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?

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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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 onย Pinterestย 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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

Bath Mallows and Lip Gloss

I was very blessed a couple of weekends ago to be able to spend some mammy-daughter time with Little Lady. D went to my mums and us girls went to a BathMallow making workshop. A bit like a bath bomb but they look like marshmallows apparently!

A friend of mine runs these workshops and I have booked her to come to my youth group for the last 3 Mother’s Days. As the youth leader however, I haven’t participated in the workshops so it was nice to actually have a go for a change.

There were only about 10 of us at the workshop so it was a nice small group. Little Lady was quite the expert having participated in the ones I have organised through church, and was very keen to tell me what to do next! Lol!

 

While helping the younger kids at the youth club workshop I managed to snap 3 plastic spoons!! This time I tried to be a bit more careful while stirring the mixture!!

I opted to go for a purple colouring and a blueberry smell. ย Little lady chose green for the colour and a lovely fresh lime smell.

We packed the mixture into little cases and decorated the top with flowers. Little lady decided that I should do each one of mine differently!! So I did and fair play they actually came out pretty good! ย 

They smell lush in the bath too!

Little lady’s bath mallows looked pretty good too.

 

Just to finish off we also got to make a lava lip gloss. I chose a strawberry flavour for this one and the lava effect is pretty cool!

Although I could have put a bit more of the colour in to get bigger blobs! Maybe next time.

It does feel pretty good using products that I have made myself. Little lady also enjoys using her own products and the wrappers are paper so can be recycled. Not too sure about the lip gloss bottles although I’m pretty sure if I run out I could refill it.

These obviously won’t last me forever but it’s a small step to reducing plastic waste in the bathroom.

Have you ever made your own bath products?

Made It Monday #11

I knew the run of MIM posts was too good to be true!! ๐Ÿ˜Š Anyway we’ll skip past that and I’ll show you what I’ve made recently as though the missed posts never happened! Lol!

As you know from recent posts, the first week of September was Zero Waste Week. The theme was One More Thing and as I wrote here I learnt quite a bit about how small changes can make a big difference.

I have slowly been looking at different parts of my day to see if there is anything I can change and one area is the washing up. We buy big bottles of washing up liquid and decant into a smaller bottle. It’s not ideal but I don’t know anywhere local to me that will refill my Ecover bottle.

After a chat on twitter’s #makedoandmendhour (Thursdays 8-9pm – check it out) I decided to have a go at crocheting my own dish cloths. We usually use the sponge things. We do put them through the wash to prolong their life but after a while they do need throwing out.

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I found this pattern on Pinterest and it was a lovely easy pattern that I managed to do while little lady was at her dance class! I used a cotton yarn (cotton wool doesn’t sound right does it?) which means that it’ll dry quickly. I chose this colour only because I already had this ball and I was too lazy thought it was more environmentally friendly(!) to use up what I had. Although someone has since pointed out that it won’t show up stains as easily, which is quite a good point for a dish cloth!

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What have you made this week?