January 29, 2009

The "Live Life Softly" Give-away

Black Mustard Fiber Arts has a new look! One of my priorities since New Year's was to finalize my logo and branding for my Etsy shop and blog, and I'm really happy with the result. So, wherever you find me hanging out online, you'll see the Black Mustard blossom.

I've also come up with a new mantra. Following along the lines of the ideas I talked about in my "Perspective" post, I set out to pinpoint the things that are important to me, the reasons why I do what I do and what I hope to share through my work. To distill everything that I work toward into one powerful statement.

To me this means being gentle with myself and others. It means taking the time to do the things that make me feel peaceful, loving and connected. I think that's why I love knitting and spinning so much. They're relaxing and wholesome. They connect me to a tradition that was borne out of necessity and has evolved into a luxury, and a form of creative expression. There are many other things that make me feel this way: my morning walks, going to yoga classes, playing my guitar and singing with my brother, spending quality time with a friend, or with my cats, doing something kind for someone who doesn't expect it...

As a philosophy for Black Mustard Fiber Arts, it means a renewed commitment to using materials that are eco-friendly and wool that comes from happy, well-treated sheep. I love finding local folks who raise their own animals, and I'm fortunate that the owner of my favorite yarn shop shares my views and only stocks yarns from companies that meet certain industry standards for the humane treatment of their sheep. Living softly includes treading softly and it feels wonderful when I can make something that is good for the planet without sacrificing quality and style. I'm looking forward to exploring the ways that I can apply the "live life softly" philosophy to my work and life.


So, welcome to the new and improved Black Mustard Fiber Arts! To celebrate, I'm holding my very first give-away. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post sharing the ways in which you live life softly. One person will be chosen at random to receive a free pair of fingerless gloves from my shop in the color of their choice. They will be able to choose from either the "Diamond in the Rough" style or the new "Cascade" style gloves, which will be going up in the shop this weekend. There will also be a new range of colors to choose from! The drawing will take place on Monday, February 9th at 9:00pm PST and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, Ferbruary 10th. Good luck!

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Ballee said...

Congrats with your new style, love the strength of it!

And Live Life Softly: since I have 2 children, its very important for me to sit still and look.
Look at what they are doing, as the time flies by really quick.
So see my girl giggling about nothing, and watch my boy writing his first words with the biggest concentration you can imagine.
Just live and enjoy!
Have a great day,
groeten uit Rotterdam
Ballee on Etsy and Ravelry

Brittany said...

The new look is great. I love the graphics.

Unfortunately I'm not as able to tread as softly as I like; I travel too much and air travel is a killer. But when I was living in China I biked everywhere. I'm also vegetarian and I like to think I don't consume much (clothing, etc).

I was watching a fascinating piece on TV about dry toilets, but I don't think that's something I can bring myself to yet.

mchen said...

Lovely philosophy — good for you!

Things I do to 'live softly': always remember how my actions impact others, try to go out of my way for strangers and friends, donate my time to causes I care about, grow my own veggies, compost, buy local, promote ""... and more, but I don't want to bore you :)

Keep it up, and best of luck with your shop!

pgb said...

Said very beautifully, BlackMustart!!

pgb said...

I forgot to tell you the ways I live softly!! I love to make baskets from pine needles (from my own yard) and make jewelry from stoneware clay. These are very natural materials and make me feel calm and centered when I work with them.

Beyond the Picket Fence said...

I think that your moto is wonderful.

As a soaper and bath & body creator I am trying to accompish many of the same things. Organic sustainable oils, natural colorants, natural frangrance.

In my personal life I have cut out almost all household toxins, creating all of my own cleaners. My husband is alergic to bleach, so it started as necessity...and quickly grew into an obsession! It is nice to know every ingredient of what you are using.

FairiesNest said...

I love your philosophy! I try to use natural and recycled fibers in all my dolls. They're better for the planet and so lovely to work with. And it's so important to take time for family and friends...and I keep my heat very low so some fingerless gloves to work in would rock! :)

Audrey said...

Love your philosiphy!! It is hard some times to live life softly. I have 2 teenage boys, one in college, one still in high school. But this year I hope to relax more and take life as it comes. No need to get excited over things we can't control. Enjoy, and spend more time as a family.
I will add your give away to the side bar of my give away, using your logo (love the logo!!).

blackmustard said...

Wow! What great comments! Thanks so much for all the kind words and I'm enjoying reading all your suggestions. is awesome! I'm going to start a list of links to "live life sofly" and storyofstuff is going to be right at the top :)

A couple of other things I plan to do are to start a compost in the spring and forgo driving my car to work for a bike/bus route instead. I'm also a vegetarian and I get all my eggs from a knitter friend who has a few pet chickens. They taste better and those chickens are so spoiled! I try to use all-natural cleaners around the house as well, and shop locally whenever I can. I also looove Etsy for the fact that I can avoid corporations and get stuff like soaps and beauty products made with natural ingredients right from the hands of the people who make it. You gotta love handmade :)

Keep those suggestions coming! It's great to hear from folks who share these values.

Off to check out all your lovely blogs...

Heather said...

Your new logo is lovely and I absolutely adore your "live life softly" philosophy. It is how I try to live my life, but the way you've stated it is especially lovely.

I am a vegetarian who tries to live as "locally" as I possibly can. I do it in my private life, and the place where I have more impact is in my professional life. I run a small winery that uses all local ingredients and we're active in our local food community.

Thanks for sharing your "live life softly" idea with all of us. And best of luck with the redesign of your logo, etc.


Natalie said...

WOW... I relaxed a couple of notches just reading your blog! My two active boys keep life loud and moving here at our house. Knitting is my peace. Knowing my boys are healthy and happy make me happy... even with all their LOUDNESS!

There is so much more I could do, and I do strive to improve. I recycle. I turn off lights. I try to reduce my plastic and disposable use (though we have a long way to go). :-) Thanks for increasing awareness!


malleycc said...

I like the style. Good luck with it.

Val said...

Well, you're very impressive and so is your blog post and, in particular, your mission statement: living life softly. Well put. I already have a lovely pair of your fingerless gloves. Just wanted you to know I saw the post and really loved it. Can't wait to read all the comments other people leave for you.

You are amazing and I love you.


Angie said...

Living softly, I like you uplifting words! We live softly by offering kindness to all living things, especially animals!
Thank you!

that chick said...

wow, beautiful blog!

i eat only ethical meat, buy only ethical clothes, and recycle. oh, and garden and can and take the bus and other stuff. treading lightly is a theme in my life.

but seriously,i really like your blog's look. off to peruse some more...

pdxknitterati said...

Beautiful blog! I found you through your comment on my blog; I'm glad I visited yours.

I try to live softly by doing most of my living in a small part of the world. I work close to home, do my shopping close to home, am trying to walk/bike more for errands. I'm leading a class called through my church called Healthy Children, Healthy Planet from Northwest Earth Institute ( that looks at our consumer culture and leads us to examine our lives and what we pass on to our children.


Connie said...

Hmm, I think I try to think more about where the things I buy come from. I try to be grateful for all the wonderful things in my life. I try to model being mindful - not perfect- for my girls.

adrienne said...

Your new look is lovely!

I, unfortunately, don't live as softly as I'd like. I am a vegetarian, and one of my biggest goals is to be able to live without a car. That's not possible right now, but it's something I'm actively seeking. I also like to grow my own veggies, and buy them at farmer's markets when I can't grow them myself.

Uli said...

Love your blog post, your new logo and the living softly motto. I think it's great. For me, I just need to SLOW down and not rush so much. Say NO to all the requests once in a while and make sure that I'm actually "THERE" when I spend time with my family and not just there in body. Mind and spirit and all... knitting and spinning and my jewelry and my music help me slow down, once in a while.

Kelly Towle said...

Love the logo & will look forward to the newsletter. Well done!
To me, "Living Life Softly" is being that person I was made to be. Doing the things that bring me closer to this world & my being. Thing that make me & others content. That can be anywhere from spending time alone doing the things you love or spending time with those around you & with those you love. Sharing a smile & a laugh daily while you're doing so is a must! Thanks for letting me share :)

Anonymous said...

Life Softly: I appreciate my friends and family everyday and let them know it!
Going on walks with my dog in the fresh breeze & warm air in Texas!
ashlomb at yahoo dot com