Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Plastic bag dress

Earth day.  (Okay so I'm a little behind on this blog.)  Each year HOPE Society is plagued with the concept of what to do to celebrate Earth Day.  Last year we took pictures of environmentally friendly products sold in stores all over town.  The year before we had an upcycling contest to try to encourage people to come up with creative ways to reuse things. This year, I wanted to make a statement.

Not sure how much of a statement we actually made.  My original thought was to make a big pyramid of the amount of disposable cups Houston goes through every year.  But of course that would mean using a lot of disposable cups. 

So I tried to come up with something that could be made of waste that's already been used.  Plastic bags seemed to be a good option.  They are typically still clean after use and it's easy to collect a lot of them in a short period of time.  Plus they are a big environmental issue.  

At first I wanted to make a big flag out of the bags.  There was an issue of where one could fly such a flag. And if it tore, there would be litter issues. So Cindy and I came up with the idea of making a plastic bag dress! I was very excited about it.  We asked her daughter to be the model and  immediately made a duct tape mannequin.  (http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/1200x/3a/88/c3/3a88c34f7568f5dfcc0e335ac389bb2e.jpg)

I worked on the dress at every opportunity over the next few days as I was running out of time to make a display for Earth Day.  But I got it done and was fairly happy with the results.  

Unfortunately, Cindy was having trouble coming up with good information on plastic bag waste to put up as part of the display with the dress.  Not that she couldn't find info.  It's just that the more she dug, the more she found that there wasn't much persuasive evidence against them.  Apparently, it take approximately 132 uses of a reusable bag to compensate for the extra pollution and energy use to make them compared to a disposable bag. You would need a pretty durable bag to get through that many shopping trips.  If you use them once a week, that's over two and a half years.  And even biodegradable paper bags are more environmentally damaging because they take so much more to produce them than disposable plastic. 

We opted to set up a previously used display consisting of the reduce, reuse, recycle concept (with emphasis on the reduce and reuse part) in an effort to reduce more waste by reusing a display rather than making a whole new one.  It wasn't really my initial vision, but it did attract attention. Kids especially thought it was cool because the dress was made for their schoolmate.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Moving to Nanaimo

As you may or may not be aware, I am moving to Nanaimo next month.  The entire process has felt delayed for me.  I feel like if I can just pack a little bit here and there, there won't be so much to do right at the end.  But of course it's hard to pack your life up for a couple months.

DVDs, sure. Toiletries, nope.  Gotta keep those out.  Kitchen, that's gotta stay. Camping gear, guess I can pack that.  Well it's basically already packed.  Craft supplies, hell no! Those will be out until I absolutely have to pack that room up.

Dan figures we can just wait until we get there to find a place.  I'm definitely not that optimistic.  I've been looking.  Not crazy-hunting mind you.  But I've browsed kijiji. And I've contacted a few people.  One guy was ready to give me a call in a few hours to talk about it and then suddenly just stopped replying to my emails altogether! *le sigh*

Socializing has probably been the biggest time consumer lately.  We want to be able to see everyone at least one more time before we go. And vice versa.  My weekends are all already planned before we go.  Girls night out, dinners, geocaching getaway, visitors from out of town, board game nights.  I'm booked up.  

Plus I've been helping Dan out with his online gaming community podcasts.  Not that I mind.  I'm actually really enjoying it. But you don't just get extra time in a week to do these things.  It has to squeeze something else out.  I've been having a hard time getting any crafting in.  Rental research has replaced my computer time for uploading items onto Etsy or checking my emails.

So, alas, crafting time has become minimal.  And I imagine it will stay that way until we are settled in the new place in Nanaimo.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

T-Shirt Quilt

I posted on Facebook asking for quilt ideas.  A friend of mine asked if I could make a quilt out of all of her old t-shirts.  She had just gathered them to take them to the thrift store, but thought that this would be a much better idea.  She wouldn't have to get rid of all her favourite shirts!

I accepted the challenge, as I know that t-shirt fabric is not the most fun material to work with.  But it would be an adventure.  My favourite part is always the designing.  So I sketched out a plan.
With only 10 shirts to work with, I had to come up with a pattern to make it bigger than a baby blanket.  PINTEREST! I found so many beautiful t-shirt quilts.  Here are some of the ones I really liked:

I think you can see which one I took my inspiration from the most.  I did not, however, choose to use other material for the accents and borders.  I wanted to use as much of the t-shirts as possible so there was as little waste as possible.  

And so it began! The most difficult part of this project was also the most forgiving.  The thing about jersey fabric (as t-shirts are most often made of) is that they have a lot of stretch, a lot of drape to them.  The most taxing thing I found was that they rolled up on the edges.  It wasn't always easy to square up the fabric. Since it stretches, it gets skewed easily.  I mainly just tried to lay it flat with no wrinkles in a way that it was relaxed with no tension on it.

The fact that it stretched also meant that if I was a tad off in managing to get it square, it would still work.  If I found that over a length of two edges to be sewn together, they were off by about a quarter inch.  The shorter one could just be stretched ever so slightly to end up matching in the whole grand scheme of the quilt.

(The back)

I had a lot of fun with this project, although I feel like it has rather taken over getting anything else done with Flouster.  I've been falling behind on blogs. I haven't made anything else since I started this except for helping a friend make a Velma costume for her little girl's skating recital.  (Which she did fabulous at! I got to go and watch.)  I haven't even posted all the items that I already have up on the Etsy website.  I have, despite all this, been getting more hits on my Etsy page, though I highly credit adding custom engraved dog tags to my store for that... ...oddly enough.

I digress, after 133 pieces and approximately 55 hours of work, the t-shirt quilt is now finished.  It is a good snuggle-up-on-the-couch size at 56"x64" and is loved by my friend, whom I made it for.

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