Recycling rubbish!

Courtesy of Empty Common Garden's blog

I like to think I believe in the Rs of recycling: Retrieve, reinvent, reuse (first mentioned here in this Community Garden Blog). In this instance I am not retrieving from a river but from the blue bin. I have been recycling:

  • plastic fruit punnets to use as cloches on pots in the greenhouse, also soda bottles cut in half as ground cloches
  • plastic packaging to pick up cat poos in the garden
  • toilet rolls to make planters (just stand on a plastic tray)
  • small plastic containers to store seeds
  • ice cream wooden sticks to label plants (you can write on them with a pencil) and chopsticks saved from sushi restaurant visits (you can write on top fat bit)....
Other ideas I have:

  • re-using teabags and coffee grounds as mulch
  • keep nut shells to scatter in raised bed as they deter snails
  • oranges' and lemons' netting could protect a small plant from pigeons
  • use grass cuttings to deter weeds
  • use moss growing among my grass to line hanging baskets as it keeps moisture
  • keep stones I find when digging up in the ground to hold moisture for potted plants
  • use raspberry and blackcurrant leaves for making tea
  • Encourage mint plants so I can use their leaves fresh or dried to make tea
  • Use nettles in compost bin to encourage compost making (and wee if I can pee in a pot - as shown on Gardeners' World not long ago)
  • Keep the pond clean as frogs are saving me a fortune in slug pellets
More ideas to come! Happy gardening.... Here is a cute idea from Charlotte, who is the Empty Common Garden's Coordinator.... More ideas are on that blog.


Making something out of (nearly) nothing

Michela helped Charlotte build a bug hotel using recycled materials.
Find out how here

Decorating biscuits is a popular party activity for kids. This is
marvellous creation by an 8 year old girl

The Botanic Garden in Cambridge has activity drop-ins once
a month. This mini dry garden is very pretty


Keeping busy...

Lavender leaves and heather flowers in wedding
 favour's recycled tulle - something out of nothing

Crowdsourced content before the net


Recycling and life hacks

Pic: Campfullmonte
Life hacks articles are very popular and photos of ingenious re-use of materials are all over Pinterest. Just follow this amazing board!

I have been thinking of ways I use/re-use things and here are a few off the top of my head:
  • using the previous day's boiled water from my kettle for ironing and watering plants (my kettle has a scale blocker by the pourer)
  • buying socks in similar colour/style so I always have a spare when one develops a hole. Plus an old, clean sock is handy to clean shoes and apply shoe cream
  • using an old toothbrush to clean between tiles and hard-to-reach areas
  • using baby wipes on burned grease on my cooker (best done after you have used the oven so it's warm)
  • using lighter fluid to take off sticky marks (like price stickers or sticky brown tape marks).
Feel free to contribute....


10 years of this blog! A craft & cooking carnival

Here is a selection of crafting and baking projects featured on this blog since its start in February 2005. The last picture features Pandan cupcakes, which I made adapting this recipe from Youtube.

Cosy hat and cape for my baby daughter


Life hacks - don't you love them?

In the past month, I have been tweeting useful articles on how to re-use and/or repair items and they have proved very popular... for instance, did you know that the pumice stone you use on the hard skin of your feet can clean the water sediment in a toilet? I know, it's not a Xmas tip, per se but if you have guests and need to clean a scaley toilet, then it's handy. I use a broken pumice stone for cleaning, I am not suggesting you use it again on your feet... gross! But let's move away from toilets to more exciting things, such as handmade Xmas decorations. I had a go at making a wreath for my front door and a tree decoration this year: see them here on my 1930s House blog. They came out pretty well and my daughter helped too.

Let's move to festive baking and here is a cake we made for a party. We only had blue icing left, hence the unusual colour scheme. The 'clever' thing about this cake is that it was made in our breadmaker and it was too big to fit in the takeaway silver tray so I cut it in half. The other half was stored undecorated in a tin as my partner is very fond of fruit cake but doesn't like icing. Two for the price of one!

My daughter and I both love advent calendars and guess what... there's one that combines hacks and festive ideas: http://sugru.com/go/advent-calendar. My daughter and I like this toy mash-up:

We have some samples of Sugru to try out and I am hoping to make/fix something in the Xmas holidays, which start on 22 December. The last day of my daughter's school term is Friday 19 December. Merry Xmas everybody from Mrs Santa and Rudolph Michela.


Creative recycling: central heating copper pipe, scrap silver & rough emerald

Butterfly brooch and lily pad ring - with original pipe
Ink sketch effect of my copper jewellery set

I believe in creative recycling even when I am making jewellery. These two statement pieces were made using copper from a salvaged central heating pipe (from my own central heating system, I have not raided a skip). The butterfly brooch has silver antenna and pin, while the lily pad ring matches a pair of silver and gold earrings I made earlier on.

The silver circles on the ring are made of recycled scrap silver (melted into a ball and hammered into the size of a tiny watch battery) and a rough emerald (one of those they send you with certain junk mail offers - yes they are real but not precious).

Why am I posting this? Two reasons: to show people you can turn trash into a treasure and to enter a competition organised by http://www.ableskills.co.uk/.