I’m either late or I’m about a year early, it just depends on how you look at it. I’m going with early because it allows me to have more compassion towards myself. April is garden month (I include landscaping in that) and Earth day and even decorating month. And it’s mid April and I’m just sharing about this…🤦♀️ I guess this is a real life example of why super simple decor is so pivotal for me to have a cute space…I’m always last minute and need it to be quick and easy in order to stay on time.
So in the spirit of all the days in April I wanted to share a bit more about the ways I embrace the Earth, the environment and the beauty of nature at Switch Stitch. I used to say eco-conscious because I take into account the way I make things in addition to the supplies I use. That has morphed into eco-inspired, which I feel is a little more clear…?? and its definitely easier to say and spell! And then I use eco-friendly because that's the term most people are familiar with, so you'll see them all.
4 ways I stay eco-inspired, eco-friendly
#1 way I stay eco-friendly
Reclaimed, recycled and/or organic materials
I don’t buy brand new fabrics, only those that have had a previous life. Some I buy from businesses who collect from furniture and fashion manufactures that are going to trash their extra fabrics. Other times I buy from friends and family who no longer have a use for their fabrics. And some fabrics I have had in my stash for years…with more plans to make something than actual time and energy.
Currently I’m using 40 year old Cedar wood to create my wooden pieces like the Wall Display. The color, depth and texture of this wood is something that would take me many hours (and chemicals) to replicate. This wood has been naturally weathered by Mother Nature herself during its previously life as a privacy fence.
Sewing with thread made from recycled plastic bottles. As I need to buy new threads I use my go to brand, Gutermann, that has found a way to spin plastic bottles into thread. 1 bottle makes 10 spools.
Speaking of recycled threads, the labels you see on the back of the Switches, Magnetic Pillows are made from recycled threads from too. And the labels for the Magnetic Hats are made from OEKO-TEX materials which is the highest certification for chemical free textiles. I love I can have both eco-friendly and custom branded stuff thanks to finding out about Wunderlabel.
I’ve looked long and hard for GOTS certified and organic cotton pillow forms to stuff my Magnetic Pillows. This means the way the fabric and stuffing was grown and processed is a chemical free as they can be.
I source recycled paper on most all of my branding material such as business cards and tags. I also love how recycled paper typical comes as a different texture adding more character to the pieces. The t-shirts I’m using for adding my logo to are from Everywhere Apperal…made in the USA with 100% recycled cotton…and super comfy too.
#2 way I stay eco-friendly
Little to no adhesives, plastics or chemicals
Cutting my designs freehand. I used to cut the pieces of my designs with my Silhouette die-cut machine and this meant I had to put adhesives on the back in order for the process to work. For the past year I have stopped this and have been cutting everything by hand. This not only enhances the handcrafted aspect but it also removes the chemical based adhesive from my process.
The magnets in all my pieces are, in themselves, a more eco-friendly solution rather than using plastic velcro (which is what my pro-types started out as). Additionally, I take a few extra steps to make my own ‘magnet pockets’ for the Switches and Magnetic Hats instead of buying pre-made, sew-in magnets which are surrounded by plastic.
I’ve taken time to source specific sized Buttons so that no adhesives are needed to hold the magnets in place (and they still don’t rattle!) And same with the Wall Display and Propagation Station…no glues or chemicals to hold the magnets in place. You won’t know it but that’s why I’m sharing with you the little things I do because it’s important to me…and I’m sure you as well since you’re still reading!
The wooden pieces are as natural as I can keep them. I don’t use a varnish or sealant and have spent extra time finding ways to assemble them without the use of adhesives.
I pre-wash my Hats and fabrics at home using super gentle and earth conscious soaps. It’s the same stuff I use on daily basis for my family and that’s something I feel good about…even if most people would never know.
As I’m sewing/ironing I use essential oils instead of chemical based fragrances mixed in with my water for an extra layer of sensory experience. I’ve been working with Kelsey from 3 Arrows Oils to create a custom essential oils blend of Stitch Vibes. I also spray it on my Magnetic Hats!
#3 way I stay eco-friendly
Saving up for eco-friendly shipping supplies
I wish I could say I only use the most eco-friendly packaging supplies for shipping my items but currently that is not the case. I do have a few companies I’ve found through my research that I’m so pumped they exist. Eco-enclose and No-issue are brands who’s mission is to provide earth friendly packing and shipping materials. Bob thinks its weird how my big goal is to buy recyclable bubble mailers but hey that’s what I’m all about over here. They cost a bit more and some have bigger minimum orders and so I’ve got to do what I can with what I’ve got. Hopefully over the near future I’ll find a balance between it all and be able to move towards a more sustainable shipping process.
#4 way I stay eco-friendly
Nature themed designs, meanings and descriptions
The exclusive designs I create for my subscription service, Switch Script, are 100% taken from nature. I love seeing plants, birds and insects in real life and then making my own version from fabrics and threads. They have morphed from typical seasonal designs to ultra unique pieces not seen anywhere else, all thanks to the variety and inspiration nature gives.
So many of my meanings and descriptions for my pieces in my shop are inspired by the strength, growth, beauty and resilience nature shows us day after day. I love that there are so many things to learn and grow towards our best selves just by being a little more mindful of the stuff we can see every day.
So there you have it. Four ways I stay eco-inspired, earth friendly, eco-friendly and eco-conscious while I create and make. A lot of the times it’s not easily seen or known and I enjoy sharing this as its a huge foundation to most all of my decisions as I build this brand. It’s part of the challenge and also what makes the result that much more satisfying.