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Archives for February 2015

Ozone Layer – Aluminum Free Deodorant That Works!


Though it’s nippy out now, soon enough summer’s heat will breeze in, inducing weather amnesia in us all. We will cease our griping about winter’s chill and make way for complaining about Heat Miser’s grip on our state. The heat of summer brings all sorts of fun – beach days and poolside daze. We’ll relish popsicles and daiquiris and backyard barbecues and the like. But the smelly little secret of the savior of summer is the stink. Peeewwww.

I live in a house full of boys. There are tween boys running amok at any given time of day. The whole lot of them carries a certain scent that wafts up into your nostrils, taking hold in the most unpleasant way. The shoes, the sweat, all marks of the hormonal battle raging in their young, growing bodies. Their coming of age, while sweet in its own way, still reeks.

We discovered Ozone Layer deodorant quite serendipitously while vacationing in Kure Beach. My sons and I struck up a conversation with Reid, one of the founders. He was ebullient and so giddy that we were simply tangled in his joy upon first glance. He’s the kind of guy you immediately trust. A good aura, I suppose, is the mark of a good businessman. We talked about boys hitting their tween stride and noted the change in the air. I mentioned we had been looking for aluminum free deodorant options that were natural and effective. So far the ones we had experimented with were natural and smelled nice but stunk it their efficacy.

Ozone Layer is made in Kure Beach, NC. Todd and Reid, the founders, make up the batches themelves and served as guinea pigs in all the testing. No animals were use in their testing, but I imagine they crinkled up their noses quite a bit until they found a formula that works. Ozone Layer is made from shea butter, beeswax, and oils for scent. I’m partial to the lavender. My husband and sons like the eucalyptus and lemongrass. The scents are all quite lovely, not treacly. All the deodorant is free of sulfates, phthalates, paraben, and artificial colors. The packaging is recyclable and even refillable. You can mail back your empty container for a refill at a reduced cost. Cool, right?

The secret ingredient in Ozone Layer is oxygen. This is where I really wish I had paid more attention in chemistry class. The oxygen rich environment basically chokes out all the bacteria that makes us smell bad.

Deodorant is admittedly not very sexy, but I’d argue that stinking is even less so.


Cone Mills {Childhood Memories}

I’ve been thinking about the textile factories that dotted the North Carolina landscape with plumes of steam coming up from their boilers. More specifically, I’ve been thinking about Cone Mills. You see, my entire family is deeply tied into textile manufacturing. Part were Southern coastal landed gentry, the others Scots-Irish who settled in Appalachian mountains and made their way down to the Foothills of North Carolina. Those who dwelled in the Foothills were either farmers, military, or textile workers.

They were proud people who worked very hard for their living. Textile jobs were dirty, loud, potentially dangerous and tough on the body. My late maternal Grandfather was a fixer, and my paternal Grandfather, a weaver. My late paternal Grandmother was a spinner, and my living maternal Grandmother worked in the supply room. My aunt was a doffer. My Father worked his way up through the textile factories in North Carolina to upper management. I could make a super long list that would bore you to tears about my extended family and their roles in textiles, but I shall refrain.

As a little girl, I remember visiting the different factories my family worked at. I was never allowed in when they were operating, but on the rare times they were shut down (the first week in July and Christmas) I would get to see the inner workings.

The smell of cotton and machine oil from these visits is something that will never escape me. It is similar to what you smell when cleaning a gun, but different. Less oily, more earthy. There was also a metallic smell from the multi-ton beasts that took raw cotton fibers and turned them into denim fabric. Smells are something we associate with throughout life. They trigger memories, good and bad, and no matter what, stick with us in such a profound way that, even years later, can rattle us to our core. Even now, when I smell certain scents, I’m taken back to the smell of the cotton mills and the fabric sitting on their looms.

Really, the fabric I’m thinking of is “selvage” denim. An item so popular, jeans made with it today start upwards of $150 dollars each. Most of this “blue gold” is made at the Cone Mills White Oak plant located in Greensboro, NC, and favored by mainstream retailers like Gap, American Apparel to boutique brands and iconic clothing manufacturers such as Levi.

Frankly, I was stunned at the prices commanded by selvage denim today. After all, it seems like yesterday I was a young girl walking among the machines, tufts of spun cotton the floor and machines that wove fabric stopped mid-weave.

Cone Mills Corporation was the world leader in the manufacturing of denim and largest supplier in the world.* Their employees were proud of their work and I’m happy to see Cone still has one plant still running in North Carolina. The hulking ghosts of their empty factories are a consistent reminder of when things were truly Handmade in North Carolina.

*Source: http://www2.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/c/Cone_Mills_Corporation.html

Dan Carmichael Fine Art & Photography Highlights the Beauty of Snow

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Photography Prints

North Carolina artist and photographer Dan Carmichael captures our state in all her moods and seasons, whether it’s the tenor of the waves or the peace of the rare snowfall. You’ll see images beyond the cliche icons of our state, yet each photo still evokes North Carolina’s personality in myriad ways. Picture North Carolina showcases his work from photos to paintings. There are scenes from around the state, some are of recognizable monuments and others of secret places awaiting the serendipitous discovery. His photographs and paintings reflect light, mood, and season with both vibrant colors and muted shades.

I’ve never met Dan but stumbled upon his work. I’m positively mesmerized by his photos. In light of the snow in our future (fingers crossed!), you might appreciate how he has captured snowfall in North Carolina. Wintry weather is a rarity so it’s lovely to see it documented in its resplendent, romantic glory.
Art Prints

The Season for Local Chocolate

videri sign

It’s so silly when advertisers and retailers claim there is a chocolate season. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter. Sure, all mark the times of year we see chocolate sales soar, but let’s be honest, chocolate is seasonless, as in, appropriate for all seasons. Any occasion can be celebrated with chocolate. Heck, you don’t even need a reason to celebrate!

Granted, with the promise of Cupid’s quiver making hearts aquiver, all eyes are on chocolate right now. I used to inhale the duty free European chocolates my parents brought back from their world travels. Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, all chocolate havens. I’d be remiss to leave out my English indulgence, the Cadbury Flake. I’m delighted to have a world class chocolatier just down the road from me in downtown Raleigh. Videri Chocolate Factory has recently won accolades at the Good Food Awards for its strawberry anise ganache. It’s too good to be sinful.


Check out the full review on Ilina’s site when she wrote about Videri last fall.

Dean Smith: A North Carolina Legend

Tonight North Carolina is mourning the loss of legendary University of North Carolina Chapel Hill basketball coach, Dean Smith. It does not matter if you are a fan of rival basketball programs, Dean Smith is a name you know and respect.

I’ve been a Carolina basketball fan since I was a young girl. When I met my husband, I joked my blood ran Carolina Blue to his Maryland red. My toddler cousins, now 26, used to say they were going to “bring Dean Smif out of retirement.”

Originally from Emporia, Kansas, Coach Smith had a 36 year coaching tenure at the UNC-CH, retiring with 879 victories, 2 national championships and 11 Final Fours. In short, he created a basketball dynasty for the University of North Carolina that is still going strong today.

A big proponent of desegregation, Charlie Scott was recruited by Coach Smith and the became university’s first African-American player to receive a scholarship to play while attending UNC-CH. Most don’t realize that UNC-CH was still rigidly segregated in 1959. Smith came to Carolina in 1961 and by 1966 Scott was playing for UNC.

To give backstory to Smith’s integration work, in 1964, he joined a local pastor, Robert Seymour, and a black theology student to integrate The Pines, a Chapel Hill restaurant. Smith was still an assistant coach at the time, but they walked to the restaurants and waited outside until they were seated. The following year, he helped Howard Lee, a black graduate student at UNC, buy a home in an all white neighborhood.

Fred Hobson, a retired UNC English professor who played on the all-white freshman basketball squad the same 1961–62 season Smith took over as head coach, said Smith got involved “not because he wanted to necessarily, but because he felt he had to. His father had led school integration in Kansas when he was growing up and carried that same deep sense of moral right and wrong. He simply had a firm desire to do the right thing and take a leadership role.** ”

Coach Smith retired in 1997, no longer able to give the enthusiasm needed to coach a program like Carolina. He still advised the Carolina basketball staff and worked tireless in his community. On July 17, 2010, his family released a statement that he had a “progressive neurocognitive disorder” and from then on, spent his last years quietly out of the spotlight.

Dean Smith was a memorable man and touched everyone who met him. He was a true leader in the state of North Carolina and that is what will stick with us. More than basketball championships or Final Four appearances, Coach Smith gave himself to North Carolina and served our state with selflessness, strength of character, and leadership. For that, we shall always love him.

MichaelJordanDeanSmith” by Zeke Smith from Chapel Hill, NC, USA – Michael Jordan, Dean Smith. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Source** http://www.unc.edu/spotlight/dean-smiths-courage/

Romare Bearden Park — Charlotte, NC

In honor of Black History Month in North Carolina, I’m going to kick things off with Romare Bearden Park located in Uptown Charlotte. (Not to worry, Handmade NC will be sharing more about the life and works of Mr. Bearden later this month.) This 5.4 acre public park is named in honor of Charlotte born artist, Romare Bearden, and opened August 2013.

When life has been hectic, Bearden park is a spot I find myself at time and time again. Always changing, I like sit and study the sections while I host an internal debate on which pieces of Bearden’s work are represented in different sections as I stroll or sit on one of the many benches available to visitors. My husband works one block away from this gorgeous spot and it is one of our favorite meeting places for lunch.

Bearden was born in 1911 in his great-grandparents’ house at the corner of Second (now MLK Jr. Boulevard.) and Graham Street in Uptown, a short walk from his namesake park which is based on Bearden’s collages and paintings, a creative music “playground” and a colorful waterfall that has become a popular photo backdrop. Plants and flowers were planned to bring to life the work of Bearden through nature. Among the lush landscaping, you find fitness classes, impromptu jam sessions from local musicians, workday lunch breaks, romantic strolls, planned festivals, and inspiration.

“The park design is based on the work of public artist Norie Sato. Her concepts were inspired by Bearden’s multimedia collages where he used memory, experiences and tradition as the basis of his work. For example, the main pathway that bisects the park from Church Street to the main plaza of the future Charlotte Knights Ballpark is named the Evocative Spine, named as such to represent the way Bearden created his work by ‘evoking’ his childhood memories. Two other features of the park, Madeline’s and Maudell’s gardens, represent how Bearden used the memory of the beautiful garden’s kept by his mother and grandmother to inspire his art.” – Charlotte Center City Partners

Evoking Bearden and his use of memory as triggers for past experience, the elements of the park represents how he worked and the imagery he used to channel the spirit of his life and artwork.

To learn more about Romare Bearden Park and the concepts behind it’s development, please visit the Bearden Foundation.


Romare Bearden Park is located at 300 S. Church Street, Charlotte, NC.

Many thanks to James Willamor, founder of Croquet Records, a nonprofit record label and songwriter incubator focused on developing and recording new and emerging artists in North Carolina, for the stunning images of Romare Bearden Park used in this post.

Vespertine Necklace — Perfect to Show Your Love

Ilina recently shared a post about her gorgeous Vespertine Necklace made by Ginna Earl, of Carrboro, over on her blog Dirt and Noise.

Ginna Earl of Carrboro, NC designed the oak leaf and acorn necklaces especially for the City of Raleigh Museum. You know, Raleigh being the City of Oaks and all… She also originated the state shaped necklace pictured below. You can find a variety of pieces at her Etsy shop. If you’re ever wandering around Carrboro, which I highly recommend you do on an empty stomach, check our Ginna’s shop Vespertine at 118 B East Main Street.

Veseprtine Necklace by Ginna Earl on Handmade NC

Read more at: http://www.dirtandnoise.com/2015/02/handmade-in-nc-vespertine-necklace-perfect-to-show-your-love.html#sthash.LAOI2Wp3.dpuf