Environment

Simple Sustainable SOLUTIONS to Reduce Waste and Plastic

According to the [U.S.] EPA, the average person produces approximately 4.9 pounds of “solid waste” or trash per day. Thankfully, you can recycle many everyday household items to help promote a cleaner, greener environment.

porch.com

It really isn’t that hard to Reduce your waste and Recycle. But rather than focus on the problems, spreading the word about easy solutions is more palatable for me.

Waste Solutions

No doubt you have heard it all before and you may have already adopted some measures. You don’t need to be a hard-core zero waste advocate. Start with a minor changes and add one more each week.

Get your friends on board. You can set the example for your family, friends and workplace because we need to do better than the following graph indicates.

Simple Waste Solutions

Take Care or Take your Trash Home

• Eliminate your need for bins in forest areas. Birds and animals may spread litter from public trash cans around and it ends up contaminating waterways. When you visit a park or beach, remember to take your trash with you. Keep trash and recyclables in a bag or backpack until you can put them in a proper receptacle.

Public refuse bins in Japan are almost non-existent. You won’t see any trash in Japanese streets either. Japanese citizens take their rubbish home so it can be sorted to Recyclables, compostables and refuse.

• Keep a Litter bag in your car. Be like the Japanese people.

street in Tokyo with umbrella

Choose Re-usable and Compostable Packaging

• Carry your own Re-usable stainless steel straws or decorative re-usable Water Bottle and Travel mug instead of buying bottled water or coffee in polystyrene cups.

• Avoid one-use plastics – they can’t be refilled unless you are happy to swallow micro-plastic.

• Use Beeswax Wraps instead of Plastic wrap – or make your own Beeswax Wrap

• Polystyrene litter such as disposable coffee cups or packing materials can be eaten by animals who mistake it for food. Polystyrene can poison and/or clog stomachs leading to death by either toxicity or starvation.

Once released into the environment, polystyrene products does not decompose to a non-recognizable form.

Reduce Litter at Home

Keep backyards clean and free of things that can blow into the street and become litter.

Tie up garbage and recycling bags securely so loose papers and other items cannot fall out and become litter.

Avoid overfilling your bins and ensure the lid is properly closed after depositing your trash or recycling inside, preventing accidental spills and overflows contaminating local waterways – endangering wildlife.

Recycling in the Kitchen

Cloth napkins and kitchen towel, for spills and cleaning, rather than paper disposables. They are much more absorbent and easily washed out for re-use many times over.

• Compost food scraps

Start a Worm Farm for food scraps and cardboard packaging. My worms love devouring cardboard. Break it up and wet it. A cardboard box is a good alternative to buying worm blankets.

• Use your consumer power to influence choice: Avoid buying food or ancillary items with excess packaging when you shop. This will decrease litter from the start.

Plastic shopping bags take between 10-20 years to decompose.

Wildlife such as Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them causing suffocation, drowning and gut obstruction. Do not accept plastic bags for items you purchase, if you can carry your purchase without them.

Alternatives to Plastic Carry Bags

Refashion the scrap fabrics into re-usable bags or use natural canvas or fibre bags for your groceries and errands. Keep several reusable bags handy, in your car or handbag/backpack, so that they are always handy whenever you might need them.

Plastic beer can holders or bags can entangle an animal swimming. It may suffocate or drown. Six packs rings causing 6 million sea bird deaths a year and over 100,000 marine mammal deaths.

• Support companies who promote bio-degradable and compostable packaging. Peanut’s shell was constricted for six years before it was found.

www.customearthpromos.com/eco-blog/eco-six-pack-rings

Eco Six Pack Rings, started in 2017 by three different groups, are made with all-natural ingredients. These include both straw and wheat fiber. While sturdy enough to hold six full-size cans, Eco Six Pack Rings are intended to fall apart if accidentally littered. This prevents them from creating the same environmental damage their plastic forefathers did. According to the company, “the product will degrade in less than 200 days (depending on the ecosystem).”

www.customearthpromos.com/eco-blog/eco-six-pack-ringss
whale choking on plastic

Plastics used in six pack drink rings takes 450 years to decompose!

Re-purpose and Recycle fabric, Towels or Sheets

• Repurpose adult clothing into clothes for children

• Up-cycle a Used Towel into an apron and a hooded towel for bathing baby

• Turn pretty squares of fabric into Beeswax wraps

Sustainable solutions

If you are in USA, and you are into visual learning, here are heaps of solutions. I especially noted the online shipping options: who knew Amazon/online options were so wasteful? Choose slower shipping to save cardboard.

Smoking in the Workplace

Cigarette butts, are made of a form of plastic and can persist in the environment for 10-12 years! 4.5 trillion non-biodegradable cigarette butts are littered worldwide.

• Do you have a “no smoking” policy at your house or workplace? Containing cigarette butt litter is facilitated by requiring smokers to use only designated areas or not smoking at all.

• Do not dump anything toxic down a storm drain.

Marketing Flyers and Advertising Leaflets

• Remove flyers or take-out menus promptly from your post box/front door or windscreen before they are blown away and become litter.

• You can stop litter at the source. Reduce your junk mail by writing to Direct Marketing companies to request no junk mail to be sent to your address.

• Participate and promote local recycling programs such as kerbside cleanup (Australia).

Here are some more ideas on reducing and recycling waste:

Metal: Old forks and spoons, as well as cans, are perfect for making a variety of unique items like a custom key holder, beautiful jewelry, or a fun mirror. Old cans make excellent cookie cutters, too.

Clothing and bedding: Get creative and use an old pair of jeans to make a funky “jeans chair.” Old bedding can be torn or cut into smaller pieces and used for cleaning rags. Any type of fabric is also great for reupholstering furniture if you’re really feeling crafty.

Coffee grounds and tea bags: You can use coffee grounds as fertilizer or dried coffee grounds or tea bags [plastic free tea bags, of course], in the freezer as a deodorizer, too.

How to recycle

Do it Right – Dispose of rubbish properly


Talk to your family and friends about recycling to reduce the amount of material you throw away. Spread the word, and not the litter.

This is not hard to do at all! Tell your family and friends about recycling and what you are doing to reduce the amount of material you throw away.

This may influence them to adopt more sustainable practices. It is vitally important. Our planet depends on it.

sewing
craft

Upcycling Fabric Scraps – DIY Rag Rug

 

We all have a collection remnant fabric scraps, don’t we, but who saves the small off-cuts? They are useless, right? WRONG….

There are a number of useful ways to create something quite unique, out of very small fabric scraps, and one way is to make a durable floor mat/rug that is soft on our feet.

Perfect for the kitchen, bathroom or laundry, it is time to think of keeping our toes warm, now that winter is approaching. Rag mats first originated  in the depression years, when every single item had to be used and re-used. Whilst there is no need for us to be so frugal today, why throw away something that could be turned into a functional and pretty item? It is free and uses no pre-purchased materials, apart from a small piece of hessian, which most crafters would have sitting in their stash, anyways.

In years gone by, many families purchased their potatoes, flour, sugar or salt  in hessian bags, and once the contents were eaten, gave the sacks second lives, around the home.

You will need:

  • 1 piece of hessian or burlap, cut and hemmed to the size of the mat you desire. The hemming will stop the hessian from fraying.
  •  A selection of fabric scraps, cut into strips -1cm w x 12 cm long and upwards.

You don’t have to be especially neat with this, but I do prefer to use pinking shears to cut a zig zag edge, otherwise the  scraps do tend to fray.

Now you are ready…. this technique does take some time, so be patient, or do this whilst watching TV, a little each night.

Using an old crochet hook, or knitting needle, lay a fabric strip on the hessian and push one end of the cut strip through to the other side of the hessian.

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Do the same on the underside, so that there are two ends showing through on the right side of the hessian mat.

Tie a simple “criss cross and under” overhand knot. No need to double the knot.

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Repeat with more and more fabric strips.

Continue in this fashion until the mat is covered to the desired thickness and fullness with fabric off-cuts.

If you have a limited amount of one colour of fabric, I like to distribute it evenly over the mat, rather than finishing with a conglomeration of colour, on one end.

Then I just fill in all the gaps…..

 

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The look of the finished rug

Until, one day… hey presto, it is done. A cosy, environmentally friendly rug to keep your bare feet warm when the weather cools that has cost you nothing but time.

The under side of your hessian mat should look something like this:

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Once complete, the mat may be washed in very hot water to make the hessian shrink, and the holes in the base fabric contract, thereby locking the fabric strips/scraps into the hessian.

If you use this method, you probably don’t have to knot the ends of each fabric strip together, just poke them through to the other side.

How many scraps make a rug?

Definitely something I will NOT ponder about today.

Environment, Photography

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Recycling

Japan is a very clean country. You won’t see or find litter in the streets. Why?

Several years ago in Japan, a bomb placed in a busy commuter station waste bin exploded and this on top of a 1995 domestic terrorist attack using deadly Sarin Gas also in a garbage bin, led to the removal of most bins, from public spaces, in Japan.

Japanese Garbage Disposal

Since then, the Japanese people have been responsible for the disposal of their own rubbish. Most carry a bag and take their trash home with them when they are out and about. Consequently, you will see nothing but a clean streetscape without litter of any kind. And if you do find a public bin, it will be separated into recyclables and combustible garbage all ready for recycling.

Despite the huge population, you won’t find trash anywhere on the streets of Tokyo or Kyoto.

Not even at Shibuya, the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world.

Nor will you find any rubbish or litter in Arashiyama, Nara or at the steps of Mt Fuji.

Recycling Garbage in Australia

Australians are fairly new to the waste recycling game with only a small portion of the 70 million tonnes of waste we produce, being recycled. The rest ends up as landfill or is shipped to willing countries, usually in the third world in exchange for hard currency! Surprising? It is true and as an Australian, somewhat shameful.

Think New Product, Not Waste

Think resource, not waste, when it comes to the goods around us – until this happens, we simply won’t award recycled goods the true value and repurpose they deserve.

www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-27/other-ways-to-dispose-of-recycling-besides-putting-it-in-bin/11350488

There are many things that might be recycled if we considered them a resource for the development of new products, rather than waste.

Paper, cardboard and plastics can be, and are, upcycled to new products; food and garden waste biodegrades in backyard compost heaps/bins; books are re-used, via book exchanges or free services such as Bookmooch.

Even Second-hand clothing can be recycled via thrift store donation bins or increasingly refashioned into new clothing and other items. Clothing giant, H& M are transforming old clothes into new items by recapturing the raw materials and spinning the fibres into new yarn so that something old can become new again, but importantly – without the added environmental cost.  

A suburban street was recently resurfaced by recycling old car tyres, saving on carbon emissions and toxic landfill space. It was a delight to drive on.

Australian street re surfaced with recycled car tyres
A road resurfaced with used car tyres in Clontarf, Australia

It’s estimated about 130,000 tonnes of Australian plastic ends up in waterways and oceans each year through littering. Especially problematic are products like wet wipes are being flushed and plastic flying away from landfill processing. 130,000 tonnes! No wonder the oceans are dying.

Do you know what happens to the waste you dispose of, in your country?

Global Recycling Day is observed around the world on 18th March each year, and thus the theme for the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge is:

RECYCLING

Up until Thursday 25th March, the challenge is to share photographs, a story or a blog post about what recycling means to you, on a circular economy, or what is happening in your local area?

Instructions on how to participate.

Include a comment below, tag your post Friendly Friday Recycling and pingback myself and Sandy, who will host the next challenge on Friday 26th March.

Recycling is a key part of the circular economy, helping to protect our natural resources. Each year the ‘Seventh Resource’ (recyclables) saves over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions and this is projected to increase to 1 billion tons by 2030. There is no doubt recycling is on the front line in the war to save the future of our planet and humanity.

https://www.globalrecyclingday.com/about/
Photo credit: Facebook
Environment

DIY Recycled Fashion Skirt

Reducing Landfill Waste

In my bid to make this a sustainable living year, I decided to re-purpose an old item of clothing and up-cycle it to a new piece. This helps reduce landfill and provides a new item of clothing to wear and enjoy.

With a small piece of elastic, a skirt like this can be made in less than half an hour!

I took an old wrap around skirt, now completely out of fashion, and an infant girl’s dress, and up-cycled them to make a fashionable one size fits all skirt for the modern young girl. Suitable for ages 8 to 20 something, I think.



What you need:

A large rectangle of remnant fabric or older piece of clothing large enough to re-model into a skirt of the length you desire

20 mm wide knitted black elastic

Sewing machine and matching thread

What you do:

  1. Take a measurement from your waist downwards to where you want the hem of the skirt to sit and add 2 inches or 5 cm to this measurement (for a hem and seam allowance).
  2. Ensure the piece is at least 1.5 times the width you want the final skirt to be (this allows for gathering), and cut.
Cut a long rectangle of fabric to the desired width and length.

I like to be different and a little bit lazy, when it comes to sewing, so I chose to use the old wrap around skirt for the fabric piece. This lent itself to cutting into one long piece. I thought great- there would be less hems to come apart later. In my case, the length was 1.8m long. Therefore, if cutting two pieces they would become a front and back piece, each at 90 cm wide plus seam allowances.

3. Sew the side seams wrong side out, press and turn right way out.

4. Hold the 20 mm wide piece of black elastic around your waist to get an idea of how tight or slack you want the waistband to be. Add 1 ” or 2.5 cm to this measurement and cut to length.

5. Join and sew the ends of the elastic with a solid stitch. I overlapped them as I wanted less bulk at the side of the skirt where the join would sit.

I also used a second fabric, a former child’s dress to make another one of these skirts.

6. Using a long stitch length, run around the top of the main skirt fabric. Then pull the ends to gather it in to your desired width.

4. Divide this edge of the waistline, into quarters and mark with pins. Pin between marker pins adjusting the tension and gathering evenly.

5. Do the same with the joined piece of elastic. Then match corresponding pins to each other, so that the bottom edge of the elastic is pinned to the right side at the skirt top.

6. Sew using a strong triple stitch around the bottom of the elastic where it was pinned to the skirt edge.

*Make sure the elastic is sewn to the right side, otherwise the elastic will try to flip over and not sit flat when wearing it. See below.

7. Sew the hem if you haven’t done that already.

8. Voila… skirt in less than 20 mins….

The Prototype is revealed.

sewing

Cost: Electricity for the machine, 20 minutes of my time, 80 australian cents for the new elastic…

Benefit: Fashionable skirt that will fit a primary student/teen/twenty something…

Satisfaction: Clearing some fabric from my scrap basket!!

I then began to wonder what other kinds of potential upcyclable clothes may lay hidden in my bundle of unwanted clothes. Either that or I will be making a whole lot of Dog bandanas!

That gives me something to ponder about…

More recycling ideas on using scrap materials

stpa logo
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

Upcycling a T-shirt into a Four Strand Plaited Belt

If you are anything like me, you tend to accumulate a lot of T-shirts. The ones made in China and Bangladesh, stretch out of shape oh so quickly. You can still wear them around the house, or as pyjamas, but there is still often too many. There is a way to use them up.

Cut up the pre-loved T- shirt into strips depending on how thick you want the belt. I used 4 strips each about  5-6 cm wide. The stretch fabric rolls back onto itself and narrows somewhat so four strands of this width make a four strand plaited belt approximately  4 cm wide. Use a t- shirt cut width-wise or sew several shorter strands together. You need at least 4 strips, each 130cm long to make a belt about 60 – 70 cm in length.

 

Oversew the ends neatly and attach to a ring/ doorknob or hook. Something that will hold the ends fast. A heavy tin, an old nappy pin or a door handle.

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Begin twisting the four strands of knit fabric along these lines.

 

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Try to maintain an even flat plait as one with lumps and bumps won’t look as nice.

Oversew the ends, sewing one end of the belt one over two ‘D’ rings, and ‘voila’… a trendy belt.

Recycling/Upcycling: Something to Ponder About.

 

 

 

Community, Painting

Upcycling – Stool/potplant stand 30 minute Makeover

IMG_20140124_163626.jpgplantstand

So many things are thrown away that are still useful.

This stool was just begging me to rescue it from a kerbside clean up.

And even with just a small embellishment, it has found a new home on my porch.

Steps to its New look:

1.  First a coat of Forest Green acrylic Gouache (artists quality pigments, but that is only my personal choice) House paint sample pots is fine.

folk art painted flower

2.  A good sand with 600 grade sandpaper and then a second coat of paint is mandatory.

3.  Draw a guideline of a central circle with chalk and then position the petals symmetrically around the circle.

4. Thin down a little warm white acrylic paint, (warm white is white with a touch of yellow added to take the “blue-ness” out of the white colour).

5. Paint  daisies or flowers of 6 -7 petals, with a paint brush, or, if a paint brush is not readily available, use your finger tip, (like the original peasant folk artists did).

I used a round brush # 4 with thick paint for texture. Smaller daisy petals can be painted with a Q – tip or cotton bud.

folk art painted stool

You could paint the daisies in a line, or in clusters, for something different. Tip: Clusters of odd numbers of flowers, look better than even numbers…why, I don’t know.

6. I painted the centre of the flower scarlet red with another dollop of paint, and a final flourish stroke/dot  between the flowers for interest.

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7. When the paint is dry, rub off the chalk lines.

8. Varnish if you wish, with water based varnish. ( Oil based varnishes tend to yellow as they age, but if you want this look, then oil based is ok too)

upcycledstoolVariation:

With some 600 grade sandpaper, lightly sand off a little of the forest green paint at the corners to reveal the original undercoat. A nice shabby chic look.

There – it is done. Thirty minutes later:IMG_20140124_163626.jpgplantstand

Ponder about something that needs a makeover.

Other upcycling ideas here:

Painting

Upcycling: Folk art – Tole painting on metal jug

Tole painting, Folk art decoration Folk art daisy

Despite the intense heat of the last few days, I did manage to produce a small item of decorative art. An old metal jug/watering can needed a facelift.  A simple daisy flower painted with a technique of using progressively lighter overlaying shades of acrylic gouache, some blended dry brushed leaves and some flyspecking with a toothbrush and diluted warm white paint and voila…. it has a new functional life with a new look! This is a simple way to decorate items around the home.

For best results, it is best to lay down a base coat of good acrylic low sheen paint first, so that your decorative paint will ‘key’ adhere successfully.

If you aren’t familiar with a dry brush technique, it is as it says: using a dry brush that is loaded with acrylic paint ( no water ) and skimmed over a darker surface to create highlights that enhance a dimensional appearance. The leaves are painted in this manner with a dark green base and then warm white is added to the green colour to create progressively lighter tones on the parts of the leaf where the light source would hit. This creates a curved effect. A darker shade on the opposite side of the vein defines the shadowed area.

The overlay technique is outlined below in a previous post which I have reproduced below:

(slightly different flower but the technique is the same)

Daisies are based in grey and then warm white is progressively added to the grey, then a final layer of warm white to highlight the petal.

A shadow is created by shading with a washy blue-black colour near the centre.

Stipple the centres with a round hog’s hair or stiff deerfoot brush, with yellow oxide and burnt sienna. Detail dots are in these colours plus warm white.

Simple but effective pot for the top of the fire place, or a small watering can for my indoor plants.

Something decorative to ponder about.

Overlay Technique

A quick but effective way to decorate a small object is by painting a simple garland of hand-painted flowers. “Oh! But I am not a painter I hear you say!!” Well, that’s ok, because you don’t need any specific skills for this technique. It is VERY forgiving! And it does not have to be perfect.

1. Prep Base with colour of choice

2. Trace outline or guidelines

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3. Using your chosen dark colour, (in the example: Paynes Grey/Dark Blue) stroke in the petals with shape-following/comma strokes, beginning at the outside of the flower and pulling the strokes towards the centre, using a synthetic/sable round brush in size 3 or 4, depending on how big you want the petals.

*If you know how to do ‘comma’ strokes, use them, but a fine tapered tip near the centre of the petal is not necessary. So don’t stress. If you need more help in forming the strokes: see linked articles below.

2013-04-11 tiffany heidi pics

4. Load a round or filbert synthetic brush (hogs hair or sable brushes don’t work so well here), with Warm White, or a light contrasting colour.

NB: In this technique, you do not wet the brush, or if you do dip it in the water jar, squeeze out most of the moisture, on some kitchen paper towel.

5. Begin to gently stroke in some colour, on top of the already existing blue colour, pulling just the top half of the brush over each petal, starting at the outer edge. Lift off completely before reaching the end of the petal, so that the darker blue colour will still show towards the centre. The dark colour then acts as your shadowed area, and the white is the highlighted area of the petal. This gives your flower more of a three-dimensional look.

6. Continue adding layers of warm white in this dry brush technique until you are happy with the effect.

Caution: It is always easy to dry brush additional highlight into the petals, if there is not enough, however, removing it if you have put on too much to begin with is extremely difficult and messy. **** If this happens, just re-do your basecoat of dark blue again, and start from #4.

7. If need be, use a brighter white, in an even smaller area near the very edge of the petal, to create ever more of a highlight.  Watch the leaf that has the turn-back, as this leaf will be in more shadow than the others, and as such, still retains most of the blue shade. flowercentre

8. Paint the centre with a ‘stipple’ effect, in a c shape, leaving the centre in the dark blue colour. The highlight colours I used include: gold oxide, yellow and white on the very highest edge. The ‘stipple’ effect is sort of like dot, dot dotting, the colour in just with the very tip of the brush. You can use an older brush for this, or a round hogs hair brush, as it is not so imperative to have a fine point.

In this example, I also used the same dry brush technique for painting the leaves: Using a pine green colour for the base, and adding progressively more yellow to the green to get a lighter colour, using this as my dry brushed highlight.

Paper mache box

Related Articles:

how-to-paint-comma-strokes-beginner-folk-art-painting-tutorial/

folk-art-step-by-step-guide

 

Community

Up- cycling DIY Tutorial From Tired Placemat to Pretty Tea Cosy

What can you do with an old fabric place mat, that feels too good to throw away?

Use the extra thermal padding and pretty fabric as a Teapot Cosy!

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15 minute up-cycling project, that will leave you with endless cups of hot tea,( or as much as your teapot holds) and you will be helping the planet. Waste less, enjoy more!

In all seriousness,  this only took me 15 minutes to complete. And I am not on friendly terms with my sewing machine, so it may even take less time for experienced crafters!

Tutorial: Up- cycling project. Place-mat to Tea Cosy

You will need:

–   1 fabric place-mat, of a standard size, table setting.

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Mine was 44cm x 30cm.

–   Complementary ribbon or bias binding for edging of cut side and loop.

(Simply double the width of the placemat and add extra for tucking under at start and finish)

I needed 0.75 metre.

– Sewing machine with complementary coloured thread.

Instructions

1. Measure place-mat and mark half way  along its lengths on both sides.

2. Cut carefully in half.

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3. Pin a short length of ribbon to form a loop mid-way along the wrong side,  of what will be the top edge, of the tea cosy and secure with sewing.

This is useful for removing the tea- cosy to pour the tea, or hanging up to air or dry!

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4. Fold over the ribbon 0.5 cm at the start and pin bias binding or ribbon along cut edge.

    Sew to secure. As I used a ribbon, a zigzag stitch was best;

   But you could use a triple stitch or anything to secure the edge to stop it from fraying. Tuck in another little piece of ribbon at the end of each side.

( I didn’t really need to tell anyone that, did I?)

5.  Finally pin the place-mat, along the edges, wrong sides together.

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 6.  Sew along the three outer sides of the two halves of the place-mat.

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Now you are ready for a hot cup of tea, or two or three. And the padding on the reverse side of the mat, means your cuppa stays HOT!

I really wish I had this makeshift teapot cosy, on hand when my kids were little, as I was forever drinking cold or lukewarm cups of tea.

I hope that you can recycle some of your pretty place-mats in a similar way. Do you have any lurking in the rag box? Something to ponder about today.

Check out Natasha’s Linky party too for more craft inspiration.

Poofy Cheeks

Community

Recycle an Ikea Cushion

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A quick up-cycling project

One old Ikea cushion was getting a bit tatty and needed some TLC and renovation. Using some pretty quiliting fabric and co-ordinating remnant, I made 2 smaller cushions that look new and trendy!

Blog pics 028I only had to add some extra stuffing. and Voila….

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The larger one I take in the car as a lumbar support.

The smaller one,  measuring around  30 x 15 cm so is nice for my daughter to snuggle up with, at night, as she is past the point where having a teddy in bed with you, is cool.

Do you have some remnants and an old cushion that could do with a facelift. In less than the time it takes to ponder this question, you could have a few extra cushions to co-ordinate the home furnishings.