Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's not all rubbish

Hello. Question - who is a wombler and who is a dumper? Who saves things in the hope that they will come in useful for something at a later date, or who tosses things straight into the bin because they do not care where it came from or where it will end up? How do you know what is rubbish and what has value?

Some of you may have noticed a list at the bottom of my blog of free things that I have found, or been given, or I have asked for, if you have scrolled down that far. I started this list when I started the blog. but I have stopped adding to it because it was becoming a mammoth task to itemize every piece which came into my possession. I still continue to collect free stuff, either for my own use or to pass it on. I find it incredibly amazing that people regard it OK to chuck perfectly usable items in the bin, or a skip, or in the hedgerow if they can't be bothered to dispose of it through the correct channels.

So what's on my found list? Two small conifer plants found in a rubbish bin - with a bit of TLC they are thriving. Three plastic crates found in the Takeaway bin - they are in my shed with small items stored in them. An orange plastic pumpkin bucket - given to a small child for building sandcastles on the beach. Yellow plastic ball - given to a dog to play with. Three pallets, I asked for them, they would have been chucked. And so it goes on. There is loads of free stuff out there, you just have to keep your ears and eyes open.

You all know my stance on skip diving, if I see something I want I will ask for it. I have no shame in getting in there and rescuing useful items, I don't care if anyone looks at me in disgust. I am trying to do my bit for the planet, my conscience is clear. If I can find something free then I don't have to buy it, and if I don't want it I will endeavour to give it away. And while I am on the subject of buying, I wouldn't care if most of the shops on the High Street were charity shops. All I need are the discount stores where I can get cheaper human food, household cleaners and toiletries, and pet food. All the clothes shops, shoe shops, jewelers, fancy goods and frivolous non essential items and such like, I wouldn't miss them one iota if they disappeared. No Siree. I won't be going to the new out of town Marks and Sparks which has just opened opposite Tesco, they haven't got anything I need. I know that without even looking. The new Debenhams next door won't see me crossing their threshold either.

You might have seen pictures in the media of people in third world countries sorting through mountains of rubbish, separating plastics and metals etc, that is how they make their living. I can see that in the future this kind of recycling will be taking place here, where every single piece of rubbish will be sorted, graded and used as raw materials to make something new. Bring it on I say, we cannot carry on taking from this earth, there will come a point where we have stripped the land bare of all it has to offer, only then will people wake up to re using and re cycling on a massive scale. They will have to because there will be nothing new left to buy.

Have a look at this article which appeared in The Big Issue, about turning rubbish into art at the Science Museum. Then read more about the exhibition on the Science Museum web site, and watch the video. It looked very interesting, sadly it has finished now.

So, I offer you this challenge. Ok, so you can afford to buy new, but if you have a hankering to go to the shops for something other than food or personal essentials, think before you make that trip. Put it off for 24 hours and think about a plan B. Can you get it second hand? Will you find it at a car boot sale or a charity shop. Have a look on the free web sites, Freecycle and Freegle, is someone giving one away? Look in the small ads in the shop windows or local newspapers. Any jumble sales in your area? Mention it to your friends, have they got one they want to pass on?

When you are getting your presents together for Christmas look for toys in charity shops and car boot sales. Think small gifts, set a limit, can you make something? When you are getting your garden ready for veg growing don't go to the garden centre and splash out on tools, wood for the raised beds, etc, you can buy spades, forks, rakes, at a car boot sale, and get wood out of skips and back doors of DIY stores. Always ask before taking. When you want to do a bit of sewing, don't go to a shop and buy fabric, cotton etc, go to a charity shop and look along the garment rails for the colours you need. Re cycle unwanted clothes, make them into something new. Look in your own wardrobe, is there anything in there that you don't wear any more. Get a buzz out of your efforts, be proud that you made something with your own hands, whether it be a complicated piece of embroidery, or running up a shopping bag on a machine.

Here is something I knocked up before breakfast this morning, using materials that people have given me. Six small pieces of pink felt, 3.5 cm square. Decorate each one with gold and purple sequins.

Sew them all together with a running stitch, making a box with a lid. I used one strand of purple embroidery silk for the sequins and two strands to sew it together. You can use any colours you like.

Before you sew the last seam stuff it with scraps of any soft fabric you have, and attach a matching ribbon in the last corner with a few stitches. There you have a dinky Christmas tree decoration. I am going to make some more with different colours, I tried this one to see if it would work, and it does. You could make them bigger if you have a big tree, or smaller for a table decoration. You could make pyramids. You could sew beads, ribbon, or lace on them, any embelishment you like.

Have fun. I have things to do before sewing class tonight. Catch up with you tomorrow. Toodle pip.

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