My jumper coat

As many of you are aware, last year I spent a year buying no new clothes. I did pretty well and have only bought footwear since (a pair of boots for me and shoes for the kids). 

The weather here has been changeable recently and so I needed something that was lighter than a coat but thicker than a cardigan. 

I have been following The Woolly Pedlar on twitter for a while now and I love her creations. Not just because they are a great way to use textile waste but they are really unusual and I just love them. 

At the time that I messaged her she didn’t have anything in my size in the colours that I wanted but I was happy to wait. 

Then I got a sneak peak


(Picture courtesy of The Woolly Pedlar)

Then another one a short time later


(Picture courtesy of The Woolly Pedlar)

I really loved getting updates throughout the making process and couldn’t contain my excitement when the final photo came through. 


(Picture courtesy of The Woolly Pedlar)

It was finished! I fell in love with it instantly. 

I’ve been wearing my jumper coat for a few weeks now and get compliments everywhere. It really is the most amazing piece of clothing I have ever bought. Even if Hubby finds it funny to comment “how can you say you’re cold? You’ve got 20 jumpers on!” 

Zero Waste Week 2016

Oh dear. Zero Waste Week could not have come at a worse time for me this year. Not only did it clash with first week back to school, including D’s first trek into full time but I failed catastrophically before it even started. 

This year’s theme is food waste and I was planning to use the week to show hubby how much easier it is when we meal plan. We used to meal plan often but it’s fallen by the wayside over the past couple of years so this was going to catapult us back into a routine. 

Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way. Our fridge freezer is 13 years old. It’s the original one we bought when we first moved in together and has survived 3 house moves and 2 years in storage. However it has started showing its age so we decided after we came back from holiday we would buy a new one. Maybe the fridge freezer heard us talking about getting a new one and we hurt its feelings (lol) but it didn’t make it that far. We came home from holidays and were greeted by a big puddle on the kitchen floor and a freezer half full of defrosted food. 

We had no idea how long it had been like that so we had no choice but to throw everything out. I was devastated. Not only at the monetary waste but also the irony of all the food waste days before I was meant to encourage others not to waste food!!

So this week has been a write off as we had to decide on and buy a new fridge freezer plus restock it. On the upside our new freezer has see through drawers so we can see what we have just by opening the door. 

Hopefully that’ll help reduce waste as nothing will get “lost” in there. 

Have you been taking part in Zero Waste Week? Has your week been better than mine?

No New Clothes – a year on

This time last year I sat and wrote about the challenge I was about to embark on. It was pretty scary I have to admit. I wasn’t sure how well I would do, or if I could actually manage it. But then, isn’t that the point of a challenge? To push you out of your comfort zone? 

I set some rules that I hoped would make it a bit easier for me:

  • 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. (Copied from original blog post) 

So a year on. How did I do?? Let’s see shall we?

New items bought for me:

  1. Two pairs of running trousers
  2. A pair of denim shorts 
  3. A new sports bra
  4. Two pairs of compression socks
  5. My running club hoodie
  6. A pair of running shoes (not shown)

I’m pretty pleased with that! Both the running leggings and running shoes were allowed under my rules, as was the sports bra. The compression socks were needed but on the other hand did I really need two pairs?? And the shorts? Well I could have made some if I’m honest but I really didn’t want to. They were an impulse purchase bought about a month ago. πŸ˜” So in all honesty I could have avoided buying them. 

In the interest of transparency I also received some clothes as gifts:

  1. Two pairs of jeans for Christmas
  2. A pair of furry boots (not shown)
  3. A pair of pyjamas (a Christmas Eve tradition – not shown)
  4. A running top which I had for my birthday

I have also received a few new training tops as prizes for completing races. I use these to avoid buying training tops. I do sometimes wish that races would give out trousers instead of tops occasionally so that I wouldn’t have to buy those πŸ˜‚

The kids had new pyjamas from Santa on Christmas Eve. Little Lady had a new leotard and two pairs of hot pants for her dance show and D had a new pair of bathers for his swimming lessons. Little Lady’s dance items were very specific so I would have struggled to find them second hand in time, if at all and D’s swimming lessons can be such a source of stress for him as he hates showing his body, or “performing” in public. The SpiderMan bathers helps to ease his stress as he knows SpiderMan is brave and if that helps him overcome his social anxiety then it’s worth every penny. 

In regards to making things I failed miserably. I have made a lot of outfits but unfortunately none for me. I do have a post to show you at another date of how Little Lady and I collaborated on a top for her 😊 

We’ve talked about buying, gifts, and making but what about mending? I have done a LOT of mending this past year! 

I made shorts out of a pair of school trousers with holes in the knee:I also:

  1. Repaired a seam in my running tights
  2. Patched every pair of jeans I own over the year
  3. Repaired a seam in normal leggings
  4. Repaired a pair of shorts I had already made from a pair of jeans
  5. Fixed a jumper
  6. Replaced missing buttons on a cardigan 
  7. Shortened a dress to make it wearable
  8. Re hemmed two pairs of trousers
  9. Repaired a hole in the underarm of a cardigan

And I’m sure there were more but that’s all I seem to have kept a record of. 

All in all I think I did okay. There was room for improvement but I don’t think it was a complete failure. The big question now is: where do I go from here? Well pretty much all my clothes are looking tired. My jeans have been mended to within an inch of their lives. A very kind friend has just gifted me two new-to-me pairs of jeans so they will last a while but I could really do with some new clothes. I don’t intend to go out and buy all new and I will use charity shops as much as I can. But I do think this next year may be spent replacing the majority of my clothes. 

The Impossible Dream?

Last weekend brought D’s 4th birthday. Now let’s just take a minute to wonder how on earth my baby could be 4?? Argh! Time moves so fast!

Anyway moving on. So D turned 4 and he decided he wanted a party. With a bouncy castle naturally!  So I booked a hall and the bouncy castle but then my mind turned to the waste side of things. How little waste could I produce at the party? I knew I couldn’t go Zero Waste as it’s quite difficult to get ingredients without packaging here but I could at least try to reduce unnecessary waste.

The main culprit at parties are party bags. Plastic bags filled with plastic tat that break and/or gets thrown away the same day. I decided to make my own party bags out of fabric I already had.  

The bags were all different sizes depending on how much of that particular fabric I had. D wanted a dinosaur party and I did have some dinosaur fabric from a few years ago. Each child also got a toy dinosaur in their bag which seemed to go down well.

Food wise we tried to keep waste to a minimum and I made the birthday cake using items we already had to decorate it  


Cakes were made in reusable cases 

And all the food was placed on proper plates instead of disposable ones

 Drinks were served in plastic beakers we had borrowed from church so no cartons to throw out afterwards.  

Despite all this we fell down in a lot of places. I had surgery the week before the party and was quite poorly afterwards meaning I didn’t  concentrate fully on the zero waste aspect. I panic bought crisps and other party foods that have a lot of packaging at the last minute. We also used tea bags instead of loose tea as I wasn’t well enough to concentrate on a lot of things at the same time. I also panic bought sweets and surprise eggs to go in the party bags.

Next year I plan to start preparing early and make reusable napkins to wrap the birthday cake in for the party bags (we used paper napkins) I would also like to make more of the food myself.

Although my surgery didn’t help our zero waste quest we still only took away one small bag of rubbish at the end of the party. Which I was quite pleased about, considering.

My one sadness though is the one thing I cannot control and that is other people. Any tips on cutting down the mountain of wrapping paper we were left with?

Or is a Zero waste party an impossible dream?

Wiping up waste

We are slowly settling in to a bit of a school routine now, and thankfully I have had time to get some sewing done while the kids are in school. I have been trying to take a look at our lives and our routines to see where we can improve waste and environmentally wise. 

With 2 young (ish) children we have a lot of spills in this house and the easiest way to wipe them up is with kitchen towels. I also use kitchen paper to clean the worktops. I know it’s paper so it can technically be recycled/composted but I’m still using it once then throwing it out. What a waste. 

While decluttering the bathroom I found a lot of baby towels that are really no good anymore as they barely fit around my “babies” anymore but are too big for hand towels. So, one afternoon while D was in school I cut the towel into squares and overlocked the raw edges. I could have neatened the edges with a sewing machine or by binding them but I went for the quick and easy option of my overlocker. 

I folded them and put them in a pretty basket which sits on top of the worktop in the kitchen. They are then to hand when I need to wipe up a spill etc. Once used they go in the washing machine with my normal washing. No more paper towels in this house. Nice one!   

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™‚

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?