Projects so far

Sunday, 30 January 2011

5th project announcement

Well it's Sunday evening again so it's time to announce this weeks materials:

I have spent all day tidying and cleaning the house and have found a couple of pairs of completely knackered jeans at the back of the wardrobe. They have gone through all the different stages from being 'for best' right through to 'Hollycombe' jeans (so worn out they are only fit for wearing on a steam engine - under overalls). So they have definitely had it!

So for the next couple of weeks I will be trying to recycle them into something wonderful. As usual this week's project will be published on Saturday evening, here on the blog.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

4th Project complete!

Hi all,

Right I've just finished the forth project in my challenge, it is a set of four free machined 'scribble' coasters made out of bubblewrap and carrier bags! I hope you like them.

‘Scribble’ coasters

Materials needed:
1. Bubble wrap with large bubbles
2. Selection of colourful carrier bags
3. Thread
4. Sewing machine
5. Iron
6. Ironing board
7. Teflon sheets or baking parchment / Baking paper
8. Felt off cuts at least 10cm sq. each


To make the background

1. Lay a large piece of parchment paper down onto your ironing board and lay a
piece of bubblewrap over it with the bubbles facing upwards (1st picture above).
2. Lay pieces of carrier bag and some threads / fibres in a pleasing arrangement on
top of your bubblewrap layer.
3. Cover with another piece of bubblewrap with the bubbles facing downwards, and
place another piece of parchment paper over your bubblewrap ‘sandwich’.

4. Now iron all your layers until the plastics have fused together (see picture above)
You should now have something that looks a bit like this:

The next step is to start embroidering

1. Set your machine to darning or cover / lower the feed dogs of your machine
2. Put an embroidery / darning foot on your machine and set the machine to straight
stitch and off you go. Move the fabric around whilst stitching at a steady fast pace.
3. Go around all the coloured shapes a couple of times, then if you like fill in the
gaps with different patterns, just as you would when scribbling / doodling (see the
pictures below).


Once you are happy with your fabric you need to cut your coasters out, what

shape is up to you. I drew around an existing coaster but you could use anything
like a roll of Sellotape for example.

We now need to go back to the ironing board and make some backing to add
some weight.

1. This is done by folding a carrier bag into quarters and ironing it between the two
pieces of parchment paper until it fuses together you will probably need one bag
for each coaster.
2. Now put your coaster wrong side up onto the bottom sheet of parchment paper
and cover with your sheet of melted plastic bag and then the other piece of
parchment paper. Iron, turn over, then repeat the ironing on the other side.
3. Cut around the coaster.

You could leave it at this stage but I wanted to finish mine with a backing, so I
appliquéd each coaster to a piece of felt with a small satin stitch and then cut really
close to the stitching to finish.

And there we have it a useful set of coasters and a lot of fun with the machine! Right off to put the kettle on - anyone else for tea?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

4th Project Announcement

I can't believe it is Sunday evening already, where has the day gone? The men of the house are busy watching Top Gear and dreaming of cars they will probably never own, and my daughter is busy fretting over which courses to choose for her GCSE's so I have grabbed a little quiet time to let you all know which articles of 'rubbish' I am planning to use for the 4th project in the challenge.

So here we are da-dah!

Plastic  bags and bubble wrap! 

We always have a lot of bags as I always seem to forget mine when I go shopping ( I know, slap my wrist ) and we had a few deliveries this week which were wrapped in bubblewrap, neither of these can easily be recycled so I have picked these to have a play with.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

3rd Project Completed - A golden casket

This casket was made using the items announced last week: 
A gravy tub, Newspaper, and golden chocolate wrappers.

Materials used:
  1. Newspaper
  2. Gravy Tub
  3. Cardboard box (I used a PG Tips box)
  4. Gold foil chocolate wrappers
  5. Paints
  6. Scrap of fabric for lining
  7. Sewing machine, needle and thread
  8. Left over trim from my stash
  9. A clasp removed from a piece of clothing

How it was made:

The first step was to make the basic box. I cut the gravy tub into half lengthways and removed the bottom, the PG Tips box was cut to size to create the bottom of the chest. Cardboard sides were then added to the chest bottom to bring it up to the correct height at the ends, all parts were coated with about 3 layers of papier mache and I hinged the bottom and top together using tape.

The handmade paper I made and then painted

Next I made some handmade paper made from the rest of the newspaper, once dry this was painted and printed and golden chocolate wrapper motifs applied to make a nice cover for the box.

The main box cover

You could leave the decoration at that, but being an embroiderer I always have the desire to embroider anything that doesn't move, so that is what I did next. I machined around all the motifs and then used a meandering stitch to fill in the gaps in a coordinating thread.

The box was then lined with some fabric I had left over from a previous project which had been in the loft for sometime, it is a gorgeous chunky kitted velvet in purple and there was just enough left for this project.

The cover was then attached to the outside of the box, glued and then slip-stitched to the lining and at the edges.

To finish the edges I used some cord trimmings that I had in my stash, again left over from previous projects, finally I added a closure to the front removed from an old jacket.

There we have it a lovely Golden Casket for keeping all your treasures in.

'one Man's rubbish is another Man's treasure' - or something like that!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

3rd Project Announcement

Ok - time for this weeks materials announcement, in the recycling pile this week I found the following items which may work together to make something interesting:

1x Gravy granule tin, 1x teabag box, a newspaper and some gold chocolate wrappers
So lets see how I do this week, hopefully better than last week!

2nd Project Completed

After a slight change of plan due to the proposed panel not working I have at last completed a 2nd project all be it a day late!

It is a simple mobile based on tropical fish made out of the sweetie wrappers left over from week 1.Instructions to make it are as follows, I hope you enjoy it!

Materials used:
Cellophane sweetie wrappers
Sewing machine
Black machine embroidery thread
Permanent markers / glass paints
Fishing line
Wooden beads from a broken necklace
A4 laminating pouch 

Instructions to make the fish

  1. Place your cellophane sweet wrappers in the laminating pouch and laminate.
  2. Draw your fish out using a permanent marker.
  3. Stitch around your fish with a small zig-zag stitch.
  4. Colour in your fish with coloured permanent markers or glass paints.
  5. Carefully cut out your fish and thread together using fishing wire.How you hang them is up to you, I added some beads that I had which came from a broken necklace.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Project 2 update.

Sadly I have failed this week to complete the project.

I have made loads of samples, but alas the panel idea did not work. The sweet wrappers were just not strong enough and kept tearing all the time which is a shame.

However, whilst I was sampling I did make some really cute tropical fish which I am going to make into a simple mobile. I just want to finish off the last couple which are nearly complete so I will try to finish it in the morning for you.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

2nd Project Announcement

Hi everyone!

Right, time to announce the second week's project in my challenge.

This week I have some cellophane sweet wrappers (left over from last weeks project which I don't want to waste) and a window sucker which I found in amongst some bits my daughter was discarding after she tidied her room.

This gave me an idea for a Tiffany style 'stained glass' panel, what do you think? I am not at all sure how I am going to accomplish this but I will have a go. I think a method similar to reverse appliqué may work and I will probably need to wire it to keep it's shape, I will let you know how I get on with the sampling!

So watch this space as usual and I will keep you updated.


Molly and Poppy our Springer Spaniel

P.S Our new puppy 'Molly' is settling in well and I am sure she and Poppy will be the best of friends soon

Saturday, 8 January 2011

1st project completed - Sweetie wrapper bracelet

I have made this gorgeous bracelet from sweetie wrappers and wire. I hope you like it!

Materials needed:

  1. Sweetie wrappers - 'Quality street' type wrappers work best as they have separate foil and cellophane layers.
  2. Thin coloured craft wire (about 28 gauge is easiest to work with)
  3. Clear beading elastic - Just enough to go around your wrist comfortably with enough spare to securely knot.

To make the beads

  1. Fold the foil part of the wrapper into 4 lengthwise
  2. Wrap this in the cellophane part of the wrapper
  3. Wrap the wrapper tightly around a knitting thin knitting needle
  4. Bind the wrapper tightly with thin craft wire making a few of turns around the knitting needle at each end of the bead.
  5. Remove the bead from the knitting needle.

You could also embellish the beads with some lines of stitching / some metallic paint or peel offs before wrapping around the knitting needle.

To make up the bracelet:

  1. Thread the beads onto some clear beading elastic
  2. Knot securely a few times and snip off excess.
There we have it, the first project in the recycle4real challenge.

Why not have a go yourself and send us in a photo to and we will show it in the gallery on the recycle4real website!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Update - Week 1

Well this weeks project is well under way now and I am getting some great results. I am really looking forward to showing you all at the end of the week!

I have been a bit pre-occupied this week though as we are getting a new puppy on Saturday! I can't wait, so as well as the recycling project I have been busy preparing for her arrival.

Today I made a dog bed from a couple of old pillowcases, a sheet which I found at the back of the airing cupboard and some left over batting which I found in the loft. I folded the sheet so that it would fit inside the pillowcase nicely, wrapped this in batting and placed it inside the first pillowcase which I then stitched closed. Then I stitched a few stitches through all the layers at equidistant intervals across the bed to hold it all together. This was then placed inside the 2nd pillowcase which was then stitched closed securely. Hopefully it will be strong enough to withstand sharp puppy teeth!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Quick recycling craft project added to the Kid's page.

I have added this quick craft project to the kid's page of the website to make their own gift tags for next Christmas, a great money saving trick for us all and great fun for them!

Sunday, 2 January 2011


Welcome to the recycle4real challenge for 2011! the rules are quite simple:

1. Each item should be useful, decorative or both.

2. Each item must be made almost entirely from recycled / reused materials which would otherwise be discarded.

3. A small amount of materials such as beads and threads which are not recycled may be added but this must be kept to a minimum and must be from your craft stash i.e. Not brought in specially.

4. The items and materials to be used must be photographed at the start of each project.

5. A photograph of the finished item and a set of instructions must be published on the blog by the end of the week.

So now it is time to announce the materials I will use for the first project!

Sweetie Wrappers!

We are all chocoholics in our house especially around Christmas. Every year I save the sumptuous coloured wrappings from all our sweeties thinking that they must come in useful for making something, only to throw them out about 6 months later as I still haven't got around to doing anything with them - WELL NOT THIS YEAR!

I have decided to use them in the first project. I have an idea for a bracelet as the sweet wrappers remind me so much of the colours you get in the lovely glass beads which are so popular at the moment.

So watch this space during the week and I will let you know how things are progressing. The finished article and instructions will be posted on Saturday (8th January) on this blog and will also be added to the website.