It must be the month for Japanese inspiration in my life! A couple of weeks ago I borrowed ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up‘ from the library by Japanese author, Marie Kondo. And today, my mum-in-law and I went to a Pop-up shop, Wabi Sabi Designz over in Slade Point which sells fashion + homewares which have been re-purposed from Japanese vintage fabrics.  Sisters, Heather + Yvonne Wingrove run the shop and they craft the fashions themselves. Yvonne recently attended a pattern-crafting workshop where she learnt some valuable tricks of the trade. Along with all the beautiful jackets, tops, dresses, kimonos, cushions, table runners and purses, there were also some Furoshiki for sale.

Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese cloth used for gift wrapping. Although, I haven’t tried it myself, I love the idea that it replaces commercial wrapping paper which usually just goes from the factory, to the roll, to wrap one present and then to landfill. It doesn’t have a long lifespan… unless you re-use it. And even if you re-use it, it doesn’t really extend the lifespan by a great deal. Have a look at this video on how to wrap presents using furoshiki. It looks almost therapeutic.

Speaking about Japanese methods of wrapping, in The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo is very passionate about the way clothes are folded. In her opinion, it is all about having respect for your things and treating them almost as if they were animate objects with feelings. I have tried folding my clothes according to her method  and it works well. I must say, I think that if you want the method to work, you probably need to follow her tidying method (the Kon Mari Method) from the beginning. The ‘Discard’ step is pretty important! I have been trying to follow it haphazardly and it hasn’t resulted in a clutter-free life. I have a long way to go. I don’t think it is an overnight magic! The biggest challenge I have had with the ‘discard’ step is that I don’t want to just throw everything into landfill. I find it a bit off-putting that Kondo boasts about the amount of garbage bags her clients produce.

But it is also challenging if the stuff that you have, no-one wants! I took a car load of items to Lifeline but they turned away some of the smaller items.

And I am a big hoarder of craft materials. I collect things that I think might be fun to make cards from or even larger artworks. But then I never make cards or art! So I keep collecting and collecting and it all just builds up in boxes until I have no more room for it. So, I sorted through all this and gave some to my friend to give to her son’s kindy. I hope they find pleasure in some of the colourful bits of paper and postcards that I have collected over the years!

I also have some fabric that has been donated to me so that I can start making some bags for Boomerang Bags. But alas, I feel like I have bitten off a bit more than I can chew this year and I haven’t got a group together yet to sew any. But before the year is out, we are definitely going to make some bags. We’ve made half a bag! When I’ve made some bags, it will be a big relief because:

  1. It is a fantastic cause and it will help divert plastic bags from landfill.
  2. It will clear up a big space in our home! Replacing bags of fabric with new, re-usable shopping bags
  3. I will be kicking eco-crusade goals  for our planet earth!

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