Talking Foraging, Holiday Nostalgia, and DIY Brownie Mix with Kathleen Thomas Shearer - Public Goods

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Talking Foraging, Holiday Nostalgia, and DIY Brownie Mix with Kathleen Thomas Shearer

The rush of the holidays makes sustainable gifting, eating, and entertaining more stressful than it needs to be—just ask Kathleen Thomas Shearer, an eco-conscious lifestyle blogger (@kat.shearer). 

Wait, we did! 

Kathleen was kind enough to share some of her DIY ideas for low-impact celebrations and traditions, along with an exclusive take on how she checks in with herself amidst the holiday frenzy.   

Keep reading to find out how Kathleen turns upcycled candle jars from Public Goods plus a few simple ingredients into thoughtful holiday gifts for friends and family, and shop Kathleen’s PG favorites for her holiday DIY here!

Public Goods: ​​Holidays are a perfect time for us to get creative around eco-friendlier alternatives as we prepare gifts and entertain family & friends! How did you use Public Goods’ items to incorporate sustainability and upcycling in your DIY?

Kathleen Thomas Shearer: When I think about sustainability I ask myself, “What does the end life of this product look like?. Will it get tossed in the trash, can I recycle it, or can I use it in some other way that eliminates waste?”. Which is why I chose the Public Goods candle as the base of my DIY project, there are so many different ways to extend its life. By upcycling the candle into an edible gift, I am extending its lifecycle and reducing waste. I also encourage the gift recipient to continue the upcycle process by recusing the container once they have baked the brownies. 

Are there any traditions and rituals you have with yourself, friends, or family that make the holidays extra special?

Growing up my parents would take us to a local tree farm every year to pick out our christmas tree. The whole experience put me in the holiday spirit; sipping hot cocoa, tractor rides and sawing down our own tree. I moved all the way across the country from my parents and we are not always able to get together for the holidays. So I feel really lucky to live somewhere where I am able to continue this tradition and have some kind of connection to my parents even when we can’t physically be together.  

Any sustainable or eco-friendly tips on making your home feel warm and inviting for the holidays? Are there any new practices you’ve adopted or traditions that you’ve opted out of? 

One thing I’ve started doing for an eco-friendly holiday home is foraging for decorations. When I go out for walks at my local park I pick up pine cones and leaves that have fallen to the ground and use them as decorations around my house. They make great table runners and coffee table decor. I also no longer use traditional gift wrap. Instead, all year long, I collect nice boxes, bags and tissue paper that have been given to me and use these as gift wrap. 

The holidays can be such a stressful, busy time! How are you planning to rest, recharge, and re-energize during this season?

I am working on listening to and checking in with my body more frequently. That way I am more aware of what drains my energy and can be more intentional on where I focus my time and energy. 

Quality time with my sister always re-energizes me. And I also plan on spending lots of time by the fire sipping hot cocoa.

We would love to see your brownie recipe from your Holiday DIY! Could you please share with us?

DIY Holiday Gift: Brownie Mix


¾ cup Public Goods all purpose flour

⅓ cup Public Goods hot cocoa mix   

⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons Public Goods brown sugar

⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons Public Goods cane sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Handful dark chocolate chips

Handful Public Goods candied pecans

Handful Public Goods marshmallows (cut into small cubes)

Add just before baking: 

1 stick butter, melted

2 eggs

¼ cup strong coffee


Pour each ingredient into the jar, packing tightly after each pour. Layer the ingredients in this order: half of flour, hot cocoa, brown sugar, other half of flour, cane sugar, salt, baking powder, chocolate chips, pecans, marshmallows.

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