Tag Archives: recon

Treehugging

Back in the day, I was very much into anything to do with the environment. I was into recycling, saving the animals, protecting the rainforests, you name it!

As I got older, and had more life stuff to think about, I began to lose some of my eco-focus. Not all of it: I still recycled; I avoided anything that might be particularly harmful to the planet; I used canvas bags as an alternative to plastic bags for years before the 5p bag tax was introduced. But I just lost interest and got a bit lax with my habits over time.

A new friend has inspired me to get back into being a treehugger again. She’s doing a project for a year (at least) that involves living a lifestyle that generates zero waste – with a focus on single-use plastic. When she first told me about this, it made me realise that I’d lost sight of how I used to be, and that I should probably make more effort!

She’s recording her efforts and thoughts on the project over on Instagram. My favourite photo (so far) can be found here, and it’s my favourite because of the caption she added:

{ Plastic Free July tips – for everyday… }
Whenever I leave the house, I nearly always have my [Kleen Kanteen] waterbottle and my keepcup with me – I love them so much, they fit in my bag, and it’s super easy. It means that I never really need to buy bottled water, as I can normally find somewhere to refill, and I can always have tea/coffee on the go. I also normally carry a cotton tote bag, in case I buy anything and need some way to carry it. If I’m going out for the day (or longer), I will often also carry a container (such as a jar, or old tupperware) and a spoon/fork, in case I want to buy lunch, or a snack, on the go. If I forget these things, which I do, coz I’m only human …then I will just enjoy tea, or a meal sitting down which is a nice way to slow down a bit anyway. Sometimes I will even pop a stainless steel straw into my bag…

I’m terrible for rushing around all the time so the idea of having a proper sit-down meal as the ‘green’ option really resonated with me. It would actually be more effective at making me slow down than any kind of concern for my own personal welfare!

It’s very early days for me and I’m clearly not as experienced as Hannah in these matters, but I’m going to concentrate on improving things bit by bit and see how I get on.

I’m going to try to get back into upcycling and recons too, so hopefully I will have some craft and design based posts to share soon.

What are your tips for living a greener life?

Becky

New Year’s Resolutions 2013

Last year’s New Year’s Resolutions were a bit ‘floaty’ in nature, so this year I’ve decided to make them a bit more tangible. It seems to be a little tradition of mine now to have five, so I’ve gone for the same number again. Any less and it’s too easy, and any more and it feels like a chore rather than self-improvement. This year my younger brother has taken a leaf out of my book and gone for eleven, which is pretty impressive:

My brother's New Year's resolutions for 2013

My brother’s New Year’s resolutions for 2013

This year, my resolutions are:

1) Make marshmallows, macarons and madeleines. I’ve got out of the habit of baking, mostly because I can’t find anyone willing to eat the results of my endeavours in the kitchen! Not because they’re bad, of course, just because everyone’s a bit health-conscious these days, and I tend to make things in large quantities (cf my epic pink rainbow cake). This year I thought I’d attempt three slightly more advanced treats. I’ll be attempting to make vegetarian marshmallows, courtesy of this UK stockist of ready-mixed ingredients, and this instructional video; macarons, inspired by this amazing baking lady whose blog I recently discovered (she makes a lot of macarons); and madeleines, because they make sponge cake look pretty and sophisticated, and I’ve only ever eaten shop-bought versions.

2) Make fewer excuses. I’ve been working hard on this one already, but I’ve decided to make it an official NYR this year to really help me sort it out. I’m a great one for making excuses: ‘Oh, I can’t take amazing photos because I don’t have the right camera’, ‘I don’t have the time’, ‘I don’t have the funds’, ‘I don’t do such-and-such’… you get the idea! This NYR is all about arguing back with the little excuse-making voice in my head that tells me that I can’t do things. I can!

3) Work on becoming very healthy and fit. I had a similar NYR a couple of years ago which was all about exercise. This time, I’ve got stuff going on which means I need to be super-fit *and* working hard to have a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet. I’ve been a bit lax over the last few months with both diet and exercise so I’m using the New Year as a springboard to launch me back into being virtuous and enthusiastic again.

4) Make my own clothes (or modify more). The nature of fashion is such that every few seasons, there will only be clothes in particular styles and shapes in the shops, and woe betide you if you’re not the right shape for them! I’ve really struggled to buy any new clothes this year, for the simple reason that I don’t suit skinny jeans, peplums, drop-hem chiffon skirts or shirts, or playsuits, which is all that I seemed to find. I got so frustrated towards the end of the year that I have vowed to make my own clothes this year, in styles that suit me and fit me. I also used to buy clothes in sales and charity shops, and modify them to suit me, and I need to get back into doing this sort of recon – this board on Craftster is particularly inspiring for reconstructed clothing.

5) Do a photography project. I’m signed up to Photojojo’s mailing list and they send a newsletter out the other day that encouraged people to start a new photography project for the New Year. This got me thinking that I should refamiliarise myself with my camera and get out and take some photos! I think a photo-a-day project might be asking too much, with everything else that I’ve got going on this year, but a photo-a-week project is eminently doable. Shall I follow some kind of theme for my photos, or just see where the muse takes me?

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

Becky

PS I’m also doing something that’s been doing the rounds on Facebook and Pinterest. Usually I think this kind of thing is a bit naff but this particular task struck a chord with me. The idea is to take an empty jar and fill it up with notes about good things that have happened during the year. I always get reflective at New Year, and often have trouble remembering all the things I’ve done or achieved, so this will hopefully be a good memory-jogger! I’ve made little kits for myself, my brother and my friend consisting of a jar, assorted scrap paper (it looks better in the jar when there are lots of colours) and a clip to hold the paper together. Here’s hoping I’ll have lots of notes in the jar by the end of the year!

Jar of good things

Day Four – 30 Days of Creativity 2012

Today’s theme was ‘trousers’…!

A random choice, but I had a project in my recon(structing) basket that would fit the bill perfectly. I went to a pyjama-themed party a while back, and instead of wearing my actual pyjamas (that would be weird), I bought a set of stripy men’s pyjamas and wore the top part back to front as a sort of bustle dress. I used a bit of fabric from one leg to fashion a natty bow for a headband to complete the look:

But what was I to do with the remainder of the pyjama trousers? They weren’t particularly wearable. They’ve been sat in my recon basket for ages now, and today I decided to do a simple makeover on them to make them wearable. This basically involved taking them in at the waist a bit (they’re a men’s L size, and I’m not!), cropping the legs to match the bit I cut off to make the headband, and adding some romantic little bows at the bottom by creating channels to hold ribbon in the fabric. Such an easy thing to do: I just folded the fabric over on the inside of the bottom of the trouser legs, stitched it with enough room to fit the ribbon through, and fed the ribbon through with a safety pin to help me. You don’t even have to sew in a particularly neat way because the stitching is mostly hidden in the gathers:

Close-up on the bow:

Naff ‘before’ pic:

I love adding ribbon or bows to anything, it makes things instantly prettier and more feminine!

Becky

Day Eleven – 30 Days of Creativity

Today I decided to do a quick no-fuss recon (aka reconstruction) that I saw the tutorial for a while back. All it needed was a pair of scissors, some pins and a needle and thread.

Before:

T-shirt recon - Before

During:

T-shirt recon - During

After:

T-shirt recon - After

Pretty nifty transformation, huh? It took maybe half an hour and now I’ve got a lovely unique summer top!

Becky