Monday, December 15, 2014

Bear with me now...


We are on our way to reaching the goal of donating $500 to Conservation Northwest at the end of December. Now here’s the wrinkle: During the last seven days of the month I will be on a small vacation (yay!) and so instead of having 18 days left to wrap this up, there are actually 11. Anything earned in the last seven days will also be donated, but I won’t be able to cheerlead the effort.



Here’s what you can do: If you find a vintage item you love in my Etsy shop or web store, purchase it this month and I will donate 25% to CNW. You may also donate directly on my YouCaring.com page. YouCaring takes absolutely nothing from your donation, and neither do I.

Please consider chipping in, for the grizzlies, wolves, spotted owls, woodland caribou, and all the other iconic species of the Northwest.

Monday, December 8, 2014

My December vintage resolution


At the beginning of the year I made 12 vintage resolutions, one per month. I told myself maybe by the end of the year the best will have stuck. Some things have REALLY stuck, and I’ve learned some things I never guessed I’d learn.

...and finally it’s December:

Find at least one vintage item to give for Christmas. I don’t take this lightly because I know that I can impose my taste on someone else if I don’t watch out. But deep down I know there is something vintage that would please and suit every man, woman and child. I just have to figure out what that is!



We probably all know someone for whom vintage is an easy choice, but then there are the people who think it’s “just someone else’s old stuff.” I’m pleased to say that well into my holiday shopping I’ve found only vintage items for everyone on my list except in several cases where I’m giving food or drink and several cases of items by crafts people and artists. Even my gift wrap will be vintage!

I better not give away my current stash of vintage gift items, but I’m terribly excited about them and their suitability for the people receiving them.

Some ideas about giving vintage items to people not used to such things:
  • Make sure the item is in excellent condition, or has a great reason for not being in excellent condition (that vintage book marked up by the author would probably be a treasure)
  • Look for something very specific and personal to the giftee: Consider birth year or another significant year; initials or name; hometown or other meaningful place; favorite activity, color, material, artist or era
  • Don’t let your own style dictate your choice, rather think of the recipient’s style (no shabby chic for a mid-century mod fancier!)
  • Stick to a budget as you would for any other gift and allow yourself plenty of time to look around
  • Try combining something vintage and something new, like your famous holiday bread wrapped in a vintage tea towel
What vintage is going under your tree this year?



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Once more with feeling for Conservation Northwest


At the end of the 1980s I started being a supporter of Northwest Ecosystem Alliance because the fledgling organization gave me hope for the continuing health of the natural environment of my area in the face of a drastically expanding human population.

That organization is now called Conservation Northwest, and it gives me more hope than ever.

I live in Washington State (first Seattle, and now Spokane) and I am extremely fortunate to have diverse and unusual ecosystems in my backyard. There are diverse wildflowers and old-growth forests, tiny pikas and grizzly bears. There are about 44 endangered species, including iconic mammals such as the gray wolf, cougar and orca whale. One of the most critically endangered species in the U.S. is found in northeastern Washington: the woodland caribou. I have seen one of these magnificent reindeer relatives while on a hike. There was snow on the ground in the mountains on the 4th of July, and we saw nearly round hoof prints.


And then we came upon this solid and compact caribou with its snowshoe-like round hooves. It was a very rare siting of a woodland caribou for someone in the Northwestern U.S.



I am indeed fortunate.

The world is filled with deserving causes, but more and more I see the point of helping out in my own backyard. Conservation Northwest looks out for the wild Northwest and the balance between ecosystems, communities and wildlife. None of our natural treasures are a given for the future, and Conservation Northwest is watching out for the wild, present and future. Of course these are the country’s and the world’s wild treasures too...rare, wonderful, and to be preserved by and for all.

This month, for the sixth year, I am devoting a portion of my sales to CNW. Twenty-five percent of the purchase price on any of my vintage items in the denisebrain web store and the denisebrain Etsy shop will go to this great organization. If you don’t see any vintage that inspires you but would like to contribute, please go to my YouCaring.com page. YouCaring takes no money from the cause, so your donation goes entirely to CNW.

My goal is challenging: $500. We’ve done it before, you and I...let’s do it again!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

My great grandmother’s locket


It’s the last day of November, and the last day of my resolution to wear something meaningful every day. I loved doing this...don’t think I will stop!

Today I feel honored to wear my great grandmother Lena’s locket. Here she is wearing it c.1882-85. She was born in 1868. 



I’ve worn this locket—passed down from Lena to my grandmother to my mother to me—many times. It feels like I’m holding hands with each of these generations of wonderful women.