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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Recycling supermarket net bags

I am a stickler for keeping things that I feel can be recycled through crafting, even though I may not know at the time what to use it for.

Anyway over the past year I have been keeping those horrible plasticky net grocery bags in a glass jar. You know the ones the onions and clementines come in. Well today - it came to me.

I have recently been destashing my ribbon odds and making them into bows and love knots ready for crafting. When I saw the net bag when eating a clementine I thought about bows instantly.

Cut off any metal tags or plastic writing - it is just the netting you need. Then tie a bow. That simple!

If the netting is really roughed up (see the green bow) it looks like raffia. But others are quite neat.

Different colours can go for different seasons ie orange halloween, red and green christmas.

Or you could make them into angel/fairy wings by pulling the ends into the bow bit and securing with a couple of stitches or  a dab of glue. Then open up the netting. Picture is an example of a white net bag put as angel wings on one of my dotee dolls.

Hope you have some fun with those pesky bags, would love to see your interpretations.

Felting blankets

In my recycling mind I find it hard to cut something up to upcycle it when it has a good use as it is. Therefore it is usually only a few clothes that get cut up, the rest are sent to Uganda.

So even knowing that I could easily felt blankets for my sizzixing, I personally feel cutting up a single or bigger blanket for crafting is a waste, as it could help a homeless person in England much more then cutting it up for flower making.

So when I came accross a few blankets that had holes in them in the local charity shop I snatched them up as they were going dirt cheap. There were two I really liked: a lime green and a pink one.

I got them home, stuck them into the washing machine on a 90 degree cotton wash to felt them. The lime green one felted really well. The pink one needs another wash.

All I need now is for the charity shops to have unusable blankets in other colours like purple and yellow. That would make my christmas!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Recycling greeting cards for Uganda

In order to make quite a few craft kits for the children in orphanages and schools, I rely heavily on recycling greetings cards. I have to consider the weight and ultimately whether it is an easy craft that children will keep.

The person that goes out there visits around 20 schools/orphanages as well as churches and destitute homes. So trying to keep the weight down to be able to give to more people is essential. 

When sorting the cards for the Uganda project I put them into several piles:

Tag making
These are scenery pictures, flowers or backgrounds that look nice at 5cm to 5.5cms wide. I round the corners and make one hole punch.  The kits are then put together once I have 50 tag bases. The kit is simple, thinking of the weight: the 50 tags and 3 different types of coloured wool as well as a sample. I put basic instructions showing it as a handwriting exercise for the childs favourite quote or parable. The instruction label is on the bag, so when given to a teacher they can quickly see what the package is for. None of the scenes show window shops or dressed christmas trees or santa pictures.

Nativity/Bible pictures
As the suitcases are going out with the missionaries, I collect all the nativity and bible pictures and seperate them into sections. Nativity, Jesus, Church and crosses, bible scenes, Mary, angels. I then cut down the cards to take out any writing that may indicate Easter or Christmas. These can then be handed out at the churches they attend.

Minature jigsaws
I recently bought a cuttlebug 9 piece jigsaw die to be used on the greetings cards. The design for these cards are usually what I cant use for the tags because the picture is too big ie animals. It is also good for changing unwanted photos into something useful. They are put into small bags with a small sticker indicating what type of picture it is ie dog. These are to be given out to individual children in their family setting like a cracker toy. I am still trying to find a quote to make it a meaningful present - something along the line of : Not trying your best means the world has something missing.This would link in with if a jigsaw has a missing piece etc. If anyone has come accross such a quote please put it in the comment section.

Any cards that dont make the above, but are thick card - makes the bobbin pile. I get my square punch to them and then curve 2 sides with scissors - it does not matter the picture (as long as its not rude!). I then put it into my embroidery box ready for when I make up the sewing kits. I'm still hoping to find a smaller square punch that is not too expensive, as my square punch is the big lever pink woodware one - but it still does the job of uniformed sizing. Photo shows bought bobbin compared to my recycled bobbin.

Colouring in bookmarks
I also recycle the backs of the cards. Any cream or white backs, where there is no writing I cut out ready for stamping. Like the bible pictures, these are going with the missionaries. So I have stamped them with religious images. I use permanent black ink so that the image is well defined. These are put into kits of 50 bookmarks with a small set of colouring pencils.

Any scraps from the above are then put into my punchies bag. I have quite a lot of different punches, most are the lever type as I find them easiest. I then get my bag out every now and then and have an hour just punching shapes out. These are then put into a craft kit for gluing and sticking. The kit would include some background card, then a whole lot of bagged punched shapes and a glue stick. It would also include a sample bookmark.

Whatever can't be used for the Uganda projects are used in different ways in my crafting.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Flower brooches for Uganda

I have been making so many flower brooches - they feel as if they are in my dreams too. Two days ago I had enough of brooch making and decided I would do something else.

Today while packing away the flower brooches I made for this years trip, the total number came to .....98. Then I have 2 bow brooches. So in total 100 brooches are going out to Uganda to give to people who have torn clothes. I have been told that the Ugandan people love their bright colours.

 I would like to publicly thank a few people who have helped me with them over the past few months.
- My son's girlfriend who matched up some of the flowers when I got stuck.
- My crafting friend for helping to sew on the buttons and the brooch backs.
- People on freecycle who have encouraged me by their comments
 All of the brooches are mainly made from recycled material .

The wool I have picked up from different charity shops, usually the small pieces that are around 50p a bag. The buttons were from freecyclers and charity shops. The silky type flowers were mainly from artificial flowers my mother gave me to recycle. The material ones comes from hair scrunchies and scrap materials people from freecycle gave me.

I did purchase some thick felt flowers, some crochet flowers and the brooch backs. Also from my craft stash which are not recycled were some flower embellishments.

When making them there were certainly some favourites like the purply velvet one with gold beads and buttons in this picture. Also the yellow scrap material rose in this picture turned out very beautiful.

Sorry about the poor quality photos, the sunshine decided not to appear today - but it is nearly the middle of December and we have been very lucky with the weather in South East England.

This month

Wow - has it nearly been a whole month since I last posted. In between being ill and trying to catch up the weeks have flown by - though I have managed a few things.

My son and his girlfriend put up the christmas tree, used everything from last year though I still want to make a couple of decorations, hopefully I will get the time.

Attended a couple of social crafting sessions, took my Uganda brooches along to finish off. Met a couple of people who do their own spinning, in awe of them, must take a lot of strength and patience.

Helped out with a few hours at the local charity christmas card event - where they sell cards etc for different charities. This is done all around England.

 My friend who helps with the Uganda project had her own craft stall yesterday, so kept her company most of the time.

Will take photos of my Uganda project stuff today when daylight comes and will update whats been completed with some photos.