Category: Eco-friendly

Don’t Throw it Out, Fix it: Kids’ Velcro Shoes and Snap Fasteners

Instead of buying new all the time, throwing out the old or the broken, try fixing things instead.

Last April, I participated in an event called, April Stash Bust.  The idea behind this event was to use what you had, instead of buying new, for the entire month of April, in honor of Earth Day.  I gladly participated in this event because I believe in being a wise consumers for the sake of our planet.  Here is a fun example of where I re-purposed an old mini-skirt into a reversible bag.

Just this week, instead of going out and buying Monet a new pair of shoes, I fixed her old shoes.  These shoes were hand-be-downs from my sisters two girls.  They are adorable, but they would never stay on Monet’s feet because the velcro was worn out.  Along with that, it seems Monet always wants to taker her velcro shoes off and I wanted these babies to stay on, so when I went to fix them, I used snap fasteners instead of velcro.

Here are the shoes beforehand:

Don't Throw it Out, Fix it: Kids' Velcro Shoes and Snap Fasteners

First, I removed the old velcro.

Don't Throw it Out, Fix it: Kids' Velcro Shoes and Snap Fasteners

Then, I followed the directions on the back of the  Dritz Snap Fastener Easy Attachment Kit box.

Don't Throw it Out, Fix it: Kids' Velcro Shoes and Snap Fasteners

Presto, the shoes are fixed.  They now stay on my daughters feet, and are her favorite shoes and are our favorite shoes.

Don't Throw it Out, Fix it: Kids' Velcro Shoes and Snap Fasteners

Don't Throw it Out, Fix it: Kids' Velcro Shoes and Snap Fasteners

So remember, instead of buying new all the time, throwing out the old or the broken, try fixing things instead.

A Heartmade Eco-Holiday Contest

Have you heard about the eco-holiday contest going on over at Heartmade, inspired by the lovely Mayi Carles?  Today is the last day to submit work.  Check it out.

hearmade's eco-holiday contest

I decided to submit a few items --both inspired by applique and Christmas.

Growing up, my grandmother whom I’m very close to, never wasted anything.  For example, I have vivid memories of her putting water into a basically empty ketchup bottle where she would shake it around and dump it into a pot of soup she was cooking on the stove.  Wasting was not an option.  And since I lived with my grandmother for awhile, and grew up around her after we moved out, I believe her ability to use every last drop has been past down to me.  This is why I love applique –applique allows me to use all the scraps of fabric I collect over time, instead of throwing them away.

The print below for example, was made entirely out of scrap fabric, scrap binding, scrap ribbon, buttons, and embroidery thread.  And the Christmas tree was made from re-purposed felt, originally a sweater with moth holes from my wardrobe.

christmas machine applique scene

I made this holiday applique scene awhile back, as I was getting ready for the "A Crafty Holiday" blog hop event.

Christmas machine applique pillow

I then turned the print into a pillow for my mother, again using scraps I had left over from quilting.

Christmas machine applique pillowChristmas machine applique pillow

Lastly, I used scrap fabric to make name tags, putting the names of all the grandchildren in my immediate family on the presents, and the pillow insert was made using scrap batting and scrap polly-fill.

sewn paper and fabric cards

I also made a few Holiday cards, again using scrap paper, buttons, and fabric.

I hope this inspires you to save your scrap fabric in the future.  Any piece of ribbon or fabric, bigger than an inch, get’s saved in my studio.  Look at the tiny presents, with their tiny ribbons –really, every last drop can be used, just like my grandmother use to do.

Scrappy Projects

I’m a firm believer in saving and using scraps, even though it can sometimes become overwhelming.  I put up with the chaos it creates because I believe in being resourceful and “green”.  Lately, all my scrap-saving has really come in handy –I’ve been busting through my scrappy piles as I prepare for The Beehive Bazaar.  Do you want to see?

machine applique felt flower

A machine applique flower made from old sweaters.

applique flower made from an old skirt

A flower made from an old skirt, scraps of tulle, and an old sweater.

leftover batting

A throw pillow insert made with leftover quilt batting and poly-fill.

pot holders made from scraps

Potholders made with leftover fabric and binding scraps.

The potholder idea was inspired by Camille Roskelley, after taking her Retro Kitchen class at The Creative Connections Conference.  Below are my piles of coordinated scrap fabrics and scrap binding.

Are you working on any “scrappy” projects?

To Market, To Market

We prefer quality over quantity here at The Artists’ House.   It’s something that I am always trying to be more aware of, as hard as it is. This motto goes beyond things, it’s also a motto we follow very strictly when dealing with what goes inside our bodies. We strive to buy quality foods that may cost more, but in the long run nourishes our bodies on a deeper level.

My grandfather grew up farming in Southern Illinois. In the late 70’s an article featuring his organic farm was published in the National Geographic magazine. Unfortunately, my grandfather was a bit ahead of his time and couldn’t make ends meet; as a result he lost the farm. While this was very difficult on my family, to this day, my grandparents garden, growing over 50% of their own food, as well as selling to the local grocery stores. Because I was so close with them, I too grew up with my hands in the dirt. I am genuinely passionate about the importance of supporting local farmers.

(Note:  If you haven’t read any of Michael Pollan’s books and you would like to learn more about the food you consume, I highly recommend giving them a read.  These two books changed my family’s eating habits and made us more aware of little changes that really go a long way.)

And so today I’m going to share just a few tips, recipes, and personal stories with you concerning “quality food”…

Great ways to get quality food:
1.  Grow your own food
2.  Buy from local farmers
3.  Shop organic when you can

Grow your own food…

Josh and I love gardening; watching a seed turn into a beautiful plant that produces food, that we can then make wonderful meals from. It’s been a bit rainy and cold here the past couple days and so Josh made this soup yesterday afternoon, and can I just say it was AMAZING!  The best Tom Ka Gai soup I’ve ever had!  The snow peas, cilantro, and green onions came from our garden; unfortunately our carrots aren’t big enough yet.
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Thai Tom Ka Gai Soup Recipe:
– 3 cups chicken stock
– 3 cloves minced garlic
– 2 cans (13.5 oz. each) coconut milk
– 4 hand torn karrif lime leaves
– 3 tbs fish sauce
– 1-2 tbs hot chili sauce
– 1 tbs mirin (rice wine vinegar) substitute with white wine vinegar or omit if needed
– 2 tbs grated lemongrass (about 1/2 stalk)
– 1 can bamboo shoots
– 4-5 slices of ginger root (about 4 tbs) (traditional recipes use galangal root if you can find it)
– 1 lb organic diced chicken (tofu is a great substitute)
– 3 carrots sliced lengthwise in 2-3 inch lengths
– 4 green onions diced
– 2 cups snow peas
– juice of 2 limes
– 8-12 oz. thin rice noodles (optional)
– 4 tbs cilantro
(Note: we keep lemongrass, karrif lime leaves, and ginger in our freezer at all times)

Combine chicken stock and garlic in large sauce pan and heat until boiling.  Add next 8 ingredients, through ginger root, and return to a gentle boil for about 5 minutes.

Add chicken, carrots, green onions, and snow peas.  Return to a gentle boil and cook until the chicken is cooked thoroughly, about 7-10 minutes.  Add lime juice and rice noodles and cook until noodles become soft.  Garnish with fresh cilantro to taste.

Thai Tom Ka Gai Soup Recipe

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Buy from local farmers…

Our favorite nightly read these days is “To Market, To Market” by Anne Miranda.  Going to the local farmer’s market is a great family activity.  Or why not consider signing up with CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  A lot of CSA programs even offer quality meats and cheeses.  And when eating out, support local restaurants that buy from local farmers.

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Shop organic when you can…

Since organic food is expensive and sometimes hard to find, when in doubt I recommend following what’s called “The Dirty Dozen”.

Remember that is isn’t an all or nothing situation.  I encourage you to start small and do what you can, for the good of your taste-buds, your body, our farmers, and our mother-earth.

Free Gift Certificate

Don’t forget about our GIVEAWAY.  The prize is a wonderful $40 gift certificate. 
You can read about the giveaway and enter to win here…
 My favorite spot to search has been the All Modern Eco-Friendly Section.  Look what I found this morning…
And if you win you could support amazing artists like this one…
Tord Boontje and Emma WoffendenSince its launch, the tranSglass Double Vase has become one of Artecnica’s best-selling items. The unique design of this double vase almost resembles an hourglass with the seperate top and bottom areadistinction. With its recycled origins and sleek, fluid design, tranSglass conveys a positive attitude towards the environment, affirmed as an Artecnica Design With Conscience project.
With the help of Aid to Artisans, a non-profit organization providing assistance to artisans worldwide, Artecnica collaborated with Guatemalan craftsmen to bring Emma Woffenden and Tord Boontje’s designs to the market. Combining old-world craftsmanship and sophisticated design, each tranSglass vessel is a unique, one-of-a-kind piece. tranSglass is included in the permanent collection of MoMA New York. 

Designed by: Emma Woffenden & Tord Boontje

Order with Confidence:
Artecnica’s mission is to elevate the purpose and value of everyday objects by using design to enchant, inspire and transform through the powerful tools of art and technology. Enchant – the unusual aesthetics of the object visually captivate the eye of the viewer; Inspire – an emotional attachment to the object develops while experiencing awe and stimulation, filling the heart; and Transform – excited and involved, the viewer’s intellectual analysis evolves attitudes toward living environments, and ultimately life itself, intertwining the brain. Art represents the most personal expression of our design language, technology our unique application of materials, fabrication methods and techniques.

Artecnica’s initial focus was on visual excitement, artistic expression and use of exciting shapes and colors. The “eye” was king. As Artecnica grew, the reward of pure visual excitement was joined by intense commitment to design. They then started traveling the world, where they began exploring and sharing experiences. Specialized vendors were selected and collaborations with designers, merchants and craftsmen had begun. This allowed Artecnica to explore new materials experimentally and spontaneously.


Turning an Old Skirt Into a Reversible Bag – April Stash Bust Continues

My sister Jene’ had a birthday eleven days ago, and finally this weekend I got to making her gift.  I know what you’re thinking.  Better late then never though, right?  And don’t worry, I don’t think she reads the blog, so our secret is still safe.

Before starting Jene’s project, I first had to come up with an idea.  And can I just stop here for a moment and say that I’m really enjoying the “April Stash Bust” this month.  Every time I go through my drawers of fabric and supplies, to coordinate a project, stories flood out of those drawers and overwhelm me with wonderful memories.  It seems each piece of fabric has a story behind it.  What a beautiful thing.  Unexpectedly, this has been my favorite part of the “bust” so far.

While collecting supplies for Jene’s gift, I opened one of my drawers where I keep old clothes that I hope to re-purpose one day. Old sweaters, dresses, skirts, shirts of Josh’s –and out of that drawer jumped a small, black, velvet miniskirt with tassels.  I picked this hot little number up at a clothing-swap a few months back.  A good friend of mine has these clothing swaps tri-annually where she invites a bunch of great woman that she knows from all areas of her life.  We all gather at her house and dump out our unwanted clothes in multiple rooms.  From there we basically drink wine, eat good food, and go treasure hunting among all the unwanted items.  And at the end of the night, we bag up all the leftovers and bring them to a Goodwill.  During this stage, I usually salvage once more through the items to see if any might inspire a future sewing project.  Can you believe no one wanted this skirt?

Here’s the miniskirt I was hoping to repurpose for Jene’s gift.
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(Note:  I apologize for the poor quality of this picture.  My husband took it and when I asked him to make sure the picture was good and focused, well, he must of been watching basketball or something.)
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Along with this miniskirt, I used some…
fancy pink and black fabric I had planned to use to make a diaper bag last year but never did, a vintage button, and other bag making supplies I had hiding in my stash (ribbon, felt interfacing, handle clips, etc.)
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While I sipped my wine, sewed, and though about all the lovely woman who attended the last clothing-swap, soon this useless skirt, once again, had a beautiful purpose.

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Note:  This bag is reversible.  Above you see the one side, and below the other.
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I wanted to use the tassels for something else, other than tassels, for reasons I don’t think I necessarily need to explain.  I created this flower out of them and…
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… the loops for the handle.
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And so the skirt lives on, still a hot little number!

Etsy Direction Eco-Friendly Style

Today we’re going to do our Etsy Direction, eco-friendly style. Check out these three great products…


I love old windows. My husband and I are always saving them and hoping to use them for something creative. In the past, we used them in the garden. We put them on hinges and they served as a little green house for our sensitive seedlings. Spring can be rough here in Utah and the windows are both practical and beautiful used in that setting.

I love what this artist has done, turning old windows into chalk boards.

And look at this bird feeder. I bet the sun plays nicely off this in the summer time.

A friend of mine has glasses like these. I always ooh and ah over them in the summer time. They are just gorgeous in a summer meal time setting. Heck, there gorgeous inside too.

All of these products have me craving summer time.

I’m Busting My Stash Up This Month and Going Green

Hey look, that’s me.  What am I wearing?  Yikes!  This was my exact thought the other day when I walked past a mirror.  Nine months ago I had a baby, and since my pregnancy weight has come off, all my clothes have been too big; they look terribly frumpy on me.  I could of course run out to the stores and buy more clothes, I do love to shop, but this month I’m saying no and I’m taking a challenge. This month, I’m making a vow to think about our lovely earth more.  Instead of always responding to my needs by buying, I want to further instill in myself good habits; I’m going to eat, think, craft, and execute, on a consistent basis, words like reuse, organic, reduce, re-purpose, and recycle!
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What started all this?  Scoutie Girl, along with some other amazing bloggers!  They have introduced a challenge called April Stash Bust“.  The challenge they put out there is this, all crafters, big and small, instead of buying new supplies this month, only use what supplies you have stashed away.  I’m taking this vow as an artists, and also applying this idea to my personal life.  I’m not a wasteful person by any means, yet at the same time I think we all have room for improvement when it comes to really important issues like this.
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So let’s get back to my problem.  Remember, the problem with the frumpy sweater?  With just a little bit of work, I can make this sweater adorable.  Here’s what I did…
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Step 1:  I added a machine applique flower to the front of the sweater.
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Step 2:  I pinned the sweater to fit.
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Step 3:  I cut off the buttons and sewed where I pinned, altering the sweater.
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Step 4:  I cut out the excess sweater material.
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That was it.  It only took about 30 minutes.  What do you think of the results?
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Please join me and make a statement to our Earth this month.  What could you do, big or small, to help lessen your impact?
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