How To Make A Rainbow Rag Rug Reusing Your Old Clothes

January blues… and greens… and yellows

It has been a few weeks since my last post because, well, LIFE, my friends. Yet in spite of slacking on my New Year’s Resolution about blogging, I can completely tick another off the list. That’s right, I have finally finished making my rainbow rag rug!

Rainbow rag rug

Since moving back home after university, I have been making a conscious effort to declutter my life, one tank top at a time. Charity shops are a great place to start because anything they don’t sell can be cashed in for rags. However, if you as sentimental as I am  then this is easier said than done.

I had an idea. Why not make my own rags and create a rug? Full of old clothes and memories? I have always loved the rag rug my Granny made for me, and my meetings with my dissertation supervisor were rendered slightly less traumatic by the multicoloured magic carpet in the middle of her office.

If you want to see how I made mine, then read on!

Rainbow rag rug

To make a (rainbow) rag rug, you will need:

  • Rug canvas – I used the Zweigart Quality Rug Canvas but any will do as long as the squares are big enough to thread through your rags
  • Fabric/dressmaking scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Old clothes and fabric – roughly 30-40 T-shirt-sized garments for a 60 x 100cm rug. Soft fabrics give your rug a lovely texture, but I used a complete mix based on what clothes I had
  • TIME & PATIENCE – oodles of it

Stage 1: Collecting and cutting

First of all, gather together all of the garments you want to use and consider how you might like to arrange them on your rug. I had a lot of brightly coloured clothes so it made sense for me to make a rainbow pattern. Using a tie dye kit, I coloured some of my plain white clothes in the shades that I felt were missing.

When you are happy with your materials, it’s time to get out your fabric scissors and start chopping. Ideally you want to cut your clothes into rectangles of about 1 x 4 inches, but I would say that anywhere between 3-5 inches is fine. In total you will have to cut approx. 2500 rags, so this is not for the faint-hearted!

coloured rags

Stage 2: Preparing your canvas

Using a tape measure, mark out the size of rug you want (e.g. 60 x 100cm), leave a few squares of margin along each edge of the rectangle and cut it out. That way, you can fold under the excess, align it with the other squares and thread through to make four clean edges.

If your canvas starts to fray at any point, you could use glue (or clear nail varnish as I did!) to fix it in place.

Stage 3: Tying the rags

The process is really quite simple… loop the rag through a square and tie a knot!

I worked along the shorter side of my canvas, which had 80 squares. I knotted on the bottom edge of every other square, doubling up at the end to avoid any gaps along the edge of the rug, using a total of 41 rags per row.

tying the rags

For the fringing effect along the top and bottom shorter edges, you could make and tie tassels on the edge of the square between each rag, but I just cut my rags from an old tasselled scarf!

As you can see from the underside of my rug, I only knotted along every other row. If you have the time and enough rags then by all means use every row, but my rug is full with no gaps so there was no need.

Rag rug underside

I staggered each fabric to avoid harsh lines and colour blocks. For example, one row might be alternating between sky blue and turquoise, then the next would be turquoise and teal, then teal and green and so on. In this case, you will need 21+20 rags for each row.

And there you have it! If you have any questions then don’t hesitate to comment below.

N.B.: I realise that this post is a bit different in content to my previous month’s blogging challenge, but for now I just fancy sharing whatever I feel like. If this interests you then great!

Love,

Mary x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living on future glories

Reflections and Resolutions

Hello and welcome to the year Two Thousand and Eighteen!

I hate to sound cliché, but along with most other people on this planet my 2017 was defined by joyous highs, difficult lows and those bits of bobbing along in between.

My 2017

Without being mistaken for bragging – I am simply proud, happy and appreciative of the opportunities I have had this year – I would like to mention a few highlights:

  • Writing and submitting my dissertation
  • Graduating from Durham University with First Class Honours
  • Various travels visiting friends, with friends or solo including trips to London, Dublin, Tignes, Sicily and several countries across Asia.
  • Working back at La Tete Et Tout (where I was the Saturday girl when I was 18)
  • Glamping in Yorkshire for my then sister-in-law-to-be’s Hen party
  • Being a bridesmaid at my brother and now sister-in-law’s wedding
  • Persevering to get the money I was owed from a dishonest former employer
  • Seeing family at a big reunion in Surrey

Safe to say that 2017 is definitely a year to remember! Nevertheless, I can’t live on past glories forever and it’s time to embark on different journeys and face new challenges for an even better 2018. It’s hard to say right now where those might lead me; I have many ideas and potential projects but very little is set in stone. What I can do, however, is plan some of the smaller things I would like to accomplish over the next 12 months.

I love a good tick list, so I thought I would share with you some of my resolutions which can be easily completed as well as some goals I would like to work towards.

Resolutions and goals for 2018

  1. Continue blogging  (sorry folks, you’ll have to put up with me a little while longer!)
  2. Learn to play chess
  3. Relearn to do the Rubix cube (I did learn once but I’ve forgotten again)
  4. Read 50 books I have’t yet read, i.e. roughly one book per week
  5. Drink more water (and consequently less tea)
  6. Go to a concert or a show at least once every season
  7. Exercise in my post-lunch energy slump
  8. Switch off all screens at least half an hour before bed (and maybe read instead!)
  9. Take-up playing the piano again
  10. Continue making kindness an active choice (see previous blogs for reference)
  11. Watch 50 films I haven’t yet seen
  12. Finish making my recycled rag rug (it seemed like a good idea at the time!)

Now for the hard part… sticking to them!

Happy New Year!

Love,

Mary x

The end is just the beginning

25 days of kindness – December 25th

Happy Holidays everyone! My 25 days of kindness blogging challenge has finally come to a close and I must admit, I’m glad to see the back of it.

Not because I found trying to be kind difficult. On the contrary, bursting the bubble of self-absorption and consciously thinking of others was liberating and refreshing. I realised how easy it is to be kind and that a small, seemingly insignificant act could be a vital step towards restoring somebody’s faith in humanity.

No, the difficulty of this challenge lay in cooking up a host of original good deeds which would benefit a variety of people whilst fitting in with my pre-existing plans for the day. Often I would find myself driving out to the nearest town purely to carry out my act of kindness, but by doing so I was unnecessarily burning fuel which is hardly kind to the environment.

What this challenge has done, therefore, is teach me to constantly be on the look out for opportunities to show kindness rather than worry about creating the opportunities. That said, it is definitely worth going out of your way to do a good and selfless deed, provided that the effects are overwhelming positive without repercussions for other people or our planet.

Anonymous season's greetings

So, to complete the challenge, I resorted back to my ever diminishing post-it notes. On Christmas morning, I wrote “Merry Christmas! x” on several of the little snowmen and posted them through random letter boxes in the village.

Though this is the final act in my blog, it is just the beginning of my journey to becoming a better person.

Love,

Mary x

The Gift of Laughter

25 days of kindness – December 24th

It was Christmas Eve, babe. No, not quite in the drunk tank, but in a lovely little pub in the Lake District after a rather busy day.

I spent the morning watching the kiddie-winks in our local church nativity and answering the question “so, Mary, what are you doing now then?” at a rate of 10 per hour. I then successfully iced a couple of Christmas cakes (see featured image), wrapped some presents and cleaned up after Pippin who, with the help of an old bean bag decided to let it snow…

Dog explodes bean bag

When it came to my act of kindness for the day, there was only one thing for it: make a fool of myself for the benefit of others. Using the stickers my mum had bought as a joke, I decorated my face with glitter and diamantés until I vaguely resembled Rudolph in drag, and set off to the pub.

It made my parents laugh and a few fellow punters smile, but the best reaction by far was from a lad I will name ‘Jumpy Jack’. Clearly high on something more than just Christmas spirit, he pointed at me, frowned, then exclaimed, “It’s a reindeer!” and almost fell off his chair from screaming.

I doubt he will remember the unusual encounter come Christmas day, but I hope his friends will be there to remind him!

Only one more sleep now… I had better get to bed otherwise Santa won’t come…

 

Love,

Mary x

 

 

 

 

 

Right on track

25 days of kindness – December 23rd

Only two more sleeps ’til Christmas! My Inner Child (and outer musical theatre fanatic) had booked a ticket to The Christmasaurus at the Hammersmith Apollo, so I got up bright and early, drove to the station and hopped on a train to London. As I was waiting on the platform to board the train, I noticed the lady in front of me had a rather heavy looking suitcase in tow. Though she was probably only in her late sixties and the suitcase was relatively small, I know how awkward it can be clambering up onto the carriage at the best of times, so I offered her a hand. Clearly weighing up the different options in her head, she eventually decided it wouldn’t be the worst idea and accepted. Good deed done, I thought to myself, and a classic one at that. Now to relax and enjoy the day!

Not quite. On reflection, I realised that helping somebody with their luggage is something I would always do if the opportunity arose, hardly an additional act of kindness, so I threw something else in for good measure.

Since starting this blog, I have developed a habit of bringing my snowman post-it notes wherever I go. Noticing the flip-back part of the table by the seat next to me, I scribbled a quick “Have a lovely day! x” on one of my good old snowy samaritans and stuck it underneath. That way, the next person to lift it up would see the nice message and hopefully crack a smile.

Satisfied, I took out my Inspector Montalbano book and managed only a few pages before snoozing the rest of the way to Euston.

Love,

Mary x

Liebster Award Nomination

On Wednesday I woke up to a lovely email from Keeley and Pete (a.k.a. vibeslifeus.com) explaining that they found my blog inspiring and have consequently nominated me for the Liebster Award! I was completely over the moon. While I’m aware that I do have a following (albeit a very small one), my decision to start blogging was for my own personal development. It was primarily to practise writing on a regular basis but also to work towards being a better person, so to hear that somebody else appreciates it really made my day.

Liebster rules

First of all, I would like to thank vibeslifeus for the nomination. A keen traveller myself, I find their blog about music, travelling and keeping your identity after becoming parents truly refreshing and look forward to hearing much more from them.

Vibeslifeus set me 10 questions to answer, so let’s get started!

 

Q and A

1. What is the most extreme thing you have ever done?

  • I wouldn’t say I have done anything extreme… though I do have a habit of going on spontaneous trips to far off places without much prior planning… oh, and I have also run a 6km race three-legged more than once…

2. What is the best memory that you have while travelling?

  • Sitting under a starry sky with absolutely no light pollution whatsoever.

3. If you could give someone £1,000,000 who would you give it to?

  • Probably my brother and his new wife so they can begin married life debt free (and hopefully invite me on a few awesome holidays too!).

4. Do you think education, as it is today, does justice to life and learning?

  • No, but then again, isn’t one of the joys of life finding things out for yourself?

5. When do you find time to blog?

  • I don’t find time, I make time.

6. Marmite, love it or hate it?

  • Hate is a strong word… but I definitely don’t love it!

7. Who are your 6 ultimate dinner party guests, and why?

  • Great question. Adele for her sense of humour, Judi Dench for her class, will.i.am because I think he would make her giggle, the comedian Jon Richardson because he’s both funny and local, Professor Brian Cox for providing interesting conversation and my allusive Italian cinema lecturer Stefano because he would always start telling the most unlikely stories but never finish them. I also feel like these people would gel as a group.

8. Have you ever visited a place just because you saw it in a book/series/animation/movie? What was that place?

  • I went to Savoca because it’s where part of the Godfather was filmed… but I am yet to actually watch the movie.

9. What would your superpower be?

  • Apparition (see Harry Potter).

10. What is your favourite book?

  • The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent.

 

11 random facts about myself

  1. I used to be able to do the rubix cube. (I need to relearn the combinations).
  2. I almost passed out in a hot yoga class in France.
  3. I have never broken a bone.
  4. I speak Italian and French fluently and can get by in German too.
  5. Parsnips are one of the few foods I would rather not eat.
  6. I can still do a straddle L sit from my limited gymnastics days.
  7. I really dislike the feeling of chalk on my hands (hence the gymnastics days being limited).
  8. I play the piano, guitar, ukulele, clarinet and sing with varying success.
  9. I drink at least 5 cups of tea a day.
  10. I love surfing but am quite scared of the sea.
  11. I have two mad spaniels called Skye and Pippin.

 

My nominations

  1. barnabasabroad.com
  2. thegoodenergysource.com
  3. helloprofessionalgirl.com
  4. lifewithdescom.wordpress.com
  5. knackereddadblog.wordpress.com

Questions for my nominees

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. Tea or coffee?
  3. Do you have a life motto/an inspirational quote you try to live by?
  4. Tell me your guilty pleasure.
  5. What is your favourite time of year and why?
  6. Describe yourself in a haiku.
  7. What is your signature recipe and why do you like to make it?
  8. Tell me your favourite joke.
  9. What is your favourite mode of transport and why?
  10. Do you have a hidden talent?
  11. Tell me your best dinner party anecdote about yourself.

 

That’s it folks! Entries close on the 25th December so if you want to be considered then you should follow the rules before then.

 

Love,

Mary.

P.S. As my act of kindness for the day, I am doing a late night taxi service for my Dad – it’s his office Christmas party tonight. Oh, how the roles have reversed!

 

 

Winter solstice

25 days of kindness – December 21st

December 21st is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, or in other words, winter solstice. With only 7 hours and 25 minutes of scheduled daylight here as it is, it hardly felt like the day broke at all with such low lying fog. Not to worry! Any excuse to fill my room with the flickers and fragrance of scented candles is much appreciated.

I thought I would match the shortness of the day with a brief blog post. After my failed attempt on Saturday, I successfully managed to deliver some magazines to the doctor’s surgery for anxious patients like myself to flick through in the waiting room.

So there you have it, short and sweet! I read that, like with most festivals, it is traditional at winter solstice to feast. And that is exactly what I plan to do. A cosy night in with good friends, cheesy Christmas films and even cheesier pizza!

Love,

Mary x