Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

Darning Socks with The Far Woods

consciousbychloe-zero-waste-repair-sock-darning-the-far-woods-1

Last summer, a friend of mine mentioned a show she had attended the previous night and snippets of which I had seen on Insta Stories. I inquired about the artists, quickly started following them on social media and fell in love with their work and philosophy.

consciousbychloe-zero-waste-repair-sock-darning-the-far-woods-3

Living on a small organic farm outside of Portland, sisters Nina and Sonya Montenegro aka The Far Woods are talented designers and slow-living advocates. Because of their beautiful prints and their couple-year-long clothes-shopping-ban, we were bound to meet sooner rather than later.

consciousbychloe-zero-waste-repair-sock-darning-the-far-woods-5-1

Fast forward a couple months, and I finally got the chance to meet Nina, one half of the power-sister duo. Indeed, she had come to attend my first (and only to date) Zero Waste PDX event. And you will never guess what she showed me… One of the envelopes I had donated at Scrap, our local second hand art supply store, and which she had recently purchased (note to self: remove personal data from donated items).

We’ve kept in touch ever since, and I’ve been loving discovering how much we have in common through their daily posts on Instagram. I was already a fan of their art (I got Octave their Oregon Rivers poster and got myself their lunar calendar), but really fell for how they incorporate magic into daily tasks, and eventually got their Mender's Companion.

consciousbychloe-zero-waste-repair-sock-darning-the-far-woods-4

Nina & Sonya took the mundane act of mending socks to a playful and artistic level. So one Saturday, after a disturbing week, I dug through Octave’s drawers and gathered all the socks that needed a little TLC.

To be totally honest, I had previously put them in a bag to donate them, then thought that I should not be the one to take care of this and put them back in their drawer. Until I finally decided that darning them would be a fun experiment and that acts of service might be Octave and my love language (I still have to read this book) since we do help each other out a lot in many aspects of our personal and professional lives.

consciousbychloe-zero-waste-repair-sock-darning-the-far-woods-2

The experiment was as meditative as it was time-consuming. I literally spent a whole afternoon just darning socks.

I'm not really patient, but I'm also very stubborn. I knew that if I did not do this task until the last sock, I would never finish it. I also figured that I would only have to do this once since I'm planning on not waiting until 10 pairs of socks have holes in them to start taking action.

My first socks wasn't a work of art, but after a couple trials I really started having fun, especially since I had chosen some multicolor sashiko thread. I also did regret investing in a couple embroidery needles that saved me from poking my fingers with sharp regular ones.

consciousbychloe-zero-waste-repair-sock-darning-the-far-woods-5


Do you darn your socks? Have you ever tried the sashiko embroidery technique?

TRY THIS AT HOME and let me know how it worked for you! Look for an old pair of socks and try to give them a new life by darning them.

Also, what’s your love language?

Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Modern Macrame

Macrame Wall Hanging by Conscious by Chloé

Exactly two years ago, I attended Shop Talk, a full day of workshops led by and made for artists and makers to help build their businesses, share experiences, and connect with their creative community.

Amongst the speakers was Emily Katz of Modern Macrame. The theme of her talk was "No such thing as failure" and she talked us through the ups and downs of creative life and how to love what you do. She shared her experiences as a self made fashion designer turned macrame maven and Instagram phenomenon.

Macrame Plant Holder by Conscious by Chloé

Besides being inspired by her moving story, I found myself entangled in the macrame madness, which I never thought I would as I am not the craftiest person and as macrame reminded me of the old and dusty 70s pieces that populate my aunt's beach house.

Still, as soon as I left the conference, I googled Emily's work and ended up signing up on an art and craft platform to be able to watch her tutorials right away.

Macrame Wall Hanging by Conscious by Chloé

I ordered some rope online and started with a simple plant hanger. Then I continued with a couple wall hangings to finish this rope roll I didn't love (I kinda ordered the wrong kind because a. I couldn't tell the difference between cord and rope and b. I still have trouble with imperial units).

Macrame Plant Holder by Conscious by Chloé

I'm lucky enough to have someone at home who loves to spend time by rivers and doesn't mind me asking him to bring me driftwood back from his fishing trips!

After that, I contacted Emily to get some rope from her studio (a perfect excuse to meet her again) as I contemplated working on a much thicker piece.

It's been more than a year now and I still haven't finished it (I realized that I cut the strands too long and need more rope to have enough strands). For a long time it just sat on a clothes rack behind my desk and I eventually rearranged the rope on its spool.

But lately, I've been inspired to work on it again and even add a little twist to the piece by naturally dyeing certain strands.

Macrame Wall Hanging by Conscious by Chloé

Emily just released a book and regularly teaches workshops all around the world, check out her workshop schedule. Sign up for a class now, you won't be sorry!

For inspiration check out my Fiber Art Board on Pinterest.

Also, I highly recommend this other book to learn more about knots and patterns.

Macrame plant holder by Conscious by Chloé


Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Junk Mail Notebook DIY

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

I love notebooks and carry them everywhere with me. If I did not control myself, I would buy a new one each month.

The other day, as I was reorganizing my office, I found one that Octave and I had designed for our coworking space's opening party. We had made them from scratch, gathering the supplies and taking them to a neighboring creative space where we sew and screen printed them.

I've you've been reading me long enough, you know about my crusade against junk mail. But still, I do get some from time to time, and keep it in a box on my office shelf for a future use.

And this time has come. My urge to get a new notebook and the ever-growing junk mail pile have led me to make my own junk mail notebooks.


JUNK MAIL NOTEBOOK DIY

We all get junk mail, whether we like it or not! Although there are great ways to prevent receiving it, we sometimes still do. And that's OK. So let's make the most of it and get crafty.

Active time: 10 min
Total time: 10 min

Supplies

  • Junk Mail (or old documents after you've scanned them)
  • (optional) Thicker paper, or thin cardboard - for the cover (thick envelopes or cereal boxes)

Tools

Instructions

  • Collect junk mail and light cardboard.

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Select 10 sheets of junk mail printed on one-side only.

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Add 1 sheet of thicker paper at the bottom of the pile.

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Cut the sheets in half (or just keep them as is for a larger format).

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Collate 10 sheets together alternating between printed side up and printed side down in order to get 2 printed pages and 2 blank pages side by side once your notebook will be bound.

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Fold them in half to create a crease.

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Mark the crease with a pencil.
    This will help you sew on a straight line.

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Sew the sheets together following the line.

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Tie a knot at the top and bottom of the binding.

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Trim the thread (not too close).

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • (optional) Trim the edges of the notebook. According to the thickness of your notebook, the inside pages might be longer than the cover page, so you can trim them a little get perfect edges.

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Customize the front and back page.
    This is totally up to you. Have fun and personalize your creation.

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Notes
You can make your notebook as big and as thick as you want. Just keep in mind that the more pages you'll add, the longer the inside pages extend outside of the cover.

Junk Mail Notebook DIY by Conscious by Chloé


Do you know other creative ways to reuse junk mail?

Foraged Wreath DIY

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

On our way back from Southern California, we stopped on the side of the road for lunch and I took this opportunity to get the supplies I needed for a project I had in mind.

Inspired by Max Turk's creations, I had been meaning to give wreath making a try.

So while Octave was preparing lunch, I grabbed a knife and a bag and went for a stroll to forage. I had no idea about how much greenery I would need and pretty much eyeballed it. My advice: take more than what you think you'll need. A wreath can never be too crowded, and, worst case scenario, you'll have enough supplies to make a second one and give it to a friend or neighbor!

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Back home, I unwrapped my bounty and tried a couple designs on the floor of the living room.

Some people create the wreath by making a circle of branches. Others like to use wire to secure the strands around the wreath. I chose the easy route and found frames for 75 cents each at SCRAP, my local second-hand artist's supplies store and decided to just use some cotton thread to wrap the straw around the frame.

The end result looks nothing like what I had in mind, but I'm happy about where trial and error took me.

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé


FORAGED WREATH DIY

Wreaths are a great way to decorate your home on a budget at any given season. They're common for the end of the year celebrations but can be created at any time of the year to bring the look and smell of nature into your home!

Active time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours

Supplies

Tools

  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Forage seasonal greens.
  2. Arrange your greens on a flat surface and test various patterns.
  3. Tie a knot around the frame.
  4. Roll the thread around the greens all around the frame to create a base.
  5. Slip bits and pieces to cover the thread and create a pattern.
  6. Hang your wreath and take a step back.
  7. Add more greenery to create balance.
  8. Enjoy the view and the smell of your creation as long as you deem necessary.

Notes

For this wreath, I foraged crested wheatgrass, sagebrush, and rabbitbrush in Southern Oregon. But any kind of greenery will do. Go for a hike and work with what nature offers you. The secret is to have some thicker material for the base (to cover the frame) and tons of little bits (dried berries, pine cones) to use as ornaments). After you take your wreath down at the end of the season, compost the greenery, reuse the thread, and store the frame for the next season.

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé


Have you ever made your own wreath? What did you use? I want to see pictures (tag me on social media so I can see them)!

Sage + Rosemary Smudge Wands DIY

Sage + Rosemary Smudge Wand DIY by Conscious by Chloé

I usually make a point of having the windows open at least 1/2 hr a day (winter included) to renew the air at home, especially since Octave and I both work from the same home office.

Sage + Rosemary Smudge Wand DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Also, as you may know, Oregon has been plagued with wildfires, the air quality levels here in Portland hit a pretty low level a couple weeks ago, meaning that, for health reasons (it was literally raining ash), we had to keep the windows shut for a couple days.

I got a little insane, as we have no A/C and the temperatures were still summery, and looked for ways to make our environment better.

I used the tiny air humidifier Octave gave me as a present a year ago.

I would turn on the floor fan from time to time to make the hot air generated by both our computers circulate.

Sage + Rosemary Smudge Wand DIY by Conscious by Chloé

And then, I turned to scents.

  • I made a scented spray - Water + 10 drops of essentiels oils in a sprayer.

  • I brought water to a boil after adding a couple drops of essential oils.

  • I burnt some palo santo. I like to make a ritual out of it after each cleaning session or right before guests arrive.

Sage + Rosemary Smudge Wand DIY by Conscious by Chloé

But last week, our friends at Tendue gave us A LOT of sage. Octave used some to cook and I decided to finally try to make smudge wands as these can sometimes be pretty pricy.

Sage + Rosemary Smudge Wand DIY by Conscious by Chloé


SAGE + ROSEMARY SMUDGE WAND DIY

Smudge wands are the perfect way to make your house feel homey and fresh. Make a ritual by burning them for a specific event, or for no reason at all. Really, it's up to you!

Active time: 5 min
Total time: 3 weeks

Supplies

  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • 100% coton thread (you want a natural fiber, since you're going to burn it)

Tools

  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Separate the sage and rosemary into tiny bundles.
  2. Tie a knot at the base with your thread.
  3. Roll the thread tightly up and down the bundle.
  4. Tie a final knot.
  5. Hang upside down in a cool dark space until it is completely dried out (2-3 weeks).
  6. Light your wand until it begins to smoke. Blow on it if a flame appears.
  7. Wave the smoke around your house. You might need to light your wand a couple times during the ritual.

Notes

Great times to have a sage smudging ritual include: when moving into a new place, before guests arrive, after an illness, before meditating. You can add various scents to your bundle. Some people like to add rose petals, or even tiny rose buds. The options are endless.

Sage + Rosemary Smudge Wand DIY by Conscious by Chloé


What are your secrets and rituals for a fresh smelling home?