For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


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What To Do When Spring Hasn’t Quite Sprung

We’re still buried in snow up here in the Northeast and apparently there is more snow on the way. You could say I am less than pleased. And even though the days are definitely getting warmer (hallelujah!), it’s still well below freezing when I leave for work in the morning. Nothing is worse than starting your day with freezing fingers from a freezing steering wheel. Luckily I came across Jack and Mary Designs to get me through the last few weeks of cold weather.

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At least a foot of snow still lingers in Maine. It’s hard to believe it is all going to melt soon (at least I hope!).

Jack and Mary Designs sells winter accessories that are handmade out of recycled sweaters. Since each item is made with a different combination of sweaters and buttons, they are all unique, one of a kind pieces. All the accessories are made in Maine and believe me, we Mainers know cold weather so you can imagine we know how to make wicked good hats and mittens.

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Functional and stylish? Yes please!

Although Jack and Mary is all about winter accessories these days, that wasn’t always the case. The designer and founder, Marilyn Robertson, started out as an interior designer. She focused on finding ways work with and reinvent what people already had, rather than buying all new products. The same philosophy gave her the idea to start making handbags out of old sweaters. She then used the sleeves of the sweaters to make mittens and the rest is history.

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“Winter can be such a somber season,” Robertson says. “So I keep the line, colorful, happy…The pieces are functional with a zippy pop of color that always makes people smile.” I know I smiled when I got my pair of mittens.

As you can see, upcycling has always played a huge roll at Jack and Mary Designs. The fact that they use recycled materials and create new value for materials that may have gone to waste has a positive impact on the environment because it helps to eliminate waste.  Upcycling is also said to create 84% less CO2 than other mass-produced items.

Want to learn more about upcycling? Head over to the Jack and Mary Designs Facebook page for tons of inspiration. Every Tuesday they post about ways to upcycle and help you find new uses for old treasures. Turning an old scarf into a camera strap and using an old muffin tin as a jewelry organizer are two of my favorite tips. And there are so many more!IMG_1512

You can check out all of their products on their website. And by some chance if you don’t see anything you like, Jack and Mary Designs can also make custom orders using your old sweaters.  Custom orders are the perfect way to upcycle the old sweaters you don’t wear anymore, but still have sentimental value. You can call (207-337-0521) or send an email (hello@jackandmarydesigns.com) to set up custom orders. Jack and Mary also make fingerless gloves and headbands, which are great for transitioning into spring… which hopefully isn’t too far away!


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I Don’t Like Fall..

There I said it! And I’m starting to think I am the only person on the face of this planet who isn’t ecstatic for fall. What’s the big deal? The days get shorter and colder and more depressing. And worst of all, it means winter is coming…

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I dislike winter more than fall, but sometimes the anticipation to winter is worse than it actually is… if that makes any sense. And maybe if I lived somewhere (almost anywhere) other than Maine, I would appreciate a break from the long, hot, sticky days, but it literally just started getting warm up here and then oh just kidding it’s cold again. Now I’m all worked up *deep breath* and moving on…

I will admit there is one thing I do like about fall. I’m not a complete fall Scrooge. No, it isn’t the pumpkin spice everything. I like scarves. Scarves to me are like little portable blankets you can wear all day and still look fabulous. That is what I call a win-win.

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I just cuddle up in my scarf and pretend the colder temperatures of fall don’t bother me.

For my birthday, which is September 21st and is TECHNICALLY still in the summer (that’s very important to me) my Aunt gave me a scarf from Marquet (the blue one I’m cozying up with above). I hadn’t heard of the company before, but on the label it mentioned something about being fair trade, which have kind of become trigger words for me to whip my laptop out and do some research.

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It turns out Marquet imports bracelets and scarves from artisans in Thailand and Vietnam. Their goal is to empower entrepreneurs in developing countries and help them reach a larger, global audience. They take the time to meet with all of their artisans to create a personal, long lasting relationship. You can learn more about their Fair Trade Federation business principles here. The scarves come in all the colors of the rainbow and are made of cotton and/or silk. I got the Binh Minh Shawl and it has definitely passed my cozy test.