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

Week Three – Make do

Making Do

After last week’s shenanigans I’ve been making up for lost time and have undertaken lots of new projects this week. My favourite is this towel hoodie I’ve made for Penny for the summer season.

toweltastictoweltastic 2

I got the pattern (baja hoodie) off www.gotopatterns.com and bought a beach towel in a charity shop for the grand sum of £1. I’ve been trying to get a towel hoodie on ebay for ages but any that look half decent seem to cost £15 upwards. When my own huge bath towel cost less than half of that, I felt it was time to get the sewing machine out!

I haven’t followed a proper pattern in a really long time. I’m not a great one for making things from scratch. I really enjoy altering and up cycling so this was kind of new for me. The pattern was thankfully easy to follow, (although I did make a couple of mistakes) but overall I’m really pleased with how it turned out. If you decide to do something similar my only piece of advice would be to make sure you double stitch any seams as terry towelling is a bit of a demon to keep together once you cut it!

My whole week has revolved around various make do projects, which is lovely! I made some pretty nifty bathroom baskets out of a pair of old jeans and fabric ends which were otherwise going to the scrap. I followed this tutorial and they turned out great. The possibilities for extending this idea are endless I think! I’m going to search for a pair of wide legged jeans so I can make bigger ones next time.

jeans basket

I was really stuck on wednesday for extra drying space after doing a massive amount of laundry. I find it hard to juggle all of Penny’s stuff with our own washing. I find all the little things like muslin clothes and the washable bamboo wipes take up the bulk of drying space. So I came up with some new dryers for these things and best of all it was really really cheap to do.

Take one coat hanger. (It needs to be one with the little hooks for clothes ribbons.) Tie string/ribbon/t shirt yarn from one side to the other, taking care to double knot it to prevent laundry all over the floor. Add some pegs and Voila! Personally I used t shirt yarn as that’s what I had lying about and it works beautifully!

hangars

photo 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

As well as these projects I’ve also been working on a millennium falcon star wars cake for Russell’s birthday, a tunic dress for Penny and a scandi print cushion cover – all of which I’ll have to post another time as they are still in progress.

I wish you all a lovely weekend and hope you may have found some inspiration for your own make do and mend projects

Happy Friday

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.

The Reloved 52 Shop

So I thought it would be fun to share some pictures with you of the shop so you can see where my new home is and where I’ll be blogging from now on. Next week I’ll be catching up with my personal projects, so you will see a lot of new posts next week. Thanks all for bearing with me over the last month or so while I’ve been a bit quiet. Now I’m all settled in normal service can resume!

Frederick the reloved flamingoSmith-Corona TypewriterCoffee PotShop signchristmas windowThe window inside

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my new home! See you soon for project fun times

Mrs Geach

xxx

 

The big day. . .

Today I get the keys to the shop!

The excitement is the same as that lovely bubbly feeling I get on christmas eve, when I’m baking mince pies and the chocolate log & singing Nat King Cole in the wrong key. I thought I should post today to mark this occasion, especially as the idea for the shop came from this very blog.

Think of this as the introduction to a new & exciting chapter in the Reloved 52 history books. I’ve got lots and lots and tonnes of fab things planned, all of which I will post on here for you all to enjoy.

For now, I’ve got three days of shop fitting labour ahead of me. I’ll post pictures at the weekend once I’ve recovered slightly!

Thanks all those who have given me there support and kind words so far, can’t wait to see lots of you in the shop

Mrs Geach

xxx

Project 15. . .

Silk Threads & Roses Poses

My Threads have lived in a wire basket for sometime. Not my best organisation I’ll admit. The threads have been getting tangled and I can never find the colour I need. So I decided to relocate them to something a bit more practical. The jewellery box is thick card but it’s lovely and strong and the inside is in great condition. I picked it up from a thrift store years  ago for pittance but never found a use for it. I like the pattern outside but the top is quite stained. Roll on the Re-loving. . .

Ingredients

One old Jewellery box

lots of silk roses

rustic peach roses (silk)

hot glue

a lot of thread spools

Method

 

That’s the end of the catch up marathon, thanks for reading, see you next week for project 16

xox Jessica xox

Project 14. . .

Pin Bored

I have an old office style pin board. It’s a drab grey blue and I’ve never liked it. So I decided to give it a re-loved spruce!

Ingredients

One old boring pin board

leftover thin green cotton fabric

red felt

hot glue

two old tape measures

silver drawing pins

Method

See you tomorrow for project 15, the last of the weekend catch up marathon!

xox Jessica xox