A Good Book and some Upcycling

Unqualified Education

When we began our home schooling adventure all those years ago we were very lucky to find this wonderful book.  Unqualified Education is full of inspiring ideas and information, advice and encouragement.  It is an absolute joy and still a great resource after the children have grown up.


We decided to home school when my eldest daughter was just 12 and my youngest was 9.  It was not because they were bullied or anything, and they were not struggling with any of the work.  It was just that life is short, and childhood so short that they should be able to enjoy it all.  In school they were forced to conform to the ‘norm’, to study a set curriculum.  It was so rigid.  My eldest was so stressed.  She got detention for wearing the wrong colour socks for PE; her friend who had cut his hair into a mohican, and had assured his teacher that he would wear it flat and combed tidily for school, was told “Absolutely not!  Shave it all off!”  They simply weren’t allowed to be individuals.

At home we were free.  They could study what they wanted, how they wanted.  We went bike riding and swimming.  We grew vegetables and cooked and sewed and painted and, yes we did maths and English, but we read and read and read – really good books.  We did history and learnt Welsh (a bit).  What I knew I taught them; what I didn’t know we learnt together.  It was the best time.

This book was a wonderful support and inspiration.  Mind you, it’s a good book for anyone, whether home schooling or not.  As you can see from the Contents page, there’s a lot in there, and the recipes in the cooking section are all vegetarian and nearly all vegan!  There is the most amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe – mm mmmmm!


Anyway, I needed a new apron so I got out the book, looked up the apron pattern and upcycled myself one:

how to make an apron

(You can click on the pics to enlarge them by the way)


first pic

I didn’t have a broadsheet newspaper but luckily Miranda had an old pad of flip-chart paper which she’d rescued from the bin at work and that was just right for this job.


second pic

I upcycled an old duvet cover – thoroughly washed of course!  I didn’t do the little pocket because I wanted a big pocket – read on 🙂

cut out


fold, pin and hem

You can sew it by hand, it just takes a while.  Luckily I had use of a sewing machine – thanks Mum 🙂

After the hemming was done I attached the ties as shown in the instructions.

vintage tea towel

I decided to make a pocket out of this gorgeous vintage tea towel found in a charity shop.  I cut off the bottom row of dogs and hemmed the raw edge.

fold and hem top edge of pocket

Then I put on the apron so that I could position the pocket and put in a pin to mark the position of the centre of the top of the pocket.

put on apron and mark with pin where centre top of pocket will be

Then I sewed it on.  With a pocket this size you have to sew up the middle, effectively creating two pockets.  No dogs were harmed by this procedure – I was very careful not to sew over any of them 🙂

All done!


finished apron

35 thoughts on “A Good Book and some Upcycling

  1. An idea of homeschooling was always so appealing to me. Kids being kids, letting them explore an develop their own creativity, not forcing the ‘norm’ on them… Sounds like a dream. I believe we would be much happier and healthier as a society if more kids (if not all!) were home schooled. Lovely post, I love your creativity! 🙂


  2. Wow, thanks for such an inspiring post Violet , you are so right I often dream of a different way for my boys, something like the Sadhana Forest eco/vegan community in India would be wonderful.
    Violet you are such an amazing person! x


  3. I like the idea very much but I think it needs inspiring person like you to make it a better choice. Thanks for your recent visit over it is well appreciate and I learn a lot from your Blog thank you and Merry Christmas 🙂


  4. Reblogged this on The Proto Star and commented:
    A good post from one of my fav blog.
    I wish i had such an education during my childhood. Though i enjoyed my days at school and university, i don’t think that i enjoyed learning there. Home-based learning is a good idea. Combining school learning and home-based learning might be a great idea. Schools & Universities can offer the basic education with least rules and regulations, and home-based education can be in accordance to the childs interest and abilities.


  5. Wow !!! This actually happens , Now I realize even more the way I wasted my life learning and doing things I never wanted 😦 Sadly,in my country, home school is not considered,general schooling is more like a unavoidable disciplined system.


    • We were very lucky I know. When I was researching to see if we could legally do it I came across the Home Education Advisory Service: http://www.heas.org.uk/ and they were a great help. After subscribing we received a quarterly bulletin full of advice, lesson ideas, a letters page, personal stories of home schooling experiences and lists of local home schooling groups to join across the country. Plus the children could sign up for penpals through them. They are a brilliant organisation, run by volunteers and they also campaign to ensure people retain the right to choose how their children are educated when the government tries to regulate it.


  6. Very cool resource! We’ll have to check it out. Your thoughts about homeschooling definitely ring true with us. Knowing that our oldest was about to start Kindergarten was a big push to adapt a more mobile lifestyle and homeschool on the road. Learning together as a family is a wonderful gift, one we feel grateful for every day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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