Posts Tagged ‘Eco-Fair’

Eco-Fair display at St Rita’s Elementary

I just realised I haven’t posted any news items and there have been things happening!

One recent event was at St Rita’s Elementary School. I was invited to put on a display and demo of milkbag weaving, as part of their school Eco-Fair (24 March). The student displays in the gym had been made by different grades, all focusing on being a more environmentally aware person. For my part, there were posters, hand-outs, cards — and, of course, samples of bags and mats, both woven and crochet’d.

Using milkbags in this way was a totally new concept to the students, so the whole process was a mystery — and ended up being hugely fascinating to them. Like all students, they wanted to touch everything — so it made sense to get them to actually weave a few strands. I’d brought along a bag of pre-made stringers (all red) and a frame with only 3 or 4 sea-green rows done. By the end of the day (2:30), pretty much half a mat had been woven!

Here’s a brief slide-show to show how it went.

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A good day at the 2016 Eco-Fair

What a good day! And a very busy one, too! From 9am till 1pm, a steady stream of visitors came by the more-than-generous space provided for the milkbag project. I’d like to thank the many people who stopped by to lend a hand, to chat, to see how the weaving’s done or how to start collecting and storing milkbags, and so on. It’s always a pleasure to hear about where else milkbags are being collected and then used. For some, it’s an opportunity to see mats and bags up close for the first time and to marvel at what can be done with this simple outer wrapper for 3 bags of milk.

People dropped off lots of mats and lots of milkbags — and some even came looking for bags (always a nice change πŸ™‚ ). A lot of interest in the weaving — how to do it — and in the frames (kudos to the LDH fine woodworking students for those). The Eco-Fair’s a great place to meet people who are actively involved in charitable work, and who actually go to places where people are in need. One group I’d like to single out is Fondation Solution Haiti Foundation, which works more in the rural areas of Haiti. In January, they shipped a good number of sleeping mats from the Ottawa area to that country. And I’d like to pass on that, at the end of the Fair, Musset and Gail Pierre-Jerome offered to take all the mats from the display (close to a dozen in all) back with them, to become part of their next shipment to Haiti! So, everyone who dropped off a mat today — they’ve already begun their journey on to someone who needs it! That it meant I had a lot less to pack up for the car was a lovely bonus for me as well πŸ™‚

A frequent question was: where can I bring my milkbags? Unfortunately, there’s no single depot. It’s by word of mouth (there’s a group who meets in such-and-such a place, or, I know someone who … ) or by checking local schools (especially elementary) to see if they collect bags. Many do, but don’t always have the capacity to add bags from the public — their students are already bringing in sometimes 500, 800, or more (!) a month. Always call ahead to check if they’re collecting, and if they’ll take bags from someone outside their immediate school community. If not, the fact is that milkbags can also be taken to most Metro grocery stores for their plastic bag recycling bins — it’s not ideal, but it does at least keep them out of the general garbage stream. Here’s a handy link to a City of Ottawa webpage, listing Metros and other stores which take back plastic bags: http://app06.ottawa.ca/online_services/recycling/items/450_en.html. There’s no date on this list, so again, it’s probably best to call first to check.

After a demo/display such as today’s, I like to post links to all the documents which go into the various handouts and posterboard displays.Β  My collection has grown over time, and many are simply trotted out again and again πŸ™‚ But it’s easier for you to have them all in one place, one post, so here you go — this should cover most of the material out on display this morning.

  • bag-prep-for-weaving-updated-2016: 3-pg document that describes cutting bags, creating stringers from fat loops, loading stringers onto the weaving frame, and then where to google for YouTube instructional videos
  • milkbag-prep-flatten-and-store: 2-pg document that shows a space-saving way to store milkbags. A longer version, at 7 pgs,. then goes on to show how to cut the bags into strips, for crocheting.
  • Milkbag Crochet Instructions Flyer: 4-pg flyer with instructions on everything πŸ™‚ … Focussed on crochet, this one has general tips, instructions for making sleeping mats, sitting mats, and shoulder bags.
  • a small card with three useful addresses:

Β Β Β  Main website: recyclemilkbags.pbworks.com

Β Blog: https://chinterests.wordpress.com

Frames: ravenswoodworking@gmail.com

I always enjoy being at this event because of the people you meet. Sure, I’m showing how to do this or that, giving tips here and there, but it’s meeting people whose own activities and interest sometimes intersect in unexpected ways with mine. And once an idea is sparked … there’s no telling what might come of it!

UPDATE NOTE (27 April ’16): Also check out the `Weaving with Milkbags‘ page for more info on past workshops and displays, and links to documents available at those events.

Eco-Fair/Rock the World with Kindness

This coming Saturday, 23 April 2016, will see the annual Eco-Fair/Rock the World with Kindness event at the Bell’s Corners United Church. Many, many displays and demos will be on site, including (of course πŸ™‚ ) one for crocheting and weaving mats from milkbags. A few weaving frames (half-height; that is, you make two mats and then lash them together) will be available for sale (20.00); frames are made by the Gr.12 Fine Woodworking students at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School in Barrhaven.

Bring your milkbags — but please, NOT all scrunched up in a garbage bag! Please take the time to prepare them for the volunteers who then turn the milkbags into useful mats and bags. First, though, please take all the torn and smelly bags to the Metro grocery store — many of them have a plastic bag recycle bin in the front foyer (the one in Barrhaven does). We do NOT want to crochet or weave with those. What we DO want is nice clean bags to work with — so we can make nice clean mats and bags that people less fortunate that us will want to sleep on and use. A handy and economic way to store bags can be found in this handout: milkbag-prep-flatten-and-store.

One change to note: this year we CANNOT accept finished mats. There is simply no place to store them until they can be delivered to Canadian Food for Children in Mississauga. Nevertheless, we are working on a one-day drop-off for mats and bags in the Ottawa area. News will be posted as soon as details of a time and location are confirmed. So again, please do NOT bring your finished mats and bags to the 23 April event at the church.

Barrhaven milkbag crochet group

For the past several years, a group of us have been meeting in Barrhaven (Ottawa) to crochet milkbags into sitting and sleeping mats, as well as shoulder bags. Last fall we were offered meeting space at the Court at Barrhaven seniors residence. We meet on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month, from 1 to 3pm. Come and join us — to learn how to crochet with milkbags or to bring your work and be with like-mind people for a couple of hours.

Please note: this is a crochet group only and not a location for dropping off milkbags. Milkbags (and all other plastic bags, for that matter) can be dropped off for plastic recycling at the local Metro store (large blue bin in the front entry, by the grocery carts). Or you could inquire at local schools to see if they accept donations.

There will be a one-time drop-off for milkbags on 23 April, 2016, at the Bell’s Corners United Church, which is hosting this year’s Eco-Kindness Fair (iCare2016 poster print).

19 April 2016: UPDATE: Note that the 23 April event will accept milkbags but NOT finished crochet’d milkbag mats — there is no room this year to store them. Please stay tuned for news on a future drop-off time and location for the Ottawa area.

Eco-Fair 2014 summary

The 2014 Eco-Fair was held at Bell’s Corners United Church on 18 October.

I thought the day was very well attended — both in terms of exhibitors and visitors. A
photo-story summary can be found here:

http://bellscorners.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/bells-corners-eco-fair-2014/

Milkbag Crochet Project boothThere were people stopping by our table all day long — some had already been involved; many knew about collecting bags but not what was made; many knew what was made but not where they went; and there were some people who had never heard of the whole project and kept coming back to see more … There were also quite a few children, esp. ones whose schools have collected the bags — now they have a better idea of what happens after that πŸ™‚

Around the tables were all the different kinds of milkbags we’ve come across — I’d created this `banner’ for a school demonstration last spring and it seemed a nice `decorative’ touch to add to the tables.

Bins with suppliesAs well, there were bins with milkbags at various stages, so I could demonstrate any given step easily. As it was, there was too much traffic and not enough space to actually have people sit down and give it a try. But it was useful, nevertheless, to set it all out. The box of sets (30 or so) was useful, to show how compactly one could store milkbags — as opposed to having hundreds of them scrunched up into a garbage bag!

Display panel for posters I had three really nice poster `photo stories’ mounted on boards behind the tables (thanks to my daughter for the posters and for setting things up `nicely’ πŸ™‚ ).

We had quite a few handouts: updated versions of theΒ Milkbag Crochet Instructions Flyer, as well as many cards with all the websites and contact info. As well, I had a 1-page flyer (Contact info for Eastern Ontario (mostly)) on many groups in the Ottawa area and beyond, the result of surveying members of a mailing list that Barbara Eade had included me on in September (contact people for groups in many different areas). You can find the .pdfs for the posters here:

chinterests.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/poster-photo-stories-from-the-eco-fair-2014/

Gotta love a mascot with a sash!

Gotta love a mascot with a sash!

While we were setting up on Friday afternoon, Barbara Eade came around with a teddy-bear … crocheted … purple Sealtest bags! One of three cuties that someone had dropped off with mats … so my daughter set him up as a mascot — and I tell you, people stopped by to comment on him … and then eventually looked at the display. So — thank you, Barbara! And … if I could … I’d like to keep him for a while …:-)

Half-height frame, half done

Half-height frame, half done

Danielle Duval-Conway came with several frames, showing various stages of weaving — had a fantastic time with her! Thank you so much, Danielle! I’m going to post some photos of her frames, because she’s made some interesting innovations on the plans that are currently found on the Milkbags Unlimited website — essentially, to make the frames more space-efficient, she’s `folded’ the frame height in half … you work on both sides of the frame, which is then only half as high as the Milkbags Unlimited plans.

And then she has a version with `legs’, so that it stands like an A-frame — very clever ideas that I think will appeal to people who want to move over to weaving but perhaps find the idea of a 6-ft high frame a bit too unwieldy.

A-frame (D. Duval-Conway's design)

A-frame (D. Duval-Conway’s design)

And the mats themselves? They’re thick! Two fingers’ thick, on the edge! The trimmed milkbags are cut once, in the middle, to yield two very very wide `bands’, which are then chained together to make the strips that will be woven.

Woven mat (by D. Duval-Conway) -- it's about 2 fingers thick!

Woven mat (by D. Duval-Conway) — it’s about 2 fingers thick!

Detailed instructions will be appearing elsewhere so this is just a quickie overview. But I have to say that I really like her innovations.

A number of teachers stopped by, especially intrigued by the weaving samples and spoke with Danielle about how they might bring it into their schools. I know Danielle had been thinking of that before the Eco-Fair so I do hope it works out!

I spoke with a lot of people, actually! Including two ladies from the Woodroffe United Church milkbag group. Many used the Eco-Fair as an opportunity to drop off finished sleeping mats — as did I, with most all of what our group’s done over the past two months. I forgot to count how many mats there were … easily 50 or more mats, both sleeping and sitting … and a couple of shoulder bags.

The day’s haul.

In all, I think it was all really worth it. There are .pdf files for most all the items at the display, so if anyone wants to use them for demonstrations or displays, please go ahead … but I’d ask that a credit line to me be included πŸ™‚ And for the 1-page list of contacts, please pass along any updates or new groups and I’ll do up a new version for everyone to use.

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