Category Archives: Treasure

Favourite Thrift Store Finds and Other Treasured Possessions

Chunky Mustard Yellow Cable Socks are so “in”


I went to Kelso on Friday and was a bit sad ‘cos I used to take my Mum to Lidl there – so she could stock up on tins of evaporated milk for her porridge! – and I’m not sure I’ve been there since she died.  However, it was a lovely day weather-wise and the drive from here to there is wonderful – there are of course more spectacular drives in Scotland but that drive just seems extra lovely because of the shear indulgence of having an open road and beautiful vistas on what is essentially just a trip to the supermarket – every time I go I have to pinch myself.

ten balls of vintage mustard yellow aran wool yarn

While I was there, I popped into the charity shops and scored big time – A bag of 10 balls of vintage yarn for £3.99!  The colour was seriously dodgy but I think mustard yellow is actually “in” at the moment!  So, ten balls of “Made in England” Aran yarn – 60% wool, 40% nylon – perfect for seriously chunky and warm, hard wearing socks.  So, without further ado, just over one ball has already been transformed into a chunky Aran sock and I have cast-on for the second one.  The two photos show the colour very differently, in reality it’s somewhere between the two – definitely Coleman’s Mustard.

I am warming to the colour – even though my kids think it is the worst colour and style of sock they have ever seen.  I informed them that cable-knits are in fashion at the moment too so my hideous socks are the height of fashion just now.  They seemed to think that just ‘cos something’s in fashion doesn’t mean it’s nice – they may have a point!  However, my mustard cable socks are warm and hand made with love and that is all that actually matters – plus I may get to keep them if they hate them!

I made the pattern up myself and have actually made notes for sharing/selling? when I get it all written up.  I am testing the pattern as I knit the second sock, so watch this space.  I’ll share a little secret though – I wanted the cast on to be very stretchy so I used a provisional cast on and left about 8 feet of yarn.  When the sock was finished I picked up the live cast on stitches and cast off using Jeny’s Super Stretchy Bind Off.  It worked really well and basically functions as a super-stretchy cast-on!

one cable sock and second sock cast on

Celebrating with a Cup of Tea!


And the winner is…!

My photo “Boris Bikes” was voted best photo in the village show so I got the trophy.  My other snaps got nothing but I still love ‘em.  I have a shiny but hideous gold-effect trophy and a nice certificate – with my name written incorrectly!  They insist on putting “Mrs” on the certificates – well,  just ‘cos I’ve got a man and kids doesn’t necessarily mean I’m married! I kept my name so I’m not Mrs anybody and certainly not Mrs my surname.  Anyway, I’ll be sure and tell them for next year – I like stirring things up a bit.  Rant over – I’m happy really.

boris johnson free rental bikes london photo

I didn’t finish my Union Jack cushion yesterday, got sidetracked crocheting, and even though I wasn’t going to enter anything else, I relented at the last minute because really there aren’t that many people who do enter the “industrial” section of our show and I didn’t want it looking bare. So, for the “Something new from something old” category I entered the trivet I made from my Mum’s jeans.  I have cut up my Mum’s jeans to make a memory quilt for each of my four kids and made the trivet from the seams – more on the quilts later.

recycled denim jeans memory trivet mat
denim jeans rag rug trivet
The trivet is not my original idea, there are others floating about in cyberspace, but I have only seen plain blue denim ones – mine is especially pretty and of course it’s a memory trivet! I had enough seams to make two trivets (nine pairs of jeans – a lot of cutting, patience and delicate application of copydex glue). I thought it might be a bit avant garde for the old guard but I got first prize – my Mum would be proud.memory quilt denim jeans and fleeces

I also made a similar trivet out of my kids’ lovely funky-coloured outgrown jeans. The turquoise pair we had tie-dyed green and purple are especially fun.  I have kept the rest of their jeans for a further – as yet to be determined project. My friend took this really cool photo of the kids’ trivet with her new ipad – note to self – get kaleidoscope app for iphone.

What was also pleasing was that one of my “students” from my craft night entered her soda can flowers and punched tin decorations that she had made at one of my “mystery craft nights” in the same category and she won third prize (she’s 10).

recycled denim jeans trivet mat

Memory Quilt Patchwork Oven Mitts



My Mum loved patchwork, especially the traditional granny’s flower garden pattern. Like me she was also an upcycler of old fabric.  I have her amazing bed quilt but was unaware she made this oven glove.  My Aunty (her sister) showed it to me on a recent visit.  I was thrilled; clearly my Aunty used it and treasured it; and, it features fabrics which mean a lot to me.  The white hexagons with flowers are made from my old Sanderson fabric bedroom curtains.  I remember picking them out with my Mum in Selfridges in Oxford in the late 70s/early 80s. They were super expensive as we had big bay windows.  In fact, not long after that I was so desperate to have my room redecorated in Habitat red and white graph paper wallpaper that my ever practical Mum let me change rooms to the downstairs living room as that room needed new curtains and the Sanderson ones were practically new.  They must have bit the dust eventually though or maybe the patchwork bits were a sample.


The red and orange stripey background fabric is at least as old as I am – forget vintage – approaching antique – I think they were our blinds or curtains too in the 60s.  I don’t remember the fabric in use I just remember that my Mum made my twin brother a sausage dog and it’s paws were made from that fabric.  He loved that dog.  Once he donated it to our primary school bring and buy sale but then we had to get there early to buy it back again.  Eventually the mice got to our homemade toys in the attic and they had to go, otherwise I think we’d still have them today.

Recycled Paper “Wicker” Bowl


wicker bowl hand made from recycled wrapping paperI was browsing ETSY for inspiration at the weekend and found this beautiful bowl – I just had to have it.  It arrived this morning and is even better in real life – I LOVE IT!

It is made from  upcycled wrapping paper, folded into “wicker” and varnished.  It really is amazing, really strong and so pretty – I am tempted to buy the yellow pages one too! – you can’t have too many bowls for storing your bits and bobs!  I love my knitted bowls but these are really different and clearly created by a very talented individual – fellow eco-artist  Alicja –  check out her ETSY shop  BluReco.

Great Balls of Thread


Recycled cotton embroidery thread

I found these fabulous balls of embroidery thread in Oxfam in Hawick. Oh, the thrill when I spied them, yards and yards of loveliness. Blanket stitch (my favourite) doesn’t half eat up the thread so I’m always in need of more.  If you’re new to ECOZEE then you may not know that it’s my founding principal to try, wherever possible, not to buy new – I am the queen of upcycling – I spend a lot of time in charity shops.   It may seem that I find some beautiful fabrics and notions, but that’s because I spend millions of hours looking!   What I like most about it all is the thought that someone – before me – loved those threads; but, for whatever reason, they arrived in a charity shop in the hope that someone new would love them.  Well, I love ’em to bits; and, they’ll be transformed into new products which will, hopefully, be loved in turn – and all without the manufacture of anything new. Plus, Oxfam will put my money to very good use – win win.