Sunday, 10 November 2019

How I made my DIY, eco-friendly ish, pompom duster

I don't want you to get the wrong impression from this blog post, I don't particularly like housework, but I did need a new long handled duster thingy, and I really didn't want to buy a new plastic one.  I'd had an eco friendly one on order for a while but it turned out to be out of stock, and my lightshades just keep getting dustier, so I had to do something.  

How I made my DIY, eco-friendly ish, pompom duster.  From UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #eco-friendly #pompomduster #DIYduster #ecofriendlyduster #tutorial

A quick google found lots of DIY duster options, ones sewn out of microfibre cloths, fabric scraps or wool, crochet or knitted dusters and all sorts of other inventions.  I really didn't want to get my sewing machine out, and I happened upon a tutorial for a DIY pompom duster (the photos aren't great but you get the idea - it's a big pompom on a stick.).

Making a pompom duster is super easy, but I'll tell you how I did it anyway.

You'll need - wool or yarn (I wanted to use cotton yarn, to be more eco friendly, but I couldn't find mine, so I made do with synthetic yarn), a big stick, garden twine, glue with a nozzle.

1.  Make a huge pompom.  I wanted mine to be as big as my handspan, so I measured my cardboard pompom maker to that size, which for reference is about 6 inches.  I made my pompom using the instructions from The Craft Train, which is the easiest method I've found for big pompoms!  

TOP TIPS - I used two strands of wool held together to make my pompom quicker. Tying a big pompom is quite tricky, I used garden twine to tie the middle of my pompom, the wool just wouldn't hold it. I didn't trim the pompom into a neat ball, all the different lengths of yarn will hopefully make for more effective dusting.

How I made my DIY, eco-friendly ish, pompom duster.  From UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #eco-friendly #pompomduster #DIYduster #ecofriendlyduster #tutorial

2. Find a big stick and push it through the middle of the pompom.  I used a bamboo garden cane that I plucked from the pot of a dead house plant.

3. Glue the stick into the pompom.   This was a bit tricky to do and I feel it will be tricky to explain, but I'll try.  I used a tube of contact adhesive with a long nozzle, and (with the stick in position through the pompom) slid the nozzle where I could feel the stick was, then squeezed glue out, and repeated several times all the way round.  I put the duster on some newspaper with a can of chickpeas on top to weigh it down and make sure the glue stuck.

4. For extra stability I tied the end of the garden twine (that I used to tie the middle of the pompom) round the stick. 

How I made my DIY, eco-friendly ish, pompom duster.  From UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #eco-friendly #pompomduster #DIYduster #ecofriendlyduster #tutorial

4.  Wait for the glue to dry then get on with your dusting.

Next time I'd like to make a more eco friendly version, using natural fibres and no glue, so it'd be biodegradable, but for now I'm quite pleased with it.  It looks like a giant dandelion flower.  And I made it for free, with stuff I already had lying around the house, in about half an hour (not including glue drying time!).  





Sunday, 13 October 2019

Easy green actions and articles.


Here are a few easy online actions and interesting articles to make the world a better, greener, happier, place, 

Firstly, if you couldn't get to the big Extinction Rebellion protests in London this week, and have some pennies to spare, you can donate to fund UK protests, legal fees for those who have been arrested during protests or to fund international actions. 


I love the Frack Free Nanas - they're awesome!  Watch them here and follow them on Twitter

Use Friends of the Earth's online tool to find out how eco friendly your local area is.  Just pop your postcode in to see what's good and what needs work where you live.

Ask your local council to make a 'climate action plan' - use Friend's of the Earth's tool to do so.

"We’re facing a climate emergency – the greatest ever threat to our existence and a disaster for the natural world.  A comprehensive climate action plan is long overdue. But instead our government keeps making climate-wrecking decisions – like supporting airport expansion and funding the fossil fuel industry overseas.  That's why we urgently need local authorities to lead the way where the government isn’t – and create their own ambitious local climate action plans."
Sign Greenpeace's petition asking advertisers to stop showing us ads from oil companies.
Yey!  Lots of trees are being planted worldwide!

1000 homes in London are set to be heated by recycling warm air from the Underground.
If you like eco-friendly blogs, check out Kezzie's where she's blogging weekly about eco things.


Sunday, 8 September 2019

Charity shopping.

I'm trying to stop so much stuff coming into my house, but sometimes I can't resist!

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

My mum gave me this, I assume it came from her charity shop, I LOVE it! 
Le Parfait jar, present, local Oxfam shop.

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

I usually by the mustard colourway of this crockery, but I couldn't resist this because it was super duper cheap!
Kilncraft Midas bowl, 25p, local Samaritans charity shop. 

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

I bought myself a jar of wooden beads.  I have a craft in mind for them where they'll become heads!
Jar of beads, £1.75, local Hope House charity shop.

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

Excuse this awkward photo of this item being held aloft, it was the best lighting I could get!  I was walking down the high street and this was outside one of the charity shops.  It didn't have a price and I paid a bit more than I'd usually pay, but the money goes to a good cause so I can't really complain.
Bamboo plant stand, £5, local Air Ambulance charity shop. 

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

I fell down a bit of a nostalgic Hollie Hobbie internet hole last month, then searched for Hollie Hobbie on eBay, then found this and bought it and I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but I really love it! 
Vintage Hollie Hobbie single duvet cover, £5, eBay.

Have you found any excellent bargains lately? 





Sunday, 1 September 2019

I (ahem, we) got an allotment.

Today I am the happiest girl in the world.  I have an allotment! 

I got an allotment!  By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #allotment #ukallotmentgarden #newallotment #gardenblogger #allotmentblogger

I've known for a little while that we were going to get it, but I didn't want to say anything to jinx it, and I didn't have a definite date, so I've been keeping hopefully quiet with my fingers firmly crossed for the last couple of months.

I got an allotment!  By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #allotment #ukallotmentgarden #newallotment #gardenblogger #allotmentblogger

AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL! 

Would you like to know the story of how we got our allotment?  (I'm going to assume you've said yes!)

When Joe and I were on holiday in May we decided to bite the bullet and put our name on the council waiting list for the allotments in our town, which are conveniently located right behind our house. I'd wanted one for years, but we've been busy with house stuff and life stuff and I wanted Joe to be on board to help with the heavy jobs!  When we got home I emailed the council to ask to be put on the list, only to be told it was closed.  There are currently 10 people waiting and no one's left the allotment site for years.  Cue big sighs and resigning ourselves to waiting for years and years to get an allotment. 

But then I remembered that there are a few public allotments at our local National Trust property, which is also conveniently located right behind our house.  I was a garden volunteer there, for about 5 years when I finished uni, and my Mum still volunteers in the house now, so I asked her to see if there happened to be a list for the allotments there. 

LUCKILY for me, there was an allotment coming free in the autumn, and the head gardener said we could have it!  It's very sad for the lady who used to have it, she's become to ill to keep it up.  There's still the last of her leeks and beans in, and all the soft fruit is hers, I'm not sure if she'll want to take any of it with her, but Joe's offered to help her dig up anything she wants to take with her.  The lady's paid for the allotment til the end of the year, but is kindly letting us put some stuff in the spaces this year.

I got an allotment!  By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #allotment #ukallotmentgarden #newallotment #gardenblogger #allotmentblogger

I know I am sooo lucky, I know not many people decide to put their name on an allotment list then actually get one 4 months later (albeit on a different site!).  It's more than big enough for us too, to grow potatoes and beans and onions and some pretty flowers.  A little shady, but that's ok.  And there are no weeds!  I quite like the challenge of it being at the National Trust, people pay to visit which is good motivation to keep it tidy and I'm going to research Edwardian allotments so I can make it look right.  

I got an allotment!  By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #allotment #ukallotmentgarden #newallotment #gardenblogger #allotmentblogger

I got an allotment!  By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #allotment #ukallotmentgarden #newallotment #gardenblogger #allotmentblogger

It's super peaceful and beautiful too.  I love these old apple trees (I can't harvest from them because they're used by the Trust, but I can appreciate their gnarled beauty).  I love these gardens where I've spent so many hours gardening.  It was lovely to catch up with the head gardener again.  And the allotment where I started to learn about gardening is still there, just across the path from my own new allotment. 

I got an allotment!  By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #allotment #ukallotmentgarden #newallotment #gardenblogger #allotmentblogger

I am so happy and so lucky and I can't wait to get started! 




Sunday, 28 July 2019

My homegrown harvest, July 2019.

July's been a month of raspberries.  Sooo many raspberries.  I only have autumn fruiting raspberries, but that doesn't seem to be stopping them fruiting now!


I've had loads of greens too, which I've been shredding, wilting in boiled water, then squeezing into little handfuls to freeze, so I can use it later in the year.


We had our first, one and only cherry, it was delicious, the variety is 'sweetheart'.


My 'discovery' apples started falling off the tree so I picked them all, which was a mistake as they're SUPER sour and nowhere near ripe!  They're on the windowsill, I hope they'll soak up some sun and get a bit sweeter. 


I didn't manage to grow any carrots last year so yey for carrots this year!  The variety is 'berlicum' and they're really nice. 


I've also had loads of strawberries, purple snap peas, potatoes, beets, some baby onions and a little baby garlic.







What have you been growing this month?




Sunday, 7 July 2019

Easy green actions and articles.


Here are a few easy online actions and interesting articles to make the world a better, greener, happier, place, 


Sign Friends of the Earth's petition asking to double tree cover in the UK.


Morrisons is introducing a plastic free fruit and veg section, which will save 3 tonnes of plastic packaging per week!



The good old National Trust is going to sell all it's shares in fossil fuels and invest in green and eco companies instead. 






'I have watched and silently wept this spring as trees ready for nesting, forget me nots in full bloom, and buttercups about to burst forth have all been clipped and ripped, torn and shredded. And in their place? Nothing. Under the rules of good husbandry, this sort of pruning and weeding makes your plot look perfect and well-ordered, the soil pleasingly flat and tickled. But I am going to take my feminist rage at this word, husbandry, and rip it up like it has done to the wild things. Enough of this obsession with control and order'

I love this article from Alys Fowler in the Guardian, about how to weed in a wildlife-friendly way.

Here's 7 things you can do to help stop insect decline


A Greenpeace study has found plastic in every single river in the UK, ask your MP to do something about it




Thursday, 4 July 2019

My homegrown harvest, June 2019.

Things are finally growing in my garden!  These are the first potatoes of the year - it was a mix of varieties.  The potatoes aren't quite ready so I just rummaged around in the soil and pulled out some big feeling potatoes without disturbing the plants too much! 

My homegrown harvest, June 2019.  from UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #homegrownharvest #suburbanharvest #growyourown

My homegrown harvest, June 2019.  from UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #homegrownharvest #suburbanharvest #growyourown

I've had my first raspberries.  I'm slightly perturbed that these are my 'autumn bliss' raspberries and they're all coming now!  Is this climate change?  Did I prune them crazy wrong last year?  What will I eat in autumn!?

My homegrown harvest, June 2019.  from UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #homegrownharvest #suburbanharvest #growyourown

The first strawberries have arrived too, I only eat home grown strawbs so these are a proper treat.  The first ever yellow raspberries came, a small total harvest of 5 berries but there's a big cane growing already for next year.  Purple snap peas and tons of kale and chard too.

My homegrown harvest, June 2019.  from UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #homegrownharvest #suburbanharvest #growyourown

I'm trying to keep up with picking and drying home grown herbs this year, I've picked oregano and mint this month to dry.  

My homegrown harvest, June 2019.  from UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #homegrownharvest #suburbanharvest #growyourown

I trimmed the onion tops back and ended up with a washing up bowl full of onion tops!  I washed and chopped them all, froze two boxes full, and popped another box in the fridge to be used up in stir fries, fritters, Joe's omelettes and I made a particularly delicious green onion pancake too.  I thinned out my cabbage seedlings and ate them, because waste not want not. 

My homegrown harvest, June 2019.  from UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #homegrownharvest #suburbanharvest #growyourown

It's all about the berries though this month, I've been out picking them every day! 

My homegrown harvest, June 2019.  from UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #homegrownharvest #suburbanharvest #growyourown

That's about it for this month, have you been harvesting much from the garden this month?