Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label eco-friendly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eco-friendly. Show all posts

Inspiration: To market, to market....


I rarely post on weekends, but actually remembered to take some pics at the market this morning, and I wanted to share. You don't have to drive too far out of Chicago to hit farmland... which means the city benefits from easy access to locally grown produce! And not just during the summer months. Many small farmers sell pretty much year-round thanks to great indoor venues (we go to the Nature Museum) ... and the innovative things farmers are doing with greenhouses, storage and meat production. In the summer months, we go the market in Evanston every Saturday and I'm constantly dazzled by the colors, and the care sellers put into displaying their wares. Today's best buy: Michigan cherries and sweet corn! Oh, and just to give a shout-out to Evanston:  Not only are they licensed to accept SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), but they have somehow raised the money to match the benefits dollar for dollar. So people receiving "food stamps" and trying to stretch that money can, in many cases, pay less for local produce at the market than they would for the stuff we can get at a grocery store. 

Recycle: Pencil Holder



Cardboard inner tubes - they're everywhere: cling wrap, aluminum foil, kitchen paper towel, toilet paper rolls, wrapping paper, yarn tubes, fabric roll tube ... etc.  Head over to Craft Passion for this super-sweet upcycle. 


Repurpose: Smoothing rough edges ...


Perhaps re-purposing etc appeals so much to me because it exposes the hidden potential in ordinary things. You take something mundane and make it a centerpiece. You bring something rough and utilitarian indoors ... smooth the rough edges just a little and give it a second chance.  I guess I'm an optimist - I definitely believe in second chances!

I think this pendant lamp from Poppytalk sums it up.  An old wire wastebasket has its shining moment!  It provides a soft glow, thanks to a little scrap-fabric weaving.  Read on for a few more ideas on the theme...

DIY: Hand trees ...


Unlike trees, little hands grow very fast ... so catch 'em while you can!  Trace them onto fabric and use modge podge and your stash of scraps to make the leaves.  This simple, beautiful "kid craft" is from a mom who "hates kid's crafts" because "five minutes after they have created something, I want to throw it away. I just don't like the clutter."  Amen. Thanks to Kalleen At Second Street.

DIY: Mielie Peeps ...t-shirt weaving tutorial


"Mielie" is, officially, the Afrikaans word for corn/maize.  But it's also the word all South Africans use for corn (and its by-products), no matter what language they happen to speak. Now, "Mielie" is a small business after my own heart. Employing over 50 artists the mission is "to design and produce innovative, export-quality hand-crafted products using reclaimed materials - with the aim of creating employment and restoring dignity and financial independence to South Africans".  The Mielie Peeps work out of their homes, sell across the planet, share a community garden and create the most amazing things using strips of t-shirt fabric!!







The items pictured here are the tip of the Mielie-berg.  I cannot begin to capture the variety and creativity of these folks.  Wanna learn to weave like a Mielie Peep?  Follow the links to the two free tutorials... after the jump.

DIY: You wood ... if you could ... right?





I think the smell of fresh sawdust is wonderful! ... (she ducks to avoid the virtual thwack).  But really ...  isn't it?  On the other hand, working with wood is intimidating, and N-O-T, not manicure-friendly.  I understand now that I was lucky to grow up surrounded by "woodshops" and wood "benches" - even at school!  My pre-school had a wood table - we used actual hammers and nails (can you imagine?!).  And I got to spend my 6th grade year working with wood as part of my actual curriculum.  We made clocks, tables ... even music stands.  (Also saw my very old, wiry-haired teacher/school principle electrocute himself one day in the workshop - not a sight you forget!)

For all that, I've done little more than sand and refinish in recent years.  Even though I know there are Park District woodshops across Chicago.  My excuses: well ... I live in an apartment ... I don't have a circular saw handy ... I have very little work space ... etc!  But there are things you can make indoors on a rainy/snowy day.  And if you smile nicely in the hardware store, those lovely people will happily cut pieces to exact size for you.  And the wonderful sawdust fragrance is free. 

Here's some inspiration to get you going:


You've seen the $1400 Anthro bookcase right?  OK ... so the price includes 6 vintage books.  But what if you just want the bookcase?  What if you want a version customized for books you've selected yourself? And, er ...what if you don't have $1400 to drop on a cute bookcase?

Head over to whollyKao (loving the name!) for what might be my favorite tutorial of the 2012 ... it's a cheap, easy make!!  The only thing that would make it better: using "found" wood or something other than particle/chip board (click "Read More" for six more doable projects)