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/.


Silent Saturday


Hello, long time, no see!

Dinner in my revamped summerhouse/shed, 
furnished by recycled/upcycled items. I only bought
the external paint, the internal paint was a leftover.

I had a very busy time and neglected all of my blogs, including this one, my very first! Looking at the statistics, I still get readers, despite the lack of updates, so thank you for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment and/or a link to your blog!

Aside gardening, I have kept up my recycling interests by attending Carbon Cambridge Footprint and Transition Cambridge events (I recommend the Swishing, Food Disco and, Seed Exchange events, their Open Eco Homes - I lent a PR hand for two campaigns) and recently joined a gardening project (follow this link to find the organiser's email).

So I swapped seeds, got ideas to use leftovers, acquired a few items of clothing, harvested a few veg, all free! The Seed Swapping events have a very small admission charge, but as it goes to the charity, it doesn't count!

So if you live in Cambridge, I hope to see you at one of these green events, you can learn something too. I haven't still managed to attend the Green University, but I would love to know how to fix my bike - here is my article: Pedal Power for all, full of family tips.

Last but not least, if you live not far from Victoria Road, please join this new Skills Exchange: http://www.cambridgeskills-exchange.co.uk/.

Have a good summer, I am already picking apples - everything is early this year!