15 uses: A plastic Christmas

Plastic is incredibly bad for the environment, to produce it and when it’s thrown away. I sometimes imagine the whole world choking under a blanket of plastic, which isn’t too far from the truth since thousands of animals, if not millions, are killed by tossed away plastic each year normally through strangulation or choking. There are lots of environmental programmes out there at the moment that are attempting to find ways to replace plastic with an eco alternative, I recently heard about one using a type of fungi. For the most part however plastic is here to stay so we need to make sure we dispose of it responsibly or better yet not at all and make it in to sometime useful again. So here is my little collection of upcycling plastics into a wonderful and eco conscious Christmas!

Plastic Christmas tree ornaments

Plastic Tree Ornaments

1. Rings of cut plastic can easily be transformed into simple ornaments by wrapping round colourful wool or ribbon until the entire surface is covered. Add a loop to hang and you have some mini wreaths for your tree.

2.  I love the look of these plastic toys spray painted in different colours. Toys like this are so easy to find at charity shops and jumble sales, just drill or screw in a little hook into each back, add ribbon and you can hang them. Really light weight too.

3. A collection of plastic bottle tops can be strung together with ribbon and extra beads to make an easy and green ornament as always spray paint is your friend

4. The bottom of soda or pop bottles are often used for creative crafts for their flower like shape but in this case I think they are more like snowflakes. A fun craft for kids to decorate but make sure an adult cuts off the bottoms of the bottles

5. I had to include my own yoghurt pot lid creations from last year. I will be using mine again this Christmas and I still love the personal touch it brings to your tree. Here’s the tutorial.

plastic christmas trees

Plastic Christmas Trees

1. Plastic spoons- I have actually come across large sets of plastic cutlery in charity shops before so I think they would be easy to find and glue to a paper cone, but don’t go out and buy them new! We don’t want to encourage any more plastic consumption.

2. Another one for soda bottles- This tree uses the top end, with the neck used to add more to the tree with the sides cut to flay outwards.

3. This crazy tree appears to use everything and anything plastic, not quite my style but amazing recycling credentials, 5 star!

4. This green plastic bottle tree is beautiful as its the closest to the real thing. It looks like it would need a firm base and structure though.

 5. A plastic bag tree, Once again a structure looks like it is needed to stuff the plastic bags in but I’m sure you inventive crafty lot will be able to think of something.

plastic wreaths and other ornaments

Plastic Wreaths and Other Christmassy Ornaments

1. Not a decoration but using plastic packaging to organise your Christmas decorations will mean a stress free time for next year and protect your more delicate ornaments

2. Cute little festive penguins- made out of two soda bottle bottoms glued together and painted. I’m sure you don’t have to stick to penguins they probably make really good roly poly santas too.

3. Another use for soda bottle bases- glued together and spray painted they make a unique but wonderful wreath for any door, but you probably need quite a lot so start saving now for next year.

4. An upturned clear plastic pot makes the perfect cover for a wintery scene, find small figurines or make your own and create a snow scene a lot less messy then your classic snow globe which often end up leaking everywhere.

5. This wreath is much easier to do. Plastic bags shredded and strung together into a ring makes a snowy style wreath and you can always spray paint it a different colour to match your theme especially if you don’t have just plain white bags.

Have fun crafting and don’t forget to check out the pinterest board for more ideas.


x xxx


15 uses: Cardboard boxes vol 2.

It’s been a while since I did a 15 uses so I hope your ready to get crafting! Since I’ve just moved I’ve bought a lot of furniture to fill the house and with that has come lots of big cardboard boxes so that has inspired todays collection as I have plenty of materials to play with. I have found for you 5 Christmas ideas, 5 furniture ideas and 5 costumes ideas because it doesn’t need to be Halloween to dress up!

cardboard christmas

Cardboard Christmas

1. Those little scraps of corrugated cardboard that come in packing would make great creative decorations for the tree. In love the brown and can see it translating well to snowmen, robins and mini trees very well. Just need a bit of glue, ribbon to hang and a good imagination to put them together

2. This is so cool! Advent calendar made out of different boxes and scrap cardboard. could be pricey to fill with toys and sweets individually but you could put in them fun ideas to do like a DVD for a movie night, Christmas carols to sing or personal notes giving thanks to family memberts

3. Really fun easy ornaments, cardboard circle and coloured string or yarn. Cut a cardboard circle out, make small slits around the edges and then wrap string around it, through the grooves, to make star shapes. I am definitely going to make these

4. A cardboard Christmas tree. I am going to do this for our tree this year so watch our for my own tutorial

5. A reindeer head. A fun twist on the class stag head above the fireplace and no reindeers have to die in the making of it. Would love to do this too if I have time

cardboard costumes

Cardboard Costumes

1. A cute inventive airplane, probably very popular this year after Disney movie Planes was released. Doesn’t look simple to make though

2. Transport is quite popular with cardboard costumes and this fire engine is really cool. Make sure the straps used to carry it around are comfortable. Elastic is a good bet and would be easy to get in and out of

3. This Lego costume is so easy and simple.  A plain box with plastic cups stuck to the front, spray painted and add matching coloured clothes

4. This crocodile head is a cheap costume if you have the right coloured clothes already, can easily be adapted for other animals as well. Dinosaurs are similar but more fun!

5. The easiest costume but requires a lot of ink. Big flat piece of cardboard with a square cut out for your facebook ‘profile picture’ and add in your details.

cardboard furniture

Fab Furniture

1. You might consider cardboard a weak material but put together in the right way it can be very strong, as with this letter shaped chair. Glue many pieces together and the whole item will be sturdy. The more the merrier and stronger.

2. I love the cartoony look of this bedroom, would look cool in a student or kids room but may look a bit too childish for an adult home, but each to their own.

3. Some cardboard is better then others. You can get ready reinforced cardboard depending on the object it’s packing. We had our cooker replaced and it came packaged in right angled strips of very firm cardboard. These would be perfect for a bookcase like the one above to support the weight of magazines and books

4. This little table makes use of the circular tubes you get posters and prints delivered in. The legs would make it very sturdy and the corners strong.

5. The tutorial to make this chest of drawers is amazing and the result is fantastic. Do take a look.

I look forward to doing some of these! Any of my readers going to try these? would love to know and see the finished results. Check out Instagram Makersmeadow to get sneak peaks before the blog.


 x xxx

15 uses: Dresses

This week I am flipping 15 uses on its head and finding different bits of rubbish that could all be used to make one thing. I’m starting off with upcycled fashion and to begin with I’ve chosen dresses. So instead of thinking what do I do with all this (insert rubbish you have copious amounts of) be thinking I want (insert hearts desire) so what can I make it from. I’ve found a brilliant collection of dresses made from other fabrics, papers and some more unusual finds.

dresses fabric


The most suitable way of making an attractive but comfortable dress is to delve into old and tired fabrics  to create new life

1. I love the skirt on this made entirely from old ties. There are plenty of these languishing in charity shops and your dads wardrobe, make use of them.

2. There are plenty of army surplus or fake camouflage to get you hands on, just depends if you want to sport the army look or not. *note probably not good for running in.

3. A classic item that is always getting chucked out is denim, so keep its life cycle going with a cute summer dress

4. Patch work is the original of upcycled fabric crafts, using spare bits of fabric or cuttings off old items to create a whole new one. Normally reserved for bed spreads I think I dress would look equally cool

5. Men shirts are another charity shop staple and should be used more often to create new things

dresses paper


Plenty of it so use it though I see these all for statement pieces rather then general ware, though depends on your fashion

1. Books are a joy but there are endless amounts piling up in our homes, create your own masterpiece with a show stopping dress.

2. Maps are beautiful and would make a brilliant design for a dress

3. Fashion magazines display the best of designers skills but they themselves could be transformed into brilliant dress designs

4. The easiest paper to get hold of and the most flexible but watch out for tears

5. Strips of cardboard packaging, in this case cereal boxes, could make a fun dress and it appears to have more structure to the other paper ideas making it probably the most viable design. I like the belt to make it look more natural dresses unusual materials

Unusual Items

Bizarre ideas but ones that could definitely work as a statement piece. I would advice a fabric lining for all of these to maintain modest and comfort

1. Plastic rather then paper this time. Fused grocery bags in different colours could make a simple dress. Once the plastic bags are fused together they can be worked just like fabric

2. A collection of bottle caps, metal wire and tin plating creates this strange piece though can’t imagine it being a very comfortable experience. How would you sit down?!

3. I like this one made from lids and tops. Its like a colourful flapper dress but once again I can’t imagine its comfy to sit down in and a light slip would be needed underneath unless your super racey.

4. This police line dress looks amazing but where would you get such materials, I’m sure the bobby’s wouldn’t be too pleased if you started snaffaling their tape

5. Using packaging of any kind looks fun and quirky but make sure they are all washed out thoroughly or you’ll start to smell like a rubbish tip


So would you dare to go for the outrageous dresses or stick to the plain and simple fabric ones?


X xxx

15 uses: cork

My 15 uses projects often require plenty of small objects to create impressive pieces which means saving up your waste for a long time, which is cool, but its very satisfying to have the items you need here and now. luckily now I work in a pub I have abundant access to lots of bits and bobs, namely bottle caps and wine bottle corks. So today I am showing you some clever ideas for cork in the garden, for practical home uses and for a lovely bit of decoration or art. A good glue gun is all that’s required for most of these projects

cork gardening

5 cork ideas for gardening

1. Simple and easy, write the name of your plant on the side of a cork, stab the cork on to a wooden skewer and you will always know what you planted and where

2. A little bit  of imagination and you can build a little house for all your feathered friends. You could create a simple box but the cottage is much more interesting

3. Hollow out the centres and create little planters for small succulents and air plants

4. Carve corks into little toad stools to plant round the garden to invited fairies in, you can even paint the tops red with white spots

5. You can use cork like you would pebbles to decorate flower beds and keep weeds down but if you whizz them up in the food processor they make great mulch to mix into your soil and help plants thrive.cork decorate  5 decorative uses with cork

1. Hanging hearts are simple to make with a glue gun instantly adding decoration to a room

2. This shop has used corks with coloured ends to create an interesting display, could adapt well to a small business especially one with a green ethos

3. Far a way I know but never to0 early to think about Christmas, plus this will give you a chance to collect corks to make this cute little tree

4. Who ever did this has got some skills, all you need is a gizzilion corks and an eye for colour and shading. good luck if you attempt a portrait of this scale.

5. A simple letter monogram can be used in a bedroom or at a party, you could even do a whole word and spell out the birthday persons name

cork practical

5 practical ideas for the home.

1. A basic rectangle bath math made from corks, brilliant but I imagine you want to make sure it gets a good airing every couple of weeks

2. a perfect little gift for those who work around water, screw and glue in place a loop screw into the top of the cork and attach the keys. I like them decorated as this little muscle man but plain can suffice or painted in a block colour.

3. Group lots of corks into a circle and secure with cable grips and you have an effective and eco friendly trivet for hot pans. You could glue the corks together as well to secure them further.

4. The classic cork craft, a notice board to stick all those receipts, business cards and post cards on.

5. A cork board tray for serving wine. perfect match especially if you collected the corks single handed or is that single glassed

cork board

I actually went for the boring practical option of a notice board simply because the pub needed one for the smoking area, but I think it comes up rather well especially with the chalk board beneath for more messages. Happy Crafting!


x xxx

Build a bookcase

filled bookcase

As you can imagine upcycling and recycling comes second nature to me especially snce m shops products are remade from unloved materials. Its the idea of working with what youve got because its great for the environment and our pocket. Since moving we’ve realised we have lots of things but no where to keep them, having previously rented fully furnished houses. Instead of buying brand new or even popping to our local second handstore for items, we though lets use what we’ve got right now. This included a shabby old pine bookcase that was in what has become to be known as the junk room. It was hidden beneath piles of catering ware and i spotted an opportunity to create a place for all our books, DVDs and trinkets as well as making a sideboad for our living room.build a bookcase

First things first, i flipped in on its side to make a long side platform which fits perfectly inbetween the doors to our kitchen and my craft room. Next i did the most important thing. Deciding on what i wanted to display and where i wanted to put it. This involved a big sort and a lot of donate or keep decisions.
I then measured the gaps between the main slates and measured and marked where my additional shelves would be placed. I then recycled some more and used two very long pieces of ply wood which i also found in the junkroom, to use for the new shelves. I measured and lined where to cut on the pieces and then used our trusty mitre saw (circular chop saw) to perfectly slice the pieces. Its my new favourite toy.chop saw
I used m electric drill to drill holes through the points i’d marked on main slates and through into the edge of the slates. I drilled 2 holes per side of a shelf so 4 altogether which makes very secure. I then tightened screws into the holes and further upcycled as i used old screws which i had to take out of furnishing, walls and shelves when first decorating. I propped each shelf at the right level using books and wood so it wasn’t wonky when drilling and constructed it from bottom to top so i could build a platform on each level up for the net placement.building a bookcase
It took me about an hour to drill and screw in all the pieces but the real pre was making sure to measure properly and get the individual slats the right size. in all honesty, if your using an old piece of furniture it is not always perfectly formed as was the case with our bookcase. Upcycling is about working with what you’ve got which might not be perfect yet i think mine still looks pretty good. Once you’ve finished you get to do the fun part and fill it up again.mao n books

bus n books filled bookcaseLorna

X xxx

15 uses: Upcycled Furniture

After a brief spell away 15 uses is back this week and i hope you all enjoy this upcycling bananza. Since we will be moving in to our new home soon we have been thinking about furniture and what we need to make our little flat comfortable. The previous owner left lots of mismatched furniture and it would be really nice to turn some of them into useful pieces for ourselves. Not only is it good for the environment its easy on the pocket especially when it comes to moving which is such an expensive time. Although we don’t have children and i can’t get away with ‘playing’ imaginary games any more, the first lot of upcycled furniture pieces are play areas for kids. I had to include them because they are so dam cute!
diy play furniture5 ideas for imaginary play.

1. Kitchens seem to be a popular pieces on pinterest and in toy shops. I remember having a plastic kingfisher kitchen as a child with two sides to it and a little roof supported on both sides so you can see from one side to the next. Fun to remember my sister and i use to crawl through the gap as part of our made up obstacle course, until the day she got stuck in it :D

2. An old book case can make a easy shop front, you can let kids play with actual groceries or there are many plastic /textile play items that you can buy,

3. Another Kitchen one because it’s so cute. Any old piece of furniture can be transformed into a kitchen unit. Use a little imagination and you can really help your child imagine all sorts of things.

4. Not as exciting as a kitchen but a laundry set might encourage children to clean up after themselves and start learning important life skills.

5. Get crafty and encourage your child’s own artistic skills by making a work bench, whether their interested in woodwork, sewing or painting you could make an area with their favourite job in mind.

suitcase upcycle

5 ideas with suitcases

1. Add legs off an old table and pad the insides and you have got the coolest seat ever. You would have to reinforce the back some how so you can lay back in the chair and not rip the case off its hinges.

2. Same idea as number one but have it close to the floor to make a pet bed. I’m sure the pooch would appreciate it  and it would look so much nicer then a standard plastic one

3. Once again, simply add some legs and you’ve got a cool table

4. Stand a case on its end, cut out a rectangle from the side and add in some shelving to make a unqiue book case or as in the example above a cocktail bar! Scweet!

5. Use a collection of suitcases to make cool storage . You could cut the lids off and slid each case into a deep book case to make an instant set of drawers wit a vintage feelcrazy upcycled

5 random but fun ideas

1. You could use a whole collection of furniture, book shelves and spare wood to make a display unit for a whole wall. Paint in the same colour for a cohesive look or go wild and paint it  a rainbow.

2. Make an old TV into a cat bed. Wearing gloves and goggles you can take the inside components and screen out, pad with a cushion and spray paint it a wacky colour.

3. An old chair with no legs can make a lovely garden swing with firm ropes and a strong branch

4. Got chickens? a dresser with a hole cut out the side with added ramp makes a safe chicken roost, off the ground and secure

5. Updating your bathroom, use your old bath suite to make a funky sofa. Cut a piece out of the side, sand down and add a comfortable custom cut foam piece. Paint to suite your style.

Check out the pinterest board for all links


X xxx

15 Uses: Bubble Wrap

Doesn’t everybody love abit of bubble wrap! there seems to be a nostalgic feeling linked to it and i can only think its because you get all crazy like a child when you start popping the little brutes. That said i do have 5 inspired ideas for children but there is also 5 practical uses for it and 5 more creative ones. It may not be the most eco friendly thing to use but if you already have some make sure to keep on reusing it rather then put it in the bin. I was very fortunate last year to acquire a huge roll of it when a new TV came in a very big box filled to the brim with the stuff. Its gonna last me a very very long time. practical bubble wrap

5 Practical Ideas

1. Bubble wrap i a great insulator so use to line a cotton bag to make a insulated lunch box/bag. Keep your sarnies fresh and your drinks cool.

2. Line brown envelopes with sheets of bubble wrap to create a safe package for delicate items. You could even make your own envelopes from scrap paper by gluing/taping bubble wrap to the paper then folding in two and taping shut.

3. Print off a simple number calendar then cover with bubble wrap with the right sized bubbles. Pop a bubble everyday and keep on track

4. Simple but effect stress relief. Just keep popping till you feel better :D

5. Insulate again by covering window panes with bubble wrap, it keeps the heat in but also stops windows heating up rooms in bright summers. Maybe not the most attractive looks but certainly works.

bubble wrap kids

5 Fun Things for Kids

1. A bit early but never to early to plan next christmas. Same principle as the calendar make an advent one to count down the days till Christmas

2. Paint and print using the wrap, great rainy day activity. Makes great honeycomb, Fish scales and sea.

3. Make a travel game by printing/drawing items e.g. lorry, cow etc and letting kids pop a bubble when they see one. Easy eye spy.

4. Just give kids a load of bubble wrap to play with and their imagination will do the rest.

5. paint number one to ten on squares of wrap and make an indoor popping hopscotch
bubble wrap creative

5 creative uses

1. make funky gift wrap. you could paint the bubble wrap back or first cover it in normal paper to make the present nice and bright. top with a bow and we’re good to go

2. Make bubble wrap sculpture.  There are many more elaborate ones on the internet but i like this little frog

3. Paint the bubbles to make a typographical 3-D poster or inject bubbles with coloured water, more fiddly but a cleaner look.

4. Pour melted chocolate over  the wrap to make unique decorations for desserts and cupcakes

5. Same principle as no.3 make a portrait painting of your family pet, your fav musician or loved one for your home

For more tutorials and for any links check out the bubble wrap board on pinterest


x xxx

In the World: Mandy Pattullo

Stag- Mandy Pattullo

A new years resolution perhaps or a long idea and goal within the artist mind, Mandy Pattullo says:
‘I don’t want to buy new anymore and pursue what I call a thread and thrift vision’
The Northumberland textile designer and artist uses vintage and thrifted fabrics to create her collages, particularly pieces which have show a previous craft applied, for instance embroidery, or have a unique tarnished look from their past. This appreciation of history and that old does not necessarily mean defunct, instantly connects me to her unique and naturally heartwarming pieces.

Orange Skirt - Mandy Pattullo

Pattullo also creates garments from old quilts inspiring a boho style look but still easily wearable for a wander around the shops. I enjoy the added embellishments and layering techniques and adore the most brightly coloured ones

About Me - Mandy Pattullo

As an artist Pattullo has been able to explore her own projects rather then rely on the customer. Her personal interest in Victorian cemeteries has inspired two exhibits both dealing in ideas of memory. As well as featuring her use of vintage textiles, she also used her other passions for printmaking and paper ephemera collages to add to the experience and create a haunting but absorbing collection.

sewing collage- Mandy Pattullo

View more of her collections on her Website or read more about herself and works on her aptly named blog Thread and Thrift She also teaches printmaking and mixed media classes so check  her out if your interested and in the area.

Hope you enjoyed this little view


X xxx

In the World: Michelle Reader

London based artist Michelle Reader delights us with colourful, mechanical style sculptures made from household and industrial waste, creating pieces for clients that not only are amazing realistic constructions but also weave a story by her choice of materials. She works with schools, galleries, corporate businesses to create outstanding pieces for displays and events. She also works as a freelance artistic educator as well as maintaining a personal portfolio of work

Michelle Reader, Elk

Most of her work, whether for galleries or corporate venues, has a strong environmental connection, as you might expect with an upcycling artist. She features many animals and figures in her work to discuss the effect we as humans are having on the planet. What interests me most however are the corporate commissions as it feels like a great step for big businesses to take, highlighting their own wastefulness, when they are often guilty of overlooking their affect on the world and focusing on profit instead.

Michelle Reader, BAA and Costa Coffee recycling initiative

There is no better way to describe the process then by the artist herself. In her arstic statement she describes the process and result of using these found objects in the creation of a family portrait.

‘The choice of materials can also be a key part of the story of a piece. In 2008 I created a portrait of a family made from a month’s worth of their own household waste. The materials not only highlight a need to address the amount of waste each of us produces, but also tells the story of each individual through the things they discard – a child’s drawings, a shopping list, a birthday card. I try wherever possible to use materials that are reclaimed, things with a history that have been discarded and might otherwise end up in landfill. My sculptures draw attention to environmental issues in an aesthetic, humorous and non-confrontational way’

Michelle Reader, Seven wasted men, Cambridgeshire County Council

Though most of her work is commissioned based she does have some available pieces on her website and works with several galleries in London, putting on educational workshops As with all upcycling artists i am amazed at the range and imagination within each piece of work.  For more photos of her work and to see where more of her pieces are being displayed, visit Michelle Readers website


X xxx

15 Uses: Scrap Paper

The recycling bins lingering at the bottom of the garden are still overflowing with the deludge of Christmas festivities that bring with it extra bottles of mulled wine, plastic packaging from an excessive amount of cheese and gift wrap  and cards coming out hour ears. To ease the congestion till the bins resume normal duties hears some ideas for any scrap paper that you might be tempted to put in the recycle bin. 5 Simple ideas for staying organised and stationary smart this new year, 5 gift wrap and cards ideas, because Birthdays still happen in January and 5 interesting home decorations.
scrap paper stationary


5 Ideas for the office

1. A scrap envelope note book. People actually sell these on Etsy and i can’t believe people buy them. Keep all your used envelopes from friends, banks and junk mail, cut each ones edges so you have two separate rectangles. Once you have a nice stack of them, fold one to find a center fold and use this as a marker for your spine. You can either staple or sew the pieces together to make a quick booklet for doodles or notes.

2. Use colourful scrap paper to brighten up your drawing pencils, a bit of pvc brushed on to lengths of paper then wrap them around. Paint an other layer of glue over the top to seal.

3. Use little squares of scrap paper to make days for a calendar. Glue the squares on to a piece of card, titled with each month, write the day  numbers in each corner, string together all the months using a hole punch and ribbon. You can hang it up with the ribbon too so you never miss a date

4.  Once you’ve made the booklet in no. 1 you could cover the outside with cardboard to make a firm cover and decorate that with other pieces of scrap paper.

5.  Make heart shaped corner protectors/book marks. You will need to cut a heart shape and a triangle that fits in to the point of the heart and goes up to the start of the heart curve. Place these pieces together then use some coloured electrical tape to bind the edges. The triangle can now be used to slot on to a page.scrap paper presents

5 Ideas for Giftwrap and cards

1. Use scraps of paper or old envelopes to make new ones to send cards and letters to loved ones, decorate with more scrap paper and stamps.

2. You can make lots of attractive decorations for simple wrapped presents. The example is one of my favourites. Cut out circles of colourful paper and sew them together to make a long banner, wrap around the gift and it instantly looks more professional and special

3. Make scrap bows with thin lengths of paper folded in to loops and then glued/stapled in place.

4. You can make easy homemade cards by using bits of paper to make classic pictures like balloons, birthday cakes or hearts.

5. Why not make a scrap heart decoration for parties or even to adorn a present. Cut out lots of hearts, starting with the largest and getting smaller and smaller. Sew them all together right down the center so the edges can flare out and create a 3D effect

scrap paper decoration5 Ideas for home decoration

1. Long strips of plain white paper make this striking lampshade above but you could use different colours for your own room.

2. Glue petal shaped scraps together into a circular bowl shape for a simple catch for coffee tables or near the front door. Glue a bead or gem into the center to cover the glue at the middle.

3. A plain blank canvas can be transformed with simple shapes in block colours,  experiement with different shapes and positions before you start gluing.

4. Keep killing the plants? Make a paper leafed tree for your house and you will never need to water it. Use real twigs or wire wrapped in paper/fabric/tape and glue on leaf shaped paper pieces

5. A simple shaped hole punch can create a colourful art piece in minutes rather then hours. Pick a shape and then find complementary or contrasting colours to make a simple poster that you can frame for any room in the house


Check on the pinterest board for all credits and further ideas and tutorials. What do you want upcycling??? i’d love for some more ideas on things to look out for.


X xxx