Fabric Salad

Green goodness for quilters and sewists

It is us

I try to keep it upbeat here at the Salad–offering suggestions for positive changes and new ways to imagine raw materials for arts and crafts. Then I come across something that just has to be shared, something I find scary and shaming. Photographer and artist Chris Jordan’s work “Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait” is a series of pieces depicting what we use and buy. Like this photo of the 2 million plastic beverage bottles we use every 5 minutes in this country. Every 5 minutes. It depicts a sea of plastic–a sea that is re-created 12 times every hour.

Chris Jordan Or this piece that shows the 1.14 million brown paper bags we use every hour.

Chris Jordan An American Self PortraitHere’s what Chris Jordan, the artist, told  The Global Intelligencer: “My underlying desire is to emphasize the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.”

All I can think is, “Why do we do this and how can we stop?”

One day, one action

The sun is shining on a glorious spring day here in Ohio…truly a spectacular day to honor the earth. But all is not tulips and daffodils: I’m torn between hope that small actions (like making a quilt from scraps or re-purposing outgrown clothing) can make a difference and the overwhelming fear that the collective damage to our fragile planet is beyond our ability to repair.

Choosing hope seems to me the only path. Hope that our small actions will spark change. Hope that small actions will bring healing. Hope that small actions will inspire others.

Happy Earth Day to our one and only.

earth day

earth day

Happy Day!

It’s National Quilting Day! I’m thinking of some of the special quilts I’m happy to have in my life: The two quilts my sister made for my kids, the quilted wall-hangings that add color to my walls and this one: A quilt a friend commissioned. I made it out of her little girls’ outgrown baby clothes. il_570xN.37357022

Isn’t this a wonderful hobby we all share? Something that creates beauty and meaning, and is a whole lot of creative fun in the process. What do you like most about quilting?

Basket o’ scraps

Just a few days ago, I received another warning of incoming fabric. When a friend’s mom decided it was time to clean out her fabric stash, my name apparently came up. So the bags appeared on my porch. (This happens with some frequency.)

It’s all good, though, there’s some very cool almost-vintage pieces in these bags. Thanks, Nancy!

In the mix are classic ginghams in a variety of colors. Does gingham make anyone else think of spring? Maybe I should try this sweet project with my kids. All we would need are these instructions from I Can Teach My Child, fabric squares, white glue and a balloon.

Fabric easter basket

Nose job

Like other folks of the green persuasion, I buy recycled paper products whenever possible…paper towels, copy paper, toilet paper and the like. And, yes, the brilliant (!) thought crossed my mind, “I use cloth napkins, why aren’t there cloth tissues?” This brilliant (!) thought was followed by a classic duh moment. “Cloth tissues? They’re called handkerchiefs, and they’ve been around forever.” Oh, right.

But then, I saw these cloth tissues on Etsy, made by JuniperseedMerc from organic bamboo. Brilliant (!)

Cloth tissues

These wipers are wonderful and they reminded me how much I love vintage handkerchiefs. I’m old enough to remember my mom and aunts always having a floral or embroidered hankie in their purses. One of my favorite quilt shows is fast approaching in Lebanon, Ohio. The show leans toward traditional and vintage wares. Every year I find a few handkerchiefs that have to come home with me. So what have I made with them? Um…, nothing yet, but I have created a board on Pinterest (brilliant!) to inspire me when the time comes. Enjoy!


Flight of fantasy

Sometimes a trip down the rabbit hole of the Interwebs turns up crazy beautiful things. Following a post on Selvedge Magazine’s Facebook page, I came across British textile artist Mister Finch, who transforms aged fabrics into magical beings. This  Textile Butterfly is just one of the winged beauties in his online portfolio.  Does this make you look at antique textiles with a new eye?


Chick magnet

Easter is early this year…just a few weeks away, actually. I’m a sucker for all the sweet charm of chicks and fresh spring colors. Wouldn’t it be fun to dig through the scrap bin and whip up a few spring peepers? Find instructions for these delightful feathered friends at Selvedge magazine.

Selvedge magazine chicks