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La Rentre: The Start of My Plastic Free Journey

LivingAmanda RussellComment

Returning from the summer break, to school and work brings the wonderful feeling of new beginnings, there’s nothing like it to restore the resolve and tackle projects with vigor and confidence. Though this event repeats through our lives strangely we don’t have a name for it, in France it’s called, La Rentre.

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With the enforced a break, foot off the accelerator, leaves clear space to reflect on the direction life is taking. Since seeing images of the polluted sea with the drifting islands of plastic debris harming both the environment and wildlife, I’ve been mulling over how to make the changes and embrace a plastic free life. There’s the itch to throw myself into a passion of dramatic change, discarding old ways in favor of new, but I know from experience that’s a risky strategy, set the bar too high and there’s the risk of abandoning the short lived changes. I’m in favour of making easy to adopt, incremental changes that can be absorbed into life to seamlessly create a new version of normal.

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Following the route into a plastic free life I’m thinking, small changes for easy wins. The exciting part is that in the not too distant future the adjustments will feel normal, having been effortlessly absorbed into life. Giving up plastic carrier bags for reusable cloth tote bags was an easy win as was swapping disposable rollerball pens for newly resurrected fountain pens which was a joy. This is the beginning, there more changes in the pipeline, watch this space!

Please can you tell me about any changes you have to get closer to plastic free.

If you like this post check out my post on Going Backwards to go Forwards: Rediscovering the Joy of Writing with a Fountain Pen

Create your own handmade Christmas decorations

CraftsAmanda Russell

This nifty little project making Christmas decorations, is one for people who have pets using old pet food containers. We are talking about those lightweight aluminium ones with a lip round them.

You will need:  Clean pet food containers  Patterned paper  Ribbon  Wooden picnic spoons  PVA glue  Paintbrush  Acrylic paint  Thin card  Clear sticky tape  Double sided tape  Acrylic paint  Felt tip pens pencil  Scissors   

You will need:

Clean pet food containers

Patterned paper

Ribbon

Wooden picnic spoons

PVA glue

Paintbrush

Acrylic paint

Thin card

Clear sticky tape

Double sided tape

Acrylic paint

Felt tip pens pencil

Scissors

 

Instructions:  First cover the inside of the container with the paper face down. Draw around the edge with a pencil. Take a pencil and extend the sideline of the square.  2. Cut out the paper cross shape. Fold the side arms in to crease the paper. Paint the reverse of the paper with a layer of PVA glue, put the paper into the tray, press the two shorter sides onto the tray, then press out the long sides onto the sides. Along the top edge of the tray cut deep nicks in the paper and wrap the paper over the edge to stick in place.  3. To cover the outside of the tray, take a contrast printed paper. Paper face down draw around the base of the tray, cut out square shape. Measure around the outside of the tray, add 1cm for overlap. Cut a strip of paper the measured length and 3cm wide. Paint with PVA glue then wrap around the tray cutting long nicks in the paper to ease around the curved corners, press the loose strips into place on the base, then glue the square of paper over to cover. Poor glitter onto a plate, paint the front edge of the tray with PVA and dip in glitter.  4. To make the portraits, if you like use scissors to trim the top of the spoon into a hairstyle, then paint the spoons with a base coat of white acrylic paint. While they are drying make the shoulders for the portraits. Cut a strip of thin card slightly narrower than the opening of the tray and about 2cm high, fold in half along the length then glue on printed paper.  5. Use acrylic paint to mix a variety of skin tone colours, paint the spoons. Leave to dry then use felt pens to draw on details. Use sticky tape to attach the portrait onto the shoulders. To keep the portrait in position cut a narrow support strut from thin card about 4cm long, fold in both ends by 1cm, then tape one to the reverse of a portrait. Stick the shoulders to the bottom edge of the tray with double sided tape and tape the end of the support strut to the back of the tray. With the point of the scissors make a hole through the top edge of the tray. Cut a length of ribbon and pass one end through the hole and tape in place.  If you like this check out my post on  making a star light canvas

Instructions:

First cover the inside of the container with the paper face down. Draw around the edge with a pencil. Take a pencil and extend the sideline of the square.

2. Cut out the paper cross shape. Fold the side arms in to crease the paper. Paint the reverse of the paper with a layer of PVA glue, put the paper into the tray, press the two shorter sides onto the tray, then press out the long sides onto the sides. Along the top edge of the tray cut deep nicks in the paper and wrap the paper over the edge to stick in place.

3. To cover the outside of the tray, take a contrast printed paper. Paper face down draw around the base of the tray, cut out square shape. Measure around the outside of the tray, add 1cm for overlap. Cut a strip of paper the measured length and 3cm wide. Paint with PVA glue then wrap around the tray cutting long nicks in the paper to ease around the curved corners, press the loose strips into place on the base, then glue the square of paper over to cover. Poor glitter onto a plate, paint the front edge of the tray with PVA and dip in glitter.

4. To make the portraits, if you like use scissors to trim the top of the spoon into a hairstyle, then paint the spoons with a base coat of white acrylic paint. While they are drying make the shoulders for the portraits. Cut a strip of thin card slightly narrower than the opening of the tray and about 2cm high, fold in half along the length then glue on printed paper.

5. Use acrylic paint to mix a variety of skin tone colours, paint the spoons. Leave to dry then use felt pens to draw on details. Use sticky tape to attach the portrait onto the shoulders. To keep the portrait in position cut a narrow support strut from thin card about 4cm long, fold in both ends by 1cm, then tape one to the reverse of a portrait. Stick the shoulders to the bottom edge of the tray with double sided tape and tape the end of the support strut to the back of the tray. With the point of the scissors make a hole through the top edge of the tray. Cut a length of ribbon and pass one end through the hole and tape in place.

If you like this check out my post on making a star light canvas

Book Review - Urban Pioneer: Interiors Inspired by Industrial Design by Sara Emslie

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
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    Architecture Design by Manifold Architecture studio, Brooklyn, NY

Architecture Design by Manifold Architecture studio, Brooklyn, NY

How can I resist the new book by interior stylist that just arrived on my desk, Urban Pioneer: Interiors Inspired by Industrial Design. The pioneers, mostly designers and artisans have colonised and renovated exindustrial and non residential buildings where they combine work with living, to create a new urban lifestyle. They have thrown out the rules of traditional interiors and the newly emerged style reflects the remnants of the industrial past, generous windows letting in lots of light, metal finishes, exposed pipes and brick work. 

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    The canalside home and gallery of creative director, art dealer and location owner Mark Chalmers in Amsterdam  www.thegarageamsterdam.com  

The canalside home and gallery of creative director, art dealer and location owner Mark Chalmers in Amsterdam www.thegarageamsterdam.com 

The urban pioneer is a style that's in demand, we are all familiar with the open plan look of these large industrial spaces, flexible, less permanent and more mobile. The pioneers have licence to break the mould, be bold and take the opportunity to experiment, take risks while rethinking scale. The book examines twelve case histories, all individual, illustrating a variety of ways to design post industrial interiors.

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  The London home of Peter Wim

The London home of Peter Wim

While all the spaces have a strong sense of reflecting the anatomy of the building, pioneers adapt their space to their individual needs. And don't think it's all about the utillitarian, as this ultimately depends on where the pioneer chooses to draw the line. Some like to allow for domestic softening and flights of fancy. Amsterdam interior by designer James van der Velden has a spectacular lush wall painted in the manner of a classical artist.

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      Designer James van der Velden of Bricks Studio

 Designer James van der Velden of Bricks Studio

While the kitchen of graphic designer Anouk Pruim, is pared back, no frills, basic chic, reflected in salvedged utility used for furnishing the space. In the New York home of Houssein Jarouche my favourite, a vintage modern interior, has ecclectic kitchen cupboards that are boldly collaged with colourful graphic tape.

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  Designer James van der Velden of Bricks Studio, Amsterdam

Designer James van der Velden of Bricks Studio, Amsterdam

If you want to get that Urban Pioneer look, this book, packed with visual pointers will help you put together your own take on interiors inspired by industrial design.   

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    The New York home of Houssein Jarouche of  micasa.com.br  

The New York home of Houssein Jarouche of micasa.com.br 

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    The home of Anouk Pruim, graphic designer

The home of Anouk Pruim, graphic designer

Urban Pioneer by Sara Emslie

(Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99)

Photography by Benjamin Edwards © Ryland Peters & Small

If you like this post why not check out my book review on Making Winter by Emma Mitchell