Tag Archives: recycling

Necessity being the mother of invention

It has been the most gloriously spring-like day. I have the aching body and ruddy face which only comes from spending the entire day outside and I am relishing it.

Spring has finally sprung; the snow in the Grampians is melting and flooding down by the river; I saw the first butterfly of the year (a red admiral); my anemones have opened all in a rush.

Mauve anemone

I weeded and cleared last year’s dead growth from my herbaceous borders, tidying up, splitting a few sprawling plants, remembering what I’ve planted in previous years and planning ahead. It always surprises me that I can happily clean and tidy for hours in the garden without getting restless, when half an hour doing housework inside can drive me to distraction.

The only slight irritation was the wet ground from recent rain. My knees were getting decidedly soggy, to the point where I almost regretted not buying a garden kneeler. In what can only be described as a moment of genius, I retrieved big littl’un’s leaky wellies from the bin and with nothing more than a pair of scissors, transformed them into my very own fully waterproof knee protectors. (The hardest part was hanging upside down in the wheelie bin trying to grab the wellies off the bottom.)

I doubt very much I’m the first person to upcycle wellies into kneelers so I shan’t claim to have invented them. Perhaps, to borrow the term from (my knitting hero) Elizabeth Zimmerman, I unvented them. They did the job anyway.

The sewing machine is still out

The sewing machine is still out from the superhero episode. We’ve moved on to getting going with the girls scrap quilts. Little littl’un is getting hers first; she wanted squares, Big littl’un wants triangles. Start easy and progress to the more difficult I thought.

IMG_8705So far it’s all going pretty well. Stacking up the squares as I cut up their old clothes was very satisfying. There’s such a mix of print sizes and colours in the fabric that I decided to place the squares completely randomly. It’s not a perfect job – some of the hems don’t line up exactly. I confess I’m not looking forward to quilting it; there’s no way I’ll be able to get it through my sewing machine so it’s going to have to be done by hand which I suspect is going to take a month of sundays. But when it’s done it’ll be pretty, and warm, and full of memories, so I’m happy.

IMG_8708

It might come in useful

So here’s the thing. I’m really bad at throwing things away. Just can’t do it. Those rubber bands the postman bundles our letters in? I’ve got a bagfull. Curtain hooks from the curtains that were in the house 9 years ago when we moved in? Safely kept. After all, you never know when they might come in useful.

Worst of all is clothes. The littl’un’s baby clothes especially. Why would I throw them away? We might need them …  one of my brothers might have babies and need them … someone I once met might have a baby and need them …

We’ve got a cupboard where I store all this stuff. All the camping gear, Christmas things, suitcases, towels, spare duvets and pillows; all crammed in to one cupboard with the outgrown baby stuff. (Granted it’s quite a large cupboard but it’s definitely a cupboard, not a store-room. You couldn’t swing a cat in there.)

My lovely cousin is expecting her first baby soon so I went into that cupboard to see if there was anything she might want. It had got a bit out of control if I’m honest, so I attacked it, dragged everything out and went through the lot. Maybe it was because it was the New Year, but I suddenly had the urge to get rid of stuff. Really, did I need 24 baby vests? Nope. There were clothes in there I couldn’t even remember the girls wearing.

There were some things though that I had intentionally kept. I’ve always wanted to make each of the girls a quilt from their baby clothes. They might not be able to remember wearing them all, but I will, and they’ll have photos of themselves in them too.

Clockwise L-R: Big littl'un aged 2 in the first top I made for her from scratch; Big littl'un aged 2 riding on Flint-dog (no longer with us); the littl'uns on holiday in Italy; little littl'un aged 2 in a WWI cemetery in France

Clockwise from top L: Big littl’un aged 2 in the first top I made for her from scratch; Big littl’un aged 2 riding on Flint-dog (no longer with us); The littl’uns on holiday in Italy; Little littl’un aged 2 in a WWI cemetery in France

All those cotton dresses and tops are now rescued, sorted by colour and waiting to be cut.

The blue pile - clothes ready for cutting for quilt tops. Can you spot them on the girls?

The blue pile – clothes ready for cutting for quilt tops. Can you spot them on the girls?

Everything else is bagged up ready for reuse/recycling. A full cubic metre* of clothes came out of that cupboard. The funny thing is, there’s definitely not an extra cubic metre of room in the cupboard now. Go figure.

* I know this because I’ve had a cubic metre of clothes in bags in my dining room for the past week. My nearest fabric recycling bank is full. If it’s not emptied soon I’m going to crack and put everything back in the cupboard … after all, you never know when it might come in useful.