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Is it me or is plastic the hot environmental topic of the year? Not before time!

plasticlid

First of all it was plastic beads – I’ve mentioned that in a previous blog. I also mentioned “paper” cups in the context of plastic swapping – these less than innocent products and containly a plastic layer between the paper! I stopped getting take outs, even changing coffee shop when they were having a crockery crisis one day but have to confess to have one emergency take-out coffee… baby steps…

coffee

Next we had the cauliflower steak embarrassment, not to mention coconuts – we don’t need half as much plastic wrapping – in fact I’m fed up of seeing windows on food boxes – I don’t need them.

And then the news swiftly moved on (as it does) to tea bags – are no beverages safe!? – I tried to buy loose tea but even that had plastic inside the box!!

At least there are some positive new stories; this one talks about alternatives and more about the new Lego pieces here.

I heard an interesting news article about what the supermarkets are doing to get rid of plastic packaging – this seems to be the web article to go with it. Can’t they do more??

cucumbers

So, how about this website for a few, well 100 actually, ideas for avoiding plastic? How many do you do? How many can you do?! I might just write a list with a fountain pen…

 

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March Made

Cross-less buns, mince pies (are not just for Christmas), crocheting t-shirt yarn, spun yarn, nuno felt, protest hat – it didn’t seem that busy!

In the bag

fabricOur craft group recently had a very popular session making bags/purses with traditional clasp tops. Several people enjoyed it so much, they kept making them and still are. My version was a slight twist on the pattern as ususal I like to add my own twist…

bag

In my stash I had a piece of furnishing fabric picked up from one of my crafty friends – they had a stash sort out and I couldn’t pass it by! This project suited it well, its a little bit glam and has a bold pattern; I took the motif as a basis for the shape of the bag.

Now, I just need the occasion….

bag2

Making waves

Since Christmas I’ve been working on a new weaving project. Its been my most ambitious weaving yet but really enjoyable. It combines my ambitions for crafts and recycling.

For the warp I used some lovely linen yarn; its strong and makes bold lines though the weaving. For the weft, I upcycled a load of old t-shirts from my stash and cut them into long strips.

I started without knowing what the colour theme would be but looking at the colours the blues, greens and greys stood out. They reminded me of the colours of the sea in moody light and the bright orange and whites were like highlights on the waves of white horses and the reflected sunset. So the theme was born – a seascape.

I love the mix of colours, textures and patterns. Some of the t-shirts were printed – these patterns sometimes show though as different colours, sometimes are hidden and the background colour is seen. The weft is woven with random lengths like the changes of light on the sea.

And so, for the ta-dah moment, a fabulous rug…

rug

Resolution

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions – no resolution, no failure – but I’ve been thinking more and more about plastic and our mis-use of it, especially single use plastic. So, this year, I’m going to see what I can do about my use of plastic, how I use it and how I can reduce that use. I’m going to try and learn a bit more plastic and how its used and ask organisations about their use.

I’ve seen some of the BBC Inside the Factory programmes, they are fascinating insights into the manufacture of food but I can’t believe how much plastic is used to make the food and then package it: in tea bags; to transport ingredients around a factory; to package the product and then to hold packages together. This is all single use plastic and just seems so excessive. Do we really need windows in boxes? Do we need plastic within boxes? Always?

First I’m going to look at what single use plastic I use…

fusedpackages

Quite finished quilt

Unbelievably, I’ve finished my quilt. I’m so, pleased. Many moons ago I read an article about making a quilt in a weekend. Ha! I can do that I thought. I can do a random pattern of stripes, use up all (ha) my scraps, make it look like a sea and do wavy free form quilting.

Well, it kind of meets that expectation except, most definitely the weekend bit! I know its been a while because the photographic evidence goes back 18 months and they weren’t taken when I started. I feels like four years but lets just settle for somewhere in the middle.

Anyway, here it is…

Raw edges and stitching in progress.

raw edges q

Work in progress, detail of strips, up-cycled fabrics including the odd remaining button…

detail q

detail q2

And the finished item folded…

finished q folded

Rear view, made in giant log cabin pattern…

finished q back

And the right side…

finished q

Phew! All done and very satisfying. Light weight and perfect for a spring/autumn boost.

Reusing & recycling – fused plastic

bagbits

I’ve been having a go at fusing plastic bags. The idea is to make something more durable and either useful or ornamental from ordinary plastic shopping bags and food wrappers. There are lots of Youtube videos with hints and tips but the essence of it seems to involve an iron, baking parchment (essential to protect the iron and ironing board) and plastic bags. Friends warned me that it was fairly unpredictable and not as straightforward as some of the videos seemed so I was expecting to experiment. So, I did…

fusedpackages

I started with food wrappers. Crisp bags are good, cheese wrappers too and even coffee bags. I liked the contrast of the silvery inside of the crisp packets and the colourful exterior. I think these could be embellished with embroidery or maybe added to larger pieces.

twopieces

Next I tried shopping bags. Its important not to use biodegradable ones for obvious reasons. I used a combination of bags, they all worked fairly well. Plainish, white ones worked well as a base. Those that have a paint/ink coating needed more heat but eventually fused.

usingimages

I added small pieces of different colours and text to give some interest to the surfaces. Keeping the number of layers more or less the same across the piece means that a similar level of heat can be applied and the layers bond at the same time; this keeps things simpler. But, you can go back to an area that doesn’t bond first time to give it more heat.

usingimages

Next I started fusing the pieces together. I’m not finished yet but the plan is to make a bag or container. Watch this space and see how it turns out.

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