How to grow basil year after year (without spending!)

Basil is one of the most beloved herbs and is even better when fresh picked. Learn how to grow basil year after year for FREE with the help of an easy trick!

Basil is one of the most beloved herbs and is even better when fresh picked. Learn how to grow basil year after year for FREE with the help of an easy trick!

I live in Italy, and everyone knows how much Italians love their basil.

Even in the families with the worse black thumb imaginable, there is at least one pot of basil sitting on a balcony or windowsill. It gets thrown on top of plates of steaming spaghetti, made into pesto (check out my foolproof recipe and 15 ways and recipes to use basil pesto!), or placed prettily atop Neapolitan pizza. (My adoptive city, Naples, is the birthplace of pizza!)

I used to buy a few new basil plants every year, as most people do, and these would do me very well for the whole basil season, until winter. Then my sister-in-law taught me a trick, and I haven’t bought a basil plant since.

Basil is one of the most beloved herbs and is even better when fresh picked. Learn how to grow basil year after year for FREE with the help of an easy trick!

She taught me how to harvest basil seeds from the plant as it dies off and dries up.

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I’m sort of kicking myself that this never occurred to me before she showed me, because it seems so obvious, but apparently it isn’t just me because most people I know don’t do this. But it is so easy and totally free. Ok, I know that basil plants aren’t exactly expensive, but you also get a whole lot more satisfaction from growing massive basil plants from seeds that you harvested yourself than from little plants you bought somewhere. Compare the following:

visitor to home: Wow, your basil plants are huge!
you: Thanks, I bought the plants at Acme plant nursery.
visitor: Yeah, that’s nice…

OR

visitor to home: Wow, your basil plants are huge!
you: Thanks, I grew them from the seeds I collected last year. These are the great, great grandchildren of basil plants that I had years ago!
visitor: Get out! That’s so cool!

Basil is one of the most beloved herbs and is even better when fresh picked. Learn how to grow basil year after year for FREE with the help of an easy trick!

As you can see, the coolness factor goes way up this way!

So, are you ready to learn how to grow basil year after year without spending a cent, raising generation after generation of fragrant and tasty green leaves? Let me show you how!

Read moreHow to grow basil year after year (without spending!)

Sewing concave and convex curves together

Sewing concave and convex curves together (or an enclosed circle) is easy once you know a little trick. Learn how with a free pattern for a curvy potholder! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew course on www.cucicucicoo.com!

Sewing concave and convex curves together (or an enclosed circle) is easy once you know a little trick. Learn how with a free pattern for a curvy potholder! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew course on www.cucicucicoo.com!

Summer’s over and it’s back to school time, which means it’s also back to sewing school time! (Did you know that I have a FREE beginner’s sewing course?) Last week I mentioned that I have a new free pattern for a pencil-shaped pencil case to share with you (update: here’s the info on the pencil case pattern!), but first I want to explain an important technique that you need to know to sew it. I’m talking about sewing concave and convex curves.

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Don’t confuse this with simply sewing curved seams, which I explained how to do in this other Learn to Machine Sew lesson on turning and topstitching. What I’m talking about now is piecing together different shaped curves to create one flat piece of fabric. This technique is often used in garment sewing (such as attaching the arms to the armscye or creating princess seams) and in patchwork, but is seen in many other sort of projects, too.

Sewing concave and convex curves together (or an enclosed circle) is easy once you know a little trick. Learn how with a free pattern for a curvy potholder! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew course on www.cucicucicoo.com!

I will show you how to sew a circle enclosed inside another shape, as seen to the left above, and a convex curve (curving outward) to a concave curve (curving inward), seen to the right. A good example of this second style is my Hands Free Asymmetrical Bag. And because I hate wasting practice pieces, you can then sew these pieces together for a funky patchwork-style potholder.

Sewing concave and convex curves together (or an enclosed circle) is easy once you know a little trick. Learn how with a free pattern for a curvy potholder! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew course on www.cucicucicoo.com!

It can be a little tricky to figure out the exact shapes for this type of piecing, so I’ve created a free pattern for you to print out and get working on right away!

Want to get started? Keep on reading to find out how to sew different shaped curves together!

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Wine bottle crafts: 2 upcycled vases with materials you already have

Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

 Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

Mother’s Day is creeping up and will be here before you know it. Have you started preparing gifts for the most important women in your life? Most mothers (at least the ones I know) are happiest to receive something small, but from the heart, and what could be more from the heart than personalized homemade gifts? And since all moms want to protect their children and grandchildren, even better is an eco-friendly gift that won’t have an impact on the environment.

I like wine and beer and basically anything alcoholic, and when I come across a cool bottle, I always make sure to save it for my DIY projects. Today I’m going to show you two really easy wine bottle crafts, making vases with customized words and designs for your favorite mothers and friends! You can even involve small children in decorating the bottles and, what’s best of all, if you’re a crafty person, you probably already have all the materials you need for both of these projects!

 Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

The first version of this project is a chalkboard vase, which is super fun to decorate with personalized or seasonal messages. Give kids one of these bottles and some colored chalk, and they are in heaven!

 Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

The second upcycled bottle vase is decorated with a glue gun and spray paint, for drawings and messages that will never risk being accidentally erased.

Both of these wine bottle crafts are really easy and very quick for a great last-minute DIY Mother’s Day gift. Now let me show you how to make them!

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How to sew reusable produce bags

Never use a plastic bag for your fruit and veggies again! Here's how to sew reusable produce bags in two different ways! www.cucicucicoo.com

Never use a plastic bag for your fruit and veggies again! Here's how to sew reusable produce bags in two different ways! www.cucicucicoo.com

I hate plastic bags. I really do. I hate the smell of them, how hard they are to open up the first time you use them, how easily they rip. I hate knowing what they’re made of and how long it takes for them to decompose. I hate how quickly they accumulate and I hate stories of sea creatures and birds eating them. Have you seen this video showing a seagull swallowing a plastic bag over 5 minutes that never seem to end? You should. It’s pretty horrifying.

I started making reusable produce bags years ago (you can see my first ones here) and I love them! Not only do they help me avoid using plastic bags for my fruits and veggies, I can also store my produce in the fridge inside the bags, because the fabric allows them to breathe. Over time, I’ve given them away as gifts and tried out different fabrics and sewing methods. And today, as the tutorial going along with the buttonhole lesson in my Learn to Machine Sew course for beginners, I’ll teach you how to make two types of reusable produce bags with drawstring closures!

But even if you’re not interested in making produce bags, I still suggest you try out this technique, because it’s always useful to know how to make a drawstring bag! And just to prove it, I’ll show you at the end of this post how to make some other cool drawstring bags for other uses using the same slightly modified techniques!

There are lots of ways to make drawstring bags, and these are only two of them. Because chiffon-like fabrics fray like crazy, I’ve designed these bags to have all edges enclosed inside the casing or french seams. Don’t worry, it’s actually really easy! Let’s get started!

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DIY Flower pots from tin cans

How to make personalized DIY flower pots from tin cans | Cri Erre Handmade for www.cucicucicoo.com

A wonderful thing about summer is being able to spend time gardening gorgeous flowers, delicious veggies and flavorful herbs. Well, at least you can if you have a garden! For those of us who live in an apartment, a few pots on the balcony and in the home have to suffice.

Today’s guest poster for the Cucicucicoo’s Eco Crafters and Sewers series is Cristina from Cri Erre Handmade. Cristina is an expert gardener, but also a lover of upcycling and organic foods. Today she will show us how to make a personalized flower pot from a simple tin can and a few other materials!

Cri Erre Handmade on Cucicucicoo's Eco Crafters and Sewers

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