Plastic straws and such

For many years I’ve had a love/hate relationship with recycling dogma.  It’s not that I hate the earth or believe in being wasteful, but more that it’s hard for me to get all worked up about being shamed or pressured into recycling efforts that I doubt will make any discernible difference in improving our environment.  The even bigger turn-off for me is how so many of the preachers of recycling and environmentalist dogma get on my last nerve with their hysterics and moral superiority.

Sorry, I find it hard to get all worked up about plastic straws destroying the planet and jumping onto the bandwagon to ban them.  Plastic straw hysteria gets a big yawn from me.

Despite my ambivalence toward so much of the recycling dogma, oddly I just love all sorts of crafty type repurposing ideas.  Last year, I jumped into making junk journals, using old books, cards, calendars, fabric, paper, etc. and turning them into journals to write in, use as art journals, photo books, or scrapbooks.  I also love all sorts of decorating and home organizing repurposing projects.  I was raised to embrace not being wasteful and growing up in rural PA.   With plenty of farmers and home gardeners all around me, I’m a committed conservationist… as most farmers and country folks are and have been forever.  The conservationist gene in humans likely began developing when humans moved from hunter/gatherers to agrarian societies.  Having to save and store seeds for the next planting season kind of breeds conservationist thinking.

Anyway, this is just a crafting blog post, so let me recommend YouTube as the place to go to find more crafting and needlework ideas than you will ever have time to try.

This month I made about 7 or 8 quick and easy paper bag books, using small paper bags, old scrapbook paper and calendar pictures.  Here are a couple photos:

I also got another altered book finished.  The piece of lace behind the cat applique is actually a piece of an old lace curtain that had a tear in it, so I decided to use bits of it in craft projects:

A few months ago, I learned how to make Amish knot rag rugs watching YouTube videos.  I completed two more round rugs, about 36″ across and one oval rag, that’s around 45″ long, using all fabric I already had:

The way there’s a stair step look when you switch colors in these Amish knot rugs bugs me, so for the next one I want to try a different way of doing the color transitions (that I saw on a YouTube video, of course).

My other new “repurposing” crafting effort is making paper beads from old scrapbook paper, magazine pages and using security envelopes that come in junk mail.  Security envelopes have a wide variety of interesting patterns on the inside of the envelopes, that lend themselves to many craft uses.

My paper beads are very simple and I’m definitely not an expert at rolling these beads yet, but I still will be able to use these (and the dozens of others I’ve made) when making  junk journal embellishments.  I’ve been using a pair of chopsticks that came in Chinese takeout as my bead rolling tools.  Here are a few beads from a security envelope:

Oh, one last thought, although I haven’t used plastic straws making my paper beads, there are YouTube crafters who use plastic straws inside their paper beads to give the beads more stability, so plastic straws can be “repurposed” too…

If you’re really industrious all those plastic shopping bags can be cut into strips (called plarn – plastic yarn) and crocheted or braided into sleeping mats, bags, and rugs.  Amazingly, I learned watching videos that many church lady types work to create these plastic bag sleeping mats to give to the homeless, because the mats are lightweight, easily washed off, and provide good insulation when laying on the ground.  Who knew, lol…

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