the ReFab Diaries

Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Reusable Advent Calendar and DIY Holiday Cards

Season's greetings fab friends! I realize that it's a bit late to be sharing an idea for a reusable advent calendar, but hey... maybe it'll provide some last-minute inspiration for some of you! And the embroidered cards are super-easy to make, so it's not too late to try them.

In case you hadn't noticed, the theme this year is YARN. I wondered just how far I could stretch a single ball and I already have my answer: far! Nope, not spinning you a tall tale... everything you see below was done with one ball and I have plenty left to finish this year's batch of cards.

Up first: instructions for the cards. Scroll down for the advent calendar tutorial!  

Clearwaters giveaway: Slippers that fight plastic pollution

Meet the world's first slipper that's helping to fight plastic pollution

Fab folk - I'm thrilled to introduce you to Sam Wright and his brainchild, Clearwaters! Clearwaters is a new, environmentally friendly footwear brand designed and developed in the United Kingdom. The brand's first product offering is a minimalist, high-quality slipper made from recycled plastic bottles. For each pair sold, they have committed 2% of the sale price to their partner Plastic Oceans – whether they're profitable or not!

Sam just launched the Clearwaters Kickstarter and I have a pair of these beautiful slippers to give to one of you fab refabbers. Read on to find out more about them and how to win a pair. The giveaway is open worldwide!

How to Travel More Sustainably

How to Have an Environmentally Friendly Holiday

When you're thinking about booking a vacation for you and your family, it can often feel like you need to put all attempts at a sustainable, or eco-friendly, lifestyle on hold. Not so! While you may not be able to duplicate your at-home habits (composting!) there are definitely ways to continue to act sustainably, repurpose and upcycle while travelling. Here are a few ways to ensure that you're able to enjoy a vacation while still choosing to protect the environment and reduce your waste.

Choose Environmentally-Friendly Accommodation
When researching possible accommodation, eco-friendly options really do exist! How to figure this out? Most importantly, research the company that you're booking with. Take a look at their Corporate Responsibility or Mission statement - it should include specifics regarding their environmental and sustainability initiatives.

An almost sure-fire option? Rather than stay in hotels, consider booking self-catered villas instead. This gives you greater control over the amount of waste that you'll be creating, with the option to cook your own food (using locally grown ingredients) rather than eat at restaurants. At James Villas, they offer a selection of luxurious self-catered 2021 holidays for you and your family that can help you to travel sustainably.

Wooden Watches: A Unique Spring Accessory

Wooden watches unique spring accessory


If you follow this blog then you know my values, especially when it comes to manufactured "stuff". So when the lovely folk at JORD watches (pronounced -yoad) suggested partnering with me for a giveaway, I asked a LOT of questions before I said yes. JORD creates unique, sustainable, luxury wooden watches. Just how sustainable are they? Read on friends and prepare to be impressed.

Upcycle: mass-produced canvas becomes original art

upcycled art

This post has been, literally, years in the making! When I got this IKEA canvas in 2014, I knew I'd paint over it one day. But it's taken a long time to make it happen and then write about it.

A project like this doesn't fall under general repurposing or upcycled craft. But I'm sharing it anyway because it does reflect my commitment to finding new uses for things I might otherwise want to get rid of. And I really didn't want this generic IKEA print around anymore! So here's to reusing old canvas.

And for those of you who are interested, it shows the process I went through in creating a large piece of art (35 x 46 inches - all acrylic).