For the love of Recycling

Last night it was The Creative Project Devon’s June meet up. I was lucky enough to give a showcase talk about how I reduce waste in my design work. I should mention this was after a fab talk by the Exeter Scrapstore, who filled me with joy that I can become a member and get some materials for me to enjoy with my toddler at home.

I also provided the raffle prize, which was a Reloved 52 Imagination Parcel. These will be sold in my etsy shop in the near future and are aimed at creative people. Inside the parcel is a selection of materials with no instructions and a card explaining that the materials can be used anyway you choose and that there are no rules! When they’re ready for general sale I’ll provide a link, but for now here’s a photo of what it looked like:

IMG_0005_2

The wider ethos of Reloved 52 is to keep stuff out of the landfill and give objects new life, so cutting down on waste and unecessary spending is very important when I’m designing.

In order to prepare for this talk I had to sit down and think carefully about how I achieve this and what processes I use. Having not previously thought about this, I found it very eye opening to write it down on paper.

What I realised is that I ask myself questions when I find I’ve got materials left over. How I organise those materials is absolutely key to my work as a designer.

I prepared a handout to go with my talk and I thought I would share it here on the blog too, as it might be handy for some of you lovely creative folks out there.

This is the Reloved 52 guide for creative people on how to cut down waste:

Reloved 52 – How to reduce and reuse your wastage.

I know that the word thrifty is not terribly popular these days but essentially this is my guide on how to get thrifty. It’s good for your business and the planet to cut down on wastage and find ways of making other products to be more profitable. This works for small independent businesses as well as your home life. If you’re anything like me then often you are juggling both anyway!

How to get started – these are the questions I ask myself when I find I’ve got wastage or excess materials from a project

  • What materials can I reuse for home or business purpose?
  • If I can’t reuse them can I recycle them?
  • If I can’t recycle them can I upcycle them for a different use or project?
  • Can they be stored for later if I can’t think of a use for them straight away?
  • Is there anybody else who could use the scraps if I can’t?
  • Sort into different sizes for easy access later on (especially with fabrics!)

What materials do you most commonly work with? Can you find a new purpose for your wastage?

Give yourself a challenge – make a project without any new materials – only stuff you already have. This is a great way to use up old things and flex your creative muscle. I try and do at least one thing every day that uses something up. It doesn’t have to be a big project.

Here are ten recent projects I’ve done lately to use up old stuff & keep my spending down:

  1. I used an old suitcase I had as teddy storage for my toddler daughter.
  2. I made a play kitchen out of an old side table, some yellow paint and some chalkboard paint.
  3. I used some old lace to make a new necklace.
  4. I made some fun art prints of animals out of excess handmade paper.
  5. I went through my wardrobe and am currently halfway through a huge mending pile – some clothes may be upcycled if I can’t fix them!
  6. I cut off the legs to my old maternity jeans and turned them into fabric boxes.
  7. I made floor cushions out of jungle fabric and used the leftovers to make matching toy hammocks for (yup you guessed it) more soft toys.
  8. I planted my seasonal herb garden in otherwise unused household goods (a broken handled teapot, bamboo noodle bowl etc)
  9. I needed new craft drawers so instead of buying them I painted an old small set of drawers I already had in a grey colour– actually I had two sets, the other one I painted in bright colours for my toddlers room.
  10. I used old vintage buttons from my collection to make beautiful rings.

Push yourself to come up with new uses for old things and soon it’ll become second nature. In fact you may have to stop yourself eyeing things up before they’ve outlived the original purpose!

Bonus Idea

Reloved 52 originally started as a blog to cut down spending on unnecessary items. These are the things I now ask myself before buying anything new.

  • Do I really need it?
  • Can I make it instead?
  • Can I trade with a friend?
  • Can I buy it in good condition second hand?
  • Can I buy it from a local indie or from fairtrade?
  • Can I afford it now, can I wait for a sale?

When I first started this process I found I would stop at the first question because I didn’t really need whatever it was. As the years roll by though, I find I naturally don’t want things I don’t need because I’ve trained myself to think differently about stuff.

Question your purchases, Question your rubbish bin! 

Happy thrifting 

Jessica x

Happy New Year

I know it’s been a really long time since I posted anything newsy or projecty, so here comes the new years resolution of catching up with it all! I  have got a good reason though I promise. As well as the general hullaballoo of just having opened the shop, I also found out I was pregnant in November and I’ve been struggling with fatigue and the dreaded morning yuck. But it seems the corner is turning and I’m feeling a bit more myself again!

SO Happy new year to all my lovely readers. As a treat for your well earned patience here’s a photo montage of my latest collection of accessories. I hope you enjoy and I’ll catch you on the blogosphere again v.soon!

Mrs Geach

xxx

 

Blue Velvet cuff with Cameo and aqua gems

Blue Velvet cuff with Cameo and aqua gems

Blue velvet background with pearl and marcasite jewellery statement alice band

Blue velvet background with pearl and marcasite jewellery statement alice band

Blue Velvet sets off this reloved marcasite brooch beautifully on this statement alice band

Blue Velvet sets off this reloved marcasite brooch beautifully on this statement alice band

Blue and pearl resin brooch reloved into this cute hair comb covered in mushroom ribbon

Blue and pearl resin brooch reloved into this cute hair comb covered in mushroom ribbon

Collection of handmade combs, some are buttons some are vintage jewellery but all are unique

Collection of handmade combs, some are buttons some are vintage jewellery but all are unique

1950's necklace reloved into a 1920's style hair piece, looks awesome with a flapper dress

1950’s necklace reloved into a 1920’s style hair piece, looks awesome with a flapper dress

Handmade felt brooches, all made with offcuts and end of roll trims to prevent wastage.

Handmade felt brooches, all made with offcuts and end of roll trims to prevent wastage.

Project 11. . .

The Sewing Box. . .Re-loved

Ages and ages ago I bought this old battered sewing box on legs from a boot sale. It was a bit of a silly buy because it’s quite large but I just really really liked it. Think of it as the craftaholic’s unnecessary purchase. Much like those shoes that sit in the box forever because they just didn’t quite fit the way they should.

Damn. No matter which way I looked at this silly box I couldn’t make it fit in the studio properly, plus it was a bit battered and I couldn’t get to my sewing tools easily. BUT I did need a new display for Deco Paste for the Autumn season of craft events. HELLO solution.

Ingredients

1.) one extremely bulky & quite battered sewing box
2.) a multitude of paints
3.) screwdriver and brute force
4.) peacock stamp
5.) Velvet fabric
6.) hot glue

Method

First I dismantled the box, drawer by drawer. This required one husband, one screwdriver and brute force. As the screws were quite rusted some of them practically fell out and some of them needed. . .persuasion.

2. Then using a scouring pad, I scuffed up all the paintwork on the drawers, this made sure the paint would take.

3.) Then I painted all the boxes in different hand mixed metallic colours. All inspired by the lovely peacock feather.

4.) Once all the frames of the boxes were painted in my nice bright colours, I painted all the insides black.

5.) Then I stamped them all over the outside with my super Peacock stamp which is normally used for business packages. (I couldn’t get a good photograph of this detail though so I’ve included a picture of the stamp on my labels to give you an idea of how it looks.)

6.) Then I changed my mind about the black insides as it just seemed to hard and decided fabric would give a softer finish. Hello sexy old blue velvet fabric. Hello hot glue burns on my wrist. But it was worth it, I’m really pleased that I have managed to make a stall display that reflects the personality of me as a designer and I didn’t spend a penny! BRILLO PADS.

Hope you enjoyed reading this project as much as I enjoyed making it, see you next week for project 12 in Re-Loved 52

Jessica

www.decopaste.co.uk

xoxo