Sonntag, 10. Mai 2015

Chaos to order

After months of quiet on this blog, I have finally done some recycling worth talking about. Today my sister and me tackeled a huge pile of fabric scraps.

In a cascading order we first cut the big pieces by hand to make head scarves. Then we took the smaller pieces to cut them into patchwork squares with an Accuquilt cutter. The smallest pieces we sorted into bits for making fabric letters for our baby cloths and T-shirts and padding which we will use to stuff pillows, toys, etc.

This took us all day (mothers' day...), but left us very satisfied with turning potential junk into something beautiful - or at least the raw material for something beautiful.

Stay tuned for pictures of the final items!

Mittwoch, 16. April 2014

Fold-up cutlery

Thanks to various lifestyle changes in the past I hardly eat fast food nowadays. But on the rare occasions I do, I always wish I had brought my own cutlery. I have been seen using bamboo knitting needles as emergency chopsticks, but I don't always carry knitting needles on me either.

Yesterday I made the ultimate fleamarket find: a set of fold-up cutlery as they were used by coachmen in the past. They all fold up individually and then snap together as a set. They are made from metal and horn, quite simple in design, but very sturdy.

Now all I need is a small cloth bag to carry them in together with a reusable napkin. As soon as the weather improves, I will go for a picknick to try out my new treasure.

Freitag, 28. März 2014

What to do with socks - part 3

The other bit of sock my daughter is now using as a hair band. She is really proud of it and tells everybody that her mum made it out of an old sock. You can imagine the kind of looks I am getting...

What to do with old socks - part 2

Last week I promised to tell you what I did with the top part of the socks, which I had cut up for my "soap socks" (which I am using every day now, and the soap inside is still not used up).

Here we go... Tadaaaah! A strap for skis!

Sonntag, 16. März 2014

Soap socks - taking frugality to the extreme ?

More holidays got into the way of my recycling projects. We spent the winter holidays skiing in Austria and had a great time skiing, cooking, eating, drinking and talking with our friends, who were all there at the same time.

As I mentioned before, I find it very hard to keep up my normal lifestyle when travelling. Recycling systems differ, so I don't know where to get rid of my garbage responsibly. Weekly markets don't normally conincide with our travelling schedule, so I need to shop at supermarkets, where food usually comes in way too much packaging. And most of all, I miss my sewing machine, which I rely on for most of my projects.

So, although I enjoyed our holidays, I am also glad to be back home, and immediately picked up a project, I always wanted to do: I wanted to see, how far I can take frugality with my recycling projects.

About a year ago I have started to use solid shampoo bars, which are much more eco-friendly, since no water gets shipped around the planet unnecessarily as happens with liquid shampoos. At the end of their life, the last sliver of soap tends to break into bits. So over the last few months I have collected about 5 g of broken solid shampoo bits and about 5 g of normal soap. It's not a lot. So is it really worth the effort?

So here is what I did:

1. Cut of the tip of an old stray sock. (Save the rest of the sock for my next blog!!!)
2. Cut or tear two nice fabric ribbons from some old fabric scraps.
3. Fill the soap into the sock and tie shut with the ribbon.
4. Repeat for the solid shampoo with a different ribbon.

This took me about 15 min and I have saved solid shampoo with a value of about € 0,80 (they cost a stunning €8,50 for 55g in the shop!). OK, €3,20 (based on €0,80 saved in 15 min) is a lousy hourly wage even for a designer, but I would still do this again. Now that I have my "soap socks", I just need to add to them, everytime my solid shampoo bar comes to the end of its life.

And wait till you see, how usefull the rest of the sock proofed to be...

Freitag, 31. Januar 2014

Doing my laundry with style

I am a big fan of natural clothes drying.

We do own a tumble dryer from years ago and still keep it for emergency use (like when my son refuses to wear anything but his favourite sweater non-stop for months). But right after Fukushima we decided to do our bit to decrease power consumption and bought a rotary clothes line for our garden and two indoor laundry racks for bad weather and winter use.

Whilst the rotary clothes line is not a beauty, the cost savings outway its uglyness. By turning off the tumble dryer, we were able to save about € 350 on our electricity bill in one year. And I don't need to buy expensive body peeling gels, as we airdry our towels, too, which gives them a nicely abbrasive quality, when you use them for the first time after the wash.

As our garden is quite windy, I need to secure the clothes on the rotary line with cloth pegs, which I like to carry in a bag on my body. I use a wonderfully oldfashioned bag, which was designed for the purpose and probably owned by all of our grandmothers.

Yesterday I have tried to make my own more stylish version of this bag using some vintage fabric, an old pair of jeans and some biais ribbon.

I hope that this stylish "peg bag" will encourage all of you to go for natural clothes drying!

However, if you are still not convinced think about this: More and more people have solar panels on their roof and get wind power from the national grid. Now just think: You are using electricity which has been harvested from the sun and wind at a high cost and with a low efficiency in order to make heat and wind in your tumble dryer, just to recreate the conditions you have when you hang your clothes into the sun and wind in the first place. Does that really make sense to you?

I am looking forward to reading your comments on this.

Mending for spring

Maybe it's the increasing amount of daylight, which puts me into a spring spirit despite the recent snowfalls. I have not only started another attempt at decluttering and spring cleaning the house (a job which will take me all the way through to next Christmas...), but I have also started to look at our torn winter clothes, which could be mended into summer clothes.

This is what I came up with sofar:

The writing on my daughter's favourite night dress had faded to a point that it is no longer legible and the sleeves have become at least 2 inches too short. But I really liked the ruffled hem and neck line. So I added a T-shirt with a nasty stain right at the front and combined the materials into a new summer outfit:

And then I did some more conventional mending: Turning boys' trousers into shorts and cutting off the ripped parts of a long-sleeved T-shirt to turn it into a summer shirt:

I am not very good at working with jersey fabrics and I don't own an overlock sewing machine, so my capabilities are somewhat limited. So I tried out something new. I set my machine to a zig-zag stitch and stretched the fabric, while zig-zagging along the edge. When released, the fabric shrinks into a curly ruffled edge, which makes the T-shirt more girly and the sewing a whole lot easier for me.

Do you have any tips for how to mend for spring?