Things have been a little quiet here on the blog for a while, but my life has been very busy The second explains the first. If I try to share everything in one post you will be reading for days, so I thought I would start with some highlights.
Over the school holidays the chicks and I got stuck into our garden and created four vegetable patches – well, one herb garden and three vege patches. Between chickens, birds and possums we were quickly down to two vege patches and one herb garden, but they are thriving well. I was particularly proud of our efforts in recycling and repurposing in order to protect the gardens! (These are old junior hockey pop up goals).
A couple of weeks ago the chicks and I hosted some very long term friends for a weekend to experience Canberra as part of the Human Brochure. I will write in more detail soon, but can report that the weekend was more wonderful than any of us expected! Some photographic highlights to whet your appetite include:
Kids amazed that they can move a stone at Questacon
My boy tempting a giraffe at the National Zoo and Aquarium
Sienna feeding a lion – as you do – at the National Zoo and Aquarium
My parents came to visit for a week about three weeks ago and are still here. We decided that I needed to sell my house and move to somewhere that cost a little less to maintain, so have spent the last few weeks working flat out to spruce up the house. All those little jobs that I have been meaning to do for the last few years have been done and the house looks wonderful! At the time of writing we are re-thinking the decision to sell, so stand by for developments in that area over the next few months! If I stay it means that I get to enjoy all our hard work, which will be great!
I haven’t managed a large amount of sewing, with everything else that has been going on, but have been creative in other ways, including making some gifts for my guests using some great quotes from an article about Canberra.
This might be the briefest update in my blog’s history, especially given all that is going on, so I will have to provide more detail and more photos over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime I have to share my latest hair colouring adventure with you. My father asked me if it was ‘designed to attract or repel?’. When I responded that it was ‘to amuse’ he informed me that it had done it’s job!
I hope that you are all well, and being kind to yourselves!
In the process of making the crocheted floor rug for my daughters’ room from recycled t-shirt yarn (also known as ‘tarn’ and by the brand name ‘zpagetti’) I found a pile of patterns to draw inspiration from. I am now slightly stalled in the process of making a rug for my son’s room, so hope that by revisiting those tutorials to share with you I might kick start myself back into action!
You might have been a bit bemused by my focus on de-cluttering yesterday. Today I can report that it has a purpose in the sewing/crafting/bag making world – I have used some of my de-cluttered clothes to make a bag for a very special friend of mine who has his ninth birthday today.
I used a pair of my old jeans for the outside, including using the pocket as the bag’s outer pocket, and lined it with cotton from a pair of pyjama pants (lovely soft worn cotton). I appliqued his initial in the same denim so it is subtle, but still personal. The bag was designed for him to be able to carry his iPad mini, so I also took the opportunity to experiment with the fusible Buckram that I bought a week or so ago. I used it for the flap, and for the back panel of the bag, so that it has some structure and stiffness around the iPad. I am really happy with my experimentation but did learn a few things along the way.
The first one ( so obvious in hindsight) is that if you are using a really stiff interfacing, don’t expect that you will be able to turn the bag inside-out or outside-in through the normal smallish opening! Much wrangling was required to get the bag in the right way – next time I will have the opening in a completely different place, and MUCH bigger! However using the rigid interfacing and fusing it to the denim meant that I was much less concerned about the ‘worn’ parts of the denim, like the hole(s) appearing above the pocket. It won’t be a weak spot on the bag – just a feature! (and please excuse the slightly wonky stitching – it did get a rework before being gifted!)
The birthday boy was thrilled with his gift, and I was inspired to re-inspect the bags of clothes to be donated to see if there are any more bag worthy garments to be upcycled or repurposed! I am also eyeing off the linen cupboard next……..
Those of you who read my newsletter will know that I provided some sage advice on maintaining focus in your business and remembering what is in scope and what is out of scope. Within hours of sending that out I had an idea that was very bright and shiny and completely distracted me for a good 24 hours. Luckily I have a great team of cohorts to bounce ideas off and one in particular helped me to sort through the idea, recognise it’s merits, and put it into perspective. Phew! The idea involves working with other local crafts people to do a pop-up shop to showcase our wares, and is, in fact a really good idea. But not for next month! (Yes I was completely overambitious for a few hours!). That will now be bubbling away on the back burner and gaining slow momentum across the next few months, rather than the next few days.
Time for me to take my own advice. I need to come back to my plan, use my focus, and stay within the parameters.
With that thought in mind, I am off to the sewing room to prepare for a week of being creative! The chicks start school tomorrow, which means that anything could happen, but I hope to get a few hours in and create some new pieces of colour. Have a great week!
Your calendar is not wrong. Today is not Friday. However….my submission to the Handmade Holiday series on Sew Mama Sew – Eco-friendly Gifts– is on their site today, so I thought it would be useful to have a complementary list to celebrate this event!
Looking after the environment, reducing waste, re-purposing and re-cycling, being aware of our eco-system and, as my boy says, looking after nature, are all things that are important in this nest. In fact, for most of my friends and family, these things are automatic these days, and form part of our everyday life. We have a water-tank, raise chickens, compost, grow vegies (with variable success), recycle, etc. Being able to make gifts that incorporate these principles is great – both from an ethical point of view, but also from a budgetary one! In my search for eco-friendly gift ideas for my submission to Sew Mama Sew I found wonderful ideas. Not all of them could be published on their site, so today I provide you with the supplementary list of ideas – and hopefully some inspiration for other ways of making eco-friendly gifts, decorations and having a cleaner, greener Christmas!
Lacy at Every Day is a New Day has a tutorial for making Resuable-washable paper towel. I love this concept. One step past having a pile of cloths to use for spills – making a roll that is convenient to ‘tear off’ and use instead of paper towel is a great gift for the eco-friendly domestic goddess in your life!
Vicky Meyers has a blog full of wonderful ideas about how to make recycled bags, however it was the idea of a Recycled denim Foot Muff that caught my attention. A great gift for the hipster in your life!
Of course denim can be used to make many wonderful re-purposed gifts. This denim bag from Art Bar is another great idea.
Fabrics from favourite clothes, or sheets can also be re-purposed into pillow covers. The Creative Place has a great tutorial for making a Repurposed Clothes College Pillow.
The tutorial from Happy Hour Projects – Resuable lined snack baggies is a great present for children and parents alike. It shows you how to use plastic shopping bags to make a plastic liner for a snack bag, so it is doubly eco in my books – reducing plastic bag waste in landfill, and providing an alternative to using more plastic bags and wrap! Gifting it with some homemade treats inside would be a great eco-gift!!
Another way of using up plastic shopping bags is to re-purpose them into ‘plarn’ – plastic yarn – and then crochet something new from them! At Sustainable Baby Steps there is a great tutorial on how to do this!
The number of tutorials for re-using old woollen jumpers (sweaters) is large. Here is one with a bit of a difference – just great for an eco-baby – Felt Block Rattle – My Poppet
On the same site there is a great tutorial for making your own Dress Up Girl.
Excess CD’s can be used to make very pretty coasters, using this tutorial from Crafts by Amanda
Other gift ideas that are eco-friendly, are a bit like the non-paper paper towel at the top of this list. Making things that replace disposable objects is always good for the environment. One of my favourite things to make for use around the home is crocheted dish cloths. I use bamboo yarn as it is super absorbant. When you have used a cloth for the day, its just goes in the wash and comes up fresh again. One of my wise friends has 7 in 7 different colours – one for each day of the week. A gift like that would be a beautiful thing to make for an eco-conscious friend or family member. I have used this tutorial from Bubblegirl – dishcloth pattern with great success but there are a plethora of patterns out there to use (maybe I will put my collection into another list one day!).
In addition to the market bag tutorial linked on my Sew Mama Sew post, there are, of course, a list of tutorials for market bags here on this site that I prepared a few months ago! Where I live the shops charge you for providing a shopping bag, so we carry our own fabric bags instead. It has reduced landfill and makes us all think twice about using plastic bags. They make great presents!
When it comes to wrapping gifts, the possibilities for being eco-friendly are endless! I was reminded recently of different ways of wrapping presents that I had employed for gifts about 20 years ago. The fact that one of the recipients still remembered and treasured the effort I had gone to in making her gifts so special gave me great joy. Some of the ideas I used included brown paper with hand drawn and painted decorations, calico fabric parcels tied with string, handpainted or stamped paper, etc. If I had access to these links back then, who knows what else I would have done!