Bagging your groceries has never been greener

So once again, it was the weekend, which meant chore time. Yes, ACTUAL chores…

Grocery shopping and dropping off a heap of old clothes at The Salvation Army were on the to-do list. That’s when inspiration struck!

3 items and 3 easy steps.  That’s all it takes.

What you’ll need:

  1. an old t-shirt
  2. a pair of scissors
  3.  a sewing machine

What you’ll do:

  1. Turn the T-shirt inside out, pin it and sew it along the hem.
  2. Flip the T-shirt right side out, flatten on table and cut along the neck to make a larger opening for the bag.
  3. Line up the hems on the front and back side of both sleeves, and cut the sleeves off to make the handles.

And there you go! You have made yourself a reusable grocery bag.

Not only are they “green”, but they are a clever way to upcycle your not-so-favourite- t-shirts-anymore. You can use different sizes, materials and alternative styles to make them. You can even accessorize them with bead work, embroidery, brooches or simply paint them. What’s not to love about these?!

Here’s mine:

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If you, too, have a large heap of t-shirts lying around, like me, you might want to try these projects.

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Giriama Jazzed

In the next few weeks, the opportunity to take this new fascination a step further arose, and excited as I was, I took it up and decided to explore it for myself, all in the name of a high school art project. Coincidentally, I was recycling a couple of ideas that I had touched upon, earlier in the course. I was already looking at African art and how the human figure was such an important aspect of it. With that came the notion of shape and form, which I was going to represent using different waste or otherwise recyclable materials.

Consumed by imagination, equipped with a few tools and backed with research, I came up with the idea of creating  contrast and comparison between two musical bands – A Giriama (local tribe) band versus an African American Jazz band. During research I came across the ‘African Drums Painting’ and really liked the idea of the exaggerated shape of the human form. This style of art brought such amazing energy and flow into the painting.

Some of the materials I used were: nuts, washers, binding wire, solder wire, soda cans, sisal rope and dried banana fibres.

Here, have a look at what I was able to create:

Giriama band

Giriama band

The Xylophonist

The Xylophonist

The Dancing lady

The Dancing lady

Soda cans (drums) wrapped in painted sisal rope

Soda cans (drums) wrapped in painted sisal rope

The Cellist and Pianist

The Cellist and Pianist

The Drummer

The Drummer

The Saxophonist

The Saxophonist

Inspired by simplicity

I used to be one of the grumpy ones too, until I found my inspiration from a little child and his self-made toy with which he played on the sidewalks of Moi Avenue. As you might have read, I’ve been born and brought up in Kenya and moved to Vancouver a little less than two years ago.

I was just about to cross the road, with two large grocery bags in my hand when the little boy caught my eye. He was joyfully pulling behind him a little car made out of Kellogg’s Cornflakes cereal box with wheels made out of circles cut out from rubber flip-flops, a flattened plastic bottle for the windshield with two little match sticks attached as wipers. I hurriedly crossed the road, hopped into the backseat of my car and quickly turned to see the little boy’s creation once again, before my mom would drive away. I got home and began sorting the groceries and  just as I pulled out my Kellogg’s Cornflakes cereal box, I smiled to myself and wondered if it was remotely possible that this box would end up in the little boy’s hands from which he would be able to make a second car for himself.

I was only going to recycle, but this little kid creatively recycled.

Recycling – Chore? …Nope, not really.

Recycling… Ha! Funny how when we think of it, we typically see it as a weekly chore of rounding up empty pop bottles, beer bottles, the cereal and cookie boxes buried in the dark corners at the very back of our pantry shelves, a bunch of newspapers lying casually around the house, and ultimately dumping them in the “renowned” blue bins that sit at the end of our driveways, eagerly waiting to be emptied every week, ready to perform their noble services to Mother Earth, once again, in the following week.

Tell you what, look at it with a creative eye and it won’t seem like a chore anymore. In fact, it’ll be lots of fun! You’ll surprise yourself with how just a little bit of enthusiasm and imagination, you were able to transform things, which in any other circumstance, would have ended up in the bin.

In my next few posts, I’ll share some of my own ideas and inspirations. Try them for yourself or see if you can come up with some of your own. Get started and I promise you’ll be so hooked, you’ll literally go junk-snooping around the house.P1030476