Sustainable Homes

Home-Made and Hands-On

Don't throw it away - preserve it, fix it or mend it! This page provides information and resources related to the revival and celebration of traditional skills which reduce consumption and divert produce and goods from the rubbish pile!


CAE Melbourne
CAE Melbourne offers short courses spanning a range of topics including craft (crochet, knitting, mosaic, glass, paper and more), carpentry (make your own wood fired oven), and food (seafood, vegetarian, cupcakes and macaroons, sausage making, pasta making, jams and preserves, and more!)

CERES offer a range of short courses and workshops covering topics including seed saving, seasonal cooking, cheese making, fruit tree maintenance, caring for chooks, bee keeping, preserving food, renewable energy at home, electric bike conversions, mosaic craft, and other interesting topics.

Bush Carpentry

Bush Carpentry
The Australian practice of improvising methods of building or repair using available materials and an ad hoc design

Urban Bush Carpenters
The Urban Bush-Carpenters are reviving old woodwork skills to help make a more sustainable world. Like the bush-carpenters of old they use discarded timber found around town, outside building sites, down alleys and in skips to make useful things like planter boxes, chook pens, worm farms and compost bays which are provided free to community groups. In salvaging discarded materials, waste to landfill is reduced, and in turning these materials into something useful, consumption is also reduced.

View the video of the workshop.


At our recent hands-on workshop the Urban Bush Carpenters showed us how to make planter boxes from pallets. There are two methods including:

How to make a planter box from pallets - option 1
How to make a planter box from pallets - option 2

An important note from the Urban Bush Carpenters:
Most shops will have pallets that they don't mind you taking. In fact, they usually have to pay to have them removed, so they'll probably jump for joy when you ask. When you're choosing a pallet to make into a planter box, you want to make sure you don't pick one that's painted or chemically treated. The pallets will have a brand burnt or painted on them. Pick ones that have the initials 'HT' (which means 'heat treated'), and avoid ones with 'MB' ('methyl bromide').


Craft Cartel
For crafty types who perhaps are not into scented doilies but rather ‘all that is irreverent, ironic, kitschy, delightfully offensive and made lovingly by hand’ (quote!)

Craft Victoria
Craft Victoria fosters creativity, experimentation and professionalism in craft and design, and presents a wide range of exhibitions, events and public programs year-round. These include exhibitions across three galleries, curated displays in the shop window, the yearly Craft Cubed festival, free talks, seminars and discussions, and the quarterly Craft Hatch market.

Made in Thornbury Market
In a hall in Thornbury, local crafters come together to sell their wares

What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard, and allows users to organise and share all the beautiful things they find on the web - in this case beautifully sewn items which may inspire others to sew the same!

Here is a factsheet to learn how to put a button on, put up a hem, darn and patch.

View the video of the workshop.

Preserving Food

Buying Food Preserving Equipment

Darebin City Council’s Annual Homemade Food and Wine Festival
Each year, the City of Darebin celebrates food traditions and sustainable food practices with a program of seminars, workshops, displays and homemade food and wine competitions. In 2012, the festival will be held 16 – 19 May.

Home Preserving Australia
This site provides useful step-by-step instructions on how to preserve a variety of foods, how to make butter, cheeses, tomato sauce and chutney, and provides useful links related to preserving food including where to purchase equipment.

Here is a factsheet to show how to bottle and preserve some foods.

View the video of the workshop.

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