Category Archives: Sustainability

New Dog Commissions

I’ve had a small flurry of requests for custom sausage dog draught excluders in the last month – I guess that’s what happens when people get a bit chilly and start searching for things to keep their house a bit warmer. Also, Christmas is next month; erk!

Sam_Dog

dog2

pinkdogs

pink_dogs

dogs-faces-pink-fabric

pinkdogs

long-dogs

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Filed under craft, Draught excluder, Plush, Sustainability, Textiles, upcycle

Why I up-cycle fabrics…

About three or four years ago I made the decision to avoid buying band new or none-organic clothes and fabric for my textile items  where I could possibly help it. I try to get all my clothes from clothes swaps, charity shops, vintage stores, and ebay. I buy my fabric from the same and scrap stores/the offcuts section in haberdashery shops, and have taken up an evening course in pattern drafting so that eventually I may be able to turn waste fabrics into clothes, thus saving them from landfill. The most challenging items to source are suitable waterproof footwear and sports wear (for example I unfortunately bought a new swimming costume last week as it is as of yet pretty difficult to find an organic costume for less than about £70, which sadly I can’t afford at the moment) and items like bras/underwear, but I hope that I will be able (and be able to afford!) to either make these items myself or invest in products from companies that have examined their environmental footprint and are making efforts to reduce it.

The reasons for this decision become pretty clear when you take a look at some of the statistics associated with fabric waste and pollution during garment production/after care which are illustrated in this piece from http://urbantimes.co – (visit the site to grab the code and share further!)

Life of a T-Shirt infographic

I note that the cost to the environment through shipping fabrics across the world, and the social injustice associated with unethical/unsafe factories haven’t been touched on within this list, so there are plenty of other reasons to consider buying second hand.

I would welcome any further ideas from readers of ways they have been able to save fabric or avoid buying new, and would love to hear of any more sustainable designers that you would recommend, especially those that specialise in shoes and sportswear!

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Filed under Sustainability, Textiles

‘Tober

Its October all of a sudden, and I’m wearing about eighteen layers which just goes to show…that it is.

Today I went to look at the New Allotment and to plant some of THESE:

Green Manures! I have chosen Hungarian grazing rye because it seems to be a good over wintering weed boshing ground cover, and holds on to moisture in the beds. Also, Crimson Clover, which I HOPE will grow and not die during winter. It’s a good nitrogen fixing weed bosher and also has great red flowers which bees get pleased about. These should hopefully grow and stop soil/nutrients getting washed away over the next six months or so. Then in spring I will chop them all down and dig them into the soil as a green manure, a couple of weeks before planting veg.

While I was shouting at some dockleaves that didn’t want to die, I noticed all the rose hips that are fruiting around the borders of the plot and thought ‘they look really tasty but I can’t remember if they are poisonous’ and made a mental note to see if you can do things with them, and it turns out that Rose Hip Syrup is a thing and is relatively easy to make if you have a massive jam pan, sugar and water and some kind of strainer. Apparently very good on ice cream and stuff, so might give it a go.

I also collected around 2000g of blackberries and have at long last bought all the crap that you need when making home brewed wines. (It also helped that my boyfriend has just finished making some beer as I don’t think I would have got round to any of this otherwise.) I have been meaning to try and brew something for approximately… nine years?! During which time, I seem to have misplaced about five demijohns in and around Leeds, which was a bit careless, but inevitable really when you’re in the habit of moving house every year with eight large at-that-time-pointless glass vessels. Nevertheless, I still have three, so I’m going to have a crack at making blackberry wine when I have another bunch of blackberries.

This afternoon has largely been spent working out how to make a bird box look like a space ship. This is why. I am hoping to make some small fabric astronaut birds to go inside it.

Tomorrow night I am starting a ten week pattern drafting course at Leeds College of Art and Design. I am hoping that by the end of it/subsequent courses, I might also be able to work out how to make bras. Bra shopping usually makes me want to scream slightly, so the ability to make myself reasonably priced and fitted bras in a fabric I like and that don’t give me stupid pointy boobs would make me quite pleased. Possibly easier said than done. I also want to make loads of pencil skirts because I enjoy them a lot at the moment. Hooray!

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Filed under Sustainability

Allotment!

After two years on a waiting list, I have finally/terrifyingly been offered this plot!

As I generally find it hard enough to hoover my own house let along cut grass and hedges, this is a somewhat daunting prospect at the moment. Especially as I don’t actually own any tools…  It has helped that the previous owner (who is great!) has looked after it so well for well over five years, but also worries me a bit as there is already masses of fruit to look after – I don’t want to ruin it and will feel very guilty if any of fruits die!!

So. I now need to know how to look after pears, plumbs, apples (various), cherries, gooseberries, blueberries, blackberries, tayberries, raspberries, currents, grapes (yes… grapes!), crab apples, rhubarb, and some old strawberries.  I hope my new fruit family will be Ok….

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Filed under Sustainability

Some photos from the weekend – Lantern making and weaving workshop in Cumbria

This weekend I organised a craft tent for Penrith Scouts jubilee celebration, which took place on the Saturday near Blencowe. Scouts enjoyed a day of activities, a hog roast and then camped over night.

I managed to take photos in the lulls whilst the kids were off climbing, cycling, baking bread or firing arrows. At other times I was inundated with questions about weaving, lantern making and requests for selotape. A very industrious pair of girls came back time and time again, managed to complete all the activities I’d set out and went on to make their own creation ‘Mrs. Kipling’ which I didn’t get a photograph of because they were too occupied poking it over a wall at people..

Click for panorama! 

Hoping to get some more photos soon of lanterns lit at night.

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Filed under Community, craft, Sustainability, Workshops