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Pizza Garden Update - Part 2

Posted on July 4, 2015 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I can't resist showing off how healthy the pizza garden plants are. I swear that it must be the caffeine. Not only does the soil retain moisture longer but the plants are so healthy and shiny.



Here's Basil.



Oregano - yum!



Hot peppers - just waiting for them to turn red.

Pizza Garden Update

Posted on July 2, 2015 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)



I'm pleased to tell you that my pizza garden plants have been growing so well that I've had to transplant them yet again into bigger pots. All the herbs are thriving and my tomatoes and peppers - well - are just coming along nicely. My balcony garden faces north so does not get a lot of sunlight just an hour or so in the late afternoon so I can only attribute the growth of my plants to the coffee that I serve them every morning - my leftover coffee and coffee grinds. Can it be the caffeine that is doing this?



I'm especially pleased about the tomatoes. 

Recycling Magazines

Posted on June 28, 2015 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)


I ran a magazine recycling workshop recently at a local shop and the turnout was way better than I expected. I had no time to advertise or even post my workshop as it was almost all word-of-mouth advertising. Anyway, each participant got one magazine and it is safe to say even though we made a bunch of stuff, they still had loads of pages left over to do more recycling at home.




We made bags, tags, cards, beads, envelopes, and flowers. Scissors, pencils (or pens), rulers, glue stick and, of course, a magazine were all that we needed. I surprised everyone by showing them how to make gift boxes from magazine covers. What fun!



Did I mention that any leftover magazine bits and bobs can be used as filler in mailing parcels? What can't you do with these?  By the way, if you have no magazines, junk mail, old maps, even paper bags work just as well.

Stay tuned as I'm planning a series of Saturday morning craft recycling sessions. This time I hope to be a bit more organized.

Ciao for now.

Recycling my stuff

Posted on June 26, 2015 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)



In yet another effort to downsize and organize my studio (and myself), I've been selling off a lot of things that were just plain cluttering up the place. Since I almost never buy anything new, most of the things that I am selling are vintage with a few genuine antiques amongst them. When I was a student I couldn't afford a lot of new decorative accessories or even essentials, so charity shops, flea markets and garage sales were the mainstay for my shopping adventures. Now I'm glad that I did what I did back then as I had no idea what my odds and ends would fetch today.  




I was lucky enough to visit Europe over the years and haunted the flea markets in France, Italy, and the UK, bringing home souvenirs of my trips. Few of these were actually tourist souvenirs, just bits and bobs I simply had to have - dozens of Eiffel towers in various sizes, concrete cannonball, brass candlesticks from St. Paul's church in Paris, an antique lidded pewter measure, old wooden boxes - even a foldable military cadet's wrought iron bed which weighed a ton. I brought it over as luggage and the guys at Customs just shook their heads in amazement. No way could I do that today.


Over the years I have sold a lot and miss quite a few. I am reluctant to sell off all of my James Keiller & Son marmalade crocks so have only put two for sale. They still speak to me. Usually I only have bought what I really, really, really was drawn to (and still do) and I remember exactly where and when I made my purchases. Funny how things can evoke such strong feelings but there it is. Do you feel the same way about what you have?


If you want to see what I've posted recently, go here

Upcycling Used Leather

Posted on June 15, 2015 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

So this morning I set off on my daily jaunt around the neighbourhood. Since it's trash pickup day today I found myself dodging loads of debris and - well - trash. Then I spotted a lovely old brown leather sofa positively screaming, "Take me home!" But I don't need nor do I have room for another sofa so I just walked on by. It was only when I got home that I realized the potential I had lost.


Here are a few things that I found on the web that I could have made from that old couch.


By the way, upon reflection, I realized that I don't need a old sofa to make these - I can use a coat or jacket - so I'm off to Saint Vincent de Paul's charity shop to see what I can find. Old leather belts, too, have a lot of potential.


Leather Storage Bag



Kristi Murphy has a wonderful tutorial for making a lovely and very useful storage bag from an old sofa.  


Leather Sketchbook



If you've got an old leather coat you're not wearing any more, here's another way to upcycle it. This time it's Caitlin and Mandy over at The Merry Thought who provide a tutorial for making a leather-covered sketchbook (or notebook).


Here's how


Leather Pencil Case



Also from the same gals is this how-to for a leather pencil case. So easy-peasy you could make severa. The tutorial is here.


As Father's Day is fast approaching, these are simple enough to make that you could whip these up in no time!


Leather Bag



Really like this vintage leather tote 'Sofia' bag from Whipping + Post and would love to own it but at $195.00 US I'll have to pass. But if you do want to make your own lovely little tote, you can easily follow Emily's instructions for a faux leather bag (substituting the real thing for the faux, of course).


Leather Mason Jar Holder



Here's a way to add more storage place in your craft room or work shop using a bit of wood, a mason jar, and, oh yes, a bit of leather. An old leather belt would work here. Natalie at Natalme shows you how here


Leather Handled Gardening Tool Box



Here's another idea from Natalie. Make a leather handled gardening tool box (actually for any kind of tool). I have a collection of wooden boxes that would be perfect and won't have to make one. You can easily substitute a wood wine crate instead of making a box yourself. Then all that you'd have to do is add the leather handles. Easy-peasy!


Great site with loads of neat ideas to make.


Here's the how-to tutorial.


By the way, my lovelies, I know that there are thousands of other ways to exploit I mean upcycle old leather but I only post stuff that I know for sure that I could, should I be so inclined, make. Hope you enjoy seeing these as much as I did.

Recycling Plastic Jugs Update - Pizza Garden is Ready!

Posted on June 5, 2015 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)



Remember my original post for recycling jugs into miniature gardens? The first garden that my little friends and I created was a pizza garden and this year the garden was even more successful. Grown from seed, the little plants have outgrown the plastic jugs and are now ready to be replanted in larger containers or into gardens.




The kids will take the ones they planted home while those you see above I will keep and replant into bigger pots (also all recycled - I found an old pail, a large lobster cooking pot that I will be using for my plants). The rest of the plants will go to a sheltered food kitchen.


Here are some of the plants used to create a pizza garden:


Tiny Tim tomatoes and Italian Basil


Parsley and oregano


Rosemary and garlic chives


Hot chili peppers


I packed up little garden kits for the kids to take home along with their plants. Each kit contains a precut plastic jug, one plastic lemon squirt (for watering), potting soil, and unused seed packets. It may be getting a little late in the season, but the kids are all keen to start more gardens on their own.





Here are a few more ideas for plastic jug gardens that you can create. Miniature veggies would be perfect for these gardens.


  • Relaxation (tea) garden (mint, chamomile, lemon balm, lavender)
  • Salad garden (leafy greens, Tiny Toms, baby radishes, cukes, red & green peppers, scallions, parsley)
  • Ratatouille's garden (eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions)
  • Baker's garden (chocolate and lemon mint, lavender)

Can you think of any more? Let me know which ones you're planning.

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