Repurpose before you Recycle

Thank you for all the lovely comments both here and on  my FB page.  It is good to hear from so many people who want to ditch plastic and other single use items.  So in the spirit of reusing before recycling I have a challenge for you this week.  A repurpose challenge.

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This morning I lost an old stained bamboo tee-shirt and acquired some dusters.  Very easy.  I cut up the tee-shirt and have a nice new set of lovely soft bamboo dusters.  The tee shirt wasn’t fit for charity but it wasn’t yet ready for composting.  Win win.

So my challenge for you this week, and I’ll try to do it too and let you know how I get on:

Monday:  Repurpose something you used to wear.  It could be clothing, jewellery, a scarf or a hair accessory, anything you used to wear.

Tuesday:  Repurpose something you made.  It could be last night’s leftovers or a three piece suit!  Please do not repurpose your children however irritating they are!

Wednesday: Repurpose something you have put out for recycling.  A plastic bottle, a jar, some envelopes.  Get creative in your recycling bin.

Thursday:  Repurpose something from your black hole.  We all have them, the place where we put things we don’t know what to do with but can’t quite bring ourselves to get rid of.  Some are as big as a garage or outbuilding.  Some are as small as a kitchen drawer.  You know yours, now go release something from it.

Friday:  Repurpose something that is broken.  If you can’t repair it can you turn it into something else

You get the weekend off!

Love Gillie

 

the deer in my garden

Since the imposition of the 5p charge almost everybody now reuses bags and has a selection of shopping bags by the door or in the boot of their car.  It is rather odd to be asked if I want a bag, for most of my adult life I have been the one trying to refuse a bag as I had brought my own.  Odd at last becomes normal.

But it goes beyond bags, jam jars and milk bottles (we found ours by the side of the road, ours is a popular spot for flytipping sadly) make lovely vases, printed and plain tins make interesting planters, scented candle holders become glasses, broken mugs and pretty tins become pen holders, plastic milk bottles become the hanging gardens of Brancepeth (more about those in another post!).  I could go on and on, there is almost a book in the reuse of everyday objects that have outlived their original purpose.  But today I wanted to introduce you to  our recycled deer.

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These beautiful creatures are made out of junk metal heading to the skip. Recycling is not just about saving the planet, or 5p, it can also be a thing of beauty.  Think outside your recycling box today.

Love Gillie

upcycling the kitchen disaster

One of the pitfalls I faced when I first began decluttering was the little economical eco-freak who sat on my shoulder and whispered little things in my ear like “you could keep that broken jug, break it up a bit more and use it for drainage in the bottom of your pot plants.”  Yes I could, but I knew I wouldn’t, by the time the summer came and I was planting out my seedlings I would have completely forgotten where I had put my collection of broken crockery.  I know my limits.

On the other hand there are somethings that I have no problem reusing or finding new uses for.  Using up leftovers is something most of us do by second nature.  More recently I have discovered I can use up kitchen disasters as well.

At the moment I only have an aga, my electric oven having died some months ago.  Lovely though it is, as every aga owner will know, you cannot smell anything that is cooking.  The opportunity to prepare a burnt offering to the aga god is frequently presented.    That is why on Saturday afternoon I popped some bread in the oven and went out to do some gardening.  It was over an hour later when I finally removed an exceptionally well cooked loaf.  Believing that even the chickens would reject it I left it on the kitchen surface and  went back to the garden to work off my frustration.  The Boss wasn’t going to let an overcooked loaf get the better of him and when I returned he had bashed it up and pronounced it an excellent alternative to Grape Nuts.

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The second culinary disaster was the yoghurt, also made on that same Saturday.  I left it too long and too close to the aga and it had curdled.  I poured off the whey (it went into the ill fated loaf) and mushed the residue around a bit.  It tasted like yoghurt, but the texture was all wrong.  Bingo Chocolate Coffee and Maple Brunch Cake (by Charlie Scott-King of the Durham Dales Clandestine Cake Club).

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While I don’t aim to have kitchen disasters, it is good to know that I can usually find someway of using them up.  Failing that there are always the animals.  The chickens loved my overdone granola 🙂

 

 

upcycle from cardigan to cat bed

Time for a break.  It’s the weekend, it’s cold and wet (well here anyway).  I’m feeling not so much, “let’s get up and go” as “let’s stay by the fire and so something crafty, or read a book or just sleep, nodding off to the gentle rhythm of the snore of the newfie”.

Since the snore of the newfie would wake the undead let alone the dead, I went for one of the other options.  I have a bit of a thing for cashmere.  Once you have been enveloped in the delicious waftyness and snugglyness that is pure cashmere, pure 100% new wool is like wearing barbed wire.

Unfortunately I do not have the wallet that can run to cashmere on a daily basis so I stalk sales, and ebay, jumble sales and markets, charity shops and my mother’s wardrobe….  Once in my possession said cashmere is loved and cherished right up until the day it finally dies.  Whereupon I  bung it in a boil wash with some jeans and felt it.

I have made felted cashmere cushion covers, cuddly toys, wrist warmers, ear warmers, slippers, bags, Christmas decorations.  But until today I had never made a bed.  Well a cat bed.

Take one elderly, moth eaten cashmere cardigan.  Boil it.  Add one tapestry needle and some knitting wool.

  • Lie the cardigan flat out on a table button side down (obviously if you are using a jumper you can lie it any way up you like).
  • Sew the sleeve edge to the body edge to about half way down the sleeve.  I used blanket stitch.
  • Repeat on the other side.

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  • Fold up the bottom of the cardigan and lay the loose ends of the cardigan arms over the folded portion.  Make sure the cuff edges overlap.

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  • Sew the top edge of the sleeve to the top edge of the folded up cardigan edge (again I used blanket stitch).

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  • Lay the cardigan out flat again and sew (I used running stitch but you could use backstitch if you wanted it to be firmer) an arc from armpit to armpit.  You have now created a channel all around the edge of your bed.

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  • Close the neck opening.
  • Stuff the channel.  I used the contents of a number of horrible cushions, but you could use cut up rags, old clothes and dusters.   You will have to wriggle the stuffing around a bit to get the right balance.
  • Ta da!  One cat bed.

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If you have a small enough dog you could use it for a dog bed, but I think the newfie would require a jumper from the Jolly Green Giant 🙂