Tuesday, 25 November 2014

It's not all rubbish

Hello. Question - who is a wombler and who is a dumper? Who saves things in the hope that they will come in useful for something at a later date, or who tosses things straight into the bin because they do not care where it came from or where it will end up? How do you know what is rubbish and what has value?

Some of you may have noticed a list at the bottom of my blog of free things that I have found, or been given, or I have asked for, if you have scrolled down that far. I started this list when I started the blog. but I have stopped adding to it because it was becoming a mammoth task to itemize every piece which came into my possession. I still continue to collect free stuff, either for my own use or to pass it on. I find it incredibly amazing that people regard it OK to chuck perfectly usable items in the bin, or a skip, or in the hedgerow if they can't be bothered to dispose of it through the correct channels.

So what's on my found list? Two small conifer plants found in a rubbish bin - with a bit of TLC they are thriving. Three plastic crates found in the Takeaway bin - they are in my shed with small items stored in them. An orange plastic pumpkin bucket - given to a small child for building sandcastles on the beach. Yellow plastic ball - given to a dog to play with. Three pallets, I asked for them, they would have been chucked. And so it goes on. There is loads of free stuff out there, you just have to keep your ears and eyes open.

You all know my stance on skip diving, if I see something I want I will ask for it. I have no shame in getting in there and rescuing useful items, I don't care if anyone looks at me in disgust. I am trying to do my bit for the planet, my conscience is clear. If I can find something free then I don't have to buy it, and if I don't want it I will endeavour to give it away. And while I am on the subject of buying, I wouldn't care if most of the shops on the High Street were charity shops. All I need are the discount stores where I can get cheaper human food, household cleaners and toiletries, and pet food. All the clothes shops, shoe shops, jewelers, fancy goods and frivolous non essential items and such like, I wouldn't miss them one iota if they disappeared. No Siree. I won't be going to the new out of town Marks and Sparks which has just opened opposite Tesco, they haven't got anything I need. I know that without even looking. The new Debenhams next door won't see me crossing their threshold either.

You might have seen pictures in the media of people in third world countries sorting through mountains of rubbish, separating plastics and metals etc, that is how they make their living. I can see that in the future this kind of recycling will be taking place here, where every single piece of rubbish will be sorted, graded and used as raw materials to make something new. Bring it on I say, we cannot carry on taking from this earth, there will come a point where we have stripped the land bare of all it has to offer, only then will people wake up to re using and re cycling on a massive scale. They will have to because there will be nothing new left to buy.

Have a look at this article which appeared in The Big Issue, about turning rubbish into art at the Science Museum. Then read more about the exhibition on the Science Museum web site, and watch the video. It looked very interesting, sadly it has finished now.

So, I offer you this challenge. Ok, so you can afford to buy new, but if you have a hankering to go to the shops for something other than food or personal essentials, think before you make that trip. Put it off for 24 hours and think about a plan B. Can you get it second hand? Will you find it at a car boot sale or a charity shop. Have a look on the free web sites, Freecycle and Freegle, is someone giving one away? Look in the small ads in the shop windows or local newspapers. Any jumble sales in your area? Mention it to your friends, have they got one they want to pass on?

When you are getting your presents together for Christmas look for toys in charity shops and car boot sales. Think small gifts, set a limit, can you make something? When you are getting your garden ready for veg growing don't go to the garden centre and splash out on tools, wood for the raised beds, etc, you can buy spades, forks, rakes, at a car boot sale, and get wood out of skips and back doors of DIY stores. Always ask before taking. When you want to do a bit of sewing, don't go to a shop and buy fabric, cotton etc, go to a charity shop and look along the garment rails for the colours you need. Re cycle unwanted clothes, make them into something new. Look in your own wardrobe, is there anything in there that you don't wear any more. Get a buzz out of your efforts, be proud that you made something with your own hands, whether it be a complicated piece of embroidery, or running up a shopping bag on a machine.

Here is something I knocked up before breakfast this morning, using materials that people have given me. Six small pieces of pink felt, 3.5 cm square. Decorate each one with gold and purple sequins.


Sew them all together with a running stitch, making a box with a lid. I used one strand of purple embroidery silk for the sequins and two strands to sew it together. You can use any colours you like.

Before you sew the last seam stuff it with scraps of any soft fabric you have, and attach a matching ribbon in the last corner with a few stitches. There you have a dinky Christmas tree decoration. I am going to make some more with different colours, I tried this one to see if it would work, and it does. You could make them bigger if you have a big tree, or smaller for a table decoration. You could make pyramids. You could sew beads, ribbon, or lace on them, any embelishment you like.

Have fun. I have things to do before sewing class tonight. Catch up with you tomorrow. Toodle pip.

29 comments:

  1. Love it, what a good way to use up tiny bits of felt :-)

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  2. I do not hoard things but I can find a use for something I will and I do like stuff for free, I read the thread about recyling and reusing you added to on money saving expert it was great, would love to see more of this on your blog, you are so inspirational x

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  3. This is a fantastic post that everyone should read.

    I am a big fan of church rummage sales. I have bought so many really beautiful things for my home for .25 or .50.

    My very best free find was about 15 years ago. In the dumpster (what I think you call a skip) near my house was a five-foot, carpeted cat castle in perfect condition, the type that sells for $150 in a pet store. It was too heavy for me to get from the dumpster so I asked a neighbor to help me. You cannot imagine how thrilled I was to get this for my cat. I now have a second cat who continues to enjoy this "castle." What a shame it would have been if this item had gone into the landfill.

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  4. A friend of mine made felt pyramid Christmas tree decorations like this and sent them out to friends instead of Christmas cards.

    I was dog walking for some people and noticed a double raised feeding bowl dog stand sitting out in the garden getting rusty. It was just what I was looking for so I made them an offer and they gave it to me for nothing. Still using it several years later. People often give us second hand clothes and other items as they know we will happily accept them. Likewise, I pass on our son's outgrown clothes to other families in the village.

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  5. As a Kindergarten teacher, I just thought of making soft, noiseless dice by putting the sequins on in dice patterns.

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  6. I don't find lots of good things here at the thrift shop, a few but not a lot.
    I do my best however, to recycle all that I can
    It's a lot of hard work, but many times over, I have been blessed because of it.
    I enjoyed your post!

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  7. Excellent post!
    If you have not seen it before this is a wonderful site. The lady lives just north of our border in B.C. Not only does she recycle junk but she makes it look beautiful. Her whole house is furnished with cast offs!
    http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

    JanF

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  8. Our neighbours recently threw out a metal frame belonging to a single bed. My partner rescued it, cut it to shape, painted it black, welded it and finally put brackets/bolts etc onto it. The old car is now wearing a new roof rack crafted from a thrown out bedframe. A lot of household stuff gets dumped round here in the back alleys -mostly junk though. Its a real eyesore.

    Elaine, Oldham.

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  9. I'm a dumper! I can't cope with hoarding things, I hate clutter and mess, I get rid of everything! I do, however, always take things to charity shops as I don't like putting anything in the bin! Those felt decorations are brilliant - great use of scraps and they'll look great on a tree!

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  10. I am a womble and rather proud of it. I brought home one of those discs that you use in the trolley at the weekend that I found had been dropped. My simple approach is look at home to see what I've got first then freecycle and then charity shops. I rarely buy new and rarely waste anything. Today I've been making peg stars and using ribbons that I've taken off cards, saved from presents, crackers and clothes....they'll go on my Christmas tree. I'm careful with what I choose and most people have absolutely no idea this is how I live my life! Arilx

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  11. 99.9% of everything in our home belonged to someone else first and that includes the cats!
    xxx

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  12. Timely thoughts and questions on your excellent post.I think it's vital to the planet and all God's creatures to care and be conscious of what we consume and throw away.I try to apply the priciples of thrift, recycling, repurposing every day, in small and large ways.It can be great fun, challenging and fullfilling and a great way to live.Your found, given or asked for list is an eyeopener for many I'm sure. Very inspiring.Have a good one, Destemona.

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  13. My Dad found a working TV in a skip!

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  14. A bit of a hoarder really, I don't seem to be able to throw anything away that might have value or might come in useful some day.

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  15. Just forgot to say your hand made mini felt ornaments are lovely. Bye again, Destemona

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  16. You could put a couple of tiny tinkling bells (those that are at the bottom of one of your containers of craft materials) to make jingle bells to hang on a doorknob or tie onto a gift package.

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  17. Excellent inspirational post Ilona.
    I have been a Womble for most of my adult life and it has saved me lots of money.
    Nice to be reminded though, good to have the ethic reinforced.
    Love the felt ornaments.
    Pam in TX.xx

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  18. I love this post! I'll never be in your league, but i'll keep trying! Although i shop mostly from the thrifts and buy food on sale, (No yellow stickers here!), our area only recycles paper. So, all of our cans, bottles, cardboard, everything else, goes in the trash. (I do have a compost pile in the Summer.) This makes me crazy!
    Love the ornaments! You're so clever!

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  19. A girl after my own heart, I hate waste.Just about everything in my house is second hand except my bedbase and mattress. The headboard came from a skip.
    I hate waste , even old shirts are saved for patchwork quilts.Jane x

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  20. The clips which hold my kitchen blinds (recycled) came from a skip. The builder in charge of the site asked what I was doing and when he found out, fished out the bits I wanted for me! If you only sewed one side of the final square on your cube, it would make a lovely special container for a small gift, like a pair of earrings,

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  21. I'm a bit of a wombler and a "ooo that will come in handy one day" sort of person. Love your little boxes, so pretty

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  22. Really GOOD Advice once again Young people need to follow your example and the world would be a far better place Kind Regards Lin

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  23. Practically everything I own is second hand! My favourite things are found things. :)

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  24. Once again you've come up trumps with you crafty inventions, I love this one and could see lots of these in different colours on a Christmas tree.
    Briony
    x

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  25. Those blocks would be perfect for an infant or toddler block set, ot for a special ed classroom for children with sound issues (crashing blocks ate too much stimulus for some kids) Terrific says the former preschool teacher in me.

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  26. I love seeing your crafts made from recycled materials. Quite an inspirational text today. I guess this "Lifestyle" is already second nature to me: I gave away a book to a neighbour today and picked up a pretty hairslide from the sidewalk. Last week I was given an almost new bookshelf and gave away a DVD. I like it when items stay in circulation :)

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  27. Im a wombler and have huge amounts of stuff which keeps me occupied whilst housebound looking after hubby. I would be bored without my stash. I had a great find the other day - a 4 piece wooden kitchen for my grandson's Christms gift. Hubby locks himself in the shed for an hour at a time and is sanding it down and repainting the doors. Of course I could have spent £100 or so on new set but this was heading for the bin at a playscheme until a friend rescued it for me. Im happy wombling for so many reasons but mainly to see Michaels face on Boxing day when he comes to play.

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  28. I love browsing thrift shops and charity shops. In the US we don't have as many and I haven't found anyplace that sells leftover commercial/industrial materials like you have the UK.

    I have found many things that I wanted but could not afford otherwise in charity shops. It makes me feel good to buy there because I know the money is used to help employ and train the disabled.

    P.S. Spray paint is my new best friend! It's amazing what you can transform with a can of spray paint.

    Gail in NH :)

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  29. OOOOH, I have a bag full of fleece snips and scraps. My friend suggested I take a look at your blog for a few ideas on how to use up the scraps..... I am so glad that she did. x Have a wonderful Christmas

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