Where do we go from here?

National Recycle Week – Day 7

So, on this final day of National Recycle Week, I’ve been reviewing my posts and considering the future. It’s clear that recycling is simply not enough – everyone of us needs to think about using fewer resources. Just because our governments’ only measure of success is ‘economic growth’ does not mean that we have to (literally!!) buy into this. There is no such thing as sustainability that supports ever increasing consumption of physical resources. We can, however, look for growth in happiness, creativity, friendship, green spaces, homegrown vegetables… any number of factors that could be increased and could benefit us as individuals and the planet as whole.

I now know that I am not going to be able so save the planet single-highhandedly (goodbye dreams of my youth). And quite frankly, I don’t want to anymore – I want to be part of a team. Even so, I know there are still lots of things that I can do as an individual that will make a difference.

The first practical thing I am going to do is to take Sharon’s advice and put together a mending kit. Perhaps my dislike of mending will be reduced (I can’t see that I’m ever going to come to love the activity, only the results) if I have a handy tool box containing all the bits and bobs I might need for patching, darning and repairing.

So, I’ve found a box that used to house my portable sewing kit when I was a student:

A relic of my past

A relic of my past

Inside there are currently drawing pins, a bottle of ink, paper clips, treasury tags, a protractor and a few other bits and bobs that I haven’t seen for years because I haven’t opened it for years. These can join our main stash of such supplies and I’ll give it a good wash out.

Next, I’ve started putting together a collection of useful things to go in it: darning wool, thread, small scissors, a darning mushroom, mending tape a rouleau needle (for threading elastic). I’ve also used a little knitted strawberry that Sharon herself sent me as a small pin cushion, to which I’ve also added a darning needle. What else should I include? All suggestions welcome.

Things I've collected together so far

Things I’ve collected together so far

Do you have a mending box? If so, what do you keep in it?

Other than this, I’m going to be thinking about future purchases a bit more, particularly in relation to plastics and composite objects, as these are not always easy to recycle. We are fast approaching ‘plastic-free July‘ and whilst I’m not planning to participate ‘officially’ it seems like a good time to consider the whole issue and, perhaps, make some more changes.


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  1. You forgot my dad’s most favourite fix all for everything. He loved it so much that when he ran out of floor tile glue when he did the bathroom here, that he decided to use his “best mate”. If you use “Liquid nails” on ANYTHING it will stick till kingdom come. We know, we had to tile over the tiles that he stuck down with it as they point blank REFUSED to budge. Take my advice. Forget regular “glue” and invest in some cheap liquid nails 😉

  2. The only other thing I would want is buttons. I have a few from old clothes and they do come in handy from time to time. And thanks for the great ideas. I think we have liquid nails here in the US. I’ll look for some and give it a try. 🙂

  3. My mending kit is that corner of my office with the “useful junk” and the soldering iron!

  4. I confess I do have a sewing box, a white plastic lidded box that i used to use to keep nappies and baby bits in when the kids were small. There isn’t an awful lot in it but I do use it. I am with you on recycling, we do as much as we can in our home, the kids are all very hot on the subject.

  5. I suggest adding a thimble, and some iron-on patching material to stabilise the back of fabric tears before you darn them. It could be just some very lightweight iron-on interfacing, but it’ll make the job much tidier and more durable – which is the point, after all! Maybe also some safety pins and masking tape for on-the-run repairs till you can get round to doing the job properly!

  6. I use my Mums sewing box. You will need buttons, black and white thread, safety pins. I am sure there will be other stuff be I can’t think of it yet.

  7. If you’re going to patch and mend “boro-style” you could look for balls of crochet cotton in the op shops…I use these for all my hand stitching, as the thread is nice and strong, comes in different weights and you can have a few colours for when you want to fancy up your stitching. I have a little box, it held a pretty china mug I was given, but now holds small pieces of fabric……some I’ve clipped off a favourite piece of clothing before it becomes compost, or a scrap I particularly like from my quilting. And maybe a few neutral practical colours. Then you’l always have a patch to hand ready to do a spot of mending…..they don’t need to be huge. You’ll also need some needles in there…a wool needle for woolly darns, and some embroidery needles size 9 or 10. These are sturdy, sharp and have a big eye. And here’s a little mending story that might inspire you…….I was staying with my daughter when my youngest granddaughters were about 7 or 8. Their mum had left out a big bowl of strawberries to be hulled and cut up ready to make jam when she got back from work. Aprons were gathered, when twin 2 noticed a tear in the bottom of her apron. I offered to fix it when they’d finished the strawberries, but they politely declined my help, saying they had to mend it first and they could do it. So twin 1 ran off to get the sewing box. She threaded a needle…after much discussion about thread colour for a multi-coloured apron…while twin 2 pinned the offending tear. Twin 2 proceeded to stitch, very neatly I must say, while twin 1 offered a lot of encouragement and they both sang a handworking song. Job was done, sewing kit was packed away and put back in the cupboard and strawberry cutting commenced. Mending is fun:)

    • I’ve got lots of thread that I used to use for 3D flower embroidery, but I no longer do this, so they would be good. The little pice of red fabric is the first of a collection I’m going to keep in my box… I know I have other lovely bits to add to it. I have some crewel needles somewhere from my embroidery days too.
      I love your story… perhaps mending is more fun when you have a friend to do it with!

  8. Hmmm. My mending box has lots of different colored threads and different sized needles, some tiny scissors, a ripper, one of those handy-dandy needle threaders, and a thimble, which I use very infrequently. I also have iron on tape, several pin cushions and a button collection that almost always matches up with what’s needed. No darning needles. Some straight and safety pins would come in handy as well…oh and there’s a tape measure, handy for hemming…

  9. I am absolutely thimble-dependent!

  10. I read this post first thing this morning, and it really brightened my day (it’s one of those days when I have a lot of non-preferred things to do). I always feel cheered when I learn of someone taking those “small steps.” I have an old, much-used mending basket that is overflowing with bits of everything and more buttons than I’ll ever use. I need to sort it out. I find that mending is more fun when I listen to a good audiobook while I’m at it. YES curbing consumption is vital; I’m compulsive about recycling, but I know it will only get us so far. Thanks for an encouraging post!

  11. My mending box involves hammers and nails, a soldering iron and bits of wire, as I can’t really sew- I’m pretty good with a multimeter though.

  12. You will find it much easier and more pleasant to mend now that you can just pick up the kit. I recommend adding black thread, the pliers and a roll on stick of glue. ❤


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