Happy Halloween! My Bat Costume (partly from an old broken umbrella!)

There have been a billion posts on reduced waste and reduced harm Halloween celebrations. I saw a lot of "what do you give out to trick-or-treaters?!" on zero waste and zero waste vegan FB communities! (The verdict seemed to be: clementines, boxed raisins, any mini candy you can find boxed, FEP-approved foil wrapped Sjaak's minis, cans of sparking water/soda or school supplies! Or "Don't bother, it's impossible!" That's the spirit, Zero Wasters!) We don't really get trick-or-treaters since it's a NYC apartment building the management doesn't organize anything so I don't have to worry about that part of Halloween.

I usually do end up dressing up, though, because we have a few friends who are super into Halloween. It's a good holiday, so rightly so. I usually try to dress up without having to buy stuff, or at least limit what I need to buy. Not only is is just better for the environment, but you also don't get stuck waiting on a line to get into Party City. Wait, is that just NYC? There have been a bunch of better, more professionally photo-documented posts about DIY costumes from salvaged material (see one from Style Wise here!) but I'm going to add my blurry iphone photos to the mix, too!

Last year I was Andy Warhol, opportunistically due to my haircut at the time. This year I decided to go for a classic costume -- a bat! Well, semi-classic. My impromptu makeup pushed into more of a twenties style harlequin makeup vibe but whatevs. I wanted to be something classic and I figured I could put it together mostly with things I had on hand. 

What I already had:
  • black long sleeve t-shirt
  • black leggings
  • black shoes and socks
  • costume face makeup and "everyday" makeup I already had (including primer!)
  • a broken black umbrella
  • safety pins
  • black gaffer tape (the tape was my boyfriend's)

What I had to buy:
  • a bat hat I picked up at some cheapo store because I liked it

Technically I already had the hat because I got it in a moment of weakness about six months ago at IKEA no less! But I also could have made a bat hat out of either felt and a headband I already have or black gaffers tape and a headband. 

This was the costume makeup:

I had this stuff from prior years. It's very concentrated so you only need a very tiny amount with water to do face makeup. I was surprised by how little you use so I'll try to incorporate this stuff into costumes in the future! 

I also had a bunch of extra makeup from my vegan beauty box days and just used what I had on hand. Green glitter and white glitter come in handy this time of year. 

And this is the costume! I ended up taping my wings on so you couldn't see any gaps but this was basically it. A bonus: it was very comfortable, I could eat in it, sit in it, walk in it. In fact, we walked the 2 miles to and from the party. Comfort is Queen!

Next year I'll try to plan a little more in advance. I kind of winged this one within a week or so leading up to Halloween. (No pun intended, but I'll take it.) I was originally going to be Peppermint Butler from Adventure Time but I couldn't figure out how to be a convincing PepBut and still eat unobstructed and sit down. Maybe I'll figure it out by next year. 


I'm finally gonna do it: Project 333

I'm staring down the barrel of two hours of ironing tonight. It is no secret (because I complain about it constantly) that we have no washer/dryer in our apartment. There is one in our creepy apartment building basement that I refuse to use after things got red-flaggy with our creepy neighbor. I also hate the local laundromat, where sometimes houseless people sit around to be inside, especially in the winter. (I get it. But I also don't want to hang out there hours each week.) So I prefer to drop off for wash-and-fold service -- which means I need to iron anything that needs to not have folding grid creases on it -- so about 50% of the stuff I own. 

This is long overdue ironing -- this is stuff that was picked up from the wash-and-fold last month. I haven't even dropped over the next three bags of laundry I have. Thanks to having over 50 pair of underwear, I am able to let my laundry pile up to monstrous heights. 

I think I've finally realized that this is not a positive. Being able to put off doing laundry with bags of laundry hanging around the apartment is not, actually, a plus. 

For this reason I'm going to sign up for Project 333. It sounds impossible but I do think I need a smaller rotation of clothing to force me to do laundry more regularly. So, I'll do the closet clean-out as she recommends and then kick off my 3 months with 33 items (hence the "333" name -- which is kind of misleading). This should push me into the fringes of adulthood in the arena of laundering. Fingers crossed.

Have you guys ever done Project 333 or something similar? (I see 10x10 was the big thing this past month, bloggers.)

Today's outfit:
a high street brand dress purchased at Goodwill
DIY necklace made last year


Old, gifted and thrifted

Hi buds. Look at me! Wearing the same things forever! That is my #1 tip for ethical wardrobes. Re-use the heck out of stuff. Also, buy used. If not used, then buy with a low imprint and good labor standards. 

I am still carrying my extra "insurance" -- a few extra pounds that will save me from certain death if I ever get super ill (like my flu-induced stomach bout of yore). My clothes still fit but they are kinda just fitting so I should start walking more or actually jogging-running again. (I'll go with walking more.) I am pretty lazy these days (like out of breath on the stairs lazy) and also I guess I don't want to exacerbate the genetic heart disease I'm bound to inherit? From a #wasteless perspective, not switching sizes a bunch is helpful in not having to get a new wardrobe...I guess. But why is exercise so gd miserable, I ask you?

Cardigan: gift from 2 Xmases ago
Shirt: thrift store shopping last week
Necklace: Clyde's Rebirth
Shoes: Insecta 
Tote: gift, and over-dyed when I did the blue dye batch 

Thankfully I have some comfortable fall shoes to do all of that supposed walking in -- my second pair of Insectas. They are an eco brand that uses salvaged materials (fabric, rubber for the soles) and they're surprisingly comfortable. Now that it's 50 frickin' degrees I'm no longer wearing my oxford cut-outs and am wearing these swan oxfords instead. With some Rilakkuma ankle socks, because I'm over 40 and extremely professional.  

In other news, I'm still learning more and more about hermit crabs (now that we have threeeeee) and the cats are incredibly grateful for their new entertainment. Violet, in particular, has really taken to being the main crab steward. She has logged many tireless hours inspecting the crabs for gonopores so she knows whether they're male or female. What a trooper. However, she's not telling. 

In other other news, I started a private online Facebook group for a few friends who agreed to do Lynda Barry's comp book diary exercises on the daily. If you didn't know, Lynda Barry has a tumblr that she uses for her UW comics classes and it is here. She also has a book called Syllabus, which is a hybrid biography of a comics class syllabus and also a book. Anyway, this small group has a few weeks under their (our) belt of this daily observation journal and sometimes this daily animal journal. I cannot really draw, but Lynda Barry loves that people like me try so that's enough for now. Also, I drew this of Violet and I kind of love it. 

The things I draw "better" aren't a style I like anyway but it's weird because I don't know any other way to draw them. My brain knows how to draw a hippo that looks like a hippo ONE way, a way I don't particularly care for. Why? A mystery for the ages.

This doesn't have anything to do with ethical style or reducing waste or anything I say this blog is about but I felt like talking about it and I'm boss here -- so I did. Also I think it's just good to do something different and "creative" sometimes. Maybe all the time! Balance, y'all.


Life Lately: Rotten Apples, Crabs, Mini-Spatulas and all that stuff.

Hi pals. I know my last post was about cutting down on wasting food but as I type, I have a bunch of soft, gently aging apples in my fridge. Progress, not perfection. Let me know if you have any ideas for kinda old apples besides smoothies or eventually compost.

What else have I been up to?

Getting Crabs:

Aside from watching apples rot, I've been doing a lot of prep work for our hermit crabs. That's right - CRABS. Rescued hermit crab Peter Parker was joined by two fellow purple pincher crabs - Harvey and Rose. You can see a harrowing video on my IG of Harvey trying to introduce himself to Peter Parker. I've been learning all sorts of hermit crab things - not the least of which is what to feed them. Apparently - everything. They need animal protein, plant protein, sea vegetables, fruit, non-sea vegetables, calcium and chitin. Which begs the question: will this vegan ever care for an animal who doesn't eat other animals? Ever? Guess I'll be keeping those cognitive dissonance skills in good form. 

Hair Farming:

I am also trying to grow my hair in a bit to shoulder length -- this will require less cuts and less color treatment (which means less chemicals, less money spent, less of my time spent in a hairstylist chair). I refuse to give it up completely, so this is the best I could do for now. My hair has started to flip up in all sorts of uncharming ways but I will hang in there, looking like an unkempt cousin on The Patty Duke Show. 

This is an old People Tree dress that fit weird in the hips
but I liked the pattern so I had my tailor make it into a shirt.
Still going strong a few seasons later. 

Not Wasting Stuff:**

Mend and make do? Use it up, wear it out, do the twist and shake it all about? I can never remember those maxims. Use up your products. That's the concept for which I was trying to recall the rustic saying. I have been trying to do this even when packaging doesn't make it easy. Like below -- thankfully another company gave me this previously-useless minuscule spatula so I could use it to get to the last of their competitor's product. 

(** apples excluded)

Shopping Secondhand:

My schedule now puts me squarely in front of a thrift store or two once a week so I've taken to checking against my "stuff to buy used" list. I'm more likely to find what I need if I'm looking all the time, obviously, so this feels like a nice little routine. Last week I found this perfect black vegan puffy coat (belt and hood!) along with a b/w striped dress and a picture frame for my office. Only the frame was on my list but the other things fit well and are things I will wear a lot. Then this thread about whether it's ethical to buy secondhand popped up on IG via Slow Fashion October. My friend Erin tagged me in it, thinking I'd be interested - and I was. 

The idea was that if thrift shops are meant to serve those with less funds, why are the rest of us shopping there? The poster asked herself if she would be better off supporting small ethical brands if she had the means to do so. I sometimes have the means to do so, and I do support brands I like but I do still shop secondhand. Why? The supply is so great and the turnover, so quick. 

This was my comment: 

It's funny this popped up today. I do spend quite a bit on small ethical designers (for me anyway) but I do still shop at re-sale places and thrift shops. I pass by a Goodwill once a week and typically I just check in against my "to find used" list of housewares but today I found a perfectly sized vegan belted puffer coat w/hood and a dress - in addition to a frame for my office (which was on the list). Their turnover is so significant that my frame was dated...today. I don't think it's because everything is purchased but because they have so much "aged out" inventory on a short cycle. So I definitely don't feel like I'm eclipsing someone else looking for the exact same thing at the exact same week or two that item is actually on the shopping floor. None of the housewares are the same as last week even. I agree re the markups in some places - lots of H&M and F21 at exact same retail prices (and they're not sturdy enough to warrant it). I don't think there's a perfect answer here but I'm more likely to feel guilty about takeout containers or plastic coffee cup than shopping thrift.
It is a good question, though, and worth thinking about as our clothing supply and purpose of second-hand shops shifts.