Sunday Sustainability: Guest Author from Windy Hill Fibers Takes a Look at Repurposing Clothing

For today’s Sustainability Sunday I am pleased to introduce a guest writer to you!
Christine, from Windy Hill Fibers takes a good look at re-purposed clothing after the debacle of H&M’s wastefulness.

Here’s what Christine has to share:
You may have heard around the beginning of the month that an H&M store in New York had been slashing and throwing out unsold clothing. Bags and bags of clothes were not donated to charity, but rather were cut up and discarded to be sent off to a landfill. In response to this incident, H&M stated that it is company policy to donate the clothes, and that it would look into the situation in New York. So while H&M may not be dumping clothes into the landfills now, Americans are throwing out perfectly good clothing at a rate of 67.9 pounds per person per year. That totals nearly 2 quadrillion pounds per year, and most of it doesn’t have to end up there.

So why do people throw out clothing? Maybe it’s out of style, or it has a stain, or the cat or dog clawed a hole in it, but that doesn’t mean it has to go in the garbage. Any clothing you no longer want that is still in wearable condition could be donated to a charity, like Goodwill. You can also take those old clothes and refashion them into something new, and it’s easier than you may think.

Remember that reusing what you already have is an important part of a sustainable lifestyle, and your clothing is no exception. Repurposing clothing is actually a growing trend, and there are numerous books and websites offering information and tutorials. Popular sites like Wardrobe Refashion and Threadbanger offer videos, tips, and inspiration for taking those old clothes and turning them into something fun for yourself. Books like Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin, and Generation T, by Megan Nicolay, show you what to do with those old t-shirts, and how to make them into lovely skirts, blankets, and more. [Editor’s note: Also check out the book AlterNation by my friend Shannon Okey] If your clothes are too worn out or stained to reuse, cut them up to use as rags, in place of paper towels, for doubly green savings. If you crochet or knit, you can even cut up those old clothes and turn them into yarn. Learn how with this tutorial on the ecokaren website.

Many Etsy artisans are applying their creativity to refashioning clothes.

Armour Sans Anguish turns the slightly shabby into something romantic.

Devil made me do it
pieces together modern clothes from old cast-offs.

Glamarita makes incredible gowns from old neckties.

Heidiandseek has a talent for combining colors and patterns,

So the next time you clean out your closet, look at everything with a critical and creative eye. Donate what you can and repurpose the rest. You’ll be saving yourself some money and helping out our planet at the same time.

Want to find out more about my guest author?
Here’s where you can find Windy Hill Fibers:


My Latest Nature Inspired Jewelry

I was hard at work in the studios the last few weeks. I had a few supply orders come in, I’m cleaning the studio, applying for next years art shows and creating the 2010 collection. This year I’m very excited about combining handsawn metal with wood, and using more natural materials to add some warmth and organic feel to my more industrialized metal.

Here’s a peek at what is already available in the Valerie Tyler Designs Nature Inspired Collection!

Giveaway Winners!

By random number generator here are the three RANDOM winners
#10 Audrey
#6 Theresa
#28 Deborah

And because it’s MY blog and I can change my rules (heehee) I’m going to have TWO winners for the “my choice” spot. I love Tricia’s idea to add more organic gardening and community gardening tips. I’d like to do a lot more of hat myself this year, and I’m thinking I’d like to get some photos and interviews from some of my neighbors (since we have a GORGEOUS little shared community garden) this Spring and Summer. The second of my picks is zJayne, because she tirelessly promotes other artists and she is just a dear!

I am contacting all the winners this weekend. Congratulations ladies!

Friday Etsy Favorites: Silvermade Studios

It’s no surprise to Theresa, Silvermade Studios that I absolutely LOVE her work. Since she’s a fellow local Clevelander I get the pleasure of seeing her at Cleveland Handmade events, and always visit her and drool over her work.

Since I make jewelry, it’s rare that I let myself buy jewelry, but over the holidays I let myself have a treat from Silvermade Studios, and bought on of her leather cuffs. I love jewelry that is a little bit edgy like that.

Here’s a different style of her leather cuff that would be perfect for your Valentine soon

Soulmate Cuff, $48.00

I also LOVE these earthy Hollow Pendants that she creates.

Round Leaf Pendant, $49

I think I may have to let myself have another luxury soon with her leafy necklaces!

New Weekly:Thursday Theme-Birch Bark

I’ve decided to add yet another weekly feature. I apologize for the cheesy alliterative titles for the weeklies, but they make me laugh. On Thursdays I would like to start highlighting gorgeous items that fit a particular theme. I’ve found that objects often are even more lovely when you look at them in the context of other similar objects. Collections can be stunning. This week the theme is birch bark, which at first thought may seem rustic, but in actuality can be so fresh and clean looking.

Birch Bark Purse, $75 by Lynn Cyr

Organic Wall Art-White Birch Forest by Kayo of Snow Owl Wood Shop

Rustic Birch Blocks, set of 3, $15 by CrowBiz

Birch Bark Ring, $50 by esdesigns

The Greening of Cleveland. Looking Forward to a Sustainable Future.

Not too long ago I posted an article about Cleveland ranking #16 in a study of 50 cities for sustainability. Recently I came across an article on The Positively Cleveland Blog which compiled a great list of ways business, non-profits and other organizations throughout the city are trying to be greener and more sustainable. The post included not only information about the RTA Healthline’s hybrid vehicles, and the Cleveland Metropark Zoos extensive recycling efforts, but also fun facts about companies such as the Great Lakes Brewing Co. Fatty Wagon shuttle bus that runs on the restaurant’s grease. Definitely check out the post to discover many of the other ways Cleveland is going greener.

If you want to make your own small impact (or big impact if you create a habit) check out SustainLane’s local Action Challenge. You pick a sustainable activity from their list of ideas, take a photo of yourself completing the challenge activity and then upload it for the chance to win prizes. Are you photo shy? You can at least check it out

Valerie Tyler Designs has been nominated for a Poppy Award!

I’m very excited to sat that Valerie Tyler Designs has been nominated for a poppy award. If you have enjoyed my jewelry, or love the style please take a second to go visit this link and cast a vote for Valerie Tyler. Thanks!

Monday Modern Nature: Photohale

Today I want to share the photography of Susan of Photohale. She has unique photographic perspective and many of her compositions would look beautiful on the walls of a modern, nature-inspired home.

Birdhouse, Prague 4X6, $8

Wallenstein Palace Leaf Relief 8X10, $30

Sunday Sustainability: Have you Heard of the No Impact Experiment?

Do you think you could live for a week and make no impact on the environment?

Colin Beavan thinks you can, and has even created an experiment to help you change your life (at least for a week)

Visit his blog No Impact Man to find out how you can try to live and make no impact on our environment.

Friday Favorites: Bamboo!

I totally love bamboo.
1. I can grow it without killing it.
2. Bamboo aesthetically pleases me
3. It’s a sustainable resource

Today my Friday favorites are an ode to the wonderful bamboo plant.

Bamboo Plate Set, $18 by Soule

Bamboo Wall Art Vinyl Sticker, $29.50 by Artwallproject