Thursday, September 8, 2011


One of may favorite projects to make is mittens from recycled sweaters and afghans. Since all of the sweaters are different, it is hard to make two pairs the same.

They are all lined with super soft minty fleece. I love watching people try them on to see their expression when they realize how cozy they are.

Some mittens are made using wool sweaters, but some are made with thinner cotton sweaters. Both kinds are surprisingly warm.

I love finding old afghans that look like they were lovingly made by my grandmother, but washed wrong and shrunk. These are always the mittens that are talked about the most. I love seeing who is drawn to the crocheted chevron or granny square afghan mittens.

I no longer look at sweater the same way. Whenever I see a beautiful sweater, I wonder what it will look like made into a pair of mittens.


Any easy way to make something new and practice a new skill is to make a pillow cover. I used recycled t-shirts to make the pink and orange flowers.

The Oregon pillow cover is made from the scraps of fabric I can't bear to part with. I was also practicing my hand-embroidery.

The multi-colored flowered pillow was my attempt to make a flower garden using hand-embroidery and recycled t-shirts. Not my favorite pillow...

The yellow and red flowers are made using wools scraps that were intended to be a jacket. I bought a whole bag of wool scraps already cut into jacket pieces then abandoned as a jacket.

Getting Ready for Holiday Sales

It feels like life should be slowing down a bit now that school has started the the kids are away from home most of the day. I have realized that means life for me is about to get really crazy. I have been focusing on applying for all of my winter shows and creating every chance I get. I have been looking through pictures of my crafts I have taken the last 3 years in order to focus on what I want to make this year. So much work to be done!

Recycled Billboard wallets

Brewery Banner Bags

Vintage Embroidered Ties

Recycled Sweater and Afghan Mittens

Beer Notebooks

Recycled Magazine Gift Bows

Found Paper Wallets

Windsurf Sail Bags

Recycled T-shirt and Wool Flower pillows

Relay for Life- Greenest Team Contest

As you may have been able to tell by reading my blog, I am passionate about recycling. When my husband and I formed a Relay for Life team to raise money for the American Caner Society 5 years ago, I noticed the lack of recycling at the event. This made me want to do something about it, so I asked if I could be part of their recycling committee the following year. Of course I assumed there was such a committee, but learned that I created a new position. Now 4 years later, I am still the chair and only member of the recycling committee.

For the past two years, I have hosted a "Greenest Team Contest" awarded to the team that makes the best sustainable choices leading up to the Relay for Life during their team meetings and fundraising events as well as at the event itself. At the monthly team captain meetings, I do be best to remind the teams of our sustainable focus and give tips on how to be more green at meetings and events such as; email agendas, print on both sides of the paper, shop locally, bring your own water bottle and coffee mugs to the event, etc. The prize package the team wins includes local currency called Riverhours, gift certificate to an organic farm at the local farmers market, ChicoBags, reusable sandwich wraps and bags, windsurf sail bags, home composting system, Fair Trade chocolate, Direct Trade coffee from a local coffee shop, as well as anything else I can find to support our local businesses and promote sustainability.

All our work has been paying off! Have you ever talked in front of a group of people and wondered if anyone was actually listening? At all of the team captain meetings I went to, I kind of felt this way. I was getting a little discouraged going into the event this year wondering if all of my efforts would be for nothing. I had made note of how much waste we generated the year before to compare and chart our progress. We borrowed 10 Clearstream containers from Tri-County Hazardous Waste and Recycling to collect cans and bottles. I also set up a compost station at our lunch site. Finally, I arranged for the Survivor Lunch to use reusable plates, cups and silverware from a grant I received from Tri-County Hazardous Waste and Recycling. Throughout the day, as teams had the job of emptying the trash cans, I has people coming up to me to let me know that the cans weren't anywhere near full, therefore they could not empty the trash! Yay!!! It worked! Teams were making an effort to think about their waste and make better choices than bring and throw away disposable goods. At the end of the event, all of the cans were given to a team whose mission is to collect money from the bottle deposit to donate to the American Cancer Society.

Local Hero of Recycling

Time to toot my own horn. Thanks to a friend nominating me, I am one of the 10 Local Hero of Recycling from Preserve: Gimme 5. I had applied for a grant through Tri-County Hazardous Waste and Recycling for Reusable Party Packs for classrooms in my community to help reduce the amount of waste during class parties. This sparked Tri-County Hazardous Waste and Recycling to do the same for the community by buying and having available reusable plates, cups, silverware for community events. We ordered the supplies through Preserve which makes reusable dinnerware from 100% post consumer plastic. They have started a program to recycle the #5 plastic from items such as yogurt cups and hummus tubs.

Receiving this grant allowed me to purchase enough supplies of 10 classrooms. When I delivered the items, I went into the classes and taught a short lesson on durable vs. disposable goods and facilitated an art project with the classes. Each class made a reusable classroom decoration, a banner that says "celebrate", from recycled materials. I also brought in my serger and made reusable cloth napkins with each of the kids to include in their classroom party pack. After receiving this grant, I was contacted by Preserveware telling me that I was a winner of their Local Hero's of Recycling contest! They sent me a great gift package and I had a great time opening the box and sharing it's contents with my family. Thanks Preserve, Stonyfield, Tom's of Maine, Brita and Seventh Generation.

Now that this dinnerware is available for use, it has been used at the Made for Mosier event as well as the Survivor Lunch at the Columbia Gorge Relay for Life, reducing the amount of waste in our landfill!