These days, more than ever, many people are starting to feel the need to turn to a more natural way of life in order to live more healthily and to protect the planet. Sometimes all it takes are small choices to make a big difference, such as repurposing what you have, using reusable products, or making your own products to avoid harmful or unethical industrial ones.
Click on any of the following natural living categories to check them out, or browse all the relevant posts below. And feel good about doing your part for a better world!
Have you noticed all those cool mermaid tail blankets on Pinterest these days? You can buy them everywhere, or you can take your pick of loads of crochet patterns to make them. But what if you want to learn how to sew a mermaid tail …
I started sewing regularly around the time my daughter was born, 12 years ago, and for years most of what I sewed was for her, between reusable cloth diapers and wipes, bibs, bassinet and crib bedding, toys, and so on. I also sewed all sorts …
I don’t know about you, but I cannot STAND the sound of chairs scratching on the floor. I used to buy tons of those self-adhesive felt pieces to stick on the bottom of chairs, then I finally smartened up when I realized just how easy …
It’s summer, which means that there’s a lot of family travel which, in turn, means that there are a lot of bored kids on long trips. When my children are bored silly on plane or train rides, or waiting for adults to do something adult-ish, …
A few years ago my husband got sick of me always borrowing his headphones, so he gave me my own pair. Even though we were quite happy with these earphones, over the past year or so the cheap material covering the ear pads starting coming …
Spring is here, which means windows are open, letting in fresh air, flowery scents and bird songs! Oh, and it also means that the cross breezes make our doors slam shut way too often. Our doors have frosted glass centers, and every time one of …
How jingly is your key ring? Do you have a TON of keys that you carry around with you? Are you ALWAYS getting them confused and end up trying multiple keys for each door? I am. Which is why, a few years ago, I realized …
It’s cold and dark, rainy and snowy, stormy and windy. It’s winter, folks, which means that we all need some serious comfort food. And that means: hot soup. So today I’m sharing with you my all-time, most-loved winter comfort food that everyone- and I mean …
Oh boy, guys, I’m excited because FINALLY I’ve gotten back to the beloved Learn to Machine Sew course for beginners! I left off back in September with a lesson on how to sew French seams, which is my favorite way to sew seams because they …
Have you noticed that embroidery has been making a huge comeback over the past few years? I have been seeing a ton of it used in all sorts of ways, from embellishing home goods, to simple hangable embroidery art, to visible mending of clothing. And …
What could possibly be more comforting and peaceful than a nice, hot cup of tea on a cold winter day? As far as I’m concerned, snuggling up under blankets with a good book and some good tea is pretty much the best soothing to the …
I am a strong believer that children should give gifts to others. No, I’m not saying that they have to save up their pocket money to purchase gifts, but that they should make something with love and care that can be shared with the people …
Well, Thanksgiving is over, it’s starting to get pretty dang chilly out, the days are shorter, and my family is starting to get excited for the holiday season! One of my favorite holiday crafting materials is felt because it’s just so easy to use in …
It’s the holiday season again, so today I have a brand new sewing and repurposing tutorial for you: how to make a Christmas tree skirt from a tablecloth! When I was growing up, my mother had a very festive knit Christmas tree skirt, which I …
Everyone knows and loves eating fragrant basil pesto in the summer (and you can find my foolproof recipe for it here), but today I want to show you a variation on this classic recipe that my entire family LOVES eating: zucchini mint pesto.
We usually put it in pasta, but we also use it frequently on bruschette, crusty and crunchy grilled bread slices with flavorful toppings. My daughter loves it so much that she eats bowls of it plain with a spoon!
Do you have some garden-fresh zucchini that you want to try this recipe with? Well, let’s get started!
Earlier this year, I saw the coolest thing on Pinterest. I wanted so badly to try it out. I was so curious and I knew my kids would love it. Because who in the world wouldn’t want to try their hand at DIY crochet reusable water balloons?!
Only thing was, it was the very beginning of January, and was probably the coldest day of the year. We were doing everything possible to stay warm.
Flash forward six or seven months to the summer. One of the absolute worst Italy has seen in a long time. Months straight of heat and humidity with virtually no rain. So, we were doing the exact opposite, doing everything possible to stay cool.
At this point, crochet water balloons were sounding even more amazing.
Because everyone loves a good water balloon fight, right? But nobody likes having to go around picking up all the bits of rubber from the broken balloons. And think of all that non-recyclable waste! It drives me nuts!
That’s the genius in this crochet water balloon design by Left in Knots! They avoid all that! You don’t actually fill them up as you would with a classic balloon. You just put them all in a bucket of water and the yarn fibers soak up the water. Throw them at your opponents, then pop them back in the water when they need another soak, and throw them again!
You use the same balloons over and over again, so no waste and no broken pieces of latex to clean up!
When you’re done, just give the balloons a rinse off and air dry them. You can also machine wash and dry them! They flatten out nicely so they don’t take up too much storage space, either.
Let me tell you a little more about my experience making these crochet reusable water balloons.
As my readers know, I was born and raised in the United States, but moved to Italy years ago and married into a Neapolitan family. Which means that I’ve learned a lot of my husband’s family’s culinary recipes and secrets, lucky me! It would be really hard to choose one favorite hand-me-down recipe, but the wild fennel liqueur recipe definitely ranks way up there!
One of the culinary treats that is most famous from the area where we live is limoncello, a lemon liqueur, but what many people not from this area don’t realize is that there is a plethora of different types of liquers that you can find, and most families have their own traditional versions to make them at home. And my absolute favorite of these is finocchietto, wild fennel liqueur.
Wild fennel grows all over the place in certain areas near us, such as in the Cilento, where we go on vacation frequently. Here is a random finocchietto plant growing on the side of a country road in Pollica, in the heart of the Cilento. They have strong woody stalks with umbrella-shaped groups of yellow flowers, sort of similar to the Queen Anne’s Lace flower.
If you get them at the right time, they also have tender wispy greens that are absolutely delicious with fish and vegetables. The greens and the flowers have a wonderful anise-like taste that I love, but another great thing about them is their digestive properties. Whenever I have problems digesting something, I make myself an infusion of fennel seeds, and it always does the trick.
So a classic in Italian homes is to take the bottle of finocchietto liqueur out after a big meal and have a little glass of it to help digestion.
In June and July, these “umbrellas” look like little hard seeds, though I suppose they’re actually flower buds. Most people pick these seed umbrellas to make their finocchietto fennel liqueur.
But I prefer to pick the flowers themselves (which are also delicious for seasoning and garnishing food) in August/September to make my finocchietto. I’ve always gotten a lot of compliments on how it comes out, so perhaps there is indeed something special about the flavor of the flowers as opposed to the seeds.
This obviously comes out the best when using just-picked flowers or seeds, but if that’s not possible for you, you can always use store-bought dried fennel seeds. I usually pick a ton of flowers in the summer and make a bunch at a time because I like to bring it when we are guests for dinner or for a night away. A bottle of finocchietto is always well-received, so it’s a really great gift!
So what do you say? Do you want to know my beloved wild fennel liqueur recipe? Let’s get started!
Whenever there is a special event in your life, it’s natural to want to celebrate it with the people who matter the most to you. And this is why we have party favors, to thank the people who celebrated with you and to give them something to remember the day by.
As there are so many events to celebrate, the four other bloggers with whom I worked on the “Fioriscono le Idee” initiative (which you can read more about here, as well as download the free template for this project) and I decided to propose projects to make DIY cactus party favors, each from a different material in order to create a different effect. And I chose to create a handmade felt cactus party favor, felt being one of the most versatile and easy fabrics to work with.
All of the projects are created from one common template for a pot-shaped base which opens up to hold sugar-coated almonds, which are used in Italian party favors. However you can just as well put any other candy, card or trinket inside, too!
And there’s more! Each of our downloadable templates has thank you notes to use as a seat card and as a little tag to attach to the favor. Print them all out for a varied, yet coordinated, look that will add color to your celebration! My downloadable also includes an English version of my smaller tag!
You can read all about the initiative in our joint blog post on the blog Kreattiva, where we talk about the reasons why we made these decisions and why each chosen material is interesting in a different way.
So, do you have an important event to celebrate soon? Everyone loves cacti, and felt makes them soft instead of prickly, so everyone can enjoy them. Keep on reading to find out how to make a handmade felt cactus party favor for all your friends and family at your party!
There are so many reasons to celebrate life’s milestones with the people that we love the most. And this is why party favors are so important, to help remember those important moments spent with important people.
Today I’m sharing a special project that I participated in with other four Italian creative bloggers as part of a larger initiative, “Fioriscono le idee,”ideas that bloom or flower. This is a time of year that there are a lot of events to celebrate, such as weddings, graduations, births, and so on, and so the groups participating in this project are sharing handmade party favor tutorials with a common theme.
Each of us chose a different material to use with a common template in the shape of a pot, which is also a little container to put sugar covered almonds (traditionally a must in Italian celebrations) or other surprises inside. You can read more about why we chose cacti and how we chose our materials here on Kreattiva, where you can also find the rest of the creative projects taking part in this initiative.
In addition to that common template, each of us created another template for her own cactus-shaped project, and we each have a thank you note in two formats: small to attach to the favor itself, and larger to use as a place card at the table. Each of these cards has a different message and picture, so it would be super cute to download them all to use for your party!
With my love for sewing and fabric, I chose to use felt, one of the easiest and most versatile fabrics to work with. I decided to play with the softness of the fabric and the prickliness of the cactus, and I created soft spines with pinking shears! (In case you are not a sewing pro, those are zig zag scissors for use with fabric!) The colorful flower on top also adds a lovely happy touch!
I live in southern Italy, aka the capital of Basil-land. Nearly every home has at least one basil plant and those plants can easily grow into thick masses of fragrant green leaves. I am no exception to the rule. Every year I have two or three pots with forests of basil and over the years I have come up with my own foolproof basil pesto recipe!
If you follow my tips on how to grow a flourishing basil plant, you too will soon have lots of this herb to use in all sorts of ways. And sooner or later, you will want to make pesto, one of the most delicious sauces ever created. It’s one of the few healthy green things that kids almost unanimously like to eat.
So I’ve decided not only to share my pesto recipe, but also to share 15 absolutely delicious ways you can use it for meals that the entire family will love!
Ready to get picking, mixing and cooking? Let’s start!
Hey! I'm Lisa! Welcome to Cucicucicoo, where you can find the best sewing and crafting tutorials, patterns and all sorts of other FREE creative resources! Click "Blog" above for tutorials that'll bring out the best creativity in you, or "Shop" for eco-friendly sewing patterns!