Riches To Rags…Thoughts On Reusing and Recycling Old Clothing

Recycling - My Big Basket of Rags
Recycling – My Big Basket of Rags

Ok…so I’m not, “rich,” at least not in the monetary sense.  But, I am certainly blessed to live on Gawd’s green earth, so I try to take care in how I use it’s precious resources.  Recycling is always on my mind. Using paper towels is simply a big fat waste, not to mention a downright, silly use of perfectly good trees.  So is throwing out old towels and clothes that still have some useful fabric in them.  Why clog up the landfills when you don’t have to?

“Waste not, want not,” my grandmother used to say.  So when our towels and clothes get to be past their prime, I get out the scissors and start cutting.  I don’t even need the shears for the towels…they’re easy to rip.  Most of our clothing is in the form of T-shirts and sweats, both which make for great rags.  Recycling them only takes a minute to lop off the sleeves and slice down the seams and voila, a couple of new rags.

I keep all of my rags in a big basket on the table, so that it’s easy to grab one when needed.  I may use several of them during the day and then they’re tossed into the washing machine that evening.  (Wet, dirty rags can breed bad germs and I don’t want those.)  I have a huge pile of them, so there’s plenty of rags waiting for the next day.  They’re so colorful and pretty in their basket!  Just seeing them there makes me feel richer already!

Of course, I’m not going to stop at rags.  I always have quilting projects going on, but not all fabrics are suitable for quilting.  My next endeavor is to make a couple of rag rugs for the house out of jersey knits, such as T-shirt fabrics.  Decorative pillows and fabric baskets are already in the works.  I’d gladly welcome more ideas.

Please revisit this post for updates about other simple, textile, recycling projects, coming soon. Also, stop by for some encouraging information on how far we’ve come in our recycling efforts.

~ C

Vote With Your Dollar – Create Change


Vote With Your Dollar
Vote With Your Dollar

It is the day after the US Presidential election and at our house, let’s just say that things didn’t go as we had planned and hoped for.  And while this blog is not meant to be a political commentary, I hope that you, my dear readers, will indulge me as I stray from gardens and food for just a moment to let you know what I think.

My children were frantically texting me all last night and this morning, aghast as to how the political map was shaping up.  They couldn’t believe what was happening…and although they’re now adults, they are still young.  Personally, it was not so new to me, for I had seen many elections in my lifetime.  Some went my way and others did not.

They asked me for guidance and advice on how they could prevent this election outcome again.  My daughter couldn’t believe all of the polls had been so wrong.  My son was watching the angry students protest outside his door in Berkeley and one person had already been seriously injured.  This was all scary stuff to them.  I had lived through the 60s, so I was not as alarmed, but I had to think for awhile to give them a solid answer.  Actually, it was 2 answers.

First answer: GET OUT AND VOTE!  Never miss an opportunity to cast your ballot…ever.  Vote for the grass roots measures and candidates and not just for the president. That person actually matters the least.  If you don’t understand the issues, for Gawd’s sake, do some research and find out.  It all starts right at home, in your own backyard.

The second answer is, I believe, even more important: VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR.  You can do this every day, in every way, thousands of times a year.  If you ever think that it won’t matter where and how you spend your buck, trust me, you are dead wrong.  In this great United States of America, we are a capitalist society and the dollar reigns supreme.  If you don’t like GMOs, read the labels, then don’t buy them.  If you want your food to be grown organically, then buy just organic foods.  If you want to find out how to stop global warming, find out and put your dollars where they make a difference.  If you don’t like what’s politically happening in the corn belt, then don’t buy non-organic corn from the Midwest.  Trust me, they’ll get the message.  It’s as simple as that.

For example, housewives, especially, “working housewives,” (you know, the ones that work all day at a regular job and then go to the grocery store for another hour after work just to buy food to feed their families,)  have known this for a long time.  These savvy shoppers have turned our own local, big-chain, grocery store, which was just a food wasteland only a few years ago, into a happy place of organic foods and produce.  How?  They decided WHAT they were going to buy…quietly, persistently.  They didn’t raise a fuss.  They didn’t go out to the streets to protest…they didn’t have the time to do that.  They just laid their chosen products on the conveyor belt and handed the cashier their cash and coupons.  The slightly more demanding shoppers were happily obliged by simply asking the store manager to carry certain products.  The stores heard their message.  They had to give the customer what he, or she wanted, or go out of business.  Did farmers get the message too?  You bet!  The growers either had to change their farming practices, or risk the possibility of losing their lucrative contracts with the supermarkets.

I could give you countless other examples of how valuable this “vote with your dollar” notion is, but I don’t have the time, or space in this blog.  Never, ever underestimate the power of the way that you spend your money, no matter how little you have of it to spend!

Now, that being said, I must assure you, it will all be OK…Just get out there and vote!

~ C