Posted in Environment, Homeschooling

Upcycled Art Supply Box

Young Sprout (my grandson) is about to start kindergarten and is enrolled in distance education, meaning that my daughter Umm Sprout will be his main instructor with curriculum, supplies and guidance from a teacher.  Much is supplied through the program but we need to get a few things together ourselves (nothing like the regular back to school shopping I had to do when my two were in school though).

One thing is to provide the child with what the parents guide calls a Beautiful Junk Box to be stocked with egg cartons, cores from paper towels, boxes, clamshells from salad, etc. to enable the student to get creative and make models and do crafts on her or his own.

I found a good sized extra sturdy box in my storage locker

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but it needed some oomph.

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contact paper to the rescue!

And it’s already partly stocked with cores, boxes  and cheap ribbon, which I just happened to have on hand.  I have ideas of other stuff to put in that is already here but should consult with Umm Sprout first.  Am also planning to label the box using an 8-1/2 by 11 inch mailing label.  Again, I want to consult with my daughter as to what she wants it to say.

Apparently they also need a box for math manipulatives but I just happen to have shoeboxes available which are probably a good size, and enough left over contact paper to do a coordinated cover.

Interestingly I phoned around before setting out to buy the paper and a deservedly famous local hardware store had the big box store prices well beat!

Posted in baraka, Environment, Rant

Quilt Without Guilt

Did you know that fibre can be kept out of the landfill?

Sure you probably send your gently used clothing to the thrift store where someone else can enjoy it affordably.

But what about the other stuff?  The baby bibs with ground in mashed carrots, the dress shirt with the leaky ballpoint on the pocket, the ragged bath towels, the teeny-tiny scraps of quilting fabric, the little bits of batting we all have?

These can all be recycled and come back to life in various forms, such as industrial wiping rags and mixed fibre filling for pillows.

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These two bags represent a few weeks of sewing snippets.  With my determination to get my scraps under control, I gathered these up along with some gently used wearables and knick knacks and we headed to WIN, Women In Need, a local Victoria organization that operates a thrift store, recycling clothes, housewares and furniture.  They are able to accept CLEAN mixed fibres such as these offcuts and sell them to companies that recycle them.

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Here’s a shot of their parking lot.

This is worth checking out — please make sure that the charity you plan to help can in fact accept textiles for recycling.  One of Oxfam’s biggest expenses is paying to get rid of the stuff people donate that the charity can’t use, and I believe Goodwill has a similar issue.  Also, if it’s old clothing you would wash it first of course!

What’s your best tip for keeping stuff out of the landfill?  Please share!

Posted in baraka, Environment

Baraka!

Found two abandoned chairs with nothing wrong with them that couldn’t be fixed with black Sharpie marker and a generous spraying with Fabreze.  They were made in California and I’m guessing date from the mid-80s.  Second-hand and thrift stores feel they can’t sell metal frame chairs.  Our other chairs were actually traded with a thrift store.  We were dropping off donations and needed chairs, and the staff said that they wouldn’t be able to sell the chairs, so they let us have them.  And those chairs only needed a quick spray with household cleaner.

As you can see, this is before.

Here is the after photo, they now look (and smell!) way more presentable.

and last a close up showing how I disguised the frayed piping.

I like them because they are comfortable and feel solid when you sit on them.  Plus more chairs mean you can have more people over without having to drag office chairs out.  I’m contemplating making coordinated tie-on seat pads to pull the look more together.