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May Workshops - Recycling All the Way!

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (2)

My May Workshops have been posted and I'm looking forward to showing participants what they can do just be recycling! All my projects are easy-peasy, low-cost, and fun to boot.

We'll be making cakes, cake stands, woodland critters and even a portable urban garden. If you are in the Ottawa area, why not join us for two hours of fun in the making - and bonus, you walk away with a completed project. Most materials are provided and kids are welcome.

Can't make it on the day? No problem, contact me and we can arrange something.



Earth Day

Posted on April 22, 2017 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

As I dash off to my morning workshop, here's something I did last night and will present to each of our workshop participants - a soy wax candle in discarded vintage patisserie moulds. These moulds are really tiny - less than 1/2 inch high, but because of the wax I used and the wick (low smoke, cotton soy waxed), it actually goes for over 6 hours! Pretty good, for a little thing - and that's the point.

Why a candle? Well, it's to remind us that we are constantly losing so much of our planet Earth - species are disappearing, forests and fields are desecrated, our air and water is polluted as is the food we consume; all, by the way, in the name of consumerism. We are hurtling through space on the ONLY home we have and we treat it like a garbage dump. We have to have more, more and more no matter what the cost. Someone else will take care of it, right? NO - it's up to each on of us to take on the responsibility of caring for our planet.

Sorry, I just get so riled up and sometimes find it hard to contain myself. Hope you have a thoughtful day and start something that will start to heal our world - even if it's just in a small way. Every little helps ...

Earth Day Recycling Fun

Posted on April 21, 2017 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

If you think the whole of idea of recycling is too much work and no fun, you may want to think again. Take a lesson from kids, for example. When my daughter was little, she often preferred the box that her gift came in to the gift itself. Something we should all consider because it's often the little things actually make the difference and each one of us can at least consider that one little thing we can do each day and even have a little fun in the process.

Since I'm holding workshops on the day (with a little help), we had an early Earth Day at our place. We all scoured the cupboards and closets and the recycling bin for stuff and challenged each other to recycle what we found in fun (and useful) ways. We unearthed (no pun intended) old paperback books, unused glass ware, loo rolls, drinking straws washed and saved from smoothies and lattes, twist tops from milk and juice cartons, and plastic milk jugs were some of our materials.

And here's what we did:

Balloon-powered Racers

Okay, we cheated a little here, the balloons are new. We did have fun racing these in our apartment building hallway!

Map Gift Wrap

All this from an old torn up map - envelopes, gift wrap, paper boat, map covered notebooks and pencils, even buttons. All perfect material for a party or for gift giving. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Sippy Pots from Mayo Jars


An unbreakable, non-spillable sippy jar from a PET mayonnaise jar. How to do it here.

Glassware Cake Stands

Unused glassware and plates merged into these cute little cake stands. Miss Piggy would approve.

Hanging Gardens

Kids really love this type of gardening - I think they like the idea of being able to move the plants around. Anyway, we did cheat a little here and used grocery store herbs instead of waiting for seeds to sprout. But it shows that anyone can have a garden no matter how small a place they've got.

Sprouting Eggs

You can start a garden in anything. These little sprouts can go directly into your garden or garden container. Just remember to crush the eggshell slightly so the roots can get out.

Hope your Earth Day is special and keep on recycling all year round.

Earth Day Workshops April 22nd

Posted on April 17, 2017 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

This Saturday, April 22nd, is Earth Day and I hope that you will be participating in your own communities as I am sure there are loads of events planned. Volunteer and lend a hand to get people motivated to participate. Leave the car at home and starting to make walking, cycling, roller blading, skateboarding, whatever, your commitment - not for just this day but every day. It's not only good for the environment but good for you too. Shop at your local stores to encourage the opening (or reopening) of small businesses that would provide you with stuff you typically buy online. There used to be so many little shops in my area and they gradually disappeared. But now I am happy to see many coming back. We owe it to this amazing planet and to future generations to clean up our act before it's too late. That's my eco-friendly rant!

What am I doing on Earth Day, you ask? Well, I have two workshops (and sold out!!) scheduled for the day and, as in all my workshops, I feature a recycling component in each one. 

Beginners Book Folding Workshop - DIY Woodland Critters

In the morning's Beginners Book Folding workshop, we will be recycling old tattered and torn paperback and/or hardcover books, transforming these in cute little woodland critters: hedgehog, mole, and badger. I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which. 

Kid's Urban Garden Workshop - Recycling Plastic Milk/Juice Containers

The afternoon workshop is all about recycling plastic milk/juice containers for my Kid's Urban Gardening workshop. Everything needed will be supplied except for the containers which I am asking the participants to bring. I've posted information about this type of gardening here. It's really a fun way to get kids recycling and gardening - and what kid doesn't like to get all mucky and muddy?

Both workshops have sold out but I will be holding these again in May and June.

Happy Easter

Posted on April 13, 2017 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I found a copy of Douglas Gayeton's book, Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town, at a local church charity shop and just love it - the photographs and the story behind them. I think the cover (I removed the dust jacket) is an appropriate image for Easter. As symbols, eggs have many meanings: for Christians, eggs symbolize the resurrection of Christ; for kids, goodie treats; and for the rest of us, spring and new beginnings.

I also think eggs are the perfect food: you can prepare them in an infinite number of ways (where would I be without my morning soft-boiled egg and toasty soldiers) in baking and cooking. Eggs are also used cosmetically, for examples, in facials and for healthy hair growth. And THEN, you can repurpose the shells in hundreds of ways in crafts (crafters can use crushed eggshells as tiny mosiacs for decorations), the kitchen, garden, etc., as well. Perfect, indeed.

Gayeton is a filmmaker who began recording foodway traditions in the Tuscan town of Pistoia, Italy for a project he was doing with PBS. While most Pistorians had never heard of the slow food movement, Gayeton realized that they were in fact exemplars of the movement's basic principles. So he focused his camera on his friends and neighbors, discovering many stories along the way and this book was the result.

To find out more about Gayeton and his work, go here and here





Take it from your Tool Kit - Upcycling Old Tools

Posted on April 11, 2017 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

A while ago, I joined the Ottawa Tool Library where you can borrow a tool just like you would a book at a traditional library. If you’re in the need of a tool for, say, a DIY, gardening, cooking, or small repair project, instead of buying it and never using it again, you borrow it. So why buy, when you can borrow.

Tool libraries have become very popular and are located in quite a few cities including the one here in Ottawa, Toronto (Ontario), Edinburgh (Scotland), London (England). To find one in your area, check here

Which brings me to this post. I’ve always been interested in woodworking and gardening tools most of my life, especially, antique and vintage ones. One of my favourite tools is a 19th century wood plane that's somewhere in my storage unit; well, that and a 19th century oak sap bucket. I love the idea of owning something that has been used for generations and is still perfectly useful today. If you are a lover of old tools, chances are you may have or have come across a few that are no longer used but still worth keeping.

Here’s are a few ways to recycle/upcycle them and keep in circulation.

Found Art

I catagorize this as 'found art'. Floyd Elzinga transforms shovels into humongous tree cones (the above is a pinecone). He is a Canadian artist who currently lives next to his studio in Beamsville, Ontario nestled on the Niagara Escarpment. Makes me want to run out and find some old shovels to recycle.

View his other works here.

IPad Stand

You can purchase this interesting tablet holder here or why not build one yourself? All you need are a a couple of hammers, a screwdriver and a piece of wood dowel. 

Magnetic Notice Board

If you're attached to your old cutting saws but not using them, here's a nifty idea that's easy enough even for me! Transform your old saws into attractive magnetic notice boards. Nice for a workshop. Lots of saws and other tools available on Ebay.

Photo Display

A unique idea from Icon Design for an unused spackle knife used to display a vintage photograph. Or you can make it if you're lucky enough to have both or you could just buy it (if it's still available) here.

Picture Frame

Neat use for old wrenches (would make a great Dad's Day gift). You can get a similar one from Zulily. 

Coat Racks

I found a number of coat racks made from old tools, Below are two of my favourites:

Trowel Coat Rack

If these vintage trowel coat hangers are no longer available to buy at Sweet Daphne Design, you can make your own. You can still find the old trowels at flea markets, junk stores, or charity shops. Or use new ones like I did here:

I bought new ones that came with ready made holes and attached these to an old dance hall sign (given to me by a friend) for a garden/coat rack.

Screwdriver Coat Rack

There are very good instructions over at Homemade Modern to make this screwdrive coat rack so if you've a surfeit of old screwdrivers, this one is for you. Get the info here.


Add a bit of festivity to your workshop door with this grapevine wreath transformed with old tools tied on with binder's twine.I found it on Pinterest here

I've also upcycled a a couple of garden tools rescued from the trash here (as a flower display) and here (to hold my fishing poles, basket, and net).