Thursday, June 13, 2019

Seattle Recycled Arts Festival

This past gorgeous sunny Saturday in Seattle, I decided to check out the Georgetown Carnival. It's a pretty sweet street fair, featuring vendors, food trucks, a main stage for musicians... I headed over because I had heard about a recycled fashion show. Turns out the fashion was just one part of a larger Seattle Recycled Arts Festival. They "define 'recycled art' as art created using at least 75% reclaimed materials", and their craft vendors and juried art made up a substantial part of the carnival. The festival is one day only, but the featured artisans below can be found online or at other shows year-round.

Some of the highlights:

Fashion Show (Pardon my low photo quality. I wasn't as close as I wanted to be!)

This stunning crochet dress made from reclaimed laces by Kim McCormick of Kimmi Designs. In addition to her Etsy store, you can find her work @KimmiDesigns on Facebook or Instagram, and at Pretty Parlor on Cap Hill in Seattle.

This tank made from a purse and wrap skirt made from a *shower curtain* by Staci Bernstein. Also @spellcasteraggiev on Instagram.

Top and pants also by Staci Bernstein. 

Dress from vintage tees by Edie Everette

Artisan Booths

Upcycled yard art by Simply Quirky Yard Art. Bonus points to Julie and Carline for sending my purchase home in a reusable shopping bag. The piece I brought home above, and a sampling of their other pieces below.

Jewelry made from recycled chandelier crystals by Capable Father. Also @capablefather on FB and Instagram. I love the green and gold necklace I brought home (pictured at bottom) and the other red and white pendants on display (top). The colors? These are "handmade papers [he sources] from a women's cooperative in Nepal that uses sustainable non-tree methods".

At $45 for the yard art and $35 for the necklace, you would pay similar prices for commercially-produced alternates, but I was happy to support small businesses using upcycled materials.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Thoughtful Threds

Today's theme is green, green, green!!

Green: eco conscious shopping
Green: great color, I look awesome in it. ;)
Green: $$$

So, I was feeling like buying some new clothes. I'm in a mission: I need more green. Someone on TV or at work or something was wearing green, and it stuck in my mind. And when I'm on a mission, I gotta go online. That brings us to ThredUp, one of my favorite online thift shops.

I get on the site and learn about this Choose Used partnership they're doing with Olivia Wilde and Conscious Commerce. They take second-hand tops and screen-print phrases on them that draw attention to good choices like:

  • I wear used clothes.
  • Thank you for choosing used.
  • It takes 700 gallons of water to make one new t-shirt. (
10% goes to their circular fashion fund.

I chose one shirt from the Choose Used campaign (in mint!), and a green tee with pockets, and a green sweater for this fall.

I love that the confirmation email tallies up my savings for me: spent $56.78 and saved $100.22. I also love that in the past years, they've improved their packaging to remove plastic. It came in a simple cardboard mailer and tissue.

Meanwhile, as I'm composing this post, I run into my friend Kim A. She's just come from dinner with her friends at a nearby restaurant, and one of her friends brought tupperware for the leftovers! No disposable take-out containers, for the win!

Overall, great evening: I saved 64% on some second-hand clothes in like-new condition, one of which has a great conversation starter on it, and saw a friend making positive steps of her own.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Mindful Mopping

I absolutely love the convenience of my Swiffer but don't love the single-use pads.

It was time to try a DIY replacement, but so often I haven't posted DIY cleaners because they are complicated or not super effective. Then I came across this recipe from Housewife How-To's, and it's just 5 ingredients that I already have at home: 2 cups water, 1/4 cup alcohol, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/8 tsp dishsoap, and 5 drops essential oils (optional).

Katie of Housewife How-To's warns not to use dishsoap with lotion or castille soap, because it will alter the effectiveness and leave streaks. She also wrote this recipe for a mop or Swiffer Wet Jet, but I tried it with a regular Swiffer.

Important note: if you are a pet owner, do your research about what essential oils are safe around your pets. I'm reading too many stories about pets getting sick from just breathing around diffusers. I chose lavender for this batch.

Simply mix all ingredients (I used an old peanut butter jar, which I'll use to store the leftovers).

Then, I replace the Swiffer pad with an old towel or t-shirt. This one was almost the right size, so I didn't even alter it, but you cut cut your fabric to size and finish the edges if you prefer. Tuck the edges into the same holes you would the Swiffer pad, and you're ready to go!

Mop your floor and be prepared for *how effective* it is. (Gross!)

Once you're done, you can throw your mopping cloths in the regular wash.

This method is a winner for a few reasons:

  • You get more use out of retired fabric.
  • You don't use any more single use pads.
  • The cleaner is very cost-effective, costing under $1 for 22 ounces of fluid. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Intentional Shopping

This month alone, I saved almost $500 thrift shopping, primarily on designer shoes.

I don't have any magic tricks. I don't know of any hidden boutique shops, or have complex maps of which shops have discounts on which days. What I have done is build shopping into my regular routine, which takes the pressure off any one outing. We're pretty fortunate in the northwest, that second-hand stores are almost as plentiful as coffee shops.

First step: identify shops that are along your routes to other activities. For me this looks like one near my work (fun lunch break anyone?), two near my home, and three near my regular girl's night. By having these already identified, it's easy to just swing in for 15 minutes on the way to grocery shopping or if traffic was better than expected to girl's night.

Next: have a few items that are on your "list". Three categories I always shop for:
  • Need: Jeans. Seriously, love thrift shops for jeans, where I'll see many brands and fits side by side. 
  • Fun: Shoes. I love variety for my shoes, so second-hand is great for something I want to rotate quickly.
  • Non-urgent wishlist item: Tiki bar decor for work. This is something that if I see it, cool, but there's no pressing deadline, and I'd rather save the $ than buy new. 
Between building the stores into my routine and having a shopping list, it becomes habit. For me, this is about 30 minutes per week, and I've almost entirely eliminated "regular" shopping.

Here's the score for this month:

These silver ballet-inspired Taryn Rose wedges. Compare at $150 new, paid $11.

These fierce Club Monaco studded flats. $250 new, paid $15.

This Next blouse. Compare at £24 ($31), paid $10.

These Style & Co skinny jeans. $49 new, paid $3.

These Dana Buchman trouser cut jeans. $48 new, paid $3.25.

Overall, I would have paid $528 for these 5 items new. Instead, I paid $42.25 for like-new condition, a $485.75 savings.

What steps can you take to make shopping second-hand... second nature?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Earth Day Bingo

Hi Friends!

It's Earth Month - with that we have Earth Day coming up on Monday, April 22nd, and many events being observed on the nearest weekend, this Saturday, April 20th.

Following is our Earth Day Bingo card (click for a larger version), featuring 25 easy ideas for you to get involved this month.

For more information on a few of these topics we've covered:
Cancel junk mail through
Shop locally-made or recycled-content products
Mend a clothing item
Make the most of a makeup item by getting to the bottom of the tube
Complete a house project using a borrowed tool
Plant a seed or buy a houseplant

If you complete all items in "B", congrats, you are a Reuse Champion.
If you complete all items in "I", you are an Active Advocate.
If you complete all items in "N", you are a Supporter through Shopping.
If you complete all items in "G", you are a Defender through DIY.
If you complete all items in "O", you are Household Hero and Commute Conqueror.

*Here are just some of the Earth Day events going on in the PNW:

4/20 Beach Cleanup - Multiple Locations! (WA Coast)
4/20 9am Forest Restoration Genessee Park (Seattle)
4/20 9am Earth Day Plogging (Seattle)
4/20 9am Earth Day Plogging (Portland)
4/20 9am Battery Recycling Event (Everett)
4/20 9am Earth Day Cleanup Point Defiance (Tacoma)
4/20 10am Earth Day Refill Pop-Up! (Redmond)
4/20 10am Alberta Street Cleanup (Portland)
4/20 10:30am Earth Day Art Project (Kids) (Kent)
4/20 11am Earth and Arbor Day Festival (Duvall)
4/20 11am Recycled Super Hero Day (Everett)
4/20 11am Earth Day Family Nature Walk (Carnation)
4/20 12noon Earth Day Art Making + Supply Swap (Kirkland)
4/20 1pm Solar Power Celebration  (Tualatin)

4/21 7pm Craft and Drink - Earth Day Edition (Portland)

4/22 9:30am Athleta Earth Day Discount (Bellevue)
4/22 10am Earth Day Restoration in Jose Rizal Park (Seattle)
4/22 10am Tacoma Public Utilities Free Earth Day Giveaways (Tacoma)

4/22 5pm Earth Day Celebration: Workshop and Book Signing (Redmond)
4/27 10am Burke Gilman Trail Cleanup (Seattle)

How will you celebrate this Earth Day or Earth Month?

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Don't Cry Over Spilled Eyeshadow

Have you ever dropped an eyeshadow, and picked it up, just to see it shattered and crumbly inside the lid? Or get almost down to the bottom of one and want to get the most of it?

It's easy to re-form powdery makeup! This will work for powder, blush, bronzer, etc. There are numerous tutorials online, ex:
If It Works for Lauren Conrad... 
Or If You Prefer A Video

and I decided to test it out for myself:

Here I have two eyeshadow palettes, where I'm down to the bottom on the lightest shade of each. It's definitely gonna be hard to get into the edges with those little applicators. The colors are both in the same family, so I think it might work to just mix them together.

If the whole pan isn't already crumbled, break up any solid pieces. Here I'm using a clean butter knife; toothpicks will also do a good job.

Next, I poured the makeup from both palettes into a small bowl for mixing. I added this step because I'm wanted to thoroughly mix the two colors, but if you're just repairing a single color, you can do it right in the pan. All you need to do here is add a few drops of rubbing alcohol. Use a small spray bottle or eyedropper to avoid pouring too much in.

Mix until smooth. It should be thick, at least toothpaste consistency. Then spread back into the pan.

Press down on the surface of makeup with a firm object for a couple seconds. For round containers, some tutorials recommend a coin; for this small square pan, I just wrapped my finger in a tissue. This will compress the powder back into a solid cake.

Allow to dry. Most tutorials are saying wait 24 hours. Mine dried within about 3 hours. What you're looking for is a nice powder finish like when the eyeshadow was new. Voila! Full pan of light shadow!

No more needing to throw away half your eyeshadow!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Spotlight - Ocean Sole

I'm recently joined this fun Facebook group that shows off interesting thrift store finds, and was amazed to see a colorful lion (like the ones pictured below!) that the owner described as being made from "some type of foam". I recognized the lion from some cool videos I had seen last year and did a quick search to see if I could learn more.

The company is called Ocean Sole, and believe it or not, these colorful creations are made out of flip-flops! Ocean Sole was founded by Julie Church, who noticed children making toys out of washed up flip-flops on the beach, and recognized the potential for families to make income from the sandals, while also having a positive environmental impact.

Ocean Sole is providing:

  • full time income to 100 Kenyans
  • some income for 1000 Kenyans
  • education initiatives benefiting 10,000 
  • recycling of 750,000 flip-flops

The sandals are collected, washed, melded together, then hand-carved, sanded, and finished. Check out this short video on the process:

I'm just loving how creative these creatures are, and they seem like a fun gift for the animal lover or conservationist in your life. The small sculptures average about 6" in the largest dimension and $23-29, and the medium are about 11" and $42-49. (Feeling bold and have a large space? The XL giraffe is 54" tall and $675!)

For more information, or to support them, check out the original website here, or the US shopping site here.