Tag Archives: recycle

Sunglasses need love too

11 Aug

We live such disposable lives now, always upgrading and lusting for the “new”. Australia is one of the fastest adapters of new technology in the world consuming iPhones and the like akin to a child with a bagful of mixed lollies. But what happens to all the discarded things? I absolutley hate waste and will always look for ways to lead a #zerowastelife I also really hate it when my sunglasses break.

Sunglasses tend to be one of those items we hate purchasing but wear on a daily basis. Personally I can’t stand to be outdoors without them. Our dependancy on them grows with each wear until suddenly they cark it, then we practicality burst into tears. I really should show my sunglasses a bit more respect, put them in a case at the very least rather than throwing them in my handbag only to be molested by my keys rendering them so scratched that I can’t see through them. Tsk Tsk.

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Long ago I made a pact with myself never to spend more than $30 on a pair of sunglasses. I just couldn’t justify spending over a hundred dollars on an item that could potenially break next week. Still my dispair at a pair of broken sunglasses motivates me to somehow prolong their life, even if it’s recycled into rescuing another pair of sunnies.

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If you trash the lens of your sunglasses, keep the arms & those teeny tiny screws. Get yourself a tiny screwdriver in both phillips & flat head to manage them. If you can find a magnetic one all the better as those miniture screws are tricky to handle! Now you have a back up supply of screws to save your sunglasses the next time an arm falls off. The screws come in different lengths & thicknesses so its worth accumulating any and all. Do yourself a favour and use that screwdriver to tighten the screws on your current sunglasses to prevent the arms dislodging in the first place.

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The arms can potenially create you a new pair of sunglasses by swapping them onto another pair that fit. This is a nifty trick if you have arms with a logo on them that you like.

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I love Aviator style sunnies but damn it, those flimsy metal frames bend out of shape like yogi on LSD. Luckily it’s easily fixed.Simply sit them in the sun for a while to soften the metal before slowly bending them back into shape bit by bit. The dash of the car will do the trick in just a couple of minutes. Same goes for bending the little nose rests that can make your glasses sit wonky.

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Did you know that the best way to clean glasses is to wash them with warm soapy water? True story. This disolves all the grease build up rather than just smearing it around the lens with a lens cloth.

So there you go, a few simple little tricks to keep your sunnies working for you longer and prevent you from the tedious task of finding yet another pair that suit you.

Mental note to self: Buy a hard case for sunnies and use it. *clips oneself up the ear*

Front Porch by Fiona Lenord

15 Jun

Upcycle: verb. To reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original, moving it ‘up’ the consumer goods chain.

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I love creative people who breathe new life into old things. I’m not talking about The Toy Story theory of extending a discarded item’s life by passing it on to another to be loved all over again but rather upcycling. Pushing the boundaries of an item’s original purpose and creating a new form. Front Porch is one such brand riding the upcycling wave. Front Porch was launched in 2012 by Fiona Lenord after making a tree change to the Blue Mountains, NSW. Behind the brand is Fiona’s 23 years experience as a Textile Designer specialising in hand painted florals, including 13 years with iconic Australian brand Sheridan. This wealth of experience shines through her apparel and homewares designs. The attention to detail and the love put into each piece is really beautiful.

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The Front Porch signature piece is a dress made from upcycled textiles. The design is a simple strappy A line cut with a soft rope drawstring, tapering down to varying lengths. Fiona describes her latest best seller, The Foofoo, as “the love child of a poncho and a kimono. Both styles can be layered up and down for all seasons. Worn casually or dressed up for weddings and formal events”.

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A keen op shopper who loves hunting through secondhand stores and flea markets for vintage items, Fiona found herself “rescuing” old fabric like brocade, seersucker, vintage lace, retro 60’s prints, Australian printed tea towels, embroidered and crocheted tablecloths and doilies. The textiles span across the decades creating diversity in Front Porch, “I have a collection that is constantly rotating from soaking tub to a dye bath, clothes line, sewing machine and ironing board” notes Fiona. The history of the textiles also strike up sentimentality in her customers, some have even commissioned dresses made from family heirloom fabrics. “My biggest surprise has been the repeat customers. I have some customers who own over 30 of my dresses! I have met an amazing network of creative women and friends through this venture and feel lucky to have bonded so quickly with the Blue Mountains community”.

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In keeping with the nostalgia of her products is Fiona’s brand name: Front Porch, “I wanted a name with nostalgia, history and quintessentially Australian. I grew up on a fruit Orchard in Kurmond. Our fibro 1960s bungalow had a decorative Besser block Front porch. It was a backdrop to many family photos, a place to greet visitors and hang out.”

 

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This is my Front Porch dress (above) made from a white tablecloth with pale blue embroidery and trimmed with vintage lace. Not only is it cool to wear on hot days and perfect for throwing over my cossies at the beach, it’s also super comfy! I honestly feel like I’m wearing my PJs but I must look fabulous as I always get comments whenever I wear this.

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I first met Fiona on her stall at The Bluebird Market in Leura and now I have the privilege of calling her my friend. Talented designer is but one of her many hats. Fiona is also a wonderful mother, a professional wearer of red lipstick and owner of a great infectious laugh. I urge you all to seek her out. Front Porch has a stall at The Glenbrook Rotary Market on the 3rd Saturday of every month in the lower Blue Mountains. This is a lovely market full of local farmers, bakers, artisans and producers. Front Porch also visits other Sydney markets so please Like the Front Porch Facebook page for updates. Fiona regularly sells direct from her Front Porch Facebook page so even if you are not in Sydney you can still own one these unique pieces.

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Do you own a Front Porch original?

* Thank you to Fiona Lenord for the use of some of her images.

Suzie Stanford, Designer & Finder

16 Oct

Meet Melbourne based designer Suzie Stanford.

A kindred Hunter Gatherer, I love that she also calls herself a Finder.

 

Tapestry chair reupholstered with vintage tea towels.

 

“I draw inspiration from the discarded and am inspired to give them new charm.  I collect in a magpie-like fashion from auction houses, curio shops and flea markets around the world. By employing old materials in new products I find it inspiring to be able to incorporate the unique histories of each item I use. I daydream of the stories past told and ones to be re-lived once the piece takes on a new form and owner. I don’t think I really make anything new.  I just make new connections.” SS

 

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I love that Suzie transforms everyday objects abandoned at op shops and gives them a glamorous new life. It’s like a Cinderella story. 

And she is right you know….. Imagination will take you everywhere. 

Crystal pendant lights for Megan Park's Melbourne boutique

Taking out the Trash

29 Sep

Sadly some people just can’t grasp the meaning of charity. Too many people take advantage of charity stores, reading their call for donations too literally. Some think the donation bin is just the place for practically anything they don’t want anymore, whereas others don’t even bother to use the donation bin and just leave their unwanted items on the footpath. This has become a particular problem for one of my favourite local op shops. Over the weekend whilst the store is closed thoughtless people dump huge quantities of “donations” on the footpath outside the St Vinnies store. I’ve also seen others stop to collect whatever they want, often arriving with a ute or small truck to load it onto. I suspect that these are many of the regular stall holders I see at the nearby Blacktown Drive-In Market. Profiting from others and effectively stealing from a charity trying to raise funds to help those in need. A low act indeed. By the time volunteer staff arrive Monday morning the footpath is completely covered in the picked over debris. Many of the volunteers are elderly ladies, would you expect your nanna to collect rubbish from the side of the road? It’s quite disrespectful if you ask me. The store has often had to ask council to collect the dumped item which is then sent to the rubbish tip, but the problem has gotten out of hand becoming a weekly occurence.

Monday morning I visited this store. There was so much rubbish on the footpath that I was forced to walk around it onto the road. To make matters worse, there were 3 people digging amongst the pile taking items at will and simply tossing the rest over their shoulder. I was disgusted to say the least. They looked like your stereotypical foul-mouthed, smoking, dole bludging scabs. Here they were stealing in broad daylight from the very place that likely gave them free goods to furnish their Housing Comission flat.

So just what is fit for charity donation and what is rubbish? Basically broken household items and ripped or stained clothing are only fit for the rubbish bin. When I’m spring cleaning (which seems to be all the time?) I just ask myself, would I buy this second-hand? If the answer is no, it goes in the bin. Of course a charity donation bin needn’t be your only option. I always first offer items to friends or family whom I think might appreciate them. Kids clothes especially are well received. Your local childcare or preschool might take the toys your kids have outgrown. Community groups are also open to donations, the knitting club would love the wool you’ve been saving for a rainy day and the community garden could use the pile of unused pots you have stored under the house. Free-cycling is a great way to contribute back into your local community as well as recycling. I for one hate waste and throwing things in the bin, so think before you chuck it.  

If it’s all too hard then remember that your rates entitle you to a number of Household clean ups, where council will collect rubbish piled neatly on your nature strip. Contact your local council for details.

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