Category Archives: women

Some inspiration from the road

Here at Three Stone Steps we’re awash in a relatively early shipment of recycled, fair trade dreidels and getting our holiday wholesale orders together, but on our way to Western New York to deal with some family issues last week, we did manage to visit an inspirational site or two.

Today’s photo is from the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, home of the famous early Women’s Rights convention.

from Seneca Falls Women's Rights National Historic Site

Worth remembering.


Leave a comment

Filed under feminism, hanukkah, holiday shopping, justice, women

People behind the products: Philippines Edition

Here at Three Stone Steps we’re about to get an early–and not a tiny– shipment of our famously amazing recycled dreidels to send out some retailers.

I’m told I talk about my dreidels incessantly but I find them sort of amazing.  I think it might be because they were the first really different product I worked on before branching out to recycled Judaica made in Haiti.  You can see the dreidels below.  (I never tire of showing them off.  Ever. )

recycled dreidels

They’re made by a collective of mothers in a very depressed area of a barangay (sort of a neighborhood unit) in Quezon City, which is a part of Metro Manila in the Philippines.  Before I worked with this collective of women to make dreidels, they were making great ornaments out of recycled paper.  I’ve carried these for a few years, will do so again this holiday season, and they’re wonderful.  A sample of our new color combination is right here:

large and small recycled paper ornament

And, here’s a few of the women who made these great holiday creations:

paper bead making

making recycled paper beads while tending to children

And, finally, this is Venus.  I see her all the time since she’s on the hangtags for both the recycled ornaments and the dreidels:

Venus making recycled paper beads

1 Comment

Filed under Christmas, fair trade, hanukkah, judaica, manila, ornaments, recycled, women

Friday Photo/s: Back from Albania

Albania was a great destination.  I’d recommend it.  Highly.  I had the all too rare experience of feeling like I was traveling and not running from sight to sight, or working.

It was very much a real vacation or holiday (depending on where you are in the English speaking world), since I didn’t search (well, all that much) for fairly made handicrafts.

So, no buying.  No shopping.   In fact, I didn’t even bring back a trinket for myself, but I did see a few women selling their wares in the castle area of Berat/Berati, which was about as touristy as things got in Albania. (Which, blissfully, isn’t all that much.)

women in doorway in Berat/Berati, Albania

Just a few things for sale.

While the above woman had a few crotched items, she is mainly selling honey and preserves.  (Which I imagine are great.)

The woman below has a bit more on the handicraft front on offer:

berat/berati seller in castle

selling needlework


Wherever you end up this weekend, I hope it’s great.


Leave a comment

Filed under friday photo, friday photo, travel, women

Friday Photo: To be or Jolliebee

If you read yesterday’s blog post, you’ll know what I’ve been thinking about the Philippines.  For today’s photo, I have something doubly Filipino.  I bring you a little Jollibee key chain.  Don’t know Jolliebee?  He–always assumed a he–is the Philippine Ronald McDonald.  At least that’s how I describe him.  Despite several trips to Philippines, I’ve never eaten at Jollibee, though I must admit that I’ve thought about it,  but somehow always stopped myself from walking in the front door. I have, in my past, eaten at McDonald’s, although it was years ago and  not something I’m proud of.

this is from a used ketchup, or "catsup" pack

Anyway, this A for adorable key chain is made from used ketchup packs.  Or, catsup.  At least that’s the word you see inside.  And, for the double Philippine edge, this recycled accessory is made by a women’tacollective  in Manila.   You can buy them from Three Stone Steps in person,  or through our site if you want.

Leave a comment

Filed under eco-chic, friday photo, Philippines, recycled, women

Make it anywhere: Filipina teachers in Baltimore

I’ve spent some time in the Philippines.  In fact, at this very moment I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for Three Stone Steps’ popular recycled ornaments and dreidels to arrive from a women’s collective there.  We also carry key chains, headbands, and small purses made from juice packs  by a different women’s collective there.

I live in Baltimore.  I love it here.  I always say that if I were going to leave Baltimore, it would be for a big move, to a place like Buenos Aires or Tbilisi.   My reality, though, isn’t the same for everyone.  Life can be hard here.

And, life is also hard for many in the Philippines.

So, with great interest, I watched an excellent POV video called The Learning that glimpsed into the lives of four Filipina teachers both in their homes and with their families, and teaching in Baltimore, after being recruited by the city schools.

I found the film engaging and powerful.  If you have some time, you should sit down and watch while it’s available.  I’ve posted the trailer below to give you a glimpse.  Let me know what you think.

1 Comment

Filed under Baltimore, fair trade, holiday shopping, manila, ornaments, Philippines, S.E. Asia, Tbilisi, women

Land of Eternal Spring and explosive color

Three Stone Steps made its first trip to Guatemala (actually to Central America, if you don’t count Mexico) last month.  It was both a vacation and shopping trip.  While we’re still working on photos of some of our great finds:  lovely shoulder bags made from the beautiful blouses worn by the Mayan women,  recycled journals,  and fun and funky beaded jewelry, we just thought that we’d show off some of the lovely county and its people in the meantime.

We’re veterans of markets in SE Asia.  We’ve been to loads, but besides the Russian Market in Phnom Penh, most of the other markets we’ve ended up in are about food.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)  Despite markets taking up more than a small amount of guidebook text, the markets we visited in Guatemala featured local produce and meats, along with  the invariable plastic crap like stools and colanders made in China, but overall there seemed to be a greater amount of handmade items that locals were selling to each other.

And, while it’s hard to find a non-colorful market, the markets in Guatemala were positively bursting at the scene with color.  The photos below were taken at the famous Chichicastenango Market, on the steps of the Santo Tomas Church on a Sunday:

seller with yellow mums and more on church steps

seemingly timeless

Of course, local people buy other goods, too.

shopping for colorful thread for colorful clothes

admiring (and with good reason) one's one goods

Leave a comment

Filed under colorful, Guatemala, jewlery, new products, purse, recycled, S.E. Asia, women

Not Titled Christmas in July

My apologies. Really. There is nothing I dislike more than big retailers pushing holidays up really early. When I was a kid, Christmas merchandise didn’t come out until after Thanksgiving. Then it changed to immediately post-Halloween, and finally, now it seems to come right after Labor Day.

What’s to do?

As much as I don’t want to add to this insanity, I am just too excited about the new, fair trade, very eco-chic Christmas ornaments I’m getting made of recycled newspapers and magazine by a women’s collective in a very depressed neighborhood in Manila, the Philippines.

So, if you’ll indulge me, I think you’ll love to know that they will be here, and won’t be sold until after Labor Day but I just wanted to give you a sneak peek:

Really, what could possibly be much cuter than a large holiday ornament made from recycled magazine twine?

I find this one, made from recycled office paper, and a bit smaller than the one above, elegant. Yes. Recycled and elegant.

Similar to the one above, this ornament is made from recycled newspaper beads. I think most people have this as their favorite.

I look forward to getting some better photos on the Three Stone Steps site, or letting you see them in person. I just know you’ll like them. But, first, enjoy the rest of your summer.

1 Comment

Filed under fair trade, manila, ornaments, Philippines, recycled, women