Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How to Reconcile Being Crafty and Being Green

Mindful Echo is lost in a tangle of wool roving, glitter, and scrapbook paper.

Although I titled this entry as a "How to," I really meant it more of a question. Seriously. How do I reconcile the two corners of this dichotomy?

In some ways, being crafty and being green make total sense together. Craftiness can be borne from a desire to be thrifty, to reuse, and to repurpose. However, if you're anything like me, it takes no time at all to get lost in a list of attempted projects, many half-completed, and most requiring mountains of supplies.

I made this Venn Diagram to help me better understand this complex issue. :)

Now that the holiday season is rapidly approaching (side note: Christmas music was playing in the grocery store yesterday!), I'm starting to organize myself for handmade gifts. Sure, there are some no-brainers that amalgamate being crafty and being green such as consumables (homemade jams, soaps, etc.), but what about the other stuff? What about the ornaments, decorations, and toys?

I guess the big question can be broken down to this: Is it worth purchasing *new* craft supplies for the purpose of a handmade gift? The answer, I think, is yes (but carefully). 

It is SO EASY to get caught up with every "____-in-a-jar" recipe, and book-page garlands, and designs for winter jackets made entirely from coffee filters. So I think the solution is two-fold: first is to get organized and second is to embrace that inner environmentalist.

Organize Yourself
  • Make a list of the handmade items you're going to attempt. 
  • Find detailed instructions or tutorials that clearly outline what products you will need. 
  • Take an inventory of what needed craft items you already own.
 Embrace your Inner Environmentalist
  • Decide if there are any items on the list that are particularly harmful to the environment. Does your wreath project really need a styrofoam base? Can those items be substituted for a less-harmful alternative?
  • Consider if you can find any of the items in your recycling bin. Jars, cans, paper bags, magazines, are often valuable items in the realm of craftiness. 
  • Check your thrift stores. It's no guarantee but I have often found packages of brand-new craft items at my local thrift store, including yarn and scrapbook paper.
Once you've gone through these steps, consider yourself cleared by moi for a trip to your craft store. I think by this point it safe to say that you've done well to stay green. Now, go forth and craft. And may the force be with you.


robbie @ going green mama said...

I'd add another one - check what supplies you have on hand! It is SO tempting to buy new and you may have already had it at home.

Julia (Color Me Green) said...

so true. i think crafty projects often are automatically lumped into being eco-friendly. but actually one of the reasons i don't go out and craft decorations for every party etc is because it's a use of resources that's not necessary (unless like robbie said you already have the supplies).

Sarah said...

I think you did a great job making this post a 'how to'! Great tips. I also think reviewing inventory is so important, and commit to using up what you have first. I also would suggest borrowing/lending with friends and family! Everyone doesn't need to have every single gadget - see if you can arrange something when needing new supplies. I've been on a big knitting kick and of COURSE you need about a million pairs of different sized needles, and I have just been borrowing needles from my mother as needed! Collaborative consumption :)

Eco Yogini said...

yeah! i collect and keep all my jars, since i am a lotion, cookies baking kinda gal. and i think this year i will make some SOAP.

but yeah- value village and sally anne has been instrumental at finding some supplies. :) i think you really hit the head on the nail for this post- it is a tricky balance but totally possible. :)

robbie @ going green mama said...

Send me your lotion recipes! Wanting to try.

Sandra Harriette said...

This is precisely the kind of content I want to expand upon in my blog, LittleMissScooter. It would be nice to see more tactile examples from other eco-conscious blogs like this one. You bring up good points as well, some of which have definitely given me some ideas about what I could write. Thanks for sharing :)


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