My Collected Home

Vintage. Eclectic. Repurposed.

How to make quick Christmas gift tags and tree ornaments

Here I am again with another of my favourite recycle and repurposes. You know I hate waste and this post helps to deal with that. I know it's only in a small way, not on any grand scale whatsoever but I believe every little bit adds up to a big bit! So there's my philosophy for the day! Very indepth I know!

I've been doing some shopping looking at prices for Christmas cards decorations etc. and though it looks inexpensive I started adding up the prices of those little bits and pieces and it was more than I thought. My brain was on overdrive so I looked through my stash of recycled  odds and ends and decided to start with Christmas gift tags and Christmas tree ornaments. Here is a list of what I used:

. Old cards
. Cardboard from grocery boxes
. Scraps of fabric and felt
. Old bits of jewellery
. Ribbon
. Twine
. Tin can and bottle lids
. Buttons
. Hole puncher
. Glue (I used cement glue) or a hot glue gun

They were so simple to make and you can have your kids or grandkids help. It makes a great crafting morning.

Firstly I cut out a card from the cardboard and used it as a basic template. I changed a few details, cutting the edges diagonally but that was it. After I'd cut out all of my gift tags it was time to start decorating. I used my hole puncher to cut out a circle for the ribbon to go through. Then I added the decorations, and that was fun! I could have made more, it was so addictive!
For the tree decorations I used a lid from a tin can and a lid from a glass jar. I covered these in felt by tracing around the lid onto the felt then covering it front and back with glue. I used an old earring on the red and white ornament because I always lose one of my earrings and end up with one, so that little red earring was perfect! I'm so glad I decided to keep the odd ones and not throw them out. I think it added a glamorous touch to it. 

The green, red and white one above is covered in green felt and a piece cut from an old gift bag with a pearl sitting in the middle.

I thought these would be great for my granddaughter and grandson. I used buttons and scrap felt.

I had so much fun making these, my granddaughter wants to make them as well so we are setting up a date for school holidays next week. If you have cardboard boxes,which you can find in the pantry, tea, cereal etc, some bits of ribbon or twine, you can make them too. You can draw or paint designs, use stamps made from a cut potato or celery, old wrapping paper, old buttons, bits of broken jewellery, you're only limited by your imagination! 

Have a great week everyone, I have some more ideas brewing for my next post so till then stay safe and happy     

A White and gold Christmas wreath

Well Christmas is getting closer and closer and me being me leave my decorating and shopping to the last moment. It will be summer here in the southern hemisphere, hot and humid, so we'll be having Christmas day at the home of one of my daughters on the Gold Coast. We usually eat outside over a long and leisurely meal and afterwards go for a swim in the pool. So very different to celebrating Christmas in the cold weather as you do in the northern hemisphere.  

Now it's time I started to think about Christmas decorating. I won't be doing anything grand and certainly not expensive. Christmas is costly enough and I want it to be all about being together as a family, sharing lots of love and laughter, not on how things must "look". I love the time we spend together making new memories and traditions, they can never be replaced.   

I wanted to make my Christmas decor from what I already have instead of buying more. It's sad that so many people go into debt for Christmas and have to pay it off during the following year, which  takes the joy out of Christmas giving and places unnecessary stress on families. I don't want to put myself or any of my loved ones into that position. Looking through my supplies I decided to make a white and gold Christmas wreath for my front door . I wanted to put a bit of glitz and  glamour into it and I thought white and gold perfect for this. Simple but stylish.

These are the materials needed for this project:

.  Styrofoam wreath ring
. White ribbon
. Ribbon to hang wreath
.  Pearls
. White and gold twine
.  Glue
. Large gold key or similar

The first step is to start winding the ribbon around the wreath

I put a dob of glue onto the start of the ribbon and stuck it to the wreath to make it easier to wind around it and put another dob of glue at the very end. Once I'd finished winding all the ribbon around the wreath I started to wind the white and gold twine around it.

Once that was finished I applied the pearls with glue. I used a cement glue but a hot glue gun could also be used. As long it holds the pearls on. I placed them on randomly but you could put them all over and add more if you prefer. Next I tied the big gold key on with the white and gold twine. Lastly I tied a piece of cream coloured ribbon around the top of the wreath so I could hang it on my front door or as you see in the picture on the wall as part of a gallery.


There are so many ways you could make this, only limited by your imagination. I hope it's given you a bit of inspiration to try and make your own decorations, and get the kids or grandkids to join in. It's always so much fun and they love to say they helped make it! Let me know in the comments what you think. I love getting feedback and enjoy hearing from you

DIY easy felt bag to make

Today I'm going to show you how to make a toy bag out of a piece of felt measuring 23" x 18". I have a grandson who is mad about cars, he's such a boy!  He has a lot of small cars that he likes to take with him wherever he goes. As I'm sure you know travelling for an inquisitive, active 4 year old is not easy so when his family is on an outing in the car he plays with them. I'm sure most parents can relate to this. Much better than a bored child who is constantly whingeing. I'm sure those of us who have children or grandchildren can relate! You could use this bag for so many things, dolls clothes, any toys, colouring in books and pencils, the list is endless.
As Christmas is coming up I thought this would make the perfect gift. Here are the list of supplies you will need:

Finished bag

. Piece of felt
. Piece of cotton fabric or calico
. Fabric Glue (if used)
. Cotton or embroidery floss
. Needle
. Buttons
. Hessian Burlap) for handles

The first thing I did was fold the felt in half lengthways. You now have 2 sides to glue or sew or both if you want to make it extra strong. You'll be sewing one side and the bottom of the bag.

Piece of felt

Felt sewn 2 sides

This is where you would use fabric glue to bring the two sides together if you choose to use it and sew them together.

The next step is to turn the fabric in the right way. This is where I sewed a 5" x 5" piece of calico onto the felt and glued the buttons of the first initial of my grandson's first name onto it.

I meant to take a picture before I put the buttons on but it appears that I didn't take one but I'm sure you get the idea. Next I attached the handles which are from a roll of hessian (burlap) edging. I knew it would make a sturdy handle and that is what you want for children, sturdy! I glued and sewed the handles on to be on the safe side.

And that my friends is it! Very quick and very easy! Next I'm making one for one of my grandaughters, I have 8 grandchildren so there might be more requests coming up! I'm not really a sewer but if you can thread a needle and do a very basic running stitch then you can make one too!

Have a great week everyone, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

DIY Wall Hanging, a quick and easy project

Today I want to share with you a quick and easy project that I made for a Christmas gift. I can't believe we are in November already, it feels like we just had Christmas! The reality is we have only about 8 weeks left! I have 8 grandchildren that I need to buy presents for so I've had to put on my thinking cap. Their ages range from 21 down to 18 months.  I have a few members in my family that love homemade gifts especially my Ellie who is 18 because they know that a lot of love goes into making them. She has an all white bedroom and every time I visit she has  changed something. At the moment she has shells hanging on twine, so she loves decorating with natural elements.  I've been seeing blues used in autumn decor instead of the traditional autumn colours and I really love it. Maybe because blue is my favourite colour! So this is for Ellie, I hope she likes it!  OK let's start:

Supplies needed: 

. Hessian (burlap) cut to size

. A small branch

. Craft Paint

. Paintbrush

. Glue

Embroidery thread

. Pearls

. Twine 


Firstly cut your hessian to the size you require. Mine is 1 foot long x 8" wide. Next I painted my autumn leaves with blue craft paint.

The branch I used

Pearls and embroidery floss

Once I'd painted all the leaves I glued them onto the hessian. I used a waterproof glue which dries clear because I didn't want any glue to show where it wasn't meant to show. I am very messy!.  Then I applied my pearls to the hessian, again using the same glue. I already had these in my stash. They are flat bottomed and have glue already on them but I added mine as well to make sure they were well and truly stuck on!

After all the glue had dried I attached my branch to the hessian with embroidery floss in the same beautiful blue shade as my leaves.

 Once I'd sewn on all the embroidery floss I wrapped twine to each end, tied it and it was ready to hang

Here is the finished product! Quite rustic. What do you think? Do you think Ellie will like it? I'll have to wait and see, I'll let you know after Christmas.  

How to make a Wreath from a Rattan Basket

It's been a little while since I have posted here because it's  been raining for nearly two weeks in my small part of the world. I can hear you saying well what does that have to do with anything! Well I've suffered with depression and anxiety at times throughout my life. I have something called SADS which is seasonal affective disorder syndrome. It basically means that when winter comes with the shorter days and less light I tend to become lethargic or depressed. It's associated with the level of melatonin in my body, but I'll leave that for another post where I'll tell you about my journey with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia and depression and anxiety. It's not easy to talk about myself personally but if it helps others on the same journey I will do so. Sharing always makes the load lighter. So let's begin.

I'm going to show you a wreath I made using a rattan cane basket that I bought for $2 at my local second hand shop. I love that place! And I love finding new uses for decor items as well.

These are the supplies I used for this project:

. Faux flowers

. Wire cutters

. Rattan basket

That's all! No long list of supplies to search for!

Here is the basket I started with:

Firstly I detatched the flowers from the bunch

I started to use tin cutters to cut through the stems but then found it easier to use pliers that I use in making jewellery. I found that these worked better.

These are more flowers that I snipped. As you can see these are the pliers I used to cut the stems.

Now comes the fun part! Attaching the flowers to the basket. Because of the weave of the basket I was able to stick the flowers through the gaps.

It was very fiddly but eventually I was able to attach all the flowers
to the basket. Some of the stem wire was sticking out at the back so I went round and carefully cut the excess wire and voila! Done!

Here in Australia we don't normally decorate for autumn with pumpkins so I found this gorgeous  ceramic one at a second hand (thrift) store for a few dollars. An ode to my American bloggers!   

Isn't it cute? I have so much blue in my home and this little guy fits in perfectly!
I've previously done a post on a wreath using autumn leaves and you can find it here.

I hope you like my version of an autumn wreath, I'd love to hear your comments, feedback is good. Have a great weekend friends.   

Chicken with roasted cherry tomatoe and basil sauce, so quick and using only 6 ingredents

It's a glorious warm day here in my part of the world. As it gets hotter I like to cook easy and quick meals because it gets very hot in the kitchen and who wants to spend hours in a hot kitchen? Not me!
I have a number of main course recipes that have few ingredients but are full of flavour. Would you like a recipe that everyone loves using only 6 ingredients? I have one for you today called Chicken with roasted cherry tomato and basil sauce. This recipe uses fresh herbs that I picked from my garden and even my grandchildren love it, it's so creamy and delicious! My whole family loves me making this when we have "get togethers". It's super quick so I can spend the time with them and not in the kitchen. 

 This recipe is for 4 people so double it for more. Here are the 6 ingredients you need to make this delicious meal:


Chicken with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Sauce



     500 grams cherry tomatoes
     5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
     2 tablespoons olive oil
     4 x 200 grams breast fillets
     1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
     1/4 cup (60 ml) cream


1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius or 180 degrees fan- forced.

2. Combine tomatoes, garlic and oil in large shallow baking dish. Roast uncovered about 20 mins. or until tomatoes soften.  When garlic is cool enough to handle, peel,

3. Meanwhile cook chicken on heated oiled grill plate (or grill or barbecue) until cooked through. Cover: stand 5 minutes

4. Blend or process garlic and half the tomatoes until smooth. Place in medium saucepan with basil and cream: cook, stirring over low heat, until heated through. Serve chicken topped with sauce and remaining tomatoes.

Mashed Potato, rice or pasta, spinach or beans are all great accompaniments to this quick and easy main course.
I personally love Parmesan mash or mash with Greek yoghurt (in place of cream or milk) and whatever greens I have on hand. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If you'd like to try Parmesan Mash, boil 1kg. potatoes. When cooked mash until smooth then stir in 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, 40g soft butter  and 3/4 cup of hot milk.


What do you think? Try it, I'm sure your family and friends will love it! Happy cooking! 

Fall Decorations, Three easy projects

I've been looking at Pinterest and Instagram and seeing all the beautiful fall decorations. The thing is where I live it is spring! I haven't seen any spring decor only autumn or fall as some call it.
I decided to join the throng and make my own fall decor. I suppose the way the weather has been worldwide, heat waves in autumn, hot winters in Oz, floods and fires, anything goes!

I don't have any pumpkins, real or fake, we don't decorate for our seasons as much as our northern counterparts, so I'm using colourful autumn leaves to decorate. I must admit I love the velvet pumpkins. I went to a fabric shop to buy some velvet for another project and because of our hot climate they don't stock velvet! I was not impressed to say the least! I will probably order some online.

I have three quick and easy fall decorations to share that I made using these leaves. These are the supplies you will need to make them:

Finished wreath

               For Wreath

A Packet of fall leaves from the $2 shop
Hessian (burlap) roll
Hot glue gun or similar

               For Branches with fall leaves

Branches. I got mine from a tree in my backyard
Leaves (as above)
Glue or hot glue gun 

               For Welcome Sign

A piece of scrap wood
Leaves (as above)
Stenciled or stick on letters
Roll of hessian ribbon or wire
White homemade chalk paint

For the wreath I started with an old plastic covered wire coat hanger bent to the shape that I wanted. I used the hessian roll to wind around the coat hanger

Plastic covered wire coat hanger

Starting to roll hessian (burlap) onto hanger
I had already made a garland with twine and I glued the leaves onto the twine as shown 

Leaf garland
I then wrapped this garland around the wreath but you can simply glue the leaves straight onto the hessian wrapped coat hanger. 

As you can see above these are the branches I cut from a tree in my backyard and using the same leaves I glued them onto the branch where I wanted them.

Branches with glued on leaves

 The welcome sign was made using a scrap piece of wood to which I gave a very light coat of white chalk paint. I then wrapped a 2" piece of hessian (burlap) around one end and glued the leaves to it. I had a piece of ribbon left over from another project and I simply nailed it onto the back of the timber. I nailed it a part of the way through and bent the last bit of the nail over with the hammer. I did this because I didn't want it to come all the way through the piece of wood and hammered it over so it wouldn't stick out.

Welcome sign

Sorry this picture is sideways and I know a few of the letters are wonky but I quite like it like that.

I hope you enjoyed the fall decorations, I had fun doing them and they were really easy to do. If you make any I would love to see them. Have a great day  
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