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Rubie Green Eco Living Event in NYC

Earlier this month, Smock was excited for the opportunity to contribute some of our fun letterpress greeting cards to goody bags handed out to guests at the recent Rubie Green event at Calypso Home in New York City. Rubie Green, a line of incredibly stylish organic upholstery textiles and bedding, was created by Michelle Adams who is the former editor of Domino magazine so it was a thrill for us to contribute to an event that was both fabulously chic, but also wonderfully eco-minded. This was such a great opportunity to introduce Smock to some new friends!

Rubie Green Eco Event Invitation

First of all, it has to be noted that the Calypso store provided a beautiful backdrop for this event…

Event at Calypso Home

Calypso NYC

Calypso NYC


Smock Eco Reads – Clean House, Clean Planet

Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan is an incredible resource, explaining how to mix up your own eco-friendly household cleaners from everyday ingredients you likely already have at home. It’s the Smock Eco Read pick of our office manager, Carrie, who shares with us a bit more about one of her favorite eco reads…

Smock Eco Reads - Clean House, Clean Planet

I love this book! Karen’s recipes for cleaners are effective, fun to make, and  a pleasure to use. I cleaned houses for a while after my son was born and used only these products, and everyone for whom I cleaned begged me to make some for them to have. This book really breaks down the benefit versus harm of cleaning agents used in the home, with an eye to the long-term effect these different chemicals have beyond our home environments into the environment we all share. Making your own cleaning solutions is greener in every way, and an easy habit to adapt as part of the journey toward living sustainably in today’s world. I read that book three years ago and continue to this day to use the cleaning solutions found here!

Smock Eco Partner Spotlight – Amazon Conservation Association

Here at Smock we’re not only in love with printing beautiful letterpress invitations (and letterpress business cards, letterpress thank you notes, letterpress greeting cards…you get the picture), we’re also in love with the earth. Really really in love with the earth. We’re always working on improving our eco practices to do our part to help protect the environment for future generations. The Amazon Conservation Association is just one of the organizations we partner up with in our effort to promote

What is the ACA?
“Our mission is to conserve the biological diversity of the Amazon. Road construction, logging, and land clearing for agriculture are endangering the health of the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon Conservation Association works by forging ties with governments, nonprofits and people who depend on the rainforests for their livelihood, with the goal of saving rare species and habitats and learning from the land.”

Why is the Amazon significant?
The Amazon rainforest is home to 30% of the plant and animal species on Earth and additionally, 20% of all fresh water on the planet flows through the basin’s rivers. Recognizing the importance of the Amazon rainforest to the greater ecological systems of the world as a source of countless foods, fibers and potential new medicines, the ACA works to protect these invaluable forests as they are facing increasing threats from slash and burn agriculture, wildlife poaching, mining, illegal logging, oil prospecting, and large development projects. Rainforests are also a vital force in shaping the world’s weather and climate patterns with the UN citing that 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions are related to tropical deforestation. It is estimated that at current rates, more than half of the Amazon rainforest may be destroyed or severely damaged by 2030. ACA is working together with local communities and partner organizations throughout the region to protect these precious forests.

Want to get involved?

  • Consider visiting one of the ACA’s two research centers – they welcome travelers of all types. (Talk about a cool idea for an eco honeymoon!) They have one location in the beautiful cloud forest outside of Cusco, Peru, called Wayqecha. The other location is in the Amazon, in the state of Madre de Dios, Peru, called CICRA. Both stations provide 3 meals, cabins (private or shared) and an endless amount of hiking trails. Wayqecha also houses a world class canopy walkway, which visitors are welcome to explore and enjoy the birds-eye view of the rainforest. Volunteers are also always welcome!

Smock Eco Partner - ACA Research Stations
{Top – CICRA photo by Raechel Running | Bottom – Wayqecha photos via ACA}

  • Opt to make a donation to ACA in lieu of traditional wedding favors. Those couples who make a donation to the ACA will receive beautiful letterpress favor cards designed and printed by Smock. We’re also offering free personalizing of the favor cards with a couple’s name for those participants who have worked with Smock for their letterpress wedding invitations. You can read more here.
  • Sign up for ACA’s quarterly newsletter to keep up to date on recent events and announcements
    Sponsor a small program; $40 conserves 5 acres of rainforest, $80 conserves 10 acres of rainforest, $400 buys a GPS for a park ranger, $50 sponsors a “Science Saturday” program for local children, $150 provides a uniform for park rangers, $400 buys one pair of binoculars for park rangers
  • Sponsor a program; large-scale donors can sponsor a reforestation or micro-enterprise project, starting at $10,000

For more information about the ACA and how you can get involved or to make a donation, contact Gena at

Smock Eco Reads – Good

Good is an eco magazine, one of my favorite eco reads. Subscribe to this magazine and 100% of your subscription is donated to nonprofits doing good. And if that isn’t convincing enough, this magazine has amazing photography and really cool graphs (“the most used subways in the United States and the world, showed in graphic form”), as well as inspiring profiles of people who are helping change the world for the better. Though I wish they trusted their readers to have a longer attention span (lots of short 1/2 page or 1 page articles), it’s a thought provoking read that nudges you to live your life better – not in the self-development sense (10 ways to look better, etc.), but living your life in a way that helps others and the world. One of the most recent issues was devoted to transportation, and by the end of it, it was hard not to say “okay, okay, I’ll ride my bike more, I’ll look at bus routes differently, okay, I’ll do it!” This issue included drawings from grade school students on transportation of the future (including “traveling legs’), a neat article on “casual carpooling” in the Bay Area, and the cool buses of Bogota. Good is just that, good, and one you should definitely check out.

Smock Eco Read - Good Magazine


Smock Green Living – Community Supported Agriculture

Taking our commitment to the environment and green living seriously, Smock happily subsidizes CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) memberships for all employees through a local organic farm, Grindstone Farm. We receive weekly deliveries of fresh, organic veggies and herbs that are typically picked within just hours of reaching us – and they’re incredibly delicious, too! Because the old warehouse we call home, the Delavan Center, is the Downtown Syracuse drop-off location, our CSA deliveries literally come right to our door. We love seeing what awaits us as we fill up our bags and head home to cook. Tuesday becomes our favorite day of the week during CSA season!

Smock - CSA Share

Usually we can count on receiving an assortment of great lettuces, kale, fresh herbs like cilantro and dill, broccoli so delicious you’ll never want to eat anything other than organic broccoli again, garlic scapes, cool daikon radishes that resemble white carrots, and lots and lots of beautiful red radishes. As the season is progressing, so are the crops, but radishes have continued to greet us every week, which led a few of us to start looking into recipes that use radishes and ideally the radish greens too. After a while, we’ve found ourselves at a bit of a loss as to what to do with them other than slice them up for salads. After some hunting around, one of our letterpress printers, Carrie, who is one of the finest artisans we know to ever run an Original Heidelberg windmill, found and tweaked the following recipe that was so good, we just had to share it in the event any of you are at a loss as to what to do with radishes. If you like food with an Asian flair, you will love this recipe.

Smock - CSA Share

Asian Hamburger Skillet

  • 1lb lean hamburger (although many of us are vegetarians so we substituted the Morning Star ground “meat” instead)
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced about 1/4? thick then cut into 2? lengths
  • 1 bunch of radishes, cut in matchsticks
  • 1 bunch of radish tops, cut roughly into 1? pieces
  • 4 carrots, julienned or cut into 1/4? slices
  • 1-1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (although we’ve also tried General Tso’s sauce and it was delicious!)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lime (optional)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a large sauté pan, cook hamburger (or meat substitute) over medium high heat, until just beginning to brown, breaking into small bits with spatula. Stir in onion and radishes and cook another 2-3 minutes. Stir in carrots, radish tops, ginger paste and fish sauce and cook 5-10 minutes until onions are softened and hamburger is cooked through. Sprinkle with lime juice (if using) and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately…and feel free to share your CSA-inspired recipes with us and we’ll post them here on the Smock blog!

Smock Real Party – Madline’s First Birthday

Today we are thrilled to welcome a guest to the Smock blog, Seana, who recently hosted the most incredible first birthday party for her daughter Madeline. Inspired by the Smock letterpress party invitations she sent to guests, Seana crafted a beautifully handmade, eco-friendly party that has us dreaming up any number of excuses to host great parties. Without further ado, Seana shares with us more about Madeline’s fabulous birthday celebration…
Smock real party: a vibriant first birthday party
A couple months after my daughter Madeline was born, I was perusing the web for eco-friendly paper companies who had cute birth announcements. I came across Smock and fell in love with the Horsey stationery suite. I decided right then and there they would be the invitations for my daughter’s 1st birthday party. Needless to say, I never actually sent out birth announcements (I know, bad mom!) but as Madeline’s June thirtieth birthday was approaching, I went back to Smock and bought the invites along with the matching Delft correspondence cards for thank you notes. They became my inspiration for her party! I went with an aqua and coral color scheme and started planning the decorations, cake and menu.
Smock real party: a vibriant first birthday party
It is very important to our family that we make as little impact on our environment as possible so Madeline’s party was planned with that in mind. On my home computer, I designed and printed the happy birthday banner and the party favor nametags. I bought some scrap fabrics and ribbons in coordinating colors in order to make the flag banners and “doilies”. One of my favorite projects was the picture banner. I made a fabric flag banner but left some extra space between the flags, there I used graphic clothes pins to hang home printed pictures of Madeline starting at birth and on through her first year. There won’t be a birthday party for Madeline every year but I will continue to hang the birthday banner, I’ll just change out the number.  I will also continue to hang the picture banner, switching out photos for ones from the year we are celebrating. It will become a birthday decoration tradition and it’s much better to re-use than to buy new every year.
Smock real party: a vibriant first birthday party
The cake, cookies and mini smash cake were fantastic! I went to this really great bakery right down the street from our home in Chicago, The Bleeding Heart Bakery. It is an organic bakery known for their innovative designs and the environmentally responsible way in which they operate their business. I brought in the invites and thank you cards for inspiration and they came up with a delicious carrot cake with the invitation horsey on it. They also made the bird cookies to look like the bird sweetly perched on the horsey’s back. Madeline’s mini smash cake was actually sweetened with agave nectar instead of sugar, a request I made so as to curb that sugar overload for such a small body, and they were happy to oblige.
Smock real party: a vibriant first birthday party
I will admit that if there is a way that I can get out of a lot of clean up after a party, I am all for it. One way is to use disposable utensils, plates and napkins. Unfortunately using all of that plastic is just not good for the earth so I set out to find some environmentally ways to make the party easier without compromising quality. After doing my research I found some great alternatives. We used disposable, compostable bamboo plates made by the company Bambu and we used disposable, biodegradable utensils made from potato, yes potato! Called Potatoware, these utensils were strong, in fact a lot less brittle than your regular plastic kind. I really couldn’t justify using paper napkins, so we went with cloth, but that was ok, it gave me another excuse to add some color by tying the rolled utensils with ribbon.

The simple menu consisted of:

• Green salad made from our CSA lettuce, organic cherry tomatoes, onions and artichokes all topped with a goddess dressing.

• Fruit salad made up of our CSA strawberries, in-season organic blueberries and in-season cantaloupe.

• Cheeseburgers with condiments also coming from our CSA.

It’s amazing how you can have a fairly simple meal taste SO good just by using fresh, in-season local food.

Smock real party: a vibriant first birthday party

It was not a very large party, just a few of our close friends and their kids but it was such a nice way to get together to celebrate our little girl’s first year. Madeline is the joy of our lives; she is such a happy one year old and she thoroughly enjoyed her party. We look forward to many more birthdays in the future!

Thank you, Seana, for sharing Madeline’s party celebration with us – we are so completely inspired! And, a big Happy Birthday to Madeline from all of us at Smock!

Smock an EPA Green Power Partner

Here at Smock, we’re always searching for new ideas and ways to improve our eco practices and to build great new partnerships. Smock’s parent company, Boxcar Press, recently teamed up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an EPA Green Power Partner, a program designed to encourage organizations to seek out renewable energy sources and to reduce carbon emissions. Together, Smock and Boxcar are 100% wind powered through NativeEnergy, a truly inspiring organization that allows businesses and individuals to purchase carbon offsets and renewable energy credits. NativeEnergy actively works to promote Native American, family farm, and community-based renewable energy projects to help make renewable energy more accessible. It’s a true pleasure for us to be working with the EPA and NativeEnergy to help promote renewable energy and we look forward to seeing an increasing number of businesses getting involved in the future.

Smock - EPA Green Power Partner

Smock Eco Reads – The Wall

Smock co-owner, Debbie Urbanski, is an avid lover of nature and the earth as well as a lover of literature and the written word, so she was thrilled to pass along her first recommendation for this week’s installment of Smock Eco Reads. Debbie shared a bit of insight into The Wall, a 1962 novel by Austrian author Marlen Haushofer that she recently read and I know I personally can’t wait to read this novel after her review…

The Blue Mountains - Blog Inspiration


So I’ll admit that the premise of this novel did not sound mind altering or gripping – something happens in the world to pretty much everyone, some kind of catastrophe, and this woman becomes trapped in the mountains behind an invisible wall with only a dog, a cat, and a cow for companions. There really aren’t any other people, other than the narrator, in the entire novel. And let me get this out in the open: though I love the world, the planet, and I’m a vegetarian, I’m not a pet person. I don’t really get pets. So a book about a woman whose major companion is her dog? I spent a week with this book on my nightstand, staring at the cover, wondering if I was ever going to get past the first page. But when I started reading, I found a book that was beautiful, moving, gripping, sad, quiet, and amazing.

It’s not a “hit you over the head” environmental book, but it does suggest the devastation and violence that people bring to each other and the landscape. And it does show how a quiet simple life in the middle of nowhere can be filled with complexity and beauty. And it also shows how small humans are, and how big the “other” is – the animal world, the natural world. And it has some of the best descriptions I’ve ever read of mountains — how they’re mesmerizing and menacing and jaw-dropping and scary and gorgeous. But in addition to this, it’s just a gripping read. There is hint of a tragedy that’s finally revealed in the last few pages and I couldn’t take the suspense–I had to read ahead.

The narrator is a meditative soul that I missed the moment the book was finished. It’s been a month or two since I closed up the Wall, and I still miss the book, and I really haven’t been able to get into another novel since. The one small tragedy of this book – I haven’t met anyone else who has read it, let along heard of it (I found it in a great list book called 500 Great Books by Women). So pick this book up, read it, and then pass it on to a friend. It looks like it’s out of print, but you can buy it used or find it at your library, which is more eco anyway.

I did some digging around and it looks as though there are a few used copies of The Wall available on Amazon as well as on Half, including some rare first edition prints. If you end up picking this one up, make sure to let us know!

Happy Earth Day! – Smock Green Living Tips

Here at Smock, we are avid believers that small changes are the first step toward making a big impact so we wanted to share some tips on incorporating a little green into your life. In honor of Earth Day, our office manager Carrie, one of the most eco people we know, has shared some of her tips for adopting a greener lifestyle. Little steps can add up to big change, especially if you continue looking for ways to be more eco-friendly in your habits.

Eco gift wrap by Smock

– Substitute 1 car trip a week by walking or biking instead

– Opt for paper egg cartons as they can be used to sprout seeds and then planted directly into your garden in the spring

– Recycle your plastic bags, whether they be from the grocery store or the bag that comes with your newspaper to keep it dry in the rain. These days, most every grocery store accepts shopping bags for recycling.

– Switch to reusable shopping bags. Not only is it more eco-friendly, but an increasing number of stores actually offer a small discount for providing your own bags, although you may need to ask for it when you checkout.

– Try to buy products of a high recycled content and/or look to make sure you’re choosing items that are recyclable in your area

– If certain kinds of plastics can’t be recycled in your area, reuse the contatiners around your home as storage containers or as planters

– Instead of tossing junk mail, reuse the backs of paper for scratch paper, making shopping lists, or even to use in your printer for everyday printing at home or at the office. At the very least, recycle junk mail instead of throwing it away.

– If you’re in the habit of doing so, quit buying bottled water and instead buy a reusable BPA-free aluminum or plastic bottle, some even come with water filters to remove the taste of chlorine

– Avoid large grocery purchases that might lead to wasted food – most people would be surprised to know how much energy goes into food production. Make smaller trips more often so you can use what you buy, which also saves money!

– Look into local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. Smock subsidizes CSA memberships for all employees through a local organic farm which means we get to enjoy delicious produce that doesn’t have to be shipped to us during the summer months.

– Try to make purchases that incorporate recycled or reused materials. These days you can find a ton of options for handmade jewelry, clothing and accessories either locally or via Etsy and similar online marketplaces

Smock hiking around Lake Louise

In addition to these great first steps, Carrie will be sharing more insight on how you can make green living a greater priority in your life as a part of Smock’s latest blog feature, Green Living. Let us know if you have any specific topics you’d like us to cover and we’d be happy answer your questions!

Smock Eco Reads – Inhabitat + Inhabitots

Today we are excited to bring you the latest feature to Smock’s blog, our new series Smock Eco Reads. At Smock we recognize that green living extends beyond pretty letterpress stationery so we are thrilled to be sharing some of our favorite eco reads, the places where we gather inspiration and insight into all things eco. First up, two blogs I count among my personal favorites – Inhabitat and Inhabitots!

Naturally, Smock’s love for great eco design extends far beyond our own eco-friendly letterpress stationery and letterpress wedding invitations so it should come as no surprise that I am completely in love with both Inhabitat and Inhabitots, a duo of eco blogs centering on sustainable design. Covering a range of projects, products and inspiration from architecture and interior design to toys, games and clothing that are as child-friendly as they are eco-friendly, the team of Inhabitat/Inhabitots are always providing fresh insight on new ways to make your life increasingly green. From the serious to the playful, you are sure to walk away feeling educated and inspired to adapt real changes in your lifestyle for the greater good of the environment.

Upcycled Dog Raincoat

A couple of my favorite recent posts include these adorable upcycled umbrella raincoats for dogs, designed by industrial designer Taryn Zychal. I wonder if she can make one large enough for my full grown black lab?

Natural Dye Easter Eggs

And, seriously, how much prettier are these beautiful Easter eggs colored with natural dyes than the garish fluorescent colors you get with one of those grocery store egg dye kits?

I love the mantra of the Inhabitat crew that good design and green design should be one and the same and with Inhabitots they take it a step further, setting out to prove that becoming a parent does not mean having to sacrifice good style nor true sustainability. And if you ask me, they do a brilliant job at both. What can I say? I’m a huge fan.

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