5 Questions for an Eco-friend - Keren Baker, Craftstampink
Welcome to the first of my monthly guest blog post '5 Questions for an Eco-friend'. I'm super excited to be able to bring you a whole host of other eco-friendly people and businesses once a month. Everything from Bloggers to Upcyclers, Etsy shops to Refill shops and lots in between. If they're Eco, I want them to share their journey with you and for you to find a whole host of other small businesse and creative people to be inspired by.
First up it's a long time crafty friend, Keren Baker. I've known Keren for a few years now through card making, but she turns her hand to all manner of crafts including sewing and has recently been upcycling and making quilts. She has real creative flare and a real desire to reuse and rework fabrics into other things. Under her tutelage, I've made one of her quilts! Take it away Keren...
1. Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m Keren Baker and I work in the Craft Industry, demonstrating, creating projects for companies, producing content for magazines and editing blogs. I currently live in Liverpool with my family.
My background is a creative one; whether it’s music, baking or sewing and creating. I was encouraged by my creative Mum to do cross-stitch when I was little and I’ve dabbled in lots of different crafts ever since. I’ve had several jobs before the one I do now and probably my favourite was teaching music. I only got into ‘proper crafting’ (if that’s even a thing) after the birth of my 3rd child (I’ve had 6) and more recently have got into quilting and making some of my own clothes.
2. Tell us about your business and what you do:
So I’m a bit a Jack of all trades and definitely master of none! I earn my money working for different companies but have begun to branch out a little designing quirky quilt patterns. [Ruth here: If you're on my newsletter you may remember the carrot table runner I made from scraps - this is the quilt Keren designed!]
3. What made you start your eco/reusable business - why do you do what you do?
One of the things I think is so important is not to waste what we have personally and corporately (globally). I love to use up the scraps of leftover fabric from projects but am never happier than scouring charity shops and love to give life to second hand clothes.
This bag was made from a recycled leather jacket. Well, I thought it was leather until I got it home and found it was faux leather. It was a really old fashioned style and I couldn’t have seen many people wearing it so it’s got a second life as a fun bag.
I also like finding charity shop clothes so to avoid fast fashion as much as possible. Many of my bags and projects involve upcycling old jeans and using old bedding and curtains for the insides of Christmas stockings and toiletry bags or zipper pouches.
This bag was made from an old pair of curtains and lined with some vintage bedding from my husband’s late Nan. I do love how we can have something that links to our heritage and family and we can have new emotional ties to items that might otherwise have ended up in landfill. The photo of the chevron patterned bag at the beginning of this post was made using charity shop jeans and recycled handles from an old bag. You’d never know they weren’t new fabrics and people are amazed when I tell them. Using old Jeans fabric is such a winner and you can find ways to use the pockets too!
I have loved demonstrating over the past few years how to use products/fabrics and upcycle them. Take an old wool jumper and felt it by washing it in a hot wash then into the tumble dryer and you have felted fabric you can make all sorts with!
4. What is the best thing about your eco/reusable business - what do you love to sell/make/talk about?
My favourite thing is inspiring people to reuse things and reconsider where they are buying things from. One of my favourite things is the un-paper towels that I’ve made and gifted to many others so they can look after the environment AND save money (everyone wins!!). Unfortunately the set I made is with Christmas fabric but over 2 years later I’m still using them.
Making and selling reusable makeup wipes has been brilliant. I also love making skirts from old pairs of jeans. Let’s not talk about the ruffle insert I made once for a jeans skirt from my husband's old shirt to find out that it was one of his favourites!!
Sitting down and making crumb quilt pieces of fabric is so relaxing and there’s so much you can create using new ‘crumb fabric’ that reminds you of older projects every time you look at it. Making crumb fabric is just sewing small pieces of leftover fabric together, trimming them and sewing to other small pieces. Before long you have a sheet of ‘new’ fabric.
Then you can make new items with it. This next bag uses crumb fabric, an old shirt for the lining and old jeans for the rest of the bag.
It’s also worth saying that by making reusable products you save money, help the environment and create new traditions. Making reusable crackers for Christmas means we’ll get the same ones out each year and it becomes part of the ‘fabric’ (pun intended!) of our family traditions!
5. Where can people find and connect with you and learn more about what you do?
I also have a YouTube channel https://m.youtube.com/user/kerenjb/videos
Happy upcycling and reusing everyone! x
Keren, thank you so much for sharing your story and all of your upcycled and reusable makes. Please do check out her social media for more inspiration. Anyone feel inspired to make something? I am off to raid my scrap box for some crumb quilting. It's a great way to get to know your sewing machine too.
Thank you so much for reading, have a fabulous week! Ruth xxx