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Archive for January, 2011

The Artist in Us

I believe everyone is an artist.

We all have the drive to create, to express ourselves, but forces from every angle suppress our creative drives. Societal conceptions of art try to tell us that arts are feminine, that it’s unmanly to participate in the arts, that the arts represent weakness, that they are not a worthy use of time because a job in the arts won’t bring in much money.

Then there’s both the explicit and implicit messages from schools. The arts are mostly thought of as “extras” or “specials” (I always hated being called a “specials teacher” it was so demeaning), not one of the “real subjects.” When there’s a shortage of funding, the arts are the first to go. But there’s also the bigger-picture problems with the way the institution of school functions. School generally focuses on getting the one right answer, punishes taking risks, makes education into a competition where there are winners and losers (smart kids and stupid kids), and judges, grades, and publicly ranks ability levels. School fosters that fear of being judged that is already so hard to confront. All of these things working together stifle creativity. It’s no wonder when we’re done with school that our best skills are doing as we’re told without question and trying to get the right answer first.

What happened to that artist that each one of us started out as? Sometimes, we know it is there, hiding and patiently waiting until it’s safe to come out. Sometimes it defiantly motivates us, despite all of the suppressive forces. And sometimes we think it’s gone, a facet of childhood we grew out of. But after all this bombardment, the artist persists.

Whether we openly think of ourselves as artists or not, the arts are a vital tool that help us make sense of our surroundings, our world, our knowledge, our emotions, our lives and our relationships. They give perspective. They clarify. They allow us to distill meaning out of the chaos and over-stimulation that is our world. They give each of us our own individual voice.

I’ve recently rediscovered my own artist, and it has set me on a wonderful journey.

How can I reawaken MY artist, you might ask? I don’t know, I don’t have the answers. I never embarked on this with the goal of releasing my inner artist, it just sort of happened. But I will share my own advice and what has helped me.

  • Read about others’ stories of their own creative struggles. A whole New Mind and The War of Art both really inspired me.
  • Let go of your fear of being judged. Nothing good can ever come of it.
  • Sing. With the radio, in the car, in the shower, with your ipod, at church, with other people, by yourself, songs you know, songs you make up. Sing whatever, just sing. Find your voice and use it.
  • Dance. Take a class, go to a workshop, join a folk dance group, learn choreography, make it up, move to the beat. Trust me, it’s liberating.
  • Draw. What you see, what you don’t see, what you wish you saw, what’s real, what you wish was real. Add color or don’t. Don’t worry about if it looks good or not, just get something on the paper. I know there’s no reason to find a blank sheet scary, but I still do sometimes….
  • Walk a labirynth. It really helps to clear your head. Find a labyrinth near you here.
  • Write. Prose, poetry, whatever. I wasn’t sure what to write about, so I started with what I’m passionate about. And I’m still writing….
  • Tell a story. Sharing experiences is inspiring, and there’s just something about spoken words that’s different from writing. Share with family, friends, or online. Don’t know what to tell? Here’s a great site to get you started.
  • Drum. On a drum, on the counter, on your lap. Find a recreational drum circle, they’re tons of fun! We all have rhythm: from our step to our breathing to our heartbeat, rhythm is a force of life. And pounding on something provides an excellent release.
  • Make a mess. Ideas and art are messy. It’s been hard for me to let go and make a mess, but I’m learning 🙂
  • Keep an idea book. “Journal” is just too limiting of a word. My book is a mess of ideas, to-do lists, projects, drawings, swatches of fabric taped in there, postcards, pictures, thoughts, scribbles, poems, everything.
  • Work to preserve and honor our natural world. It inspires us and sustains life.
  • Go to concerts, museums, plays, shows, performances, and community events: get involved and be inspired.

We can all use the arts to enhance, clarify, and better our lives. Don’t we deserve it?

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The last time I was at the library, a book on the New in Non-Fiction shelf caught my eye: Just Food: Where Locavores Get it Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, by James E. McWilliams.

Wait, what? I thought local, organic food was the way to go. Naturally, I left with this book under my arm to find out more. In my view, what I learned is so important, I wanted to share it here. And yes, I do realize I just wrote a book report for fun. (Also, I’m not getting paid by anyone to share my opinions.)

McWilliams made a strong case for his views and supported his claims with thorough research. His argument is basically that with an exponentially-growing population, we ALL need to take advantage of every possible way to produce as much food as possible so we can feed everyone on the planet. Our population has exploded: the last 50 years alone saw the world population double. And it will continue to grow. We have all the tools we need to feed everyone, and we need to start using them wisely. It’s not enough to feed our own family at the expense of others who starve and at the expense of massive environmental degradation.

From here, McWilliams takes an in-depth look at the real impact of food miles, organic and conventional farming, GM foods, chemical use, tillage impact, meat production, fish production, and in general, every angle of food production to evaluate the best ways to feed the billions (and billions more) people who populate our planet.

When I read this book, it really opened my eyes to the food crisis underway. It’s much larger than anything local eating would be able to get us out of.

Let’s start with the idea of eating local. It’s often touted that food travels an average of 1500 miles from “farm to fork,” as they say. The idea is that eating food only grown locally (and what exactly does local mean anyway?) seriously cuts down on fuel usage. But there are several issues beneath the surface here. First, this assumes that the food you’re getting at your local farmers market was grown without a lot of unnecessary energy usage in the first place. McWilliams argues that local food is not a viable option in certain cold climates (one who eats locally either couldn’t eat during the winter, or the community will need to build local energy-consuming canneries or hothouses). Additionally, places that have limited water supply (think the dry Southwest US) need to import water to grow local food, which defeats the purpose of reducing energy use through transportation. In many cases, shipping in food is much more efficient than other options.

We need to keep in mind that “geography is not democratic. Growing water-intensive crops in a desert, raising cattle in a cleared rainforest, planting drought-resistant crops in a wetland are all examples of environmentally illogical decisions. An environmentally sound food system is one in which productive endeavors naturally gravitate to geographical locations where the impact on resources in minimized. In other words, producers produce in the right places” (p. 196). Often, eating all locally all the time is uneconomical and nonsensical as far as environmentalism is concerned.

Actual distance is one small factor, but it’s being made into the be-all-end-all of food production. The life cycle assessment (LCA) is the much better evaluator for how energy efficient things are. LCAs take into account the big picture, and within this big picture food miles account for about 11% of fuel energy usage in food production, the lowest of all the energy inputs.

Here’s the breakdown (pp. 25-26):

  • Food production and processing 45.6%
  • Consumer preparation 25%
  • Restaurant food preparation 15.8%
  • Food transportation 11%

Truly concerned consumers should improve their own cooking efficiency, waste less food at home, walk or ride a bike to purchase food, avoid processed foods, eat out less, and work to push organizations to tackle the bigger issues of food production and distribution before worrying about food miles.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t buy local food; we should, but with concern to what grows naturally in the area, with the least need for energy inputs and excess resources. But we should also realize that just buying local food does very little to actually change the way food is produced, and undermines our ability (as a planet) to feed our increasing population.

Most of the eat local movement is based in retaliation against big corporations and big agribusiness. However well-intentioned this may be, it does little to change the government subsidies that keep agribusiness going and does little to push the USDA to be more concerned with its citizens’ safety than with big corporate profits. Additionally, local food grown with environmentally sound processes is only affordable to the “elite few who have the time and money to buy produce from a transparently sustainable farm. Therefore, instead of fostering a community free of competition and greed, local food could just as easily highlight and perpetuate a community’s stark, sometimes bitter differences” (p. 34). And this split between haves and have-nots doesn’t change the larger system, but perpetuates further dependence on it by those who can’t afford other options.

Something else I learned: with regard to produce, organic isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. Many people think “organic” equates to “chemical-free,” but that isn’t the case. Often, the “natural” herbicides and pesticides can be more harmful than the synthetic ones, and need more frequent applications as well. Additionally, organic farming requires increased tillage of the land, which contributes to much more soil erosion. And on a global scale, organic farmland produces up to 50% less crop per acre than conventional farming practices. If we truly aim to feed everyone on the planet and not just the elite, we need to continue searching for other options.

Perhaps the biggest drain on energy by far is eating meat. Meat production is an energy black hole, in every stage. Extensive energy goes into producing animal feed (which animals aren’t supposed to eat anyway), animals release considerable amounts of methane gas (a much more potent greenhouse gas  than carbon dioxide) and give much less energy in food than they take in. Even grass-fed free range animals take lots of energy, produce even more methane than grain-fed animals, and the large amount of land they need to graze makes all that land unusable to grow crops. What’s more, when the animals are done with that land, it’s so badly trampled, it can’t be used for growing produce. Anyone who is interested in making one single change to help alleviate our food crisis should stop eating land-based animals. That will make a much bigger difference than eating locally ever can.

“Going local, in light of it all, is akin to making sure that everything is fine in our own neighborhood and then turning ourselves into a gated community” (p. 12). This comment really resonated with me. I’m not concerned about environmental issues for personal gain, but for the benefit of everyone. Therefore, this is exactly the kind of system I don’t want a part in. Now that I’m equipped with more information rather than broad assumptions, I can ask the right questions at my farmers market to make sure I’m making the most environmentally sound choices I can, whether it’s buying locally or not.

I know this was kind of long, but it really only scratches the surface of the information presented in this book. I strongly encourage anyone interested in environmentally sound food production to give it a read.

I’ll leave you with one last quote that really struck me:

“Most of the world wants food, just food, and if we don’t figure out how to produce that food in a sensible and sustainable manner, one that honors future generations, our localized boutique obsessions are going to appear comically misguided (and downright tragic) to future historians” (p.14). The task ahead is truly immense.

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Homemade peppermint sugar scrub

Husband and I are not big candy cane eaters, and even though we never buy them, they somehow accumulate in our house around December. Today, I decided to use them for something more productive (in my opinion) than their typical use. I found an interesting recipe for a candy cane sugar scrub, and decided to give it a try.

Here is the recipe, copied from Crunchy Chicken:

Candy Cane Sugar Scrub

Crushed candy canes are really just sugar right? So, why not add them to a sugar scrub to make a super festive beauty treat?

Ingredients
1 cup granulated white sugar
6 candy canes, finely crushed almost into a powder
1/2 cup sweet almond oil (or olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional – used as a preservative)
1 teaspoon cocoa butter (optional)
6 drops peppermint essential oil

Instructions
Mix all ingredients until well blended. Place into a clean glass jar with a tight lid and add a fancy label. I highly recommend the 1/2 pint wide mouth canning jars and wide mouth plastic storage lids.

I only had a few candy canes, so I made a quarter of a batch, just in case I ended up not liking it. And actually, this smaller batch seemed the perfect size.  I used olive oil, skipped the cocoa butter, and plan on adding an opened capsule of vitamin E next week, when I get around to getting some. I may also try adding a bit of shea butter, since I’ve got some around. I’m not exactly sure how similar it is to cocoa butter, but it might work. Even with just the basics though, it was great to use. And easy to mix up too. The hardest part was crushing all those candy canes with our little mortar and pestle. Enjoy!

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We NEED the Arts

I wrote this a while back on facebook, but I feel that it is important enough to post again, and truly relevant both to my life, and to everyone. Enjoy.

We NEED the Arts

Ok, so the title sounds a little obvious. And it’s something I’ve known intellectually for forever. But recently, I’ve had a chance to experience and understand this statement in a way that has given it new meaning for me. Music has always held a prominent place in my life: singing in the children’s choir at church from before I could even read, starting piano lessons when I was in kindergarten, band and choir in middle school/high school, undergrad ensembles, junior and senior piano recitals, right up to teaching music full time for almost 7 years. That’s a lot of music. I’ve always understood the need for people to have an artistic outlet in their lives, but honestly, sometimes music just felt more like a chore to me than something I could do for fun. Like after I gave my senior recital, I swore I’d never touch a piano again. And I didn’t for almost 5 years. And I didn’t really miss it. Now that I teach music, I’m starting to feel the same way about other facets of music too. Like I spend most of my day singing. I don’t want to sing in my free time.

Starting about sometime last year, I started playing piano again. Not in the traditional sense of learning a classical piece for a performance, but just learning to play some of my favorite tunes by ear, or just sitting down to play/improvise/make up whatever came out. I found it was a really great release for me. After a really bad day, I could play it out and feel better. After a stressful day, it would calm me down. And during the difficult decision I was dealing with (whether to leave my last position or not) I can honestly say I couldn’t have gotten through it without being able to play. I NEEDED that release so I could deal with the things going on in my life. I didn’t do it for other people, to perform for them, to ever share it with anyone. I did it for ME. Because I need that outlet, and it works for me.

In my new position this year, there is no piano at either of the schools I travel to. I don’t have one at home. I should be an emotional wreck right? Well I sort of am, but for other reasons I’m not getting into here. But anyway, what struck me was how my emotional outlets and my artistic sense rose to the occasion. We need the arts so deeply in our lives that even when we don’t know how, don’t have the training, or have never done it before, we still have the drive to create, to express that for which words just can’t communicate, and it will force its way out any way it can, even if it’s through a way we’re not practiced in.

Here’s a specific example of what I’m talking about. One day, I was reading in the park, and I was suddenly overcome with the driving desire to draw. I don’t even know where it came from or why. I had a short mental conversation with myself. “But Karyn, you can’t draw. You haven’t drawn anything since grade school.” “But I don’t care, I just HAVE to. I’ll figure it out.” “But it won’t be very good, and you don’t draw, remember?” “Well, then I won’t show anyone, but I gotta draw this.” So it was settled. But I couldn’t exactly draw in the margins of my library book (I imagine libraries frown on that sort of thing), So I scrounged in my bag for something else, and I drew a lovely scene of the Public Garden. I’ve never really drawn anything in my life, but it came out ok and I’m actually proud of it. And I liked it so much, I quilted it. I still don’t know exactly where that came from, but I’m convinced now that it rose from not being able to play anymore. And it expanded my emotional outlets in all directions. I have a sketchbook. I paint. I make art quilts. I read a lot. I write. I drum. I dance. I don’t do these things because I want to perform for other people, because I want to ever be judged on them, or because I want to make a little extra money (though I am getting ready to start sending my children’s book manuscript out to some agents, maybe). I do them for me, and I get enjoyment out of doing these things just for the sake of doing them.

As I look around at all the unhappy people I commute with on the bus/train every day, I think about how the arts are not encouraged for their role as emotional outlets, not generally used in that way, and people are generally afraid to try for fear of doing it “wrong,” being judged, feeling like it’s not a good use of their time, or other reasons, I don’t know. But we need to do these things. Or at least I do. People love to advocate for needing the arts in schools, and that’s important too, but I think it goes beyond that. Way beyond that. It’s not something we grow out of when we leave school or become adults.

Just as a side note, here are pictures of the sketch and quilt I made. The quilt came out about 10 x 12 inches.

The arts are a primal force of nature in us, and try as we might to not acknowledge it, I firmly believe that art will force its way out in some form or another. What’s YOUR art?

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Homemade clove mouthwash

I have two different recipes for mouthwash I’ve tried, and two different opinions to offer. I love one and hate the other, and Husband loves the one I can’t stand. So here are recipes for both, with our tweaks, opinions, up-sides, and down-sides.

This first one is more similar to traditional commercial mouthwash than the next one. As I did a search to try to find where I originally got this recipe, I found variations of it absolutely all over the internet, so I don’t have a specific source to credit. And I made some changes anyway.
You will need:
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1 small packet stevia powder
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • Sterilized glass container with airtight lid

First, get a pot big enough to fit your glass jar and lid. Fill it with water and get it started on the stove. You’ll want to boil it for a few minutes to make sure it’s sterilized and also to make sure it won’t break when you pour boiling water in it. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your mouthwash. When the jar is ready, pour the mixture in, put the lid on, and let it cool.

The first time I tasted this, I thought it was gross. Not that mouthwash is supposed to taste particularly good, but I just couldn’t stand it. After adding some stevia powder we had on hand from making toothpaste to sweeten it a bit, it was a little better, but still not my favorite. We also added some vodka to give it a bit of the alcohol-clean feel of Listerene. Husband likes it because it seems the closest to traditional store-bought mouthwash. I still think it tastes funny.

I found another recipe that seemed completely different, and not aiming to taste like commercial mouthwash. I found the original recipe here but will repost it to save you the extra click.

You will need:

  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 1 oz. whole, dried cloves (I don’t have a way of knowing how much it weighs, so I made a guess with 2 Tbsp. Seems ok to me.)
  • Sterilized glass container with airtight lid

As with the other recipe, you’ll need to prepare the glass bottle or jar by boiling it first. Put the dried cloves in the bottle and pour the 2 cups of boiling water over it. Put the lid on and let the cloves steep overnight. The following day, strain out the clove pieces. I think this one smells wonderful, and works well too. It doesn’t feel like the commercial mouthwash you’re used to, but it still has a bit of a “bite” to it that makes your mouth feel really clean. Make sure you rinse the sink really well when you spit it out though, because little splatters of it dry into dark brown spots. They don’t stain, but just look kinda bad.

As for finding the whole cloves themselves, I got ours from a local spice market. Check around at places that sell bulk tea or other spices or international foods and ask if they have or can get cloves.

Which recipe do you like better? Just curious….

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One of the best ways I’ve found to save money (and our planet!) is to stop buying things that have no other purpose than to be thrown away. When I really think about it, it makes me angry that a company would market something and make me feel like I need to buy it just to trash it after a few minutes of use. I decided not to play that game anymore. And not only do I have more money in my pocket, I feel better about not making so much trash. Granted, some paper products can be composted, but we have limited compost space in our tiny “yard” behind our house, and have to be really careful about filling it up faster than the stuff can break down.

Anyway, here are some tips if you’re interested in cutting back on your paper trash.

Keep an eye on all the disposable stuff you throw away. For any one-time-use item, there’s always a reusable option. Paper towels, tissues, sponges, swiffer pads, diapers, wipes, feminine products, toilet paper, the list keeps going. What do you spend money on that you just throw away?

You probably noticed in my list here, that with every item further on the list the “grossness factor” seems to go up. I know you’re thinking it: I don’t want to re-use THAT! Don’t think about it. Start with something you CAN do, like using rags instead of paper towels. When you tackle that, you’ll be ready for the next one.

I’m onto reusing things I never thought I’d be able to transition to, and it’s really not a big deal. Just keep focusing on the money you’ll save and the good you’ll do for our planet. Think of it this way: I estimated saving about $200 a year by using rags instead of tissues. If someone just walked up to you in the street and gave you $200 you wouldn’t say “Thanks, but I’d like to send this to Proctor & Gamble, because they need it more than I do” would you? No way! But that’s what we do every time we buy something just to throw it away.

Ok, now onto suggestions for actually making the switch:

I don’t have kids, so I can’t comment on cloth diapers or reusable wipes, but I do have some suggestions for replacing other kinds of paper products.

Doing laundry: I’ve been doing a separate load of rags/reusables (with the water level set appropriately to a lower setting), just to keep this stuff separate from my clothes and such. It works out pretty well. I also have a few of those mesh zippered bags to keep some stuff separate. Like I’ll put all my toilet paper squares in a bag so they’ll all stay together. It also helps to use specific types of fabrics or colors for each purpose. Not that I don’t trust my washer, but I don’t want to clean my counter or wipe my nose with one of my toilet paper rags. Each kind of rag in my house is a different kind of fabric, so I know quickly which is which.

All-purpose rags. Just about anything goes for replacing paper towels. I use old t-shirt scraps because I have so many of them, but you could use just about anything. Old clothing with holes in it, old wash cloths, cut up towels, get creative. What kinds of fabric items do you have but not use anymore?

Glass cleaning rags. Certain kinds of fabric leaves lint on glass and mirrors, but old sweatshirt pieces work really well for this. I keep a separate pile in the rag bin just for these types of rags.

Tissues. As one who gets lots of colds, has allergies, and in general almost always has a runny nose from something, I’ve found rags are actually gentler on my skin than tissues. And I certainly don’t miss having to buy the expensive lotion-infused paper ones anymore! Flannel (or any other soft fabric) works nicely for this purpose (think old worn out pajama pants…).I cut up a few old pillows to use the stuffing for a sewing project and ended up saving the outer fabric for these types of rags. They’re also white, so they don’t look so odd when I pull one out of my purse or coat pocket. Speaking of traveling with these, I also don’t miss the little paper “flakes” that would end up all over the inside of my purse, or the mess that would end up in the washer or dryer when disposable tissues accidentally went through. At home, I just fold them up and keep them in the same old tissue box I used to use. It works out really well!

Sponges. Ok, not a paper product, but these things are still unnecessary. A few years ago, my sister crocheted me (I know, everyone in my family crochets but me!) a set of reusable sponges from yarn. They work really well for doing dishes, and when they start to smell bad (or even before that), just toss them in the wash and they’re good as new again! Mine look really old and faded, but they’ve been really effective. I imagine you could use strips of fabric rags instead of yarn to crochet with and that would work just as well.

Dryer Sheets: Again, not a paper product, but there’s still a reusable option. Check out my posting on laundry for the specifics.

Swiffer pads. I actually don’t have my swiffer anymore, but when I did, I quickly got tired of constantly replacing the disposable pads. A few rags and some clothes pins or rubber bands will do the trick just fine!

Toilet paper. I just switched to using these this past week, so I’m still in “prototype mode.” But after using pieces of nice, soft, thick microfiber, using paper sounds totally barbaric now. I don’t want to totally get rid of all my toilet paper, as I’d still like to have some as an option when we have guests, but I found quickly that if it’s on the spindle, I’ll use it out of habit. So I found a way to hang a basket of rags where the roll used to be and moved the extra paper roll to the back of the toilet. I also placed a small bucket right under the basket for the used pieces. When it comes time for laundry day, here comes the need for that mesh zippered bag I was talking about earlier. Put the bag over the bucket, turn it upside down and dump all the rags into the bag. Zip it closed and toss it in the washer. No touching necessary! Please excuse the ugliness of my prototype contraption in this picture…..I wanted to make sure it works before worrying about having it match my bathroom.

Feminine products. You knew this one was coming, ladies. That’s a lot of trash every month, and too much for me to ignore on here. I got a pattern from my sister for making reusable pads (which I really like), and recently started using a divacup. For this one though, I’ve got enough to say for a separate posting, which gives you some time to get started on these other things first, before having to worry about tackling this one ;). In the mean time, check out divacup’s website if you’re interested in more info, and be relieved in knowing that I switched to reusables three months ago, and I didn’t die from being grossed out. In some ways, its actually LESS gross. More on this later.

What ways have you found to reduce paper product use?

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I have (well, used to have) lots of t-shirts that I don’t wear anymore, but didn’t want to get rid of because of their memories. Shirts from college, high school, family vacations, shirts I loved when I was a kid, you know what I mean. Everyone has shirts like that they don’t want to get rid of. Well, it came to the point where I was running out of space to store them all. So…..I cut them up and made patchwork quilts out of all the logos from the front.

As far as putting the quilt itself together, there really aren’t any rules and no right or wrong way to do it. But I do have a few helpful tips.

  • Measure, measure, measure. Draw a diagram of the layout and make a plan. Don’t forget about leaving allowances for seams. Using 1/2-inch seams makes the math easy, so you only need to add one inch to the size you want your blocks. For example, if you want to use 15×15 blocks, cut them 16×16.
  • Precise cutting of t-shirt fabric is just about impossible. Not to mention machine sewing it without having it get all bunchy. I find it much easier to iron fusible innerfacing onto the back and then cut it. This will keep the fabric from stretching, curling up, and moving around while you’re trying to cut and sew it.
  • Don’t scrimp on the batting: if you don’t use batting, your blanket will seem empty, even if you back it with the quilted stuff with the batting built in.
  • You can back it with just about anything. I’ve used old sheets, other throw blankets I had lying around, fleece, and other shirts to make a reversible t-shirt quilt (not recommended, as the logos on the inside feel cold when you try to cuddle up with it, and it makes for twice as much work to only be able to enjoy one side at a time. Didn’t really think that one through all the way….). I suppose you could just back it with the backs of the shirts, but that would be a whole lot of extra work and take lots more innerfacing. Anyway, just about anything goes for the backing.

Here are pictures of some of the ones I’ve done:

The only downside is that after about 1-2 quilts or so, you’ll start running out of things to do with all the backs and sleeves of the shirts. At first, it’s great to have lots of extra rags, but now that I’ve got enough rags, the scraps are really starting to pile up.

Enter: great idea from Mom.

She took all the backs of all the shirts leftover from a quilt I made my sister, cut them into strips, and used them to crochet a rug.

I can’t offer any advice on how she did it, as the only thing I know about crocheting is that I suck at it. But for something this cool, I will definitely have to try my hand (again) at crocheting. I’m pretty sure I have enough scraps to carpet my whole apartment if I wanted to, and the rugs we have in the kitchen are really old, stained, and just really in need of replacing.

Pretty cool, huh? Now you all know where I get it from!

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