Zero Waste Giveaway

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED!

Zero Waste Week seems ages ago now but when I wrote my pledge I promised a giveaway. Being a bad blogger πŸ˜‰ and also extremely busy with the start of the new school year, I am only now getting around to it! Oops!

In keeping with the Zero Waste theme, I am giving away 5 handmade, reusable make-up remover wipes. 

These wipes can be washed in your machine at 40* and reused. By using and reusing these wipes you can cut your dependency on cotton wool pads and/or balls. 

These reusable wipes have been handmade by me and can be purchased over on my crafty Facebook page. However, if you would like to win your very own set of 5 complete with a knitted basket to store them in, all you have to do is comment below telling me whether or not you took part in Zero Waste week this year. The names of everyone that comments will go into a hat and a winner will be randomly chosen by either myself or Little Lady who loves being in charge of picking giveaway winners πŸ™‚ 

The competition opens as soon as I press the publish button on this post and ends on Sunday 27th September 2015 at 5pm BST.

Please feel free to share the giveaway with all your friends πŸ™‚

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Gift Wrapping

Making handmade gifts is such a lovely feeling. The thought and time that has gone into each one. Knowing that you haven’t just gone out and bought “something nice”. But once you have made it, it needs to be wrapped and gifted.

After all the time you have taken to handmake a present, rushing out to buy supermarket wrapping paper isn’t really going to do your handiwork justice. So how do you wrap your handmade items using items you already have and not create excess waste?

You could wrap your gift in leftover fabric

alternative gift wrapping with fabric

Image from here

Or you could use newspaperalternative wrapping newspaper

Or old books

Alternative wrapping paper

Brown paper works well as you only have to buy one roll and then personalise it for each occassion.

alternative wrapping

And let’s not forget those yummy hobnobs from yesterday. Why not use a paper plate to wrap those?

paper plate wrapping

If you’ve been inspired by these, why not check out my Pinterest Gift Wrapping board for more ideas?

 

Homemade Hobnobs

Yesterday I shared some of my favourite upcycled gift ideas. However, I think there’s nothing quite like receiving some nice biscuits at Christmas. Maybe that’s because I’m too tight frugal to buy nice biscuits very often during the year? If there’s nothing quite like receiving nice biscuits then homemade biscuits goes one step further.

This is not my recipe and I could never claim it to be. This recipe came from a poster on the MSE forums. It’s quick, it’s easy, you’ll have most of the ingredients already and most of all it’s yummy! I’m sure you can already think of a few people who would appreciate homemade hobnobs for Christmas. So let’s get to it

Recipe

8oz Self Raising Flour
8oz Sugar
8oz porridge oats
8oz Margarine
1tbsp golden syrup
1tbsp hot water
1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Method

Mix the flour, oats and sugar.
Melt the margarine, syrup and water in a pan.
Stir in bicarbonate of soda and add to the dry mix
Mix well

Take some of the mixture and make into a smallish ball
Put the balls of mixture onto a greased baking tray and flatten slightly with a fork.
Bake in the oven at 180*C for 15mins or until golden brown in colour.
Allow to cool on the tray
homemade biscuits
Whenever I make a batch of these I have to hide some so that they don’t all get eaten in one go. Everyone in my family loves these. I keep them in the biscuit tin (a promoted chocolate selection tin) but to be honest they don’t last more than 3 days in my house.
Homemade hobnobs
When giving as a present (if you manage not to eat them!), wrap them in greaseproof paper and tie with raffia or ribbon, whichever you have handy. You’ll be the most popular visitor all Christmas.

Hobnobs wrapped as gifts

Upcycled gift ideas

Day 2 of Zero Waste Week. How are we doing?

As I mentioned in my pledge post our christmas this year will be mostly handmade and/or upcycled. An easy enough concept but coming up with good ideas for gifts is actually pretty hard. As you can imagine I have spent a lot of time searching the internet (Pinterest is a favourite) looking for ideas. I can’t share actual gift shortlists here as I obviously want them to be a surprise but I can share with you some of my favourite upcycled gift ideas.

I have tried to chose gifts that use items that most of us have or can get easily enough. So here goes.

Rock plant labels. A perfect gift for the gardener of the familyHandmade garden labels

Homemade crayons for the Lego enthusiast – big or small πŸ˜‰Lego crayons

Coat/key hooksDinosaur coat hooks

Dinosaur coat hooks from here but of course you could use anything to make hooks. Lego pieces, old keys, spoons, forks

Upcycled fork hooks

How about a cake stand made out of mismatched tea cups and plates? Upcycled cake stand

I love this idea and suspect that most of us will have a few mismatched cups and plates. I know I do. If not, why not have a browse around local charity shops?

So there we have a round up of my favourite upcycled gifts, however, both Jen Gale and Rae Strauss have lots more ideas for upcycling on Pinterest. So why not pop over to their boards and be inspired?

Tomorrow

Tomorrow sees the kiddies go back to school. Little Lady goes into juniors and D starts afternoons in the school’s nursery class. I will miss them. A lot. Yes they are pains in the bum sometimes but they are MY pains in the bum and I love spending time with them. Little Lady can’t wait to go back tomorrow and see all her friends. D on the other hand, doesn’t like change. The new classroom, new teacher and new routine is a bit overwhelming for him so I’m sure we will have a few tears tomorrow (and not just from me!).

I hope the extra time for me means I can get a few things done, tick a few things off a never ending list. There are doors to be painted, rooms to be re-painted, fabric to be made into gorgeous items. πŸ˜€

But that’s not what I came here to write about. Tomorrow also sees the start of a year long “buy no new clothes” challenge for me. I have been half heartedly decluttering the house for over a year now. I am getting there, albeit slowly. Then I read this post. Since working at a local hospice, this subject has been weighing on my mind. When I die (and with God’s grace that won’t be for many, many years yet) someone will have to sort through my things. This thought has helped me while decluttering but it’s still not enough. We as people, buy so much stuff. So much unneccessary stuff! Because we can. Because we are taught to believe that we need all the stuff.

I then saw this article on facebook and it got me thinking again about clothes. All four of us here have wardrobes that are fit to bursting and yet we all tend to wear the same handful of items more than others.

We have spent this week sorting out school uniforms. Our school has the same polo shirts and jumpers for girls and boys so D has Little Lady’s polo shirts as she grows out of them. The trousers we bought him last year still fit him though and Little Lady still has one winter dress and two summer dresses that still fit her. We were also gifted some skirts that we have put away as they were a bit big for her. The dresses that were too small have been passed on to a friend who has a little girl a few years younger. So for this coming school year all we have needed to buy was school shoes.

Jen Gale who was looking for a new challenge, 3 years after having spending a year buying nothing new, suggested a buy no new clothes challenge and I was very keen to get on board with this. Starting tomorrow I will buy no new clothes for me, hubby or the kids. There are exceptions and rules however, and these are as follows:

  • underwear does not count. I will not buy secondhand underwear for any of my family. I am, however, planning to make some of my own underwear again.
  • Running clothes and shoes. My current running shoes should last me until early next year but when they do need replacing I will be buying new. I won’t risk injury by buying secong hand. Running clothes, I will try to make do with what I have or buy second hand if I can.
  • Uniform/work wear. I wear my own clothes to work and therefore can get away with this but hubby can’t. He is provided with a polo shirt but some of the other kit he needs may need to be new due to safety reasons. We will shop around and try to buy second hand if we can but I will not compromise his safety. School uniforms will be second hand as much as possible, however, due to the school logo, if it poses difficulty in buying second hand then at the last resort we will buy new.
  • Shoes. I won’t buy second hand shoes especially for the kids. They have both recently had new shoes so should be fine for quite a while.
  • I am allowed to make new clothes and buy second hand. I cannot however, buy a lot of new fabric in order to make new clothes.

So that’s my new challenge. It would be great if anyone else wants to join me and Jen in this year long challenge. You can set your own rules to suit you and your family. Could you do it?

With a little help from my friends

It has been a busy week her at alifetimeofdiy. Hubby and I have been running a week long holiday club at our church. Though it’s only 2 hours a day for 5 days and a 45min service on Sunday, it takes weeks of planning.

Months before the holiday club I need to come up with a theme. This year I chose Superheroes as what kid doesn’t like superheroes? Personally I’m not “up” on superheroes so I spent hours researching superheroes and their powers in order to chose which ones to use each day. Once the superhero had been chosen and the corresponding bible hero, we needed games, crafts and talks each day.

On Monday I told the story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt. I had seen an epic cardboard box maze onΒ PinterestΒ and was desperate to use it for the game. The boxes had to be big enough to fit our biggest child (and the adults!!) through so I put a request on my personal FB page and also on my local village FB page. The response I had was amazing. So many people keep large cardboard boxes “just in case”. They know they may come in handy but don’t know what for. I was helping a whole community declutter their garages lol!!

Storing the boxes was a bit of a pain and the church congregation spent a few weeks avoiding large boxes taking up space in the vestry. But when made the maze was fantastic. So good we redid it on Friday as the kids, well and adults to be fair, wanted to do it again!

cardboard box maze
The maze was epic but what on earth were we going to do with the boxes once we had finished with them? They were too big and too many to put in the recycling. We had cut entrances into them so they couldn’t be reused as boxes and we couldn’t possibly store them any longer.

I wanted to get rid of them responsibly. We reused some to make 3 Goliath’s for another game and used some to protect the carpet while we did messy games. But we still had so much left to dispose of.

A friend of mine has her own craft business and I asked her if she wanted to take some for packaging. It was an offer that benefitted both of us. She gladly used recycled cardboard for packaging and took everything. I think her husband was a bit bemused when he came to pick his kids up and was presented with 2 car loads of boxes to take home πŸ˜€

It just goes to show that a simple question can lead to better environmental choices. I disposed of the boxes without sending them to landfill and she now has a shed full of recycled packaging for her business. Win/win for us and a win for zero waste.

Have you ever had a simple question lead to better environmental choices? I’d love to know

ZWW – my pledge

On Wednesday I told you about Zero Waste Week and it’s theme for this year. The theme is Re-use and I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can use that theme in our family life. We re-use a lot of things already.

We re-use glass jars to store food in the fridge. Very handy to write the “use by” date on using a wipe off marker too. We re-use shopping bags and I always have one in handbag, plus a few in the boot of the car for bigger shops too. We re-use the backs of Christmas/birthday cards to use for notepaper and re-use printing mistakes as drawing paper for the kids.

I wanted ZWW to stretch me, like last year, but I also wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a gimmick, that it was something that would be useful in our everyday lives. After a lot of thinking we (hubby and I) came up with our pledge:

We will re-use and re-purpose items that we already have, or can get second hand, to have a handmade Christmas (as far as we can)

As many gifts as possible from us at Christmas will be handmade. This includes upcycling and repurposing as well as making from scratch. We will try not to buy anything new and either use what we can or buy second hand.

During ZWW (7-13th September) I will be offering tutorials on handmade gifts so please do come back to have a look. I won’t be able to list all planned presents as I know my sister reads this blog periodically and I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise. πŸ˜€ I also plan to end the week with a giveaway so be sure you don’t miss out on that.

Are you planning to take part in ZWW? What’s your pledge?