Friday, September 26, 2014

On the Mend

Whilst hungrily hurrying through the inner north suburbs of Melbourne yesterday afternoon I passed On the Mend and just had to go in. I needed a set of my keys cutting anyway but I was excited to see a repair store offering something different to the usual repair and alteration corner in the dry cleaners.

I popped in and met the friendly staff who fixed me up a set of keys straight away. The open workspace behind the counter is a hive of activity and colour with many bags and shoes in various states of repair filling the surfaces. Repaired items waiting for collection by caring owners hung in brown paper bags, and machines whirred and spun.

My joy at finding On the Mend inspired me to share this place through my blog. Having skilled repairers in our communities helps us to keep the items we love for longer. This is great news for us, keeps the repairers in business and keeps our broken accessories out of landfill and in our lives - win win win!

I'd love to see pictures of your local repair centre, please share with #RepairNotReplace

For tips about how to keep your garments and accessories for longer check out Love Your Clothes

Thursday, September 25, 2014

People's Climate March

The People's Climate March took place across 166 countries during the weekend of 20th and 21st September 2014 ahead of the UN Climate Summit in New York City on 23rd September. People took to the streets together in pursuit of a shared goal -  energy for the world from 100% clean and renewable sources. This IS possible. And great things are happening now, but more needs to be done. Individuals can do so much on a practical level in their homes, places of work and education. That collective action will make a difference, but we need governments to set ambitious targets for renewable energy which require hard and fast work. We need our leaders to lead, to break out from existing in the control of fossil fuel corporations, not to be afraid of the politics of power. The People's Climate March was about forcing our leaders to see what the people want. That healthy ecology equals healthy economy. That destroying the planet for short term gain leaves our children and their children and their children disadvantaged as they clean up the mess of today. That it's unfair to subsidise massive fossil fuel corporations, let them pollute for free, and then use the people's tax money to repair the damage. THIS HAS TO STOP.

I volunteered for Avaaz in Melbourne and their hard work, global reach and determination is truly inspiring. It was also great to meet other volunteers and march alongside other organisations including Get Up,, and Greenpeace.

I bought three vest tops from my local Salvos store  to upcycle into a dress to wear for the march, inspired by three shades of green and the Avaaz hearts.

Check out #peoplesclimate and #worthsaving on social media for thousands of pictures, film footage and information from the summit. A couple of things to watch below that have really inspired me recently...

Friday, August 08, 2014

Full Circle Scarves

Earlier this year I was contacted by Barry and Eva, the brains and hands behind upcycled scarf enterprise Full Circle Scarves, who told me about their business and story so far. I always love hearing about and seeing upcycled products, and the people who make them.

As I was in Melbourne, scarfless, with winter fast approaching, I popped along to Etsy to commission Full Circle Scarves to create a scarf in my favourite colour combo, blue and grey. As they are made by Barry and Eva in New Zealand the postage did not increase the price too drastically and, a week later my scarf arrived on my doorstep with a lovely hand written note.

 I have worn it daily and nightly in Melbourne. I have been working on a farm in New South Wales for three weeks and it is rarely detached from my body. So, thank you Barry and Eva for making me my favourite scarf. Your dedication and enthusiasm is really inspiring and I wish you the best of luck for the future!

Buy Full Circle Scarves at their Etsy store

Friday, August 01, 2014

Looptworks Love

Before I began my travelling adventures last year I bought a backpack.

My Kasum backpack, July 2014, Sydney, Australia

I wanted to find one that had been upcycled from discarded materials and looked good. With help from an Ecouterre search I quickly found the Kasum backpack by Looptworks which I bought online.

I have waited to share my love of this Looptworks bag because I wanted to make sure that it would stand the test of time and travelling. So, a year later I can happily report that THIS BAG IS AWESOME!

In sturdy backpack form it has survived being stuffed full, squashed down, sat on, slept on and has also performed successfully as a foot rest on many flights. It has perfectly sized pockets, seems to stretch to hold as much as I have needed to pack, and is REALLY comfortable to carry. Despite the frequent use and abuse it is not even showing any signs of wear and tear.

So, thank you Looptworks for spreading the upcycling love through your well designed and durable products.

Me and my Kasum backpack, November 2013, Wellington, New Zealand

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Making T-shirt Yarn

Tutorial to make seamless (no knots) chunky yarn for knitting new cool things, using an unwanted t-shirt.

T-shirts that definitely won't be worn again (irreversibly damaged or stained) are best to use for this project, as it provides a crafty extension to t-shirt life (much better than destroying it forever by throwing in the bin). If the t-shirt has nothing wrong with it, probably keep it as a t-shirt. Someone else will definitely want it, even if you don't.

Time needed - 1 hour
Equipment - t-shirt, good scissors, straight edge/ruler, pen/pencil, flat surface

Step 1
Lay chosen t-shirt on a flat surface and if you want to knit it immediately also locate chunky knitting needles. I think these pictured are a size 10.

Step 2
Fold t-shirt in half  (sleeve to sleeve )

Step 3
Cut off the top of the t-shirt from underneath the sleeves, leaving a square. This is what you'll use.
 (save the sleeves and neckline surplus for another project)

Step 4
With a ruler/straight edge and pen/pencil, draw vertical lines 2cms apart.

Step 5
Cut into each of these lines, cutting from the fold up to the seams, BUT...
ONLY CUT THROUGH ONE SEAM, don't cut any strips actually off. By leaving one seam uncut it means all your strips stay connected.

Step 6
When finished cutting on all lines, fold it out. It should still all be connected by that one seam you didn't cut through.

Step 7
Fold open that one remaining seam. Arrange the strips neatly on both sides and lay flat. I used an ironing board to help with this part, so that strips on both sides can dangle over the edges of the board and keep out of the way.

Step 8
Cut DIAGONALLY from one side to the other.
(Apologies for the basic photoshopping)

Step 9

...and wrap into a ball and Ta-dah!! One ball of t-shirt yarn.
The size of t-shirt will alter how much yarn is produced. This large blue t-shirt produced 25m.

Step 10
T-shirt yarn knitting joy

Friday, April 25, 2014

Meeting Karen Ellis

Thanks for making me an upcycled present Karen! I use it every day, below is a picture of it in use with my cuppa :)
Here is a little film I took after Meeting Karen Ellis

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Who Made Your Clothes?

The global Fashion Revolution campaign will mark the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh on 24.04.14 and on this day they are calling out for everyone to show support for changes to be made to ensure a safer future for garment workers around the world.

Part of this support is to be curious and find out who made your clothes.

This can be a simple tweet or email to the brand or retailer to ask them, or a short film about a garment you want to know more about. This is mine...

Get involved online and discover more @fash_rev 

Cost of Fashion

As the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse approaches, global campaigns are stepping up to focus awareness on the desperate need to ensure safety for garment workers around the world.

Watch this short film, captured through photography of the collapse of the Rana Plaza, and take action to show your support for garment worker safety. No one should die for the clothes we wear and this 100% man made tragedy could have been prevented if garment workers had been respected not exploited.