I love the sea. I’ve always lived near it and would never want to live away from it. I love it’s beauty, it’s moods and dramas and I love all of the creatures that live in it and near it – well, ok, I’m not very fond of seagulls. They scare me, at least the ones near my home do – they seem to go round in gangs, bullying smaller birds, that is when they’re not mugging people who are silly enough to hold something edible in their hands for more than five seconds or playing chicken with cars waiting to park at the shops close to the sea. There’s a particularly malevolent one who is always hanging around in the parking bays by the side door of our local Boots, my mum has had many a battle of wits with him! Anyway, like lots of people, I’ve been shocked in the last couple of years to learn about the horrific amount of plastic pollution choking our oceans and killing our beautiful marine creatures. Again like most of us, my family has been recycling for years, cut down on car use, repairing not replacing etc, but the realisation of what is happening to our seas has made us, like many others, kick our efforts to reduce our plastic consumption up several notches.
I must say, all the images of sea creatures being caught in or having eaten plastic by accident have really upset me and the ones which especially tug at my heartstrings are those which feature turtles. Turtles are brilliant! The Kings and Queens of the Sea in my opinion but sadly these days they are often the victims of our thoughtless and excessive plastic consumption. I’ve worked hard on reducing the amount of plastic I use and have sent countless emails and tweets to manufacturers and retailers asking them to change their packaging policies but it still isn’t really enough. Then one day it occurred to me that I was carrying around quite a lot of plastic every day as part of my phone and my phone case (rumours that I used to have a sparkly one with elephants is completely…true I’m afraid!). Of course I always recycle my phones but I’ve never known the best way to dispose of the case. Donating to the charity shop is fine if it’s still usable but what about if it’s reached the end of it’s useful life?
That got me thinking. I looked into eco friendly cases but they are quite hard to find and none of the ones I found were quite right for me. That’s when it occurred to me to design my own. I found a company which made a case mostly from bamboo but with some natural rubber and a little plastic in them. All these elements are either natural, biodegradable, recyclable or a combination of the three – the cases sounded like just what I had been looking for! I’m always on my phone, often as part of my Pyrex hunting work and that is how I keep in contact with my clients, so a phone case which I didn’t have to feel guilty about was an excellent idea. I was on a bit of a roll as far as brilliant ideas are concerned that day (which doesn’t happen often!) as it then occurred to me that my customers might also appreciate a rather more ethical phone case, particularly if it featured artwork showing vintage Pyrex. Thus was born a new venture for the ‘Pixie as I decided to put some phone cases in my shop. Now, as you know, I like to keep the shop separate from my blog, so don’t worry, this isn’t a commercial! I had to tell you that so I could get to the good bit! I thought it would be nice if a part of the proceeds from any ethical phone cases sold went to a marine wildlife charity but a smaller one. So I did quite a lot of research and found The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre In Canada. The Centre carries out excellent conservation work with the freshwater turtles in the region and also runs a turtle hospital which cares for sick and injured turtles brought there from all over Canada. The work the hospital does is absolutely amazing and when I saw the before and after stories and photos of their patients, I knew I had to help them in some way. You can see the turtle hospital here. Ontario turtles are freshwater and not marine but they are just as lovely as their saltwater cousins and the expertise of the staff at the turtle hospital is important to seagoing casualties too. I thought a little help from vintage Pyrex to the world’s turtles would be very apt, bearing in mind they’re both beautiful with a hard outer shell! Plus, as Timmy fans will know, if you turn Cinderella bowls upside down and put them on top of a wooden spoon with a face drawn on it you could easily mistake it for a turtle!
It was very tempting to immortalise our Timmy on a phone case but he is very wary of publicity having previously had a bad experience when he was “papped” without his shell on but this is a family blog, so the less said about that the better! Choosing the artwork for the cases was difficult because VP is very photogenic and I must have at least a dozen favourite patterns. The process of transferring the prints to the cases also altered colours somewhat, so there was a lot of fiddling necessary to get them exactly right. In the end I went for a set of coral Cinderellas stacked but the other way round (in a position affectionately known at ‘Pixie HQ as ‘the reverse Dalek’- oh come on, don’t tell me you haven’t ever thought a stack of Cinderellas looks like a floral dalek?!), the white on coral 443 serving Cinderella and it’s coral on white counterpart from the coral set on on top of the other, a stack of an Indiana, a green Medallion 5 and a Toledo (believe me, you look at that threesome long enough and you’ll need a lie down, they’ve got such a psychedelic vibe!) and a print of the pastel Gooseberry Cinderellas in a line. That choice took me a while and I’m just sorry I couldn’t immortalise all vintage Pyrex on phone cases!
Sorry this blog hasn’t been very Pyrexy but I did want to showcase the fantastic work of the turtle hospital. The work they do is so important that it seemed a good idea to tell anyone who would listen all about it!
Here’s our Timmy, admiring some of his hoard of vintage Pyrex.
My mum’s favourite of our new phone cases.