The beautiful quilt pictured above is one my sister, Tricia, is working on. She usually gives her quilts away but this one will be kept and used in her new home when she moves next year. I love this quilt. It's called a scrappy quilt because scraps of fabric leftover from other projects, and old pieces of fabric that previously had other functions, have been used in the making of it. You might not be able to see it clearly (click on the photos to enlarge them) but it is constructed of a small table cloth, some old doilies, strips of fabric, blocks of embroidery, pillow cases, rick rack and old buttons. It's far from complete, but I love it.
Tricia has used the colour red to tie the whole quilt together but within that colour scheme, she has used what she loves and what appealed to her, and, importantly, her leftovers. We have very similar taste so I adore this quilt and when I suggested a few things when it was laid out on the bed here, she liked what I suggested and they will be included in the quilt.
I am showing you Tricia's quilt because it illustrates very nicely that the leftovers we all have - all those things like old clothes, buttons, pillow cases, doilies, rick rack from other projects, half completed embroidery squares and ribbons - all have a place in our lives if we think creatively about them. We can create beauty and function from what many would consider "waste".
So it's not just the food leftovers we have to be careful with. As Kim said in her comment, she doesn't waste much at all because she grows her own food and she sees first-hand how much time and work goes into the production of it. I think that's a really good way of looking at what we might once have thought of as waste products. If you think about the production of a pillow slip, for instance, from that cotton growing on the bush, the people who pick it and those who sell it, to the processing plant where it is cleaned and woven into fabric, the man who transports those rolls of fabric to the factory where it is cut and sewn by women, just like you and I, before it goes on to a wholesaler who sells it to a retailer where you buy it - that, my friends, is quite a story, even before the product is used for the first time.
Imagine that you use it for a year but it is ripped and you can't use it as a pillowslip anymore. In days gone by you might have thrown that pillow slip away to rot in landfill, now you stop to consider its future. Now you give it a new life, sure it can't be used as a pillow slip, but the fabric is still good so it can be made into something else. You might use it now as a cleaning cloth, to patch something else, as a baby doll blanket or for any number of things. Or, you might use it to create something of beauty that will be functional and help you carry out your rolls of homemaker, nurturer and family accountant, something like a scrappy quilt. My next project, after my kitchen curtains, will be exactly that.
I want to challenge you to think creatively about your damaged possessions. Think carefully before you throw anything "away". "Away" doesn't make it disappear, it moves your problem somewhere else. Take responsibility for what you buy and use everything until it can't be used any more. Even then, all natural products can be composted in your own backyard. So if that pure wool cardigan is going to be felted and made into a bag, or you're going to rewind the wool for another project, remove the buttons first and start your own button tin. If your old dress is going to be part of your scrappy quilt, remove the zipper or buttons, so they can be reused. Stop thinking that what you own only has one use - fabric is fabric, no matter what it's been made into and a button will continue to function whether it's used to fasten a blouse or as decoration on a hand bag.
Think creatively about everything in your home, get the full value of everything you own and that will help you get the full measure of every day you live.
This is just a quick picture of my ginger beer plant that has started fermenting - it's the fourth day today. It smell delicious, even if it looks pretty ghastly right now. LOL If you've never made ginger beer before and the weather is starting to warm up where you live, this makes a lovely drink on a hot summer day.