Archive for the ‘recyle reuse’ Category

Crayon Super Star

March 21, 2012
Crayon Stars

Crayon Stars

I’ve been coming up with little projects to do with my youngest whilst Big Sister is at Kindy.

re-use crayon bits

stubby crayons - time for a new look

I’ve been meaning to try out melting left-over crayons into new shapes for a while now. We finally gave it a go. I quickly browsed the net for ‘recipies’ but it appears a bit hit and miss. So I started with good ol Martha and went from there.

score the wrapper

A few people on the net suggested using a stanley to score the crayons to get the wrappers off… good tip. My good tip is then give it to one with itty bitty fingers and let her go to town.

little fingers unwrap crayons well

Once you’ve got all the crayons unwrapped break them into small pieces and then use them as a colour sort activity. We had a heap of fun with this part!

a great tool for teaching colour theory

then put your crayon bits into a container. I just used an old ikea ice tray.

Pretty sure you cant do this more than a few times with the same tray, and I’d be real careful, but it worked for us. I threw it out after (I think they only cost $1.)

You can group your colours together or mix them up. Some of my favourites were the ones where we blended complimentary colours.

place broken crayons in container

place broken crayons in container

I then placed it on a baking tray lined with baking paper, just in case it all went pear shaped! Then it went in the oven.

wait patiently...

Don’t worry, our oven is cool touch. Martha suggests 10-15minutes at 150C but I found that 5minutes melted them just fine. (I was being really careful not to over heat the ice cube tray too.)

melted crayon

melted crayon

melted crayon is all glossy and almost clear looking. Allow it to cool to opaque. I also put ours in the freezer for about 20minutes, I read it helped pop them out. Now this is the part where I tell you the stars work quite well but I think a more solid shape, like a heart, would be easier to pop out. Some of the points on a few of the stars cracked off as they were quite difficult to pop out. Still we got some great stars with interesting colours and fun new crayons to draw with. Here are a couple of my favourites:

star wars star!

Doesn’t this make you think of space? You could make them as party gifts for a star-wars party!


I’m always a fan of anything with a bit of yellow!

pretty blue

You can see this was one of the ones where a point got cracked off. It was so pretty though.

And for the ultimate test….

They draw great!

They draw great!

wait for big sister to come home and surprise her with a fun present, then get drawing!

Re-upholstered Verge Find

March 17, 2012
bar stool rescue

bar stool rescue

The week we first moved into our house there was a verge collection. On one of his 6billion-Super-Awesome-help-us-move-trailer-trips my Dad found 3 bar stools on the side of the road. They used to look like this:

bar stool - before

Bar stool - roadside find

They were actually worse than this, legs and support bars had fallen off completely, but it was all glued back together by my hubby and Dad before I could blink.

We had never had a breakfast bar before and so we didn’t own any stools. I think the boys were so tired from all the moving they were dying for somewhere to sit. Poor things had to glue their own stools!

Well, they stayed like this for quite some time, secure but not pretty.

new foam - Clarke Rubber, Fabric - Ikea

new foam - Clarke Rubber, Fabric - Ikea

Finally sick of the dogy look of them I resolved to redo them.

I’m trying to have some pops of yellow in my kitchen for a bit of happiness and fun and thought the bar stools would be a good place to ‘pop some yellow!’

I found some yellow and grey stripe fabric at ikea, could it be more perfect, or better priced? Plus it ties into my grey bench tops perfectly. I then resisited the urge to spray paint the legs yellow and got some white spray paint.  I finally went to Clarke Rubber and got them to cut some new foam to size for the top.

Then I snapped my fingers (hahahah)…ok I fought with my nail gun, sewed up a storm and several sheets of sandpaper and cans of spray paint later….

Ta Da…..

Yellow and white upholstered kitchen bar stools

Yellow and white upholstered kitchen bar stools

refinished yellow and white bar stools

refinished yellow and white bar stools

I’m loving how happy they are and how comfy the new cushions are! I wish I’d bought more of that fabric though, there’s none left at my ikea!

Yellow and grey kitchens

Yellow in the kitchen

Tutorial: Make an Australia Day Shirt

January 26, 2012
Iron On Australia Day T-shirts

Australia Day T-shirts

Last year I made my girls cute Australia Day outfits. This year the day sort of crept up on me and at 4pm today after my eldest asked what she should wear to watch the fireworks I thought, why not? And decided to whip something up.

I had one 15cmx10cm Iron on T-shirt Transfer paper for an ink jet printer. I grabbed a few old singlets and t-shirts out of our drawers. I googled ‘Hi Res Australian Flag’ and then arranged the flag onto a 10x15cm file.

Australia Day T-shirt Transfers

Australia Day T-shirt Transfers

If you click on this link: AustraliaDayT-shirtTransfer you should get a hi-res version of that file. (In case you want to use it yourself!)

When printing dont forget to FLIP the image in your print settings before you press Print. Its under they Layout Tab in my printer settings. This prints a mirror image that rights itself when you iron it on.

I set up on the floor of my laundry like this, towel on the floor, an old wooden chopping board, shirt, transfer paper and a top scrap of cotton fabric. Not on an ironing board.

using transfer paper

Shirt ready for ironing on transfer

I cut out one flag for each shirt and placed it where I wanted it to appear image side down.

I then used that white bit of fabric to place over the shirt and transfer paper. I find this helps stop the shirt scorching as you have to hold the iron still over the transfer paper for 10-15 seconds. Its also best to only use iron on transfers on 100% cotton fabrics. I also apply a fair bit of pressure

how to iron on transfer paper

apply pressure and iron for 10seconds without moving

You can see the back of the paper that used to have green markings is now browny/orange. If it hasn’t gone brown I just remove the top fabric and iron directly onto the paper moving gently until the markings change colour.

iron gently until image on the back of paper goes brown

I then waited about 1minute until the paper backing was cool. Gently pulling it off. If you do it while it is still hot you get a more mat finish to your image, leaving it to cool makes it more glossy. But dont leave it too long or it gets sticky.

slightly glossy Australian Flag

I Love Australia T-shirt

then pop them on your favourite poppets and go watch the sky show.

Australia Day T-shirt

Australia Day T-shirt

yes that’s a fake tat poking out from under that sleeve! We go all out!

Australia Day Flag T-shirt

Make sure you have a flag to wave

This year the sky show was amazing. Not only were there great fireworks but God decided to put on the best electrical storm at the same time. Sure we got saturated but I think hardly anyone cared as the day was over 40 degrees, the cool rain was so refreshing as it poured down on us! Definitely a year to remember!

Of course these instructions may vary between different transfer paper suppliers. I’d always follow the instructions on your pack first.

Happy Australia Day! What did you do to celebrate being Australian and living in this awesome country?

boys satchel car playmat

December 20, 2011

Yep, you read that right, its not just a jumble of words I made a boys-satchel-car-playmat.

I was going to show you hand-made ornaments but I thought it made more sense to follow up yesterday’s little girl play-bag post with the gift I made for her little brother. I figured the dollhouse hand bag was a bit girly for a boy (although you could totally make it work if you wanted). So I decided a satchel suited a little boy best. Anna from noodlehead once posted about turning some old cargos in to a satchel and I’ve always loved the idea. I think its a great way to give the bag a ‘weathered’ look and I like the details you get with all the ‘pre-stitched’ areas. Plus if you cut right you can use one of the premade pockets to use on your bag!

Satchel made from Cargo Pants

Satchel made from Cargo Pants

So with that in mind I set about figuring out how to make it into a bag that would fold out flat so it could be played on.

Surprise at the back of the bag

Surprise at the back of the bag

Undo the tabs holding the bag closed

Undo the tabs holding the bag closed

fold open the satchel flap

fold open the satchel flap

and a whole viilage, perfect for zooming cars, awaits

and a whole viilage, perfect for zooming cars, awaits

There are a TON of ideas out there of little play mat villages, if you just google car playmat you’ll end up with a stack of inspiration. So none of my ideas are very original but I still love how it all came out. I made little personal touches that suit the little guy this one is for.

Where he lives there is a fair bit of new development, and I know one of his favourite pass-times is to sit and watch all the trucks at the construction sites. Now he can truck dirt around in his bag…

play construction site

the construction site

At the end of the street where he lives there is a park, in the other direction there is a big river, so those fun things had to be included in his little village.

the park and the river

the park and the river

the grocery store and bookstore

the grocery store and bookstore

When I visited him recently we went on some outings to the Superstore and to Chapters so I thought including them would be fun. (I love the little apple tape I found for the grocery store! I would totally shop at a place with apples on its roof!) You can see in this picture for the ‘dotted’ lines in the road I just used button hole stitch on my sewing machine. The rest of the details were hand-stitched so it took a while to do this project but I really had a lot of fun.

So all he needs to do now is pack it full of cars

when folded up the bag can cars for on the go fun

when folded up the bag can hold cars, for on the go fun

and be ready to play, where ever he is!

pocket from the pants makes a great place to store snacks

pocket from the pants makes a great place to store snacks

I sure hope he likes packing up a snack and taking his bag on adventures.


God is in the detail – Carpentry

July 23, 2010

Now this renovation is no van der Rohe. I’m also certainly not a huge fan of modernist architecture, although I still appreciate it. I do however love the idea of ‘less is more’ and ‘God [being] in the detail’. I think if you get your details right you’ll find that’s where the heart of your design comes together, where it sticks and finds its identity. Ideals and theory’s aside, here are the details thus far:

We’ve replaced all the doors with some solid wood doors. The doors were original but there was nothing special about them. They were hollow core doors and the top wood had warped over all the internal framing. They were split at the bottom and falling apart, not to mention hovering 10cm above the ground and no sound barrier what so ever. Sound proofing is very important in a small house with napping children!

new solid wood doors

I got at a great price from my window and door carpenter on some rejected custom made solid wood doors. If you go to the manufacturer of windows and doors or at the very least the guy who does their installing you’re likely to be able to pick up a great ‘mistake’. I got these custom made doors at a 1/3rd of the price. The customer the doors were originally made for thought they didn’t match the original doors in their house well enough. Seeing I only needed a few and I wasn’t trying to match anything I had the joy of flexibility.

We’ve repaired and replaced the damaged and missing windows. There were literally windows just boarded up.

boarded up windows

We fitted out the kitchen with the cheapest cabinets we could find which happened to be Ikea Applad. Yes plain plain white. That’s it. No frills. I’m actually really happy with how it turned out. Now its not my dream kitchen but its neat and simple, and that’s ok with me. It will certainly be more than ok for the next couple of years.

Building the kitchen, and some repaired windows in the background

I’m currently choosing bench top colours. I’ve been talked out of all white, so I’m just choosing which grey I should go with

Cast Concrete


Bliss Cinder

I’m leaning towards Cast Concrete because I was advised that the Cinder might show up scratches more easily. I’m also planning on incorporating some yellow details so I think they will go better with the Cast Concrete.

The floors which were treated with some sort of odd brown paint/stain now shine in all their jarrah glory after having a good sand and polish. I now have jarrah coloured dust everywhere. The boards were so old and unloved they were very dry which causes more dust than the sanding of newer wood. Eventually I’ll get rid of it all.

polished and unpolished jarrah boards

One of the final carpentry based things we’ve done is fit an access ladder to the attic. The attic is unconverted at this point but we find attics in old houses make great storage. The tradies have appreciated the easy access to the roof space too, so it was wise to fit in the beginning of the build process and not at the end. At some point we’ll put in some flooring nothing fancy, just a place to rest our boxes and baby paraphernalia!

access ladder all folded away

Yes that is a new ceiling and new paint, once the ladder is painted in it will hardly be noticed!

Access Ladder and matched in skirting boards

Aren’t the floors coming up beautifully?! Isn’t it amazing what paint can do, whilst there is still more to do, this hall already looks a world away from when we bought it. You can see some of the skirting is not painted in the back there, that’s a new section of wall, (the back of the bedroom wardrobe). Luckily when it came to replacing skirting we pretty much needed just as much as we ripped out! So by being careful in the demolition we could reuse all the original skirting that was either on walls we took down or stashed under the house. We just got the carpenter who installed the beading on the floors to put them back on for us. He was happy to do it as part of the job and it only took him about 10 extra minutes to do 4 small sections.

It’s really coming along at a great rate now.

Nursery Room Tour

July 5, 2010

We’re selling our house. In preparation to make the big move to our new-old house, that we’ve been renovating. Part of me is excited about the move but I’m also increasingly nostalgic about leaving this place. So I think there may be a few room tours over the next few weeks, as I try to say good bye to our home.

I wanted to post about our nursery for a while now. Its a blue girls room and I love it. Its still needing some bits and pieces but there is no time for ‘finishing off’ now.

girls blue nursery

blue and white nursery

I’ve never wanted my girls existence to be a parade of barbie pink (although there will always be pink around!) I wanted to find ways to make their rooms girly in a less obvious way.

Blue Girls Room

blue and girly

As I tested paints I found I really needed to choose a very light blue. I chose to paint it Answers by Dulux, which is a soft, pale, sky blue. I think its perfect blue colour for a baby girls room. I then coupled it with the brightest of whites (WA white by Solver) on the picture rails and above. Almost like the colour combination of a blue sky with fluffy white clouds.

Blue Girls Nursery

Blue and White for a Baby Girl

I then wanted to make it more girly by accenting with pink and purple. I’d found this stash of vintage flannelet in some fabrics my mum gave me that she bought when I was little.

Pink Orange and Purple Vintage Flannelet

Pink Orange and Purple Vintage Flannelet

It was $1.50 for two meters! From Woolworths! (it still had its price tag, stapled on!) Now if only I could pick up awesome, good quality fabric at fabulous prices from Woolies these days!!! The little orange and pink flowers inspired me to include orange into the accent colour mix. Using that I made bedding for the bassinet.

pink, orange, blue and purple basinet bedding

vintage flannelet basinet bedding

I bought the bassinet on-line from gumtree for $20! I like this woven style as it still seems soft enough, to put a baby in, but doesn’t bother me (about SIDS) like the flouncy, fabric covered kind do.

white basinet with handmade bedding

white woven bassinet

The little quilt (don’t look too close it’s my first quilt!) is backed in it and large enough that she now uses it in her cot. (The cot, which was handmade by my Dad.)

Baby quilt

Baby Quilt

For the rest of the room we really just re-purposed what was already there. The room still houses our guest bed and once used to be our master bedroom so has a wall of cupboards for storage and clothes.

Blue Girl Nursery

Blue Girls Nursery

Instead of removing them and putting in a change table we just installed a supported shelf where a hanging rod used to be and there you go, instant change table. Its actually really safe because there is hardly anywhere for her to roll off. Plus I have room to store nappies and wipes and everything else you might need.

Repurposed Wardobe as change table

The wardrobe made into a baby change area

The shelves at the end make perfect storage for all those tiny baby things.

Converting a Wardrobe to change table

Baby Storage in the Wardrobe

A few pink accents and a bit of whimsy here and there and I think its on its way to being a fun place for bubs to grow into.

Pink Blue Nursery Details

Fun Pink and Girly Accents

In fact to try and help make the move as easy on bubs as possible we’ve started decorating her new room in a the same way. Although I’m sure as she grows it will evolve. So I might update you one day.

Restoring Perth

May 23, 2010

I often complain about the lack of products and variety in Perth. However I think part of this ‘problem’ is actually a lack of information or access to what is actually available. Listen up shop owners of Perth….make your store, product or service accessible. No longer is  word of mouth, or ‘my mother told me about it’ going to cut it. Get a good website, put the word out there do what you can to let us know you exist and have something to offer.

We’ve spent the better part of 4years (or is it 5?) restoring our federation home. I’ve looked and looked for period products and recycled antique fittings or even reproduction or ‘in keeping’ products. Very difficult to find in Perth. I could launch into a whole tirade about how close minded the people of Perth are and complain about their love of cookie cutter ‘New’ which is often poor quality at sky high prices. I could stand up and state we shouldn’t just accept what’s given to us and we should, as consumers, demand variety and quality. I wont. Instead I want to show you Perth’s best kept secret for renovators of period homes.

Subiaco Restoration

Subiaco Restoration

If you’re thinking, federation, old fashioned, wooden, classic, timeless, shaker style, craftsmanship, quality, period, styling then this is the place for you. Subiaco Restoration. Its the best place to find reproduction fixtures and finishing. Fireplaces, period style bathroom cabinets,tiles, mirrors, lights, wooden doors and window frames, awnings.

Shaker Style Bathroom Mirror (Check out whats in the reflection, period style bathroom fixtures)

Its also a renovators DIY heaven.

warehouse full of decorative molded wood

warehouse full of decorative molded wood

It’s full of moulded wood, decking, cladding, paneling, posts and rails. Latches, handels, door knobs. It’s a period style bunnings.

retro handles

a tiny selection of the hundreds of handles and pulls they have

I snapped a few photos on my I-phone to give you an idea because frankly their website is just rubbish. It doesn’t work well or give you a proper impression of the place, the navigation is tiny and easy to miss. I think its probably a little dated too. I wish it was better because I might have discovered this place a long time ago. I’m not sure my photos are much better but trust me it’s worth going there.

Period Hardware Perth

Period Latches, Handles, Signs, Awnings and MORE!

All’s well that ends well, we’re now restoring our ‘new-old’ 40’s/50’s war home. It’s going to be a great go to place. Now if only I could find a great reclamation yard I’d be set.

Woven Wire Handles

Loving these handles, surely I can find a use for them somewhere

Happy hand me down

April 9, 2010

Today, as the cooler weather slowly settles in over our city, I was searching for something to dress my rapidly growing baby in. She is born the same time of year as her sister but growing at a much faster rate so hand-me-downs are a bit difficult to match up. However, I came across a little grey stretch shirt I’d made that my oldest never really fit into. It fits bubs perfectly! So it seems I didn’t waste my time two years ago!
Aren’t the little puff sleves cute?

Towels to Dye for!

March 5, 2010

For our wedding my brother bought us a gorgeous set of white Country Road towels, which I love, and they are lasting beautifully, plus they’re big and luxurious. About 2 years later I found them on sale in Myer, they didn’t have any white so I called my hubby to see what colour I should buy. At the time we thought ‘neutral’.

Towels before dying

Neutral Towels

Based on the idea that if we did a bathroom it would most likely be neutral. So I bought them. About a month later, after a couple of uses they went like this

Streaky towels to dye

The colour went all streaky

Yech. I dont know why, I can’t figure it out. I thought about returning them but then I thought I’d left it to long, and maybe it was something I did to them? There was nothing else wrong with them except the streaking of the colour. Then last year we did that second bathroom. Guess what – not neutral! Grey, lots of lovely greys and whites.

Grey and White Bathroom

Grey and White

Sure my white towels look fabulous but you need two towel sets in the rotation. Otherwise when the white ones are in the wash, hubby just grabs any old towel. That, gasp, shock, horror, DONT MATCH! Ok I know there are worse things in life but who knew it could be so easily fixed.

Dana posted recently about dying fabric. I’ve thought about dying the towels for some time but I’ve never been gutsy enough. I was always worried that it would ruin my machine or be hard work or come out streaky or fade or something. But encouraged by a ‘dye your towels’ from Dana, I took the plunge. I’m so very very excited about how well it worked.

I had to do a few things a bit different since it wasn’t a handful of onesies and apparently you can’t buy RIT dye in Perth, I’m not sure about Australia but I couldn’t find RIT dye in Perth anywhere. So I just chose this Jaquard iDye from Spotlight. The rest was so easy you can do it while you have a cuppa!

Jacquard iDye, Salt, Coffee

Jacquard iDye, Salt, Coffee

I just dyed it straight in the laundry sink. There was no way it would all fit in one bucket and I wanted to dye it all together to make sure the colour was consistent.

fabric dying straight in the sink

fabric dying straight in the sink

The dye I bought has all the traditional methods listed, you could even put it in a front loader but I decided to ‘experiment’. I was a bit worried that Heat was an important part of the process. I didnt want to stick the towels in the dryer. I try really really hard not to use it and its such lovely weather in Perth it seems a crime. So I boiled one kettle of water. Poured this over the dye satchels then added hot water straight from the tap. Its amazing how the satchels just dissolve and the colour bursts out! I made sure all the dye was dissolved by sticking a gloved hand in and mixing, especially across the bottom as it seemed to stick a bit.

Its also really pretty how the colour seeps into the fabric.

submerging the fabric

submerging the fabric

As you can tell I’ve had a whole lot of fun.

Now a couple of people post about this ‘easy’ way of dying and no one mentions the salt/vinegar. People ask and no one mentions whether is gets put in or not. So I decided to put it in. I started to put it in first then thought better and tipped it in after I’d submerged the fabric. I figure for a couple of dollars of salt why not.

Adding the salt After adding the fabric

Adding the salt After adding the fabric

Then I gloved up and stirred it up. I was hoping the dying would get the streaks out too, but I wasn’t confident. I also wanted to make sure all that salt was dissolved. The towels only just fit in the sink (with room to ‘swim’) so I had to be careful of splashing because I’m pretty sure it would stain your grout and most other things if you didn’t wipe it up straight away. I have a couple of dye stains on my arms where the gloves didn’t reach and I got splashed. The rest I wiped as I went and the laundry is none the wiser.

I rinsed and wrung the towels the best I could but they are so big and heavy I wasn’t super successful, in the end I tipped them into a bucked and straight into the machine. I put it on a normal 40C wash cycle and added a scoop of Omo (washing powder). I could see some of the dye in the machine as it washed and there was some splatter on the rim when I took it out but I wiped it down and ran a rinse cycle (water only) and you can’t tell.

rinse cycle

rinse cycle

I then caved in and put them in the dryer. Again I’m worried heat might help set the colour or something, but I only put them in for about 20mins, felt guilty and took them out. They were wet but nice and hot (like an aeroplane hot towel!) I put them on the line and stood looking at them with glee for about 5 whole minutes. They are PERFECT. Streak free, luxuriously fluffy and a beautiful shade of grey, they even seem to shine a little!

DIY Dyed Grey Towels

DIY Dyed Grey Towels

I am a little ashamed about the level of excitement I have over this but it was just too fun, and it worked out so well and it was EASY! Easy towel dying! aren’t they ‘to dye for’?

Look how lovely they are in my bathroom, I like how the dark grey ads a bit of elegance or luxury, dont you think?

easy dyed grey towels

Grey Elegance

Now I’m about to do another bathroom, in our new project house, whats to bet I do something stupid and choose neutral colours.

Unlikely, I do love grey, at the moment.