From useless to useful

The last few days in my home have been spent turning things destined for the rubbish into something useful. Here’s what I’ve been up to.


I had a very old, rickety bookshelf made of MDF. It is shown in the top photograph wearing the evidence of my long-ago attempt to ‘distress’ it with a lovely blue/french vanilla ice-cream coloured paint treatment.

The shelves had bowed from years of holding books and the backboard had long since fallen off. I attached a couple of strips of wood and some corner braces to the back to make it a bit sturdier.


A quick paint job later and…. ta daaa! It will do for now until I’ve saved enough money to buy a proper media console.


I’m rather pleased with how those strips at the back allow me to hide the bulk of the unsightly cords. I loathe messy wires. By the way, I think white paint rocks – it makes humble DIY projects look like something from Ikea.

Old clothes

About a year ago I repaired a hole in the elbow of my son’s favourite shirt. It had worn away again and wasn’t up to another round of mending so I cut above the hole and turned it into a short-sleeved shirt. Of course I made sure to save the buttons from the cuffs for future projects.

Next, I went through all my old towels. Some got loaded into the car to take to the SPCA but a couple of them, along with some raggedy, stained t-shirts, got cut up and turned into rags. I use these for cleaning and DIY projects (hello, paint spills!)

The t-shirt edging should just curl up on its own but I ran a quick zigzag stitch along the raw edges of the towels to minimise fraying (it’s not essential though). Extra points to me for using up the odd bits of thread I had in my sewing box which also meant I got to free up some bobbins.

Food past its prime

I had some over-ripe bananas and a rather heady-smelling pineapple which were pretty unappealing. I know that when it comes to these babies, the more intense the smell the sweeter the taste so I chopped them up, froze them on trays and stored them for future use.

Once they were frozen I made myself a smoothie as a reward (I chucked the last of the spinach in there too, which is why its green). Tip – freezing fruit in portions like that before you put them in a bag or container means they stay separate so you don’t end up with a big frozen lump of fruit that you have to chip away at.

I also found TWO unfinished bottles of tomato sauce so I decanted them into a jar.

Ditching food simply because its too hard to get it out of the container kind of makes me feel like I’m being ripped off by the food company. The food will now get eaten instead of being wasted.

Oh, and those bottles are totally getting reused. Its summer here now so I’m using them for iced tea but I’ll probably use them to store homemade pasta sauce or something later on.

And last but not least, a further dig around in the fridge uncovered some cooked rice, a wrinkled capsicum (not photographed) and a rather limp bunch of celery which got turned into fried rice for dinner.

Not a bad effort.

Author: homemade and humble

Hi, I'm Ana. Welcome to my blog. I live in Wellington, New Zealand with my partner in a little cottage on a hill. We are working to build a life free from the rat-race, where we get to design our days around spending time together, enjoying good food and hunting for treasures for our home. We are both homebodies and prefer homemaking and cooking to outdoor pursuits and sport. This is where I share stories of our experiences as we set our course for a life full of warmth, comfort and beauty. I hope you enjoy it.

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