Tag Archives: recycled

DIY Holly Wreath – Recycled Coat hanger


holly wreathThings are getting very festive here.  Yesterday, after my 8K run (smug), I was up at the church to help decorate for Christmas. Everyone brings greenery from their gardens and dumps it in a huge pile in the church foyer.  I help every year, it’s a great opportunity to share and catch up with the people.  We had home made rock cakes, tea and a plenty of time to chat.  I made a giant wreath for the pulpit (didn’t take my camera or even phone – sorry).

There was lots of variegated holly left over so I brought some home to re-style my coat hanger autumn wreath.  I pulled all the leaves off my coat hanger and proceeded to wire my holly on.  It was a right fiddle and my hands got stabbed to bits!  It’s really a bit too early for decorating (in my book) but the opportunity arose.  That’s another job off my list then. Tonight the Christmas lights go on in the village so it’s all systems go.

His ‘n’ Hers Crochet Earflap Beanie Hats – Free Pattern


Image I crocheted these two hats from pure wool yarn unravelled from a sweater I bought in a charity shop.  Unravelling a sweater is a labour of love that’s for sure, but you are rewarded with a lot of yarn for the money.  The yarn has to be unpicked, skeined, washed, dried and re-skeined or wound into balls before use!  It took a lot longer to “process” the sweater yarn than it did to crochet the two hats!

I wanted to make Mechanic Man a new work hat for Autum/Winter and thought the colours would look good with his colouring (reddy/blonde).  His garage is freezing even in Summer so he wears a hat all day for most of the year.  He was at work when I took these photos so my daughter is modelling.


I made him a lovely hat last year but unfortunatly it found it’s way into the washing machine with his uniforms and shrunk spectacularly.  Mechanic Man was sad about his old hat but chuffed that he had managed to make a felt bowl all by himself.  I had a lot of yarn left from my sweater, so I thought I’d make a coordinating hat for me – Hence His ‘n’ Hers!

I made HIS in random stripes – most one colour wide – so that it won’t show the dirt/grease/oil too badly.  I made mine with stripes ‘cos I’m a sucker for stripes. The top of my hat has five rounds of the same colour and then each stripe has four rounds.

I very carefully wrote down the pattern for these hats as I was making them and now I can’t find the piece of paper.  Still, here’s the gist.  It’s basically a beanie hat with a few extra rows added for a neck warmer (on 2/3 of the total stitches and then an ear-flap triangle added on each end of the neck warmer).  My instructions do assume you know how to crochet and have had a go at a hat before.

I have a beginner hat pattern with more detailed instructions here.


Notes:  This hat is worked in rounds, to join each round you can either slip stitch into the first st of the previous round and chain 2, or single crochet into the first stitch of the previous round and chain one.  This chain counts as your first stitch of the next round.  It must also be noted that my tension is tight, so if you crochet loose, you may want to use a slightly smaller hook.

  • 6mm crochet hook and approx. 70g Aran weight yarn for each hat.
  • Use a magic loop or as small a chain loop as you can to start.
  • Round 1: Make 10 single crochet sts (double crochet UK).
  • Round 2: Make 2 SCs in every stitch (20 sts).
  • Round 3: Work one round (20 sts).
  • Round 4: Make 2 SCs in the first and every other sts (30 sts)
  • Round 5: Make 2 SCs in the first and every third st (40 sts)
  • Round 6: Work one round.
  • Round 7: Make 2 SCs in the first and every fourth st (50 sts)
  • Round 8: Make 2 SCs in the first and evry fifth sts (60 sts)
  • HER hat: Continue to work on these 60 sts until the hat is the desired length (without neck flap)  For my hat I worked approx 33 rounds.
  • HIS hat : Work another increase round, increasing 5 sts evenly around the hat (65 sts) and continue without further increase. You can add a couple of extra rounds too if you want a bigger hat but I worked 33 rounds HIS hat too (I have a big head).
  • Neck Flap: To make the back a little longer than the front (built-in neck warmer) work back and forth in rows for FOUR rows on 40 sts HERS (45 sts HIS).
  • Ear Flaps: Work the ear-flaps backwards and forwards on each end of the neck piece.  I worked the ear-flaps on 9 sts for HERS (11 sts HIS) and decreased one st at each end of every other row until there were no sts remaining.
  • To make a edge, work TWO rounds of SC around the whole hat – decreasing one stitch in internal corners and increasing one stitch at external corners.
  • I added tassels to HER hat but not to HIS as I don’t want HIM getting mangled in a machine at work!
  • I hand stitched lining into the inside of HIS hat with some jersey fabric from an old Marks and Spencer’s T-shirt so it will be super comfy and warm.  You can see in the photo below that the back is a few rows longer to keep HIS neck warm (the lining is level with the edge at the front).

If you find this pattern helpful or utterly confusing please let me know!



Too Much Fun at Work


upcycled wool glove creature drinking tea

At work – I’m currently teaching – my students have been making softees with a Scottish theme.  We have been using donated/salvaged and scrap bits of the most gorgeous wool/tweed/tartan mohair fabrics and knitwear/socks from local mills. I can’t post pics of their work so here’s one I made while they were all getting on fabulously by themselves – I have them very well trained.  If I can get the all clear from on high I will try and share some of their creatures with you later.

Anyway, my softee is made from a stuffed glove – not just any old glove mind you, a most beautiful example of Hawick knitwear.  I was dropping big hints to the young people that the lovely lonely glove would make a nice creature but I don’t think they believed me – they are still a bit sceptical of my madder ideas.

So, last week, I couldn’t resist any longer and took up the glove challenge (picked up the gauntlet!) and created this creature (not sure what to call him yet) – why should the young people have all the fun?  Plus it’s more amiable if I sit amongst them and join in rather than lord about over them.

Today, I thought I’d teach them a bit about staging their creatures for photo shoots.   The sun was out and yesterday’s snow had melted and even though it was a very cold day we were planning on going to Old Gala House to take photos in the gardens.  We made some cardboard props to help set scenes.  I made the tea cup and teapot for mine as his mouth looked like he was sucking.  It turned out to be too windy for our props so I took this snap when we got back to “work.”  The upshot is, they still think I’m mad but we did have a lot of fun – especially me.

More Totoro


totoro sock moneky creature softeehand made totoro upcycled sock

Continuing the Totoro theme, here’s the super cute Totoro I made for my daughter’s 14th Birthday last week.  I made it from one of her old socks.  The sock has languished in the bottom of my odd sock basket for half her life (since she was seven).  She lost the other sock so this one was not worn out – I couldn’t bear to throw it out as she loved those socks.  They were knee high socks so there was plenty to make a cute creature with.  This was my first attempt at a sock creature although my kids have made them before.  His tummy and eyes are made from felt and his features are embroidered.  I used blanket stitch around his white tummy as it’s my favourite stitch and my ECOZEE trademark.  She was thrilled with him and I was pretty chuffed too. I have since made a sock penguin for the wee man for his Christmas as he loved her Totoro and is a big penguin fan.  Penguin pics to follow…..

Eco Upcycled Lunchbox Satchel


recycled eco-friendly cardboard cereal lunch boxFirstly, I apologies for the poor – not up to my usual standard – photograph; but, now that the clocks have changed, Scotland is in permanent gloom ’till Spring; so, this was snapped under artificial light on my iphone at one in the morning.

I made this cute – even if  I say so myself – lunch box satchel out of a cardboard cereal box.  I took it apart, turned it inside out, glued it back together and made a few modifications.  I used hot glue but I would have preferred to have used a contact adhesive like evo stick but I have mislaid mine.  I made it to inspire my fashion students as we are working with paper this week.

There is no sewing involved just cutting, gluing and pen-applied fake stitches.   The strap is made from a tartan boot lace and the fake buckles have self-adhesive velcro behind them. The little name label says “lunch.”

On it’s first outing today, It toted a ham and chutney sandwich, an apple, and a clementine – carefully stored inside the original, now empty, cereal bag. I stashed an emergency chocolate biscuit in the pocket – lucky ‘cos i had a mid-afternoon emergency and needed it.   I will see how long it holds up – today we had permanent drizzle but It was fine.  I will try and get some better photos when I find myself in daylight again.

Upcycled Leather Sofa Booties


Crochet Slippers Wool and recycled Leather
A while ago, a friend gave me the leather from her collapsed sofa, and then, a few weeks ago, another friend showed me her daughter’s cute wool and leather booties from Norway and said she’d like a pair in “aubergine” with a matching hat. Well, Lily, I’m your woman.

I didn’t have a pattern but managed to design and make a pretty cute pair of baby slippers. The soles are made from the salvaged sofa leather (shiny side in) and the sole is lined on the inside with thick felt upcycled from a felted sweater. The sweater was originally hand knit by a “friend of a friend” for her small son. By the time I received the sweater it was thick and felted already but another spin in the washing machine made it even thicker.
hand sewn slipper boots with punched leather sofa soles
I had to buy a Draper hole punch to make holes on the leather – any excuse to buy some new “kit” –  it worked really well. I crocheted round the sole and then worked my way up in double crochet (single crochet US). On the cuff I made two rounds in treble crochet (double US) to make some holes for the ties.  I chained a couple of ties. The olive yarn is Alafos Lopi 100% wool from Iceland and the purple is Twilley’s Freedom yarn – also 100% wool.  I already had both yarns in my stash left over from making my husband some slippers (olive) and my friend a knitted bowl (purple).

So, these booties are not 100% upcycled but they are 100% natural and nothing new was manufactured to make them.  I now need to make the hat – Lily has requested that the hat be like an aubergine with a roll brim and leaves on top – watch this space.  If you’d like a similar pair of baby/toddler booties I can custom make a pair for £25.

I was so chuffed with the baby pair I decided to whip up a big pair for myself – as a sample – in case any discerning grown-ups want me to make them a pair.  For mine, the yarn was all purchased from charity shops (thrift stores) over the years and is either 100% wool or a wool blend.  Again, no pattern – I’m a bit like a musician who can bang out a tune without the music, they can hear it in their head, and I can see in 3D and my hands and brain can magically sculpt balls of yarn into functional art.  If you’d like a similar one-of-a-kind pair, just ask and a gorgeous pair could be yours for £38.

hand made wool crochet slipper boots

If I knew how to write up crochet patterns in an understandable way, I would, but alas my skills are more “arty” than technical; but, hopefully this post will inspire you to have a go yourself, freestyle, it’s much more satisfying.  Just make sure you make both slippers at the same time, bit by bit, so you get them both the same – also, draw around your foot and try them on as you go.  Let me know how you get on!  And, I’ll let you into a secret, 18 months ago I had no clue how to crochet – just a desire to learn and access to you-tube!

Baby Baby Bunting


red white and blue mini bunting

Things have gone a bit red, white and blue here at ECOZEE  – I’m getting geared up for the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee, plus, making bunting puts you in the party mood – despite the rain.  My flags are made from upcycled cotton shirts that were washed, dried in the fresh Scottish wind, de-constructed and ironed into submission.  I did buy the bias binding new but only because I haven’t yet been lucky enough to find a roll in a charity shop with my name on it – I live in hope.  The flags are approx 8cm tall and there are 12 on a 1.8m string.  There are four designs –  and if you’d like one they’re £12 each – contact me!  They were a ridiculous fiddle to make but they are lovely.  I have some full-size bunting in the pipeline too – watch this space.