#plasticfreemay

This month has been up and down with my plastic challenge, some fails and some great new discoveries.  First up is a fantastic find:

Swedish_stockings

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I have been wanting to find Swedish Stockings here in England and discovered they are stocked at The Pantry Underwear in Liberty as well as their own shop in Islington.  They do cost more than my usual Marks & Spencer opaque tights, but proved to be so lovely to wear and the plus is they are made from recycled and sustainable fibres, in a factory that is solar-powered.  You can also send them your laddered tights and join their recycling club, this will give you a 10% discount on new purchases.  Ms T bought some fish net ankle socks and loves those.  So next time you are about to throw out laddered tights, stop and post them off.

I am still using Mangle & Wringer, the laundry powder is wonderful and there is no need to add any fabric softener.  Made with just 100% coconut oil soap. Our 100% natural formula is free from synthetic detergents, phosphates, optical brighteners, enzymes, fragrances and preservatives.  The bleach is perfect for whites, cleaning the loo & lots more.

plastic free shopping

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My final find from As Nature Intended, biodegradable swing bin liners and refuse sacks. They also have some packaging free items, Ecover refils – only in Ecover packaging, drygoods and a few oils. It’s around the corner from The Source bulk foods in Chiswick, W4 are so lucky! The is a Borough Wines, great butcher (will wrap in paper only) and greengrocer stall on the High Road.  We use about 2 swing bin liners a week – not full as my kitchen has a small built-in bin.

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I am having problems recycling foil as my local council & ‘recycling centre’ – the dump – don’t have a collection point.  I’ve found one but it is a difficult place to get to and they can refuse entry as I don’t live in the catchment area. The cat is a tricky customer when it comes to food and although he is now weened off plastic pouches, still have a problem finding a tinned food he likes.  Any ideas on good tinned cat food in sauce or gravy needed.

This is not a sponsored post and all views are my own.  I only recommend items I have bought and tried myself.

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#springsunshine baby quilt

In the last 6 weeks I have made 2 baby quilts, the #sodafloat and #springsunshine – now both gifted.  #springsunshine was made with the same collection of pastel Kona cottons and also a very pale grey that toned beautiful with the sugary hues.

It’s made up of half square triangles, 5 1/4 inch squares bace.  I have found starch is by far the best solution to stop any bias movement, it’s the first time I have used with method and loved it.  Used 100% cotton quilt batting from Macculloch & Wallis and also quilted with 40 weight cotton thread.  I found the backing at Fabrics Galore, although  sadly no photograph.  The binding was made up of all the left over fabrics, joined in a chain and trimmed to 2.5inches wide.  I loved the super scrappy look and it worked really well, again no pics as yet because the little boy arrived and I had to bind, washed and tumbled dry the quilt – gifted the same day!

#sodafloat quilt

#sodafloatquilted

I tested a quilt pattern by a friend at London Modern Quilt Guild, Carina it’s a quilting project inside Carina’s new e-book Poplar Bear CountryCarina called it the iceberg quilt and as I chose a range of sugary pastels my daughter christened the quilt #sodafloat.  I made it for a friend who is expecting a baby very soon and there’s nothing like a deadline to consentrate the mind and sewing schedule.

 

Headed out to the Village Haberdashery in West Hampstead for the Kona Solids and setabout making the quilt.  It is built up in blocks that are really cleverly made and grows quite simply, I managed to make the top up in 2 evenings after work.  Found the quilt batting at MacCulloch & Wallis and also bought a pure cotton 40 weight thread in a lovely icy pastel purple.

thread cotton 40

The backing and binding are from Tikki London, so love the contrast of the backing to the front and the stripe worked really well as a binding.  I did waver when it came to the quilting style and so delighted with the way the circular quilting worked out.  I steamed the backing with a warm iron onto the batting and then steam pressed the top, pinned and it really helped to keep the 3 layers together with no puckering at all.  It has now flown out and been recieved ready for the new arrival!  If you like the pattern do have a look over at Carina’s shop and if you are outside the EU here’s a link to buy the book.

#sodafloatquilt quilted

Butterick 5537 | a review

 

Pattern: Butterick 5537

Fabrics: Dutch Wax print from Middlesex Textiles.

Notions: Epic [polyfil] thread.

Pattern description: Loose fitting, shawl collar dressing gown.

Pattern Sizing: Small, Medium & Large.  I made the medium.

Did it look like the photo/line drawing on the pattern once finished?:  Yes

What did you like or dislike about the pattern?: Well written pattern, with clear instructions.  Simple and straight forward.

Did I make  any pattern alterations or design changes?  No.

Would I sew it again or recommend to others?  Yes, I will definitely make it again.  Thinking of a winter weight version, may be lined with terry towelling.

Conclusion:  Great pattern and it is quick to make.  I like the sleeve turn up detail.  It’s the first time i have sewn with Dutch wax fabric and I love it, pre-washing is essential to remove the stiff finish.  Used the whole 5.5m length with only a little fabric left over – the pattern say 6m.  The fabric is sold in 6 yard lengths [5.5m] and is a brilliant economic fabric in a huge array of prints.

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Butterick 5537

This is not a sponsored post, all opinion are my own.  I purchased the pattern and fabric.

#plasticfree April

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I was appalled to hear yesterday about Sainsbury’s adding even more plastic packaging, you can read more about it here and here.  Has no one ever told Sainsbury’s that may be they should consider giving advice on washing hands after touching raw meat instead of adding to the #plasticpollution problem?

hand washing

Did you watch the One Show last night, about #plasticpollution? I do hope that the Sainsbuy’s board and share holders were watching (as well as all the supermarkets and shops)! Ok, rant over. This month i have got into more of a routine and helped enormously with the discovery of Source Bulk Foods, Odd Box and a couple of amazing butchers, groucery shopping has become easier.  Source have risotto rice, popcorn, baking powder, organic sugar, sweets and so much more, if you’re in London it is so worth a visit.  This month I switched to their shampoo and conditioner refill, so delighted to have found it there.  Also trialed a facial cleanser bar and found it too drying for my face, a friend suggested Neals Yard  – so will head there for ideas.  Any suggestions?  I liked the Made for Life balm, although prefer a facial cream wash – Liz Earle’s cleanse and polish is my all time go to and sadly that’s in double plastic and not refillable.

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Georganics on Etsy, they have toothpaste, mouthwash & natural floss as well as bamboo toothbrushes.  As soon as my toothpaste is finished will try, they also have coconut oil pulling, has anyone tried this?  Sounds intriguing.

 
Finally, while pottering around my favorite garden centre with my youngest nephew, we kept seeing plastic pots and decided to try growing things from seeds.  I recently bought a fabulous new magazine called The Flower Patch, in there they show how to make origami seed pots.  Fun to make and great at recycling old newspapers, my garden in super small and I don’t need loads – the loo roll and egg box ideas in the clip above are great too.

Tilly and the Buttons: Stretch!

At the Knitting and Stitching show we met Tilly and T loved her new book Stretch!, so we bought a copy that Tilly so kindly signed it.  T chose the Stella hoodie and while we were browsing around the show found some fabulous super cuddly teddy bear fabric at Higgs & Higgs.  It’s not a jersey as such, although does have a stretch to it.

The pattern pieces for each project are on separate sheets and easy to trace off, I traced the largest size as T’s favorite hoodie that must be around 7 years old is super oversize and great instead of a dressing gown.  One extra feature she asked for was teddy bear ears!

The construction was very straight forward and a super quick make, I used my overlocker for most of the construction and only top-stitched the hood front for the cord and hem.  The hem has a pointed detail to match the original hoodie and is about 6 inches longer than the patter.  So loved making this and T is delighted, only shy about being pictured wearing it.  I have plans to make the Joni dress next, when I can find the right fabric and I know Tilly is having a pop-up shop tomorrow – so will try to go along if I can.

Love the new book and am sure it will help cure me of my fear of stretch fabrics, have had a couple of disasters over the years and I’m sure it was just down to the fabric I used.  So if you’d like to start sewing with stretch, its a perfect book and great also just for all the patterns!

#plasticfree March

Thought I’d give an update on my #plasticfree challenge.  Still enjoying our OddBox weekly delivery and after a few hick-ups with Milk & More when they launched their  new website found them to be super reliable.

This month saw the launch of PG tipps compostable packaging and completely plastic free tea.  Was so delighted that they launch this so quickly and ahead of the other companies who seem to have such unrealistic long-term plans, PG are also launching plastic free teabags later this year.  If you’re not a fan of PG, or looking for loose plastic free herbal teas, head to The Source bulk foods in Chiswick.

I was visiting friends a couple of weeks ago and popped in for a quick look and went back with a shopping list, jars and bags on Saturday.  So much choice from lentils to spices, shampoo to balsamic.   Lots of herbal teas as well as regular tea, flours from regular organic strong bread flour to more unusual flours that can be hard to find.  So we now are stocked up with organic sugar that is impossible to find not wrapped in plastic, peppermint tea and lots more.  It carries a larger range of goods than Hetu and if you can get to West London is a fantastic option.  Also just across the road is a branch of Borough Wines with 6 wines on tap and next door to the source was a wonderful natural and organic butcher.  Chiswick is so lucky!  Finally I managed to find pine resin at Baldwins and decided to experiment.

First I tried the recipe i saw most online, using the same weight of wax to resin with a few drops of jojoba oil.  The equal parts was super sticky and not all that pleasant to touch.  After a few tries I melted beeswax with half the weight of resin and then painted my prewashed fabric using a silicon brush.  I found this was so much easier and they work brilliantly, they are stickier than just beeswax and more like ‘cling film’.  Will have another play and use pinking shears to give the fabric a pretty look rather than overlocking I used for mine and will give as gifts.  Enjoyed the 2 YouTube videos below with one how to make wraps and another on how to make sandwich pouches:

this is not a sponsored post, all views are my own.

establishing habits and routines

I have been trying to carry on with my #plasticfreeJanuary and when items need replacing have sought plastic free when i can.  I had tried BioD and wanted to see how well other brands worked.  While searching came across Mangle & Wringer, natural, non toxic cleaning remedy. The bathroom balm is brilliant, easy to use, works so well and not a spray in sight.  The laundry powder and bleach made washing whites simple and the natural bleech can be used all over the house.  The items were well packaged and plastic free, just delighted and will carry on using this.

I’ve also making the change from pump liquid soap to bars of natural soap, the bars i found are from Baileys Home and Garden in Ross-on-Wye.  Really lovely soap and have no packaging, making them a fabulous zero waste purchase.  My second delivery of Who gives a crap arrived and is a brilliant plastic free product, although the box is huge!  Gradually finding new products, cotton floor cloths to replace old well-worn microfiber cloths (Baileys Home and Garden).  Labour and Wait also have a good range of natural cleaning products.  And with all this cleaning my poor hands need a little care and pampering, found a plastic free intensive shea butter cream at L’Occitane.

If you have any plastic free tips, do share!

I have bought all these products and this is not a sponsored post.

All views are my own.

Tea and crafting with friends

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Last week I sent a few hours with friends and other ladies learning how to paper cut at Tea & Crafting in Covent Garden.  There was lots of tea and coffee and cupcakes galore to keep us going and a great treacher who showed us the basics and then helped us along the way.

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The crafting space is lovely, with walls full of makes, from giant arm knitting to tiny strawberry pompoms.  I did manage to finish my cut, using on of the templates provided and so enjoyed the process.

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I’m certainly going to try paper cutting again, practice will help my technique, below is what one of my friends made – all hand drawn and no template used!

papercutting

I need to work on my technique and going to use some Etsy templates I have found, there are some truely amazing artists there who sell paper cutting templates and also artist who sell there fabulous original works.

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This month has been super busy work wise and I haven managed to do any sewing for myself, just a little knitting in the evenings.  With the first huge project this year I have used 2 downloadable PDF patterns from Black Snail Patterns, I don’t usually make up PDF’s as a rule, but these shapes were perfect starting point shape wise.  They worked out in the end, although I did give up on the instructions completely with one pattern – sometimes things just get lost in translation.  I also choose 2 other pattern companies I have never used before, Folkwear and Sense & Sensibility I bought via a brilliant pattern company called Habithat.  These patterns were brilliant and thoroughly recommend them, below are 2 sneak peeks of a s&s blouse and a hack of a Folkwear during construction.

I’ve had to do a lot of research for this project and dived into Downton Abbey on DVD as well as books and searching for original clothes from WW1.  The costumes on Downtown were wonderful and it has been a joy to watch again.  I visited the Imperial War Museum for the first time and spent a day looking at the collections and in the research library, the V&A collection was also a huge inspiration and a place I love to spend time.

images: top Downton Abbey,

bottom row from the left V&A collection, Downton Abbey & vintage photograph.

I hope to be able to show photographs of the collection I made, the actors start rehearsing next week and I can’t wait to see them in action.