New Fascination: Zero Waste

I saw a video on Facebook the other week from the blog “Trash is for Tossers” about fitting 5 years of trash into ONE TINY JAR. Like. I throw more than a jar’s worth of trash away in a day. My question is… HOW? The answer is simple and not simple. You have to change your lifestyle to be able to go “Zero Waste”.

What is Zero Waste? Well, friends, it’s when the life you lead doesn’t produce garbage or trash that will end up in a landfill. But Roxanne, (you’re saying to yourself), how will I buy anything ever? There’s trash connected to everything we buy. Food comes in packages, tags are attached to clothes, and electronics come wrapped in plastic, heck when someone gives you a present it’s wrapped in bows and paper.

The first step: Assess your life and think about what it is you are throwing away, and how to limit that. Are you getting food in wrappers that are thrown away on a regular basis, like chips, protein bars, and juice bottles? Well, make those granola bars instead of buying the box of individually wrapped ones. Buy and use fabric produce bags to prevent taking a plastic bag every time you need a few apples. It’s all about being conscious of what you are doing on a day to day basis and choosing different products.

It’s all about making better choices. Making smarter, healthier, and more earth-friendly choices.

The 5 R’s of Zero waste: 

Refuse: Just say NO! No to plastic bottles of water, wrapped candies, straws in your drink, plastic bags at the store. Say no to plastic cups of beer at parties. Yeah bringing your own jar for a drink might look a little weird, but you aren’t making trash so let them look at you funny.

Reduce: You can cut back on the trash that you accumulate by making some simple purchases, like the items in the photo below. You can get your produce from the farmer’s market and reduce the amount of packaging you throw away. Shopping in the bulk area of the grocery store, getting local soaps, meats, and other package free products are a great way to start.

Recycle: This is an easy one to understand. Get things in recyclable packages, and recycle. Make an effort to not throw your recyclables in the trash. Also, buy things that are compostable, biodegradable, or eco-friendly. Buying local products didn’t come from a large plant and use fuel emissions to get shipped to you is another smart choice.

Reuse: Looks like you’re gonna have to spend money to save money. Get yourself some “Zero Waste” gear. Get reusable produce bags, grocery bags, jars for bulk food, reusable water bottles. ALSO start getting cozy with your local thrift store because this will be the best way to find awesome gently used clothes, furniture, and other household items.

Rot the Rest: Start a compost bin! There are a ton of ideas on the web for composting in small spaces, in your yard, and how to get started. Keep your food scraps and make them into the dirt to grow some herbs and veggies if you have a small apartment patio, or make a larger compost pile if you have an actual backyard.

Follow the Litterless blog and check out this post on how to get started. Litterless also makes a great point here about why to go zero waste: “I think it’s really critical for several reasons. First of all, trash doesn’t decompose in landfills – instead, it sits there more or less unchanged forever, belching out greenhouse gases like methane.”

Follow my “Off the Grid” Pinterest Board for Zero Waste ideas!

Remember, you CAN make a difference. One person at a time!

Advertisements

DIY Outdoor Pillows

With all of the free fabric samples I get from Interior Design studios, and things I pick up at Goodwill, and at garage sales, I’ve got a surplus of crafting supplies. I decided to take some indoor/outdoor fabric and some pillows I got free from a church and make some great outdoor pillows for my new outdoor chair.

DIY Pillows 3

The free pillows I wanted to use for my new pillows.

I used THIS awesome tutorial to make the pillows. I won’t bother replicating it since it’s such a great tutorial with pictures and everything. I didn’t use any of the glue stick though like she mentions for the zipper. I just started to sew.

The pillows measure 17″ x 17″ and I had some colorful invisible zippers I ordered on accident and wanted to use them up. They were only about 9″ so the whole pillow didn’t fit into the hole. I had to cut apart the pillows and take out the stuffing. Hence the lumpy pillows. But I don’t care!

The samples also have grommets in them like almost in the middle. That’s what fabric companies do when they send large samples to design studios so they can’t use them. Guess what? I used them! I avoided the grommets by 1″ and used grommet free pieces. I used 4 different pieces that were all in the same color family.

My new pillows!

DIY Pillows 2

And… My new hanging chair!

DIY Pillows 1

This chair was at Fleet Farm, or Farm and Fleet (wherever you live, it’s different) for only $40! And the pillows were… free! Ok, I may have paid 50 cents for the zippers. But almost free! A good book, some lavender lemonade, and I’m in for a good afternoon…

Happy DIY-ing!

DIY Snap Cowl

For a while now I have loved these snap scarves from System63 on Etsy  and wanted to make one for myself. Recently a friend gave me some of her old leather scraps and another person gave me some soft wool and I finally had what I needed!

snap cowl

System63 Has some amazing stuff. Perfect for fall.

snap cowl black

The inspiration!

IMG_3322

My scarf!

IMG_3353

I liked it so much I made 3 different ones. I would love to sell these on Etsy since I wanted to share my items, but don’t know if I should sell a mock up of someone else’s creation.

IMG_3350

Here’s one made with soft wool and cotton lining. All of the fabrics were given to me from friends, and the leather trim is actually a sleeve from a suede jacket.

I hope you can find inspiration from Etsy, or Pinterest and make your own creations! Happy Sewing!

 

DIY Chicken Wire Picture Frame

DIY this display picture frame in an afternoon!

Chicken wire display frame

This project literally cost me $0 and came about when the fiancée offered me a scrap of chicken wire, or it was going in the trash. I had saved a picture frame from my Dad’s old thrift store and planned to one day make it into a chalkboard. But hey, chicken wire works too!

Chicken Wire and frame before and after

Here’s the old frame

Chicken wire for frame

And the chicken wire.

Black satin paint for frame project

I love this paint. I painted my kitchen cabinets with this paint. (It’s from True Value hardware store.) So durable!

Stapling the chicken wire to frame

I used a staple gun to staple the chicken wire to the back of the frame. The chicken wire was the same size, there was one side I cut a little off of with some tin snips.

Hanging wire

I moved the eyelet screws from the long across the frame to the short way.

Chicken wire display frame

Hang it up and you’re ready to go! All you need is some clothespins!

Display frame

You can display anything for sale in a frame like this, or you can display projects and ideas too.

Chicken wire in frame after!

It’s a great way to get inspired with fabrics, colors, and pictures.

Chicken wire frame

I love it! Especially for a free little project I did in an hour!

Chicken wire frame project

Play around with the items you want to hang till you find what works for you.

Display cards in a picture frame with wire

Display projects in a wire frame

Display anything in a Chicken wire Frame

Happy DIY!

My First Craft Fair

I’ve been sewing since I was old enough to hold a needle (safely) and always thought of it as a fun hobby. I liked to hand stitch doll clothes, then clothes for myself, (which got me made fun of in High School, but I didn’t care.) I made pants for a local vintage resale shop with fabric sewn into the sides of jeans at $5 a pair. I made simple circle skirts out of plaid fabric to wear with my vintage t-shirts in High School. I upgraded to using patterns by the time I was 19 making shirts and quilts. I made stuffed animals for relatives children, and wine bottle holders out of felt and hot glue. Then I started to make handbags and found my real sewing passion. These are not only fun, but you don’t have to sell them to fit one and only one person at a time. You can create what you want, use any fabrics you see fit and market your creations online. (Hello Etsy!)

So this 4th of July weekend will be the first time I take my hobby large scale, and do a Craft Fair. I went from having 20 or so bags on Etsy (as a hobby for extra money here and there,) to having close to 200 total bags, stuffed animals, leather cuffs and keychains, pillows, and framed art pieces. I talked to a friend a few months ago about a craft market in Door County, Wisconsin that she does with her and her husband’s garden supply and plant business. She said it’s so busy at this craft market / farmer’s market that her tent sells out completely. Tell you the truth, I saw dollar signs more than a good time, but I wanted to take my craft and share it with people. I love to take fabrics from thrift stores, like linens and curtains, as well as fabric samples from Interior Design and Upholsters and make something awesome from materials that would have otherwise been tossed. I like to create while lowering my carbon footprint.

So for months I’ve been reading articles on how to set up a craft booth, pictures on what makes a booth enticing, and what to bring with you for success. So much to do! Here’s my Pinterest board if anyone else is interested in this info.

For now, here’s a sneak peek at my inventory.

IMG_2410

The whales were fun to make, and were made with vintage  button eyes, and leftover materials from local interior design studios.

IMG_2411

With wedding season coming up, I thought I would do a collection of bridesmaid and bride clutches. The only thing purchased for this set was the zippers.

IMG_2407

Tagging everything was fun, plus I got to see how many things I really made. I didn’t realize the amount in inventory till I started putting price tags on it all.

IMG_2390

The little beanbag chickens were the fiancee’s idea. I think they are fun.

IMG_2388

These ricepacks are stuffed with rice (duh) and home grown and dried lavender and lemon verbena. When you heat them they will smell heavenly.

IMG_2386

Clutch inventory!

IMG_2387

More bags

IMG_2409

I’m using business cards as price tags. I got 500 from Vistaprints for like $10.

IMG_2408

I made a ton of large bags for farmer’s markets, the beach, or the gym. I love digging through the materials I got for free and finding ones that match and creating something from nothing. The one here is made from 100% repurposed materials from Interior Designers or yard sales.

I’ll post again with the results! Happy Holiday Weekend!

DIY Bag made with Shorts

Last year I was looking for a shortcut to not have to make pockets for insides of a bag. What has a lot of pockets that are already assembled? Shorts! Men’s bermuda shorts (or ladies) have 4-5 pockets and a lot of material to work with. They are usually neutral in color, or have subtle stripes. So I decided to buy a pair really cheaply, and get to work. First I needed to come up with a plan…

shorts pattern

I opted for a shoulder bag, big enough for a magazine or two, maybe a tablet, some pens, and whatever else. I wanted the back pockets to be the inside, which left me with the front pockets and extra fabric for the inside flap and sides.

shorts pocket before

My measurements were 11″ tall x 8″ wide. I cut two pieces with the back side for the insides of the bag. I made the depth 4″, wide enough to put a cell phone in the sides of the outside.

shorts before 3

I also undid the hems to give myself more fabric.

shorts before 2 bag inside

I got so caught up in making a bag I neglected to take too many pictures, but I didn’t intend to make a tutorial, just show the readers what you can do with re-purposing!

bag inside flap pockets

I used the front pocket to make some storage in the front of the bag. Perfect for pens, toiletries, or anything really.

bag after collage

I used a piece from the bottom for a side pocket, and the tiny pocket from the front on the other side. I even found a matching belt for the strap!

IMG_1764

The finished messenger! I had the blue canvas as a gift from a friend, and the leather was a scrap piece. The only thing I bought was the buckle. The button even came off of the shorts! The finished product is on my Etsy store. Think of all YOU can do with a pair of shorts or an men’s shirt?

Happy re-purposing!

Simple DIY For a Rainy Day

I know I haven’t blogged in a few days, (or weeks) and I need to get back on the horse. Looking forward to going back to school in the fall has me working a lot to save money and leaves me with little time for crafting. So I thought, what are some easy DIY projects that I could complete in an afternoon, with materials I already have? I found a few on Pinterest and wanted to share them with you so you (and I) can try them out!

DIY Basket

How about an easy DIY Dip Dyed basket? You can get baskets at the thrift shop for under a dollar and if you don’t feel like making a mess with a bucket of paint, just tape off a line around the basket and paint it on.

DIY abstract art

How about a piece of art to fill a lonely wall? You can get a canvas at a local hobby shop for under $10 and three colors of paint to mix and match for $1 a piece. Use a piece of parchment paper or tin foil taped to a flat hard surface (like a notebook or sketchbook) and mix and paint away! Or even lay your canvas flat, squeeze the paint on in little globs and mix the colors together. Have fun!

DIY bleach towels

This looks simple enough! If you don’t have the tea towels you can find some fabric at a thrift shop or hobby store for cheap. You can them hem the sides an inch a piece, making 10″ x 10″ squares and bleach your own pattern.

DIY Granola

Looking for something to bake, that’s healthy? I find every time I want to make granola I have just about every ingredient to do so in the cabinet. You can bake it long enough to make cereal or neglect stirring it too often and make chunks to snack on. I’ve made this recipe a number of times and always get great results.

DIY Fabric Box

If you’re itching to sew, you can make one of these little guys with scraps, old dress shirts (pockets!), or canvas. Use a stiff material to keep them from flopping, and add handles and make any size you want! Hang them from door handles, put them at the base of the stairs for things to bring up, or keep them in the kitchen for spices or tea bags.

DIY Scrapbook

I don’t know about you but I tend to keep scrap booking materials everywhere I go. Coasters, brosures, business cards, stickers, receipts, writs bands, and photos. This is a fun and easy way to keep them all together. You can use key rings and a hole punch to make your book at little to no money, if you already have the materials.

Happy Rainy Day DIY!