Updated: Mar 8, 2020
My name is Chava and I run Nettles and Pins from my farm in sw Israel. I built this business with the purpose of "using sustainability to create, connect and empower. Nettles and Pins is the culmination of all of my interests, passions and service to the world.
I've always been a do-it-yourselfer, from making my own clothes in high school, creating my own murals and choreographing dance routines in college, building my mud hut and working with local villagers to create agricultural businesses in Sri Lanka, to becoming a homeschooling mom, making my own sourdough and cosmetics in adulthood. I have always liked to challenge myself, create my own visions and bring them to life.
When I learned of all the toxins in store bought lotions, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics and cleaning products, I began to shop around for natural alternatives. I found that even the "natural" or "organic" brands contained suspicious ingredients. They were also all packaged in plastic. I am into reusable, sustainable and a free-from-plastic-chemicals kind of packaging. I couldn't find what I was looking for in any store.
On top of this, they were very expensive because they were labeled "organic". As an at-home mom of six boys, "expensive" wasn't in my budget. So I decided to learn how to make soap, salve, lotion, teas, toothpowder, candles, tinctures, deodorant , cleaning products, laundry detergent and shampoo. I began to make my own products for my family using glass or natural packaging and I haven't had to buy any of the above items for the past 20 years.
It is really very easy to do at home (please see my related videos) and much cheaper and eco-friendly than buying from a store. Now I have a business based on these ideals and I do all I can to use natural, glass, biodegradable or recycled materials in making everything in my Nettles and Pins workshop.
The quality of what goes on my skin is very important, so I only use all natural oils such as shea butter, cocao butter, olive oil, almond oil and coconut oil, local beeswax, as well as my favorite organic essential oils. I add many different herbs from my farm, which enhance the quality of the oils I use in various skin products and herbal preparations. I do not add any unnatural flavors, colors , fragrances ("perfumes" is short for person"fumes") or irritating chemicals. These cause harm to our bodies, and to the environment. Our skin is like a sponge and it will absorb harmful ingredients. The way I see it, if the ingredients are being absorbed anyway, they might as well be beneficial and supportive of our immune system, our liver and our health.
My natural candles are made from beeswax and olive oil: two local ingredients using the power and magic of our land. The fumes released from a candle can be toxic if they are made from an unnatural , or even soy based wax. My candles release a beautiful natural fragrance and they last for days. They burn slowly with a bright flame. There is no dripping or waste of wax, because they are contained in a glass jar which can be reused afterwards.
The materials I use for my dolls, quilts, clothing, jewllery and other crafts are cruelty-free, natural and/or repurposed. For the cosmetics packaging, I use glass, cardboard, paper, leaf or wood whenever possible. My artwork and blog celebrate nature, herbs, and life in Israel because this is where my heart and my passion lies.
"Nettles" refers to my interest and use of herbs and natural foods as remedies, medicines and ingredients. "Pins" is my creative side: sewing, coaching, crafting, drawing, painting and cooking. "Nettles and Pins" is my mission statement for my enthusiasm in creating a space for all of this to come together and serve those who share similar passions.
Nettles and Pins is located in sw Israel sharing borders with both Gaza and Egypt. If you've ever felt compelled to support communities affected by terrorism, this is a great place to start. We believe strongly that one day we will have peace with Gaza, just like we do with Egypt. Until then, we have to endure kassam rockets, incinderary kites and balloons and whatever else they come up with to taunt us. Raising a family and running a business are not easy things to do in our area, but we continue to go about our lives in spite of the troubles.
So if you believe in our mission and would like to support and empower communities on the border, take a look at our shop and feel free to contact me about my artwork, natural products, or crafting. Many items are made to order and I can customize anything to make it one of a kind.
We also gladly accept donations for our free herbal clinic, open to the local public, where I use my experience in natural treatments to provide a safe reliable space for people who need help recovering from or overcoming dis-ease. (Please see my previous blog "Free Clinic")
In addition to my free clinic, I also run a Folk School from our farm where we share skills, trades and inspiration. We have people visit from all over the world to bring awareness to crafting, creativity and empowerment. Come join us!
My vision has always been a zero waste business where I put mother nature first so that I can continue to create high quality products (and teach others to do the same) and contribute to a healthy lifestyle while supporting our planet Earth and the people, plants and animals who walk on it.