Upcycling clothes - a big project

Last weekend was our school's annual carnival. This is a great day each year - the kids have so much fun, but it's also the school's biggest fundraiser.

I've had an idea swirling around in my head for the past year or two that I finally decided to put into practice.

I went to the clothes stall towards the end of the evening and asked if I could take some of the left over clothes at the end of the day to use for next year's carnival.  They were more than happy to let me rummage through and take away a few bags.

They're now all washed and sorted - and I'm excited with the selection I have to work with!

Lots of lovely jeans...

Even some pretty coloured ones!

Shorts and pants - good strong fabric!

My plan is to make bags, notebook folders, pouches and who knows what else.
Then at next year's carnival have an upcycled, sustainable stall to raise funds for the school - and also raise awareness - getting people into the idea of,

"Use What You've Got"

Now I've committed to this project - it's going to take some planning and lots of hard work, but I think it could be the start of something worthwhile, educational, ongoing and profitable!

Any suggestions of things to make with these clothes would be very welcome!

Has anyone else ever taken on a similar task? I'd love to hear any thoughts or ideas.


Covering a basket - Use What You've Got!

This week I'm preparing for a Halloween party at our swimming club. I'm organising the raffle and was looking for a way to present the prizes.

We have an old gift basket that is rather faded and old:

And looking through my fabric stash I found some scary fabric that I really don't know what else I would use it for!!

So...in a very unscientific way I laid the basket on the fabric...

to check the size!

Then roughly cut out shapes to cover the sides, base and inner.

And stitched it all into place!

It looks so much better now! Although I think I need to cover the handles too.

And here it is with some of the raffle prizes. 

Yes - already too much for the basket and more prize donations coming in too - so I may need to see what else I have on hand to hold prizes in!


Surinam Cherry Jam

We have 2 Surinam (Brazillian) Cherry trees in our garden.

 Every year they produce lots of the cute lantern shaped fruit.

The fruit has quite a tart, sour taste and I'm the only one in our family who really likes them, and there are only so many tart cherries I can eat.

So every year, lots of these cherries just fall from the tree and go to waste.
This year I'm determined to

Use What I've Got

and make something with these cherries so that they get eaten rather than wasted.

Yesterday morning I went out and picked all the ripe red cherries I could find.

I washed them, removed the stalks and small green leaves on their bases, then squeezed them over a jug to remove the stones.
The pulp I got looked a lot like tinned tomatoes!

I ended up with 2 cups of the pulp, to which I added 2 cups of sugar and then simmered this in a pan for around an hour until it thickened to jam consistency.

Then poured it into an empty jar.
And voilĂ  - a jar of Surinam Cherry Jam!

Hopefully this means that more than just me will eat these tasty cherries!

DAY 100, Use What You've Got

100 days ago I decided to challenge myself to 100 days of action.  I wanted to 'use what I've got' - making use of the things I already have in the house - fabric, recipes games etc. I also worked on my blog to make use of all the resources I have developed here over the years and make them more accessible. I decided to post here on my blog every day for 100 days - and I did just that!

Here's some of what I've done and posted about over these past 100 days.

I did lots of Upcycling

School uniforms that have been waiting in my stash for a while, into teddy uniforms, fabric baskets and notebook covers.

Jeans and scrap fabric into 3 sizes of triangle pouches.

Shared some Recipes

Wrote 30 lessons in Blogging

Including posts about Google Adsense:

Copyright on a Creative Blog:

And using Google+

I shared more new sewing tutorials.

And also made use of the beautiful corner of the world we live in...

I've also completed the #100happydays challenge - taking a photo a day for the past 100 days to show something that made me happy each day. I posted these pictures on Instagram - then through that shared them on both Facebook and Twitter.

So was it a successful challenge?

Definitely a success for me!
I really found that having a challenge and a focus with a specific time helped me stay focussed and get things done.
 Looking back here I can see that I achieved a lot. 

There have been busy and quiet times over the past 100 days. Some times I've felt like I'm achieving lots but others have felt flat.  I  think it's important to remember there are both ups and downs and not to get too bogged down or disheartened by the 'bad days' ! Looking back over a longer time period helps you put things in perspective!

What's next?

My focus for the immediate future is my new e-book of patterns which is almost ready for release. This is something I've been working on for the past few months and I'm very proud of.  I'm now just adding the final touches and working out my launch plan. So watch this space for that!

I won't now be posting every day, although sometimes I might.  I've got so many projects and ideas to work through  - upcycles, tutorials, stash busters and lost more learning about blogging. 

The challenge to 

Use What You've Got 

is ongoing. I think most of us don't make the most of things we already have and instead look too much to getting something new all the time.  So this is going to be a constant theme for me in what I do and blog about.

I do so love a good challenge - and am already thinking on the next one to bring things into focus and keep me accountable!

What challenges have you set yourself?

Day 98, Use What You've Got

Making the most of opportunities while my parents are here. I got up bright and early this morning with my husband and we went out for a nice long 2 hour trail run up in the hills. 
Having my parents here to take care of our kids is rare treat for us to have a chance to do some trail running together. I also got to try out my new trail runners - which did look a lot brighter before 2 hours on dusty trails!

Hope you're all making the most of your weekend!