Bandana Blanket

Bandana Blanket

I used my old bandanas to make a blanket this weekend.

Used to be that I’d tie my hair back with bandanas while working out.  No longer in the mood to sport these bright colored pieces of cloth on my head; I kept them anyway since I liked the cheery colors…

…which was a good thing because they were perfect for making the picnic blanket Ethan requested of me.

Instead of buying new material, I decided I wanted to go 100% repurposed for Ethan’s blanket.

Here’s what we found & used from around our house:

  • 9 bandanas
  • 1 twin sized top sheet (which just happened to be the same bright green as that center bandana)
  • A beat up old fleece blanket I’d been using as stuffing for one of our poufs
  • Embroidery floss

To make our blanket, I started with the front:

  • Ironed bandanas
  • Arranged colors as desired, then sewed the squares together
  • Ironed the seamed edges flat (on the back side of the squares so fabric will lay flat)

Next, I cut the flat sheet down to match the dimensions of the front.  This served as the back of the blanket.

Laid front and back on top of each other with right sides facing in.  Sewed around perimeter.  Left a length of the fourth side open.  Flipped cover inside out.

Cut old fleece blanket down to size.  Slipped it inside its new cover.  Used embroidery floss to tie knots to keep all three layers in place.  I tied 25 knots total for my little blanket.

Sewed that open seam (on the 4th side) shut.

Ethan and I enjoyed a little picnic / tea party with his beloved stuffed animals on our “new” blanket.

When E finished playing picnic, he dragged his blanket to bed with him.  He decided it was his perfect summer cover – a nice comfortable weight to it yet soft and cool as well.

I’m quite pleased I was able to complete E’s blanket using things that were just lying unused about the house.

Now I’ve got my eye on Jin’s old flannel shirts and this soft grey flannel top sheet in the linen closet… I wonder if there’s enough shirt material to cobble together a cozy throw for myself?

Creepy Little Marionette

Creepy Little Marionette

Summer Camp
Si was in the mood to sculpt during a 45 minute free period
So he made this creepy little marionette out of scrap cardstock, tape and yarn
This is the sight that greeted me at pick up that day
Love those little boys!
Sarah, Plain and Tall

Sarah, Plain and Tall

Fourth book from our summer read aloud challengeSarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.

A quick read.  Just 3 days and a short discussion about what a mail order bride is (!) and we were done.  While we neither liked nor disliked the story, we did have one very memorable moment while reading this book.

End of a very busy Sunday.  Riding home on the R train.  No time to read all day, so we were doing our read aloud during our commute home.  Suddenly, a tough looking 20-ish young man made a hand gesture at us to catch our attention.  We paused in our reading to see what he wanted.

He looked at us intently.  His hair was buzzed short.  He had a scruffy 5 o’clock shadow, wore baggy jeans and a white fitted tank top.  Frankly, he looked a little intimidating.

He pointed at our book.

Then he said, “My mom read that to me when I was little.”

The train pulled into a station.  As the doors opened and he started walking off the subway,  I asked him if he’d enjoyed having his mom read to him?

He nodded his head, gave us a quick thumbs up and then walked off the train.

The doors closed behind him.  My boys leaned in towards me as I bent back over the book and started reading aloud again.  I felt all warm and fuzzy inside and I’m sure I had a big goofy smile on my face all the way home.

Cork Trivet

Cork Trivet

All it takes to put together this incredibly simple and functional trivet are wine corks and a small tray.

I used my Crate and Barrel bamboo tray.  It used to be the key tray.  Next, it served as the holder of remote controls.  Now it’s acting as a trivet.

My friends have been saving corks for me.  Thanks everyone!  Here’s the first pseudo-craft using those corks you passed my way.

I cut a few corks down to wedge into the end spaces.  This was enough to stabilize the configuration of corks in the tray.  I chose against gluing it all into place… it works fine as is and I never know what I might want to use the pieces for next…

And that’s all there is to this!

Garbology

Garbology

I just read Garbology by Edward Humes.  Since then, I’ve been doing some hard thinking over the ugly truths about ourselves and our waste that are presented in this compelling book.  Here are three facts that especially slapped me in the face:

  • Each American, on average, is on track to generate 102 tons of trash in his/her lifetime (page 4).
  • If our country’s trash could be counted as a product, it would surpass everything else we manufacture (page 9).  In fact, Zhang Yin, Chinese entrepreneur, made her fortune recycling America’s discarded scrap paper. 
  • There’s something called The Pacific Garbage Patch.  It’s a giant vortex of plastics and chemical sludge floating around in the Pacific Ocean.  I googled “Pacific Garbage Patch” and found depressing, horrifying pictures of where so much of our plastic waste has ended up.

Every friend I’ve talked to this week has had to listen to garbage facts I’ve been reading and learning about.  I apologize for obsessing over plastic utensils, soda bottles and take out containers; but I have to.  And I am compelled to keep talking about this stuff.  Now that I understand my 102 tons of trash legacy, I refuse to accept it.

I’ve actually been fretting over how much garbage we create for some time now.  But I’ve also been patting myself on the back for recycling.  We recycle the regular stuff – glass, plastic, metal & paper.  We also recycle textiles, batteries & plastic bottle caps.  I try to carry a cloth grocery bag around most of the time.  I severely limit our family’s use of plastic food wrap and tin foil.  We compost.  We carry our pretty metal water bottles filled with tap water.

But it’s not enough.  We can do more.

The bottom line is, we are simply consuming too much.

Here’s the part where I tell on myself.  I love to shop.  I love to collect pretty and interesting things.  I’ve got a 20-oz bottle a day Diet Coke habit.  We often get take-out. When we remember, we request no utensils or plates.  But more often than not, we forget.  Our take-out comes packed in a slew of paper and plastics and is accompanied by more plastic and trash.  And I’m thinking about toys the boys buy.  I thought that occurred only occasionally… but at our recent toy sale, I was appalled to see how much we’d accumulated and didn’t even use.  We’ve got to do better.

Our family had a talk over choices we can make to cut down our waste.  Here is where we are starting:

  • Buy less.  For me, this means cutting down on that recreational shopping.  Something I’ve actually been working on for a while… we’ll have to talk more about this another time. 
  • Avoid buying any drinks that come in a plastic bottle or jug.  We’re switching to cardboard milk and juice cartons.  Going to cut that 20-oz bottle of diet coke a day.  Somehow, I’ve got to break that addiction…
  • Avoid buying anything that has too much packaging or is destined to become trash after one use (like wrapping paper).
  • Eat less take out.
  • Pack our own food containers when we go to restaurants because we always have leftovers to take home with us.
  • Use fewer produce bags at the grocery store.  I buy a lot of produce.  And I don’t like the idea of folks touching my broccoli and carrots while checking out.  Either going to have to learn to deal with it or sew myself some reusable bags…

The 102 tons of trash per person.  Our addiction to our disposable life style.  Giant land fills.  A plastic ocean.  How can we even start to make a dent in this?  But how can we not even try?

I won’t sugar coat it.  Garbology’s message is grim, depressing and downright heartbreaking in places.  But I’m urging you to read it and consider changes you might make.  Please write in with your thoughts on how we can cut down on our daily trash and then pass this message on.

In the epilogue, Edward Humes writes this:

As a consumer, as a homeowner or renter, as a person who eats and wears clothes and drinks water, you can choose to be more or less wasteful.  You can choose to save more and spend less, which automatically means you will waste less.  You can ban the bag from your own daily life.  The smallest steps can shave a piece from those 102 tons and save money for your household while you’re also saving the planet.