DIY Mother's Day

Posted on May 10, 2017 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Eh gads and zuts alor! - it's Thursday and I haven't posted anything for our Mother's Day. I hope you've been giving some thought to what you can make for your Mom. Your recycling bin, believe or not, is full of great possibilities for repurposing containers, etc. and to help you along, here are a few ideas for you.


These cards are so easy to do and all you will need are some junk mail, magazine, gardening catalog, etc, some brown paper (I used a brown paper grocery bag - but use what you have), thin cardboard (cereal box, etc) and a bit of ribbon (leftover from other occasions). If you are artistic, you could draw flowers but, as I'm not, I roughly clipped out pictures from a gardening catalog and glued these to some cardboard before cutting these out so they looked like flowers.

Here's what I did: I cut two pieces of brown paper in the shape of a flower pot - one for the back and one for the front. Fold the top of each part over so it looks like a flower pot, then glue these two together at the bottom and sides, leaving the top wider part open. Then I cut a cardboard insert in the same shape but slightly smaller and glued the flowers to this. Then I inserted the flowers into the pot, glued on a ribbon tied into a bow in front and voila a nice Mom's day card was born!


If your Mom loves cake but you don't have the time or inclination (or like me, no ability) to bake one yourself, head for your grocery store and buy a plain iced cake. When you bring the cake home, style it up with a couple of flowers (fake or real) and some butterflies cut out of magazine pages. Stick the whole thing on a pretty plate and wait for the compliments.

Click here for a butterfly template.


You don't have to break the bank to present a nice bouquet of flowers to Mom. Heck, you can raid your garden and clip a few from there. Grocery store flowers aren't too expensive and you can separate the flowers to make a couple of bouquets. To make the cone, use gift wrap or scrapbooking paper if you have it. Or you're a little artist, why not make a nice drawing on plain paper and use this as the cone wrap.

Here's a cone template for you.

Before sticking the flowers into your vase cone, insert the flowers into a plastic sandwich bag so water doesn't seep out. You want them to stay fresh for at least a couple of days, no?


Bath bombs are so easy to make that I wondered why I hadn't attempted these before. But I couldn't think of a way of packaging mine until I raided my recycling bin. I found and reused plastic eggshells from Easter as moulds to make the bath bombs and it was a no brainer to use the papier mache egg cartons (also from my recycling bin) as the bath bomb containers .

For a bath bomb how to, click here.


If Mom's a whiz in the kitchen why not raid her bakeware and see if you can find a few spare pie plates or tart pans to create some kitchen wall art for her. Write or print out some of her favourite baking recipes and cut out to fit inside the plates or pans, use double-sided tape to hold the recipes in place and hang the how thing up. Several would look spectacular.

I found the ones shown here.


Okay, we've got cards, cake, flowers and some wall art for Mom. I think she'll be pleased and you haven't emptied your wallet completely and even did some good for the environment, too. Hurrah!

Wrap and Tag - Brown Paper Packages

Posted on November 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you got all your gifts bought (or made), wrapped, and tucked away somewhere safe from prying eyes yet? Well, I don't. This year, at least for the grown-ups, I'll be making most, if not all, of my gifts. Since I have to wait for some of them to grow, wrapping up has to wait. It's been my experience that one of the joys of getting a gift is the gift wrap and so, one of the things I've learned about gift wrapping is that it's often the outside of the gift that creates the excitement - who cares what's inside! Well, maybe not.

My favourite wrapping is, of course, something that I've recycled and often it's the brown postal wrap that I get when friends send me gifts. I usually smooth out the paper and roll it around those cardboard paper towel inserts until I need to use. it.

Picture Source

Anyway, this year I will be wrapping all my gifts in my recycled brown paper wrap. Not only is this gift wrap easy on your wallet but it saves you have to run around the malls or shops to find that PERFECT wrap. If you don't have a horde of your own brown paper (like I do) t's readily available at your local post office. My friend Sean calls it the LBD of gift wrap because, just like that little black dress, brown paper wrap can easily be dressed up for any occasion. The ways to transform this seemingly ho-hum wrap are, to use an old cliché, endless.

Here are a few ideas I spotted for decorating plain brown paper wrapping:


Here's an idea from Ideas Magazine (November 2016 edition) - make your own lino stamps using photos and then dress up that old kraft wrapping paper with the image. Now, I'm not attempting this one as if I did, my fingers would be cut off in pieces - I'm not too handy with Xacto knives but if your fingers are agile enough, go for it.

The online version of this magazine is now gone unfortunately, but I did find instructions for making your own lino stamps here.


No need to run out and buy fancy bows for your plain Jane wrapper - just use the same paper to make the bows. Blogger Amy from My Life From Home shares her gran's instructions for making a bow to match your gift wrap. For gran's instructions, click here.


The folks over at Anthropology know a good thing when they see it and so 'borrowed' this idea of a toy car or truck with a mini tree on top. It appeared everywhere on Instagram and Pinterest last year and it really is cute. Anthropology used this wrap idea for flogging soap but it's easy enough to 'borrow' for other gifts for both kids and adults (hint, hint).

If, like me, drawing is not your strong suit, the guys over at Junior Card Designer have a good tutorial, originally designed for young children, for drawing a car. If you have a car lover in the family, this site will keep them busy for quite a while For a little car tutorial, click here.

You know you've made it when Anthropology 'borrows' your idea!


Actually, journalist and blogger, Heather Young, at Growing Spaces intended this idea for summer gifting but it's one that is easy enough to adapt for Christmas (if you can draw!) by drawing what might be in the parcel.

I think the picnic hamper would be a cute idea for any food gift wrapper - just add a bit of holly berries and leaves, maybe. Click here for Heather's instructions.



Advent Calendars to Make

Posted on November 8, 2016 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Here's what I've spotted this year in the way of Advent calendars. A number of my picks for Advent calendars are not in English but all provide great photos (and some printables) if you want to make these. Also, I tried to find calendars for this post that can be readily made with material such as cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls, leftover gift wrap, even toys. Some are more time consuming but, I think, worth the effort and one or two are just plain fun. 

Cardboard Box House Advent

If you've got a few cardboard boxes kicking around, here’s an idea for a larger than normal Advent calendar from Marie Claire Idees magazine that uses these boxes to create these three little buildings. Open small numbered windows of each building to find a small surprise inside. Instructions are in French and there are oodles of other Advent ideas if you’re not into building construction. For instructions, click here

Circus Tent Advent Calendar 

The cutest Advent calendar and the one on my To-Do list from Claudi at Was Fuer Mich. What kid (big or little) wouldn't love opening up each little gift until the big day. Claudi is a mom, journalist, and author and hers is an awesome site you really should visit. It’s in German but, no worries, lots of great photos to show you how to create this very original Advent calendar. For the tutorial, click here

Duplo Lego People Advent Calendar

If your kids have outgrown their lego people then here’s a way to reuse them into cute little Advent calendar figures. The idea comes from Jacks and Kate. Each numbered circle has an activity printed on the back. Full instructions and there’s a link to a circle printable as well.

For the tutorial, click here.

Cracker Advent Calendar

From Iva Alex over at Country Beyond the Arc, a Bulgarian website, we have this Christmas cracker Advent calendar created using cardboard paper rolls and crepe paper but you can substitute leftover gift wrap or even magazine pages. Each roll is filled with healthy treats such as nuts, raisins, etc. Very good photos to follow if you want to make your own version. You can click on English in the Language box for excellent instructions.

For the how-tos, click here.

Our Lady Martha's Advent Calendar

Of course, I can’t finish this post without a nod to our lady Martha. She shows you how to make an Advent calendar filled with treats using whatever you have on hand. It looks pretty easy to do and uses up whatever gift wrap you have on hand.

Click here.

Christmas Wreaths - More Ideas

Posted on November 6, 2016 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

There are tons of ideas for making your own holiday wreath this Christmas. The trick to making one more personal is to add your own touches with material and decorations you've already got on hand. Not all of the wreaths that I'm posting here come with how-tos or a tutorial but it's easy enough to find instructions online for almost any kind of wreath you imagine. 

Backyard Twiggy Wreath

Are you pruning your backyard bushes? Don't toss those prunings. Instead turn them into a twiggy wreath that you can keep up even after Christmas. Pam over at Design Fanatic provides a full tutorial. You can always add a few holiday decorations or ornaments for Christmas and then remove after. 

For instructions, click here.

Donna's Twiggy Wreath

This is another twiggy version from Austrialian whiz chef, Donna Hay. No longer on offer but should be easy enough to make.

Paper Feather Wrath

You can easily make a wreath out of whatever paper you've got on hand! Lucy over at Craftberry Bush shows you how to make this wreath and you can use up any paper you have on hand.

Instructions here.

Wreath of Leaves

You can purchase this magnolia leaf wreath over at Painted Fox Home or you can replicate it with felt leaves instead. 

Cheaper too.

Dolly Peg Wreath

I recently sold my vintage clothes (dolly) peg collection and the lady who bought it made this mirror frame for her laundry room using those pegs. You'll need a few dozen dolly pegs and an embroidery hoop for this one. 

My Own Plastic Bag Wreath

Did you ever make these at grade school? We did and it appears kids still do. This wreath takes a bit of time to cut up all of the plastic strips but the results are pretty nice. Perfect for a long lasting outdoor wreath and it does last forever. Perfect for hanging outside.

For the link to the instructions for my plastic bag wreath, click here