Halloween is swiftly approaching... So it's time for pumpkin carving! Hooray!!! But it also means a lot of yummy pumpkin going to waste! Boo!!!
Ask yourself this, how many pumpkins do you think you've eaten compared to how many you've carved? They're a little bit like marmite aren't they, love them or hate them... But we all love a carved pumpkin even if we don't fancy eating it.
So we've come up with a few alternatives this year! We may have gotten a little carried away so it's in two parts. Fun for the kids today and fun for the bigger kids tomorrow!
Yummy Little Ghosties...
You will need:
Hmmm. He looks like he may have been modelled on Freddie Mercury... Dependant on the variety some apples can ripen off in the trees right up until November. If you've still got some growing near you these little Halloween treats are a great way to use them and they're easy to tweak. If you add a touch of orange food dye you can make pumpkins or swap out the icing for decorations of your own choice. Raisins or melted dark chocolate perhaps?
You will need:
Again, there are many ways to personalise this crafty little lady. You can use paints instead of pens and add as many decorations as you like. If you're really feeling fancy and have a steady hand then you with a sharp knife you could carve the face as you would on a pumpkin.
Remember we don't like to waste anything so save the juices and pulp that you scraped out. You could use it to flavour jellies and truffles as an extra treat. If you've carved your orange that's pretending to be a pumpkin that's pretending to be a witch, then you can also use the peel later on. Use the zest in cheesecakes and brownies or make some preserved and candied peel ready for Christmas!
It might be early but happy Halloween folks!
The growing season might be nearly over, but that doesn't mean we can't start thinking about next year.
There is something special about growing your own, well, anything. Flowers, veggies, the odd few herbs, and small space growing is a great place to start. No matter where you live there is always something you can grow.
The nights are starting to draw in and the evenings are getting chilly. Why not use some of that sofa time to start thinking of what you might like to grow next year. Then when you're stuck for something to do on the weekends turn your attention to crafting a fancy planter all of your own. Pretty much anything can be turned into a planter, just remember a few key points:
Once you've got your planter, you can start planning your plants! If you're growing from seed, toilet roll tubes make excellent compostable seed trays. Fill your toilet roll tubes with compost and pop your seeds in. Once seedlings are ready to be transplanted just reposition the whole tube in the desired pot. As you water your plant the tube will break up allowing for root growth.
Small space inspiration...
You can experiment with colours, decorations and finding the best position around your home or garden. You may have to do a little research into what will grow best in your conditions e.g. window sill growing, shady corners or north facing gardens, but that can all be part of the fun. If you're growing edibles, make sure you choose things you will actually eat. We don't want anything going to waste, do we?
If you've got a little more space, then maybe something like this could be an option:
Jo made this planter out of old unwanted pallets that would have otherwise gone to waste. The planter was lined with leftover polythene sheeting. Gravel was repurposed from the garden to add drainage to the bottom, and then filled with compost. The herbs were saved from the clearance section of asda's fruit and veg section and replanted. With a little tender loving care they've come back strong and healthy... Just ignore the mint in the background, that's already had several months of use and is starting to give up the ghost ready for next year. By using unwanted materials, odds and ends of equipment he already had, Jo spent less than £10 on the whole project. To buy new planters of a similar size could easily cost you £50 or more. Well done Jo, that's quite the saving!
A quick tip...
When reading guidance on seed packets or plant pots you're usually told how much space you should leave between each plant. To make the most of your small space growing, go a little mad and cram as much as you can fit in. Remember if your plants start to look a little cramped you can always take one or two back out... And then move them to other planters you've been busy making haha. A word of warning, once you catch the bug it can get a little addictive.
But oh so worth it!
If you've got children (or pets) we're sure you'll be familiar with this story. You decide to give your little loved ones a treat, something fancy, possibly expensive and...
They ignore it completely and have more fun with the box.
As frustrating as it is they may well be on to something... We're all aware of the importance of recycling, but doing the weekly sort and separate can be pretty dull and just feel like yet another chore to add to the list. Rummage through your rubbish and turn it into something you feel proud of. You can start simple, like we did with our piggy banks, bird feeders and Christmas decorations. When you've got the hang of it you can let your imagination run wild!
Over to you Gainsborough...
Gainsborough Court is an independent living home for people who live with disability. The residents have formed their own art group and proudly took up the sustainability challenge when they heard about our photography competition. For the 'Doing Our Bit' category they gathered their recycling and worked together on their sculpture of the Severn Bridge... And yes, it does stand up, we have photographic proof! Great work everyone!
It seems like child's play...
Wrong. It's not childish, it's called honing your artist talents! Who cares how small you start, one day you could be the talk of the town. What may seem silly now could soon turn into skills you can share with your community. With some practice, teamwork and some inspirational rubbish reuse, you could one day find yourself leading projects like these:
Thank you to LitterArti for helping us with various community projects over the years.
Recycling doesn't have to be boring...
Have fun with it!
Deck the halls with boughs of holly... Falalala lalalala! It's never too early to talk about Christmas!
Especially if you're going to get creative with your decorations this Christmas... It's time for a little bit of papercraft.
What you need:
And don't forget...
Here's the sustainability bit!
Try to keep the paper in reasonable condition. You can then reuse it to make next year's decorations! You can get as creative as you like, experiment with different coloured papers and patterns. You could even create multicoloured designs: Stick the plain side of one paper, to the plain side of another. The folds will then display the different colours. If you can, avoid papers that have glitter on, as in most places glitter is a non-recyclable substance. If you can encourage your friends and family to use recycled wrapping paper for their gifts, even better!
Merry Christmas folks!
Plastic piggies might have been a teeny fib... How about plastic bottle piggy banks?
OK, so you're off to a good start, you've treated yourself to a fancy reusable bottle. Yay! But now you've got a recycling box full of plastic bottles waiting to be collected, right? Well let's put them to good use and have some fun with the kids. You get to give the bottle a new life and start teaching the little ones good saving habits at the same time. Win win!
What you need:
Who said recycling had to be boring...
Anyone feeling crafty?
If crafting doesn't come naturally to you, don't panic... This one's EASY! And has the added bonus of giving a helping hand to our feathered friends.
What you need:
Looking simple so far...
The birds will thank your few minutes of not so hard work. They might even peck the tube to pieces and fly away with it to line their nests. Aww.
Now you've done it once, you can get creative! Here's some suggestions:
A little note from Alex...
In previous years we have applied for grants to enable us to do large projects during Sustainable September. Local residents may have noticed the underpass mural or the sculpture outside St. Nicholas Church. Well this year we're doing things a little differently with lots of small activities spread throughout the month, rather than one or two big ones. Sometimes I've been asked is it worth it? It's a lot of work for maybe not so much of a noticeable difference...
The answer is simple. Yes. Sometimes the difference goes unnoticed but has much more of an impact than you realise, because sustainable communities are just as important as everything else we've talked about so far. What makes a sustainable community? Social interactions, fun and laughter, inspiring each other... team work.
I was talking to Debbie, one of our event volunteers a while ago about Sustainable September. We talked about the planned events, the photo competition and the blog. One of the things that came up was showing people how to make bird feeders out of stuff you might find around your house. I planned on posting this a bit later in September, but then yesterday I received this and couldn't resist bumping it up the calendar...
From the residents of Nutfield House...
After hearing about Sustainable September, the residents of Nutfield House - Filton, with the help of their activities coordinator and carers had been saving up their own recycling to have a go themselves. They ran two sessions making bird feeders out of what they had collected and put their creations to good work in the gardens. It might seem such a small thing, but they've brought their friends together, kept their minds and bodies active all while doing something great for the wildlife sharing their home. Well done to everyone who got involved throughout the project!
It doesn't matter who you are, what your abilities are or what community you're from, there is always something you can do towards sustainable living.
There's just one last little thing we wanted to say...
You're both doing great! Keep up the good work everybody!
We have lots of things to talk about at Abbotswood Action Group. We're sure you do too, get in touch if you would like to be a guest blogger...