Deconstructing Molly

A girl raised with both fear and anticipation of Armageddon should not read the book The Road. She should also put down the book 6 Degrees: Our Future On A Hotter Planet, and stay far away from National Geographic magazines. She should definitely avoid the new Pixar movie, or that cute little robot who picks up garbage will put her over the edge with worry about a world uninhabitable thanks to trash.

I'm standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking the end of the world as we know it, and it's a scary place to be. There is so much beauty and joy in this ever changing world of ours and I'm trying desperately to focus on all that is good.


I'm trying to do my part to ebb the flow of garbage one article of ruined clothing at a time.
Rather than throwing away clothing that is beyond repair and not worthy of donation, I have pledged to salvage what I can. I cut one inch strips of fabric from a pair of Aidan's stained and torn shorts. Any other fabric scraps or ruined clothing will be cut into strips and added to the ball of "yarn", and perhaps one day I'll have enough to knit or crochet something useful (like a giant garbage bag).

reclaimed zipper

I took it one step further (as I'm wont to do) and salvaged the zipper.

zipper pouch

I cut out the pocket and decided it would make the perfect lining for a small zipper pouch.

zipper pouch

Ah, I'm feeling better already. Finding beauty and functionality in trash. I know saving one piece of garbage won't change the world, but I'll take the peace of mind that doing something, even if it is small and insignificant, can give me. One small zipper pouch, one giant step back from the edge of despair.


  1. That little bag will serve you well on the edge of the cliff. I heard a great interview on NPR this weekend in which the interviewee said she believed in humankind's ability to solve our earthen crisis with our creativity, if only we could find it in ourselves to organize. Looks like you're on your way. Fear not. You walk with good company (I still have not finished The Road, and might never).

  2. AnonymousJuly 14, 2008

    Every little bit helps. I read The Road and this month for the book club, On the Beach, so I know these thoughts.

  3. Love your inspiration and ACTION!

  4. I had to stop reading my husband's nat-geo mags. They would have these great articles about using great ideas to solve some of our global issues and it irritated me that no one would mainstream these concepts. I fear I've taken an ostrich in the sand approach lately. Shame on me I guess! Love the floral fabric!

  5. Yes, I know what you feel and feel what you know.

    You might enjoy this post from me: http://red-dirt-mother.blogspot.com/2008/05/doing.html

    Annie Leornard was at our fair this weekend talking her talk about "stuff".

    I have faith we can do good!

  6. AnonymousJuly 15, 2008

    That's brilliant!

    I keep saying I'm going to pulp a bunch of ratty clothes I keep around, and make paper out of it. For some reason, the zipper re-cycling never occurred to me!

  7. I love this post! And I know that precipice of which you speak. I've been there too many times over the past couple of years.

    I recently read The Long Emergency - don't read it! It's crazy-making, especially for someone who already sees the problem, but is trying to remain positive, and like you, trying to find solutions rather than just pointing out more problems.

    I love what you've done with the clothes. I've been keeping all of our old, usable, but not wearable or donatable clothes. I have no particular projects in mind, yet, but someday they'll be something ... not garbage, though :).

  8. AnonymousJuly 15, 2008

    Molly, I can relate to your expression of despair. The abyss is a long way down. But don't forget there are others of us in the leaky life boat who love you and are with you in spirit. Here are two well-known quotes to help find your footing.

    Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -- Martin Luther.

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. --
    Reinhold Niebuhr

    Keep changing the things you can. Mark.

  9. AnonymousJuly 15, 2008

    It does make you feel good when you can control the things around you (to some extent)We all need the feeling that we are making a difference...we just have to remember where to put our real hope and trust.
    Love the idea for the purse!

  10. perfect! i'm with you all the way!
    p.s.s mark & your mom hit the nail on the head , i think!

  11. AnonymousJuly 15, 2008

    for someone terrified of attempting to sew zippers this post gives me new inspiration!

  12. i reuse zippers, too. when an old skirt gets ruined, i take out the zipper and then use it when i sew a replacement.

  13. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    I feel that same sense of anxiety and it sometimes overwhelms me completely. I always know when I am in a downward emotional spiral when I start obsessing about trash.
    The one thing that helps me is knowing other people are trying, too. Because if you go to a mall, all you will see are people who don't care.

    That said, I have to say I never, ever thought of HAND sewing a zipper! I am so afraid of zippers and I've never attempted one on my machine. Duh duh duh duh duh.

    And the strips of fabric? That's how they used to make rag rugs. Maybe you'll have a lovely rug someday. My grandma had one her mother made out of plastic bread bags in the 70's. Amazing.

  14. I wondered if you were going to see the new Pixar movie (we saw it yesterday) and how it would hit you. I actually thought of that photo you took of your garbage can on trash day when it was practically empty. Way to go.

    Now I need to figure out how my favorite Vietnamese restaraunt will react when I decide to bring in my own containers for them to fill up instead of using their styrofoam when we get take-out once a week. Any suggestions? I usually order ahead and it's ready for me in ten minutes when I get there. . .

  15. I think it's just beautiful!
    And I'm glad there are people like you in this world, who care about things.

  16. hi, I am new to your blog and when I saw this I just had to comment.

    I am totally in the same boat, although I haven't read The Road..yet.

    I just did a post about reusing garbage on my own blog and again on a blog I contribute to at funwiththefarmgirls.blogspot.com. I re-made a pair of shortalls into a cute sundress.

    I am adding you to my blogroll~you are my new fave.

  17. I found your blog while bouncing from here to there in blogland, in pursuit of tutorials. I can't tell you how many "aha" moments I had just reading through your posts. I have been making my own stab at repurposing but your posts give me so much more inspiration!!! You have a new reader in me!!


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