Recycled Fallera

n-VESTIDO-FALLERA-2-large570Rosa Montesa, an industrial designer from Valencia, Spain, in her 50s, proposed an idea to her mother: Why not work together to make a dress for the traditional Valencian Fallas celebration? She wanted to collaborate to make something, but not in a conventional way. She wanted to do it her way, and her way was recycling.

Montes spent the following year working on her website, Reciclado Creativo (Creative Recycling), and looking for a way to breathe new life into the materials she was taking from her own trash and that of those around her. Plastic bottles, coffee capsules, potato chip bags, sunflower seed shells – all received new life in her hands. First she made a necklace, then a lamp and later flowers.

o-VESTIDO-FALLERA-2-900Eventually, Montesa decided to focus all her creativity on one project: a dress, which took her only 10 days to create. However, she required far more time for collecting the materials and designing the dress posed more than a few head-scratching obstacles. Her 17-year-old daughter served as a model, and Montesa’s mother acted as an integral collaborative partner.

The fabric of the skirt was filled with flowers made of plastic bottles and containers. There are a total of 180 bottles: 70 plastic water containers, 25 blue water bottles, 25 pink water bottles and 60 green sparkling-water cans.  “I used the bases of the bottles, and with the upper part I decorated the bodice,” Montesa explained. Cutting the bottle into small pieces produced the fragments that form the image on the body of the dress. They were inspired, she says, by the flowers sold in front of North Station in Valencia.

o-VESTIDO-FALLERA-1-900The glittering pieces on the shawl and apron, which could easily be mistaken for sequins, were made from the insides of potato chip bags. This time she only needed six: “I used baked chips, because they have less oil.” The lace is from a blouse that Montesa’s mother had at home, “adhering to the condition of using recycled material.”

o-VESTIDO-FALLERA-4-900Having done all this, Montesa’s only remaining obstacle lay in making the accessories. The earrings (arracabades), brooch (joja), necklace, chignon needles (agulles) and combs, traditional elements of the festival costume, were all made entirely of recycled material. “The skewers are knitting needles from my mother. They’re made of steel, which is no longer used because it’s heavier — now they prefer aluminum,” she explained. The flowers that completed the needles were made entirely from coffee capsules. Montesa used a total of 30 capsules to bejewel the chignon needles.

o-VESTIDO-FALLERA-3-900The flowers decorating the earrings and the necklace were also made of this material, and were topped with sunflower shells painted with nail polish, creating an iridescent effect. The same coating was applied to an object containing about twenty peanuts, which was originally going to form a necklace, but, failing to convince its creator, ultimately became a bracelet.

Source: Huffngton Post Spain 

Seedy Valentine

How pleasantly surprised I was this morning while browsing my favorite sustainable news source, Feelgood Style.  If you’re a sucker for wildflowers and sustainability – you’ll love this DIY Valentine.  If you aren’t familiar with seed paper, allow me to getcha up to date.

Seed Paper is a plantable, biodegradable paper product that can be used just like paper.

Seed Paper is a plantable, biodegradable paper product that can be used just like paper.

Seed paper is a special paper is handmade by using post-consumer materials.  The paper is embedded with wildflower, herb or vegetable seeds.  When you plant the paper in a pot of soil or outside in a garden, the seeds in the paper germinate and grow into plants.  I’m challenging myself to have a sustainable Valentine’s day this year with the help of seed paper.  I am refusing to participate with the 145 million others in our annual Valentine’s glossy card sending.  This doesn’t mean I’m giving up Valentine’s Day – it just means we need to think about Valentine ideas that are more about the love and less about the stuff.  I think these seed paper hearts are the perfect alternative to conventional Valentine’s Day cards.  And your sassy Valentine can plant and enjoy the flowers they produce for much longer than they’d probably display a paper card.

Seed Paper Valentine by Scott Meeks, Crafting a Green World

Valentine-Idea-Seed-Paper-Hearts-300x300What You Need

  • 1 cup of ripped-up newspaper or junk mail
  • 2 cups of water
  • Wildflower seeds
  • 3 heart-shaped mini aluminum pie tins or silicone molds
  • 2 large bowls
  • Blender

Prep Your Paper

  1. Tear the newspaper or junk mail into small pieces. This is the perfect task for tiny hands that need something to do! Be sure to throw in a few small pieces of red or pink paper.
  2. In a blender, blend the water and paper until it’s a chunky. It should look like oatmeal.
  3. Dump the mixture into a bowl.
  4. Take handfuls of the pulp and squeeze out most of the water. The pulp should now be moist, but not sopping wet.
  5. Put your squeezed-out pulp into a clean bowl.

Make Your Seed Paper

  1. Sprinkle your pulp with wildflower seeds and gently mix with your fingers.
  2. Divide your pulp into three equal parts.
  3. Mash each part into the mini pie tins or silicone molds.
  4. You can pat the tops dry with a cloth to get rid of excess moisture.
  5. After 24 hours, pop the paper hearts out of the tins and place them on a cookie rack for another 24 hours to finish drying.
  6. Attach these hearts to homemade cards or simply wrap them in wax paper and give away as Valentines.

Get non-toxic and cruelty free beauty and health tips from our source, FeelGoodStyle!

Local Mother’s Day

Show your Momma some love by shopping local this Mother’s Day.  By shifting just a portion of your spending, you can help create more jobs, a stronger economy and build a better community here in Toronto.  So take a short peruse through these charming Mother’s Day gifts from our favorite Toronto Etsy Shops.

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Cat’s Cradle Ceramic Dish – $45.00 CAD

Local Father-Daughter Team, Una and Aleks, from Whistle And Work created this amazing hand-painted, ceramic dish.  The illustration is an intricate game of Cat’s Cradle, which my Momma taught me how to play at a very young age.  We certainly did spend a lot of time futzing with the Cat’s Cradle string.  This ceramic dish is perfect for any nostalgic Mother-Daughter pair.  The dish is very versatile and can be used to store soaps, jewelry or candies.  I can picture my Mom eating a big piece of chocolate cake off it.  Whatever Mom will use it for, it will always remind her of her babies.

Leather Statement Necklace - $65.77 CAD

Leather Statement Necklace – $65.77 CAD

Kostimusha is such an amazing Etsy shop – it’s impossible to pick a favorite piece.  Kostimusha’s pieces are often asymmetrical, rough and purposely imperfect. They celebrate individuality, uniqueness and creative freedom. All items in the shop are handmade with an emotion and with great attention paid on detail.  I love the idea of a leather statement necklace as a gift for Mom as these types of necklaces are rare and instantly upgrade a look to edgy chic.  My Momma is a motorcycle biker and a school teacher.  This statement necklace is edgy, feminine and unique – just like Mom.  It would also compliment her everyday clothing like jeans, leather or even a little black dress.

Mother's Day Card - $7.88 CAD

Mother’s Day Card – $7.88 CAD

Mom makes life more beautiful.  Why not reciprocate her pretty ways and send her a little bouquet of beauty?  I’ll be sending Mom a card this Mother’s Day and I am especially loving this sweet and savvy greeting created by Rovena at Handmade By Rovena.  The handmade card features a gently raised bouquet of pink cherry blossoms and sweet white flowers. The bouquet is wrapped up with baker’s twine for a nice finishing touch – perfect for Mom.  Be sure to check out Handmade By Rovena for all of your stationary needs. Rovena has a heap of quirky cards that reflect her life as a mother, a scientist and a creative paper artist.

Setting Free the Bears - Silkscreened Cotton Tote Bag - $22.00 CAD

Silk-screened Cotton Tote Bag – $22.00 CAD

My Mom is a total sucker for tote bags.  She uses them to carry school work, as a plastic bag alternative and to haul around her usual stack of library books.  This grizzly bear tote bag is designed and screen printed by Heart’s Haven.  The tote is called “Setting Free the Bears!” which is named after the famous John Irving novel.  We know book-loving Momma would adore this tote.  And who in their right mind could resist the grizzly bear?!  This strong cotton tote bag is also perfect for Mom as it can probably carry 100 times more than she can carry.  Go check out Heart’s Haven shop you for more awesome handmade accessories.

Vegan Seaweed Salt Scrub - $11.88 CAD

Vegan Seaweed Salt Scrub – $11.88 CAD

Does your Momma love bubble baths and beauty products?  It’s certainly the case with my Mom and I.  As a fellow bath and beauty lover, I feel like I have the authority to tell you not to miss out on this local ‘n’ lovely organic beauty shop called The Basic Elements.  The best part about The Basic Elements is that their products are 100% safe for Moms skin!  Their products are free of chemicals, detergents, dyes, synthetics and preservatives.  This restorative seaweed scrub is perfect for pampering Momma.  The scrub will detoxify, polish and massage her skin.  But wait, there’s more!  The seaweed scrub contains nourishing grapeseed and essential oils that condition and soften the skin.  Check The Basic Elements Etsy Shop frequently as they are often rolling out new products every few weeks.

Vintage Potato Masher - $8.00 CAD

Potato Masher – $8.00 CAD

Because our Momma makes the best mashed potatoes!  I love, love, love the Coco And Bear Etsy Shop.  Coco And Bear is full of unique vintage finds for your home, office or business.  It’s really well merchandised and we love their style of photography.  This farmhouse style potato masher is simply amazing.  I remember a similar masher in my Mothers kitchen.  Just looking at this photograph, I can picture Mom rattling those pots and pans during a long holiday weekend.  Often she would pass the wirey potato masher to me over a pot of steaming potatoes and say, “Have at it!”  If your Mom loves that shabby chic style, this would be a great lil’ addition to her home.

So there you go Toronto.  Local homegrown goodness for the coolest lady in your life.  Be sure to check out Etsy for even more local Mother’ Day gifts.  Nothing could make your Momma more proud than buying products absolutely unique to your area.  Happy shopping locally!

Bling or Blasphemy?

GraveyardWhat do you think of when you see crosses?  A lot of designers just want to grab a cross and flip it sideways — making the cross into a creative, beautiful piece of jewelry.  How about those upside down crosses that you see on t-shirts?  The prudes call it shallowness vanity.  The easily offended call it Satanist.  The fashion folks call it cute and crazy.  Although the cross trend is probably gone for another few years, we do like a good controversy mixed with a mysticism.  Rebena predicts that we will be seeing a lot more religious symbols mixed with bones, wicked florals and full moons in the future.