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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Recycling supermarket net bags

I am a stickler for keeping things that I feel can be recycled through crafting, even though I may not know at the time what to use it for.

Anyway over the past year I have been keeping those horrible plasticky net grocery bags in a glass jar. You know the ones the onions and clementines come in. Well today - it came to me.

I have recently been destashing my ribbon odds and making them into bows and love knots ready for crafting. When I saw the net bag when eating a clementine I thought about bows instantly.

Cut off any metal tags or plastic writing - it is just the netting you need. Then tie a bow. That simple!

If the netting is really roughed up (see the green bow) it looks like raffia. But others are quite neat.

Different colours can go for different seasons ie orange halloween, red and green christmas.

Or you could make them into angel/fairy wings by pulling the ends into the bow bit and securing with a couple of stitches or  a dab of glue. Then open up the netting. Picture is an example of a white net bag put as angel wings on one of my dotee dolls.

Hope you have some fun with those pesky bags, would love to see your interpretations.

Felting blankets

In my recycling mind I find it hard to cut something up to upcycle it when it has a good use as it is. Therefore it is usually only a few clothes that get cut up, the rest are sent to Uganda.

So even knowing that I could easily felt blankets for my sizzixing, I personally feel cutting up a single or bigger blanket for crafting is a waste, as it could help a homeless person in England much more then cutting it up for flower making.

So when I came accross a few blankets that had holes in them in the local charity shop I snatched them up as they were going dirt cheap. There were two I really liked: a lime green and a pink one.

I got them home, stuck them into the washing machine on a 90 degree cotton wash to felt them. The lime green one felted really well. The pink one needs another wash.

All I need now is for the charity shops to have unusable blankets in other colours like purple and yellow. That would make my christmas!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Recycling greeting cards for Uganda

In order to make quite a few craft kits for the children in orphanages and schools, I rely heavily on recycling greetings cards. I have to consider the weight and ultimately whether it is an easy craft that children will keep.

The person that goes out there visits around 20 schools/orphanages as well as churches and destitute homes. So trying to keep the weight down to be able to give to more people is essential. 

When sorting the cards for the Uganda project I put them into several piles:

Tag making
These are scenery pictures, flowers or backgrounds that look nice at 5cm to 5.5cms wide. I round the corners and make one hole punch.  The kits are then put together once I have 50 tag bases. The kit is simple, thinking of the weight: the 50 tags and 3 different types of coloured wool as well as a sample. I put basic instructions showing it as a handwriting exercise for the childs favourite quote or parable. The instruction label is on the bag, so when given to a teacher they can quickly see what the package is for. None of the scenes show window shops or dressed christmas trees or santa pictures.

Nativity/Bible pictures
As the suitcases are going out with the missionaries, I collect all the nativity and bible pictures and seperate them into sections. Nativity, Jesus, Church and crosses, bible scenes, Mary, angels. I then cut down the cards to take out any writing that may indicate Easter or Christmas. These can then be handed out at the churches they attend.

Minature jigsaws
I recently bought a cuttlebug 9 piece jigsaw die to be used on the greetings cards. The design for these cards are usually what I cant use for the tags because the picture is too big ie animals. It is also good for changing unwanted photos into something useful. They are put into small bags with a small sticker indicating what type of picture it is ie dog. These are to be given out to individual children in their family setting like a cracker toy. I am still trying to find a quote to make it a meaningful present - something along the line of : Not trying your best means the world has something missing.This would link in with if a jigsaw has a missing piece etc. If anyone has come accross such a quote please put it in the comment section.

Any cards that dont make the above, but are thick card - makes the bobbin pile. I get my square punch to them and then curve 2 sides with scissors - it does not matter the picture (as long as its not rude!). I then put it into my embroidery box ready for when I make up the sewing kits. I'm still hoping to find a smaller square punch that is not too expensive, as my square punch is the big lever pink woodware one - but it still does the job of uniformed sizing. Photo shows bought bobbin compared to my recycled bobbin.

Colouring in bookmarks
I also recycle the backs of the cards. Any cream or white backs, where there is no writing I cut out ready for stamping. Like the bible pictures, these are going with the missionaries. So I have stamped them with religious images. I use permanent black ink so that the image is well defined. These are put into kits of 50 bookmarks with a small set of colouring pencils.

Any scraps from the above are then put into my punchies bag. I have quite a lot of different punches, most are the lever type as I find them easiest. I then get my bag out every now and then and have an hour just punching shapes out. These are then put into a craft kit for gluing and sticking. The kit would include some background card, then a whole lot of bagged punched shapes and a glue stick. It would also include a sample bookmark.

Whatever can't be used for the Uganda projects are used in different ways in my crafting.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Flower brooches for Uganda

I have been making so many flower brooches - they feel as if they are in my dreams too. Two days ago I had enough of brooch making and decided I would do something else.

Today while packing away the flower brooches I made for this years trip, the total number came to .....98. Then I have 2 bow brooches. So in total 100 brooches are going out to Uganda to give to people who have torn clothes. I have been told that the Ugandan people love their bright colours.

 I would like to publicly thank a few people who have helped me with them over the past few months.
- My son's girlfriend who matched up some of the flowers when I got stuck.
- My crafting friend for helping to sew on the buttons and the brooch backs.
- People on freecycle who have encouraged me by their comments
 All of the brooches are mainly made from recycled material .

The wool I have picked up from different charity shops, usually the small pieces that are around 50p a bag. The buttons were from freecyclers and charity shops. The silky type flowers were mainly from artificial flowers my mother gave me to recycle. The material ones comes from hair scrunchies and scrap materials people from freecycle gave me.

I did purchase some thick felt flowers, some crochet flowers and the brooch backs. Also from my craft stash which are not recycled were some flower embellishments.

When making them there were certainly some favourites like the purply velvet one with gold beads and buttons in this picture. Also the yellow scrap material rose in this picture turned out very beautiful.

Sorry about the poor quality photos, the sunshine decided not to appear today - but it is nearly the middle of December and we have been very lucky with the weather in South East England.

This month

Wow - has it nearly been a whole month since I last posted. In between being ill and trying to catch up the weeks have flown by - though I have managed a few things.

My son and his girlfriend put up the christmas tree, used everything from last year though I still want to make a couple of decorations, hopefully I will get the time.

Attended a couple of social crafting sessions, took my Uganda brooches along to finish off. Met a couple of people who do their own spinning, in awe of them, must take a lot of strength and patience.

Helped out with a few hours at the local charity christmas card event - where they sell cards etc for different charities. This is done all around England.

 My friend who helps with the Uganda project had her own craft stall yesterday, so kept her company most of the time.

Will take photos of my Uganda project stuff today when daylight comes and will update whats been completed with some photos.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Uganda project

I am so busy sorting out the Uganda suitcases. I have a date for end of January for the suitcases to be picked up ready for taking out. Though I dont want it hanging over Christmas, so trying to sort it out now.

I am so pleased that people from freecycle have helped by giving stuff when they have clear outs.

At the moment I have packed one suitcase, filled with all sorts of school resources - these include folders, protective paper sleeves, staplers, solar calculators, colouring pens, pencils, block paints, the list goes on.

I am still making up the craft packs which will go in the second suitcase along with some ankle length skirts.

I have a long list of things to get done, it seems a bit overwhelming. Trying to take it a bit at a time as my health has not been too good recently.

I am hoping to photograph some of the packs before they go, and will hopefully post them here.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Cute christmas ornaments

This will definately fit in with my handmade recycled christmas decor. I intend to make these with either used wrapping paper or if thats not thick enough used greetings cards. I will post once Ive made them.

Celebrate Life: 12 Days of Christmas: Day 11

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Button cufflinks, fantastic!!

These are fantastic for button lovers. You must go and see them and maybe make some.

Make cufflinks for any occasion | The Craft Blog

Make a quick ‘n’ easy Halloween bunting | The Craft Blog

Quick and easy addition to halloween treat bags for the younger kids.

Make a quick ‘n’ easy Halloween bunting | The Craft Blog

Instead of making it with long strips of crepe.

Fold A4 paper so that you have halloween strips. You get a few strips out of it.

Orange for pumpkins, white for ghosts or mummies, green for frankensteins etc

Cut out main shape and leave the faces for the children to draw on.

Love to see your designs.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Doodling flowers

I dont draw - I doodle.

Its much easier then getting frustrated in trying to get everything exact.

Here are some simple step by step pictures for doodling flowers. They get quite addictive. They are great for zentangling.

Pointed flower doodle

 It was my son's girlfriend birthday - he wrapped the present and I doodled on the wrapping.

 Step 1: Make a large dot
Step 2: Zigzag around the dot
Step 3: Do a larger zigzag that complements the previous zigzag.
Step 4 - 6: Repeat step 3
Step 7 : Put pointed petals  in spaces
Step 8: Doodle curvy lines

Doodled in two colours

 Raindrop flower

Step 1 : Make sure you can draw a raindrop
Step 2: Draw raindrops into a circle (it does not matter how many raindrops)
Step 3: Draw a circle in the centre of the raindrops. Draw background petals.
Step 4: Put lines at the centre of each petal
Step 5: Finish it off with stalk and leaves.

Alternative step 5: Put "Green Man's" face or fairy face or use as a sun.

Pansy doodle
You need two complementing colours 

Step 1: Make a large round dot
Step 2: Do about 5 squiggly petals around the dot
Step 3: Put 3 squiggly lines in the centre of each petal
Step 4: Using different coloured pen, draw on the inside if using lighter colour, or draw on outside if using darker colour. Outline all the petals.
Step 5: Add petals in the spaces between the petals, making sure to add the squiggly lines and the outline.
Step 6: Continue adding petals until you are satisfied with the shape.

Hope you have enjoyed this - would love to see how people have interpreted it into their artwork/zentagling.

Reusing squashed and crinkled curling ribbon

I get given a lot of curling ribbon from friends, family and freecycle. I dont really mind in what state it comes as it is a great resource. I don't believe in buying it as it is not a "green" packaging option - but reusing it is the perfect option for me.

One use is for threading buttons into sets instead of using wool. I always find the wool catches and does not thread through the button hole easily. With the curling ribbon, you cut it in half with a point on the end and then it will go in almost any button hole so easily.

Though I mainly use it as curling ribbon packaging. Why do I like it so much - because it can be reused many times over. 
A crinkled old large bow made from curling ribbon

Cut the bow up into strips and start curling with scissors. Half way there!

Finished product with no sign of what it used to be like.

An old battered gift bow

Cut the pieces and curl to get a new look!

Another crinkled bow. Cut into strips and curl.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Tutorial for gift boxes from greetings cards

I have been asked for a template for the gift boxes, but as greeting cards come in all different sizes, there is not a template which will cover them all. So a tutorial is the next best thing. It is best to try it with an A5 card or similar first, as a trial run and then go for smaller cards once you have worked out the technique and measurements.

1. Find two greeting cards that are of similar size and the pictures will look good together. ie 2 red christmas cards.

2. Cut both of them to the exactly same size. This is very important - otherwise it will not sit properly as a box.

Decide which is top and which is bottom.


3. For the top of the box, measure 15mms from the edge on all four sides and score.

4. On the corners, the scoring should make a box. Cut it diagonally from the corner to the scored meeting point. Fold all scored lines.

5.  On each of the corners. On one bit cut up from the centre half way to create a folded small triangle.
Cut the other scored line half way down as seen in photo. This is to make an interlocking corner.

6.  Fold the slitted triangle into the half slit from the top to make an interlocking corner for the box. ( Sorry not very good at explanations - if anyone can describe this better - your welcome to use the comments section)

7. Do this for all four corners to make the box top.

8. For the bottom of the box do steps 3 to 7, but make the measurement 1mm smaller.

9. You may want to sellotape or glue the corners, but it is not necessary.

These 15mms measurement can be changed according to whether you want a deeper or shallower box. The size of the card can change as well. The only measurement that needs to remain the same is the 1mm difference between the top and bottom box.

This recycling idea does not work well with greeting cards that have extra 3D embellishments already on them.

Ideas to make the box special:

You may want to put a serviette / tissue paper in to not let your gift slide around.
You may want to wrap ribbon or the like with a bow at the top.
Add embellishments or name tags or write a poem in a coloured pen.

I hope this tutorial gets people to reuse their greetings cards. I would love to see some of the gift boxes that people have made from their greetings cards.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Bookmark kits for Uganda

I have finally put the recycled greeting cards into two bookmark kits.

Pack 1 of bookmark kit
These will be good for two different childrens group, whether they are at an orphanage, school or church. I made up one tag and then selected 50 bookmarks and added the wool into the bag - so they can choose the funky fibres to go on their bookmarks.

Pack 2 of bookmark kit

Friday, 7 October 2011

Spool and wool pumpkins

I was thinking what else could I put into my halloween treat bag for the kids that recycled some of the items in the house.

I saw a ribbon spool pumpkin on google images - but could not find any ribbon, but had plenty of orange wool. So I found my empty cotton spools and wound round some wool and some green wire for the stem.

I then found a little wicker basket to put them in. Now they can be used as a minature display on my stairs.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Recycling wine corks

I love all the little wooden embellishments out there - but I am no carpenter, so recycling wood into embellishments would take me a century to complete. Though cork is another matter, easy to cut with a stanley/craft knife.

Through my local freecycle I recieved a few wine corks (as I dont drink very often). Firstly I sliced one up into 8 small round bits.

 Then I inked them up with my different stamping pads
With markers, window cling paint pens and glitter glue I made some hallowen embellishments that could be stuck onto a card for extra dimension. I will be sticking a beading pin in them with a ribbon around. I will be giving it as a "treat" to the kids that come round knocking at halloween.

If you have not beading pins, you can stick a safety pin with some gaffa tape at the back.
 These I do really like and will be making more. Brilliant for when wrapping presents to loved ones - just put a beading pin with some raffia or curling ribbon through to tie the present up.

This Easter cross and Christmas star did not go so well - so will most probably keep them for ideas for when children come round crafting.

 I also made a cork button for my card embellishments - could thread fancy fibres or ribbon through it. I used my ancient zenith paper drill for the holes.

Making the love heart cork embellishments

 On your self-healing mat, cut a corner into the circle.

Cut a little indent opposite to the corner

Round off the edges

 Another picture showing the small indent at the top of the heart embellishment.

 Flower cork embellishments

 This cork piece looked a bit cracked - but it was still useable.

I cut little "v" incisions all the way round - then coloured it in markers

 I added a brad pin and some artificial flowers behind.

There is still the crack at the bottom. So to strengthen it I used some sparkly nail varnish. 

 I really like the finished flower and it adds a lot of dimension to the flower itself.

There are so many ideas that these little cork rounds would be good for -
-stamped alphabet elements,
-tiny christmas tree decorations,
-mini garland,thinking black & orange for halloween, yellow & green for Easter, red & gold for Christmas
- bracelets

Would really love to see your designs on recycling wine corks to small craft embellishments. 

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Recycling greetings cards

I have just recieved around 200 used greetings cards - which always give me a flutter of craft organising.

When I recieve a large batch of files, I immediately sort them into a few batches
  • Nativity christmas theme
  • Religous Easter theme
  • Non-religous Christmas scene in different sizes
  • Cards that can easily be turned into tags with a couple of guillotine snips
  • Birthday and other greetings cards
  • Mens greetings cards (as this is usually only a small amount)
  • Backs of cards
  • Used coloured envelopes
  • Used inserts
Next I look whether I have any cards that are the same and these are put together to do decoupage. I also look for any cards that have inserts as the inserts can easily be taken out and a new insert added.

Then when it comes to crafting I can go to the different boxes according to what Im crafting for.

The nativity scene and Easter religous scenes I cut down and send as prayer tags for the Uganda project I support.

The non-religous Christmas cards are the ones I get most often through Freecycle, they are so useful.
  • I make little gift boxes out of them.
  • The scenery ones I make into inspirational tags to leave around the town and on the buses to lift people's spirits. 
  • I find these are most often the ones where I can decoupage at its simplist two layer.
  • I cut out the little characters to use as embellishments/stickers for the Uganda project, which means I can send out a shoe box for the kids to make cards without it damaging the environment or my pocket. I usually stick in a PVA glue bottle, some double sided mount tape and scissors with paper or card depending on weight allowed.
  • These are the ones I bring out when I have children crafting, they are always popular

The backs of cards you can sometimes find half of the card with no writing either side - this can easily be sizzixed or stamped or punched. It is espically good when the backs of cards are of different colours. Sometimes though you can only get a small amount of blank card from this method, but still useful for small stamps.

The coloured envelopes I have shown before can be stamped or punched or if really frugal background paper for your cards.

The used inserts can be checkd for any nice design or for the edge strips which can then be used in your design (not for commercial use)

These recycling ideas are good for any toddler groups or schools or churches to take up. I would be very interested to hear if anyone finds this useful in their crafting.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Hula Hoop Rug | Easy Crafts for Kids -- Quick Arts and Craft Ideas -- Kids' Crafts | FamilyFun

Hula Hoop Rug | Easy Crafts for Kids -- Quick Arts and Craft Ideas -- Kids' Crafts | FamilyFun

Fantastic idea for recycling all the old stained t-shirts I have lying around that are not good enough for charity shop.


Where did the summertime go?

Summertime has whizzed by so quickly and I have not done much crafting. Though I did manage to go to boot sales and fairs - where I picked up bargains which will see me through winter in the crafts department.

What did I manage through the summer?
  • Ive managed a few decorated stones on the beach
  • Left a few inspirational tags on the buses for people to find. 
  • Had my niece down with her child and made up some recycled christmas cards with old christmas cards and ribbon.
  • Made some individualised hair clips for my niece's daughter - to which I recieved lots of squeals of delight.
  • Recycled a clear cotton wool box for the clips to go into.
  • Decorated some recycled shoe boxes (thanks to my niece) ready for the Uganda project
  • Decorated some recycled baby formula boxes ready for Uganda project
  • Recieved some stuff for the Uganda project via freecycle and sorted them
  • Put some lace on the bottom of one of my skirts - made it really pretty
  • Went through all my long skirts and any ones too small put for Uganda project
  • Sizzixed some cardboard with crosses and people  for the Uganda primary school project for them to colour in.
  • Recycled greetings cards into tags for Ugandan primary school project - so they can turn them into handwriting practice with inspirational/prayer bookmarks
  • Organised my coloured wool into sweetie jars
  • Organised my ribbon and lace drawers through the use of recycled plastic milk bottles as different sections.
  • Recycled my mothers old towelling dressing gown into face cloths for her
What do I want to accomplish before October?
  • Pack at least one suitcase for Uganda
  • Sort out at least 5 craft kits for Uganda primary school
  • Sew a bit of lace on the bottom of my brown skirt and my green skirt
  • Sew a curtain for my shelving unit

Well, as you can see I have been busy, and as they say " Time flies when you are having fun"

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Swap bot bubble envie

With everything going on I forgot that I had signed up to a swapbot bubble envie group. So when I recieved the bubble envelope I was a bit perplexed and checked my swap-bot account - but could not find where it had came from.  Though after a couple of days and a few messages, I found out.

 So what was in the bubble envie you ask - well I was quite surprised at the mixture. There was a

  • small Revlon make-up bag, 
  • set of three candymaker tag bags
  • set of 8 notecards
  • Pink paper pad
  • Snowman paper pad
  • Pencil and rubber
  • 3 Ritter chocolates
  • 3 lollipops
  • 1 cd -New Kids on the Block
  • iron on art set
  • pack of heart stickers
  • pack of teddy stickers
What did I take out? Well even before I realised which swap this came from - the ritter chocolates had called me and I gobbled them up. The set of 8 notecards, pencil and rubber and the teddy stickers I took to put towards the Uganda project. The flowery pink paper pad was definatly a "me" item - so I was very pleased to take that for myself and I have already enjoyed using quite a few sheets.

What did I replace them with - of equal value?

The teddy sticker sheet for alphabet rub on sheet
3 ritter chocolates for 1 metre red braiding
Pencil/rubber for 5 metres blue lace trim
Pink paper pad for set of iris bookplates
8 notecard set for 80 minature tags

All in all I think it was a good envie - this week I will be posting it out to the next swap-bot person who happens to be in Canada. I just hope that she likes some of the items in there.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Madness descended - sanity restored

What is it with spring - that you start one job, only to have the whole place upside down until summer?

Well as you can tell the decorating took a lot lot longer then expected - or rather the sorting out and moving round the whole place did!

While putting back the stuff in the bedroom - we also managed to change the lounge to my son's bedroom and his old small room became my "mini lounge". This meant all of my teenage son's stuff could stay in one messy room rather then be trailed into the lounge each time his friends came over - which is virtually daily.

My sun filled bright mini lounge is enough for my sofa, a bookshelf and a couple of chairs that overlook the street. I have a new hobby - people watching - its fascinating and I've caught myself spending over half an hour (with a cup of tea) just watching people - admiring human nature and it's beauty in all its diversity - listening to the harassed parents - watching the giggling teenagers - the runaway toddlers and the pushchair strapped toddlers. Though I have given myself the excuse that this is good for crafting inspiration.

I still have some bits and pieces to sort out like under the plant - but it's tidy enough for me to go and relax in.

So back to my bedroom/craft room

So much has changed - I dont know where to start. Here are some photos of the old room before decorating.

I liked the bed area, but the floor space was always covered in crafts

Embarrasing mess of clothes, crafts and storage
Clearing the room ready for decorating was a major task - eventually I got there. I chose neutral paint of magnolia for the walls and white for the ceiling as this is a rented flat - I don't fancy having to repaint before I leave. The fresh lick of paint really brightened the room as well as moving the mirror wardrobe so the sunshine rays reflected into the room.

 As I have to store my crafts, paperwork and clothes all in my bedroom I find shelving with boxes and drawers the best way to go.

With the shelving I like to cover them with curtains as I find doors awkward to open if things are placed in front. I know I'm going to put things in front - I'm not really a stickler for putting things away. Though I can't stand the sight of lots of higgildy piggidly boxes and papers, so a curtain keeps the lines clean. In this photo you can see the difference with the pink curtained shelving (from a vintage sheet).

 I still have to make up curtains for this area. The pine wardrobe needs doors on it as it is my fabric stash. As the fabric stash still isn't sorted it would constantly fall out. I am hoping to put shelves in the pine wardrobe very soon and get the stash sorted so I can start sewing again.

There is still bits to be sorted out but I thought that from this point I could start crafting again.

 The big mirror wardrobe with clothes and materials, reflects a lot of light into the room. I found an old rug that I had forgotten about and put it for my crafting rug - so when painting or gluing I don't ruin the carpet. The rug was not good enough to have in the lounge as it had a few stains on - but a vinegar wash took the majority off and its good for the bedroom. I don't need to worry about getting things on the carpet so much.

I liked the bed space before, but it fits much better by the window. This also means no matter how much crafting I do and how untidy most of the room gets (as I said I'm messy!!) the bed area remains clear. At the moment the bookshelf holds some crafting items - but I want to make that area as my display area of crafts/products I've bought or finished.

 Lastly the area near the door - the clothes were ones that I had just ironed. Yes - now that I have space in my lounge - I am actually managing to iron again - my family will be amazed.

My two sizzix machines have their own station next to the door and my inspiration board needs to be put up

At long last I can get back to my crafting - which I've missed so much that I even dreamt I was crafting. I'm sure over time I will move some stuff around as I find what works and what doesn't - though I am so chuffed that I have finally painted my bedroom - moved the wardrobe and gained a mess-free mini lounge. Life is amazing.