A New Life

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In the 6 years that I have been writing this blog there have been numerous posts about mending and repairing clothes to extend their life.

Tonight I want to show you a couple of projects I completed on the weekend.

This was a long-sleeved shirt which was worn at the cuffs.  The traditional repair of this problem is ‘turn’ the cuffs, that is, to remove the cuff and replace it with the worn outside to the inside, thus doubling the life of the shirt.  Unfortunately, this had worn right on the edge and was visible from both the right and wrong sides.  So, I decided on a different course of action as it is a much-loved shirt.

Using an existing short-sleeved shirt as pattern, I re-fashioned it to a short-sleeved shirt.

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The excess that was cut off did not go completely to waste, either.  I removed the buttons and added them to my stash because, to quote my late father, “you never know when it might come in handy”.  I think that growing up in the Great Depression drove much of his thinking in that respect.  I do not hoard stuff but I do recognise that some things are likely to have a potential future use.  It is all a matter of balance.  I also managed to cut 6 x 5″ squares for future patchwork projects.

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My next project is a perfect example of when those salvaged bits do actually come in handy.  A elastic in a pair of GMan’s shorts had stretched to the point where even the associated drawstring was not sufficient to comfortably keep them up.

I unpicked the stitching and removed the elastic and salvaged the drawstring.  I just needed some suitable elastic and I would be able to reconstruct the shorts.  I found some that I had kept from some underpants that had worn out!  Of course, the fabric from the underpants had ended up in the rag bag.

Here are the shorts with the elastic removed and the drawstring and ‘new’ elastic ready to be re-assembled.

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So, thanks to my stash of salvaged elastic the shorts have been repaired and are as good as new at zero cost.

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Recycled Outfit?

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Here is some astounding news.  The Duchess of Cambridge is not afraid to recycle her outfits!  So says the media.  Their definition of recycling an outfit is to wear it in public 4 times, yes, 4 times in 6 years.

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The full article is here.

I prefer this story from a Facebook group.

“Just a few hours ago this was a bed sheet on a hanger in Goodwill!! For about $5, I made myself a crazy awesome dress! NEVER SEWN BEFORE IN MY LIFE. Easy as pie.”

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Now that is what I call a recycled outfit – a cute summer dress made from a secondhand sheet.

I would love to hear your stories of recycled outfits.

 

Flashback Friday

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As with all new projects, ‘Flashback Friday’ is being fine-tuned.  As well as linking back to the original post I am going to copy and paste it into a new post.  So, here goes…..this is from August 2012 just before Izz turned 3.

I have been making a gift for Izz for her birthday.  She has a doll’s bed which has been passed down to her but no bedding.

I bought 2 u-shaped pillowcases recently from the op shop.  Here is one that I have unpicked ready to use.  Note the roll of fabric which is the dismantled and pressed frill.

2012-08-06 01The Duke bought a piece of foam cut to size for the mattress and I have covered that using some of the pillowcase fabric.

2012-08-06 02The next step was to make a patchwork quilt.  I worked out the size and number of pieces I would need.  The plain pink is more of the pillowcase, plain mauve from a piece in my stash of fabric, Dora pattern is a few leftover scraps from the doona cover and curtains that I made for Miss O last year and the pink patterned fabric is from a blouse I picked up at the op shop.  The frill is the one I unpicked from the pillowcase.  The hemmed edge remained intact so I simply regathered it and reapplied to the quilt edge.

2012-08-06 03I bought a large piece of cotton/bamboo batting for a bed quilt I am working on for Izz’s bed so I used a small piece for this quilt.  (I think this is a rather spoiled doll!)  The backing is more leftovers from some op shop fabric.  I quilted it by simply machine stitching along the seam lines which is nothing fancy but seems effective.

2012-08-06 04The finishing touch was to make a matching pillow.  A couple more fabric scraps and some salvaged filling from an old cushion and I had a complete set of bedding for the doll.  Here is the mattress with the pillow.

2012-08-06 05The total cost of things I bought specifically for this project was $6.60.  This is a gift which I know will be loved regardless of the cost.  I am looking forward to seeing Izz’s face when she opens the gift.

Now I need to work on the the bed quilt I am making as well since her birthday is in 2 weeks and I want to be able to give her the present before we go on holidays.

2015-04-03 01In the interests of presenting a complete picture here are a couple of photos I took when she received her parcel.

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Plastic Bags – A Curse

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A couple of days ago I read this post from Joanna over at Every Week is Green where she discussed being ‘forced’ to accept a plastic carry bag from a retailer.  I have had a similar experience, albeit, close to 20 years ago.  Refusing plastic bags at the time was far less prevalent than it is today so I regularly was confronted by some very odd responses.
On the particular occasion in question, I was in a department store in Adelaide where I intended to buy a pair of socks for The Duke.  I approached the counter and as I handed over the socks, I advised the assistant that I did not wish to have a bag.  Then ensued one of the most bizarre ‘arguments’ I have ever had the misfortune to be involved in.  She was adamant that I had to take a bag and I was equally determined that I would not accept one.  Her reasons were quite ridiculous but she finally became exasperated and asked, “Well, how will people know that you bought the item at *******?”  Seriously, I had to accept a bag so that the store could advertise that I shopped there?  I was not about to back down and advised that I would not accept a bag or I would not buy the socks.  I finally paid for the socks and left with them and the docket in my hand.

It was then and there that I realised just what hard work it was to stick to my principles.  I have continued to do so and it has become easier, however,you need to be constantly on your guard to avoid plastic bags sneaking into your life.

Don’t give up, Joanna.

Finally, here is my hessian bag that I finished relining.

Bag with new lining
You can read about the beginning of the project here.  It is towards the bottom of the post.  I did try handsewing the lining in but it was too difficult so this morning I used some heavy linen thread and sewed it on the machine using the heaviest needle I had.  The stitching is clearly visible but I am not concerned as I now have a functional bag again.  Thanks, Carol for the lining fabric.  🙂

Slow Living – June

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Another month has flown by and it is time to review it in the spirit of the monthly round-up at Slow Living Essentials . {nourish*prepare*reduce*green*grow*create*discover*enhance*enjoy}

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  More gluten-free discoveries this month.  I have successfully made gravy, stuffing for roast beef and cheese sauce.  For the gravy I used the pan juices and potato flour to thicken it.  The cheese sauce was made using equal parts of potato and chickpea flours.  I had previously tried making stuffing using well-cooked rice instead of the soft breadcrumbs and although it tasted good enough it just crumbled as we carved the meat.  This time I used chickpea flour, almond meal, flaxseed meal, finely diced onion, chopped parsley, mixed herbs, salt and butter.  I was able to create a texture very similar to the stuffing I used to make using soft breadcrumbs, it cooked well and stayed in place as we carved the meat so I was very happy.

{Prepare}  Citrus harvest is in full swing here so I have many the first of what will probably be several batches of lemon syrup cordial.  I also diced up some chillies that we were given and stored them in oil.

Lemon cordial

{Reduce}  Another blouse gone from my cupboard.  I continue to be vigilant about reducing the ‘stuff’ that seems to insidiously creep in while we are not watching.  The fabric stash reduced slightly when I made a cot quilt.  It is not yet finished but you can see it under ‘Create’.

Blouse

{Green}  For many years I have worked on reducing our reliance on single-use plastic items.  Many of these habits are simply second nature now but it never hurts to be challenged and reminded of what else you can do.  I have signed up for Plastic Free July and will be tracking my success (or otherwise on my blog).

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{Grow}  The garden beds are filling with green.  The seed potatoes are growing apace and need earthing up if this rain ever stops.  We planted garlic in the top bed and I counted them yesterday – we have 99 garlic seedlings poking their heads skywards.  Judging by a couple of gaps, I think there are 3  that have not yet come up.

Garlic bed

{Create}  I started making a cot quilt with some fabric from my stash.  I have the binding to finish attaching and some hand quilting.

Quilt

I am working on refashioning a skirt for myself.  This is the before photo.

Grey patterned skirt with ruffle

It is now too big and too long so I am making a simple, knee-length skirt.  I love the fabric and did not want to part with it.

{Discover}  I am spending time reading and researching about making liquid soap.  My mother gave me this book for my birthday and I am finding that there is so much to learn.  Perhaps next month I may be able to report on my first attempt??

{Enhance}  This month most of the things that fall into ‘enhance’ have been in my head.  I am mulling over ways to encourage closer ties and co-operation amongst our neighbours.  It is most definitely a challenge as there are many ‘weekender’ properties that are only inhabited intermittently.  The other complicating factors include distance between homes (most are are on small acreage) and a clear reticence by some folk to have any real rapport at all with their neighbours.  But it is a matter of small, incremental steps.

{Enjoy}  A couple of weeks ago my mother came to visit for the weekend and we enjoyed a day out at  ‘Gardening on the Edge’ which was 6 local gardens oren to the public.  I certainly enjoyed what they had to offer but it also made me realise that ours is pretty darned good in its own way. 

The last day of the month and we took ourselves off to see ‘The Great Gatsby’ with some free tickets that The Duke had been given from work.  We took our own snacks and drinks so were set.  Our treat was fish and chips on the way home.

Leonardo DiCaprio, as Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan in <i>The Great Gatsby</i>.

Now I am off to check out some of the slow living blogs.

Til next month………..

Project 333 – Winter Wardrobe & Wishlist

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Since it will officially be winter in 3 days I thought a post about my winter wardrobe was in order.  We live in a relatively mild climate but it still gets cool enough to need more than summer-weight skirts and t-shirts.

Over the last 10 months I have lost 8kg so that has necessitated moving a number of items along as they were simply too big.  This has pared down my wardrobe even more.  However, a bonus is that I can now wear these 2 jackets.

Red and charcoal jackets

They were a neat fit when I bought them a couple of years ago and a little over a year ago they were destined to be given away.

I also have a black cord jacket and a pink suede one.

Pink and black jackets

One of the few things I have bought for this winter is a new pair a tailored black trousers as I did not have any trousers suitable for wearing to work in winter.  I gave my only pair away at the end of last winter as they were too big.  Last week I had to buy a belt because even my new trousers are a bit on the loose side.  I did try the next size down but they were a bit too tight.

Belt

I generally wear a collared shirt (3/4 sleeve) under the jacket to work as I don’t want to be rugged up because I work in an air-conditioned office.  I have 5 striped shirts.  There are also these 2 lightweight knits.

Knit tops

A couple of sleeveless vests, 2 pairs of jeans, 3/4 sleeve tees and a couple of rugby tops pretty well round out my work and casual winter wardrobe.

My shoes are 2 pairs of flats – red and pewter, red lace-up casuals and RM Williams boots.

Now for the wishlist:

Black skirt – purchased and waiting for me to shorten the length
Grey patterned cord skirt – waiting for me to refashion it from a skirt that is too big
Plain black lightweight knit – in the cupboard but need grey skirt to wear it with
Grey/charcoal trousers – need to buy
Black flat/low heel court shoes – need to buy
Black low heel boots (knee-high) – need to buy to replace the high heeled ones I have given away as they were too high and I did not feel confident walking in them
Black stockings – need to buy
Scarves – I would like some lightweight plain coloured scraves – probably black, fuschia and red with possibly mint green or purple as well.  Just need to go looking.

I need to try on some boots to see whether they will suit me as I am not overly tall.

I have 6 pairs of grey stockings (most unworn) that I bought last year in the USA and after wearing them a couple of times I have decided that I do not really like the colour, hence I need to buy some black ones.

Recently, I bought 2 pieces of cotton lycra fabric which I hope to be able to make some 3/4 sleeve tees.  One is black and cream striped (narrow stripes) and the other is plain in a raspberry colour.

Now that I have written it all down, my plan seems quite realistic and doable.  What do you think?

Slow Living – February

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This is my second month of joining in the monthly round-up at Slow Living Essentials and already I seem to be struggling with what to write.  A couple of things seems to have conspired against me – it is a short month – is it really the end of the month already? and the weather!  Since the dry spell broke on the Australia Day weekend (26th January) it has rained almost constantly which limits our activities somewhat

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  With the onset of some cooler weather with the rain it was an ideal time to pull out the slow cooker.

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I made a batch of pumpkin soup and and beef casserole.

Dinner

{Prepare}  We had an excellent crop of figs.

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As well as eating lots of them fresh from the tree, I was able to dry some.  This was very successful so I am hoping to have enough to do again next year.

 

{Reduce}  This is always a hard one as we do this each and every day.  I turned a singlet of mine that was too short into one for Miss O.

2013-03-03 05{Green}  The weather has brought out the mould but I am keeping things clean and smelling fresh with the use of clove oil.  You can read a previous post here.

Clove oil

{Grow}  The warm, dry beginning to the summer meant that we had about 8 mangoes on our small tree.  We planted it about 4 years ago and this is the first time it has fruited.  I suspect that it is generally too cool for them here but this year’s crop has made it worthwhile.  They are some of the best mangoes I have tasted and the flesh is as smooth as anything with no sign of stringiness.

Last weekend we had a rare fine day so we bought and planted some vegetable seedlings.  They have more than doubled in size in a week.

2013-03-03 07{Create}  Since my sewing machine has returned from being serviced I have got quite a bit of sewing done.  I am working through my stash of fabric as well as some pieces I have been given.  Here are some of the results.

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Winter and summer pyjama bottoms.

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A new lining in my skirt.

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{Discover}  I don’t think I have read anything this month but in a different vein I did discover some fabric to be used when I was sorting out my stash.

{Enhance}  We gave away the used fencing wire via Freecycle.  I also shared some of the many self-sown cucumber seedlings with neighbours, work colleagues, blogging friends and also on Freecycle.

It is a shame that I did not take some photos of them.  Not so much for the seedlings but the innovative packaging.  I used some excess egg cartons that I had been given and each seedling and its soil was packed in a space in the carton.

2013-03-03 11An internet friend sent me some fabric and I used some of it to make a dress suitable for an 18 month old.  I will send it to her for her granddaughter who was born last week.

{Enjoy}  We travelled to Melbourne and spent a weekend with our daughter who moved there recently.  We saw her new home, sampled food at some local establishments and shopped.

2013-03-03 12I bought this dress to wear to a wedding in a few weeks.  I just need to finalise accessories.

The slow living this month has been heavily weighted towards sewing and I guess that is not entirely unexpected with being stuck indoors due to the weather.

Now I am off to check out some of the slow living blogs.

Til next month………..