eliza B green: I’m a green designer, working with eco fabrics and existing clothes, repurposing to create something new. All my items are original, one-of-a-kind or limited edition, built from scratch.
Please join me in welcoming our newest columnist to Try Handmade, Cara Quinn! She’s going to be writing about frugal living and minimalism as it relates to buying handmade and making it yourself. Check out her first post, and let her know if you have suggestions or requests for future posts. Welcome Cara!
I’m not a fan of cranking up the thermostat in our home (well, truth be told we don’t even have a thermostat) and all throughout winter I was determined to whip up a draught excluder that would plug the huge gap under our front door – where a majority of the heat escapes from.
I’ve been determined to do this for two winters running. When I saw these sausage dog draught excluder’s on Ellie’s Crafts they looked like the perfect addition to our otherwise dog-free home.
On top of draught excluder’s, there are other ways to keep the heating bills down (and Planet Earth happy) and keep warm – after all, before we know it, we’ll be springing into spring. Until then, I plan on cuddling up close to my baby son (that boy has a freakish, almost superhuman, ability to keep me warm.)
This adorable onesie from Ink & Ivy is made from water-based ink and organic cotton so appeals to my eco-friendly nature. It’s also available in a light red – which I find is gender neutral and could work for two (or more) babies. I’m a huge fan of hand-me-down clothes for little people!
Other tips for staying warm:
Wrap up in a blanket. I have a little fleece blanket on my sofa that I love to be wrapped in. I have two thin blankets and one really thick one. The two thin blankets I can circulate when the weather is sorting itself out for a spring season and the thick blanket is for the hell that was last winter. Or as we called it in these parts: Snowmageddon. By the time summer rolls around, I don’t need blankets or my central heating to keep me warm.
Put on some socks. It’s true about losing body heat through your extremities and covering those tootsies up will keep you cosied up.
Put on a sweater. I know I sound like someone’s Granma when I say that, but the fact is that it remains true. More layers means more body heat is given out – don’t over do the layering when you go out, though, or you’ll be sweating like a turkey the night before Thanksgiving.
Got some sweaters that don’t quite fit any more or have reached their life span? That’s okay, up-cycle them into a nifty (and thrifty!) purse/handbag. Make and Love It tells you how.
If you love this idea, check out some of the other up-cycled ideas on that same blog; pillows and dresses made from sweaters and a cute little beanie hat and skirt, who were in a former life, scarves.
No need to donate (or throw away – but I seriously hope no one is throwing away clothes in this day and age!) winter clothes that have outrun their lifespan; they can come right into spring with you!
It would be nearly impossible for me to choose a favourite shade of green, but if pressed, I would probably put “grass” in my top 10. Of course, that answer is an utter cop-out because grass itself comes in hundreds, if not thousands, of shades. Just last night, while watching my fella cut his lawn, I found myself mesmerized by the way the grass appeared to change colour with each pass of the mower; much like velvet changes when you run your hand across the nap. Before I knew it, my guy was finished with the lawn…and I was inspired. This week’s collection of handmade goods is just a small sampling of the many shades of fresh green grass, chosen not just for their colour, but for their eco-coolness as well.
Wren Willow’s “Ozymandius” (the grumpy owl, above) is an original design hand-screened onto a 100% cotton American Apparel t-shirt, which has been dyed in a gorgeous grass-green. The special water-based dyes that Marla uses are environmentally friendly and will not bleed or fade in the wash. Your shirt from the Wren Willow shop promises to be perfectly unique because, as with all hand-made items, it is the slight differences from one piece to the next that make them so special. So, what does that owl have to be so grumpy about anyway?
This beautiful grass-green votive (above) is made in Spain from 99% recycled glass and filled with clean-burning, eco-friendly soy wax, scented with your choice of Mireio’s irresistible fragrances. Each candle is custom-poured to order and should last up to 20 hours with careful burning, according to shop owner Wende. Once the candle has burned, the holder can be refilled with any of the standard 2oz (15 hour) votives from the Mireio shop.
Bring nature inside and add a touch of colour to your home without going to the mess or expense of painting with these striking vinyl decals by Connie of Circle Line Studios. The removable decals adhere to any clean, smooth, flat surface and are a quick and eco-friendly way to freshen up your décor. Cut from high-quality vinyl, the decals are available in your choice of colour, including my favourite – the grass-green pictured above. Check out the Circle Line Studios shop for dozens of designs or to inquire about a custom creation.
Semra of Istanbul, Turkey is the talent behind these amazing grass-green necklaces pictured above. These stunning pieces were crocheted by hand and are just two examples of the unique and beautiful lace and crochet jewelry items available in the Kirevi shop. Whether you are looking to make a big statement or just a little one, Semra’s bohemian-chic necklaces will add an attention-getting shot of earthy colour to your summer wardrobe.
Violet Flower Hair Pins Set
A pair of steel hair pins featuring elegant Purple-Violet flowers.
green tree pendant
Mossy Green Leather Bookmark with Pastel Metallic Beads in Easter Egg Colors
My handmade beaded Mossy Green Leather Bookmark with Pastel Metallic Beads in Easter Egg Colors is a pretty combination of metallic colors. These shining pastel beads look like Easter eggs. This would look bright and pretty hanging out of the top of your book! Unique and inexpensive, my bookmarks… details »
Despite a sudden (albeit much-welcomed) stretch of unseasonably warm weather, it is definitely fall in Winnipeg. All of the signs are here: a chill in the night-air, squirrels scrambling to gather and hide fallen acorns, gardens slowly withering, and neighbours out in the sunshine raking up piles of brilliant yellow and orange leaves. It’s a time, as D.V. Moore of Papermoth suggests, to “Welcome Change”.
Even though it means winter is around the corner, I absolutely love this time of year. My reasons for favouring it over the other seasons are many, but the clothes have to be at the top of the list. I might be too soon to commit to a coat, but conditions are perfect for tossing on a cardigan or a vest. The kid-sized cardigan pictured above is quintessentially fall, with its autumnal palette and scattering of appliquéd leaves. It is a one-of-a-kind piece, upcycled from wool sweaters, and available in the Gock’s Frocks shop.
I’m sure the runners in the group will agree that fall is a great time to hit the streets and paths. Not only are the vistas constantly changing, gone is the oppressive heat of summer. There are seasonal hazards to watch out for, though, which can make the average run into a bit of an obstacle course. My usual route, for example, has its share of “acorn-hazards”, which can send a less-than-attentive runner flying. Don’t get me wrong; I am nuts about acorns, but for more decorative purposes. I’ll let the squirrels clean up what’s on the ground while I grab myself one of these amazing, one-of-a-kind pendants by Bullseye Beads. A handmade glass bead is topped with a real acorn cap to make each piece truly unique.
It seems like just yesterday that I was gushing about my garden. The tomatoes, as I predicted, were the stand-outs, but the big surprise to this budding green-thumb was the butternut squash that I planted on a whim. At first, it looked like nothing would come of the little vine. It bloomed like mad as it stretched its way across the back of the garden, but didn’t seem to be producing any actual squash. I left it alone, though, and it seems that my intentional neglect has paid-off; hidden behind the basil is a single perfect, bell-shaped squash. Solstice Scents captures the essence of the fall garden, including squash, in this vegan, cruelty-free whipped body butter. I can’t think of a better way to moisturize and carry the scent of autumn with you; throughout the season and beyond.
If you are lucky enough to live in an area with trees that change colour with the seasons, then you are probably quite familiar with the spectacular display as green turns to orange (and red and yellow and crimson…) Prairie Peasant was inspired by those autumnal hues when she pieced together the cover of this stunning handbound journal. As beautiful as it is on the outside, though, the real surprise lies within. Contained between the covers of this special book are deckle-edge sheets of handmade botanical paper, which include real petals and leaves, and plain sheets for recording all of your musings.