Conundrum – Price v Usage v Packaging

Originally this week I was planning on posting about one of my sewing makes until on Sunday whilst grocery shopping we were faced with a conundrum which got me thinking.

Trying to be more healthy Mr StitchNSew is making regular salads, we are fussy eaters (no lettuce, carrots, celery) so we are slightly limited as to what can be put in our salads. Capsicum shopping has been easy in the past, I would just grab one small one as we are not big eaters and that was it. Trying to add more variety Mr StitchNSew decided to get different types of capsicum. The individual capsicums were each different prices per kilo due to the different coloured varieties, the 3 pack was different price all together. The capsicums themselves were all larger than we would normally pick too. We found maybe 1 or 2 that were our size but even then they were bigger than we really wanted. It was actually difficult to decide which ones to get. We are trying to avoid plastic packaging but we didn’t want to buy more than what we needed as we would end up wasting it. I didn’t quite get to the stage of adding up the individual prices per kilo and dividing by 3 to work out if the combined pack was cheaper per kilo (given a few more minutes I’m sure I would have) In the end we went the 3 pack as they were the size we wanted.

Sometimes it really hard to decided between options when you have to consider the price v usage v packaging. We are frugal but I don’t mind if I have to pay a bit more for something I know we are going to use. Shamefully putting our hand up to say “Yes we do sometimes toss out food items due to not using them in time” We are being more conscious of it now and are trying to avoid it buy using things up or not buying more than we will use in the time frame. We don’t have access to a greengrocer where we live to buy fresh produce. The farmers market I used to visit has been shut due to Covid, I’m hoping it comes back in the post Covid era. We try and buy unpackaged items but our choices are limited as to what is in the supermarket. We are trying to reduce our packaging but sometimes it’s unavoidable if our only other option is to buy more than we need which will end up as waste. I guess our order of choice is

  1. Size – Pick the size will we actually use
  2. Packaging – Is it avoidable / can it be recycled
  3. Price – Is it the cheapest option in the size we will use

At the supermarket we take our own shopping bags to carry items home. We don’t own a car so get a weekly grocery delivery from the supermarket for our main grocery items. Due to Covid we no longer have the option of getting our order bag less so it arrives in plastic bags. Our supermarket has a soft plastic recycling program. We regularly take in our soft plastics and always have a bag on the go to collect them.

The overall important thing is we are now more mindful in our shopping choices and try to pick the one which will create less waste.



Soccer Balls

I thought the Soccer Stars need a ball to go with them (or how else would they play)

Soccer Balls

These are a mini version of the pentagon balls I’ve made previously. As you can see they are only about 2″ in diameter. They are done using the English Paper Piecing method. The paper templates I created on the computer in Word by using the inbuilt drawing tools shapes. I drew a couple of size pentagons on the page and it printed it on scrap paper. I decided a size I liked then copied the shape 12 times per ball. I use scrap paper I save from work. Scrap paper is good in a project like that as you’re not having to see through the paper.

Stuffing Injury

I did have a small issue after I made these. As the stuffing gap was so tiny I used my pinky finger to stuff these. I do have proper stuffing tools but I just used my finger as it was um handy…. Bad idea I sprained my pinky finger. I must admit I did stuff these really tightly and pushed the stuffing into all angles . I had to strap my fingers for 2 days and was on craft restrictions for most of the week. Lesson learnt always use a stuffing tool.

I’ve Decided To Castaway

C2C Logo

Castaway To Couture 2016 is a competition being held by the Australian Sewing Guild where participants are challenged to bring new life into old garments. The rules are pretty simple you either purchase an item/s from an op shop (charity / good will shop) or you raid your own stash for clothes you don’t wear for whatever reason and you alter the item into something new. It is a nationwide competition with some fantastic prizes for the winners including a sewing machine, gift vouchers and patterns. Winners are awarded by judges on the most transformed item but there are also viewers’ choice winners.

C2C Skirt

I’ve decided to enter this competition. I’m not in this to win some of the fantastic prizes, but who would say no a Craftsy voucher. I’m going to do this a personal challenge. Bringing new life into old garments is something I have wanted to do for a long time, it’s about time I gave it a shot. The first item I have chosen was an article of clothing I have culled from my stash just this week (thanks CC for the inspiration) This is a nylon/polyester velveteen stretchy long tube skirt. After picking it up for the first time in years I discovered that some of pile had started to come away from the fabric. It has been dragged on the ground or caught in shoes. It was time for it to go, I was going to add it into my fabric stash thinking I could use it in a toy. 2 days later I discovered this competition and thought perfect I have something already.

C2C Pants

The 2nd item I’m using is some polyester imitation suede pants. I had culled these about 12 months ago, it was only during a night of insomnia and hot weather that I remembered I hadn’t actually taken these to the op shop yet and they were still sitting in my spare room. I’ve had these for a good 10 – 15 years. I stopped wearing them due to a) they are really hot to wear and b) they sit low and there isn’t much room in the crotch area. Looking at them now the hem has come undone on one leg and I never bothered to fix it. Also they don’t have pockets, I can’t wear pants without pockets. These have a funny story. In a department store once I went past the baby section and happened to see pants that were exactly the same as these! Same fabric, same stitch detail above the knee. I remembered thinking I have toddler pants. I have a feeling I never wore these again after that day.

C2C Before

Both items have pasted the first test, the wash test. Both say to hand wash separately but I stuck them both together on a cold water wash and they survived. I dare say that’s how they’ve always been washed all this time as I don’t do fancy washing. I have a few ideas of what I want to do. Not sure if all will work but you never know if you don’t try. I can say during my night of insomnia I pretty much planned it all out at 1:30 am and wrote all the ideas down later. With the ideas I have in mind I don’t see myself winning most transformed item, however hopefully I’m going to have an item that I can wear. An item that I have created using principles that I feel strongly about – upcycling, recycling, simple living by making it myself. It will be a free item as I’m not planning on purchasing anything extra for this. All materials will come from my current stash or the item itself. I love a good challenge and this is my challenge to me. Watch this space and no matter the outcome I’ll share this with you.


Dead Sewing Needles

Broken Needle

Unfortunately we all break sewing needles from time to time (on some projects we go through multiple needles) plus we’re told to regularly change our needles but how do you dispose of them? I personally don’t like to just toss the needle in the regular bin as it is, particularly broken needles. You have the chance that they can stab someone, fall out of the bin or even rip the bin. I struggled to know how to safely toss them. I’ve wrapped them in tissues and fabric, put them old drink cans. At one stage I was putting them in an old needle packet but then got confused as to which was my fresh needles and which was my used.

Sharps Disposal

One day I happened to be holding an empty medication bottle and I realised in my hand was a little canister that perfect for dead sewing needles. Medication bottles are the perfect size. They are small enough that you can easily place them by your sewing machine to have them on standby yet they are big enough to store a large number of broken or used needles. The opening at the top of the bottle allows you to easily place the needle in, it isn’t fiddly. With a screw top lid they are secure if you knock them over. If you have little people or pets around you can use bottles with child proof lids. When you are ready you can toss the entire bottle in the bin and it isn’t going to hurt anyone or rip anything. I always keep a couple of bottles on by my sewing machine now.

How do you dispose of your old sewing needles?


Hexie Bowl

This week I got to be a pattern tester! Rachael from Sew Today Clean Tomorrow has created the cutest little hexie bowl and this week I was delighted to be one of her guinea pigs to test it out.

Hexie Bowl Basic

The pattern was well written and easy to follow. It didn’t take long to make up and you could easily do it in a day.  I won’t divulge all the secrets of this pattern but I will say this is a very inexpensive project to make. All the supplies for it you will find floating around your craft room or kitchen. The fabric for this bowl came from my scrap stash, the templates were made from items from my recycle bin. I didn’t on this bowl but if you wanted to you could stitch it with leftover bobbin thread to free up those half filled bobbins next to your sewing machine.

Hexie Bowl In Use

The bowl is very sturdy. You could fill them with whatever you like. Here I have spools of thread in them but you could easily use them for other sewing supplies like bobbins or pins. It would make a cute thread catcher. I could see these in other areas of the house like the office filled with paper clips or noticeboard pins. In a kids room filled with hair ties or tiny toys. How cute would these look at birthday parties filled with lollies. Change the fabric around into fancy like satin and they would make funky table decorations for an engagement party or wedding.

The pattern soon will be available through the Patterns Only store. I can say I’ll be making these again cause I in fact already have another one in progress and I’m using this bowl to hold all the supplies in it as I sit on the lounge and stitch away. These little bowls are very addictive to make. They are a fun hand sewing project to do.


Kids Stilts

This was another Pinterest idea I saw which I liked.


When I was a kid I loved playing with the stilts they had at school. Some were plastic others were tin cans. I made these from plastic food tubs I recycled. I gave the tubs a good soak and luckily the labels came off easily. I drilled a hole in each side then using 50cm of cording (per stilt) I poked each end through the each hole and tied a knot. For extra security I coated each knot with E6000 glue. I left them for a good week to full dry and for the smell to go away (E6000 is great glue but it does smell) Once all dry I screwed the tub lids on. If the stilts are a bit light for his weight there is always the option of filling them with sand or water to be more sturdy. I hope the little person I made this for likes his Christmas present.

Recycled Tea Towels

I never know if the term is recycling or upcycling these days anyway I’ve turned a batch of old tea towels my friend was going to throw out into a batch of cloths for her that she can use to wipe up spills or clean with. My friend isn’t a sewer so I happily made these up for her. Old tea towels are so useful.

Upcycled Tea Towels

I cut each tea towel into quarters. As each piece already had 2 hemmed sides all I needed to do was do a double folded hem on the other 2 sides and secure it with a row of zig zag. I checked to see if my friend wanted me to use a matching thread but she didn’t care so I went through all my half bobbins and used them up. I left the spool I currently had threaded in my machine as my top thread. This was a great way to declutter all the half full bobbins.

Upcycled Tea Towels 1st Batch

Previously I’d made a batch of these cloths for myself. I however never stitched the sides leaving raw edges. Mine were also cut smaller. Warning if you don’t hem them they tangle in the washing machine and the sides do fray. I was being lazy at the time. Mine sit in a basket on my bench top and I use the cloths like paper towels. Before I made these I was going through a lot of paper towels now I only grab a paper towel only if its a really icky mess that isn’t hygienic. I wash the cloths regularly when I was my tea towels and dishcloths.