Back to the grim reality…

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So it finally came to an end, our free life with plenty of nature and fresh air, here we are waving good bye to the countryside and returning to the city… bye bye green grass and hello gravel.

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however, on the return to the city we faced some distress when we passed the supermarket to buy food…

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Because going from free growing, berry picking existence to commercial plastic environment we could not help to feel distraught when one bag of supermarket products gave us this much plastic junk! -despite buying everything organic!!! so unless you have access to farmers markets or large city bulk buying options (which we don’t)  you are forced to bring home a lot of plastic rubbish; -crazy!  -tick tock waiting for times to change… 

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ok sometimes we just got to look in a different direction; so to distract our minds from all this madness I wish to show you my latest up-cycle projects which I have worked hard at for the last few days.

Some time ago we purchased some second-hand furniture, which looked a bit dated,  but they have now been given a fresher look:

Project no.1


it looked something like this before the makeover (this is a borrowed photo because I got so carried away that I forgot to make photos before I started)

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-now it looks like this.  First we cleaned it up and then gave it a new life with an ecological white wash, new metal hairpin legs and doorknobs.


Project no.2

-to give new life to an old chair, very simple, just change the fabric but don’t buy a new piece just recycle something old by adding paint to it. I actually had some old print samples lying around so I decided to use this ‘failed’ print which looks a bit abstract but makes a nice contrast to this vintage chair.  Gone old fashion embroidery!

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presents & paint

As summer holidays are coming up, I quickly needed to create some ecological presents for the staff at the nursery our girls attend (they are lovely and definitely deserve to be remembered), and as I have the fortune to have a chef as partner, he quickly threw together some ‘garanpinadas’ which basically are roasted nuts covered in crystallized sugar. Yes I know, sugar isn’t good for you but believe me, -they are yummy! so my job was obviously to come up with some form of  packaging for these delicious treats, so after raiding the cupboards I found 6 equal glass jars to re-use which we then covered with paper lace lids and hemp string. In order to make the cards I re-used colour sample strips from the DIY store (as we recently bought some paint for our coffee tables) and cut out some hearts in different colours. -japp, done and dusted!! so here you have an eclectic mix of presents, painted furniture and ideas.

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These are the 2 colours we choose for the coffee tables, which you can see in the above pictures (the brown version is the ‘before look’) and remaining sample cards became gift tags for the nursery staff, -now lets hope they will like them!

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and I thought I show you a little peek of my home studio (it is actually quite convenient to have a studio at home as then I can work when the girls are asleep)

so this is where most of the creations are currently born:)arrow

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here you have a thing I am currently working on, which basically is a collage reflecting my geographic position at this time of life, of course with recycled materials such as paint strips, news papers, old drawings and dyed paper lace.

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Back to packaging

Following a previous post about packaging a great deal of comments and new findings has made it very clear that a lot of people are concerned with this issue.  Last week a friend of mine brought my attention to a new shop in Germany called Unverpackt, a supermarket without packaging where you simply bring your own containers and refill them -like in the old days! Looking further in to this I found that ZeroWasteEurope has a great round up article about different shops in Europe that follows this concept, and it made me wish that everyone could have access to one! -would it not be great if we all could go shopping without buying all the scrappy plastic!? With all this in mind and fuelled by a comment from Angelique (who now lives in Germany and buys at farmers markets) I started thinking about shopping bags!  Despite bringing our own containers we would still need to carry our groceries home right!?! So to stay in tune with the whole ecological design idea I came up with these tea-towel grocery bags which have recycled leather belt handles; -which are strong and sturdy with a minimal impact on the environment,  as all the materials already exists.  So could they be something we could use?

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Plastic toy reincarnation

Thanks to the wonderful world of Pinterest, I got this idea of up-cycling some of my daughters plastic toys (yes, are going through a phase of domestic plastic-dieting by trying to eliminate the use of plastic at home). So with the approval of my 5 year old we got the kitchen knife and cut one of her little dolls in half! Then we cleaned up some used glass pots and got to work and glued 1/2 doll to the lid, applying glitter to the glass pot (of course, -working with a 5 year old) and then painted lid+object in a uniform colour, voilà!

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Here you got some photos of the process, and it was all fairly straight forward, however creating the zigzag pattern on the jar was probably the most tricky and if you want to have a go I would recommend using a masking tape to seal off the area where you want to apply the glitter. -So what will we now use them for? well I was thinking they could be good for storing smaller objects in the kids room, maybe some hair-bands or crayons, I mean the good thing is that you can see what’s inside.

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One thing that is really bothering me at the moment is packaging. Since we watched the documentary ‘Food Inc’we have religiously bought organic and ecologically produced products and I am proud to say that the fridge is now weekly stocked with ecological food. (watch the movie if you haven’t done it already) However, as good as this is, the majority of goods are wrapped in plastic and not in just one layer; -no often in several different layers or containers of plastic!

so my question is why? -is this really necessary? and what alternatives do we have in the battle for a better environment…well I have done a bit of research and yes there are quite a few companies who produce environmentally friendly packaging, however they are still in the minority so what can we as individual do?!? well this is one idea, and in no means is it the only one, but the other day we had a pack of really lovely crisp bread which came in a rather nice carton package that I liked so I took the box and decoupaged it with old vintage book pages and then stamped it with black ink, so now it can be used again for our own products. This is the result:


I will continue to explore alternative routes for creating and reusing packaging, and the question still remains, do we need so much of it?