Green Bag
Community

Upcycle Tutorial – Environmental Bags

Say No to plastic! That is our new mantra, right?

When we think Green bags, what comes to mind? Those ugly, bland ones in garish colours, with some corporate log stamped all over it, offering fresh promotions to someone other than you. They might be practical, but more often, ugly. Or they get dirty and you can’t erase the marks, no matter what detergent you use.

Furthermore, I am inclined to prefer to drink my own ‘home-grown’, filtered water, rather than tap water, at my workplace, and thus, carry several drinking flasks to work, which becomes unwieldy in a regular handbag. My local, liquor store carry-bags have several interior compartments that are just perfect for holding bottles of wine, or, in my case, stainless steel drink flasks. Normally I carry 2-3 of these water flasks, which clank around noisily as I walk, and get dented or scratched in a normal tote bag.

However, carrying Liquor store carry bags into work each day, gives out the wrong message to my colleagues. “Look at her: she just can’t keep out of the Liquor store!!” I could almost hear it whispered about in the corridors of my workplace, each day. There had to be a better approach, I thought.

I have already shown you how to create a new shopping bag out of old clothes and fabric scraps here in this tutorial, but another solution to going plastic free and reducing plastic waste is to “Upcycle” the ‘green’ bags, by adding a pretty fabric cover which is machine washable. This gives me the chance to use some pretty fabric from my stash and get a stylish tote bag in the process. Here is how I did it:

Step 1

Grab some iron-on batting or interfacing, and a piece of pretty fabric (slightly larger than the bag’s measurements) or two, that is if you want to add a pocket on the outside to hold keys, phone etc etc.

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Step 2

Try out a few combinations until you are happy with the contrast of fabrics and colour schemes. Keep in mind they should complement the colour of the green bag itself.

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Step 3

Cut a piece of interfacing the dimensions of the bag. Now cut the fabric to fit the bag not forgetting to add a 1/4 inch hem allowance on all sides. I find it works better if I iron the hem allowance under, before I sew it. Tacking also helps keep the fabric in place. It will be impossible to sew the complete four sides of the bag, with the machine, as the bag is already assembled. So some hand sewing will be required in those places that your sewing machine foot cannot reach.

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Step 4

If you are attaching a pocket, cut, trim and hem before you sew the fabric to the front and or back of the bag. Iron on the interfacing etc…. you already know how to do this….

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Sewing in progress.

Tip: Use a strong/thick needle for sewing this bag. They make them tough and that will break a #80/90 gauge sewing needle.

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Step 5

Repeat on the back side of the bag. As I said, use a strong/thick needle for sewing this bag. They make them tough and it will break a #80/90 gauge sewing needle.

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Step 6 (optional)

The pocket looked  a bit plain, so I added a heart motif applique, for contrast.

That’s it…. all done, and I do like to take this everywhere now. Holding my lunch and water allowance for each and every work day. The bag fits in at the workplace in a way the Liquor shop carry- bag did not!!!

I hope this gives you some ideas to ponder about.

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designing bags red work
Community

Kicking out Plastic – Tutorial Signature Shopping Bag

embroidery hack
Design penned onto calico shopping bag

I really hate using plastic bags and avoid them at all costs. As supermarkets here are phasing out single use plastic bags, there is even more need for consumers to have their own environmentally friendly and sustainable shopping bags.

And it is not just reusable bags for groceries. Even when buying a new outfit, I will carry a clean cotton bag for my purchases inside my regular handbag, rather than use a plastic variety that is not only bad for the planet, but also advertises companies who make absolutely no effort to take care of the future of the environment and wildlife. Why would I want to promote them?

In less than ten minutes, you can create an individual environmentally friendly solution. A solution, so easy, that even the children can get involved and create their own reusable, plastic free shopping bag.

Back in 2012, I began making a variety of D.I.Y, “plastic free” bags: in Redwork embroidery, painted Norwegian Telemark and floral designs, and also with a pen and painting technique.

Here are a few samples from my existing bag stash.

But I needed more bags to have on hand, and as plain calico is rather plain, and ‘Redwork’ embroidery makes such a pretty and easy adornment. My initial plan was to embroider some designs on the new calico bags, in redwork technique, with a needle and thread. However, I am not the world’s neatest hand sewer ( far from it, really), and embroidery takes me for-EVER to complete, as I have an aversion to sewing, itself!

Solution: Enter the Evanscraft craft and cross stitch pen…. a permanent, acid free pen in a Barn red colour, that can simulate cross stitch or other types of embroidery. Wonderful! With this technique, you can create a pretty cottage garden or folk art design on fabric, (or even wood), and the result is something unique, and useful, created in a matter of minutes.

More time for plastic free shopping!!

It just might inspire others to take up plastic free shopping as well.

flower pattern

You will need:

  • A Calico or Cotton bag in a light colour from your local haberdashery store, ironed flat.
  • A pattern such as the one above, which you can trace over in thick black pen. NB. If you aren’t feeling particularly inspired to draw your own design, you can find plenty of free ‘Redwork’ or other embroidery patterns, (there are some here on Pinterest); in colouring books or even on google image search, itself.
  • A permanent pen, preferably in barn red or a dark red colour, but any colour will do, as long as it doesn’t bleed or run when you wash the bag. I used an Evanscraft Craft and Cross Stitch pen but please patch test the pen of your choosing, on a hidden corner, to check its colour fastness and suitability.

Instructions:

  1. Tape the design on a glass window to create an impromptu light box and trace your selected pattern in thick black pen.
  2. Tape the traced design on top of a piece of cardboard and slip both inside the bag, centering horizontally. The calico is fairly thin so it is easy to see the traced design through the bag. Mounting the design on the cardboard prevents any bleeding of the penned design, through to the rear side of the bag.
  3. Then it is just a matter of re-tracing over the pattern with the chosen pen, and adding a few embellishments of your own, within and around the design.
  4. A final press of the bag, with the iron seals the design and you are ready to shop!

Tip: A ruler may be used to keep long lines straight, or you may prefer to keep them loose and rustic, as I did in the border design. Use the ruler turned upside down to prevent smudging on to the bag.

A major complaint of those who continue to use plastic bags, is that they forget to bring the re-usable bags, along with them, when they shop.

I purchased the plain cotton shopping bags from Lincraft for a dollar each. Not only are they strong, bu they can be scrunched up to a really small size, for carrying inside my handbag, (see in photo to the right above).

In this way they are always on hand, for my use just when I need them.

No more forgetting the bags!!

What design would you choose?

Something environmentally friendly and creative to ponder About.

Community

Plastic Free July

Following are some simply ideas on how I reduce my plastic use.

This re-blogged post gives some concerning and encouraging news on the serious and cataclysmic effects of continual plastic use on our environment.
Some Easy way to reduce plastic use:
* Take a re-fillable water bottle whenever you leave the house – your kidneys and the environment will thank you.
* Take a reuseable naturally sourced bag with you for consumables
* Leave some re-useable bags in your car for groceries
* If you can sew, make up some carry and tote bags ( there is a guide here) from fabric scraps or that fabric stash you have in your cupboard that is rarely used. Find a tutorial here: https://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/scrap-bags-a-girl-can-never-have-enough-bags/
* Refuse a bag for single purchases of bread, fruit, small items
* Boycott products such as commercial biscuits that have double layers of plastic packaging
* Reuse any unavoidable plastics as rubbish bags and dispose of thoughtfully. They can be reused in a variety of ways. Plastic bread bags can even be knitted into coat-hanger covers and Christmas decorations!! Who would have thought?
* Take home your rubbish when out, if rubbish receptacles near beaches are full
* Use a re-usable coffee cup if you like takeaway coffee
* Use glass jars or tins to store flour, biscuits (cookies), or baking ingredients in your pantry or fridge
* Wrap vegetables like celery in damp cloth tea-towels in the fridge
* Display fresh fruit in a bowl rather than in a thin, soft plastic bag in the fridge
* Grate and cut your own vegetables – who needs to buy grated carrot and cheese for goodness sake? It takes but five seconds to grate, literally!
* Buy whole fruit and cut at home, rather than purchase cut rock melon, pumpkin or pineapple, or carrots in polystyrene trays covered with glad wrap
* Write or tell your local supermarket and ask them to stop packaging items like carrots and apples in plastic bags or glad wrap
* Shop for vegetables at a local green grocer for fresh individual fruit and vege
* Save plastic use for toxic items that can’t be disposed of any other way
* Place recyclable plastic in correct Council bins for re-purposing
*Use rubber gloves instead of single use disposable plastic gloves where you can

Make these practices become a habit.

Green Life Blue Water

Okay, so I know the month is halfway over, but even a plastic free day is a plus, eh?  Have a look at this guest post by my sister, environmentalist, educator extraordinaire, yoga instructor, dog rescuer, and now, advocate for a plastic-free world.  Read on and remember, taking even one less plastic bag is a start!

Plastic Free July!

As the forefathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence, the unalienable rights endowed to men (and women) of this country are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Fast forward 242 years and we are seriously messing with those rights as we clamor for a faster, more convenient lifestyle, adding up to a seemingly disposable endgame for all. From our food system to our thirst to develop everything (land and products) deemed profitable, we are creating a world where the pursuit of happiness will be so much harder to attain because…

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Community

Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too and join with me in a discussion on what we can learn.

The proverb and quotes this week focus on environmental concerns.

 

 

I conceive that the land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, few are living, and countless numbers are still unborn

– Nigerian Chief

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. - Franklin D Roosevelt #eco (Find more green quotes on SustainableBabySteps.com)

 

Source: www.sustainablebabysteps.com

 

The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river

– Ross Perot

 

and a final quote this week:

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them

– Albert Einstein

 

 

 

 

The Nigerian Chief recognized that we can never truly own the land. We are merely transient tenants. Inherent in this saying, is the understanding of the mortality of ourselves and of our planet.

Of environmental problems, can they be solved by increasing and augmenting awareness? Or can one team or sector of society make a difference? I think it needs to be a cooperative, collaborative team effort. A problem tackled by all, and for all, ages. Yet, in our our little corner of space, we can change the world for the better. But, if we heed Einstein’s quote – can everyone do that?

 

Blog
                  Now posting on Fridays

 

Linking also to the Three day Quote challenge over at Purple Pumpernickel.

Proverbial Friday – Something to Ponder About

photographic distortion
Community, Motivational

Is Every Day a New Adventure, or Not?

Today we call ourselves developed, as if we have nothing left to learn. But in a hundred years, when people look back at our generation, will they too ask themselves: how did anyone accept that world?
When we look at other life, we say our technology makes us more advanced. Yet all we seem to advance is the destruction of the world surrounding us. You look around and there’s little life to be seen. Most animals we know, we’ve only witnessed on screens.

-Spenser Cathcart

http://theliewelive.blogspot.com.au/

I do like to look at life as an adventure and every day, one filled with new possibilities. We only inhabit this world for a short time, and during that time, society tries to shape us with conformity, first at school and then university or the workplace; I feel this endless drive to make profits, to progress, to move forward,  but just where are we moving forward to?wpid-wp-1414138171365.jpg

Is power what really drives our society and our species? Or is the elusive quest for happiness that we all seek?

I could have an existential crisis watching this video, from Spenser Cathcart, but it is powerful stuff that makes one stop and think about mastering the art of living! It poses many provocative questions and issues. Including:

  • We are destroying the very environment on which we need to survive.
  • Money is a tool used to control us.
    Questioning the real motives of progress in a world where resources are finite.
  • The real purpose of conformity and rules.
  • The indulgence of feeding 70% of the world’s grain crops to animals that we eat.
  • The hypocrisy of acceptance of killing of pigs, cows, chickens as food, whilst the thought of killing or eating dogs or cats barbaric.
  • We all want happiness and strive to get a larger house, car, TV, phone, in order to achieve it.  Profit and making money is the inventive to progress. But we become disconnected from the real world once we have it.
  • Idolizing celebrity and people we have never met, yet ignoring or dismissing our neighbours.
  • Time is slipping through our fingers, but what have we done with it?

We all want happiness, so take the positives from this video:

  • The planet will be here whether we, as a species are here or not!
  • Value the importance of working together.
  • Master the art of living.
  • Use the internet to bring us together not to separate us from one another.
  • Look at life as a new adventure with a unfettered realm of possibilities.
  • Stop and smell the roses, and observe.
  • Imagine what can be done, not what can’t.

Have you mastered the art of living? Have you developed a purpose? Are you truly happy?

pet porpoise pool

Something to Ponder About

 

 

Community

The Crime of Poverty

Berlioz has a post here that is crucial reading and is an entirely independent and refreshing view of the economic problems besieging the world.

Although the analogy with the natural world has some merit, I think that the natural world is far more ruthless than humanity. There is very little care for the sick and defective in the natural world, and the laws of nature and natural selection are tough but have meant survival of the species.

The very interesting parellel and commonality between nature and man’s world is the loss of land/habitat. This is the major reason for extinction of natural species and could also prove to be the reason for our extinction in the worst case scenario.

A worthwhile read. Thanks so much, Berlioz

Berlioz1935's Blog

The beautiful Hunter Valley NSW, Australia The beautiful Hunter Valley NSW, Australia

We. my wife Uta and I, are members of the “Association for Good Government” and last Saturday they held a conference near Pokolbin in the Hunter Region  of NSW.

The association is propagating and teaching  the ideas and principles of the American economist and social philosopher Henry George.

The theme of the conference was  based on a speech Henry George gave on 1st of April 1885 at the  Opera House of Burlington. Iowa, USA.”The Crime of Poverty“.

Burlington Opera House in 1910 Burlington Opera House in 1910

If you read the speech you will find it was no April fool’s joke. We learnt, that about four hundred people attended who each paid  a 50 cents entrance fee.

George suggests, it is not a crime to be poor but poverty is a social crime of which we, the whole society, are all guilty of. It…

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Community, Environment

Environmental Catastrophe – can it be averted?

The tsunami that destroyed much of the Fukashima nuclear plants in Japan, led to an environmental catastrophe that has set in train a lethal juggernaut of biblical proportions. American has 23 of the same kind of Nuclear reactors (made by General Electric).

Do you eat fish or sushi imported from Japan? This fish is radioactive and every minute 102_0218amounts of this can and does cause not just genetic mutations, but a multitude of cancers. Hilary Clinton signed an agreement to continue importing fish products from Japan into the United States after the Fukashima disaster. So I have to ask you do you eat fish/sushi? You may not after watching this video.

Everyone, especially those in America and the Northern hemisphere needs to be especially aware of this problem. The following video link is long, but extremely important to listen to. Helen Caldicott is a Paediatrician and author and understands the many complexities of this issue and the potential dangers for every human.

Helen claims another Japanese earthquake could result in the collapse of the Fukashima No 4 reactor and the radiation then released would be the equivalent of detonation of 14,000 Hiroshima sized bombs. The radiation would then move with the wind currents, westward to eastward, around the northern hemisphere.(i.e. heading for the United States). In the event of another nuclear accident at Fukishima, the safest place is the southern hemisphere is Australia and New Zealand, as the two hemispheric air masses do not mix.  And Australia and New Zealand  have NO nuclear reactors. Yet Australia sits on 1/3 of the world’s Uranium supply and it was Australian uranium in the Fukashima reactor!

But we live in the one world, so no one country is really safe from the long lived arm of radioactive waste and contaminants. Once radiation gets into the food chain, it intensified with each step and thus those (like us), at the top of the chain, are doomed to feel its full effects as it enters the world’s ocean, fish, birds, plants, animals and ultimately, us.

Mutations are already appearing in plants, animals and people after Fukashima and they don’t disappear after one generation:

What can WE do?

Watch Helen Caldicott’s video to become informed of the extent of the problem.

Initiate action to make your governments and communities aware. Write letters, to politicians, post to social media or add blog posts, spread the word about this issue, as hardly anyone is aware of the real extent and pervasiveness of this problem.

Promote renewable energy in your own life.

Share and re-blog the aforementioned videos/links.

Keep a stock of Potassium iodide tablets handy in case of contamination. This will help protect your Thyroid.

Be a leader: Love our Planet, care for our world. Think of the longer term. What will be our legacy to future generations? Will there be future generations?

An informed democracy will behave in a responsible fashion – Jefferson

This is our chance to save our planet. This is something we should ponder and read more about:

helencaldicott.com

http://ieer.org/

 

 

 

Architecture, Australia, Community, Environment

Portentous Weather Predictions: They know, So How Come We Don’t?

If you are watching any edition of Aussie news at the moment, it would not have escaped your notice that Queensland and the “Territory” are experiencing the effects of a tropical cyclone of monster proportions.

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Most of us had to wait for the Weather bureau’s radar to tell us a cyclone was bearing down on us, and exactly where it would hit, but for some, their own version of the news bulletins have been screaming warning messages for weeks. So who are these intuitive, all – knowing metereologists? Animals, and nature, of course.

For weeks, the turtles have been emerging from the creek beds and creeks, plodding ever so slowly, (well, they do have to start early, don’t they?!) on their way to higher ground.

The Cockatoos, those screeching white birds with the sulphur crest, clearly possess a sixth sense, that we humans, missed out on as they have been flying inland in flocks during the last week or so. (When there is drought, they immigrate to the cities in search of food and water). If a lot of rain is expected, they will head inland to feed on the drier grassy areas, as they are doing now.

I even heard the Kookaburras laughing their ‘heads’ off, all last week, a sure sign of the onset of rain.

And the Ants, well there are ants everywhere, and I mean everywhere they are not supposed to be, like in your kitchen cupboards, in your laundry, and even in your bed!! Someone should tell them that there are higher places to hibernate than in my low set, one-level house!

And these creatures are always correct, which is more than I can say for the Weather forecasters!! Funny to think that an animal such as a turtle, or ant could replace a tertiary-educated professional or the highly sophisticated computer software!!!

Even non-living things seem to have an edge on what the weather will do: if you cast your eye upwards and see cloud formations that look like a mare’s tail, or sheep’s wool, you can bet your bottom dollar, there will be rain within three days. Guaranteed!! The mare’s tail clouds are particularly accurate, unless you live in the tropical areas, which has a unique weather pattern all of its own.

In any case, the rain arrived yesterday, and continued all through today, unrelenting for hours and hours. There were no less than five ( clearly a bit below par as far as animal intuition goes), toads, swimming in my backyard swimming pool this afternoon. Stupid, poisonous creatures, that obviously don’t have the intelligence or intuition of the turtle! (Although the toad is an introduced pest, so perhaps I’ll excuse them for this).

So what are we doing? We batten down the hatches and await the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Marcia (anyone who has ever watched the Brady Bunch TV show is now chanting Marsha, Marsha, Marsha), and the joke is tired already!! The cyclone made landfall at Yeppoon this morning as a Category 5 – with 260 km/hr winds. It sounded like a freight train passing over,  and there is much structural damage like you see in this video.

Tropical Cyclones are severe weather systems that strike the Australian coast during the summer months. They usually consist of a central eye, in which the wind is fairly mild; there may be no or little cloud, or perhaps even sunshine. This is surrounded by a rapidly rotating low pressure storm system which produces enormous amounts of rain and wind. The systems spin clockwise, in the southern hemisphere, and counter – clockwise in the northern hemisphere.

Residents in affected areas need to stock up on candles, matches, a generator perhaps, batteries, battery operated radio, torch, non-perishable food supplies, and tape up their glass windows, as well as remove any debris in their yard that could be flung about causing damage in high winds. STAY indoors, in the strongest part of their house, perhaps under a table or in the bathroom with mattresses and blankets for protection, should the roof be blown away. Most houses built since the devastation of Cyclone Tracy, (which flattened an entire city on Christmas day 1976), are built to cyclone proof standards, but in a Category 5 cyclone, Queenslanders have had to hold and barricade doors and windows on near new homes to prevent them from blowing in!

Here is some basic information on Cyclones from Wiki:

Tropical cyclones typically form over large bodies of relatively warm water. They derive their energy through the evaporation of water from the ocean surface, which ultimately recondenses into clouds and rain when moist air rises and cools to saturation. The strong rotating winds of a tropical cyclone are a result of the conservation of angular momentum imparted by the Earth’s rotation as air flows inwards toward the axis of rotation. As a result, they rarely form within 5° of the equator.[5] Tropical cyclones are typically between 100 and 4,000 km (62 and 2,485 mi) in diameter.

At the center of a mature tropical cyclone, air sinks rather than rises. For a sufficiently strong storm, air may sink over a layer deep enough to suppress cloud formation, thereby creating a clear “eye“. Weather in the eye is normally calm and free of clouds, although the sea may be extremely violent.[11] The eye is normally circular in shape, and is typically 30–65 km (19–40 mi) in diameter, though eyes as small as 3 km (1.9 mi) and as large as 370 km (230 mi) have been observed.[12][13]

[Marcia’s eye was 70 km wide]

The cloudy outer edge of the eye is called the “eyewall“. The eyewall typically expands outward with height, resembling an arena football stadium; this phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the stadium effect.[14] The eyewall is where the greatest wind speeds are found, air rises most rapidly, clouds reach to their highest altitude, and precipitation is the heaviest. The heaviest wind damage occurs where a tropical cyclone’s eyewall passes over land.[11]

[Source: Wiki]

More photos and news on Tropical Cyclone Marcia here

I hope I don’t have to Ponder this subject again

Community, Environment, Food

Recycling at Home

I am a great recycling/ upcycling fan!

salvagewarehouse

At the Salvage Warehouse, we’re not only focused on reusing and reselling quality building and construction materials to our customers, but we’re also passionate about educating the wider community on the importance of reducing our waste. We believe every individual must do their own bit – and this begins at home.

Recycling at home is something that every individual and household can participate with, and there are a range of benefits we can achieve from recycling at home. Recycling at home:

  •  Directs waste away from landfill, reducing the impact on valuable natural habitats
  • Saves our natural resources and forests from unsustainable exploitation
  • Less energy is used in the production and processing of recycled materials, reducing dangerous emissions from entering the atmosphere
  • Using recycled materials can save you money when compared to ‘buying new’ and can help reduce the costs associated with expensive waste collection fees

These are some of the…

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