What a waste – wet wipe litter up 50% on UK beaches!

babywipe

BBC News

As you know, I don’t really like to throw things away and this headline today reminded me why I chose to use reusable nappies and wipes.

Here’s the full article from the BBC.

It’s awful to think what we are doing to our environment just for the sake of what appears to be convenience. If people understood the alternatives out there a little better than it might not seem more convenient…

When I first started using reusable nappies I was still using baby wipes. I found that I was popping my nappies in the nappy bin for washing and then throwing away the baby wipes into the dust bin. It seemed a bit odd. So, I did a bit more research and found out about reusable wipes.

I bought a set of bamboo Cheeky Wipes and have never looked back. They aren’t the only solution out there as there are plenty of other brands and some people make their own, or buy cheap flannels from the Pound shops. You don’t even need a special box to store them in – you can improvise. I use a commercial baby wipes box that was given to us as a baby gift.

They are SOOOOOOO much better than a disposable baby wipe. If I do use baby wipes (like if we go away – yeah I’m not perfect!) I find I need to use a lot of them to clean a mucky bum. Is it just me or do they seem to smear everything? With the bamboo reusable wipes, you tend to just need one or two. Then they just get wrapped up in the dirty nappy and popped in the nappy bin for the next wash.

girl hero fabricI use reusable wipes for hands and faces too. Again I just tend to use one wipe for each meal rather than a handful of baby wipes. I have a couple of little double zipper wet bags for them – clean wipes in one side, dirty in the other. They are from My Little Patch, who make to order in all sorts of fabrics. I have one in a sort of ‘biff, bang, pow’ material and another in ‘girl hero’. The ‘girl hero’ one has Wonder Woman on it so I was smitten!

Actually, one thing I did find when I was still using baby wipes. If they go through the washing machine by accident, they come out as lovely clean wipes. I actually used to reuse them as wipes (dampened) or as liners in the cloth nappies. They would actually go through the washer several times before they started to break up…

Tangled wool solution – recycled, fantastic, elastic bands!

I have finally found a good use for something that I avidly save rather than throwing away… OK, I don’t like to throw things away. Fact. I buy spring onions from the local supermarket and they always have a blue elastic band holding them together. I always, always save these little elastic bands. My kitchen rammel draw is full of the little things. It’s handy to have elastic bands at hand, but I have lots of them!

I’ve used them occasionally in crochet, if I need some elastic. But there are still lots of them, just sitting there, looking for a new purpose.

Zombie tea cosyToday I had some free time so decided to have a bit of a tidy up. I have a box in which I store my almost finished/just started projects. So if I’ve just sold a zombie tea cosy, then I’ll start to make up a new one, so its all ready to go when the next person wants to give one of my little zombies a new home. The problem is, I very often get side-tracked, either by a new order, or something else I’d just like to try out… yes, you’ve guessed it – this box is bursting at the seams and has lots of wool in there. Lots of little bits of wool that I use for finishing off.

Because I keep stuffing things in there, then rummaging around for some half-finished piece of work, the bits of wool continuously get tangled. It’s annoying.

Well I sorted it out today. Moved out the wool I’m not actually using and put it in one of the wool boxes and then attempted to tackled the ‘tangle’. Basically it’s lots of those small balls of wool. All tangled together. Again.

Wool boxSo, this is where I had the light bulb moment. I popped one of my fantastic elastic bands around each the little balls. Job’s a good ‘un. The wool isn’t tangled, and I get to use something that I felt like I was hoarding because I couldn’t bear to throw stuff away that should be useful 🙂

Oh, there are still quite a few of these elastic bands left, so I either find another use, of just simply buy more wool…

It’s Earth Day today – recycle, re-use, replenish, restore, reduce,re-make, revive!

Earth Day 2013As most of you know, I love a bit of recycling and don’t like to throw anything away as there’s always a use for it. It might be an entirely different use, and it may end up nothing like it origianlly started as, but its better than chucking it!

So, it surprised me that I didn’t know it was Earth Day until I say a couple of people Twitter about it, so I looked it up.

To celebrate it I’m not going to recycle an old blog :), but tell you about three things I’ve been applying a spot of ‘RE’ too.

1. With the weather being nicer we’ve been able to get down to the allotment. I grew loads of Jeruselum artichokes last year and with the rain we had, the flower stalks grew to about 12 feet. I’ve chopped them all down and they will be reused as bean poles next week.

2. The tortoises need a secure and safe outdoor area for when the summer finally arrives. We’ve been making one out of some old pallets that a friend gave us and an old wooden children’s sand pit from another friend. We found an old piece of glass from a window frame in our cellar and that’s going to be their conservatory.

3. We made some soup. In our fridge we had some veg starting to go past its best, so it’s been turned into soup. There was even a little bit of leftover saag aloo to add some extra flavour to it. Of course all the peelings go into the box for composting at the allotment.

What 3 things can you do to recycle, re-use, replenish, restore or reduce?

The sun’s out and so is the denim and check!

Well the sun appears to have finally started to show its face in the UK.

It’s encouraging me to get out all the denim and checked items I’ve been slowly collecting over the recent months. I’ve got a stash of them!

Denim shortsI’m working on levi shorts and other vintage cutoffs. These are being studded and having little extras added to them.

Some will have bleach effects too. I quite like to use bleach to create patterns in the material rather than just to lighten the denim.

Denim waistcoatI’ve also got some denim jackets which are being turned into sleeveless waistcoats.

I studded up a couple of maternity skirts last autumn and they were sold as soon as I put them online, so I have another couple of those to work on. They looked really cool and you won’t find anything like them in the High Street.

Checked shirtOn the shirts side of things I have some more of my popular re-worked checked and denim shirts. Some are going to be sleeveless and some will have roll up sleeves. They’ll also be studded.

These are a cool cowgirl or rockabilly style that can be dressed up or down and are perfect for holiday or festivals.

I couldn’t really get inspired to do these while we had the grey skies, even more so when everywhere kept getting covered in snow. The sun’s out and now these are getting a make over.

They’ll be up on the Etsy and eBay shops soon. Contact me if you want something special.

Make do and mend – don’t throw it away!

Make do and mendI hate to throw things away.

I like to think it’s because I was a child before the true throwaway society of the 80s really started to take hold. You know what I mean? Once things started to be made to be replaced…

I’m terrible with clothes. There never seems to be a reason to throw anything away. If a button falls off then use the spare. If there’s not a spare can you re-jig the buttons so you can use a replacement where it won’t be noticed? Like the cuffs – you can get away with using similar or statement buttons there. That’s another thing. I save all my buttons. Spare buttons all get put in a tin. If I have to buy a new set of buttons, I save all the old buttons. Why would you throw them away? There’s nearly always something the salvage from clothing – removing sleeves, turning into a skirt, shortening etc!

It’s the same when I get presents for birthday or Christmas. I save the gift bags and re-use them. I save the trim as I’m sure there’s going to be a use for it. I’ve got another box that’s full of trim and ribbons from all sorts of things (posh chocolate boxes have fab ribbons). Also, I save Christmas cards and cut them into tags to put on pressies at Christmas.

AllotmentWe’ve got an allotment too and it’s full of things we’ve re-used. We bordered the beds from things we salvaged on the plot – and believe me there was a lot of crap including 12 huge gas canisters. The council wouldn’t take anything away so we re-used as much as we could and took the rest down the recycling plant. All the borders shown on  the piccie are made from things we’ve re-used either from the allotment, the house, or when friends have been getting rid of things like bricks. Even old DVDs and CDs (free from Sunday papers) make good pigeon scarers!

When I go to the garden centre the first place I look is that sad little shelf or corner where all the half price plants are left to die. You know the ones I mean? The trays were one plant has died, or the big plant that hasn’t been watered properly and looks half dead. Well they’re the ones I buy. Most of my garden is stocked with plants that weren’t at their best when I bought them. There’s something quite cool about buying these half-dead plants and making them look all lush and healthy again 🙂

What do you save and recycle? What can’t you bear to throw away?

Reworking, customising, fading and studding

I do like to mooch around the garden centre looking for plants that are a bit sad and neglected, and usually in the bargain bucket. I like to buy them, build them up and pop them in the garden or allotment. Most of my garden is stocked with bargain rack plants – and my garden is blooming nicely thank you!

I tend to also like mooch around charity shops and look through the rails to look for odd little items that look a bit sad and neglected. I like to try and think what I can do with them to revive them and make someone want them again.

Well I’ve been working my was through my pile and seeing what I can do with them. I posted an article a little while ago about reworking an old shirt and I’ve been doing some similar things to some other shirts.

Below is what I’ve done with a few shirts – mainly cutting and studding:Reworked and customised shirts at Quirky Purple

Here’s some of the cut of jeans/shorts that I’ve been working on – these have been cut, bleached, and studded:Reworked and customised denim shorts at Quirky Purple

Here’s a few skirts that I’ve recently customised – these have been studded mainly:Reworked and customised skirts at Quirky Purple

It’s quite nice seeing what they actually become as I don’t always know exactly what I’m going to do, and it kind of evolves as I work with the garment.

I’m always on the look out to try new things to try so I’d be interested to hear of any new projects I could try!

These reworked, customised items are available in our Quirky Purple Online Shop – happy shopping!

Rework that ‘ole shirt

One of the things I love to do it give something new lease of life. Very often I’ll look at something in the shops, in my wardrobe or online and see something I like about it, but not everything. Then I know that I can make it better with a little bit of TLC – and usually some hard work and a bit of swearing!

A lot of shirts on the High Street at the moment are sleeveless. A lot of shirts in charity shops are long-sleeved. There’s a solution! Below is a step by step guide for a shirt that I recently re-worked.

 Reworked shirt part one Take a man’s shirt. Oversize is better. The one here is an extra-large.
You will need a stitch-picker and a pair of scissors.
I also used collar-tips to give the shirt a new look
 Reworked shirt part three Find the seam for the sleeve and unpick with the stitch-picker.
Take care with the stitch-picker as they are very sharp and you can cut the material by mistake (if not your fingers).
 Reworked shirt part 4 Once you have unpicked the seam, then use scissors to cut the sleeve off.
I prefer to use little cuticle scissors for this as they are a little bit more accurate for this delicate work.
 Reworked shirt part four Here’s the first sleeve removed.Check it over and remove any of those irritating little pieces of removed cotton.
Also check that you haven’t snipped any other bits of seams.If you have snipped a bit of say the seam that goes under the arm, get a needle and thread and finish these off.
You don’t want it unravelling when you wear it!
 Reworked short part six Here’s both sleeves removed.You’re nearly there now.
It’s time to add any extras like collar tips.

This is the finished article – looks fab doesn’t it – great with leggings or skinny jeans:

Reworked short - finished article

This shirt in the demo is currently for sale in our online shop at: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Quirky-Purple

I’ve also done a similar rework with other shirts and playsuits. Below are a few more examples of what you can create with just a little bit of time and patience (and swearing when you slice yourself with the stitch-picker). Sorry, but a couple of these have sold already.

Other reworked items

Quirky Purple logoAbove is just an example of some of the things we have  for sale on our eBay shop – stock changes daily. Check us out!
http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Quirky-Purple