A zero waste Christmas present

Filed in Blog by on November 23, 2009 17 Comments
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top-secretRight, I’m going to show you something quickly on the screen and then you have to eat your computer because Little Miss Green mustn’t see it, ok?

You see I decided that it was time to put Mrs ‘D for effort’ Davis, my needlework teacher at school, to rest once and for all.

Every time I have picked up a needle and thread since school I’ve had her sneering face in my mind, her leering voice in my head, her huffing and puffing at how anyone could be so crap at sewing criticising my every stitch; so much so, (or should that be sew much sew) I’ve never done as much as sew on a button in the past few years.

As I was processing some of the other demons from my past I decided to tackle this one as well.

Little Miss green has decided we are celebrating the solstice this year, rather than Christmas. She’s having a crisis of faith, quite literally, and doesn’t want to celebrate Jesus’s Birthday.

Her penchant is for Mother Nature and fairies; the things that “really exist” and bring meaning and value to her life. Her suggestion at the beginning of the year was that we make all our decorations and presents ourselves instead of buying new.


Nice idea, but let’s be honest, I’m no Martha Stewart.

I figured a few dried oranges and perhaps some shortbread stars on the tree I could manage, but MAKE all the other decorations and presents when I don’t have an artistic sinew in my body? That was asking a lot.

As I was having a bit of a panic about the whole scenario I had an epiphany. Kids are so spontaneous and so proud of their achievements, just because!
It doesn’t matter if they colour out of the lines, drop a few stitches, or that their creation looks nothing like it’s intended to; they create and have fun anyway.

As parents we tell them everything they produce is wonderful and it’s the best thing we’ve ever seen.

So I decided to scoop up my inner creative 8 year old and see if she wanted to play. I realised that whatever I make, Little Miss Green will love. She won’t be checking the seems, looking for perfection or testing it for likeness to the original blueprint, she’s just going to love unwrapping whatever it is and will love even more the fact that I made her something.

So here’s one of my attempts at a Solstice present – it’s a case for her MP3 case made from an old pair of pyjamas I found in a charity shop.




I’m giving myself an A for effort, despite the diagonal ribbon and dropped stitches. Stick that in your end of term report, Mrs Davis.

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (17)

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  1. Great news Mrs G. LMG will love that. Your teacher reminds me of my old art teacher…and my cookery teacher come to that….better stop there or I’ll end up writing an essay πŸ™‚

  2. Wendy says:

    Terrific job!!! Be proud… you have earned it!

  3. ah, that’s ace – I’m sure she’ll love it. Much cooler to have a one of a kind case than the same as all the other kids.

  4. It’s very cute! I had a teacher like that once. Not fun at all. πŸ™‚

  5. Deb from Boston says:

    OMG you caused a flashback to my 7th grade home ec class – I must have made that required skirt (that I only owre once) 3 times. Between the home ec teacher, my mother, and my seamstress grandmother, I can’t even tell you how many seams I ripped!. Didn’tt sew again until I was pregnant and took another class. There I learned what the litlle lines under the pressure foot where guide lines – straight seams where now so simple! Your gift for LMG is lovely.
    I’m a new knitter and currenlty making neck warmers and hats for the family (thought at least one teenager has said no-thanks). Starting to think that maybe I could find old sweaters at the thrift stores and rip them out to recycle the yarn.

  6. Condo Blues says:

    I think your MP3 holder is fab! I thought the diagonal ribbon was a design element – it might work better with the ribbon that way. I didn’t see any dropped stitches. I’ll let you in on a secret I’ve been sewing since I was 5, and sometimes I drop a stitch although I swear it’s the machine – not me! πŸ™‚

    Sewing is one of those things that comes with practice. I wish I could give your childhood sewing teacher a piece of my mind – reprmanding a beginner like that won’t make them want to do better or try something new until they get it. I suppose she was a prefect sewer when she first started? Doubt it. I know I wasn’t. Fortunately the last thing I sewed was a personalized hand appliqued towel for my sister’s dog. I don’t think he’s going to care one way or another that I dropped a few stitches because it gets the job done!

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Thanks everyone – the power of a few words when you’re young, eh? Anyway, I’m pleased with my efforts and we’ll just have to see what LMG makes of it πŸ˜€ She won’t mince her words; that’s for sure LOL!

  8. sandy says:

    well done, looks good to me, also I am sure Little miss Green will love it

  9. Love it. I’d like to make all our gifts. I really hated all the waste from the packaging of gifts that came our way last year (many from family so I had no say). Had to do some deep breathing as the piles of waste grew. I guess I’d better get started!

  10. Hazel says:

    I think Mrs Davies must have gone to the same Teacher Training College as Mrs Riley…We were made to sew A line or straight skirts (this was about 1983- I wouldn’t have been seen dead in an A line skirt!) whereas the other class could make gathered skirts. I never wore mine and like you didn’t sew for years. I managed the odd button, and have gradually built up what I do. I’m never going to be the worlds greatest seamstress, but I’ve now done basic curtains, altered charity shop jeans into a skirt for DD1, and so forth. All a bit wobbly and would have been given a D or maybe a C by Mrs R, but passable, functional and no tailor tacking in sight! I wish I’d done it years ago. Go for it Mrs G!

  11. Mrs Green says:

    Thanks Ladies; unfortunately Little Miss Green’s most recent list for the fairies / Santa isn’t quite so plastic free, but there we are. She’s a 21st century child πŸ˜‰
    Like you say Thinking Woman, I shall just be breathing deeply throughout the celebrations πŸ˜‰

    Hazel, it sounds like you are now making some wonderful creations – turning jeans into a skirt is just awesome. I see on other people’s blogs how they have done that and I’m astounded by their creativity, Well done you!

  12. Sooz says:

    Thats absolutely lovely, well done, I’m sure your little miss will LOVE it – handmade presents are always the best πŸ˜€

  13. Mrs Green says:

    @Sooz: Thanks Sooz; I think she’ll like it πŸ™‚

  14. Layla says:

    Ooh, it’s cute!! πŸ™‚

    /You can see I’ve just become addicted to Japanese drama, no? πŸ˜‰ /sigh//

  15. Mrs Green says:

    @Layla: LOL! Layla; I just had to look up what Kawaii meant πŸ˜€ Thank you! It is indeed Kawaii

  16. maria says:

    It looks lovely, I am sure Little Miss Green will love it.
    Too bad about your teacher, unfortunately there are plenty like her around.

  17. Mrs Green says:

    @maria: Thanks Maria – I love your blog; your carnival entry was really inspiring!

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