Making Paper

Over the past few weeks at school, my younger daughter has been working on a sustainability project.
As part of her project she wanted to try making her own paper.

She found this tutorial for making paper without a blender
 ( I didn't want newspaper in my only food blender!).

She made a 'deckle' using an old picture frame and a piece of old security screen mesh I'd kept 
(I knew it would come in useful for something!).

Then after ripping up some newspaper and soaking it in water overnight, she spread it over the deckle, adding a couple of leaves and a flower for decoration!

Then followed the drying process, after letting some of the water drip through the mesh, she flipped her paper over onto some felt, then sandwiched it between another piece of felt before putting a heavy book on top to squeeze and flatten the paper some more.

Finally she let her paper dry under the ceiling fan overnight.

It turned out pretty well don't you think?

A few days later, she started a new batch - this time adding some glitter!

Then this paper was cut, punched and tied into a small notebook as a gift for a friend!

I think there might be some more paper making and experimentation going on these school holidays....which start this afternoon!

Have you ever made you own paper?
Do you have any tips, hints or suggestions? We'd love to hear them!

The end of plastic bags!

How many plastic bags do you think you use each week when you go grocery shopping?
I used to get around 10 a week from our supermarket, but for the past 5 years, I've been using my own reusable shopping bags made from old sheets.

Until this year, I kept those bags in my car, but frustratingly there were several times I forget the bags and left them in the car when I went to do my food shopping.

My solution?  A secret compartment in the bottom of my handbag where I keep my shopping bags so I never forget them!

Of course I had to design and make the handbag - and used my favourite thing to sew with - a pair of jeans; so the handbag is also very sturdy.
It even has side pockets with some eco-friendly produce bags for the few pieces of fruit and veg I occasionally buy from the supermarket rather than the local weekend market.

Now I use this handbag all the time and never forget my reuseable shopping bags. I also keep a couple of handibags in there for times when I do a bigger then usual weekly shop!

Each year, by using my own custom made reusable bag set, I avoid the use of around 500 plastic bags! And that's just my little family!
Imagine if everyone used reusable bags for their weekly grocery shopping - what a lot of single use plastic bags wouldn't be needed and wouldn't then be left to pollute our environment and endanger our amazing animals!

So if you'd like to make your own set of shopping bags - you can buy my ebook which contains full photo tutorials for all of these bags, including the handbag.

Wouldn't this make a great gift for someone who sews and cares for the environment for Christmas?
You could even package it up with a pair of old jeans to get them started!

This e-book is available for free download by clicking the following link:

Thank you for your support.


Christmas Tree with Baubles - upcycled denim Christmas card

This is the last of my upcycled reusable and re-sendable Christmas Cards for this year. Using some green starry fabric and buttons for baubles.
The cards are reusable as they have a clear pocket on the inside where you can slip in a greeting written on a piece of paper. This can be removed and replaced to re-send the card to someone else next year!

I'll be sending all the reusable cards that I've made this year and I do hope that the recipients embrace the idea behind them and send them on to someone new next year! Maybe I'll even get one or two back??

Here are the cards I've made.

The tutorial showing how to make these upcycled denim re-sendable Christmas cards is here.

And for lots more inspiration for an eco and budget friendly Christmas, visit my 

Teaching Kids to Sew

Can your kids sew?
My kids have shown an interest on and off for years and I've helped them make things here and there.
But this year I decided it was time to add a bit of structure to their sewing learning - while still trying to keep it fun.

So I created a series of tutorials to help kids learn to sew using a pair of jeans.  
My girls used a pair each of coloured jeans they'd grown out of.

By sewing with an old pair of jeans, the kids also learn about upcycling and making use of materials you have, as well as learning a series of sewing techniques that are gradually built upon so that by the end of the course they should have enough knowledge and competency to tackle most free sewing tutorials you find online!

One of my daughters' friends has also been testing out the tutorials in my book. Here are some of the first things she made.

A fabric basket and tissue pocket.

And a cute pencil case!

Apparently, she enjoyed the sewing so much that her mum had to take her to the charity shop a few weeks later to buy her another pair of jeans to sew with! 

So if you'd like to get your kids sewing, in a fun (and cheap) way - just using materials and fabrics you have on hand. Then do take a look at my e-book - there are more details here.

The book is available as a FREE PDF download by clicking here.

It would make a great gift for someone for Christmas - perhaps packaged up with an old pair of jeans to get them started!

Happy Sewing!

100 Handmade Christmas Ornaments and Decorations

There are so many fabulous ideas out there for making your own Christmas ornaments and decorations. Here is just a relatively small selection grouped according to the main materials they are made from.








90. Mini Christmas Tree from Wesens Art

91. DIY Snowglobe from Dagmar Bleasdale

I hope you enjoyed this round up and gained some inspiration for handmade ornaments and decorations to make for Christmas.

Which ones would you like to make??


You might also like:

And 100 Ideas for Handmade Advent Calendars

And for even more inspiration for a handmade Christmas that is both Eco and Budget Friendly, see my

Christmas Shouldn't Cost the Earth page.