Archive for the ‘Recycling’ Category

Fun Ways To Reuse Cardboard Boxes

Fun Ways To Reuse Cardboard Boxes

As a company we reuse as many cardboard boxes and packaging items as we can to keep our waste down.

Meanwhile if you have a box to hand you can re use it in lots of imaginative ways. Here are just a few for inspiration …

Icecream Shop from Childhood 101

Icecream-shop

I loved playing shops when I was small. Mum used to save empty food packaging and I spent hours pretending to be a shop keeper.

Remember it doesn’t have to be an icecream shop. You could make yours in to a coffee kiosk, a food stall or any kind of mini shop you fancy.

The idea of making your own things to sell in the shop appeals to me but if it’s not your thing you can keep empty food boxes and cartons or buy inexpensive play food.

Visit Childhood 101 for details on how to make this.

Princess Bed from The Pursuit Of Craft

Princess Bed from The Pursuit Of Craft

Well it’s probably no surprise to learn that I made beds for my Sindy dolls out of shoe boxes. We didn’t have the huge range of doll furniture available to us that kids today do and so if I wanted it for Sindy I had to make it myself.

The great thing about this project is that you don’t need a big box … just something big enough to fit the doll it’s intended for. If your tools are not up to the lovely shaping of the featured bed then keep it simple, perhaps with a rounded bed head.

You might have dolls bedding or small cloths suitable to use with your princess bed or you could add an extra layer of creativity and knit a blanket or sew a mini quilt.

Visit The Pursuit Of Craft for more information.

Knights Shield And Sword from Red Ted Art

Knights Shield And Sword from Red Ted Art

The simplicity of this makes it one of my favourite featured projects … your child can easily produce a shield to be proud of.

Whether your household contains a valiant Mike The Knight or a heroic Ella The Princess Knight there’s scope to decorate the shield in the colours and design of their choice.

Even if you don’t fancy making the sword and shield it’s still worth visiting Red Ted Art as it is a fantastic resource for anyone who loves their crafting.

Cereal Box Magazine Holder from Tennessee Home And Farm

Cereal Box Magazine Holder from Tennessee Home And Farm

I’m kicking myself for not thinking of this!

The majority of us have access to empty cereal boxes on a regular basis and it’s so wonderfully simple to convert them in to useful storage.

Visit Tennessee Home And Farm for tips on how to create this brilliant idea.

Pirate Ship from ikatbag

Pirate Ship from ikatbag

Ahoy there me hearties … who would like to sail the imaginary seas in their very own pirate galleon?

Well as it happens it’s easy to make yourself a pirate ship complete with flowing sails.

If we get some sunshine it will be fun to play with this outside otherwise you could just make a smaller version to use in the house.

Visit ikatbag for inspiration.

Play Kitchen from Willary Blogspot

Play Kitchen from Willary Blogspot

My childhood self is drooling over this idea and the really cool thing is that you can take the wonderful featured version as your inspiration and then make yours as detailed or are simple as you want to.

As with the icecream shop earlier you can make your own food or buy some inexpensive play food.

Stuffed full of lets pretend play potential with hours of fun thrown in.

Visit Willary Blogspot to see more.

Desk Tidy from Design For Mankind

Desk Tidy from Design For Mankind

I love the natural look of this desk tidy but you could decorate yours if you wanted to. Either way it’s a fantastic idea and layering the pieces will make it robust too.

Visit Design For Mankind and take a look at the detailed instructions on how to make this fab desk tidy.

Car from Craftulate

Car from Craftulate

We don’t all have a budget that stretches to buying a mini car for our kids so why not have a go at making your own?

Get the children involved choosing their own decoration … this car can be customised with their favourite colour.

You could make a few of these and invite some little friends round for a drive in movie style DVD showing.

For more information on making your own cardboard car visit Craftulate .

Collapsible Play House from She Knows

Collapsible Play House from She Knows

If your kids are desperate for their own play house but space is on the tight side here’s a great idea for one that folds flat when it’s not being used so it will slide easily under your bed and out of the way.

The grown ups can do the technical construction part then let the kids loose decorating inside and outside.

Visit She Knows to check out the instructions.

Lanterns from Handmade Charlotte via Etsy Journal

Lanterns from Handmade Charlotte via Etsy Journal

Something a little different for those of you who really enjoy getting stuck in to your crafting. It’s not a difficult project but it will take a bit more time.

This is definitely where battery operated tea lights come in to their own … you must not use a standard candle with a naked flame in your lantern. The battery operated ones are inexpensive, easy to get hold of and have a good life span. If you are in the UK you can get them from places like eBay, Wilkos, B&Q, Hobbycraft and highstreet discount shops.

Battery operated tea lights

Visit the Etsy Journal for Rachel Faucett’s detailed lantern tutorial.

You can also visit Handmade Charlotte to see more of Rachel’s ideas.

Marble Run from Powerful Mothering

Marble Run from Powerful Mothering

I know what you’re thinking … this isn’t made from a cardboard box and you’re right but I couldn’t leave this out. I spent an entire afternoon of the school holidays with my little one rolling marbles down an empty wrapping paper tube. We ended up making tunnels and obstacles for the marbles. This is definitely a deluxe version of that and I think it will be popular in our house.

You don’t even need marbles … Powerful Mothering made their own salt dough balls which is a fantastic idea to add an extra crafting activity in to the mix.

This looks like a massive amount of fun not only to play with but to make too.

Visit Powerful Mothering for more information.

If you are inspired to try one of our featured projects …

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Tips To Help Encourage Wildlife In To Your Garden

Tips To Help Encourage Wildlife In To Your Garden

These days as our lives get busier more and more of us are opting for less grass and planting in our gardens choosing low maintenance alternatives instead.

Sadly this means that wildlife is struggling to find a place to call home.

Here are some tips to help you encourage the wildlife back in to your garden.

BUTTERFLIES

Butterflies

If you are lucky enough to have room to plant flowers then you can encourage butterflies to your garden with Buddleia (also known as the butterfly bush because it is usually alive with fluttering butterflies), lavender, marjoram, perennial wallflower (also known as Bowles Mauve) and Verbena Bonariensis. These plants provide nectar in the summer which attract butterflies however your choice does not end there.

The Butterfly Conservation site has a wealth of information including a straight forward do and don’t list so it’s worth visiting their site HERE to check out their advise.

To get the best results you need to avoid using pesticides, insecticides and peat compost in your garden and make sure you remove the dead heads off flowers regularly.

Another way to attract butterflies to your garden is using a butterfly feeder which is extremely simple to put together using things you already have around the house.

PLEASE NOTE : This will also be attractive to bees and wasps so if you have children be careful where you put it.

To make your butterfly feeder start with a shallow dish. A heavy weather proof ceramic dish would be best but in the end use what ever you have to hand as long as it’s not your best baking bowl. Just be aware that a light container might blow away so try to anchor it down.

Make a substitute nectar solution using 1 part granulated sugar to 4 parts water and boil this until the granules of sugar dissolve in the water then make sure it is completely cool before pouring a small amount in to the base of your dish.

Opinion is divided about storing unused homemade nectar. Some say you can freeze it as ice cubes, others say that you can keep it in the fridge for up to a fortnight but some say you should always make it fresh and as it is so simple to do this it is not really a chore.

Finally you just need to add a few pieces of over ripe fruit. Soft fruit like bananas, peaches, strawberries and oranges work well but don’t over do it as other wildlife will love this too and you don’t want to attract the wrong sort.

You can also drizzle a small amount of runny honey over the fruit or some left over beer.

Now sit back and wait for your visitors.

ATTRACT FROGS WITH A MINI POND from Rollercoaster Mum

Attract Frogs With A Mini Pond

Garden ponds need work to maintain them and when you have children they are a safety issue so why not make a mini pond like the one we spotted on Rollercoaster Mum’s website?

This clever lady used a metal tub but you could use one of those shallow plastic orange planters from your garden centre.

For full instructions on how to make the mini pond you can visit Rollercoaster Mum by CLICKING HERE.

Clean water is a must but rain water is preferable as tap water can have high nutrients levels. Don’t worry about the muggy appearance of the water when you first set up your pond as it will settle.

A shady spot can stop the mini pond getting too hot and drying out but make sure too many fallen leaves are not left sitting in it. You don’t need to be over the top about clearing twigs and leaves as they provide habitat and shelter for garden birds and creatures but at the same time you don’t want too many dead leaves turning to sludge in a small pond.

Be patient and let things develop naturally.

Frogs will find their own way to the new home you have made them … but in their own time.

ATTRACT BIRDS – MAKE A NEST BOX

Attract birds with a bird box

To encourage birds in to your garden you can make a simple nest box. Nothing elaborate is needed. In actual fact the box can be constructed from just one piece of wood cut in to sections. It should have a slightly sloping roof to make sure rain drains away and although you might be tempted to make everything lovely and smooth a rough surface helps fledglings to grip.

You can find clear instructions to make a nest box at the Gardeners World website by CLICKING HERE.

Don’t be tempted to paint or stain the box to make it look pretty because the birds might peck the chemical and it could make them ill.

You need to think carefully about where you put the nest box to keep it out of reach of predators like domestic cats or wild foxes. It should be out of direct sun and excessively windy spots.

For more advice making, siting and cleaning nest boxes CLICK HERE to visit the RSPB webiste.

ATTRACT INSECTS WITH A BUG HOTEL

Attract insects with a bug hotel

Insects will provide food for the other members of your wild life family and they will pollinate your plants. They love wiggling in to nooks and crannies.

There are plenty of insect houses on the market but why not pop to your local DIY store and see if they have any waste timber off cuts which you can drill in to and combine with bamboo style poles to create your own creepy crawly des res?

Drilled wood and bamboo canes attract bees and wasps who lay eggs. Drill a variety of different sized holes.

Put rotting wood at the bottom of the insect hotel so it stays damp and this will attract millipedes and woodlice which birds will happily munch on. It also encourages centipedes which like to feed on slugs so if you grow your own veg this will be handy.

Make bundles of different sized twigs and sticks which will attract beetles who eat aphids and other pests that damage crops.

Arrange the whole lot in to a wooden packing crate if you can get your hands on one.

An optional extra is to place a wire mesh across the front of your bug hotel to reduce the number of insects that are picked off by hungry birds before they get chance to do their good work.

PLANT FLOWERS

Plant flowers that insects love

Thompson And Morgan have a comprehensive list on their website of which plants are most suitable to attract wildlife.

To visit Thompson And Morgan and have a look at their list CLICK HERE.

You can see at a glance whether the plant attracts bees, butterflies or birds (or any combination of those three) plus there are handy symbols highlighting each plant’s interesting points for example if it offers good shelter for birds or has autumn leaf colour.

MAKE A COMPOST HEAP

Create a compost heap

A compost heap is not the most glamorous of garden features but if you are serious about encouraging wildlife to your garden then this is quite an inexpensive way to do so. Not only will it be a haven for all kinds of creatures but the end result is a great soil improver which will give your plants a better chance to grow.

In it’s most basic form it is a collection of organic kitchen scraps which are taken through the composting process by animals, bacteria and fungi so small the human eye almost can not detect them. The rotting scraps are eaten by passing bugs which in turn attract birds, hedgehogs, toads and frogs who eat them. As the scraps decompose heat is given off and this attracts reptiles. So you can see how having a compost heap in your garden will encourage wildlife visitors to come calling.

If you can bring yourself to have an uncontained heap this will produce the best results, from a wildlife point of view, as there are no access restrictions. Do not use a chemical activator to get your compost heap moving, just let things run their course.

Planet Natural have a great in depth list of things to include and what you should avoid HERE .

If you enter your post code in to the search field on the Get Composting website you will be able to see if your council has joined the scheme to make discounted compost bins available to you … CLICK HERE to enter your post code.

WELCOME HEDGEHOGS

Welcome hedgehogs to your garden

Hedgehogs are very cute but they are not suitable to be kept as domestic pets and it would be cruel to take one from the wild for this purpose. However if you make your garden an attractive proposition you might hear the patter of tiny feet and you can sit quietly and watch as they go about their business.

We mentioned above that hedgehogs will feed off the creatures that live in your compost heap so that is a good place to start. The also like to shelter under wood piles and they will use hedges as cover.

Do not use slug pellets or pesticides on your garden, this is a good rule of thumb in a wildlife garden in general.

Hedgehogs will drink from a garden pond so make sure it has shallow points and easily exited areas.

Keep your dog or cat well away.

To visit The British Hedgehog Preservation Society CLICK HERE… you can find out more and also donate online if you choose to.

** If your kids love animals check out our range of animal themed bedding HERE **

** We also have a section dedicated to butterflies HERE **