Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I love craft fairs because...

before hat

after hat

...I can get a custom hat made in my favorite color in an hour! I went to the Bust Craftacular this weekend and found a knitted hat style that I loved. But there wasn't a good color for me. So this lovely Alison lady offered to knit one up while I shopped! While I shopped! I came back an hour later and, voila! Brand spankin' new hat. Made just for me. With cute little rhinestones on the side.

I also love to talk to the people that make the things that I purchase. We are often so far removed from what we buy that it doesn't really seem as if someone actually handmade things. When I worked at a toy company the activity book pages were still being hand-collated overseas because it was cheaper to do it that way. Hey at least it gives people a job. We're called consumers for a reason. We consume so much and then toss it away without a second thought. But I bet if you had hand-collated that SpongeBob activity book and then hand-glued on the cover, you'd color up and down every single page. And then turn it over and color the back side.

I love to hear the stories behind my purchases. Like that my vintage wallpaper necklace was made from wallpaper swatch books bought at garage sales. And the hand lotion was brewed up in someone's basement in North Jersey. And the lavender sachets were made from leftover scraps from a friend's screenprinting project. We all know how much I loves scraps of things.

Just as I feel that garbage has feelings, too, so do the products and clothes that we surround ourselves with and the gifts that we give others. There's always a story and it's way more interesting to know the stories which will make us more attached to our goods. And make people think twice before discarding something. Buying fewer, more meaningful objects makes for less garbage. Now that's an interesting concept.

Craft fairs = a celebration of handmade things and their stories. Yay that!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

RePlay ReParty!

This weekend I held the second annual RePlayGround holiday party. And friends of RePlayGround stopped by to celebrate a great year in recycling! Nothing makes me happier than when my not-so-crafty friends get excited about recycling projects. And since no party is complete without a DIY recycling project, we colored and melted piles of #6 plastic into shrinky dinks in true recycled style.

We have lots to celebrate! This year brought the ReMake It recycling kits to store shelves. They've made lots of nice appearances in places like the NYTimes, Treehugger, and Core77. We've helped create oodles of new products for our fellow garbage-loving TerraCycle folks. Our eco-events are taking off and big corporate sponsorts like Pepsi are starting to take notice and get in on the green. There was a nice segment over at the brand new Planet Green network.

And best of all, we got to celebrate with all of our friends that have helped make this year great! Plus, the beer was generously sponsored by the Brooklyn Brewery. That really helped with the celebrating, too.

Friday, December 12, 2008

ReMake It with More Hip than Hippie

The More Hip than Hippie podcasters Dori and Val called me up this week and asked me a few questions about my ReMake It kits. You can listen here at podcast #198. Their eco-funny podast is so much more than granola and tofu. It's beer and chocolate and green tips that won't make you feel guilty about what you don't do. It'll make you feel good on the small green things that you can do.

And if you're listening and that recycling urge comes over you, be sure to visit their store at Greenfeet.com and pick up your favorite ReMake It kit.

Yay Hipsters!

Friday, December 5, 2008

recycle, regift!

It's gift giving season and with the economy on the downswing, there's no better time to save some dough and make your gifts this year.

Wool sweaters work great for reuse projects, like this scarf and potholder project I wrote up for Craft Magazine.

Grab your brother's old football jersey and make a reusable tote bag - which will be a perfect tie-in to your New Year's resolution to use fewer plastic bags.

Then, kick back with a local brew and when you're done, turn the glass bottle into a beaded vase.

Or simply regift something that you aren't using anyway. It'll save time and money and gives you an incentive to clean out the closet. See, this recession thing isn't all bad. It makes us more resourceful.

Regifting reminds me of a holiday at home years ago when my mom was getting our stockings ready on Christmas Eve. She realized that while she had plenty of gifts for my dad, she didn't have many stocking stuffers. Stores were closed, so my brother and I excitedly went on a scavenger hunt through the house to see what we could come up with. We found a few filler items, but the most memorable was a pair of thick wool socks we found buried at the bottom of my dad's sock drawer. And, bonus, they still had the tags on them! My mom promptly stuck the socks into my dad's stocking. On Christmas morning when my dad pulled the socks out, he genuinely exclaimed, "I needed some good wool socks! Thanks!" My brother and I exploded into a fit of giggles, but we were specifically instructed not to tell where they came from. Since my brother and I often exploded into giggles, my dad didn't think much of it. He was just happy with his new socks.