Friday, February 20, 2009

New Items, Big Sale

Lots of new items!  I posted lots of new items to my Etsy shop yesterday, and now through Sunday everything listed is half-off!

Hats, scarves, jewellery, baby, kids, adults, handwarmers, bootwarmers, everything in my shop is half-off.

I'm trying to drum up sales in this dreary February weather :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Why Recycle?....Well, Why Not?

I use recycled materials a lot in my crafting for personal use and for selling. It never fails that people either ask 'why' or react with 'that's interesting, I wouldn't have thought of that!"  This is what I don't understand; why not use a perfectly good recycled material for crafting if you can get it?

There's also widespread use of 'upcycled' on Etsy.  Many people use 'recycled' and 'upcycled' interchangeably, but there is a difference.  Recycling is taking something and using it to create a new material.  Upcycling, though, is taking a usable item and turning it into something with a new use.

I use a LOT of wool sweaters I find at thrift stores and flea markets; they cost only a few dollars, at most.  I take them home and wash them in my washer and dryer with a heavy load of clothes; they ususally felt down right away.  And then I turn those itchy, horrible sweaters into cool things!  Hats, bags, laptop covers, electronics sleeves, glasses cases.  Anything you'd want to go out and buy a yard of fabric to sew, I use the felted wool!

Why??  Well, why not?  It gives new life to items that might have ended up in the landfill.  As a result, it reduces the demand for new products, reducing the non-benefits of production, such as pollution and resource consumption. There's also the added bonus of costing much less money! 

As an example, this hat,  bag and two glasses cases were all made from one child-size felted sweater.  There was very little wastage from this sweater.  If I were to create this fabric from 'scratch' I would have had to buy all the various colours of wool yarn, knit it into an intarsia pattern and felt it down.  All those balls of wool would have cost a small fortune, plus I wouldn't have needed all of the yardage, so my costs would be higher because I'd have to buy so much extra yarn.

More importantly, it shows more environmental concern to recycle/upcycle. It's a good lesson that I teach my kids.  Plus, it requires imagination and creativity to look at a cast-off sweater in a thrift store and see what it can become.

There are lots of other options for recycling and upcycling materials; wool sweaters happen to be my favourite.

This laptop cover for my hubby's new laptop was made from one of his trashed leather jackets and remnants from my circa-1992 grad dress!  He loves it :) and I think it turned out pretty darn good.

I have several other items in my Etsy shop  that are made from upcycled sweaters; hats and electronics sleeves.  Here are some of my projects:

So next time you want something crafty to do, don't automatically run to a supply store...take a look around your house, your closets, your local thrift store :) Who knows what you'll find, who knows what you'll make!