eve is the big night of the season. We gather together -- there will be 20+ of us this year -- to feast, drink, open presents (one at a time), and then sing karaoke late into the night. Having grown up in a much more sedate Yankee family, Christmas with the Kim/Lee clan is a blast!

This year we're celebrating at Jae's Mom's up in Westchester. My Dad is coming down from NH, and Jae's brother and (pregnant!) sister-in-law are arriving from Pittsburgh. We're all especially excited because this is cousin Suzy's 6-month-old William's first Christmas. He's the first born of the next generation and he's probably going to get a sleigh-full of presents. None of us can resist.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Solstice Greetings, Happy Kwanza, and Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Posted and images by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Final In-Person Greenjeans Event of the Year!

Sunday, Dec. 21, is the final day to shop Greenjeans in person this year!
With all jewelry 20% off and big discounts on other items (Choo Choo Train was $99, but will be $79 tomorrow!) you don't want to miss out!!

It is also the final day of the Brooklyn Flea's first season, and all vendors will be INDOORS in the Masonic Temple across the street from the usual Flea grounds -- it's that Time Out New York Gifted market you've been hearing buzz about, and it's fabulous.

The music will be kickin', the crowds bustlin', and the scene SMOKIN', so come out and finish up your holiday shopping at Gifted -- you'll find great stuff AND you'll be supporting independent designers and merchants -- way to go!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Masonic Temple photo sourced here.
Gifted photo sourced here, then manipulated with text and arrows.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Snacks!

It's Friday -- enjoy the snacks!

Every year I see this Peppermint Bark in the Williams-Sonoma catalog, and every year it makes my mouth water. I know there are recipes out there, but I want THIS Peppermint Bark. It's the kind of thing I'd never buy for myself though... (Secret Santa, if you're reading this...!)

Last Thursday was the opening for Anders Bergstrom: Prints and Recent Work at Abrons Art Center on the Lower East Side. (You might recognize Bergstrom's work from our show Garbage Collection last year.) It's a great-looking show and I'll post more pics of the opening later.
Up through Jan. 2 (and may be extended...)

I made a necklace from one of Bergstrom's limited-edition Can-at-Rest Coasters for the occasion. Pictured here with my favorite of his most recent prints.

I learned last week at said opening that my friend Jessica S. is a blogger too! Her food blog, More Meat, is smart, cheeky, and useful. Check out her awesome ramen noodles hack, transforming the college-dorm standard into exceptional eats for a cold winter's night.

Got a carrot left over from soup-making? Why not make a clarinet? Vegetables become instruments in the hands of these cleaver musicians of the Vegetable Orchestra -- play video to hear a carrot flute, squash drums, and edible horns play a concert. Delicious! [Via Craftzine]

(Note: I may or may not have Friday Snacks next week -- might still be a-Christmassing...!)

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Order by 12/18 for On-Time Shipping!

If you're hoping to order something from Greenjeans and have us ship in time for Christmas, you've only got one more day! We must receive your order before 2pm tomorrow, Dec. 18, for it to make it on time (or rather, without rush delivery fees).

Been getting reports that the website is running slow, so feel free to CALL ME directly to place your order: 718-907-5835.

Here's our 2008 Gift Guide to help you along.

And when you call or check out, use this code to receive 20% off your order: GAZE.

For all you local shoppers, we will be at GIFTED this Sunday from 11-6, for your last-minute shopping needs. Expect some awesome discounts on things that are usually a bit pricey...

Thank you for shopping Greenjeans this holiday season!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Issue of the Greenjeans Gazette

The latest issue of the Greenjeans Gazette, our monthly e-newsletter, is out!

If you don't already receive it in your inbox, you can read it online.

And while you're at it, why not subscribe? Sign up right here.

There's a promo code in there to save you 20% on all Greenjeans Webshop purchases, so don't miss out on that.

Thank you for reading!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Call to Action - Save Handmade Toys!

Today I became aware of a very serious concern for anyone who makes or loves handmade items for children.

Without OUR TIMELY ACTION asking Congress to amend a new law, untested handmade toys, clothing, and anything else child-related will become ILLEGAL in the United States.

This sounds insane and alarmist, but apparently it's true: the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) passed by Congress in August 2008 could literally shut down independent and small-scale toy producers by forcing them to comply with prohibitively expensive certifications. I've been reading up on it searching for a loophole, but there seem to be none, and it's up to us to make one.

The fact is that starting Feb. 10, 2009, any item intended for children under the age of 12 that hasn't been tested by a third party (at a prohibitive cost of up to $4000 per toy) and certified safe will be illegal to sell in this country. That is crazy!

Seems the problem is that the well-intentioned Congressmen who created this law to protect kids from lead paint and phthalates -- a good thing -- didn't take into account the many
handmade or small-batch products that have nothing to do with lead or phthalates who can't afford the fees for outside testing -- a bad thing.

So, we have to take action and demand that the law be amended to protect independent, small-scale producers from dire unintended consequences.

Call your representatives and tell them to please adjust the law to exempt small-scale domestic producers.

Please take a few minutes to learn more about the CPSIA and make at least one action (sign the petition, call your rep, pass this on to a friend, etc.). Here are some resources:

Contact Your Congressman

Sign petition from Handmade Toy Alliance

Vote to Save Handmade Toys on change.org

Handmade Toy Alliance website (includes their proposal to improve the CPSIA)

Roundup of Info from Cool Mom Picks

Read Etsy's open letter on the CPSIA

Join the indie protest
by mailing sponsoring Congressman Bobby Rush your handmade toy labeled "Hazardous Substance"

Thanks to Cathy of California for blogging about this and hipping me to the situation.

And again, PLEASE take action -- this law is real and it is bad not only for those who care about handmade, but really for the prospects of independent producers in all industries.

Thank you for your efforts.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Greenjeans 2008 Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to the
Greenjeans 2008 Holiday Gift Guide!

Brimming with ideas and links to more ideas, there's something here for everyone and every budget.

Not finding what you want? Contact us and we'll help you out!

Or use the handy-dandy new SEARCH function at the bottom of each page.

To ensure timely holiday delivery...
In NYC: Order by Dec. 21
Elsewhere: Order by Dec. 18

"Can at Rest" Coasters ($12 for set of 8)
by Anders Bergstrom
(...more sculpture)

Celadon Dessert Plate ($36)
by Kit Cornell
(...more ceramics)

Documentary about the League of NH Craftsmen (29.95)
featuring Jane Kaufmann, Kit Cornell, and more!
by Ken Browne Productions
(...more craft documentaries)

Happy Holidays, and thank you for buying handmade and shopping Greenjeans!

Posted and images - Greenjeans.

20% Off All Jewelry at Gifted Sun. 12/14!

Toys! Jewelry! Special order pick-ups!

And as a Holiday Special tomorrow only: 20% off all jewelry!!!

We'll have it all at Gifted tomorrow, Sunday Dec. 14, from 11am - 6pm.

Hope to see you there!

Oh, and very sorry for missing Friday Snacks yesterday. The "holidaze" hit me like a sleigh full of toys and I didn't have a chance to do it. I'll be back with that next week...!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image by Cousin Jason taken last weekend at Gifted... before the coffee kicked in!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Visit to Socrates Sculpture Park

Last Wednesday, Jae and I took a break from the every-day and helped out Cousin Suzy by taking care of her adorable 6-month-old, William, for the day.

Suzy lives down the street from Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, so we strapped Will into the Baby Bjorn and hiked on over to expose him, and ourselves, to some local art.

The most impressive piece on view there now is a massive installation made from long narrow ribbons of painted wood lashed and bound together by knotted string. It must have taken a loooong time to put this piece up, and the results are totally impressive. Will liked it too.

There is also this monumental trophy sculpture with a REAL painted car on top. Rad! Unfortunately I didn't note either artist's name.

Socrates is an amazing art space in NYC, worth the hike even if you don't have a baby in tow to impress!

Posted and photos by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Art of African Textiles at the Met

Meticulous embroidery, magnificent dyeing, and mind-bending weaving form the basis of a gem of a show now on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End took my breath away during a recent visit to the museum that just never fails to inspire and amaze me.

The colors, textures, and especially the craftsmanship of the works on view are completely awe-inspiring and reveal aspects of a world extremely under-appreciated in the realms of art, craft, and design.

Having little other point of reference, many works reminded me of Japanese textiles, especially some of the pieces involving indigo dye and one black shawl composed of fine, intricate openwork. But in actuality, these works reflect languages of their own, coming from regions all over the continent over a broad swath of time.

The show includes a great video by contemporary British artist Grace Ndiritu called The Nightingale (see below) in which the artist trains a camera on her head then expressively "plays" with a printed scarf, winding it and wrapping it in hundreds of evocative and thought-provoking configurations.

My favorite pieces are not pictured on the website (of course), but the pictures do no justice to the work anyway -- the textures, the movement, and the richness of these textiles can only be appreciated in person.

[Video via You Tube, 0:31]

Thru April 5, 2009. Catalogue available.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Images courtesy metmuseum.org.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Gifted Gets its Groove

Seems like the holiday shopping bug has bitten Brooklyn!

The crowds came out in droves yesterday despite the wind and cold to check out Gifted, the curated holiday market inside the Masonic Temple by the creators of the Brooklyn Flea.

Shoppers seemed very motivated to buy, especially items priced under $50. Our popular wooden toys were FLYING off the table -- after only 3 hours Jae had to run home for more inventory, and we totally sold out of some designs.

We enjoyed visits from lots of regulars and though we were super busy managed to take a few snaps, including this one of our good friends and soon-to-be-parents Shawn & Judy.

Thanks to everyone who came out yesterday!

If you didn't make it, you can find us there again this coming Sunday, 12/14...

And remember, our inventory is LIMITED and going fast, so if there's something specific you want please let me know -- I don't want you to be disappointed if it sells out!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Shop Greenjeans at Gifted on Sunday

Ready to buy some wooden toys for holiday gifts?

Sunday is your chance!

We'll be at Gifted, the indoor holiday market at the Brooklyn Flea, this Sunday (12/7) from 11am - 6pm with a new supply in almost every design fresh from Maine!

Can't make it on Sunday? Let me know if there's something you'd like and I'll hold it for you -- our supplies are limited, so sooner the better.

The toys are also all in our Webshop, so online ordering is also an option.

Happy shopping!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Roy McMakin at Design Miami

One of my favorites, Shaker-influenced furniture maker Roy McMakin is on view at Matthew Marks Gallery's booth at Design Miami this week.

I discovered McMakin's work at the Shaker Design show at Bard earlier this year. Thanks to Cool Hunting for spotting it in sunny Miami!

Design Miami is one of many satellite shows spawned by that annual art hullaballoo Art Basel Miami. Wish we were there...

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image sourced here.

Friday Snacks!

It's Friday -- enjoy the snacks!

I love this DIY project -- a little wall paper and paint transform discarded dresser drawers into modular shelving! [Via Craftzine]

One advantage to living in a cold climate: you can make this clever frozen wreath for sweet outdoor holiday decorating. [Via Whip Up]

After the holidays, take those little white lights and string on little flower shapes cut from egg cartons for a poetic "fairy light" garland. (I sure seem to be in a DIY mood this week!) [Via Craftzine]

This Sunday, find us and 49 other eclectic vendors at Gifted, the new indoor holiday market by the organizers of the Brooklyn Flea. We'll have wooden toys galore, and maybe a little jewelry too.
Katie at Color Addict posted a sweet paean to the roasted chestnut on her blog the other day. This time of year, you can buy them from street vendors around Manhattan, or if you're Jae's Mom, you can collect them from under the tree by the town library... Yum!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

New in the Webshop

We continue to add new items to the Webshop just about every day, stocking the virtual shelves and improving organization for your holiday shopping pleasure!

Recently added:

Ceramics by Kit Cornell

Jewelry by Alison Mackey (photographs under resin)

Jewelry by Lulu Smith (colored resin in silver)

Stay tuned for more, including Gift Guides!

And if you missed last week's special edition of the Greenjeans Gazette with the discount code, here's a link to the newsletter...

Happy shopping!

Posted and images by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.