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Posted on July 20, 2016 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I'm busy dreaming up and making samples for my Autumn workshops and at the same time clearing out stuff I keep finding stashed awas in my flat and my storage unit. It's hard for me to believe that I've still got stuff squirreled away that I have never used (although someone else has - I almost always buy used items, preferably vintage!).

What you see above are a few items I have listed in my Shop. I still love it all but it needs to go.

Dundee Marmalade Pots

The story of Dundee Marmalade begins back in the 18th century when a Spanish ship took refuge from a storm, in the harbour at Dundee. On board was a consignment of Seville Oranges - which a local grocer, James Keiller, decided to purchase. On tasting the fruit Keiller and his wife found the oranges too bitter to eat. But, Mrs. Keiller, a canny Scottish wife, saw potential in the oranges and boiled them up with sugar, to create the delicious preserve - and Dundee Orange Marmalade was born. It became so popular that it was sold and shipped around the world in ceramic pots until the late 1960s when the pots were replaced with glass jars.

The pots now are worth a lot more than the marmalade. A friend gave me dozens of these pot and over the years I gave away and sold most. Now I'm down to only a few and these are up for sale in my Shop. Take a look.

Wooden Laundry Clothes Pegs

These clothes pegs (also called dolly pegs) were picked up in flea markets in Paris and I think it was the lingering scent of lavender that drew me to them. I used to stash them in my linen drawer to perfume my linen and also used them for my own laundry when I had a back yard. Now I live in a studio flat and use one of those folding Ikea drying racks.

I know you can make all kinds of neat things using these pegs but I'm not that creative (or patient). Other folks are - check out what Kate over at Kate's Creative Space does with her dolly pegs) .

Purple Nursery Seed Sprouting Pots

For some reason, I fell in love with these cute little purple seed sprouting pots and have been collecting them for many years. Initially, I reused them as containers for my "famous" bath salts that I made as gifts at Christmas and other occasions. But they have also been used to hold homemade edible goodies for the kids at Valentine's and as party favours at a couple of weddings. Last week, I found the last dozen stashed away in a corner of my storage unit and knew that it's time to let them go.

To see what else is on offer, go to Shop

Christmas in July

Posted on July 6, 2016 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)

These past few days I've been dreaming of a white and COLD Christmas because the heat here in Ottawa is melting my brain! To keep cool, I'm using my mind and what better way than watching out for inspiring holiday projects to make. Besides I need the time to gather up material and stuff to recycle to make things for that wonderful festive time.

Well, this year it seems that the colour theme for Christmas 2016 pastel or white, which is okay with me. So I searched out some projects using this colour theme and I found a few you might enjoy - and I might even make.

Gift Wrap

This gift wrapping idea is from Sostrene Grene, an online shop specializing in mostly paper goods. Danish sisters Anna and Clare have a nice little catalogue that displays their products. This pastel theme idea would be easy copy using giftwrap and/or ribbons leftover from previous events and celebrations. Nice - and, for me, no trip to the mall will be required. Lots of great ideas for Christmas decorating at this site, too.

For ways to wrap your gifts like a professional, the folks at Hallmark have got you covered. Click here.

Christmas Stars

Aren't these stars gorgeous? Anu over at her website, Nalle's House, has a nice tutorial for these stars and even provides a template so you can make your own. I definitely will rummage through my paper horde and see what I have that I can use to make these twinklies. It's a very nice site so enjoy your visit. 

Garlands, Rosettes, and Snowflakes

An all-in-one idea - again the pastel theme is strong here and, bonus, all the projects are simple and economical to make using what you have in the way of paper. The polka dot garlands are simply circles of paper and would be easy enough for any child to create. For instructions to make these garlands, click here

Snowflakes are always fun to make. For an easy tutorial for you (or your kids) to make snowflakes, visit our lady Martha here.  

Large or small, colourful paper rosettes are another festive idea that can be used for any holiday or celebrations. For how-tos, click here

Again - check out what you've got in the paper department before heading for the shops. You can save a bundle. The above photo comes from here.

Paper Tree Ornament

This is definitely on my to-do list just because I love some easy that looks so elegant! You can find instructions for this cute little tree ornament here.

Linen and Gauze Wrapped Christmas Ornaments

Apparently these are actually covered in burlap and linen strips but they look like linen and gauze to me and that is what I would use if I had the fabric. Since I don't, I will need to find another way to recreate these. Hmmm - gauze - I may have some in my medicine cabinet. I found these at Fresh Designpedia but originally the holiday ornaments were sold on Etsy. I couldn't find the actually seller - and I suspect these are gone by now! 

You can make your own following this tutorial. 

Autumn Workshops Coming Soon!

Posted on July 6, 2016 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I'm working hard on  my 2016 Recycling Craft Autumn Workshops. If you love crafting and have always dreamed of selling what you make, two of my workshops will focus on just that. Halloween and Christmas workshops are also in the works. All my workshops focus on using what you have - upcycling, recycling, repurposing and reusing. It's fun to make something wonderful without spending a fortune, no?

Keep tuned and don't miss out.

Pretty Cool DIY Recycling From Ideas Magazine

Posted on June 28, 2016 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

I've always been a fan of magazines and, yes, I know it's using up trees but once I've finished reading them, I use them for all kinds of recycling projects and in my workshops. Normally I don't like reading magazines online because of eyestrain (!) but recently a friend gave me a subscription to an online South African publication, Ideas Magazine. And I was delighted to find a lot of great repurposing and recycling ideas as well as yummy recipes (I eat with my eyes!). Anyway, I thought I would expose you all to some of the projects that I found and am looking forward to actually doing a few.

Cork Wall Rack

I love the idea of recycling wine corks into something useful and this is a great idea that even I can manage. And what a delightful way to collect the corks!!

Cookie Tin Framework

Such a cool idea and I love that you can also use these as little shelves. 

Ladder Shelving

If you need a extra shelf and have an extra ladder, here's a marriage made in decor heaven!

Message Centre

A neat idea for a kitchen message centre. All you need is an old board and some clean cans!

I think you get the idea that I love this magazine. The publication does not appear to have an actual website but you can get your own subscription, click here.

What's Been Going On ...

Posted on June 10, 2016 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

It's been a busy time here in Ottawa. The weather fluctuated from tropical heat to winter cold (well, almost) within days. I have had to take in my tomato plants at night because of the cold. 

Here are a few interesting things have been going on. Dairy farmers took their cows to Parliament to protest for stricter controls on cross-border trade and compensation for international agreements dairy farmers say have left them at a disadvantage. And I tend to agree with them. On a lighter note, there was a classic car show on Sparks Street which brought a smile to me face as I recalled my late Eon's love for his 454 Chevelle. We've had a tulip festival as well as hundreds of folks running marathons for a number of causes (and more to come). A lot of this I was able to enjoy from my 3rd floor balcony. On top of all this a huge sinkhole appeared (I should say, dropped in) on one of our busiest streets - no one was hurt but one car did disappear. But all is well now. We have a great recovery team here in Ottawa.

For those who are pestering (thanks, really) for more ideas for clothes hangers, here are two more uses. 

So simple, so easy. Why didn't I think of it? Find it here.

Not all wall decorations have to be art. So say the bloggers over at Food52. It's a food blog mainly but there are more how to tips there if you care to have a look. Click here.

Ciao bella!

Garden Recycling - Plastic Containers 2

Posted on May 24, 2016 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

For those who were wondering if my plastic container garden was ever completed, wonder no more. Over this past long weekend, the weather warmed up and I found the time to repot into my recycled plastic containers. It was surprising to see how quickly the plants resettled in. Once the plants are sturdy enough, I will repot them up permanently in my larger metal garden containers - old kettles and pails. With more warmer weather on the way, it won't be long.

This year I've planted sage, tomato, flat-leaf parsley, oregano, thyme, chives, some garlic, rosemary, and mint from seed. All of these were started off in empty eggshells 'pots', then each one placed back into egg cartons. If my egg cartons had been those paper ones, I would have simpled planted the seeds into the carton compartments but mine are clear plastic and I like to reuse these over and over again. I stored the carton 'incubators' under the kitchen sink cupboard - a nice dark and cosy place for seedlings to sprout. Once the seedlings had grew a few inches, I transplanted the little fellows into plastic milk containers (the ones I used for the pizza gardens last year).

Note that before transplanting, I gently crush each eggshell and then place each in the new container. Even though the eggshells will soften in the new pots, it's still a good idea to crush them as it allows the seedling roots to quickly reach out and settle in new soil. Because it was too cold to put these outside, I placed the plastic containers in front of a sunny window near the heating ducts. When it was warm enough outdoors, I moved the containers onto to their bamboo perch.

This is such a simple way for anyone to garden. The kids that live in my apartment building are already working on this year's balcony gardens (I gave each one my surplus seedling plants) and were, again this year, eager to see the results. Note you don't have to use plastic containers - waxed milk containers work just as well. So do tin cans. If you are using tin cans, remember to put something under each can to prevent rust showing up on your patio or balcony. An old saucer or plastic lids work well.

Also you don't have to start off your seedlings in eggshells - egg cartons (as I mentioned above), newspapers or cardboard toilet rolls work just as well. Use what you have and get the kids involved. As with the eggshells, you should make tears in the toilet roll pots and open up the bottom as cardboard takes a long time to disintegrate and this can stunt the seedling roots. Newspaper on the other hand falls apart quickly.

Enjoy your gardening!