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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Recycling plastic containers into planters

So I've been about the idea of recycling plastic containers into planters to hold small plants for some time now. I was inspired by a large number of youtube videos that show beautiful plants thriving in glass jars and containers, and I really wanted to try it out for myself.

However, I soon hit a snag. I was informed by the gardening experts that glass jars do not make great planters because there is no drainage, and unless the plants are chosen carefully and watered very expertly, they are likely to suffer from root rot and die.I was rather annoyed to hear this as I'd had visions of creating a whole desktop of gorgeous little plants in glass jars :-)

True to my nature I did not give up and did more research. I finally hit on the idea of using cut-upsoft plastic water bottles and salad containers as planters, as they are soft enough to poke holes in with a penknife, knife or large scissors - thus providing the much-needed drainage. As it happened, other (harder) plastic containers, or the lids of the containers, could be used underneath the actual planter to catch excess water. These could then be periodically emptied and cleaned.

So far, so good... after a few mishaps, these seem to be growing relatively happily on my desk at the office ! :-)

Planters made out of cut-up plastic water bottles

Planter made out of ready-to-eat salad packaging

Using recycled items as storage containers

Recycled/re-purposed items aren't just great materials for craft projects - they also make great storage containers too! :-)

I should clarify here that I'm really not an advocate of the "Don't throw anything away" mantra as that sort of thing leads to disorganisation, untidiness and clutter in the long run. Quite the opposite in fact, as I regularly go through cupboards, wardrobes and drawers and either discard or donate anything that is no longer being used. I definitely do subscribe to the Marie Kondo school of thought  on that one! :-)

But I do believe that some items can be recycled and repurposed into crafts and storage containers. As long as the item is sturdy, can be properly cleaned and dried and holds its shape well, you can definitely find a use for it.

Here, I used a variety of small empty cardboard boxes in which a couple of pairs of earrings came in, an old spectacle case, a plastic container I got in a bon-bon once, and various plastic name card boxes, to organise the stuff in my office desk drawer. The good thing about using small containers inside of drawers is that they can be packed tight enough to avoid the contents of the drawer sliding around messily every time the drawer is opened and shut.

The tissue pack holder was a free gift with another item I purchased, so while it's not strictly speaking a recycled or re-purposed item, it wasn't bought and I found a use for it instead of throwing it away :-)

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Using leftover fabric to wrap gifts

A while ago we ordered new curtains for our windows. We selected a very pretty fabric, translucent off-white with gold markings. As it happened, there was a fair bit of leftover material after we'd gotten the curtains tailored. I asked for the extra pieces back from the tailor, folded it and stored in a large book that I keep in which to store fabric scraps.

I had a gift to wrap over the weekend, and so pulled out my fabric book to find a suitable piece to use as a wrapper. As soon as I saw the extra curtain pieces, I decided on that as the off-white and gold finish complemented the box perfectly.

I cut the fabric to size, wrapped the box by tying the edges into knots and tucking in excess fabric using pins (the kind used in needlework), and added some light-brown ribbon.

This was the result :-)

Questions, comments or ideas to share? Email me at Also, follow me on Instagram @sjdacrafts.