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lady sitting sewing


A variety of things to make and do, recycling, renewing, useful gifts etc.

If anyone has come up with ideas for re-using denim, please send them in!

In response to this I received the following suggestions for using old denim -

  • Old denim pockets solved.  Arrange several denim pockets onto a large piece of strong material and sew in place leaving tops open. Attached to a wall or door this is great for childrens'  rooms.

Audrey Littlewood

  • A great idea for putting your old jeans to better use, is to cut them apart and make squares or other shapes and make a quilt out of your jeans. You can use the pockets, loops and even the zippered or buttoned fronts. Find some super material for your edging and backing, to personalize your quilt.

Contributed by Mike Zeilder

  • Today, some friends and I took are old jeans and made purses, we just took scissors and started cutting.  Be Creative!  We also made shirts. To do this, we used the leg to make a long strip to wear around the top, then we used string to use as straps!  Again be Creative!  It's a lot of fun!

Anonymous contributor.

Lovely to hear from a 15 year old on this one.   She makes purses from her old jeans.  Here is her explanation as to how -

  • "Cut the bottom off your jeans and sew the side that you cut so the bottom part of the jeans becomes the top part, then you have the beginning of your bag.  Cut the belt strap or just a long piece for the strap of your purse.  You can also cut out a back pocket and then sew that on to your purse so you have a pocket on the outside but you could sew it on the inside."

Thanks to Desiree for this one.

Making bags seems to be the most popular suggestion for using old denim as these are now a real fashion item (or so I am told)!.

  • as trim on cuffs and bottom of sweatshirts

  • cut off pockets and reuse on sweatshirts

    Anita Segner sent these hints in - thankyou.

cat face shaped bag

Rugs from Bale Twine

I have horses and I knit. I went to feed my horses and then to throw out the twine. I gave it a good look and thought it reminded me of YARN... Well let me tell you. It makes WONDERFUL outdoor rugs! 

Dora Renee' Wilkerson


Lacy bowls from crocheted doilies

Crocheted doilies can be turned into lacy bowls which can be used for sweets, pot pourri etc. by simply stiffening them with a sugar and water solution.

Recipe for solution

Place 4 fl.oz/115 ml sugar in a large bowl and stir in 2 fl. oz/60ml of boiling water.  Stir for 3 minutes or until almost opaque.

This recipe is enough to convert one 9 in./230 mm doily - a fresh solution should be mixed for each bowl.


Dip a dry doily into the solution, gently squeezing it with your fingertips to ensure even distribution.  Repeat several times until it is thoroughly soaked and then squeeze out the excess moisture.

Choose a suitable bowl or dish as a mould and place upside down on a towel.  Stretch the wet doily over the bowl and mould carefully into shape and pin the edges to the towel with rustproof pins. Leave until dry (at least six hours).

Unpin edges and loosen the doily from the bowl by wedging your fingers between the mould and the doily working gently around the perimeter.

The doily can be restored to its original shape by holding under warm running water and squeeze until it is no longer sticky, then wash in a mild detergent.

Remnants of fabric can be used for many things including jar lid covers, napkins, gift bags for bottles - the list is endless. Here are a few simple ones which even the children can do -

Jar lid covers -  Give a jar that "homemade" look

Trace the jar lid on the wrong side of a piece of suitable fabric, add 2"/50mm all round and cut out (with pinking shears if possible).

Fix some trimming (lace, binding or ribbon) around the edge with latex glue or stitching.

Secure the cover on the lid with a rubber band and finish with a ribbon bow.


Cut large remnants of material into squares of 10in/250mm using pinking shears.  These will withstand several washes before the edges fray - ideal for taking on picnics or for themed evenings.

For a longer lasting finish, edges can be hemmed.

Gift Bags

carrier bag full of wrapping materials


Cut a piece of fabric at least 2ins/50mm longer and wider than the bottle or gift you wish it to contain.

Fold over 1/2" of material at the top edge and hem down.

Fold material in half lengthwise with the wrong side facing outwards and sew down the long edge and along the bottom either by machine or running stitch.

Turn inside out (so that the right side is now showing) and press.

Insert gift into bag and tie around top with ribbon or trimming.

The ribbon can be threaded through the top hem if you so wish.

These bags can be decorated by sticking on felt shapes, sequins or sewing on buttons, letters etc. and can be used for many different purposes e.g. childrens' toys, shoes, etc.

Fish Tank Garden

Turn an old fish tank into an indoor garden.

Fill tank with water to check for any leaks, if there are any seal with mastic sealant or transparent waterproof tape.

Wash tank with warm soapy water, rinse several times and polish with a soft dry cloth.

To prevent damaging any surface on which the finished garden is to stand stick felt or polystyrene under the bottom of the tank.

Spread a layer of gravel to a depth of 1"/25mm (if the original fish gravel is being reused ensure it is washed well to remove any bacteria or chemicals), then add a further 1"/25mm of charcoal chips which will provide nutrients.

Fill tank with sterilised potting soil to within about 5"/125mm of the top.

Plant with some healthy herbs, bulbs or other flowering plants and water well so that the soil is moist but not soggy. 

Place finished garden next to a sunny window.

Keep soil moist but do not over water as there is no way for the excess to drain away.


For numerous suggestions on what to do with those unwanted CDs - some serious others seriously whacky - click here.







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