Social media can be so depressing sometimes but I’ve been really heartened to see a whole community of people who are committed to doing what they can to help tackle climate change in any small way online recently. Whether they are taking on zero waste challenges, joining in with Veganuary or campaigning pointless plastic, it’s so good to see that others are tired of feeling powerless and are taking action to help tackle climate change.
I had a bit of a list-making frenzy at the end of last year to see whether there were any disposable products that we could cut out of our lives and I realised that I could bring my kitchen closer to being zero waste by cutting out the greaseproof paper we were using to wrap leftovers and the foil that we were using to cover containers of food in the fridge.
I’ve wanted to try reusable food wrap for a long time but I couldn’t justify the price, so I was delighted when I saw a video tutorial on Pinterest for making your own at home. It had the added benefit that I could use up some of my scrap fabric stash that I have leftover from making various projects and which was sitting loved but unused in our attic.
I’ve been using them for three weeks now and I’m completely delighted with the results. They are perfect for covering bowls and mugs of leftovers in the fridge (avoiding both food waste and wasted foil that would need to be recycled), and are ideal for wrapping snacks and sandwiches for the children when I take them out for the day (reducing the likelihood of us buying over packaged food on the go).
I honestly love them, they make me happy every time I use them. My partner was more sceptical about them (because they didn’t come in a box from a shop… this is my struggle) but he’s been converted by the referential tones with which our three year old talks about “the beeeeaaautiful bees wraps”.
I managed to get an early start on my resolution to be more sustainable in 2019 by experimenting with visible mending on some jeans I’d torn. I yanked them up by the belt strap while hurrying to get dressed and out with the baby and riiiiiiiiip.
I’ve been getting increasingly interested in visible mending and sashiko after seeing some Instagram posts on the subject. The mends were so creative and fun that I wanted to try myself. And what isn’t to like about the idea of being sustainable while making your old clothes stronger and warmer?
I’m not an expert craftswoman but I’ve always been confident enough playing around with a needle and thread thanks to my grandmother and a formidably skilled great-aunt, so while the little ones were both having a nap one day I grabbed a scrap of fabric and some embroidery thread from what my eldest calls my mending box and fired up this video on YouTube to check the basic technique.
Mine was only a small tear so it only took minutes to fix, but as you can see from the photo at the start of this post, it was on tight-fitting stretch jeans so was liable to get worse quickly. In the end, the mend isn’t very visible but the jeans do feel stronger at that point as a result and I’m excited to experiment with more visible mending going forward.
The five minutes quiet that this gave me to be alone with my thoughts was quite therapeutic as well. This isn’t my first experiment with visible mending. When I was a teenager of about thirteen or fourteen, my favourite pair of jeans ripped at the front (baggy skater jeans if you remember the style? You couldn’t walk without stepping on them) and I patched them with some blue forget-me-not fabric and embroidered around the sides. This is when patching was going through a cool patch, if you’ll forgive the pun. Anyway, most of my friends were very complimentary about them but then one day a boy I liked, another guy and a girl and I were hanging out and they told me how awful they thought my jeans looked. And I never wore them again… Well, I ended up going out with the boy for a few years before realising he was an idiot, the other boy now has an incredibly dull sounding job in the civil service and the last I saw of the girl she was doing an emotive face pose in a Daily Mail article, so maybe it was never my jeans that needed to go but my choice of company that day.
I’m older and wiser now and will wear my patched jeans with pride.
I’m sneaking five minutes of peace and quiet while the baby sleeps and my oldest is being read a bedtime story by her father who is just back from work. Monday is my long day with both of them (I work part-time when not on maternity leave so Monday is my traditional quality day with the little people) but it’s normally very relaxed and low key. The closer we get to Christmas, the wilder it seems to be with nap refusals, manic giggles and tears a bit too close to the surface.
The baby wakes, I go for bedtime cuddles… an hour later I’m able to carry on what I was doing. I love our days together but everything does seem a bit fragmented at times, and my to do list is only ever half complete,
I’ve been trying to bring a bit of calm to the Christmas frenzy by making lots of our own decorations this year. Our new garden is a mass of ivy which I left to flower for late season pollen and much of this now is covered in the luscious looking purple berries which will be a nutritious treat for the birds in the lean months. I’d like to plant more holly as we only had enough for a few sprigs to sit on top of photo frames, but we had an abundance of fir and conifers to provide the materials for a festive garland for the stairs. I went a little over the top foraging this in the back garden with the eldest on the weekend, so I’ll need to make some kind of table centre piece to use it all at some point.
As well as our stair case garland from the garden, I made a scented garland while my oldest was painting. She was quite critical of how long it took and pointed out that she’d produced quite a prolific body of work while I was stringing dried orange slices onto garden twine (she insisted that the limes were dried kiwi fruit). I really enjoyed making this and might try drying my own oranges next year, they are slightly sticky but smell so Christmassy with the cinnamon sticks. It’s not the most polished creation ever, but fills a gap above the fireplace where I want to get just the right mirror but have yet to find one that’s on budget.
I’m planning to make some pomanders to decorate the Christmas dinner table on Christmas Eve Eve.