I think I took the "recycle" pincushion challenge a little more literally than most other participants, but for some reason my mind went immediately to the recycle symbol & stayed there. The top is a felted piece of an old pea-soup green wool sweater (apologies for the photo, the cloudy season is upon us), & I used a freezer paper stencil* for the recycling symbol. The paper bag is my favorite pin, but I also really like the way the bottles turned out after baking (I mixed translucent + opaque polymer clay for them).
The back is made from an old pair of my son's corduroy pants & a scrap of wool felt that came from one of Alicia's passamenterie packages. The text, "always recycle numbers 1, 2, & 5" is best imagined as a line from a recycling jingle that played endlessly on tv when you lived in Oregon 10 or so years ago, & though you've forgotten most of the rest of the words (except the cheery "do the recycle routine!" that started the whole song off), you're pretty sure that the number line will be popping into your head at random for the rest of your life. In practical pincushion terms, I thought that it was both decorative and instructive (& I confess that I was half-hoping for a little musical-exorcism-through-pincushion. It didn't work.). The whole thing is stuffed with the handfuls of wool fuzz left in my washing machine after felting wool sweaters. The only thing I ended up purchasing for this one was some brown clay; everything else was either actual recycling or stuff that I had hanging around (pins, thread, screenprint ink), so I feel pretty good about sticking to theme.
*regarding freezer paper stencils on felted wool: I wasn't sure this would work out, but I was really happy with the results. After it dried, the ink had sunk into the wool quite a bit, giving it a faded look -- appropriate for this project, but I think that if I were doing it again in the future, I'd make sure to really ink it heavily. I also used screenprinting ink instead of fabric paint, which may make a difference in terms of how the color was absorbed.