Showing posts with label eco-friendly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eco-friendly. Show all posts

10 Things to Love About Slow Fashion

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater

The Slow Fashion movement is gaining popularity around the world. Quite simply, the idea is about choosing more sustainable clothing alternatives such as eco and fair trade fashion, second hand buying, swapping and repairing existing wardrobe items.

As a crafty girl that puts a lot of time and effort into design and making, I can definitely appreciate the fact that quality is better than quantity. So, when my husband's favorite sweater was in need of some TLC, I decided to take the time to repair it instead of just chucking it in the trash.

My husband keeps this sweater in his office and it has likely been worn every work day for the last five years. Unfortuantely it had developed two problems. First, the zipper pull broke off in the laundry. Second, one of the pockets was detached and beginning to unravel.

The good news about the zipper was that my husband never actually uses it. Also, there was already a redundant set of buttons in place, just in case. This meant I was able to simply remove the zipper and restitch the facing. Easy peasy.
The pocket presented a slightly larger problem, but one that I was able to solve thanks to my knitting experience. Since the pocket was unravelling I needed to re-knit the stitches. Fortunately the yarn was not damaged. After that I used a piece of scrap yarn from my stash to graft the pocket back into place.
So, what did I learn from this slow fashion experience?

1. Slow fashion is empowering!

In just a couple hours, I was able to at least double the life expectancy of this garment. That may not seem like a big deal to some people, but I feel like I accomplished something pretty amazing.

2. Slow fashion discourages a throw away culture.

It is so easy to just throw away a cheap item knowing that you can pick up a replacement at the local big box for a few dollars. Is that the type of lifestyle we really want to embrace and model to our children?

3. Slow fashion is a way to practice creative skills.

This little project gave me a chance to flex my creative muscles. I had to figure out how to make a sturdy repair that looked nice and was functional. I was able to incorporate my engineering, knitting and sewing skills. Just look at those neat little handmade stitches!

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater

4. Slow fashion saves time.

This may seem counter intuitive because fixing this sweater took a couple hours. If I had thrown it away and purchased a replacement we would have driven to the mall to browse a number of different stores or spent time online searching for the perfect replacement sweater. And of course there is the time spent working to earn the money to pay for a new sweater.

5. Slow fashion saves money.

I used a seam ripper, needle, thread, knitting needles and yarn to fix this sweater. I already had all of the tools and materials in my sewing room, but even if you consider the full price for each of theses items, it would add up to less than the cost of a new sweater.

6. Slow fashion is a way to express yourself.

My repair was fairly basic, but I have seen other mends that involve patching or embroidery and they can be a beautiful way to incorporate new color and texture into an old garment.

7. Slow fashion creates less waste.

It's well known that the fashion industry creates a lot of waste in the production process. My repair minimized the need for the waste from producing a new sweater and kept the existing one out of the landfill.

8. Slow fashion shows you care.

I took the time to fix this sweater, in part because I know my husband really likes it. I hope that every time he wears it he feels the love that I put into every stitch.

9. Slow fashion makes you appreciate the importance of a job well done.

Of course I am proud of my own repair work and glad I took the time to do it right. While I was working, I also noticed the well-thought design elements from the original construction. Who ever chose to add a sturdy facing to the sweater opening was a genius. It was more expensive to manufacture the garment with this feature, but if the facing had not been there, removing or replacing the zipper would not have been an easy task.

10. Slow fashion generates quality time.

As I sat at the table making repairs, my husband sat with me and we were able to savor a cup of coffee, chat about current events and just enjoy each other's company. Definitely time well spent!

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater
How do you incorporate the concept of slow living into your daily routine?

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Tutorial: Sisal Scratching Post

DIY - How to repair and refurbish a cat scratching post with sisal rope.Not to brag, but I have the best cat ever! She magically appeared in our yard and decided to live with us. Her name is Dobby. She likes to snuggle, but not too much, she does her business outside, she never jumps up on the kitchen counters and never scratches the furniture.

Dobby loves to stop for a good scritch on her scratching post before going outside. Over time, she has shredded it. Instead of throwing it away, I invested a little time and rewrapped it with sisal rope so it's better than new.

This isn't a particularly crafty idea, but since Dobby's outdoor litter box is the most pinned post from my blog, I thought maybe you would enjoy another cat-centric project.



DIY - How to repair and refurbish a cat scratching post with sisal rope. Start with the old scratching post.
Use a utility knife, scissors, pliers, a screwdriver and muscle to remove the worn carpet and sisal rope from the post.

Warning!!! You may find that your cat is seriously annoyed by your behavior.
As you are removing the old carpet and rope you will likely discover some hidden staples. Be careful not to poke yourself on staples or any of the sharp tools you are using.

I'm not going to lie. This process took a lot of muscle, but I worked out some pent up stress. I totally understand why Dobby likes to tear this thing up!
Tie the new sisal rope in a knot around the scratching post.
You can tape the end of the rope to the post so it doesn't move around as you start wrapping the rope.
Wrap the rope very tightly around the post. Sisal is very scratchy, so you may want to wear gloves to protect your hands.

This part goes quicker if you have a friend to turn the post as you wrap the rope.
If your rope is not long enough, you may need to attach a second rope. Simply tape the new rope to the post so the loose end is pointed toward the already wrapped section.

Keep wrapping with the first piece of rope and make sure you wrap at least a couple inches up the new rope to conceal and secure the end.
When the first piece of rope runs out, tuck it under the second piece and continue wrapping with the second piece.
Wrap over end of the first rope.
Once you get to the end of the scratching post, you will need to secure the rope. Some people like to use a big stapler for this, but I worry about my kitty pulling out the staples, so I tied a nice tight knot so the rope wouldn't unwind.
Tie a knot in the remaining rope very close to the scratching post.
Trim the rope. If you worry about the rope fraying, you can add a spot of hot glue or even Elmer's all purpose glue to seal the rope.
Whenever Dobby decides to wake up from her favorite nappy place in my studio, she can enjoy a nice scritch and then head outside to take care of business!

DIY - How to repair and refurbish a cat scratching post with sisal rope.

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Crochet Pattern: Dryer Balls

Free Crochet Pattern: DIY a set of wool dryer balls for softer, fresher smelling wrinkle free laundry.For years I have tried to convince my husband that there is absolutely no need to use dryer sheets. He claims that they make his clothes noticeably softer, less wrinkly and fresher smelling. I think they are a waste of money and not very eco-friendly.

Please don't leave comments that if I really wanted to be eco-friendly I would just hang my clothes outside to air dry. We live in a desert and everything that's outside for more than a minute is covered in a fine layer of dust. So, I'm doing my best here and I dug through my yarn stash to find some half used skeins of wool to make dryer balls.

In case you haven't heard of them before, folks across the interwebs claim that dryer balls can reduce the time your laundry needs in the dryer and  reduce wrinkles in your clothes. Also, if you add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the dryer balls you can even make your laundry smell fresher. I'll let you judge for yourself if the claims are true.

I think using three dryer balls in the laundry works nicely, but you can use more or less if you like.



ch - chain
sl st - slip stitch
sc - single crochet
dec - decrease by inserting the hook in the next st and draw up a loop, insert the hook in the next st and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through all three loops


There's no need to work a gauge swatch for this project, however you will need to use a hook that is a few sizes smaller than what the yarn label recommends in order to make the top and bottom of the balls curve slightly.

Also, it doesn't really matter which side of your work is the right side because the stitches become much less noticeable after felting. The pattern is worked in continuous rounds. so no need to turn your work at the end of each round.

Ch 3, sl st in first ch to form a loop (or you can use the magic loop method), ch 1.

Rnd 1: 6 sc in loop.
Rnd 2: [2 sc in next sc] 6 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 4: [2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc] 6 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 5: [2 sc in next sc, sc in next 3 sc] 6 times. (30 sts)

If your work isn't slightly curved, you'll need to try again with a smaller crochet hook.
Rnd 6-11: sc in each sc around. (30 sc per round for 6 rounds is 180 sc total)
Roll a tight ball of wool yarn to fill your work.

Pro Tip: If you are making multiple dryer balls, it's helpful to use a food scale to measure the weight of the rolled yarn balls to make sure they are all the same size.
Place the rolled yarn ball into your work.

Rnd 12: [dec, sc in next 3 sc] 6 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 13: [dec, sc in next 2 sc] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 14: [dec, sc in next sc] 6 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 15: [dec] until no more sts can be worked.
Fasten off and pull the yarn tail into the ball.
Next, you will machine felt your dryer balls. This makes them fuzzier and more dense.

Machine wash and dry your dryer balls 3-5 times with the rest of your laundry. Don't use any fabric softener in the laundry when you are felting.
Your dryer balls will get smaller and smaller each time you wash and dry them.

After you have competed the felting process, you do not need to wash your dryer balls again.
If you want them to smell extra nice, add 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil to each ball. I like jasmine best. Let the oil soak in over night. You can add a few more drops of oil any time the dryer balls start to lose their scent.

Now, just toss in your dryer balls when you are drying clean laundry for fluffier, fresher smelling laundry with less wrinkles. At least that's what my skeptical hubby believes. ;)

Free Crochet Pattern: DIY a set of wool dryer balls for softer, fresher smelling wrinkle free laundry.

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Sewing Pattern: Medium Shopping Tote

Free Sewing Pattern: Create your own reversible shopping tote bag.I am seriously obsessed with reusable shopping bags. Everyone in my family carries 4-6 bags in the trunk of their car so they are available to use whenever we go to the store. My husband recently asked me to replace his old set because, after who knows how many years, washings and shopping trips, they were starting to wear thin in places.

Not only are reusable bags good for the environment, they can be a fun way to show off your personality. I let hubby come to Jo-Ann to pick out a couple prints for his new bags. Since we are an Arizona house divided, he chose a University of Arizona and Arizona State University prints.

Of course you can choose whatever prints, patterns or designs you like. Please note, the amounts listed in the materials are enough to make a single bag.


  • 16 inches of 44-inch wide cotton fabric in a main color
  • 16 inches of 44-inch wide cotton fabric in a contrasting color
  • 36 inches of 1-inch wide nylon strapping
  • cutting and sewing supplies
  • tote bottom pattern PDF


Print out the tote bottom pattern PDF. When you print it out, each grid square should measure 1/4 inch.

Also, notice that there is a fold line. You can either print two copies and tape them together or fold your fabric and use one pattern piece.
Cut one 14 x 33 inch rectangle out of each piece of fabric.

Cut one tote bottom from each piece of fabric.
Fold one of the rectangles in half, widthwise, wrong sides together. Pin and stitch the edges opposite the fold using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Press the seam open.
Turn the fabric right side out. I like to align the seam on what will be the side of the bag.

Press both sides of the bag to mark them.
Fold the top edge of the bag under 3/4-inch and press.
Fold the bag bottom in half lengthwise and press, marking the center of the piece.
With the right sides together pin the bag bottom to the bag.

I think it's easiest to align the pressed center line of the bottom to the pressed bag sides. Pin the rounded ends of the bag bottom first.
Then pin the straight edges of the bag bottom.

Stitch using a 1/2-inch seam allowance.
Repeat the process for the second set of fabric.
Cut the nylon strapping into two 18-inch lengths. You can use a lighter to melt the ends of each strap so they won't fray.

Position the straps 4 inches away from the sides of the bag.
Place your contrasting fabric into the bag so they are wrong sides together and pin around the opening.
I used a straight stitch 1/4-inch and 1/2 inch from the top of the bag to secure the inside to the outside and hold the straps in place. You could also use a decorative stitch.
Now we're ready to go shopping and cheer on our favorite schools!

Free Sewing Pattern: Create your own reversible shopping tote bag.

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Tutorial: Terrariums

DIY Tutorial: How to make a simple glass jar terrarium
When my daughter came home from college in May she asked if we could make terrariums. I have wanted to do this project for awhile, but I have never had much success with terrariums. Every single one has been filled with dead and/or molded plants within weeks.

But since I don't get the opportunity to do many projects with my kiddo anymore, I decided to make one more attempt at creating a healthy terrarium.
Before we got started, I watched (and re-watched) this video by my friend Anne from Anne of Green Gardens. Anne was my inspiration when I made my fairy garden village, so I thought her guidance would boost my confidence with terrariums and it did.



You may be able to find most of the materials (carbon, moss, clay hydroballs and maybe even a container and plants) at your local pet store.
Before you begin, wash and dry your container and rinse the clay hydro balls or pebbles.

Place about an inch of carbon at the bottom of the jar.
Add about an inch of clay hydroballs or small pebbles.
Next you will be adding a couple inches of potting mix. I put the potting mix into a bowl and blended it with a handful of the carbon before adding it to my jar.
It's time to add the plants. This can be a little tricky depending on how wide the opening to your jar is. Take your time and be patient.

Try to position your plants so they are not touching the glass.
I used the end of a wooden spoon to help me dig little holes for the plants and move the dirt around.
Finally, add a layer of sheet moss around the plants.
If you want, you can decorate your mini-world with colored rocks or other small items. I used a little quail figurine.
My daughter added a little Yoshi and some glass gems. He looks pretty happy! We lightly watered our plants and left the lids open for several days.

DIY Tutorial: How to make a simple glass jar terrarium

The trick with closed terrariums is finding the right balance. They need light, but not too much light and moisture, but not too much moisture. Keep a close watch over your little environment until that perfect balance is reached. If you see any mold or excessive condensation, remove the lid and let things air out a bit.

What's your secret for the perfect terrarium?

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