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Monday, May 30, 2011

My Next Upcycling Wood Project

My next wood project:  Make this into a table. This is one big piece of wood given to me by a friend who was cleaning out his workshop. It measures 26" x 48". It has grooves cut into it to make it look like several boards glued together. Should I keep it rectangular? Should I paint a design on it?
I'll keep you updated! :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

 They only sell upcycled/recycled wood furniture! Check them out!

"Dream" and "Believe" Table
100% Recycled Material. Reclaimed Wood, Water-Based Paint, and Clear Coat. Dimensions: 19"L x 9"W x 20"H. The artist used the natural wood swirls (knots) in this top to swirl the design around. She burned the design into the wood and then painted it. "Dream" and "Believe" are inscribed on the table. For her, it represents the creative/Goddess/inception energy of all things. The legs are made with found branches and trimmings from trees in her yard or from open natural areas in Colorado. The bark is left natural and only comes off if it falls off naturally. The tenons are hand-cut to ensure a really strong fit for the mortises. Wood glue and screws are also used to ensure an extra strong fit. This table would look great as a side table, bedside table, or altar table.
Category:Side Tables

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Alternatives to Paper Napkins and Paper towels - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Paper vs. Cloth Napkins

Saving the planet is not just about recycling, it is also about reducing our use of natural resources and reusing those things we already have in new ways. I am constantly looking for ways to save our planet. Many ideas come to me in dreams, :) I borrow some ideas and expand on them, and also follow the tried and true - like simply putting my household recycling out on the curb every other week. I also love reusing and upcycling items that may have been thrown away (because as we all know: There is no such thing as “away”). 

One habit I cultivated in myself is the use of fabric, reusable napkins. I have been using fabric napkins for years and love them. I have my favorites that are worn into softness, their design faded and difficult to see.  I don’t think I’ve had to throw any of them away yet, either. I think they’re all still functional – although some really are showing their years. J Because they are of natural fibers, I will probably just cut them up at some point, as they become too worn for use, and put them in the compost bin.

My daughter argues that I have to wash cloth napkins and am therefore not really reducing. I think I would agree with her if I used a different napkin for each meal. As it is, though, I pick one for the week and use it until it is time to do the wash on the weekend.  This idea was taken further by someone else (and I’m sorry, but I can’t remember where I read this several years ago), when they suggested color-coding the family’s napkins for the week.

They suggested giving each person in the household a different color/patterned napkin for the week - that way everyone can remember their napkin and reuse it the entire week. Then you only have those very few napkins to wash at the end of the week, and they can be thrown in with the regular wash, taking up very little space, time and money.

I have noticed, much to my dismay, that companies that produce household paper products have not reduced their production of paper products, as might be expected when we are finally beginning to realize that we have limited resources. In fact, it seems to be the opposite.  There is a paper product for just about everything.  How did the human race survive without disinfectant wipes, baby wipes, plastic/paper diapers and sanitary napkins and tampons, make-up removal wipes, personal hygiene wipes, etc?  There’s a ‘wipe’ for everything!  And it’s made out of paper! I haven’t done any research, but surely they are not ALL made out of new paper, are they? Is anyone using recycled paper for their wipes? Are they at least doing that? And don’t get me started on the effects and repercussions of bleaching the paper products! Apparently, as a society, all our products must be “clean, bright white” to be appealing and/or effective – interesting comment on our society, I think.

But at least all this over-production of paper products made me question the use of paper in my own house.  I stopped buying and using paper towels. I just can’t stomach it – I feel too guilty. I don’t buy tissues; I use hankies. I do still buy and use toilet paper – not sure I want to deal with any of the alternatives. But shouldn’t I be willing to deal with, even that, to walk my talk? :) I have no “wipes” of any kind in my house. When my daughter was a baby, I carried cloth wipes that I made myself and used cloth diapers.  It was/is more work. It does take water, soap and time to reuse them. So what uses less energy and resources:  1. Using paper products, or 2. Using fabric and then having to launder it? I think it depends on how you use the fabric alternatives to paper. Interesting how the original (fabric towels, wipes, sanitary napkins, wash cloths, dish towels, etc) has become the “alternative”.

So think about whether you are willing to wash a few more small pieces of fabric each week as opposed to buying and using paper napkins. Will it save you money? In the long run, probably. Will it save trees? Probably. We can only begin where we can – one small step at a time.  Think about cutting up that next worn tee instead of throwing it out. Cut it into 12”-15” squares of fabric and use them as napkins. They don’t really need a finished edge or hem to be effective. They’ll wash just fine and ravel very little, if any. And if you color-code, you’ll only be washing very little extra. And if you need a jump-start, do to and have a look at the options. :)


Jewels For Hope; The Blog: Fabulous Review: Recycled Grace Shirt!

Jewels For Hope; The Blog: Fabulous Review: Recycled Grace Shirt!: "Happy Weekend! I have had the amazing opportunity to work with Grace, of Recycled Grace . Grace makes fabulous clothing from recycled mate..."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Alternatives to a Grass Lawn

So what is it, again, that we have against dandelions? I mean, they are really cute, they grow ANYwhere, they need very little water, they seed themselves like wildfire, they make great ground cover...  What's not to like? :)

I write this only partly in jest. Is it because they have been classified as a noxious weed? :) And who does this classification? It's probably my neighbor (who LOVES me, btw, I'm sure, b/c of all the seeds from mine that MUST blow into his yard), who really does love chemicals of all sorts - I don't even know what half of them are. How can so many different types of chemicals, that do so many different things, be made for just a lawn?

Why are we obsessed with having lawns in the U.S.? And why must they be the chemical companies' picture of "perfect"? And why doesn't anyone wonder where those chemicals go? They don't just sit there on the grass. They really do, at some point anyway, sink into the Earth and just keep going.  They are poison. They get into our entire eco-system and mess it up in all kinds of ways that this artist has only read about. I'm sure there is info out there, if I cared to do more research, than I really don't even want to know - it's too scary.

So Dandelions begin to look really good to me. And they are so cheerful! And even in their 'worst' stage - you know, when the seeds have already invaded the neighbors' yards and they're standing there all bare and leggy looking - they still have a kind of artistic beauty to them, don't ya think? I can feel chemical-hounds with "perfect" lawns everywhere, shutter. :)

It's a good thing you can Save the Planet While You Shop! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Save the Planet While You Shop

I am passionate about helping Mother Earth by creating new, beautiful, durable, artistic items out of something that might have been put in a landfill somewhere.  And this is, in fact, how I get many of my materials:  Someone is about to throw something in the trash, I stop them and ask if I can have it instead, then I take it home and either upcycle it or create something totally new out of it.  All materials I purchase come from garage sales and second-hand stores.

I love the creative aspect of upcycling/recycling the most – taking ‘trash’ and finding a creative way to make it into something else, something that once again has value. 
In an effort to reuse and recycle, all the items I make and sell are one-of-a-kind designs and made with recycled/salvaged/repurposed materials and garments.  Everything I sell is recycled/repurposed.  I make clothes, accessories, furniture, jewelry, home d├ęcor, housewares, etc – and am always thinking of what to try next, based on the latest raw materials I’ve scored. 

Before I throw anything away, I take a good, hard look at it to decide if it can be made into something else first – it’s a curse, really. :) Because, for example, I have an ever increasing stack of thick, plastic dog and cat food bags waiting to be made into waterproof bags of some sort. :) I cannot make myself put them in the trash. :)

No matter what product of mine you decide to try, may it serve you well as it serves our planet well too!