Archive for ‘Recycling + Reusing’

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cloth San Pad #1

Here’s my first ever attempt at a cloth sanitary pad. This one was intentionally a ‘tester’, made out of scrap cotton (though the fleece was bought new, but for how much you use it’s pennies per pad). As this one is a tester I didn’t include a waterproof layer – this should work nicely as a liner though.

I used the method shown here, with my own pattern (being overweight also means you generally need a longer pad).

All in all, it came out well;

pro points:

  • I did surprisingly well with the stitching, managing to get smooth , accurate curves almost all the time.
  • It’s very comfy indeed.
  • The press stud/popper works well, and is positioned about right.
  • It’s really easy to make.

negative points:

  • I messed up the line of the stitching a couple of times.
  • I didn’t get the tension right for sewing the back and pad together, meaning the stitching is loose on the back (not shown ;) )
  • The back needs a thicker material – I think flannel should work.
  • I didn’t quite get the back to pad sizing right.

All in all though, I’m very happy with my second real sewing project!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Well, I’ve finally decided to do something about my debt – I have about £1400 of credit card debit, a £300 overdraft that gets maxed every month, and £1600 of loan (though that is fixed repayments; the interest has already been added). Due to the fact I’m working a crappy paid job (£790 p/m after tax…. bank work does *not* pay well) I’m struggling a bit, especially as everything is just going up up up. And learning to drive isn’t helping at £19 a lesson ad £55 per test.

Anyway. I’m really trying to do something about it from now on.. ie not spend!

I did however make that resolution *after* deciding to finish my half-done X-Files dvd collection. I already had seasons 1-5, but the other day I managed to get Seasons 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 on ebay for £41 including postage. I’ve resold 1, 4 and 5 for £8.99 each plus postage. By my calculations that means I’ve wound up paying £14.03, including postage, for 7, 8 and 9. Considering they sell for about £15+ postage each, that’s a pretty good deal :) Now I just have to get #6 and I’m done :) I think that’s pretty smart buying, if I do say so myself.

This evening, hyped up on coke (the sugary kind), I’ve been figuring out why the stitching is all loose on the sewing machine. It turns out the bobbin was threaded wrong due to a rather hideously illegible diagram. Now it’s sorted (plus point one = learning how to use the thing) I’ve mended the ripped seam of a pair of trousers (plus point two = fixing something that would otherwise be thrown). All in all a productive couple of hours :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I have to give my lottie up :( The previous occupant hadn’t given it up, and it’s his shed, and he’s creating hell over it. The council have offered me what they say is the only other plot – they now have a waiting list – but I think it’s full of weeds :( I’ve asked them to rotavate and it depends if they can get the machine up the narrow side path the new one is on. Sigh. Not happy. I have to go tomorrow with Chris and empty my stuff out of the shed :(

However, a couple of positives to prove I’m not letting it get me down:

~ I’ve just been offered some large pots on freecycle (collecting tomorrow). Hopefully theyll be suitable for my needs :)

~ My plants indoors are doing extremely well – the first lot of tomatoes have now gone into their final large pots before going out in may. I have far far more tomatoes and peppers than I can ever use – excess will be going to Chris’ mum and on freecycle. The peas outside are doing ok, if a little slug-bitten. I have tons of strawberry plants.. and the ones I thinned out at the allotment are looking really healthy but don’t know if previous occupant will want them back. I also sowed some salad bits in the bed the other day – radishes, mixed salad leaves, spinach, spring onions, rocket and spinach beet. Probably far too much of them too but I like baby leaves so have to use more ‘plants’ to make the same amount of grub!

~ We are FINALLY managing to get the quantity of landfill-rubbish we produce down – collection day has snuck up on me (we have alternate weekly collections of plastic/card/compostables and waste/glass/tins/paper) and we’ve only filled about 1/3-1/2 of the bin! :)

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Well, its about time to make some resolutions for 2008!

1) Lose Weight.

You know, I’ve resolved to lose weight every year for god knows how long. I live in eternal hope that it’ll actually happen!

2) Cut Down My Landfill

Despite the fact that we recycle most of our tins, glass, card, some plastics, and paper, we still fill a wheelie bin every 2 weeks! So my aims for this are – a) recycle ALL glass/tins, even if it means extra washing up, b) check out what plastics can be recycled – theres a lot of those shaped plastic tray things that don’t have obvious symbols on so they end up getting binned, c) compost compostables! – get a small ‘bin’ for the kitchen for veg scraps etc, and d) stop using disposable sanitary products. I already use a mooncup about 75% of the time, but I do also use some towels and pantyliners. Once I’ve run down my stocks of disposables I want to switch to washable pads.

3) Cut Out The Chemicals.

I am gradually becoming a more environmentally-friendly person, but nowhere near the extent I’d like to. So my main goals for this year will be a) to cut out nasty chemical cleaners and b) use mostly natural skincare/soap etc (anyone know a ‘green’ anti dandruff shampoo that works??).

4) Sort Out Finances.

Despite the fact my boyfriend is working, I seem to be running out of money every month, possibly even to the same extent as I did when he wasn’t! That’s totally ridiculous so my aim is to really sort out my spending and stop blowing money on useless crap. I have what to me seems like a lot of debt – £1200 or so on my credit card, £300 constantly-used overdraft, plus a student loan of £6000+ (but that won’t kick in til i’m earning more). I’d really like to make some headway at getting rid of the CC debt and overdraft this year, and hopefully starting some savings.

Then, there’s the things I’d like to do… not resolutions as such as some of them are enjoyable things, new skills I’d like to learn, etc.

1) The Garden.

I’ve decided to do a lot of growing in pots on the patio in 2008, as it worked so well in 2006. I will of course still be using my bed but for things that don’t suffer slug damage so much – ie tomatoes and beans. I’d like to get a little more serious with growing salad veg this year and try and succession sow properly so I have a little to pick all the time. I’d also like at growing peppers in the greenhouse – the sweet kind, but also jalapenos, which I’d like to learn how to bottle for mexican meals. kethry also has some mild chilli seeds which sound great for roasting and stuffing.. yum!

2) Craft.

The main thing I’d like to learn is how to sew on a machine – both for fun and for practical uses such as hemming scraps of cloth/old clothes for reusable cloths, and making washable sanitary towels.

3) Cooking.

I definitely want to improve my cooking skills. The main thing I’d like to work on is vegetarian dishes that don’t use meat replacements – Chris loves them so we use them far too much for my liking. For the sake of gradually working towards a simpler life with less processed crap I’d like to use more vegetables, pulses, beans etc.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I’ve spent a couple of hours this evening starting wrapping my christmas presents. I like to really take some time with this, to make them look really special (even though they may be bought in a more money-saving fashion).


The one on the top left is the one I’m most pleased with – the base layer is a wine red tissue, covered in clear cellophane with silver stars, and a large bow of wired-edge ribbon (the wired ribbon means that bows look really impressive, rather than flat and floppy). It’s actually a fairly ‘small’ gift for my mum – a set of two small glass vases with flower bulbs included, ready for growing :)

Next, a red tissue wrapped parcel, with a simple fabric ribbon bow in blue. This is actually a very cheap, jokey gift for Chris, but it’s too large to fit in his stocking so I’ve wrapped it ‘properly’ (even I don’t bother with *really* elaborate wrapping for stocking-gifts).

The ‘stack’ is the set for my mum I mentioned previously – this photo frame and a matching candle holder (they seem to have sold out of that, thankfully I got it in time!). Neither are especially expensive.. I got them both for £9, but they look really nice in person, and I know my mum will love them. I’ve wrapped them individually in tissue (the more expensive one with lettering is lined with cheaper plain white so it can’t be seen through), then bundled them together with some red fabric ribbon.

At the front is a gift for my sister and brother ‘in law’ – a ‘learn italian’ course on CD (they’re currently restoring a newly bought italian holiday home). Wrapped in silver tissue with red lettering, and tied with a silver ‘rope’ style ribbon. (I love the ‘rope’ – its from poundland, but looks and feels really good quality).

Finally at the front right is a gift for Chris, so I can’t say what it is :) But I do think it looks rather special wrapped simply in red tissue with a wired ribbon bow.


You may have noticed a theme in my wrapping – tissue and fabric ribbons. There are a couple of reasons for this – 1) it looks gorgeous, and 2) it’s a slightly more eco friendly option. All of the gifts will have tags attached at a later point, with the usual ‘To/From’ information and a Christmas greeting, but also with a small note at the end explaining that the tissue is more readily recyclable than foil/plastic coated wrapping papers, and the ribbons can be reused for other gifts (I’ve tied them lightly with single knots for this specific reason). I’m hoping that my recipients will take this to heart, and that my gifts won’t contribute another sackful of waste to landfill.

(yes, I know the cellophane will be difficult to recycle. The piece used here was actually a large ‘scrap’ from last years hamper-construction. I’ve yet to think of something that will substitute well for cellophane round hampers – tissue tears too easily on odd shapes with pointy corners (although I use it inside the cello to hide the gifts from peeking!), and I just well.. don’t like gift bags much. I use them occasionally, but I don’t think they’re quite the same for unwrapping a gift on Christmas morning!)

These methods HAVE worked out a little more expensive – though not too badly as I’ve bought things on special and in cheap/bargain shops, but it’s a cost I can live with for beautiful gifts and hopefully less landfill!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

General Musings…


Today was a bit of an experiment, I got left in charge at work (boss on hol, asst boss day off) for the first time … It went okay, despite a slight hitch in the form of the-person-with-the-safe-keys getting screwed over by cancelled trains. We opened and shut on time, I didn’t cock up the cashing up, everything that needed to be done got done, and I coped with a couple of tricky till issues etc.. So all good really. It’s good to know I’m expanding my repetoir, so to speak, this sort of thing will be a real plus for the CV.


Luckily, with the aid of some plastic bottle windbreaks and fleece, my peas all seem to have survived the cold snap. We’ve had 2 or 3 bouts of snow but they seem fine. The seedlings inside are also doing fine… one of my basils FINALLY has its second leaves, the chillis are growing, all the rest of the herbs are healthy and growing, albeit slowly… all good really.

I got a new batch of seeds in the post today from Alan Roman’s; ‘The Prince’ french bean, ‘Spinnaker’ spinach, ‘Longstander’ coriander, Oregano, Rocket, two lots of ‘Gartenperle’ tumbling tomatoes, cress, and a round variety of courgettes. That, plus a couple packs of aubergine and one of flowers for kethry came to the measly sum of £6.80, including P+P. I’m very impressed :)

(of course, I may run out of space for all this stuff… )


Slight issue with freecycle, in that they found out about my new site, ReGive, and don’t think I can run the two ‘without competition’.. so I may be shortly losing my ‘ownership’ of the group. Hrm. I’m mostly worried about the effect of this on Scunny Freecycle’s 900+ members.. but not much I can do about it except state my case and let them decide. We’ll see.

(Bit of a bummer tho, Scunny Freecycle is ‘my baby’)

That’s about it really. Tomorrow’s my day off, so I’ll be planting some seeds, popping out to the shops for some food (local veg, not the supermarket!), and having a driving lesson. I’ve managed *not* to use my entire £300 overdraft this month (given my financial situation, thats the first time in months), so I might use the extra to pay of a bit of my credit card.