Reduce, reuse, recycle.

I’m not so bad. I recycle my glass, plastic bottles, cans, paper. I don’t use carrier bags. I write on both sides of the paper. I grow my own. I make resusable gift bags! I do my bit.

But there’s so much more. And the more I look, the more there seems to be.

A timely post from Megan Nielsen about polyester fabric hit home as I’ve been considering the pros and cons of man-made and natural fibres and fabrics for a good while now.

There is so much to think about. To scrape the surface:

– Are the origins of the fabric sustainable?
Plant-based, oil-based, animal-based? Not so straightforward as it brings into play the whole huge “Is farming of livestock sustainable and ethical?” question. With veganism on the rise (half a million vegans in the UK, that's about 1 in every 130, at the time of writing), where does that leave our fashion industry?

– Is the production of the fabric environmentally safe and ethical?
Almost all raw materials undergo processing using chemicals which affect workers and the environment. Some are worse than others. The jeans industry, for example, is horrendous when you look into the 
toxic chemicals, sandblasting, water usage, pesticides, and dangerous working conditions.

– Is recycling the way forward?
Yes, and no. Fleece jackets made from recycled plastic bottles seems like a wonderful idea! Fibres from said jackets coming out in the wash and being found in vast amounts in our oceans, and entering our food chain? Oops, who saw that coming? 

It’s a challenging issue for anyone who is creative. Every time we create something we have an impact on our environment. I like the ethos of Project 333 from bemorewithless. As someone who has spent x amount of years accumulating ‘stuff’, it was like a breath of fresh air for me to spring-clean my wardrobe this year!  I’m certainly not there yet, but it has made me think about my unnecessary consumerism. How many of us have clothing in our wardrobes that we don’t like, that doesn’t fit properly or still has the tag on, even though we bought it months (or years!) ago? 

So, I’m trying to buy fabric and yarn with the garment in mind, that I know fills a gap in my wardrobe, and not just because I’d like another tee or dress, or trousers. It’s not going to be easy and I do have a rather hefty stash to work through first! But I’d rather make something I need, in good quality fabric, that I will love wearing again and again and again. The fashion industry makes it’s money because it is ever-changing and trend-led. Who’s brave enough to ditch being fashionable for being stylish?


The gift bag that keeps on giving!

So, with an eye on the well-being of the planet, I started making reusable gift bags. So much nicer than gift wrap, which can’t even be recycled in most cases.

When you give one of my gift bags to someone, one of four things could happen:

    1. You could ask for it back to refill next time you give a gift to that person.

    2. You could ask for it back and reuse it yourself. (Bit cheeky, this option!)

    3. They could reuse it for a gift they give away.

    4. They could reuse it for themselves.

And if you or your mother / husband / friend / colleague / godson / child’s teacher (you get the idea)… decide to reuse it, it could hold:

   •  toiletries

   ▪  cosmetics

   ▪  jewellery

   ▪  cables & travel adapters

   ▪  clean undies, dirty undies, shoes - think suitcase

   ▪  hair stuff 

   ▪  medication

   ▪  emergency first aid kit for the car

   ▪  dinosaurs, doll’s accessories, cars (and all the other small world things - you name them!)

   ▪  Lego, jigsaw pieces, board game pieces

   ▪  bread - yes, really!

   ▪  pencils, crayons, chalks

   ▪  craft projects - one for each wip

   ▪  books

   ▪  sweeties

   ▪  dog treats

   ▪  dog grooming kit

   ▪  belts, scarves - keep your wardrobe tidy!

   ▪  biscuit (cookie) cutters

It could be a

   ▪  child’s travel toy bag - save your sanity on long car journeys or flights

   ▪  child’s PE bag

   ▪  trainer or pump (plimsoles) bag

   ▪  changing bag

   ▪  swimming bag

   ▪  emergency kit - mini screwdriver, tape measure, plasters, tissues, wet wipe, £1 coin (or 1 euro or dollar bill…)


This is a list I came up with without really trying. And obviously size does matter. You won’t get a baguette into a ‘small’ bag, not without a lot of crumbs! Now it’s your turn. If you can think of another use, let me know! The writer of the best answer (in my humble opinion) will win a set of three Christmas Gift Bags. The competition closes at midnight on December 4th 2016, which gives me time to get the prizes in the post to arrive before Christmas! Because of posting dates, this competition is only open to UK residents - sorry. And of course, I’ll post all the new ideas on this site. Yay! Looking forward to reading some inventive ideas!