You may or may not have heard the term ‘upcycle’. Upcycling is similar to recycling except you give the old item more value, not less. It’s a great way to keep costs down and be kind to the earth.
Last weekend I attended a workshop called “Upcycle: bring new life to your threads” put on by Green Villages. The workshop was led by Kelly Doust, author of Minxy Vintage: how to customise & wear vintage clothing, who shared her tips and tricks for repairing and customising seccond-hand clothes. It was a real treat to get a peak in Kelly’s wardrobe as she brought along some of her favourite pieces, many of which are featured in her book. All participants were allowed to select an item of vintage clothing to be customised from the large pile provided, or you could take along your own. There was also a pile of scarves and other bits and pieces intended to be used to add accents to our clothes. It was in this pile I spotted the crochet tablecloth. Straight away an idea popped into my head- poncho! I love old crocheted clothes and a breezy poncho would be perfect for summer. I wore them all winter as they’re so easy to breastfeed in and cover up a body still recovering from pregnancy. I also feel kinda glamourous in a poncho. I know plenty of people think they’re daggy but there’s something about a bit of flowing fabric that makes me feel special.
The process was very simple. First grab your old tablecloth. You can pick these up at your local op shop for next to nothing.
Fold on the diagonal twice to find the centre then start cutting! I aimed for a boatneck style as I want to use it for breastfeeding over summer but you could make it scoop or V neck, whatever works for you. Try to keep the crochet design intact for aesthetic and structural reasons.
Pop it on and see how it fits. Despite measuring beforehand I found the hole stretched once cut so I marked the spot where I wanted to take in the hole on both sides with black thread then sewed this section together using a darning needed and matching cotton yarn.
Once you’re happy with the neck hole size you need to finish the edge. Again using your cotton thread and darning needle blanket stitch
all around the neckline, making sure to sew through structurally sound sections of the remaining crochet.
That’s it! You’re done! (Excuse the embarrassing selfie! And the messy hallway!)
If you have more time you can then crochet a decorative edge yourself. This is something I will attempt when I have some baby-free time over the holidays. I’ll update the post with a photo if/when that happens. Another nice idea would be to use contrasting yarn, or you could dye the whole poncho, ombré would be nice. The possibilities are endless! What’s your best upcycling project? Are you like me, a long term upcycler that has only recently discovered the term?
Gardening whilst living in the inner city is possible, you just have to get a little bit creative and make the most of your space. I was fortunate enough to receive some loofa seeds from a lovely lady, who I’ve never even met, named Sarah. I’ve wanted to grow my own loofas for a while now, it’s quite a change to grow something functional rather than aesthetic or edible (though you can eat loofas when they’re young) and loofas are just so intriguing! The seeds must be soaked for 24 hours before being planted in seed raising mix and kept in a greenhouse until the seedlings are large enough to transplant. Of course I have neither the room nor the money for a greenhouse so I made my own out of things most people have lying around the house.
You will need:
seed raising mix / potting mix
This is how we do it:
First fold your toilet roll in half vertically
Then fold again
Cut the roll in half
Cut along each fold line, about halfway up, then fold each section down, overlapping the last section with the first, until you have a base like that of a cardboard box
Fill with seed raising mix, place in your punnet and plant away! The plastic punnet acts as a little greenhouse and is small enough to fit in whatever tiny sheltered corner you have available. I line mine up along the side fence.
And the best part- the toilet rolls breakdown in the garden so you don’t even have to remove your seedlings, you just bung the whole tube in the ground! Too easy!