Author Archives: jane

Recycled Sweater and/or T-Shirt Pennant Swags

Front view

Back view

Pennant swags strung between poles.

Liven up a birthday party, beach party, or child’s room with these easy to make pennant swags!

How-to: Gather some thin sweaters and/or t-shirts in lively colors. Make yourself a triangle stencil out of an old cereal box or whatever. My triangles were 7 ¼ inches along the top edge and about 8 ¾ inches along the sides. You can make your triangles bigger if you prefer. The easiest way to make all your triangles is to use a rotary cutter. Using one is not necessary but sure is fast. Unlike the rotary cutter, when using scissors, you will need to trace your stencil before cutting. I liked to use the hemmed bottom edge of a shirt as the top edge of the pennants. I think it gives it a little bit more of a finished look to the swags. Work around any stains or worn places. Lay out your shirt flat on a cutting mat. You will be cutting two triangles at a time. After cutting out all the triangles, arrange them in the order you would like. You can be creative here. Next use a sewing machine to make one long running stitch attaching the pennants to the ribbon. Leave room at each end of your ribbon to make a loop or leave enough extra ribbon for trying.When using outside, I tie them to bamboo poles.

Make It Convenient To Reuse Your Office Paper

Want to be less wasteful? If you have paper from your office or home office, save it for another use. Your kids might bring home a lot of one-sided papers from school and they can also be reused. This is especially good if you have kids who like to doodle. Grownups will find uses for it too (to-do lists or shopping lists).


Provide a convenient place to keep your paper and scrap paper. I found this metal file holder at a thrift store. Print out a friendly reminder that says: Scrap Paper for Reuse -One blank side and New Paper-Use sparingly.

Door Knob Garden Hose Guide

I made several hose guides to keep our garden hose from dragging over easily damaged plants. There are a few places around my yard such as along the borders between the grass and the flower beds or vegetable garden plots that needed protection from my garden hose. These simple to make hose guides really do a good job.

How- to: I used several metal door knobs that came from old doors that were burned. I plucked them out of a pile of ashes. You could achieve an entirely different look if you painted them. Either way, would be cute and functional. Porcelain door knobs are another option. My doorknobs had a square hole at the bottom that I put a short square-ended piece of metal into; about 8 inches long. I couldn’t find anything around to use so I bought some at my local hardware store. Bring your door knob along so you can get something that fits best. Then push them in the ground where needed.

Egg Heads with Grass Hair

These fun to make Egg Heads were done by my kids. They liked making them so much, they went on to make many more creative characters.

How to: The next time you are making scrambled eggs, save the shell. The fastest way to get the insides out is to give the side of the top a whack with a knife (a butter knife will do) and then give the other side a whack. The idea is to make a big hole in the top. Next draw on the face; make funny, cute, and/or wacky characters. Fill with potting soil and sprinkle on grass seeds. I used Rye grass seeds. Add water and place on a windowsill. Next time I’m going to dye the egg purple and make an adorable green-haired monster with one eye and wings- a one-eyed, one horn, flying purple people eater!

Creative Rockets For Play or Display Made From Recycled Junk

I’m not going to give you step by step instructions, rather, I hope to spark your imagination. I will, however, supply a few tips.

Start collecting supplies. Over the next week (more or less) keep an eye out for rocket parts. Ask friends to check their recycle bin for you.

Note: Keep an “arts and crafts junk box” for kids’ projects. Inside the box add bits and bobs of “trash” such as plastic bottles that have been cleaned out, Styrofoam trays, bottle tops, thread spools, used but clean popsicle sticks, toilet paper rolls…

This rocket was made from all recycled parts

Adjusting the circumference of your cylinder is easy.

The above rocket needed the toilet paper roll to fit snugly in the top of a paper towel tube.

The nose of a rocket can be made this way.

Design your own spacecraft. I call this The Penguin for obvious reasons.

Make a space themed mobile . Don’t forget to add a few asteroids or some silly aliens.