Wednesday’ s Woman and a Giveaway! Meet Marianne Sock Lady!

Meet Marianne of Solmate Socks and enter to win

my “Knock Your Socks Off” Giveaway!


Seriously, these are my favorite socks of all time except for the ones my daughter made me!

NQJC: Please tell us about the origins of Solmate Socks – I LOVE it by the way…GREAT service…and great socks! And made in one of my very favorite places on Earth,Vermont.

I started out by knitting mismatched socks in order to learn how to knit with a different color of yarn in each hand.  So, I was knitting with both methods at the same time.  I’m impatient and didn’t want to take the time to switch the yarns out, and loved the flow of creativity that came with this.  After giving away over 100 pairs of hand knits, I was prompted to find a way to have these knit on a knitting machine.  Fast forward a whole year, and there I was, designing and manufacturing socks to be knit by the thousands.

NQJC: I know that social and environmental responsibility is a very important aspect of your business.  Care to tell us about that?

We are proud to be as close to a zero waste company as it is possible.  Not only are the yarns made from recycled cotton, but the socks that don’t pass inspection are cut up and made into hats, and the scraps from that production are made into placemats and filler for dog beds.  Children and baby socks that are not useable are picked up by children’s International and sent to places all over the world where children need warm clothes.  Our office is solar power driven.  Our warehouse is a renovated 100 year old barn, and I bike to work.  What could be better?

NQJC: Do you ever say “What have I gotten myself into”?

I did say that around year 3, but now that I’m at year 10, I comment on how fortunate I am to be able to live in Vermont, and make mismatched socks for a living.

NQJC: What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?

I’m proud of all the opportunities that have developed for employees and manufacturers that are involved with Solmate Socks.    I really can’t think of a worst.

NQJC: Out of all the items you have made, what is your personal favorite and why?

My favorite is always the latest thing we’ve been working on.  so for this month, it’s the new hats, designed from hat tubes.

NQJC: What is the hardest thing you have faced being a business owner of a web shoppe?

There’s a lot of mis communication that goes on through email/messaging, so we don’t always hear what the person is saying.

NQJC: Do you have any words of wisdom for women looking to opening their own business?

Every person and every business will have their own values, expectations and successes.   Keep true to yourself in all that you do in business and elsewhere.

NQJC: Tell us about your home in Vermont.  I imagine it is just overflowing with beautiful things you have made. AND I’ll just bet your beautiful surroundings inspire your work.

Both my home and my office, which is now just two miles down the road, have lovely pieces and paintings that have been made by local artists.  I appreciate all the talent and contributions daily.  I do have lovely views, great gardens and brooks flowing through the grounds.  And clean, crisp air and sky and water.

NQJC: Now that I have picked your brain about business tell us a little about your childhood and how you think it influenced your creative spirit. Take as much space as you want here! I am intrigued and I know I am not the only one!

The Socklady story is one I never tire of telling.  When I was nine years old, my family moved to Madrid Spain.  I didn’t know the Spanish jump rope songs, so I could go out and play as much as I wanted, so my mom, whose name was Sunny, taught me how to knit.  I continued knitting all my life, but didn’t learn to knit socks right away.  I went to a knitting workshop to learn how to knit with both hands at once, and we knit socks that weekend.  From that point on, I knit over a hundred pairs of socks, and when it came time to start my company, I knew exactly what I wanted to name it.  Solmate Socks, after my mom.  Sol in Spanish is sun

NQJC: Were you an artsy craftsy kid? If so, what kinds of things did you do?

Mostly sewing and handmade cards for people.

NQJC: Was there any one particular person that inspired you to follow your dreams?

My parents

THANK YOU SO MUCH MARIANNE! I have enjoyed your socks for many years and I totally agree with the first line of your website:

Life is too short for matching socks!


So now one of you lucky ducks will win a pair of Solmate Socks! Here’s what you do.  Leave me a comment – easy enough?  Tell me you would LOVE a pair of carefully mismatched Solmate Socks and I will toss your name in the jar! You can go to the website and peruse the socks and be picking out your favorite ones and if I draw your name, I will contact you, you will send me your address, sock size and favorite color and I will have them sent directly to you!!!  Here’s the thing, you only have until Saturday morning to get your name in.  I have about 6-7 pairs of these socks and I LOVE THEM!  You will too!


Hey Treehuggers here’s a challenge or two…

I wrote recently about my quandary over recycling my garbage.  My home state is known for lots of things.  Our “colorful” politics.  Our fabulous food.  Our friendly folk. Gators.  Hurricanes.  Oil.  But it isn’t known for being green.  As you may know, I actually do a little research for these Tuesday posts and I found this information today that I cannot wait to share with Jerry. This is from Global Green‘s website:

Louisiana can surprise you. Who knew that this petrostate boasts by far the strongest solar tax credit in the country? Passed in 2007, the 50 percent credit cuts the cost of installing a solar system in half. Combine that with Obama’s 30 percent federal tax credit and a Louisiana homeowner gets an 80 percent discount to go solar and live off the grid—not a bad choice in a region where storms regularly knock out the conventional power supply.

I have to say, I am impressed with this information.  I like “real” info.  I can’t jump on a bandwagon, even a green one, without some facts.  Sometimes I am turned off from an organization or group when I feel they have made a religion out of being green. I try to view being green with the same eyes I view my own beliefs about religion.  Calm yourselves, I am not going to preach or confess!  While the future is a little frightening, to some a lot frightening, when looking at our dependency on oil and natural gas and what it takes to get it, refine it and use it in safe and clean ways, the quickest way to shut my ears is to try to scare me.  For one thing, I don’t scare easily so, one will have to keep piling on threats and what ifs.  Secondly, I don’t take to being threatened and what iffed??? What if a frog had wings?  He wouldn’t bump his little green butt every time he hopped.

I do believe the “globe is warming” and I do believe we have caused some of it.  I also firmly believe the Earth is cyclical and we are pretty arrogant to believe we can destroy her.  Oh we can definitely make her uninhabitable for humans.  We can poison our environment and make it impossible to grow enough food and produce enough clean water to sustain us.  But Mother Earth will just keep on spinning and traveling around the Sun with or without us.  Well, unless an asteroid hits her and she bursts into a bajllion pieces.  There’s always that if the real news doesn’t give you enough to worry about.

Now where was I?  Oh yeah, the three Rs of green living.  Reduce, reuse and recycle(see note below). What a huge challenge it is for me.  As much as I love antiques and collectibles I also LOVE new things.  New vehicles, new clothes, new shoes.  New books! I have already challenged myself to no new clothes for a year and broke that challenge.  I “accidentally” ordered two t-shirts.  And then yesterday I deliberately ordered some new corduroys from Eddie Bauer.  Look, truth: I ruined the only pair of “leaving the house” jeans I had working outside and had to wear them to the oral surgeon’s office yesterday anyway.  So, my heart wasn’t totally in it.  Obviously. Maybe I over estimated what I am capable of in the long term.  Maybe I should give myself better goals.  I did not purchase the Timberland Berber lined hoodie I wanted really, really bad.  It’s not like I am a clothes horse.  I actually hate shopping for clothes.  If I wore a size 4 I might be dangerous.  But truth be told, I want functional, sturdy clothing.  I don’t sit around all day watching TV and eating bon-bons and I need clothes appropriate for my activities.  So since I have already lied to myself and you about not buying clothes for a year, my next best plan is to recycle clothes I haven’t worn and will never wear.  I have winter weight clothing that I bought for trips that I will likely never wear again.  I have friends that live in colder climates that I think might enjoy a wool sweater or three. I cannot even hang all my clothes in my side of the closet.  Now, it’s not a huge closet but it has more than ample room for more than ample items of clothing.  And shoes.  Oh my.  Shoes.  I do love shoes.  But no one and I mean no one needs 1/5 of the shoes I have in my closet.  So I have to weed my shoes as well.  Have to.  Must.  It would be a sin not to.  I can remember very well having one pair of shoes to my name.  So it’s not like I don’t know how not to have 30 pairs.

So here are my personal challenges and you can play along if you like.

  1. Recycle seasonal clothing
  2. Donate all excess shoes
  3. Weed my bookshelves again and donate.
  4. Look for the kindle edition of books before buying the hard copy…guess this makes me completely rethink my cake book, now doesn’t it.  E-books??? They are the future. Man, I love books…this will be hard for me.  Very hard.
  5. Weed all school books from the past and find new homes for as many as possible.
  6. Look for online subscriptions to magazines before buying paper copies.
  7. Find out if there is a school that will take recycled cardboard and such for art workrooms.
  8. Start a compost pile.
  9. Remember my cloth grocery bags when I head to the grocery.  I don’t know why this is so hard for me.  If I would just unpack them and go put them back in the vehicle that would solve this problem.

And one more thing,  as the temperatures begin to drop (I do this every year)  I will try to see just how long I can hold off turning on the heat.  I usually last longer than the girls but with them being gone all day now, and Ben being so hot natured, I think we can make it till December 1st at least.  I have made it past that but good grief at the complaining!  Jerry might never turn it on if he had his way.  But with all the insulating we have done, the house should hold its heat better – so we will see.

Did you know? The recycling symbol you see today with three arrows in the triangle shape was designed in 1970 as part of a contest sponsored by the Container Corporation of America (CCA) (now Jefferson Smurfit Corporation). As a special event for the original Earth Day in 1970 (started by John Mc Connell), CCA conducted a contest for graphic art students to design a symbol representing paper recycling. The winning entry was submitted by Gary Dean Anderson, a 5-year architecture student at the University of Southern California at Los Angels. Later that year, William Lloyd, modified the contest winning recycling symbol to create the present-day image.

Now last but certainly not least, you have to come by tomorrow and meet  Wednesday’s Woman.  You will love her, her work and her commitment to environmental responsibility.  Make her feel welcome and enter to win a great prize!


Monday ‘s News

Better late than never ???

Our trip to the oral surgeon for what was to be easy extraction of two baby teeth turned out to be an all day ordeal.  The teeth were not only impacted but some roots were ankylosed. So…general anesthesia and cutting involved.  Benjamin did better than I did sitting and waiting on them to tell me he did great.  He is still fairly drugged and his mouth is still mostly numb so I will be up a while with him to be sure he’s going to be okay.

To say I am too tired to write is an understatement.  I will do better this week, promise!  I will be back tomorrow for Tree-huggin’ Tuesday and PLEASE, please be here Wednesday for Wednesday’s Woman and the “Knock Your Socks Off Giveaway”.  It’s going to be a great post and giveaway!

Hope you all had a better day than Ben did!