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Christmas is over and the new year is fast approaching! All that’s left is a few extra pounds and what’s left over from Christmas day and its build up. We’ve recognised that it’s this time of year where waste rises considerably more, so we’ve put together some ways for you to spend the post-Christmas period sustainably and guilt free.

1. Gift wrapping

  • Re use your leftover gift wrapping for another present later on in the year. If your paper has been teared in awkward places or has rips, simply` trim them along the edges when it comes to re-wrapping and fold over the areas which may not look as neat. If you are left with a smaller piece than you originally had after first wrapping, use it for a future gift which is smaller, such as accessories or jewellery which don’t take up too much space.
  • One of the best ways to sustainably gift your presents is to present them in gift bags. They can be used over and over again and don’t require any additional effort like folding and sticking. The same can apply to bows and foils which may have also been used to decorate your gift. If you wish to dedicate 2019 to the year of recycling to the max then be sure to try out giving gifts in gift bags from now on – not only does it look as fabulous as gift wrapping paper, but also encourages other people to pass them on and re use them too!
  • Another reason to not throw away your leftover Christmas wrapping paper is to use them for crafts. Pretty patterned or coloured wrapping papers have many other uses. For example, say you have some pretty gold wrapping paper left over – use it to cut out stars which you could be used to decorate cards and more. You could even use your favourite patterned ones the following year and DIY your own baubles by placing it in a clear ball. However, if your wrapping paper is particularly christmassy (with snowmans or reindeers), there’s no harm in storing it neatly for next year to save you some cash – and it doesn’t take up much space!

2. Recycling your tree

The time has come to take your Christmas tree down – it has done its job of embellishing your home all season, witnessed family coming together and the joy that comes with it. Along with the responsibility taken on when buying your tree, recycling it is also an important part of keeping sustainable over the Christmas period.

  • If you have an artificial tree be sure to keep it for as long as possible as it’s made out of plastic PVC which is incredibly difficult to decompose. According to the Carbon Trust, “you would have to reuse your artificial tree for at least 10 Christmases to keep its environmental impact lower than that of a real tree”. In order to store it away for the following year, we would advise cleaning it branch by branch to remove accumulated dust before storing it in its box. When storing it, avoid places which are too wet to better preserve the tree and the colors of the branches.
  • If you have a natural fir tree this is definitely the more ecological option in comparison.

– If you have already bought and used a tree which has been  cut at the root then it would have already dried out and can not be replanted. Make sure it does not end up in a landfill as they can take up a lot of space and the tree produces methane gas as it decomposes, an incredibly potent greenhouse gas.

– The most ecological way to dispose of it would be to recycle it – this can be done in multiple ways. The most obvious would be to put it next to your recycling bin for it to be collected, however there are many local councils which have tree collection points to ensure that as many trees are recycled at possible. Make sure to check your local council’s website for more information.

– You can also reduce your carbon footprint by turning your tree into wood chip for your outdoor areas or drying it out completely and using it as wood for your winter fires.

  • The ideal way of loving the planet you live in is by growing your own tree. Buying a pot grown tree means that you’ll be able to re plant it’s roots in your garden for the following year. The only downside is that your tree must not be kept indoors for longer than 12 days as there is a risk of them dying. However, Fir trees are very resistant plants so once re planted their root systems will get back into action rapidly, allowing them to flourish again for the following year. They need very little attention over the year, just make sure to keep watering it well.

Alternatively, should you not want to buy an actual tree, there are lots of ideas of how to make your own tree out of fun materials here.

3. Food waste

Although it’s certain that we love to eat our hearts out over the Christmas period, a lot of it still goes to waste. According to WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), UK households throw away £15 billion worth of food over the entire year, generating tonnes of avoidable greenhouse emissions. 

Here are a few seasonal tips on the best way to try and prevent it:

  • With your leftover turkey (or chicken) carcass, boil it into a soup that will last you for weeks.
  • Leftover fruit can be blended together into smoothies. If you have grapes with your cheese board, they can be frozen to go with drinks or by themselves – they taste like sorbet!
  • If you use Stilton cheese it can also be frozen for future cooking.
  • Cooked turkey can be blended for turkey mince or frozen for a later date.
  • Whip any leftover cream and freeze it.
  • Christmas cake can also be frozen. Top tip – pre slice and wrap it in greaseproof paper to save you from de freezing the whole thing if you just want a slice. 😉
  • Get inventive with leftover sauces, meats and herbs and turn them into whichever pies, curries and sandwiches take your fancy!

4. Old toys

Whilst the kids are off playing with their new toys after Christmas, there is a chance that they could reject their old ones. Its normal for kids to like the latest trends as they come, so if you find that your child isn’t playing with a toy that father christmas got them a few christmases ago, don’t throw it away. Instead you could:

  • Give it a new life with another child by donating it to friends and family who may want them. If this isn’t an option, charity shops or giving them to your local council will most likely take them. You could even give them to a place of worship, sometimes churches and synagogues take in toys for their community – whether you’re religious or not! There’s always a way, you can be sure that another child will thank you 🙂
  • If possible, give old toys a makeover. For example, should you have an old toy shop which has become worn and torn, revamp it with a lick of new paint or some extra nuts and bolts. It’ll soon be as if it was brand new!
  • If you have a board game which has some pieces missing or even a pack of cards don’t have any aces… recycle them and get back that cupboard space.

 

We hope you’ve picked out some useful top tips and inspiration, don’t forget to make sure to love the planet in the same way that you have shown love to your friends and family this holiday season!

 

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Top 10 Tips Cutting Your Heating Bill by up to 40%

 

 

If you’ve ever wanted a neon light but can’t justify the cost, this project is for you! Thanks to the invention of electroluminescent wire, it’s now possible to DIY a neon-effect light in any shape you like. Seeing as Christmas is approaching, we decided to create a white neon snowflake, with a sprinkling of glitter for added sparkle. Read on to find out just how easy it is to create a neon light of your own.

What you’ll need

To do this DIY project you’ll need the following tools:

Jig saw

Palm sander

Drill with drill bits

In addition, these materials will be needed:

1 small piece of MDF

Block of wood

Assorted sandpaper to fit your palm sander

Ready-mixed fine surface filler

Quick-dry primer and undercoat paint in white

Rust-Oleum Sparkling Glitter spray paint

EL Wire in white with battery pack

Hanging hook

Cost, time and difficulty

The approximate cost of materials for this project is £25. You can access the shopping cart of some of the tools and materials used through this link. Depending on your DIY skills, this project shouldn’t take longer 2 hours to complete, excluding drying time.

Step 1

Print out a snowflake shape to the size you want your finished neon light to be. Use this as a template to trace a slightly larger shape onto the MDF board. Use a jigsaw to cut out this shape.

Step 2

Cover the edges of the snowflake with quick drying surface filler. This will prevent the edges of the MDF board from absorbing the paint too much. Allow to dry thoroughly before using a palm sander with sandpaper to smooth any rough edges.

Step 3

Mark out where the EL wire will be positioned on the snowflake shape. Mark a cross at the points where the EL wire will need to be pushed through to the back of the shape. Use a drill bit with a slightly larger circumference than the EL wire and make holes at these points. Add one larger hole in the centre to fit multiple pieces of EL wire through.

Step 4

Paint the whole snowflake shape with a primer and undercoat paint in white. You may need two coats, so allow to dry between layers. Once the final coat is dry, for extra glitz you can use a glitter spray paint to cover the whole shape in glitter. This also provides a protective clear top coat to seal the paint.

Step 5

Cut a block of wood the same depth as the battery pack and screw this into the back of the snowflake in the centre. Add a hanging hook to the block. Tape the battery pack to the back of the snowflake beneath the block.

Step 6

Feed the EL wire through the central hole from the back and weave it into the hole at one of the tips of the snowflake. Feed it through the ‘branches’ of the snowflake on either side of the line. On the reverse, take the wire back to the centre and repeat until all the arms of the snowflake have an EL wire design. Tape any remaining EL wire to the back of the snowflake.

 

And there you have it, a DIY neon-style light! Turn on the EL wire and proudly position your snowflake decoration on a sideboard or hang it on a wall to add an eye-catching feature to your festive decor. If you want to create a different design to decorate your home all year round, simply trace out the shape onto MDF and follow the same steps to outline the design or write out a phrase.

 

As with all our projects, please take care while using tools, materials and equipment. This article was written by Cassie Fairy. You can find Cassie’s blog ‘My Thrifty Life’ at Cassiefairy.com, where she shares daily blog posts on Christmas DIY projects, upcycled finds, low-cost festive recipes and plenty of inspiration for living a lovely life on a budget.

 

More DIYs:

Pallet Cabinet DIY Tutorial

DIY Outdoor Pallet Bar

 

If you’re looking for a Christmas tree this season, look no further – we have you covered. Here are our top 10 unique christmas trees to get you feeling festive. These trees will leaf you seeing stars (at the tip of your tree), you’ll be bauble-ing on about them for the rest of December!

Tinsel tree

Prevent getting your tinsel in a twist with this bright and brilliant tree. If you decide to coordinate any other decorations along with this one your whole space will appear magical! Adding some extra shiny baubles or glittery wrapping paper for the presents underneath will completely light up your space for this sparkly time of year.

 

Super slim tree

A slim line tree is a perfect alternative should you have not much room in your place for a traditional tree. It can fit perfectly in tight spaces, so even if you’re paying loads for a London box flat or are mid in the moving process and there are boxes everywhere – you’re still tree to celebrate this Christmas season, there’s no excuse!

Pre lit tree

A pre-lit tree will save you the fuss of getting your own lights and putting them on yourself. No more worrying that they’re not wrapped around evenly or that you don’t have a range of colours. Jive to all your favourite festive tunes with this tree which technically doubles up as a disco ball all in one!

Half tree

Another space saver – the half tree. Give the illusion of a full one by placing it in a corner of the room. Less mess and the same amount of festive goodness from a full tree. Or, alternatively, if you like things in halves then this is the tree for you. To each their own!

Snowy Tree

Get into the seasonal spirit by finding yourself this frosty number. If there’s no snow on christmas day, it’s ok. There’s snow need to worry, you’ll still have a white Christmas no matter the weather.

Coloured tree

This 2ft treat will add the right pop of colour to any room. If you you have a blue colour coordinated space of your home then it will add a slight festive pop without causing too much of a fur-ss.

Silver tree

This glitzy tree is for lovers of all things silver and shiny. This stunning piece is sure to stand out in your home this Christmas and catch all your guests’ eyes. Get out all your silverware and tinsel for this one, it’s going to have some competition.

Fibre optic

Fibre optic trees? They are as cool as they sound, promise. This means that the tips of the branches light up and switch colours for a more delicate luminous effect. Although, as we are wanting to include some pretty crazy trees in this post, the bottom example tree provides you with ultimate fibre optic goodness – the brightest and most colourful tree around.

Upside down tree

Did you know that you can buy upside down trees? Maybe you’ve learnt something new today, maybe not. Either way, this tree is a super quirky alternative to your traditional right way up green alpine and is sure to bag a few comments. Why not!

Tropical tree

Who said Christmas trees needed to be alpine? If you would much rather be somewhere warmer on the 25th, this tree is your answer. As a plus, there’s less branches to cover meaning less fuss! Don’t go chasing the tropical sun, chase this tropical tree instead.

If any of these trees tickled your leaves, they are all available on our website ManoMano.co.uk, should you be intrigued by this weird and wonderful range. Merry Christmas!

 

8 Tips to Make Your Tree Last Longer This Christmas

DIY Christmas Tree Shelves – Alternative Christmas Tree

 

If you don’t have space for a Christmas tree, there’s no need to go without one this Christmas. Simply create a wall-mounted one instead! This wooden tree can be used as shelves to hold small gifts and decorations. Plus, the coat hooks on the base are the perfect place to hang your stockings!

This version is painted in a distressed gold effect (read on to find out how this was achieved), but you could make it a traditional green tree, or pick a colour that works with your walls so that it can be used all year round. Cover the tree in tiny wire fairy lights and you’ve got a Christmas tree to be proud of.

What you’ll need

To do this DIY project you’ll need the following tools:

Tenon saw
Mitre box with mitre slots at 45° and 22.5° angles
Or a cross-cut mitre saw
Palm sander
Paint brush
Drill and countersink drill bit

In addition, these materials will be needed:

2 x 2.4 metre lengths of planed softwood timber 13mm x 94mm
White chalk paint
Gold spray paint
1 ¾” x 10 (45 x 5.0) pozi countersink screws
Wood filler
Wood glue
Sandpaper to fit your palm sander
3 x Coat hooks
2 wall brackets and wall plugs

The measurements of the wood will depend on the size that you want your finished shelves to be. The measurements provided in this tutorial create a finished unit that measures 61cm wide x 82cm high x 9.5cm deep.

Cost, time and difficulty

The approximate cost of materials for this project is less than £50. You can access the shopping cart of some of the tools and materials used through this link.

This project is suitable for people with some experience of DIY. This project should take about a day to complete. Allow time for drying, which will be determined by the recommended drying times on the spray paint or paint you use. If you require a second coat of paint, this will require more drying time and extend the length of your project.

Step 1: Measure and cut the wood

Measure out and cut the following pieces of timber:

Longest length 77.5cm with a 45° angle at the top and a 22.5° angle at the bottom
Longest length 74cm with a 45° angle at the top and a 22.5° angle at the bottom
Longest length 61cm with a 22.5° angle at both ends
Longest length 38.5 cm with a 22.5° angle at both ends
Longest length 32.5 cm with a 22.5° angle at both ends
Length 57 cm with straight ends
2 x triangles 9.5cm x 9.5cm with a 2cm return to form the brackets

See photo of the measurements for guidance:

DIY Christmas Tree Shelves - Alternative Christmas Tree do it youself manomano the handy mano thehandymano mano festive stockings decor decorations reusable building wood measurementsStep 2: Sand the wood

Use a palm sander to smooth off the rough edges of the timber where the cuts were made.

DIY Christmas Tree Shelves - Alternative Christmas Tree do it youself manomano the handy mano thehandymano mano festive stockings decor decorations reusable gold white sanding sander

Step 3: Pilot drill the screw holes

Put the pieces into a ‘tree’ formation and mark where you would need to make holes to screw the pieces together. Use a drill with a countersink bit that matches the size of your screw heads to make holes where these marks are.

DIY Christmas Tree Shelves - Alternative Christmas Tree do it youself manomano the handy mano thehandymano mano festive stockings decor decorations reusable gold white screw countersunk

Line up the pieces and use a fine drill bit to pilot drill through the first hole, into the piece you’re attaching it to. This will prevent the wood from splitting.

DIY Christmas Tree Shelves - Alternative Christmas Tree do it youself manomano the handy mano thehandymano mano festive stockings decor decorations reusable gold white screw countersunk drill

Step 4: Glue and screw

Apply wood glue to the joining edges of the wood. Screw all the pieces together using countersink screws. Begin with the outer triangle, then add the shelves.

DIY Christmas Tree Shelves - Alternative Christmas Tree do it youself manomano the handy mano thehandymano mano festive stockings decor decorations reusable gold white assembly

DIY Christmas Tree Shelves - Alternative Christmas Tree do it youself manomano the handy mano thehandymano mano festive stockings decor decorations reusable gold white screw countersunk

Step 5: Fill and sand

Use wood filler to cover any screw-heads or gaps between joins. Allow to dry thoroughly before sanding smooth.

DIY Christmas Tree Shelves - Alternative Christmas Tree do it youself manomano the handy mano thehandymano mano festive stockings decor decorations reusable gold white wood filler

Step 6: Paint

Cover the whole unit with a couple of coats of chalk paint, allowing it to dry between layers. To create a distressed effect, begin by spray-painting the shelves gold. DIY Christmas Tree Shelves - Alternative Christmas Tree do it youself manomano the handy mano thehandymano mano festive stockings decor decorations reusable gold white gold spray paint

Let this layer dry thoroughly before painting on a coat of chalk paint.

DIY Christmas Tree Shelves - Alternative Christmas Tree do it youself manomano the handy mano thehandymano mano festive stockings decor decorations reusable gold white painting with white paint

Once this top coat is dry, use wire wool or fine sandpaper to distress the edges so that the gold glints through the white paint. Alternatively, you can paint gold paint onto the edges, on top of the white paint. 

DIY Christmas Tree Shelves - Alternative Christmas Tree do it youself manomano the handy mano thehandymano mano festive stockings decor decorations reusable gold white distressing wood

Step 7: Attach coat hooks

Drill pilot holes in the base section and screw in three coat hooks. Attach two brackets to the centre shelf and securely affix to the wall using wall-plugs and screws.

DIY Christmas Tree Shelves - Alternative Christmas Tree do it youself manomano the handy mano thehandymano mano festive stockings decor decorations reusable gold white screwdriver white wood

And there you have a finished alternative Christmas tree!

DIY Christmas Tree Shelves - Alternative Christmas Tree do it youself manomano the handy mano thehandymano mano festive stockings decor decorations reusable gold white brushed vintage

This article was written by Cassie Fairy. You can find Cassie’s blog ‘My Thrifty Life’ at Cassiefairy.com, where she shares daily blog posts about her home DIY projects, upcycled finds, budget recipes and plenty of inspiration for living a low-cost yet lovely life.

 

 

Christmas trees are a staple of the season, and a great way to make your house feel festive. If this year you don’t fancy splashing out on a new one, sweeping up the pine cones and topping up the reservoir, why not be a little experimentative and try your hand at making one of these creative alternative Christmas trees instead!

1. Invisible tree

What you’ll need: A metal structure to hang your strings from (eg. a steamer rack), fisherman’s string, lanyard rings, baubles, a hook

Alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive hanging invisible tree bauble fishermans wire cooking tray

 

  1. Attach your baubles at varying lengths to fisherman’s wire, then secure the other end to a lanyard ring.
  2. Attach the hook to your metal structure to allow it to hang from the ceiling
  3. Attach your baubles, figuring out the placement of lengths beforehand, to the structure. This may take some rearranging (and detangling!)

Alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive hanging invisible tree bauble fishermans wire cooking tray

2. Coffee Filters

What you’ll need: coffee filters, cardboard (eg. a cereal box), glue or a hot glue gun, [optional: spray paint, spray adhesive, glitter]Alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive coffee filter attached to cone

  1. Glue your cardboard into a conical shape. You may have to trim the bottom so it sits flat on the surface.
  2. Cut out the centre of your coffee filters and bunch the outside to create ruffles.
  3. Slide the coffee filter onto your base and then glue into place.
  4. Continue this process up the tree.
  5. Once finished, you can customise the tree however you like. You could attach the glitter with glue, or spray paint the tree in its entirety.

Alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive coffee filter cone

3. String Lights

What you’ll need: fairy lights, blu tack or command strips [optional: baubles, tinsel, ribbon]

Alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive lights attached to wall

  1. First, decide how you want your light tree to be on the wall. You can use blu tack to tack out and reposition where you want your points to be in order to get a clearer idea of how it will look.
  2. Start at a bottom corner and work your way up, crisscrossing the tree or simply creating a triangle outline if you prefer.
  3. Once finished, you can decorate your tree with baubles or stars attached to the wall, or alternatively leave it as just fairy lights.

You could even do this in the corner of a house to create a 3D effect….

Alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive 3D effect lights on wall corner

4. Tomato Cage 

What you’ll need: tomato cage, lights, rope/strong adhesive/tape

alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive tomato cage lights

  1. Turn your tomato cage upside down, and then pull the ends together to keep them in place.
  2. Wind your fairy lights around the structure of the tomato cage.
  3. Add decorations if you like, or leave as is.

Alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive tomato cage lights

 5. String Art

What you’ll need: Nails or command hooks, string

  1. Decide where you want your string tree to go and use either a pencil or some blu tack to mark out the points.
  2. Hammer nails into the furthermost points of your tree, or, if you prefer not to make holes in your wall, use command hooks instead. Alternatively you could create this on a wooden board which you don’t mind hammering into.
  3. Wind your yarn around the outside points of the tree, and then work your way across, crisscrossing from point to point, until you’re happy with your design.Alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive string

6. Layered Sticks

What you’ll need: various twigs, fisherman’s string, a hook or command hook

  1. If you want to decorate your twigs for this project, it’s easiest to do this first, before assembly.
  2. Break down your twigs so they vary in size from very small to around a meter long (depending on how large you want your tree).
  3. Lay your twigs out on the floor in the order and spacing that you want.
  4. Start from the top, leaving a few inches of string spare. Wrap your string around the centre of the smallest twig and then tie a knot in place. Tie a knot at the bottom, leave a space of one inch, and tie another knot. From where this knot starts, wrap the string around the next twig down. Repeat until you get to the bottom of the tree.
  5. Take your spare string at the top and tie this around a hook, so you can use this to attach the tree to your ceiling.

Alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive christmas hanging sticks outline shape

7. Christmas cards/photos

What you’ll need: cards or photos, blue tack

Alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive photos on wall christmas cards

Just attach them to the wall – this one’s that simple!
Alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive christmas cards on wall

You can use just about anything to create this, for example if want a more vintage look… Why not try using an (old and damaged!) book?
Alternative christmas trees alternative different tree the handy mano manomano mano diy do it yourself festive christmas books on the wall outline shape

Hopefully these photos have you feeling festive, and inspired to create your own Christmas tree, whether you have one already or not! If you do have your own tree and you want to know Christmas tree hacks for setting it up and making it last longer, find out how here. Feeling stressed about preparing for Christmas? We have these five top tips for the perfect Christmas at home.

Sources: popsugar, notmartha

 

8 Tips to Make Your Tree Last Longer This Christmas

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