Upcycled garden sheds

 

garden shed, made from two old sheds and fence panel

My very clever husband has spent the last few days building four sheds for our garden. Like our house, our garden is very small (we only have one garden as the back of our house is joined onto another). With three growing children we really need to maximise the space we have and so this summer we have lots of plans.

First of all we/he removed the three old sheds that were taking up too much space in the garden. We had a good sort out and recycled, freecycled and threw away stuff that we no longer needed (a liberating experience). He then made use of the old sheds, as well as an old fence panel from a friend, and made these four storage areas:

upcycled garden sheds

(l-r: garden shed for tools etc, wood store, closed bin shed, lift up storage chest for outdoor games and chairs)

The doors on the left hand and two far right sheds were taken from our old sheds. Some of the panelling was reconstructed from the old fence panel. We did buy some new material from B&Q, but found that we didn’t need as much of it after all.

I’m really pleased with the shed for the bin.

bin shed

Having only one garden we struggle with where to store our bins. In fact, this venture has forced me to contact the council and get rid of our large plastic & cardboard recycling bin. We only put it out for collection once a month/every six weeks so we have asked for a replacement canvas bag that will be a lot easier to store.

I have also discovered that I quite like organising sheds (?!) and have enjoyed decluttering and then re-ordering the tool shed.

shed

The location of the sheds against the house wall has freed up some much needed space. We now have a pleasant area in which to sit and the sheds have been relocated to a far more practical location.

 

upcycled sheds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A skip-diving find from the local tip!

 

New (to me) tea caddy rescued from a skip

 

Last Sunday, on one of the hottest days of the year, my husband and I found ourselves at the local household recycling centre offloading garden rubbish. I hate going to the ‘Tip’ and always feel it’s a personal failing if I’ve not been able to recycle, mend or give away the items beforehand. However there is a lot of recycling and re-using that goes on at the centre(for a start I was able to recycle our tetra paks).

While I hadn’t intended to do any skip diving there (which I know is not allowed) I did spot this wonderful tin sitting at the top of a skip.

Tea caddy

 

So I took it home, gave it a clean and put it on my kitchen shelf. I needed somewhere to store my other teas, as the regular English Breakfast goes in this green Liptons tin which I found at a jumble sale about 25 years ago!

 

green tea caddy and tea cup

 

 

Easy no sew Christmas card bunting

easy no sew upcycled bunting

I recently posted about the challenges of trying to recycle over 160 Christmas cards. I know that I can put them in the cardboard recycling box (or at special collection boxes in supermarkets) but I wanted to create something with them.

Having taken part in last Thursday’s #makedoandmendhour on Twitter and from a trawl of pinterest I picked up a few useful tips.

I had already turned some of the cards into gift labels for next Christmas, and adapted some of the rectangular ones into thank you cards from my daughters:

However I’d also heard about upcycling cards into festive bunting, so here is my guide to ‘no sew Christmas Card Bunting’:

no sew bunting

  1. Select about 20-30 Christmas Cards of complimentary colours. I made two piles: red & green and blue & white (if you like to ring the changes with different colour schemes every Christmas this is a cheap and green way of doing it).

 

red themed cards for bunting

2) Using scissors – or a small paper guillotine – cut off the back and then slice the front into a triangle:

making Christmas card bunting

3) Remember that the bunting flags will hang from the widest part so bear this in mind if you have writing or particular images on them. I don’t have great spacial awareness so got a couple of them wrong so they will now hang ‘upside down’:

upside down bunting flags

oops! Wrong way round 😦

4) When you have a collection take a hole punch and punch one or two holes into the top:

5) Then take the ribbon, wool or string (perhaps saved from Christmas wrapping?) and thread through the holes:

christmas card bunting

And, here we go – easy peasey no sew upcycled bunting!

no sew Christmas card bunting

Don’t forget you could also use this for birthdays or other occasions (perhaps if you get loads of Valentine cards?!). Now I will just have to remember where I’ve stored this bunting for next Christmas!

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Upcycling candles for Christmas

upcycled Christmas candle

You know how sometimes you have the best intentions to take on a project but, somehow, you never get round to it? Last Christmas I pinned a load of tips on my pinterest boards on how to upcycle old candles. I have some beautiful scented candles but, unfortunately, the wicks have all but disappeared, leaving me with gorgeous smelling wax that I can no longer burn.

 

upcycling old candles

So last year I decided I was going to re-make these candles using tips from here and here. I dutifully ordered some new wicks from the web and then left them in my sewing box for a whole year.

So this Christmas I decided to spend a pleasant afternoon re-making new candles from old.

All of my candles came in heat proof glasses. I gently boiled a saucepan of water and placed the candle in it.

 

upcycling old candles

The wax took about 20 minutes to melt (depends on how much wax you have left). I was able to scrape out the old wick before melting it.

When the wax had become liquid I poured it into a new glass container, with the new wick standing in the middle. Some instructions suggest wrapping the excess wick around a pencil to keep it in position but I found I only needed to hold the wick upright with my finger and thumb for a couple of minutes.

upcycling old candles

I then let the wax cool down and, voila, new candles from old! I used a white chalkboard pen to write the names on the glass jars.

new candles from old

I used jars and old candle holders for the new candles. Some recipes I had seen suggested layering different scented candle wax to create new perfumes. However I had enough wax left from each individual candle to re-make them on their own.

I also found a good use for some of the older candle jars and – after a scrub – turned them into drinking glasses. (Pictured here alongside another upcycled tumbler which was originally a Nutella jar from Italy)

re-used candle jar

The plus side of melting scented candles all afternoon was that my house smelt of a gorgeous mix of vanilla, berries and rose perfumes. These upcycled candles make a great gift idea and I’ve seen some clever tips using old teacups. However I’m far too selfish to let these candles go …. I’m just cross with myself that they have been sitting around gathering dust all year when I could have re-made them with such little effort!

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Scrapstore Halloween

Last year I wrote this post about our second-hand Halloween. Since then the decorations got damaged and had to be thrown away. Thankfully we had picked up a big bag of ‘scrap’ from Wiltshire Scrapstore in the summer and had lots of material left to make some new spooky decorations.

As you can see from the picture below, we re-used some Scrapstore netting and turned it into a giant cobweb. We made some spiders from circles of black foam and some very simple ghosts from some old white fabric.

Scrapstore Halloween Decorations

 

Last year we had to get rid of our old tent, after 12 years, but I kept the white fabric from the sleeping compartments and for this Halloween we turned it into a very simple ghost.

Halloween ghost using old fabric

I have to confess I ‘stole’ this idea from Pinterest but I think it looks quite effective. We used three garden poles and attached a stuffed carrier bag to the middle one. We draped the fabric over the three poles and used some wire to create a head shape.

'Tent' ghost

 

The giant pumpkin came from the allotment of a friend who was raising funds for Diabetes UK. I’ve tried to save as much flesh when carving it and hope to turn it into something tasty.

Hope you had a fun Halloween!

A Charlie & The Chocolate Factory Scrapstore Birthday Party

Today was my youngest daughter’s seventh birthday. She had requested a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theme as they had been reading the book in class.

In my usual cheap way I decided to make use of what we already had at home, while also taking a trip to the wonderful Wiltshire Scrapstore. I have blogged about this great resource before. We are very fortunate to have the scrapstore (and its High Street shop) only twenty minutes’ away in the beautiful village of Lacock. At the beginning of the school holidays we took a trip the scrapstore – a great holiday activity  in itself. For just £7 I got this massive bag of scrap paper, foam, ribbon, cellophane wrapping and other odds and ends:

Wiltshire Scrapstore bag: ideal for party decorations!

 

At home we got creative, making large liquorice allsorts from black and orange foam. We also blew up some balloons to make giant jelly beans, and then hung them all from ribbon to make a sweet-themed entranceway.

oversized sweets made from Scrapstore materials

Having scoured Pinterest (of course!) for other decoration ideas I stole this idea for balloon lollipops. They were wrapped in cellophane (some scoured from the scrapstore, other sheets left over from floral bouquets) and then attached to the inner tubes of wrapping paper:

Not pictured is the purple bunting that I picked up from the rubbish bin at Cock and Bull festival last weekend. Having given it a good wash and iron it was as good as new.

We also used the bag of Scrapstore materials, and other ‘junk’ to make a couple of party games. Imagine our delight at finding the sheet of gold card, which was perfect to turn into golden tickets for both a treasure hunt, and party thank you notes.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: golden ticket game

I also used my ‘art’ skills to recreate this Willy Wonka for party guests to pin the hat on (apologies to Quentin Blake!):

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory party

The Scrapstore also supplied us with a craft set as a prize for pass the parcel:

Wiltshire Scrapstore craft set

Finally, as I may have ranted on about before I HATE party bags and all the plastic tat and waste that they create. I haven’t given out party bags for years and, instead, tend to hand out birthday cake and a craft item that the children have made during the party. This time I scoured local charity shops for second-hand Roald Dahl books. These were wrapped in the plain brown paper from an Amazon delivery, and a golden ticket thank you and small bar of chocolate was attached.

The party was small scale but everyone seemed to have fun. We’ve also got loads of scrapstore materials left over which will keep us all occupied over the summer – and I’m sure provide decorations for the next birthday party in our household.

 

 

 

second hand books as party thank yous

Sofa Saga Part Two

You may remember that last month we hastily got rid of our sofas, in the anticipation of having two new (to us) sofas delivered to us. However the sofas (from the British Heart Foundation furniture shop) couldn’t fit through the low doorframe. For the past three weeks we have been, literally, camping out in our lounge with camping chairs and a single armchair.

However last week our new sofa was delivered, courtesy of another second-hand furniture shop called Waste Not Want Not in Chippenham. I blogged about this charity ages ago when setting up the Repair Cafe. They delivered the sofa very easily and we are really impressed with it.

There is a stain on one of the arms which I will try to clean using one of the many methods I have seen on Pinterest. Failing that we may purchase a sofa cover to protect it.

New (to us) sofa

 

It’s just so nice to be able to sit in a sofa again – although I have to say it was a lot easier hoovering the floor without one!