ReUsed News - Green

I've been working in my garden a lot. The weather has been warming and with the exception of a fairly freaky snow storm over the weekend, things are starting to look green. I started thinking about the color green and what I know about it. It is not a primary color but instead is made by mixing the colors blue and yellow. Our eyes see the color green because of sensors in the retina of our eye called rods and cones. The rods are more sensitive than cones but are only able to see things in black and white. It is the cones in our eyes that enable us to perceive color. Pigments within the cones absorb light waves, specifically the middle light waves are interpreted as green.

There are a lot of things that are green in nature. In plants, it is caused because of the chemical chlorophyll which is used in the plant for photosynthesis. Lizards, frogs and other animals are often green due to layers of blue and green color on their skin.

The color green is created in fireworks by barium salts. Interestingly, there is no natural source for green food coloring that has been approved by the FDA.

Culturally, green can represent many things. A person can be green with envy. To say someone has a green thumb means they are good at growing things. The U.S. dollar is nicknamed greenbacks and if you've moved on to greener pastures it means you are in quest of something better. Green has traditionally been used to symbolize nature and its embodied attributes, namely those of life, fertility, and rebirth. It is also used often to symbolize the environmental movement. Thought to symbolize misfortune and death, it is often avoided within the Celtic tradition. And of course, in traffic lights it is sign to go, go, go.

I was also wondering how many different shades of green there are. I thought about different ones I could name. Emerald green, forest green, grass green, blue green, lime green,...i soon realized that i could probably fill a page with only the greens that I could name and that would probably still only barely touch on the possibilities. So, I did what every good person would do when faced with such an important question, I googled it. According to some people who've speculated, the number is an infinite one. This hardly seemed satisfactory to me, so I consulted the experts. The experts seem to reside at the Munsell Color Science Laboratory. They quaintly have a website called Ask a Color Scientist. On this website there is a list of their most frequently asked questions. According to them, the human eye is able to perceive between tens of thousands and several million different colors.

I had one last obvious spot to check out on my stroll through the color green and that is back to my childhood and crayons. I wondered how many different green colors had been made into crayons. According to the Crayon Color History page when crayons became available in 1903 there was only 8 colors, one of which was green. Since then they maintain a pallate of 120 colors at any given time. Not all colors have withstood the test of time and have been retired. I wasn't able to discern a comprehensive green color list but here are some of my favorites - Carribean green, fern, mountain meadow, granny smith apple, shamrock and jungle green.

So, I hope as you browse these super cool items created by the trashion team that contain the color green, you keep in mind the words of that famous green frog, Kermit - it's not easy being green.


Interview with Lou from Lousupcycles!

Shop name: Lou's Upcycles
Shop address: and

What draws you to using trashion materials?
watching the way our disposable world is suffocating the planet. How did we ever get to the point where 64 tiny bags of doritos in one purchase makes sense?

What trashion materials do you use?
un-recyclable plastic wrappers, bags and packaging

Do you remember the first thing you made using the trashion concept?
elementary school is trashion headquarters! Using popsicle sticks, papermache, old fabric and buttons... mom's got my first concept project somewhere. after that, I used anything I could find and made something out of it whenever the need arose.

What are your current projects and what is on the horizon?
currently I am in planning stages for upcycled raincoats/hats, perfecting the shower curtain, plastic hot pants and vehemently spreading the plastic crisis information necessary to heal the planet.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Beginning on March first, I joined the No Plastic Left Behind collective and committed to three months of plastic free living. I have pledged to not buy anything that contains plastic. It is challenging and invigorating. I encourage others to join me!


Join Us For Earth Hour - Tonight!

At 8:30 pm your time, how about joining in and switching off your lights for one powerful hour?
Click the above image for more info.


Hoot Owls with Heart - handmade by buttercupbloom

Hi, I'm WendyZ - a proud recycling queen since the 80's, full time
social worker, sucker for anything cute, lover of natural fibers and
true believer in "fudging" my way through the creative process.
Welcome to my workspace:

Sunny windows? Check. Piles of pretty fabrics? Check. "Jan" my
amazing sewing machine? Check. Dining room table? Check. Best part
of my location is that I am about 5 steps away from my next cup of tea
or snack.

Nearly all of my work is is inspired by castaway items that have been
given to me, poached from my own (or my husband's) closet or
discovered on lucky thrift store jaunts. These upcycled fabrics are
the primary ingredient in my plush creations and are combined with new
textiles that complement them. Above is a super soft cashmere sweater
ready for cutting. I got that beautiful cashmere for $1 because it
had a few, easy to work around moth holes. Sweet!

The best part of this process is putting together the colors. My
mother gave me this fabulous tangerine hued 100% wool hoodie that
felted up just perfect and hung out on my sweater stash pile for a
good few weeks before I discovered this fantastic Alexander Henry
"Spotted Owl" print that went perfectly with it.

These guys are ready for needle and thread! (See how the repurposed
denim fabric complements that tangerine wool so nicely?)

Here are two Hoot Owls ready to fly the coop! They carry with them a
message about conservation and creativity. One Hoot at a time, these
wee birds are making the world a little better place...and that makes
sewing them up and sharing them with others all the more fun for me.

Please visit my etsy shop @ for more pictures
of the Hoot Owls that you see here, a bunch more of their feathered
friends and other Trashion-Worthy items that will make you smile!

xo, WendyZ


TRASHY KIDS~Splashy Birdbath

I'm always looking for kid friendly and kid safe web sites as well as information magazines for kids. This weeks edition of TRASHY KIDS comes from both!

The National Wildlife Federation circulates a monthly kids magazine titled YOUR BIG BACKYARD. These magazines are filled with fun and interesting facts about wild life and presents it in a kid friendly way that is enjoyable for both children and adult. I personally love the pictures that they are able to add to it.

What you need:
*Acrylic paints
*OLD clay pot or terra cotta pot and saucer
*Old Newspaper

What to do:
1.) Place the pot upside down on a newspaper. Paint colorful stripes and circles on the pot. Let dry for one day.

2.) Paint the bottom of the saucer and place it on top of the pot bottom as shown. Paint the rest of the saucer. Let dry for a day. (Note: The dry paint will hold the pot and saucer together.)

3.) Put an inch of water in the dish and place it near a shrub or tree. (or by your recently constructed jug bird house!) This bathing facility is definitely for the birds! ;0)

(Craft idea taken from the June 2006 issue of Your Big Backyard)


ReUsed News - Spring

Sorry for the lapse last week. Gotta love computers or not - which is probably closer to what I'm currently feeling. Anywho - while I was busy cursing my computer, spring happened. In the northern hemisphere spring officially started March 20 to be exact. According to the astronomical definition, spring begins on the Vernal Equinox (usually March 20 in the Northern Hemisphere and September 22 in the Southern Hemisphere), and lasts until the Summer Solstice (usually June 21in the Northern Hemisphere and December 21 in the Southern Hemisphere). Vernal Equinox is one of the two days of the year when the length of day and night are the same length.

We often start to spend more time outside in the spring because the temperatures are becoming milder. Although, it can also be a time of unpredictable weather. Tornadoes and heavy thunderstorms can ruin spring plans. Trees are starting to bloom, shrubbery is starting to leaf out and spring flowers such as daffodils are gracing our landscapes.

Some of you may even take up the challenge of spring cleaning. The tradition of spring cleaning has ancient roots tracing back to the Jewish and Iranian cultures. In Iran, the new year starts on March 21 or the vernal equinox. Iranians' celebration of the new year lasts two weeks and is a time of regeneration. One of the rituals of this time is called khaneh takani which literally translates to "shaking the house." Every part of the house of scoured and cleaned, nothing is spared. New clothes are even bought to be worn during this time. Once the house is shaken, then they are ready to welcome the new year.

Lastly, I'll leave you with a poem by William Shakespeare called Spring from his play Love's Labors Lost.

When daisies pied, and violets blue,
And lady-smocks all silver-white,
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,

The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men, for thus sings he:
Cuckoo, cuckoo!” O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear.

When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
And merry larks are ploughmen’s clocks,
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,

And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men, for thus sings he:
Cuckoo, cuckoo!” O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear.

The images from this post have been brought to you by the Trashion Team's labeled Spring.

Interview with Andee Penner of Dandee!

Name: Andee Penner

Shop name: Dandee

Shop address:,

Other sites:

What draws you to using trashion materials?
Honestly, it's what easiest and on hand! It's of course important to me to recycle and use fabrics etc. that are getting thrown by the wayside. But the idea of making something old and worn out into a new, exciting and functional creation makes me gitty!

What trashion materials do you use?
My neighbor at my brick and mortar shop is generous enough to donate all of her futon upholstry samples to me so I now have a basement FULL of all kinds of one of a kind pieces of fabric. I piece them together to make bags, pouches, cup cozies and even some clothing. I also take advantage of items in my Gently Worn section here at my store that just aren't selling. I chop them up and make whatever I can dream up!

Do you remember the first thing you made using the trashion concept?
Hmmmmmm, that would've been some time ago. I think I recall taking my old Strawberry Shortcake sheets and making a pillow out of a piece of it. In fact, I think my Ma has a picture of me hand stitching the pillow in front of our fireplace.

What are your current projects and what is on the horizon?
Well, spring is around the corner and I just finished a fashion show that featured all recycled clothing which has really got my juices flowing. Using old sweatshirts and tank tops I've been putting together some fun spring/summer dresses. And as for what's on the horizon, it could be anything! My creativity comes out of the blue most of the time.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I'm loving that there is such a strong, bonded community of like minded people taking a concept that is not only environmental but fashionable at the same time!


Trashion Tutorial - Resizing a T Shirt

You can make an XL T shirt into a size small? Yes, you can. And it's easy.

Many times you have t shirts (often giveaways for events, etc.) that are WAY too big. They just print a batch of XL and figure they will fit everyone. These shirts either get worn as sleepwear or sit around waiting to become rags.
But often the shirt is from something special you've done and you want to wear it. The answer is to make it your size. And you can do that! This is something I've done for my daughter, with shirts from some of her college events, making the shirts a part of her wardrobe rather than a gift to Goodwill.

This is a great job for a serger, but I use a zigzag stitch on my regular machine and it works fine. This could also be done by hand by any competent stitcher.

This tutorial seems long because I have shown each step. After you've done this once, you will see how easy it really is!

Your most important tool is a shirt that fits; this will be your pattern.
(The brown shirt is the pattern shirt here.)

1. Cut off the sleeves of the big shirt at the seams.

2. Lay the pattern shirt on the big shirt folding sleeves up and out of the way. Match the shoulder seams of the two shirts.

3. Cut shirt approx. 1/4 inch larger than pattern at each side, and 3/4 inch longer at bottom.

4. Turn shirt inside out and pin the side seams from armpit to bottom.

5. Sew along pinned sides 1/4 inch from edge. Then turn up the bottom and stitch around hem.

6. For sleeves the shortening is done from the cut edge, you will keep the sleeve hem as is. Use pattern shirt to cut sleeves, match hems and cut top edge 1/4 inch longer. Then cut seamed edge to narrow the sleeve leaving 1/4 inch to sew.

7. Turn sleeve right sides together and stitch underarm seam.

8. Turn sleeve right side out and pin inside shirt armhole opening. Match seam of sleeve with seam of shirt, make sure you have right sides together. Shirt is inside out, sleeve is rightside out, see photo.

9. Sew around pinned sleeve seam. This is not as hard as it looks. Just follow the edges around, and since the fabric stretches it goes together easily.

10. Last step, cut out that size label!

Enjoy a shirt that fits! This technique can be used to make a basic T into a "girly fit T", you would make the sleeves extra small and curve the side seams in at the waist. Use a well fitting girly T as your pattern.