Prevent creating enormous amounts of waste and save money by making these simple switches

Do you change your kitchen sponge every 3 weeks like you should? Oops… Maybe we’re a bit lax on that hygiene suggestion. But disposable items around the house do add up to a lot of landfill. Just think of all those used toothbrushes and disposable razors. *shudders*

Hang on a moment, I’ve just thought about all of the money spent on disposable razors and sponges. Oh my…

Sponges and paper towels

Even if you don’t change your sponge as often as you do each sponge you do discard is creating more waste in our environment. Along with sponges, paper towels cannot be recycled or reused so they end up as landfill too. In the long term you spend a lot of cash on these frequently used products in your kitchen and cleaning cupboard.

Switches to reduce waste:

  • Use cleaning cloths that you throw in the wash with your towels and bath mats. These can be old rags or cotton cloths. Avoiding plastic items, even multiple use items, will reduce the impact of microplastics entering our environment.
  • Dish scrubbers made from natural fibres such as hemp or nettle yarn can be washed many times. They last even longer if you dry them out in the sunshine!
I made hemp scrubbers for my family’s Christmas gifts. They’re for exfoliating in the shower but they also make really excellent cleaning scrubbers around the bathroom and kitchen. They dry faster than crochet cotton dishcloths. Contact me if you’d like to design a multipurpose hemp scrubber. I have hemp yarn in stock!

Tissues

Paper tissue fibres, as with paper towels, are too short to go into the recycling bin. Tissues will always be a contribution to landfill unless you consider other options. The cost of buying tissues also adds up over time.

Switches for tissues:

  • Convert old clothes and rags into handkerchiefs. Hankies are useful to keep in your pocket or handbag for mopping up any little spills or dirty fingers. Just throw them in the washing machine with your regular laundry.
  • Thrift stores sometimes have packs of hankies for a very good price. Think of how much use you get from a 50 cent handkerchief compared with a 50 cent box of tissues. Boom. All those extra coins you would have spent on tissue boxes, put them in a savings account. You’re winning already.

Toothbrushes and shower loofahs

Toothbrushes should always be replaced at the beginning of the new season, ie. Every 3 months. Changing my toothbrush when the season changes is the easiest memory trigger for me. You need to change your toothbrush to ensure it’s always effective. It’s kind of like an expiry date. Plastic shower loofahs and pouffes should be changed every 3 weeks like your kitchen sponge to avoid build up of mildew. Washable shower scrubbers are waiting out there for you to make the switch today. There are more waste reducing tips in the list below.

Now cast your mind to all of the plastic toothbrushes that have been made since they were first sold in the 1930s.

Bamboo toothbrushes from Sandcloud but it looks like they are discontinued from the website.

How to reduce your impact on the environment:

  • Bamboo toothbrushes can be composted but their bristles cannot. Remove the bristles and add the bamboo to your compost. Items that can decompose naturally don’t actually properly decompose in landfill due to the lack of oxygen.
  • Grow your own loofahs from gourds.
  • Buy or crochet your own cotton body washers using help yarn for exfoliating or special scrubbie yarn like my exfoliating shower mitts.
Handmade body pouffe made from 100% cotton yarn. Contact me for orders. 4 colours available.

Food waste

As mentioned in the above dot point the food you throw into the bin doesn’t actually break down properly. The low oxygen environment in landfill is the perfect habitat for anaerobic bacteria. These are the little creatures who produce methane.

Reducing food waste:

  • Compost: create a section of your yard with a compost heap. Add some worms! You can feed the rest of your garden with the nutrients produced from the composting process.
  • Bokashi bucket: no yard? No problem. When I was living in an apartment I kept my small Urban Composter City bokashi bucket on the balcony. It has a handy tap to distribute the composted nutrients.
  • Create an “Eat first” section of the fridge so that you’re eating up leftovers and soft fruit before they are ready to be thrown out.
  • Write a shopping list and remember to actually take it to the shops. The list helps you remember that you still have a bag of cucumbers in the fridge and you don’t need to buy any more.

Makeup wipes and cotton rounds

Removing makeup every night and applying toner every morning adds up to a lot of single use cotton rounds if you’re into that kind of thing.

Switch single use cotton rounds for:

My handmade cotton rounds. Available for sale in packs of 3.

Disposable razors

Cheap plastic disposable razors are so convenient but they never last very long. So you’re buying more and more, spending more and throwing them all away sooner than you expected.

Cost effective switches for shaving with disposable razors:

Fast fashion

You might be surprised to know that the textile industry creates more carbon emissions than the airline industry. It certainly surprised me! When you stop and think about every purchase you make you can not only save yourself from unnecessary spending but it also reduces your impact on the Earth. 🌍 Our home.

Tips to reduce fast fashion in your life:

  • Switch to the slow fashion life.
    • Purchase quality garments that are made to last more than a couple of seasons. In the long run you save money especially when you repair buttons and small holes to extend the life of your garment.
  • Rent clothing for special occasions.

As always, thanks so much for reading. Click the YouTube icon below to go to my channel and see a list of my latest videos. Like and subscribe to share some happiness.

Crochet For Absolute Beginners: The Basic Tools To Begin Crocheting

Where do you begin when you want to try your hand at some crochet? What tools do you need? Are there different types of crochet hooks? How many yarns are there?Read on to find out.

The Yarn

The type of project will determine how thick the yarn should be. Are you making a chunky blanket or a delicate little plushie? Yarn comes in different levels of chunkiness depending on the ply. Delicate lace, small toys or miniature amigurumi are made with 1 – 3 ply yarns. Big chunky pieces are made with 10 – 14 ply yarn. Most jumpers and beanies are made using your average 8 ply yarn. There are some specific terms for different sizes of yarn like “sock weight”, “DK” and “Aran” which are used to signify the ply. Yarn labels will usually say these terms along with the recommended crochet hook and knitting needle sizes for the yarn. Use all this information to help you select the right hook size for your project, more on crochet hooks below.

The desired outcome of your project will also determine the yarn type. Are you making a soft and fluffy pillow? Or do you need yarn that is stiff and abrasive for making cleaning cloths and pot scrubbers? Are you creating a light and breezy top? Or a warm coat? I use hemp yarn to make scrubbies for cleaning because of its rough texture. Alpaca yarn is very soft, light, drapes well and it’s excellent at keeping you warm. But it’s an animal product. I really love alpacas. I think it’s more ethical than wool farming, which is just horror after horror. Segue into my next point.

Finally, this one is a soapbox moment. I implore you to take into consideration the ethical impact your yarn has on the environment. Vegan yarns are my preference although I also acknowledge the impact of cotton yarn on the environment. I compare cotton’s impact with the impact of animal farming and cruelty involved with harvesting animal products. Then I make a decision on where I want my money to go.

I choose natural fibres to avoid creating plastic waste. Synthetic fibres are much cheaper to purchase but they’re costly for the planet. Synthetic yarns may be free of animal products but I am boycotting plastic everywhere I can, especially when it comes to microplastics. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to discover microplastics have been found in the most remote parts of Antarctica and in the stomachs of all ocean wildlife. Every time we wash synthetic clothes we allow thousands of microplastics to pollute the waterways. My empathy levels are too high! I want to help make this Earth a more pleasant place to live. I am such a hippy.

The hook

The size of the hook will depend on a few things: the yarn size, type of project and your tension.

A chunky yarn will require a larger size of crochet hook. It’s really difficult to use a small crochet hook, about 2mm, with a chunky 12 ply yarn.

The type of project will also determine the hook size. A crochet toy, also known as amigurumi, requires very small stitches to ensure the stuffing doesn’t pop out. You can choose a hook size a couple of sizes smaller than you normally would with your chosen yarn, that will create smaller sized stitches. To make larger, more open stitches you can use a larger crochet hook to make looser stitches.

Thirdly, your tension (or gauge as they say in the US) will affect your work. Tension is how tightly you crochet your stitches. If you are following a crochet pattern and you are a make tight crochet stitches you’ll end up with a piece that is too short for the pattern. For example, you want to make a cardigan but you don’t have enough stitches in the rows your piece won’t fit you, even though you followed the pattern exactly right. The opposite is true, if your stitches are too loose then your piece will be too big. In that case, your choices are to either go down one or two hook sizes or adjust how many stitches you use in the pattern.

Handy hint: You can make a tension square to test how many stitches you make per cm with a particular yarn and hook. This measurement will help you make the perfect sized pieces. Take your hook and yarn that you want to use in your project and make a square approximately 15 cm by 15 cm. Count how many stitches fit in the square and use this when calculating how big your project will be. A smaller hook will make smaller stitches and vice versa. If you crochet too tightly you can go up a hook size or 2 to get the tension you need to complete your pattern.

A range of crochet hooks. From left to right: A metal 4 mm hook, 4 mm hook with ergonomic handle, 10 mm bamboo hook for chunky yarn.

While hunting for a crochet hook you might get mixed up with Tunisian crochet. That’s a different technique that I haven’t learned yet. It’s kind of like between crochet and knitting because it uses one long crochet hook that you use like a hooked knitting needle. There’s no handle section on the Tunisian crochet hook so that your stitches remain in open loops along the length of the hook while you work each row.

Tunisian crochet hook

The extras

Stitch markers are a must for crocheting in the round. Place a stitch marker in the first stitch of each round so that you won’t need to keep count of every stitch of the circle. Stitch markers are also immensely useful when you’re just starting out with crocheting in rows and you find it difficult to distinguish which stitch is the final one in the row. Sometimes beginners, like when I was starting out, will work into the turning chain by mistake or will miss the final stitch of the row. Place a marker in the last stitch so you can easily find it, then with practice you’ll be able to identify the final stitch of the row.

You can make your own stitch marker from a piece of yarn that is a different colour to your work. See the picture below.

Assorted stitch markers.

Row counters are less important unless you’ve got to keep track of a lot of rows or you are following a complicated pattern.

Two row counters
A couple of row counters

A pattern or imagination

You can find multitudes of free crochet patterns online. Use any search engine or Pinterest to find patterns for specific items or to get ideas for what to make with certain types of yarn.

If you have some of your own designs that you want to create with crochet, give it a go! Have a play with the yarn, hook sizes, different stitches and techniques to see how they all work together to create a unique piece.

Thank you for reading!

Check out my YouTube channel for crochet tutorials for absolute beginners and subscribe for more Full Cup Wellness.

Browse my store on Storenvy for fun crochet items.

Crochet For Absolute Beginners part 4: Continuing to crochet in the round

FYI: The video tutorial version of this post is on my YouTube channel here.

Welcome, please sit down, get comfy and join me for some more mindful crafting. Today we’re continuing to learn the art of crocheting a circle.

In part 3 of the crochet for absolute beginners series we learned how to begin a circle with yarn and our crochet hook. Now we need to learn the mathematical formula for creating nice flat crochet circles. If you have too many or too little stitches in each round you’ll end up with wonky bumpy circles that don’t sit flat.

The blue circle on the left has too many stitches in the round and is going bubbly. The red circle on the right has too few stitches and is becoming a bowl.

The mathematical formula to the perfectly flat crochet circle goes a little something like this:

For example, we begin with 6 stitches in round 1.

In round 2 we will need to increase in every stitch around. You now have 12 stitches.

In round 3 increase every 2nd stitch. Now you have 18 stitches.

Round 4 increase every 3rd stitch. 24 stitches will be in the 4th round.

Every round will increase 6 times so you will add 6 stitches in each round. If you begin with 8 stitches you’ll increase 8 times each round. That’s the mathematical pattern here.

Tips for keeping the right number of stitches

• Use a stitch marker to mark the first stitch in every round. Otherwise you’ll be constantly counting as you work and the chance of miscounting the stitches is too great! Trust me.

Types of stitch markers. You can also use a short piece of yarn that is a different colour to your work.

• Count your stitches at the end of each round unless you’re absolutely confident you did it correctly. Otherwise your subsequent rounds will all be off. You will notice your circle becoming more bumpy and wonky as you continue.

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