Sunday, May 15, 2011

GreenStitch Episode 35 - So clean, so green

I never thought I'd have fun cleaning, but having good, green products and tools you've put some thought into make all the difference! Here's the episode.

Making attractive cleaning cloths couldn't be easier - two layers of flannel sheets, just serged together. I ask you, isn't a cheery red-and-white toile print nicer than grabbing old cut-up T-shirts for cleaning?

The handy cleaning belt won't win me any top prizes in a fashion show, that's for sure! Luckily, my dress form didn't complain. Above you can see a little of how the Velcro fits in, and how the various pockets accommodate an iPod or - in the case of the plastic-lined pouch - wads of gunk you run across in your cleaning adventures.

Check out this link for some great ideas on simple, green cleaning techniques. I'm amazed at how well they work. You can get baking soda in big bags at the big-box discount stores (yes, sometimes there are reasons to go there!) in the cleaning or swimming-pool supply area.

Monday, May 9, 2011

GreenStitch Episode 34 - A-thrifting we will go

My, I did ramble on this week, didn't I? It was fun to relax on the back porch (hope nobody minded the breeze in the microphone) and just chat with you. Here's the link to the episode.

For general amazing tips/observations/insights/perspective on the thrift shopping experience, go first to visit those fantastic Thrifty Chicks.

Now here's a recap of the official GreenStitch Top 14 Tips for Fabric Shopping at Thrift Stores:

1) Take all your measurements, along with measurements of anything around your house you might be dressing or decorating (like your dining room table). Keep all those measurements in a little book in your bag - along with a tape measure you'll take with you to the thrift store.

2) Check all fabric for comfort - brush it against your upper lip or your neck.

3) For the most generous yardage of flat fabric, go first to the linens area - for curtains, tablecloths, and more.

4) Men's shirts yield the best source of plaid fabric. Make your own terrific bias trim or binding!

5) Consider weight of fabric - thin and drapey is OK for gathered projects, but choose a heavier weave for things that will take more of a pounding. Don't be seduced by a lovely print or plaid if it's not the right weight for what you have in mind.

6) Don't forget that plus sizes and long sleeves yield a lot more usable fabric.

7) On the women's clothes racks - you'll find extra useable fabric in skirts, especially wrap styles.

8) If you're looking for flat fabric to repurpose out of deconstructed garments, remember that fitted women's clothing - with all the curved seams and darts typically involved - is often not the best choice.

9) Dresses, particularly in the plus size area, are often an excellent source for unusual buttons.

10) Need fastening hardware, D-rings, clips, etc.? Go for cargo pants, old purses, and thin nylon "windbreaker" jackets.

11) Before checking out, give your cart a once-over and weed out any duplicates you may have picked up.

12) Keep your staple remover handy when you take the tags off at home - avoid putting holes in your new fabric.

13) Wash everything right away! Some baking soda in the wash water really helps eliminate odors, as does white vinegar. Pre-soak stains in white vinegar.

14) Don't ignore this last step! Bag or box up unneeded things from your stash or closet to donate on your next trip back to the thrift store. Try to get rid of at least as many things as you just brought in.

A glimpse of my spring garden -- wood anemone (top), bleeding heart, and pulmonaria. These three are always the first to bloom and are such a welcome sight in the garden each spring. And as I believe I mentioned about a bazillion times in the recording, I do like my chopped-leaf mulch!

Special thanks to Bernina and for featuring GreenStitch as this week's Blog of the Week!

Hope everyone had a Happy Mother's Day!