Artificial Christmas tree or real tree: the pros and cons

Real tree or artificial Christmas tree? What’s in your home? I am going to warn you, I am biast. I have always preferred real Christmas trees over fake ones. Just because I love authentic, nice things and a plastic tree just never fitted that picture. Still, I wanted to look at the options more closely, because more and more people have them nowadays for various reasons. Some claim it is in fact a more eco-friendly option than buying a real tree year after year, only to throw it outside after a few weeks. But a plastic tree…environmentally friendly? Not sure. By the way, did you know the fake tree was invented by a U.S.-based toilet bowl brush manufacturer, the Addis Brush Company? This company created an artificial tree from brush bristles in the 1930s, acting as the prototype for modern artificial trees. Interesting little bit of history, right?

So what’s the truth? What are the options and what are the pros and cons of real versus fake trees?

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Real Christmas tree: Pros

The smell

You can’t beat the smell of a real Christmas tree. The fresh smell when you brush against the branches. It fills your home with Christmas!

You support local business

By buying a real tree from a local tree grower, you support local business. These businesses spend all year caring for their trees so that you can take one home and enjoy it during the Christmas holidays. Some vendors make it into a whole experience: getting you to pick your favourite tree, wrapping it up, selling hot chocolate and coffees on site to warm up. It can be a lovely trip out for the family if it’s somewhere picturesque in the countryside, on a frosty December morning.

It is natural. And biodegradable.

If you hate plastic, you want a real tree. A real tree from nature. Falling needles and all. No point trying to convert you, as a fake plastic Christmas tree will not enter your house. Real trees are authentic. And they will not sit in landfill forever.

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Real Christmas tree: Cons

Needles

Some are worse than others, but all real Christmas trees will at some point lose their needles. Central heating is the main cause and then there are kids and pets brushing against it. You’ll be sweeping up and hoovering almost daily and if you’re really unlucky, your tree is not looking great anymore by the time it is Christmas day.

It gets thrown out every year

I don’t know about you, but I always feel sorry for the Christmas tree the first week of January. Decoration taken down and off it goes, dragged through the hallway and out the front door onto the pavement. All bare and needles brown and dropping. It’s done a good job, but poor tree.

They cost money…every year

Real Christmas trees are pricey. And on top of gifts, food, drink and maybe travel, it is an extra cost in December you could maybe do without.



Artificial Christmas tree: pros

They look perfect

Look at the image above. Perfect. No lop sided trees with one side thicker than the other. Or funny looking tall ones with a long thin top which makes the topper bend down. A fake tree is perfectly shaped in a perfect shade of green and with perfectly even spread of branches.

You can leave the decorations in

If you’re really short of time, energy or are just plain lazy, you can get a ready decorated fake tree. Job done. Fold it up, put it in a bag and store it away for next year. Boring and uninspiring? Perhaps. But convenient it sure is. And not everyone loves being creative and crafty.

You reuse it every year

No need to shop around for trees, just get it down from the loft and put it up. It saves money for sure. If you buy a high quality one, you’ll be using it for many years. My own parents-in-law apparently have had their artificial Christmas tree since the 1980s. That sure is a durable solution.

vintage advert for artificial christmas trees

Artificial Christmas tree: the cons

It still ends up in landfill

No matter how many years you use your tree for, it still is plastic and at some point in the future will end up in the bin. I wonder how many of those sold in the 1960s are still taking pride of place in the living room this December. I know, you say, but what about all the other plastic household things you use that will break at some point in the future…kettles, light shades, garden tools, buckets, bins, toys, etc… Yes, you are right. But perhaps next time you need to replace those, it’s worth looking for non plastic, more durable alternatives too. In case of a tree, it is easy to make that decision right now. But if you already own a plastic one, keep it forever!

There is no smell

Nothing beats the smell of…plastic? I suppose you could light a fragrant candle in the room to add some seasonal smells, but they sure won’t come from your artificial Christmas tree. If you like the smell of nature, a fake tree won’t do the job.

Toxic ingredients

Fake trees are questionable in terms of human health. Today’s artificial trees are typically manufactured with metal and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a non-biodegradable, petroleum-derived plastic. In addition, many older varieties may contain lead, used as a stabilizer in the manufacturing process.


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Conclusion

The artificial Christmas tree is non-recyclable and non-biodegradable, meaning they will sit in a landfill for centuries after disposal. An artificial Christmas tree will last on average five to seven years, meaning you’ll eventually have to dispose of it, and many secondhand stores will not accept them. There’s also no guarantee the LED lights will last the whole time you own it, and they can’t be removed and replaced like with a real tree.

I believe it is a good idea to choose natural materials over plastic as much as possible, so you can guess what I am supporting.

Alternatives

Buy a tree in a pot

Don’t like the thought of sad dead trees on the doorstep after Christmas? You can of course opt to buy a fresh Christmas tree, in a pot. You can then plant it in your garden after Christmas is over and dig it up again next year. The question is always whether it survives after having lived in a heated living room for a good few weeks, but it is worth a try. Don’t forget to water it!

Adopt a tree!

How about giving it back to the grower? You enjoy it over Christmas and then it goes back ‘home’, where it gets looked after for another year. Not a very mainstream option yet, but it does exist. Find out more on Adopt a Christmas tree schemes or do a Google for your own local area.

Go Minimalist

Don’t want a tree at all? Decorate a large house plant. Or collect a few nice branches from the forest on your next walk and place them in a large vase for a minimalist look. Ideas plenty.

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Go radical

I will just leave this here. Merry Christmas!

The cutest no plastic gift ideas for children

Need some ideas for no plastic gifts for children? I’m with you. Birthday parties, Christmas presents, gifts brought by visiting relatives, children get a lot of stuff. And if you have young children like me, this stuff amounts to a lot over the months and years. Boxes full of toy cars, action figures and dolls and a whole lot of plastic you’d rather not have in your house. It’s messy and half of it the kids don’t even play with. I bet most parents would agree. Still, a child’s birthday or Christmas requires a gift as you don’t want to see sad faces. How about not adding to the heap of expensive commercial plastic toys, but bringing something imaginative instead? Here are some suggestions I love.


A Craft & bead box for creative little hands


Got a cute vintage tin or a wooden box with a lid? Or how about pimping up an old shoe box? A lot of children around the age of 5-8 or older love to make things like bracelets or necklaces, so create a beautiful treasure box for them! Fill a box with old beads, ribbons, buttons, scrap fabric and string and let their imagination do the rest. I know I would have loved to receive a box full of things like that.

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Image: Aunt Peaches

A wooden tree compatible with Lego


I love it when companies make their stuff compatible with other brands. Smallable, which has a fantastic range of wooden toys for children, sells this plywood tree for a very reasonable £16 that is compatible with Lego bricks. There is also a castle and a space ship in the same series. Check out their other beautiful wooden toys here.

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Board games and other family fun


I must admit, I’ve never really been one for games, but being a parent I kind of had to get into it. Snakes and ladders, Ludo, Memory, Uno, you name it, my kids love it. I don’t know whether it’s the game itself or the fact that you are playing it with them and they can beat you, but I sure score some brownie points when I get on the floor or around the table for a board game. We were given a great wooden Snakes and Ladders/Ludo combo board a few years back and it gets used every week. Definitely not something that will end up in the forgotten toys corner any time soon. Charity and second-hand shops usually have games in stock, so worth checking. If you rather invest in something high quality and new as a gift for the family to enjoy together for years to come, then John Lewis is a good bet.

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DIY Frame lacers for fine motor skills


Frame Lacers are a colorful DIY toy that doubles up as a great fine motor skills activity for kids. Got a tiny child in your life? Make them one of these!

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Image: Babbledabbledo

An invention box or ‘robot box’ for explorers


Do you have a child in your life who loves taking things apart or figure out how stuff fits together? Gift them an ‘invention box’ or ‘robot box’! Create a robot box for the toddler in your life using outdated technology. Find old CDs, floppy disks, cables & cords to create a fun bin for toddlers to imagine with. For the older child, fill a large box with more fiddly things they can put together. Nothing better for their creativity than open ended learning and discovery. Check out Research Parent for ideas on what to include in the box.

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Image: Research Parent



 

Eco-friendly packaging ideas for Christmas

Gift boxes look very pretty under the Christmas tree – or at any occasion. So do gift bags and pretty shiny wrapping paper. But after buying the gift itself you don’t really want to be spending more money on something that is going to end up in the recycling bin within minutes after opening. Some rolls of paper are hellishly expensive, let alone cute boxes with bows and sparkly bags. Time for some creative eco-friendly packaging ideas!

1. Toilet rolls turn into gift boxes

I admit, it may be a bit weird to some, but genius it is. Jewellery and other small gifts are best presented in a box. But why buy little gift boxes when you probably have at least five empty toilet rolls sitting on the window sill in the bathroom, or in the paper recycling bin.

toilet roll gift box

2. Brown paper: eco-friendly packaging for Christmas gifts

Recently on Facebook a post went viral about wrapping paper not being recyclable and how we should all use brown paper instead. Now although this is total nonsense, about the wrapping paper not being recyclable (unless it is covered in glitter or laminated), the idea of brown paper as an alternative eco-friendly packaging idea for gifts is lovely! The plain brown paper lends itself really well to creative additions, such as stamps, a lick of paint or just nice string and some greenery. A great way to add a stylish ‘Scandinavian touch’ to your Christmas party. Spend next Sunday making your own unique paper and impress your family with beautifully wrapped gifts. Plenty of inspiration on Pinterest.

eco-friendly packaging for christmas

3. Recycled paper eco-friendly gift bags

Gift bags. Just like gift boxes, these are not cheap considering they are probably only going to be used once – or if you are frugal and keep them in the storage cupboard afterwards – a few times. Anyway, you will also have a pile of magazines lying around, or newspaper, which can easily be turned into cute, homemade and very Pinterest-worthy gift bags. Want to give it a shot? Check out this page on Pinterest for ideas and tutorials to create your own beautiful eco-friendly packaging.

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4. Recycle last year’s Christmas card into Gift tags

Still got last year’s Christmas cards in the decorations box? Cut them up! You can make very nice gift tags with them. Or if you don’t need tags, why not try some paper Christmas bunting?

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The Bohemian gift guide. Eight folklore, vintage and handmade items on Etsy

Minimalist Scandi? Wonderful. But my house usually looks like a colourful bomb site, so I’d better stick with the theme. I love colour and pattern and what better way to brighten up the dark winter than to gift or receive some bold handmade or vintage items for your home or wardrobe. Looking for something bohemian and folklore? Here is what I found for you on Etsy!


1. Snuggle up with a Velvet Floral Cushion

velvet floral cushion

What a vibrant explosion of colour on this cushion. Ideal to jazz up an old armchair or comfy sofa. I love the orange and teal blue combo. And the fact that it’s velvet is even better. Size 60 x 60cm. €69.95 + free shipping UK. Find it at HouseSamples


2. Send a handmade Bohemian card

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Those rich colours, wonderful. Hand painted roses and neon pink lettering. Yes, I’d like to receive a card like that any time, thank you very much. Printed onto thick card using original watercolour illustrations with die cut typography backed with bright pink neon backing paper. Materials: 300 gsm card, 90 gsm neon paper, kraft envelope. €4.66 + shipping. Find this card and many more on MissBespokePapercuts


3. Wear a psychedelic vintage shirt

vintage psychedelic shirt

How about this Vintage 1970s Psychedelic Print Shirt Dress? Pair it with jeans, belted or free and loose – you’ll sure to make a statement! This one is loose fitting, so fits a size S/M/L. €45.25 + shipping. Check out many more fab vintage clothes over at SecondVerseVintage


4. Keep your feet warm in woolen Aztec socks

Aztec bohemian wool socks

Socks must be the all time favourite Christmas gift. These would definitely make me very happy if I found those under the tree on Christmas day. How cosy and colourful. hand knitted sheep’s wool socks, great to wear in boots or at home. €21.57 + shipping. Find them at NouMoon


5. Brush up on your Russian Folklore knowledge

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How obscure would you like your gift to be this year? I tell you, this Russian vintage store on Etsy is something else. Postcards, art and books with the most beautiful vintage and folklore illustrations. The postcard sets pictured have lots of wonderful photographs of furniture and illustrations done in traditional folkore paint techniques. Masterpieces of Russian Folk Crafts, Khokhloma Folk Painting — 32 Vintage Prints, Postcards (16×2 Complete Sets with covers) — 1974, 1976. €11.58 + shipping. Check them out at RussianSoulVintage.


6. Put some folklore on your wrist

folklore bohemian watch

I love this watch. Made in Poland, the watch is custom-made and has a leather strap. It’s made from stainless steel with a high-quality graphic placed on the clock face. The watch is equipped with a Japanese quartz mechanism and a replaceable battery. There are many other floral and folklore designs available, as well as different colour leather straps. €21.29 + shipping. ludowelove


7. Bohemian earrings

bohemian folklore earrings

Etsy is a goldmine when it comes to beautiful jewellery and it was hard to select just one pair. If you are looking for earrings or other unique jewellery, I recommend having a browse and look for yourself! These beautiful handmade tribal earrings are made from brass, inlaid with Malachite. €29.14 + shipping. Find them at TreezasEclectica


8. A vintage folklore bird ornament from Russia

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Another piece of gorgeous Russian vintage. Definitely worth searching for eastern european items on Etsy if you love folklore and colour! A bit different from the vintage from the UK. This beautiful bird ceramic ornament is from the 1950s. The colours are typical of the Russian folklore colours and show a beautiful craftsmanship. €23.00 + shipping. Find this one and more on NaphtalineTreasures


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco-friendly Christmas decoration without tinsel

Who’s up for making some eco-friendly Christmas decoration? Christmas is a time of indulgence. Too much food and drink, too many gifts and a house full of decoration. Fun times for sure, but every year tons of plastic tinsel end up in landfill, as well as other stuff like broken fairy lights, plastic baubles and other Christmas decoration. Because stuff is so cheap these days, it is very tempting to go to low cost supermarkets and pound/euro/dollar stores and fill your basket with new glittery pieces every year. I’m no saint, I’ve done it too! Because sometimes temptation gets the better of you and you think, nevermind, it won’t make much of a difference if it’s just me doing it. But it does.

Five DIY alternatives to tinsel

Today I am suggesting some alternative, fun and in most cases far more durable alternatives to plastic tinsel. Let’s get making! No time or skills or too much faff ? Find decorations at your local craft fairs or have a browse on Etsy.

1. Paper Christmas decoration

Last year’s Christmas cards cut into circles, stars or triangles make great garlands and bunting. Paper chains are easy and fun to make too. Get the kids involved on a rainy Sunday afternoon! Possibilities are endless with paper and an ideal way to kick off your eco-friendly Christmas this year. Keep it really simple or turn it into a more complicated project with folds and creases, or sew the pieces onto a string.

eco-friendly Christmas

eco-friendly Christmas

2. Christmas decoration with poms

Oooh…do you remember making these at school? Pom poms are so much fun to make and easy enough for little hands to help too. Use up old wool, or unravel an old scarf or jumper if you really want to go down the upcycling route. Tie them onto a string and create a fabulous home-made alternative to tinsel. Hang them in the tree or use as a garland. Read my other blog post about Christmas pom poms here.

eco-friendly Christmas

pom pom garland Christmas

3. Eco-friendly Christmas decoration with pine cones

For a nice minimalist, kind-of Scandi look, go and collect pine cones on your next walk in the woods. Add a bit of silver or white paint to the tips if you like for a nice Christmassy touch.

pine cone garland eco friendly

4. Fabric Christmas bunting

Bunting is easy to sew and fun to create from any scrap fabrics lying around or old clothes. Choose reds and whites to make one in Christmas colours. Another easy idea is to cut triangles out of burlap and just sew the tops to a ribbon to create some home-made bunting. Still more fabric lying around? Make a wreath!

burlap bunting eco-friendly christmas

5. Beads and buttons

For more delicate looking decoration for your tree or fireplace, try stringing beads or vintage buttons (or remove them from clothes you no longer wear – you could use the fabric for bunting or a fabric scrap wreath!) on a thread at regular intervals for a ‘necklace’. Reusing your old clothes and buttons is a great way to create eco-friendly Christmas decor.

eco-friendly wreath and garland

christmas garland with vintage buttons

Zero waste Christmas gifts: five great ideas

Who’s up for some more ideas for zero waste Christmas gifts? In this time of climate change and plastic waste everywhere, now is the time to become more conscious in every part of your life, and certainly at Christmas. It is time to think outside the gift box! Not all gifts have to be expensive or new. If your loved ones know you and the way you feel about zero waste and conscious gifts, they will be grateful for the thought and effort you have put into finding or crafting something especially for them.

Feel good & Guilt-free

You can be creative, make things yourself, buy second-hand or pass things on you no longer need and would make a great gift to someone who would appreciate it. And certainly don’t forget the non-material presents such as time spent together and vouchers for a day out. It may not help our economy much if you keep your purse shut, but you’ll save the planet and create a fabulous feel-good factor.

First of all, here is the ethical gift giving triangle!


zero waste christmas gifts


Here are my suggestions for zero waste Christmas gifts:

For the reader

A book from your shelf

Have you read some amazing novels or biographies this past year? Pass them on! Share the joy with your dad, your neighbour, your auntie, your best friend. Books are adventures, journeys in the mind and snuggled up me-time all in one. Tie them with a ribbon and add a box of their favourite tea.

zero waste christmas gifts

For the young parent

A baby-sitting voucher

Did someone in your family or circle of friends have a baby this year? Or are in the middle of the crazy busy toddler years? I bet they are dying for a date-night or just a little bit of time away from their cherubs. To feel normal again and have some adult conversation. Trust me, I’ve been there. A baby-sitting voucher will come as a very thoughtful gift. If you feel even more generous, add tickets to the cinema. They will love you for it.

For the children

A board game or a bag of toys from the second-hand store

Skip the Toys r Us and other plastic horror stores and head straight for the charity shop for zero waste christmas gifts. Sure, not everything is plastic-free, but at least it is second-hand. Jigsaw puzzles, giant diggers, dinosaurs, dolls houses, wooden toys, they may have a little scratch here and there but small children will see those gifts as brand spanking new and get just as excited. If slightly older children have not yet been tarnished by computer games and Xbox sets, they may appreciate a board or family game (and otherwise, maybe convert them!). Do they know how to play chess or monopoly?

no plastic christmas gifts

For the sweet tooth

A tin of homemade cookies

If you are a baker, everyone will love your eatable gifts. Zero waste Christmas gifts for sure, as I bet not a crumb is left. Find some lovely vintage tins to put your biscuits, fudge, cakes or other homebakes in, or make paper gift bags. Another idea is to get the kids involved and get them to do the baking. Sure grannie or their teacher will appreciate that!

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For your loved ones

A quality time voucher

In the same category as the babysitting voucher, gift quality time. Design a lovely voucher for a day out with a special friend, family member or your children. Or a voucher for a spa day, a dinner or a trip to the museum. Possibilities are endless and quality time beats and shop bought gift.

No Plastic Christmas gifts: stoneware mugs

In this time of trying to be plastic-free, it is nice to also shop for no plastic Christmas gifts. I love ceramics and pottery and it is incredible how many gorgeous examples you can find when looking around.

Charity Shops, artist’s studios and Etsy for no plastic Christmas gifts

I used to regularly visit charity shops in Scotland to find vintage and more modern studio pottery, but unfortunately in Spain it is not that easy to find second-hand stuff. Luckily there is always Pinterest and Etsy to get my ceramic fix. Plus of course, nothing beats popping into an artist’s studio or gallery to see ceramics up close and – if allowed – touch those beautiful tactile textures. The fact that they are handmade by someone and that none of them is exactly the same, makes it extra special. Do I sound like I’m obsessed? I guess I am. Today I am sharing some beauties I have come across lately, available on Etsy with international shipping. Ideal as no plastic Christmas gifts.
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Ceramic Espresso Cup Set, €37.21
This unique ceramic cup set features hand-painted details in yellow, white, and blue splatters. The perfect combination of a minimalist aesthetic with a rustic homespun charm. Very striking.
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Mug without handle, with saucer.  €27.00
I love textures and shaped in ceramics. You can almost imagine what it feels like to hold this chunky mug. It comes in a beautiful blue-ish glazing, with a small unglazed border at the bottom of the cup. This mug has no handle.
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Ceramic coffee mug. €21.39
The white glaze on the interior of these lovely mugs overlaps and bleeds lightly into the colour on the outside. These mugs are ideal coffee mugs or tea mugs and work perfectly on their own or as a set in a combination of colours. no plastic christmas gifts Frosty blue stoneware mug €26.22 Warm your cockles with a steaming cup of tea from this beautiful, rustic mug glazed in a wintery matt blue-green glaze.
ceramic mug etsy
Skylight large pale blue green gloss mug. €35.65
This mug is the perfect shape to get a good hug round your coffee. The handle is large and comfortable, and can fit either two or three fingers in, depending how you like to hold your drink.
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Set of 2 ceramic beaker cups. €39.00
This set is made of speckled stoneware and colored clay in pink. Glazed internally and on the edge in a glossy transparent lead-free glaze and left unglazed on the outside with a raw matt texture. A wonderful texture and lovely soft colour palette.
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Botanical Leaf Ceramic Coffee Mug. €45.60
Bring a spark of nature to your morning coffee or afternoon tea. This mug is hand formed in white stoneware with leaves painted and carved in speckled stoneware. The body is glazed in glossy white and the bottom is unglazed. The perfect mug or tea cup for your kitchen, office, or as a gift.

Nina’s Apartment is 10 this year!

Happy birthday to me and my wee blog! I started the blog Nina’s Apartment back in 2008, can you believe it? No, I neither can I! I started the blog because I craved having an online place where I could gather ideas about styling with vintage. I also wanted to share upcycling projects and inspire readers to be more original in their interior decor choices. Ban beige! Was my first tagline.

A few years later I even had the joy of running my own shop under the same name, selling vintage furniture for four years. It is wonderful to give vintage pieces a new lease of life with paint or reupholstery. To rescue an unloved old teak sideboard from a garage, restore it and seeing a young family fall in love with it and give it a new home.

E Book Styling with Vintage

In all those years, while blogging, sourcing and selling vintage and even designing people’s rooms for them, I often got the same questions. “How do you know what vintage to buy?” “Can I make it look good with the rest of my interior?” “How do I make things work together well?” I decided to gather some of my thoughts and knowledge on it and create a little Guide for you! It’s a pretty little booklet with some great bite-size lessons and tips to spark ideas, give inspiration and help you get started on your own creative decor project.

And in return? It would help me so much if I could somehow earn a tiny bit of money from my blog after keeping it going and sharing my ideas for free for all those years. It’s not a lot, less than the price of a coffee and cake. Will you support me? It would be an amazing birthday gift! 🙂


E Book A Practical Guide to Styling with Vintage


E Book Styling with Vintage

A Practical Guide to Styling with Vintage

12 pages + front and back cover. Print quality, high resolution PDF.
The book includes numerous full colour photographs for inspiration, six practical styling lessons, an exercise to get you thinking and four style sheets to help you create your desired look.

After payment I will send you your E Book PDF within 24 hours.

£4.00


Preview

 


Who is this e book for?

This 12-page booklet is for people who love vintage furniture and using vintage finds in their own decor, but perhaps find it hard to select the right piece or how to make it look good in their home. Or perhaps you don’t know how to combine it with what you already have. And how do you prevent your decor from looking like a time warp? This E booklet is a helping hand to assist you in styling your home with vintage finds and furniture, create balance and make it all come together.

The lessons in the book are great reminders of what to think about when buying and styling with vintage; the style sheets serve as practical guides to create a certain ‘look’ and the lists are great to bring with you on your shopping trips. It is a high resolution PDF so you can even print it out.

Let me help you create an interior that reflects who you are and what you love…and stands the test of time. Enjoy!


Or…if you don’t want the E book but would like to buy me a birthday coffee instead, then you would be absolutely amazing too! A BIG thank you for supporting me.

coffee with heart shape milk

Buy Nina a coffee

I don't start writing before I have had a good coffee in the morning. Thank you for kick-starting my working day!

£2.50

Upcycling tutorial: make a tote, basket or rug with plastic bag yarn

The plastic problem is still huge and creating big problems in oceans, in landfill and just generally making the earth look very ugly. Still, I am an optimist, and I believe change is coming, not tomorrow maybe, but we are heading in the right direction. People are generally becoming more aware of the ecological impact of especially single use plastic and social media is full of posts showing ideas of how to reduce the use of it in your own household. I am still guilty myself of doing unplanned, spontaneous grocery shopping, subsequently accepting single use carrier bags. I buy coffees on the go in takeaway cups. It is hard to be consistent and strict about these things while they are still constantly offered to us.

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Last year India banned all forms of disposable plastic in Delhi. Europe is proposing a ban on single-use plastic items such as cutlery, straws and cotton buds in a bid to clean up the oceans. The legislation is not just about banning plastic products. It also wants to make plastic producers bear the cost of waste management and cleanup efforts, and it proposes that EU states must collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles by 2025 through new recycling programs.

upcycling tutorial

So that’s a bit about where we are at with single use plastic…but what about turning single use carrier bags into something that is usable for much longer, while they are still in existence? I am always in awe of how creative and resourceful humans are around the world. Who knew you could knit and crochet with the stuff?


How to make plarn?

 


1. Make a Crocheted tote bag our of plarn

 

plarn tote bag upcycling tutorial
Image and tutorial (in Spanish): La ventana azul

Image: MontClairMade


Plastic bags can be incredibly versatile and turned into very strong yarn for crocheting. When choosing bags for your project, consider color and texture. Select bags that are similar in thickness to create an overall good effect. Combine different coloured bags to create a pattern of colour, colour changes and patterns.

Supplies you’ll need:

20-25 clean grocery bags
Plastic crochet hook, size 6.50mm K
Scissors

Ready to give it a go?

Take me to the tutorial


plarn basket upcycling tutorial
Image: Jessyratfink


 

2. Make a basket out of plarn

A waste basket…out of waste! I love baskets for all sorts of uses, including toys, craft supplies, hats and gloves at the front door or yes, for paper waste.  How cute is this one made out of plastic carrier bags? And even better, no crocheting required.

Want to learn how?

Take me to the tutorial


3. Make a rag rug out of plarn

Great for outdoors, at the front door or in the bathroom, rag rugs made out of plastic carrier bags make surprisingly great mats. Here is an upcycling tutorial on how to make them. No crocheting needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco friendly transport around town: adult scooters

I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to scoot away on my brand new ‘patinete’ or adult scooter, when I bought it in Valencia this spring. I felt like a kid again! Living in a city where you use public transport a lot and distances are sometimes a little bit far to walk (and arrive on time), it is extremely handy to have a portable vehicle to get yourself from A to B just that little bit faster. Adult scooters are perfect for short journeys, the school run or your daily commute with public transport.

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My trusted Oxelo scooter


My little boys have scooters and yes, they are usually associated with children’s activities, but believe me, the adult version is just as much fun. Wind in your hair, stepping away, gliding with ease, passing pedestrians and saving time. What’s not to like?

Scooters or patinetes (for the Spanish people among us) come in all shapes and sizes, with or without hand brakes. I bought an Oxelo adult scooter from Decathlon recently, for 119 euro. No hand brakes (instead you have a foot brake – you slow down by pushing the mud guard down on the back wheel with your foot), but it is foldable with a strap for easy carrying.  Even the handle bars fold inwards so you basically carry a scooter over your shoulder the size of a large bag. And not too heavy.  Very useful when getting on public transport! You can get actual carrier bags too if you want to take your scooter with you on longer journeys.

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Electric scooters

There are also electric scooter available these days, which I must admit, look very attractive, especially at times when I am trying to push my non-electric scooter uphill, in 32 degrees heat. They are quite a lot more expensive, but would be a good option if you have difficulty walking long distances or need something a bit faster but still portable and easy to manoeuvre.

Which surfaces are best for adult scooters

Non electric scooters are particularly great on the flat or downhill, on smooth surfaces. Unless your scooter has big rubber tyres, don’t ride with them on old cobbled streets or very uneven roads. You get the idea, bumpetybump. Not great. Tiled paths are fine, although the bigger the tiles the better. In quiet residential streets I sometimes ride on the tarmac, as this surface is obviously ideal. Just make sure you watch the traffic and get back onto the pavement when it gets busy (yes, mum).

Wearing a helmet is always a good safety measure. If you live on a hill, it is a must. These scooters gain speed fast when going downhill, especially with a 75kg/150lbs adult on it. You really don’t want to hit a rock or curb and go flying without being protected.

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Micro-scooters is another great shop to find your ideal portable adult (or kid) scooter. Micro-scooter


Scoot to the gate: your micro scooter with built-in case

For the geeks among us, or rather the commuters who are traveling a lot, there is the Micro Luggage Scooter. No more running to the gate at the airport pulling your trolley case on wheels or clutching your cabin bag. And killing time waiting for your flight will never be the same again. Imagine the smooth surfaces in that departure lounge…

Happy scooting!

micro luggage scooter