Maria and Sanyi's Blog

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Messzelátó Ajándékgyár/ Gift Factory

Early December 2012 Messzelátó started a series of 3 workshops, with the focus on creating gifts, decorations and other fun stuff for Christmas from recycled, upcycled materials. We’ve been brainstorming on this project and collecting ideas since the beginning of November. I really enjoyed coordinating this little project, it was a lot of fun and I also learned a lot of new things and was able to use my creativity. 

The first one was held on the 4th of December with the main focus on Advent preparations. The main superstars of the workshop were notebooks and Advent calendars. Participants were learning bookbinding techniques and learned how to make Advent calendar from toiletpaper rolls and from origami boxes made of old newspapers.

image

Bookbinding - notebook

The second workshop, 10th of December, participants learned how to make jewelries and toys from waste materials. Some people became great in creating jewelries from plastic materials, others became experts in the creation of boardgames or making small teddybears from gloves.

Making jewelries

Making boardgames

At the last Gift Factory workshop, on 17th of December, we created Christmas trees and Christmas decorations made of paper (mainly old magazines and newspapers) 

Christmas decorations from magazines

Christmas tree with the decorations

This Christmas GiftFactory was hopefully not the last one @ Messzelátó and hope the new volunteers will also have the chance to organize such a thing :)

~Aliz

Filed under Christmas recycle upcycle recycle plastic bottles boardgames jewelry

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Recycle your Christmas rubbish

So another holiday season has passed by - gifts given and unwrapped, food eaten and your tree has probably been taken down by now.

Hopefully you’ve had a reasonably green Xmas by crafting, upcycling or regifting your presents and then following our tips on alternative present wrapping. But what to do with your leftover greetings cards, wrapping paper and, if you had a real one, Christmas tree?

Greetings Cards


Don’t just throw them out! As long as you have somewhere to store them, there are loads of ways to re-use them throughout the year and during the next holiday season. Why not spend the dark and dreary January and February evenings making them into postcards, gifts tags, gift bags and decorations for next year?

Easiest of all - cut off the front part of the card (the part with the pretty picture on it) and use the other side as a postcard to write your holiday message on next year.

Gift tags are also super easy, all you need is an old card with a nice design and some ribbon, thread or string. Cutting the edges with shearing scissors or into interesting shapes also looks great. Then punch a hole and put the ribbon through. Voila!

Left over cards can also be made into decorations like garlands, baubles or this awesome wreath.

Anything else left over can normally be recycled like normal paper, or even put into your compost bin. And don’t forget to keep the envelopes to re-use throughout the year or as scrap paper.

Wrapping paper

Wrapping paper is harder to recycle in your normal recycling bin as it’s often shiny, glittery or made of plastic, so check before you throw it out.

The best thing to do, if it’s still in one or two pieces is keep it and use it to wrap a present for someone else next year. However, if it’s completely fallen to pieces shredding it and using it as stuffing for packages or furniture bags. Or why not use scraps to make paper beads or bowls.

Christmas trees

Ideally you had an articifcial, recycled or potted Christmas tree which is now safely stored back up in the loft or replanted in your garden. But if not, what should you do with the, now probably pretty dead-looking, fir tree that’s been in your house for the last couple of weeks?

Most cities have a facility where you can take your tree to be recycled which is then normally turned into mulch for local parks and woodland, or sometimes you can even take it home for your own garden. Ask your local authorities about the services in your area.

If you compost at home, fir trees can be chopped up or shredded and added to your compost bin - just make sure you take all of the decorations and lights off first.

Or if you have a garden, why not use your tree as a new habitat for birds? You’ll need to support the tree with stakes or a stand, or stand it against a garage or shed. Adding a pine cone bird feeder will really attract those song birds.

If you’re unlucky enough to not have any local recycling facilities or a garden for your tree, you could always donate it to a farm or chop it up to use as firewood.

Whatever you do with it, chucking it out onto the street with the rest of your trash is the worst option imagineable.

Filed under christmas recycling recycle reuse upcycle crafting greetings cards Christmas trees gift tags wrapping wreath

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Jars - they’re everywhere! And they can be used for so many different things. Aside from the obvious food-storing options, some creative types have come up with some great ways to re-use jars that don’t involve throwing them into your local glass recycling bin. Here are a couple of crafty ideas:

Jar lanterns are an easy way to brighten up a garden or balcony and are particularly useful if you want to enjoy the last of the warm summer evenings, now that the nights are getting darker. You can also use them in the house too, just make sure you hang them from something non-flamable and don’t leave them unattended, obviously. There’s an instruction video here, or you can download a ‘how to’ guide from here. The video explains how to use glass frosting spray and adhesive paper to make designs, but you really can do anything you want to decorate the jars. Glass paint is really effective, as is wrapping coloured tissue paper and string around them like the picture above. They can be easily themed for different festivities like Halloween or Christmas, and they look great left plain too. If you’re worried about using candles you could also fill them with fairy lights instead, and anyone feeling particularly crafty could try and put a jar chandelier together.
In the same vein, these jar vases also look really nice.

Homemade candles are a fun way to use old jars AND the bits left over from old candles. You hardly need to buy any materials (just wick, which you can also make from pure cotton thread that you might have in your sewing box anyway) and you can create your own perfect scent by adding some aroma therapy oils. They also make fab (and practically free!) presents. There’s a step-by-step guide on how to do everything here.

This soap dispenser is also really handy.
And even if you happen to break your jar, there’s still hope - why not combine it with other broken glass and china and turn it into a decorative mosaic like one of these?

Jars - they’re everywhere! And they can be used for so many different things. Aside from the obvious food-storing options, some creative types have come up with some great ways to re-use jars that don’t involve throwing them into your local glass recycling bin. Here are a couple of crafty ideas:

Jar lanterns are an easy way to brighten up a garden or balcony and are particularly useful if you want to enjoy the last of the warm summer evenings, now that the nights are getting darker. You can also use them in the house too, just make sure you hang them from something non-flamable and don’t leave them unattended, obviously. There’s an instruction video here, or you can download a ‘how to’ guide from here. The video explains how to use glass frosting spray and adhesive paper to make designs, but you really can do anything you want to decorate the jars. Glass paint is really effective, as is wrapping coloured tissue paper and string around them like the picture above. They can be easily themed for different festivities like Halloween or Christmas, and they look great left plain too. If you’re worried about using candles you could also fill them with fairy lights instead, and anyone feeling particularly crafty could try and put a jar chandelier together.

In the same vein, these jar vases also look really nice.

Homemade candles are a fun way to use old jars AND the bits left over from old candles. You hardly need to buy any materials (just wick, which you can also make from pure cotton thread that you might have in your sewing box anyway) and you can create your own perfect scent by adding some aroma therapy oils. They also make fab (and practically free!) presents. There’s a step-by-step guide on how to do everything here.

This soap dispenser is also really handy.

And even if you happen to break your jar, there’s still hope - why not combine it with other broken glass and china and turn it into a decorative mosaic like one of these?

Filed under jars upcycle Re-use glass