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Workshops and My Shop News

Posted on May 21, 2017 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

My May workshops are all booked and, once, they are done, I'm closing up for the summer. However, I suddenly discovered - drum roll, please! - candle making! A friend gave a candlemaking kit last Christmas and I never got around to doing anything with it. That is, until last weekend. It was raining and I was bored. My TV is on the blink (good job, too, as I had no idea how much time I wasted watching someone else's creations!! - more about that later. Having read my last book from the library, I decided why not try candle making.




Being the klutz I am, I was afraid I might set the house on fire but it turned out to be easier than I thought. So, of course, I made tons and gave quite a few away to family and friends to try out. And the response was so good that I've decided to flog them in MY SHOP.


NOW FOR SOME MARKETING!


What makes my candles so different, you ask? Well, for one, they are hand-poured, organic and fairly reasonable, cost-wise, (actually that's three reasons!). You can choose the container(s) you want - I plan on scouring the charity shops, flea markets and garage sales for unusual containers and will post these separately. As well you will be able to choose the scent. Right now only essential oils of lavender, cinnamon, and rosemary are available, but I'm working on adding essential oils of rose, chocolate, rosemary, and thyme. Once you have made your purchase, the candles will be hand-poured after you and then sent off to you in a pretty box. 


Anyway, let me know what you think of my latest idea - this grannie needs to make some dollars. As well as the candles, I will also be flogging my vintage goods. Stay tuned ...


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.


CARDS FROM MAGAZINES, JUNK MAIL, ETC.



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 would probably 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!


MORE MAGAZINE RECYCLING FOR MOM - LET HER HAVE CAKE!



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.


GIFT WRAP LEFTOVERS - FLOWER VASE



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 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?


REUSING EGG CARTONS - FOR MOM'S BATH BOMBS



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. Fortunately, I had used those plastic eggshells from Easter to make the bath bombs so it was a no brainer to use the egg cartons that I found in the bin.


For a bath bomb how to, click here.


RECYCLING VINTAGE BAKEWARE - JUST HANG IT!



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.


FINAL WORD


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!


May Workshops - Recycling All the Way!

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

UPDATE - All Workshops have sold out. Look for our June Workshops coming soon.


My May Workshops have been posted and I'm looking forward to showing participants what they can do just be recycling! All my projects are easy-peasy, low-cost, and fun to boot.



We'll be making cakes, cake stands, woodland critters and even a portable urban garden. If you are in the Ottawa area, why not join us for two hours of fun in the making - and bonus, you walk away with a completed project. Most materials are provided and kids are welcome.


Can't make it on the day? No problem, contact me and we can arrange something.

 

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Earth Day

Posted on April 22, 2017 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)



As I dash off to my morning workshop, here's something I did last night and will present to each of our workshop participants - a soy wax candle in discarded vintage patisserie moulds. These moulds are really tiny - less than 1/2 inch high, but because of the wax I used and the wick (low smoke, cotton soy waxed), it actually goes for over 6 hours! Pretty good, for a little thing - and that's the point.


Why a candle? Well, it's to remind us that we are constantly losing so much of our planet Earth - species are disappearing, forests and fields are desecrated, our air and water is polluted as is the food we consume; all, by the way, in the name of consumerism. We are hurtling through space on the ONLY home we have and we treat it like a garbage dump. We have to have more, more and more no matter what the cost. Someone else will take care of it, right? NO - it's up to each on of us to take on the responsibility of caring for our planet.


Sorry, I just get so riled up and sometimes find it hard to contain myself. Hope you have a thoughtful day and start something that will start to heal our world - even if it's just in a small way. Every little helps ...


Earth Day Recycling Fun

Posted on April 21, 2017 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

If you think the whole of idea of recycling is too much work and no fun, you may want to think again. Take a lesson from kids, for example. When my daughter was little, she often preferred the box that her gift came in to the gift itself. Something we should all consider because it's often the little things actually make the difference and each one of us can at least consider that one little thing we can do each day and even have a little fun in the process.


Since I'm holding workshops on the day (with a little help), we had an early Earth Day at our place. We all scoured the cupboards and closets and the recycling bin for stuff and challenged each other to recycle what we found in fun (and useful) ways. We unearthed (no pun intended) old paperback books, unused glass ware, loo rolls, drinking straws washed and saved from smoothies and lattes, twist tops from milk and juice cartons, and plastic milk jugs were some of our materials.


And here's what we did:


Balloon-powered Racers



Okay, we cheated a little here, the balloons are new. We did have fun racing these in our apartment building hallway!


Map Gift Wrap



All this from an old torn up map - envelopes, gift wrap, paper boat, map covered notebooks and pencils, even buttons. All perfect material for a party or for gift giving. Makes you think, doesn't it?


Sippy Pots from Mayo Jars


 


An unbreakable, non-spillable sippy jar from a PET mayonnaise jar. How to do it here.


Glassware Cake Stands




Unused glassware and plates merged into these cute little cake stands. Miss Piggy would approve.


Hanging Gardens



Kids really love this type of gardening - I think they like the idea of being able to move the plants around. Anyway, we did cheat a little here and used grocery store herbs instead of waiting for seeds to sprout. But it shows that anyone can have a garden no matter how small a place they've got.


Sprouting Eggs



You can start a garden in anything. These little sprouts can go directly into your garden or garden container. Just remember to crush the eggshell slightly so the roots can get out.


Hope your Earth Day is special and keep on recycling all year round.


Decor Recycling - Past Treasures

Posted on May 21, 2016 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)

There's a lot going on right now. We've held a giant 'garage' sale in our building's community room on the roof to raise funds for the people of Fort MacMurray where the fire is still going strong. A few of us as well are going to the 'Beet It, Monsanto' march on Major's Hill Park here in Ottawa that's going on today at 1:30 pm. Still I did promise a spring decorating post and here it is - although it is not about my current home but a lovely apartment I once had that overlooked a garden and a park, surrounded by gorgeous oak and maple trees.



The living room slash office of the apartment was filled with second hand furniture and accessories. Starting way back when I was a university student, I haunted flea markets, charity shops, and church bazaars as well as the occasional garage sale for stuff. The great fun of this is that you never know what treasure you will find. And, boy, did I find treasures. The tables (I cut the legs of one to make a sort of storage cum coffee table) both came from the Library of Parliament and were just the right size for all my 'creative' endeavours. I got them at a second-hand office furniture shop for under $50 for both. The large mirror was made using an old frame that was a street find. I had a beveled mirror made for it because I knew this would look better than a flat one. This was pricey but worth every penny. The 'chalkboard' frame was also a street find. See - going for walks in the evening does pay off sometimes.


As for the chalkboard itself, it's actually a piece of black foam core board that I still use to make my blackboards. It's lightweight and costs very little. Only drawback - you can't use a wet cloth to clean it. 



For some reason fishing gear - fishing rods, baskets, pictures, whatever - always caught my eye when I went out foraging. I was lucky enough to have a friend, an antiques picker, who found and gave me most of the fishing poles you can just see in the photo. I used an old garden rake as a fishing rod holder - that was in a neighbour's trash can minus the wooden handle.



The fish specimen drawings were purchased at a framing shop on Bank Street years ago. They had been removed from a vintage book on fish species - tearing pictures out of old books was something a lot of dealers used to do as it was easier (and more profitable) to sell individual images than the whole book. Mine were kept in storage until I found frames for them, which I finally did at Ikea (so the frames were new). I picked up the fishing baskets at a flea market. One was in bad shape, so it was free. The small footstool in the photo was made by using a sturdy picture frame (again a street find - why I find frames on the street is one of life's mysteries - when I can't I head for Ikea) and covered with a quilt remnant. The feet are curtain finials which I picked up in Paris at the BHV (a DIYer's heaven, with lots of French flair) - who knows why I do these things. For the footstool how-to instructions, go here.



The seating area in front of the window overlooking some beautiful Victorian buildings across the street was kept pretty much minimal. A great place to lie down, read a book, and contemplate life. The antique foldable wrought iron daybed was purchased at an auction for a military cadet school in Montreal (now defunct) when I was a student myself (but not at the military school!). It weighs a ton and I was (and still am) lucky enough to have friends who had the muscle to help me get it up to my flat via a curved stairway. The mattress and pillow bolsters were covered in material picked up in my travels in France. A friend kindly did the sewing as I didn't and don't have a sewing machine. The fabric came from factory in Lyon where I also picked up some pearl-beaded silk fabric that is quite similar to the material used in Princess Di's famous Elvis dress. I still have this piece of silk and am still not sure what to do with it.


The rug is a silk and wool one that I found in an old barn. It was pretty wet and dirty but I could see the potential. I cleaned it with a big brush and lots of soap. Took over a week to dry but look at the result. Sometimes, you just have to go for it. If it turns out to be a dud at least you got some exercise in!



My desk held vintage Victorian gardening clay pots (bought at a car boot sale in London) and garden tools (purchased at the Vanves flea market in Paris) to keep me organized. The desk may look neat and tidy here but, in a few hours, it always ended up looking like a storm blew in. I never could keep tidy for too long.



When it's something I like, I look for ways to reuse it when it's original function is done. I bought this particular brand of coffee (Multatuli) because of the image on the can (yes, it was very good coffee but, unfortunately, no longer available!) and I knew that I would reuse the image - and here it is enlarged in another Ikea frame (they're inexpensive, come with a mat, and make framing easy). Cost was less than $8.00 and the cans were reused as pencil and art supply holders.



Finally, the bathroom. This little hot water bottle had a small hole near the top which leaked water whenever I used it in bed so it was no longer useful for that function. However, the bathroom wall needed something so I stuck a tulip in the bottle and hung it up. Easy-peasy repurposing. Cost $0 - I picked the flower from a neighbour's yard (with her permission).


My point in sharing this post is that you can have a very nice, very personal space if you know where to look and look and look (you gotta go more than once) and it won't cost you the earth. Don't be afraid to bring something home from curbside trash - it may be a treasure in disguise and will cost you nothing (okay, time, as you may have to clean and/or repaint it). By reusing second-hand stuff, repurposing what you already own, and/or making accessories yourself saves you money, yes, but maybe, just maybe, it will also help to keep the landfill smaller. And you'll have an original home.