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.


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.


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.


“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 ( 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!


“Back To School To Prove To Dad I’m Not A Fool”

Even though I graduated college two years ago, the end of August will always be synonymous with going back to school. Oh how I miss the new pens, notebooks, and whatever other gadget I found at Staples and deemed “necessary” for the new school year.

In honor of the new school year I’ve put together some bags, totes, and backpacks that will definitely make you too cool for school (or whatever else you’d like to use it for).


Mend Tote

Mend is a social enterprise that works with Invisible Children to empower women affected by LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) conflict in Uganda. Each of these bags has a story. The printed picture represents something a Mend seamstress has bought with her salary earned while making and designing bags. Also, on the bag’s inside pocket is the name and background of the seamstress who made your bag.

These Mend bags are made of 100% cotton canvas, which makes them durable and structured yet still pliable, which is perfect for cramming all your books in.

Sea Bags

Sea Bags Totes

I am very pleased to introduce this next set of bags because the company was founded in my home state of Maine. The company is built around three philosophies: keep production local, be green in product and practice, and be involved in the community.

These bags are handmade out of recycled boat sails, which makes them wicked durable. It doesn’t get any more Maine than that!

Stone + Cloth

Stone+Cloth Totepack

It’s a tote. It’s a backpack. It’s a totepack! These brilliant bags are made by Stone + Cloth, which has partnered with the Knock Foundation in order to spread educational opportunities in East Africa. The Knock Foundation provides scholarships to kids in East Africa where the government requires families to pay tuition to send their children to primary and secondary school. Since many families can’t afford it, the Knock Foundation is helping to make education more available.

FEED Projects

FEED Pouches

So now that you’ve picked out a cute bag, you obviously need a pouch to hold all your loose pens and accessories. Each FEED product has a built in donation set into the price. The donations go toward providing meals to people all over the world. So far they have provided 84 million meals globally with the help of World Food Programme and Feeding America.

Now you’re totes ready to head back to school!