A few weeks I was wax lyrical about the amazing range of creative ideas for Christmas gifts that exists on the web, featuring recycled or reused materials. I'd been inspired by some research I'd done for the Recycle Now website and came up with the notion of this carnival to share details of things that other people have made or have even spotted on the Internet.
While I was waiting for creative bloggers to send me their links, I got busy with my own ideas and started making presents to give to some lovely people this Christmas. The gift that you see above is something I've made for Mr A's aunt. It's pot pourri, which features dried rose petals that I'd gathered from the garden this autumn, along with rosehips, pyracantha berries, sliced clementine peel and some cinammon sticks from the cupboard. I packaged it in an old jam jar, wrapped in an offcut of fabric taken from a festive organza tablecloth. It really was that simple and cost just a small amount of time.
I have to admit it's been an uplifting experience creating some handmade gifts this year, particularly using things from the garden that would have otherwise perished. Although I haven't had much time available, I've given it my best shot and even when we've sent our relatives money, I've tried my hand at "banknote origami" to add some originality - try googling it as I'm sure it will bring a smile to your face.
Well that's enough of my exploits. In this post I want to highlight the creativity and inspiration that has come in from other folk and as ever, between them there is a massive amount of enthusiasm that I hope will inspire you for years to come. So grab your favourite seasonal tipple, put your feet up and enjoy.
Kicking off the carnival, is the lovely Nixdminx, who in her post Recycling this Christmas highlighted a fabulous pair of Vivienne Westwood shoes made from a fabric that will be recognisable to anyone who has visited London. It really shows how recycled products can be both stylish and cool.
I can't believe when I initially put this together that I forgot Evie George's most wonderful Baby Friendly Christmas Tree. I'd lost the email link and have been scratching my woolly head to find it again. And I am so glad I did because her work of recycled art is truly inspirational as is her gorgeous blog.
Mrs Green over at MyZeroWaste.com, (who you might recognise as being featured in the Sunday Mirror this weekend) has been a real busy bee. Her post A Zero Waste Christmas highlights how she's discovered her inner creative child, just in time to make an MP4 player case from an old pair of pyjamas for her 8-year-old. For someone who hasn't had confidence in picking up a needle and thread for years, the results are amazing.
Maria at Fabmums has also been creative with decorations made from branches, fir cones and recycled ribbons. I love her Monday Crafts post about how she made the festive branch, which not just saves pounds, but is so versatile it can be used in a number of ways to decorate the house this Christmas.
I'm sure you'll also fall in love with the painted garage in this post called Loving-Not Loving-Christmas, which has been submitted by Simone from Great Fun For Kids. How she has transferred an old battered child's toy is utterly awesome and is really worth a look.
With a totally thrifty feel, Cambridge Ecothrifter, also called Simone, has submitted her fabulous ideas in her post Cheap Christmas Cheer, which includes a whole host of creative thoughts on alternative gifts this year.
And if you have any doubts at all that you're up for the job of crafting your own recycled presents, Grit has done a great job of inspiring confidence, especially if you have children to hand and need to come up with that "something special" for the loved ones in your life. For an amusing tale, check out Grit's guide to Christmas for mean parents.
Now last - but definitely not least - is this cracking submission from a new website that I've recently discovered, thanks to a tip-off from the wonderful Mrs B from York. If you haven't visited the website Present Sense, then it really is a must. I guarantee that regular readers of The Rubbish Diet willl absolutely love it. Set up by a group of mothers who are passionate about sustainable gifting, the website offers bundles of alternative ideas for sourcing recycled or reused presents and helps break down any social barriers in doing so. I've already caught up with Karen, one of the founding members, who is delighted to include their Gift Ideas page in this carnival.
But Christmas isn't over yet and with that in mind, don't forget there is still time to enter Recycle Now's draw to win this stunning recycled Christmas Tree, the deadline for which is 17th December.
And while you're there, be sure to check out the latest ideas for making Christmas decorations as well as musical instruments from things that might otherwise be thrown away.
So all that's left to do is to officially wish you a merry recycling Christmas. And do come back soon for some more waste-free fun!