About Me

I’m Nat, writer, designer and all around maker here at The Sunshine Grove. This is where I share my adventures of successes and failures at living a chemical free, low plastic and low waste life. Something that I like to call Sustainably Vintage.

Looking to the past for ideas and inspiration on sustainability is something I’ve been doing for years, without actually knowing it. The simple act of using something old instead of something new is sustainable in itself. Reusable bags and water bottles are nothing new. They are vintage concepts that have been redesigned to avoid the plastic disposables that were born from a movement of consumerism and convenience during the mid part of the last century.
Incorporating vintage habits like food preservation, glass over plastic, growing your own food, and shopping local are all ways of being sustainably vintage. The more we can be influenced by our grandmother’s grandmother’s generations, the more options we can find in our homes to consume less and create less waste.

The Sunshine Grove began as a homage to the 1950s ranch home we live in, and the Valencia Orange Grove that once stood in its place. 
No grove is complete without guard dogs to keep away pests. Sophie and Oliver are the mascots of the grove and can be found napping in the shade of a tree, or begging for treats.

 I own plastic. Everyone has a life before they chose to be plastic or waste free, right? Recycling all the plastics I own to replace them with a different material isn’t very sustainable, and is actually wasteful. Any food storage containers have been replaced with glass or stainless steel, which are often times repurposed jars. I limit my consumption of new plastics to items I can’t find otherwise. They just don’t sell wood spools of thread anymore these days.

I make waste. I don’t know how to avoid making zero waste. I wipe my bum, I drive a car, I get junk mail. When I make a purchase a receipt is generated. The important thing about waste is being aware of how much you are creating and how you can reduce that waste. This includes recyclables. Saying no to single use plastic bags, utensils and paper napkins are small ways to reduce the impact that food related conveniences have on your community. Remember, even if you refuse it, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If enough people refuse, then more isn’t needed.

I consume. I buy food, clothes, shoes and materials even for the items I make. The key is to become a conscious consumer. This goes beyond the question “Do I really need a new handbag?” and instead asks “What is the most sustainable material for the handbag to be made of?” There will be plenty of posts about this topic.

I support small businesses whenever possible, and prefer to shop locally. When I cannot shop local, I am sending money out of my community and contributing to the carbon footprint of shipped goods. I accept this fact through the compromise that I am supporting other local economies over big box businesses.


  1. Natalie,
    You are Bea's daughter, right? I work with your mom, and have met you a few times. I stumbled onto your blog through the Heirloomology page. You have such a cute blog. I think we are kindred spirits -- I love all things vintage and retro too! We should talk more next time you stop by school.


    1. Hello Nicole! Yes, it is me. :) How exciting that you found us through the flea market site. I'll have to stop by once the school year starts so we can chat again.

  2. We have a big organic garden also but only one guard dog, Winston! Your dogs are sooooo adorable!


Thanks for stopping by and chatting!