52 Weeks of Upcycling

This week I joined and upcycling challenge that is the brain child of Bec from Little Brown Dog.  This is how Bec describes the challenge:

So…….. in 2016 my weekly challenge is to create a small wearable object from all manner of discarded bits and pieces. My hope is to challenge ideas of waste and give other folks some inspiration to turn junk into jewellery.

I am going to share my weekly creations on Instagram but I thought it would also be nice to describe my processes on my blog.

Week 1

To get inspiration for the challenge I took a trip to Reverse Garbage.  This place is a treasure trove of rescued waste and a great place to get ideas.  I knew that I had come to the right place when I spotted some name badge holder (a bargain at $0.30)

plasic name tag

At home I searched through my basket of scrap fabric.  I picked out four patterned fabrics that I thought would make interesting badges.


Placing the name badge holder on top of the fabric roughly cut out the piece that I wanted to use.  As the holder is clear plastic I could easily visualise how the finished product would look.  I had some iron on interface at home.  After I had cut it to shape I ironed it on to the fabric to stiffen it.  I then placed the holder on to the wrong side of the fabric and traced around it.  I then cut out the rectangle of fabric about 1 mm inside the tracing.  I erred on the side of caution when cutting figuring that I could always cut a little off the sides if I needed to.  Then it was just a matter of putting the fabric into the holder, trimming as needed to make it fit.  This holder has a split in the back making the fabric easy to add.

And here is the finished product.

brown floralgreen floralcircle tagsmurf tag

So next time you attend a conference, workshop or other gathering don’t throw out your name tag.  This is a super easy way to reuse your tag while displaying your favourite fabric.  Of course you could use other materials such as wrapping paper, pictures from magazines etc.

If you are interested in seeing what creations participants come up with over the year check out #lbdupcycles2016 on Instagram.


Mango Cake

Since moving to Queensland I have grown to love mangoes.  So much so that when they start appearing in shops my mind turns to Christmas.  The reason for this is beloved mango cake recipe.  I am not sure of the origin of the recipe.  I came across it many years ago when looking for a way to use up overripe mangoes.

mangoes in shop

Baking this cake makes me think of Christmas.  I love this recipe so much that I will often gift it to friends and family (along with some beautiful mangoes) for Christmas.  And now I am sharing this recipe with you.

mango cake

Mango Cake

  • 2/3 cup (150 g) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mango puree
  1. Preheat oven to 190 ºC.  Grease a 20 cm square cake tin.
  2. Cream butter and sugar with electric beaters until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and beat well.
  4. Mix together flour and baking power.  Add to butter mixture and combine.
  5. Fold in buttermilk, vanilla and mango puree.
  6. Pour cake batter into the cake tin.  Bake for 45 minutes or until done.

Notes – I don’t measure out the mango.  I normally just use 2 mangoes.  If they are really ripe I just slice off the cheeks and add the pulp straight into the bowl.  Other times if the mango is a little firmer I add it in chunks so that the baked cake has mango pieces in it.  When baked, this is a very moist cake and while the cake is quite unattractive it tastes beautiful.

mango for you

DIY Fabric Crown

What kid doesn’t love to dress up.  My kids have loved these easy to make fabric crowns.  So I thought I would share with you how I made them.  They are so easy to make that you will probably have the materials at home.silva crown


cut pink

Step 1 – Cut out 2 pieces of fabric for the main part of the crown.  I used polar fleece that I had left over from making a Princess Bubblegum wig.  You could also use felt.  Or maybe you could use fabric from a old fleecy lined top that you don’t wear any more.  You can make the crown any size you want or you can use the template that I made (Crown template).

cut fabric

Step 2 – Cut out one piece of fabric for the decoration.  I used remnant fabric.  You can use any fabric for this part.  Here is the template I used (Crown decoration template).  If you make your own design make sure that it is slightly smaller than the crown.  Also shorten the ends.  This will make it easier to add the elastic.

sew pink

Step 3 – Sew the crown fabric together with the wrong sides facing.  I put the furry sides facing but it is your choice.  Stitch close to the edge along the bottom and along the top.  Make sure that you do not stitch along the ends (see photo above) as this is where you will insert the elastic.

sew fabric

Step 4 – Pin and sew on the fabric decoration.  Again sew close to the edge but this time sew around the whole piece (see photo below).

sew elastic

Step 5 – Cut a piece of elastic.  I use approximately 20 cms.  But you can adjust the length of elastic to suit the kid (or adult) that you are making the crown for.  Insert approximately 2 cms of the elastic in one end of the crown and pin in place.  Sew across the end (see photo above) back and forth twice (i.e. four rows of stitching).  Repeat with the other end of the crown.

Finish off the ends of the threads and you are all done.

ilze crown

Crown template and Crown decoration template

Quick Hummus

We go through buckets of hummus at our house.  So I came up with a fool proof version that my kids (and husband) love to make.  The kids couldn’t believe how easy it was to make.  Sometimes you get so used to getting things from the store that you forget how much better they taste home made.  And this hummus dip is so quick to make that it would take longer to go out to store to buy it.


Hummus Dip

  • 2 x 425g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 small lemons (or 1 large lemon) squeezed
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Add all the ingredients to a food processor.  Process for approximately 1 minute.  Taste the hummus and adjust as necessary (e.g. add more salt, lemon, garlic or cumin to taste).  Continue to process and add a small amount of water (approximately 3 tablespoons but may vary) until you get a smooth consistency.

Make For Good

Etsy’s Australian community has gotten together to #makeforgood and create a silver lining for girls living in poverty.  Money raised from items sold in the #makeforgood collection will be donated to Because I Am A Girl, a Plan International initiative.

I made this silver lined coin purse from secondhand fabrics for #makeforgood.

There are a bunch of lovely makers who are also contributing to the campaign.  Here are a few of my favourites (click on the images for more details).

Teardrop Earrings in Silver & Turquoise - #MakeForGood

Silver Leaf Star #makeforgood Vintage Wooden Lightbox Hand Painted Sign / Silver Leaf Illuminated Sign / Lighted Sign / Home Cafe Decor

5 Photo gift tags, #makeforgood, clouds, silver lining, stars, grey, black and white, label tags, cloudy skies

Burlap clutch, Silver gold Ipad cover, #makeforgood, fundraiser, rustic hessian jute purse,

Epheriell #makeforgood Earrings - Oxidised Sterling Silver Handmade Hoops with a Splash of Silver Lining

makeforgood, Felt Bird, Blue and Silver Peacock, ornament, natural gift, silver lining bird

Silver linings I encaustic painting encaustic wax art cloud painting #makeforgood square painting on wood panel sky encaustic art

Earrings, #makeforgood, Silver linings rose, stud earrings, post earrings, resin flower earrings, hypoallergenic, for sensitive ears

Silver Lining #makeforgood Childs Dress : Handmade lace cloud on a silver lined, blue sky cotton dress

Pencil Case - Makeup Bag - Beige Cotton Purse - Handmade Pencil Case / Makeup BagSilver clouds #makeforgood pencil case/makeup bag

Cloud Mini Greeting Card, Happy Cloud, Blank Card, #makeforgood Fundraiser, 3x3 inch Square Card, Kids Party, Mini Thank You Card, Pack of 6

Silver Linings by Each To Own - Cloud Stacker Charm Necklace - Acrylic Laser Cut Necklace - Sterling Silver - #makeforgood - Storm

Blue sky #makeforgood Silver lining Cloud purse preloved leather, handmade,

Silver lining cup set, #makeforgood, cloud cups, handmade cup set, Australian ceramics, handmade cups, ceramics and pottery

Nutty Bliss Balls

I am constantly on the look out for healthy snacks to make for my kids.  This is something that my lovely friend Mel is able to do this with ease.  She also brings extras to work and shares them with me for afternoon tea.  So when Mel brought in protein balls I hit her up for the recipe.  Here it is.

Nutty Bliss Balls

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw macadamias
  • 12 dates
  • 1/2 cup mix of pepitas, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • desiccated coconut to coat

Blend ingredients in a food processor (with the exception of the coconut).  Form into balls and roll in the coconut.

nutty bliss balls

I didn’t over process them so that there was still texture from the nuts.  Just enough so that the mixture would stick together when forming the balls.  I then popped them on to a Japanese stoneware plate and watched them all go.  They are very popular with my kids.  Even my son who is a picky eater.

Secondhand Fabric

One of the things that I love is secondhand fabric.  Vintage sheets (of course), pillowcases, tablecloths, tea towels, wool blankets, remnant fabric, sewing projects long abandoned at the op shop.  You name it, I love it.

One of the things that I love is that you never know what you will find.  And if you, like me, don’t buy new fabric, then you have to rely on you stash for your projects.  I can spend hours looking at my hoard, matching colours and patterns.

Here are a few photos from my collection.

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