Tag Archives: repurpose

jars

Painted Shimmer Jars

I have always wanted to try painting jars.  It looks so easy.  You can really be creative.  You can add designs, add several colors, or paint multiple sizes and shaped jars and group them together in a vignette.

I had some baby food jars laying around that held little crafting things like buttons or string.

I used fingernail polish remover to remove all of the glue left behind after I took off the label.  I tried Goo Gone but it didn’t remove the glue.

Then I made sure to wash them very good on the inside since that is where we are putting the paint.  Make sure they are dry.

Pour in enough paint to be able to cover the entire surface of the inside.  Then swirl the jar around until it’s all painted.  I emptied all the extra paint back into my paint jar so I can use it for later.

Now I have cute little decorative jars I can put almost anywhere.  It took me about 10 minutes and less than a couple bucks.

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Butterfly Art

I went through all of my greeting cards this past weekend.  I sorted into piles of crafting and piles of keep and piles for garbage.  The kept more than I probably should have but they had sentimental value.  The crafting ones I am using for this art project.  The cost of this project was minimal.  The cards were free.  The butterfly paper punch was maybe $2.99, clearance at a stationary store.  The frame I had laying around, and I couldn’t find anything to do with it.  I bought a double mat at 40% off.  The rest was stuff I already had.

I went to work cutting out a whole lot of butterflies.  I selected the portion of the card I thought was the most colorful or decorative.  Some had sparkles, some had pattern and some had embossing.  I wanted to get an assortment of colors as well.

butterflies for blog

The next thing I did was get a scrap piece of paper that I drew my grid on.  I measured the opening of the mat board, then measured rows and columns to my liking.  After that, I transferred the cross marks using a needle so what was left were little holes where I was going to glue my butterflies.

PicMonkey Collage20I wanted my butterflies to pop up a little.  I made sure I had enough room in the frame, that is why I chose a double mat.   Everywhere I had a hole, I glued down a small bead.  I’ve had these beads since I was in elementary school.  I am glad I am finally finding a use for them.

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Once the glue was dry I started gluing my butterflies to the beads.  I assorted my colors so they would be mixed in the finished art.  I first glued all of the blue, then the green, then magenta and so on.

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Once everything is glued on and dried, assemble the frame and you are done!

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Ta-da!  Nice, eh?  I love this so much I might make a couple more.

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Reuse Birthday/Christmas Cards

When I need to do some cleaning in my house, I first put on an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive for a bit of motivation.   I find it works great.  After an episode this past week, I decided to put all of my cards together and store them.  I figured one photo-box would suffice.  Nope.  Maybe two or three would have done better.   I have some when I was a kid from my grandma so those hold some sentimental value.   There are so many cool cards that I have saved but I was thinking what else I could do with them in order to re-purpose them more thoughtfully than sticking them in a box.  Here are a couple of ways to reuse your hoarded cards:

1.   Cut of the front and use as a postcard.

2.  Use patterns for scrap-booking.

3.  Use a circle punch and make gift tags.

4.  Make bookmarks.

5.  Make into coasters or place mat. -> here.  My grandma had these.  Brings back wonderful memories.

6.  Canning jar toppers.  -> here.  I like this idea.

7.  Make garland.  ->  here.  Very creative idea and chic.

8.  Artwork.  ->  here.   I am going to try the butterfly one.  Love it.  Include the personal messages if you want to showcase in your artwork.

9.  Frame your favorites.

10.  Pine cone ornament for next Christmas. -> here.

Do you have additional ideas?  I would love to hear about them.  I am looking to do a couple of these soon!

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DIY Covered Bulletin Board

When I shop at our local thrift stores, I will often find really cheap artwork that either has no glass or damaged somehow.  Mostly really ugly artwork.  But, the frames can really be in good shape, and that’s what I look for.  I bought one for $4.99 maybe and it’s approximately 2 foot by 3 foot.

You can really do a lot with these.   I decided to make a bulletin board covered in a cool funky fabric.  Chevron is in style so I picked some up at Hobby Lobby, and used a 40% off coupon, maybe costing $4.00 in the end.  The rest is just a bit of labor and assembly.

I first pulled off the paper backing to reveal the staples that held it all together.  Usually you will find some cardboard that fills the frame, behind the artwork.  This is what I glued the cork to (also purchased the cork at the craft store).  There are different thicknesses, I went with the 3/8th inch thickness.  I glued the cork directly to the cardboard backing.

I had to iron the fabric because it had creases.  I wrapped it around the cork and left about a 1.5 inch margin, enough to glue it to the back.   I don’t have a glue gun yet, so I used Aleenes Craft glue and used the paperclips to hold it down until dries.

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Then, just fold the corners so they look nice, this is optional.   Assemble  the cork inside the frame, and push back the staples so it’s secure.  I will need to mount some hooks to the back, then all done.

Probably a total cost of $15 tops, I got a cool inspirational board.  Now I have a tough decision on where to put it.

Scarf Wrap

Green Christmas Wrapping

I vow to not use any new wrapping paper for this Christmas.   I still have some used wrapping paper from last year that I saved.  I also saved a lot of bags that I have reused for many years.  But you don’t have to stop there.  There are a whole bunch of ways to “wrap” your Christmas presents without wrapping paper.

1.  Christmas tins.

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2.  Photo box.

3.  Wicker basket.

4.  Scarf.

5.  Magazine pages.

6.  Comics.

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7.  Small gifts in a coffee mug.

8.  Wrap just in tissue paper.

9.  Towels.

10.  Tupperwear.

11. Egg cartons.

 

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Reuse Bed Linen Zippered Pouch

Use these little clear zippered pouches that you get when you purchase bedding for your craft supplies.

I use one from pillow cases to store all of my stamps and ink pads.

Other things you can store in these things:

  1. sewing supplies (needles, thimbles, zippers, string, buttons, etc.)
  2. scrapbook stuff (rub on stickers, ribbon, scissors, pictures, glue, etc.)
  3. hair accessories (hair ties, combs, brushes, curling irons, straighteners, etc.)
  4. make up and nail polishes
  5. kids craft stuff (markers, crayons, paints, etc.)

All of these ideas you won’t have to throw them away again!

 

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One Mans Trash is My Treasure

Spring cleaning is next week and people are loading up there boulevards with as much crap as they have been collecting up until this time of the year.   I end up seeing a lot of stuff that can be repurposed, if the right person comes along.  Enter me.  I found this!

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I am not sure what I will do with it yet, but for now I absolutely love the texture of the wood, and the old look of the brackets.  I am pretty sure I can put it to use somewhere.  I am looking forward to finding some other cool things this week.  I spied a saw horse in a neighbors lawn and I was thinking about carrying it home to see if it could be of use for me, or my dad.  The City of Fargo suddenly changed back the Spring Cleaning week to this week so I won’t have much  time to search for treasures.

We also see a lot of people collect metals of all sorts to trade in for cash.  I honestly love seeing this, because some people make a ton of money from this, and it also prevents a lot of metal from going to the landfill.  An article I had read recently in our local paper stated that our landfill has about 11 more years left before it’s at capacity.  This is happening in a lot of more cities than Fargo.  If we can all be a bit more mindful of what we throw away we can extend the life of the landfill.   The city collects food scraps with it’s yard waste during the warm months, Fargo has electronic recycling day where we can turn in computers and TV’s and also has free curbside recycling.  There should be no reason why we have to put our trash can on the boulevard filled to the brim each week.

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Paper Pulp Planters

Do you a simple project to use all of that junk mail, newspapers or wrapping paper?  These planters are easy and you can repurpose waste that is otherwise destined for the trash or recycling into planters that you can plant right in the ground once it thaws.

All you need is:

Newspaper/Paper or Wrapping paper

Water

Blender

Cupcake tin

Flour sack or wax paper

Colander

1.  Put half a blender full of torn up paper shreds into the blender and add enough water to saturate it.  Blend until it looks like paper pulp and you can’t see much of what the paper used to look like.

2.  Strain the pulp in the colander and let drain until much of the water is out.  You can wring it out a bit to get more of the water out.

3.  I applied the pulp to the cupcake tins without anything between the pulp and the tin and most of then got stuck.  Next time I will try a flour sack and wedge it down into the groves before I apply the pulp.  Or you can try wax paper or even butter to grease the sides.

4.  Allow to dry for a couple of days.  Once fully dry, lift the flour sack off the tin.

5.  Plant seeds in each cup using soil and some homemade compost.  Plant in garden once ready and water accordingly.

If you are like me and can’t wait for spring, these will be a nice way to start early.

Blog Spotlight: Refashionista

I absolutely love the idea of this blog.  She buys the really ugly clothes at thrift stores for mere dollars if that, then turns them into beautiful outfits.  A lot of times she has a inspiration outfit she likes, then cuts, pins and sews the “ugly” garment into the magnificent new one.

refasiIf I knew anything about making clothes I would try some of these redesigns.  This is re-purposing at its finest.  You definitely need to check out this blog.

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Make It Burn – Firestarters

What can you do with empty toilet paper rolls and a whole lot of dryer lint?  Make these awesome firestarters.  I hate when you are trying to light a fire on a quiet dark night and you are trying to enjoy some nature, but you can never get the fire going.  So you pull out the lighter fluid only for the fire to blaze for a few minutes.  That stuff is crap.  It is totally unneeded now that you have these FREE firestarters!

Directions:

1.  Do a few loads of laundry.  This is something you are bound to do anyways, unless your parents still wash your clothes.  If they do, you have awesome parents.  But see if they can part with their dryer lint.

2.  Collect lint from the dryer.  We typically only dry our clothes inside when there is still snow on the ground so the time for us to prepare these are only through the winter season.  *Sadly our winter is from October through April.  So, had I started these earlier, I would have had a butt load!

3.  Collect toilet paper rolls.  Generally my husband and I are too lazy to throw these away, so they end up collecting on the back of the toilet.  Surprisingly I must have been on top of my game this week at cleaning because I only found one.  *You can use paper towel rolls as well.  (Do you see a face in the pile of lint in the below image?  I see Yoda smirking at me).  {I didn’t know the name Yoda so I had to ask my husband who the gremlin looking feller was in Star Wars}.

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4.  Stuff the lint into the roll.  Voila!

I think this blog can go under being thrifty as well.  You can save money, reduce waste and live green – all at the same time!

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T-Shirt Yarn

What can you do with a crap ton of holy (hole-y) t-shirts that you can’t wear anymore without looking like a hobo?  You make t-shirt yarn!!  And it is so easy.  Here are the steps on making your own t-shirt yarn.

What you will need:

T-shirts

X-acto knife or scissors

Straight edge

Hard surface that you can cut on (I cut over card stock)

1.  Find t-shirts.  I found that shirts with a silk screen print doesn’t curl as easy in the final step.

2.  Fold the shirt like below.  The top half is about an inch shorter at the top than the bottom half.

a

3.  Cut the bottom inch off the shirt (actually the right side) – but it is really the bottom of the t-shirt.  A scissors worked better than a x-acto knife I found out.

4.  Next you will cut 1 inch or 1.5 inch slits starting from the right, moving to the left.  Cut only up to the top edge, leaving that 1 inch gap uncut.  (see below)

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5.  You will end right below the sleeve/arm pit.  You will cut all the way across here.

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6.  Lift up the side of the shirt that was left uncut.  Spread it open over your forearm.

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7.  You will start cutting into one long strand of yarn now.  Starting on the right side, closest to your fingers.  Place the scissors on the outer side and you will cut a diagonal slice to the first cut.

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8.  Then you will continue to cut diagonal, the most right bottom cut, to the next top cut.  Stay parallel to your first cut.

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9.  Continue all the way to the left.  The last bottom slit on the left side you will have to end the cut on the outermost edge. Similar to how you started, just reverse.

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10.  That was your final snip.  You have one long strand of yarn now.  You will have to stretch it so it curls.  Start on one edge and lightly stretch it so the fabric naturally curls.

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11.  Finally, just roll it into a ball until you are ready to knit with it.  A scarf made out if this yarn would be super soft and warm!  If you do not have t-shirts laying around, check out a thrift store.  They probably receive a lot of shirts they cannot sell because of bleach stains or maybe some small holes.

Blog Spotlight: Zero Waste Home

I wanted to spotlight a blot that I have known about for a long time.  I came across this blog when my husband and I wrote for guygoesgreen.com.  I was always impressed by a whole family working together to reduce and eliminate waste.  Plus, I have been thinking about cutting back what I throw away and I will use this website as inspiration.

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Please go and check out this blog at http://myzerowaste.com/.  The site has a lot of tips and projects you can use in order to reduce your waste.  Why not make a resolution this year to cut back on the amount of food you throw away.  This will save you lots of money, and reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses that are released back into the air.

Things To Do With Used Wrapping Paper

It is that time of year again…the time to buy Christmas wrapping paper only for it to end up in the garbage.  But that doesn’t have to happen.  Save some money this year by saving the good pieces for reuse.  I may get teased by my family members a little bit, but I am just trying to save a little bit of trash from ending up in our already large land fill.  Here are some tip on reusing wrapping paper:

1.  Be careful as you unwrap presents.  Especially the large packages.  These make good sheets of wrapping paper to reuse.

2.  Tissue paper can ALWAYS be reused.  I always take all of it home with me, even if it’s torn up a bit.

3.  Use torn up pieces of wrapping or tissue paper to fill boxes that you are shipping.

4.  Shred up wrapping paper to use a filler in gift bags.

5.  Make homemade paper.

6.  Get a circle cutter at a craft store and make gift tags.

7.  Get a half inch circle cutter and create garland with it.  Sew them together end to end.  Having different size circles give it interest.

8.  Use scraps for card making.

9.  Use the back side as scrap paper.

10.  Make homemade gift bows…like here.

No matter what you do with your Christmas wrapping paper, do something to prevent it from ending up in the trash.  And by doing this, you will save a bit of money.  What do you have to lose?

Blog Spotlight: Funky Junk Interiors

We had a store called Funky Junk in downtown Fargo, but sadly, I think it closed.  It was one of my favorite stores to walk through.  It had a cool mix of old furniture and new accessories and vice versa.  It was just the look I was going for in my home.  I can certainly dream.  With the large amount of hand-me-downs that we acquired, there would be no way to style my home the way I want.  It would just be too costly.

I happened across this cool website one day on Facebook.  A friend posted a link to it and I had to check it out.I love the styling of the website and the photography is phenomenal.  It makes me want to jump into the photos and live there.  The amount of content on the website will keep you busy for a long time.

The creator of the website got started with boulevard shopping.  I personally love the idea of taking trash and reusing it.  Re-purposing is so much better than recycling.  Unless recycling is the only option, then it’s better than throwing it in the landfill, by a long shot.  I definitely think that there is a certain level of creativity required to successfully re-purpose trash.  But Funky Junk Interiors has it!

Some of my favorite posts (these photos taken from Funky Junk Interiors website):

I love these stairs!  What a conversation piece!

I love the brightness of this photo.  Lots of re-purposing here.  An old ladder, gate, and door.  This is just proof that there is another use for what many others would see as trash.

And finally, I need this desk, made from pallets.  There are so many things that you can do with pallets.  I actually wanted to a remove a pallet from someone’s boulevard this spring cleaning week, but my husband wouldn’t let me.  He thought it would just sit around in our garage.

This blog gives me inspiration to create funky interiors.  I look forward to other new cool inspiring blog posts to come!  You should also check it out!

beer

DIY Beer

My husband has classified himself as a beer connoisseur.  Two years ago, my husband and I traveled to Colorado.  He went there to attend the Great American Beer Festival and I went there to visit my aunt.  My husband spend 3 long days in Denver drinking beers from around the country.  Since then, when the mood sets in and he is craving a beer, he purchases the specialty beers at the local booze shops.  These beers are not cheap.  On average $8 – $10.  Not the way I like to spend our money.

So my husband decided to brew his own beer.  When I first heard of this idea I thought, “Are you mad?  This is going to take up lots of room and will take lots of time.”  It seemed easier than I though.  In today’s blog, I want to try to share how easy it is to make beer.  Honestly, I wasn’t around when he was making the beer.  I was actually napping.  That is how quick it is to make beer.

First step is you need to buy a Beer Equipment Kit.  I think Ben spent just over $100 bucks for this kit, but it is reusable.  It comes with 11 different pieces like the bucket with a spigot, bottle filler, capper, handbook and cleaners.  With this kit you also need to purchase: Hops, corn sugar, malt extract, bottles and caps.  The handbook comes with a recipe for making your first batch of beer.  It looks like there are more advanced techniques in the handbook, but it gives you all you need as a beginner.

First, follow the instructions on the recipe in the handbook.  This makes your wort (beginning beer).  Add some water and let it sit in the bucket for a week.  You will see bubbles coming out of airlock, supplied with the kit, but that is normal.

After the week of fermentation it gets bottled.  You will want to collect used or new beer bottles and sanitize them.  You will need to purchase new caps.  The most difficult process in beer making is the sterlization of the equipment and bottles.  For anyone who cans it’s easier than canning tomatoes in our opinion.

Now the bottled beer sits in the closet, or cool place for a week.  Then the beer goes into the refrigerator.  What I liked most about this whole process is the reusing of all of the beer bottles we had lying around the house.  No bottles were thrown away or even recycled.  They were all re purposed and will continue to be re purposed for as long as Ben will be making beer.

butterflies

DIY Paper Butterflies

I love creating projects out of magazines.  Who knew how versatile they could be.  I found these butterflies on Pinterest.   I had to try them.

What you will need

Magazines

Scissors

Glue

String

What I did, was found that colorful pages make beautiful butterflies.  I tore out several pages I liked.  I centered the most colorful part of the magazine page for the butterfly wings.  I folded once, then again.  Then cut a triangle.  I opened up the diamond shaped magazine clipping.

Make a fan, starting from the inside, working your way out.  I put a dab of glue inside each fold to keep it together.  It didn’t take long to dry.  Then I opened up the wings a bit.  You need two “fans” to make a butterfly.  Glue them together then spread them open to your liking.

I think this would make a very cool nursery mobile.  Or you could make several of these and put them inside a large shadow box and hang it on the wall as art.  There are a number of things you can do with these.  Fold small butterflies and attach them to homemade cards, hang them on the inside of the windows or make a kitty toy with them.  The options are endless.

DIY Compost Maker

Sorry that it has been a while since I posted.  With it being so hot this summer I haven’t had any energy/motivation to make anything.   I have been trying to sell my beads and gift tags on Etsy too.  If you are interested in checking out my shop, please do, but it is still sort of new and I am trying to figure things out.

Something very cool that happened recently in Fargo, is the city is now taking more waste as recyclable.  I read this in our local newspaper and was SO excited.  This type of stuff makes me happy.  Less garbage headed to our landfill is good.  They are taking all plastic with a recycle symbol and numbered 1-7 and all cardboard.  It always bothered me that we couldn’t recycle cereal boxes or yogurt containers.  But we can now!

I have had composting machines before, that worked okay for a while, but were either too loud or stinky.  I like the idea of making my own compost from food and garden waste but I didn’t want to make a compost heap in our back yard for the rodents and bugs to get into.  Plus, we didn’t have much of a back yard to do this in anyways.

I am going to try to make compost in a coffee container.  Anything with a solid cover would work.  The more coffee containers I can collect the better.  I have more laying around our garage I am sure but will start with one to see how it goes.

Make sure you use brown and green waste.  Brown waste is yard waste: leaves, small twigs, newspaper, dryer lint or straw.  Green would include food scraps: grass, coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit and veggie scraps and plant trimmings.  Combine a good mix of both of these things and put in the coffee can and put the lid on it.  It does need heat to compost so I will just leave it outside.  I will shake it once in a while and check to make sure it’s moist.  You do not want it wetter than a rung out sponge.

I normally take our food scraps to the recycling center and dump it in the garden waste bin they have there and let the city make compost to share.  But I wanted my own to keep.  Now that I have roses and a garden I want to make sure I am taking good care of it.

I am hoping that in a few weeks we will see some progress.  I will update this blog post with how it turns out when it is finished and the time frame to expect good compost.

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DIY Beads

It has been a while since I have posted a DIY project.  I made some concrete planters that I am thinking about posting but they didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped.  Stay tuned for that post.  The project that I made today brings back wonderful memories with my grandmother.  She showed me how to do this about 20 years ago.  It is a great project to use all of those “to be recycled” magazines.  You might as well use parts of it for these beautiful beads.

 

What you will need

Magazines

X-acto knife

Straight Edge

Glue

Toothpick

Pick pages from the magazine that have colors you want in your beads.  I wanted muted colors so I picked pages to reflect that.  Another tip is using sturdy pages.  The front or back covers of magazines are ideal.

Cut them into long narrow triangles using the x-acto knife and straight edge.

Using the toothpick start wrapping the wide end of the triangle snug against the toothpick.  I wrapped it around 3 or 4 times before I removed the toothpick and continued twisting with my fingers.  Once you are to the end of the narrow part, put a dot of glue and hold for a moment so it doesn’t unravel.

It probably takes me about a minute to make one bead.  It is so worth it.  Look how beautiful they turned out.  You can use these beads in jewelery or even string them together using ribbons and make garland.  You can pick colors that go with whatever holiday you wish.  Red and Green for Christmas or pastels for Easter.  You can also use scrapbook paper because it has a thickness that is perfect for this project.

Earth Day 2012

Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd and it is always one of my favorite days out of the year.  I hear about companies making a switch to operating in a more green fashion and it gives me hope that some day we will change our behavior as a nation.

I have been green since I was a kiddo.  I used to help my dad crush cans, and my parents always separated recycling.  My dad would compost grass clippings and we would always have fresh veggies from our own garden.  And my mom has also passed on her canning knowledge to me.  I have only expanded my desires to seek a more green life.

Somethings that I do to reduce my impact (and now seem unnoticeable):

1.  Bike to work once in a while (when it isn’t cold, raining, snowing or windy).

2.  Hang my clothes on the line to dry.

3.  Drive more efficiently (keep the car empty, I don’t gun it on a green light and I break efficiently).  See this post from an article I posted on driving more efficiently.

4.  I eat garden fruits and veggies.  We subscribe to a CSA for organic veggies and can what we can to save our extra share for the winter months.  It helps support the local economy and we are also eating organic.

5.  Turn off the lights.  I usually end up turning off the lights for my husband too.

6.  I use organic products.  I do not slather on lotions or hair sprays.  I find them un-useful anyways and very un-green.

7.  I keep things as long as they are still useful.  I keep my cellphones until they either don’t carry a charge longer than an hour, or don’t turn on any more.  My car is 12 years old and I don’t intend on upgrading.  I barely drive it anyways.  If things still have use, why throw it away?

8.  I recycle EVERYTHING.  More than just plastic, metal and glass.  I recycle all cardboard, magazines, phone books, clothes (donate to a thrift store), paper, junk mail,  batteries, light bulbs and electronic equipment.

9.  I survive on less.  I don’t like clutter and if I think I want to buy something, I put it back and think about it over night.  Usually I forget all about it, which means I didn’t really need it.

10.  Instead of using garage bags we use our pet food bags when they are empty.  They have a lining that is water proof and instead of throwing them away without using them we repurpose them into garbage bags.  I even ask my parents to save their pet food bags for us.

11.  I spread the word.  I like to get other people to understand the importance of recycling and living a simpler life.   I was told about “The Story of Stuff Project” from a friend at my Toastmaster club.  It gives a visual story of the life cycle of products and shows how wasteful we as humans are.

12.  I bring my own bags to grocery stores.  Or else if I can just carry it out I will just ask for no bag.  I also use a reusable lunch box and plastic food storage.

13.  I make my own laundry detergent.  We use green cleaners when we can.

14.  We buy in bulk whenever it is possible.

15.  I lean to purchasing green products and products that uses less packaging.  I love shopping at thrift stores because it is re-purposing goods that would otherwise be discarded.  I also bring in my unused retail hangers and shopping bags because they can use them.

I want to keep expanding on this list because there are so many ways that I live green in my daily life that I don’t even notice any more.  These things have become such a habit for me that is just routine.  My husband needs reminding on what can be recycled and such but he supports me in my desire to live a green life.

 

Inspiring DIY Green Projects

I am sorry that I haven’t crafted anything lately.  It is so hard to start something after a long day of work; where all you want to do is sit on the sofa and nod off.  I have lots of projects that I want to start.  I have a garden ready to go in and a house that I need to empty.  We had our house on the market since August last year at least and no offers.  We heard about someone who wanted to rent so we are about to hand over the keys.  At least we will have a few less bills, for now anyways.

I also had someone from the city come to our house and mark all of the underground wires and pipes so when I want to dig up my yard I know where to avoid.  These are a few of my weekend projects.  I do also want to start some of my projects that I have been saving things for.

Until then, I found a few websites/projects on the web that were an inspiring way to use trash.  I hope you enjoy them.

DIY Broom made out of pop bottles.

Candy wrapper handbags.

Plastic bag basket.

Light bulb terrarium.

Jean pocket cat bed.

Ok, so I threw that last one in there for the heck of it.  Wasn’t it cute?  If you don’t know me, one thing you will find out is I LOVE cats.  Like, crazy LOVE.  Right now I have my 22 lb orange kitty Milo on my left, and my black angora kitty kneading my leg on my right.  Across the room, my girl kitty keeps her distance.  She is a little skiddish.  Milo is the only one who knows his name.  The other two I just call kitty.  At age 9, it is probably too late to teach them their real names: Hansel and Gretel.

This weekend I plan on getting started gardening.  I would like to put in a lilac bush by our kitchen window, and I plan to dig up an unused portion of our yard and put plants in.  I want to cut down on time and gas used on mowing that section, so why not put in some weather resistant grasses and such?  I can’t wait until weekend…

 

krasney

A week in the life….

I was in San Diego for a week of March.  My husband and I go there every year about this time to escape the awful winter.  For the past 9 years we have done all of the main attractions San Diego has to offer.  The San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Balboa Park, the Gaslamp District, the USS Midway, La Jolla, Fashion Valley, Coronado Island, Point Loma, Crystal Pier, Mission Beach and all of the fabulous restaurants along the way.  So this year we went with no plans except eating at all of our favorite restaurants and if something came up that we wanted to do, we did it.

Early in our stay we went to this cool restaurant called Cucina Urbana.  I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere.  It was designed with all re-purposed materials.  It was really inspiring seeing all you can do with waste.

Look at this cool wall that was made out of plywood.  I plan on making one of these with our leftover paint when I get a chance.

The main purpose of my blog is to re-purpose things and to make things that are green.  It is so nice to see restaurants take the initiative to reduce waste.  While I was away on vacation I wasn’t able to post anything but I did get lots of ideas.  I will be posting these ideas shortly.

Eating was the main focus of our vacation, and of course visiting my in-laws which I always look forward to.  I didn’t get too many pictures taken because I have taken pictures of everything already.

We stay on Mission Bay, a walk from Pacific Beach.  Several of the neighbors who have dogs go on a group dog walk.  Sadly, the latter half of our stay was too cold and rainy otherwise I would have taken some fun pics from that.  The last night we were there it ended up being somewhat warm, so I did get a couple of good shots.

I thought this was a cute picture (above) with Ben’s mom holding up Abby, a Maltese. Below B. and Auggie.

I got a lot of shopping in.  I came to realize that I actually enjoy shopping for clothes for my husband more than me.  We went to Banana Republic, with no intention of buying, just to see what kind of clothes we can dress up my husband in.  We had a fun time with that.  My husband definitely enjoys letting me dress him up.  I actually got the okay to get him something pink.  Shocked!

On our last full day we went to a little dessert place called Krasney’s.

I think it would be so cool to own a store that serves desserts like this.  I would probably be hugely overweight though.  A dessert like that above is something we do once a year.  It is truly too pretty to eat.  Below is what I ate.

I was trying to stick to a low sugar diet just before vacation and during the first part.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick to it knowing that Krasney’s was coming up.  This was so worth it though.  I am back to struggling with my sugar addiction.  It is definitely a tough one to break.

Most of our vacation we spent relaxing, reading, shopping and eating.  That is what vacation should be about, right?

Craft Room Remodel

I need a space to be able to do my crafting separate from the rest of the house.  I have been looking at other peoples craft rooms via pinterest and I am inspired.

Here is what my loft/crafting space looks like now.

Pretty basic right now.  Almost everyone I know lines their stuff along the outside perimeter of the room.   I want to change that with my remodel.

It is a wide open room that currently serves many purposes.  Storage, guest room and a craft room of some sort.  If I can make it a space that I can work and is organized I will want to be in there more.  This space actually was part of the reason we bought this house.  It has a cool spiral staircase from the sun-room with lots of windows and skylights.  Pretty awesome space if I do say so.

Here is a quick rendering of what I want it to look like.

Please don’t mind my elementary drawing.  I did not have a ruler.  :)

I plan on buying some cabinets from our ReStore – Habitat for Humanity stores in our area.  You really don’t know what you will find when you shop here.  If I can find about 5-6 base cabinets that I can line up against the wall I will be happy.  I don’t care of their exterior condition because I can repaint them and put on new hardware. I may need to buy new counter top but I may find a green alternative when I shop.

I also want to add some shelving from IKEA so I can organize my crafting supplies.

If you follow my blog I will be updating my progress along the way.

Do you have any spring projects you want to accomplish on your home?  I would love to hear about it.

 

DIY Linen Spray

Every time I buy cleaners at the store I always have to buy them with the spray contraption.  I wish there were more cleaners that would allow you to buy in bulk and you can reuse the spray bottle.  Instead of throwing away my latest spray bottle, I decided to reuse it to make some linen spray.

I really love aromatherapy and it may be the one type of scent that doesn’t drive my sinuses batty.  I have several scents that I have purchased from our local vitamin store that I will use for this project.

This is what you will need:

One spray bottle

1 tsp essential oil (any scent)

1/4 cup unflavored vodka

3 1/2 cups filtered water

I was inspired by One Good Thing to make this recipe.  There are other great recipes for household needs on that website.

Instructions:  Mix vodka and oil in spray bottle.  Then add the water and shake or stir.  Before using it make sure to shake it well so the oils disperse throughout mixture.

I plan on using this specifically in my bed before I make it each morning.  I will spray some on so when I go to bed, the lavender (which I plan on using) will relax us into a sweet slumber.

*Disclaimer – After mixing this and spraying it on my couch and on my bed my house I could smell vodka immediately.  I suggest using only 1/8 cup of vodka instead or none at all.  Make sure to mix it well before you spray each time.  The vodka is added to help it dry faster.

flowers

DIY Homemade Fabric Flowers

Do you have left over fabric laying around that you don’t want to throw away?  Well, don’t throw it away!  Use it to make these cute versatile flowers.  I had some fabric from my first project, the Magnetic Board.  They were scraps, so couldn’t be used for much of anything else.  Here is how you make them.  I was inspired by my Better Homes and Gardens magazine subscription.

1.  Figure out the size of flower you want.  I found my Aromatherapy bottle to be of the right size.  Then, I trace the circle 8 times on the back of the fabric.

2.  Cut

3.  Fold the circles in half, then into fourths.  Glue.  Then fold in eights and glue again.  They should look like this; little pieces of pie.

4.  I cut out a circle from my left over homemade paper from my previous post to glue these onto. Glue on a small button in the center.

5.  At this point you can attach a magnet or the pin backing if you want to wear it on clothing.  Also, you could make a headband;  buy a plain headband, then hot blue this onto the side.  You can use this for many applications.  And how chic!

tags

DIY Homemade Gift Tags

From my previous post DIY Homemade Paper I showed you how much Christmas paper trash I saved from going to the landfill.  I made a couple of batches of homemade paper to use for other crafts.  I came up with one great idea that can save you a little money and also make your gifts look chic.  Homemade Gift Tags!

 

 

1.  Collect all of your homemade paper.

2.  Decide on the size of tag you want, and trace circles all over your paper.  If you have any blemishes on the paper, or wrinkles cut around them.  Only use the best parts.  Save the rest for another batch of homemade paper.

3.  Cut out the tags.

4.  Use a paper hole punch to cut the holes for the ribbon.  I used my makingmemories Instant Setter tool to make the holes.  I got this a long time ago but I want to learn what all it can do.  I couldn’t find my hole punch and I like the size of the holes this tool made so I just used this.

5.  Finished.  Now you can adorn with ribbon of your choosing.  I suggest just slipping it into the ribbon you are already using for your wrapped package.  Or some nice twine or hemp string would look organic.

You can use these tags for bags, or wine bottles for a hostess.  You can use it for any holiday or birthday.  This was a fun and easy project.  I hope you consider saving some Christmas paper from the trash to make these nice tags!

finished

DIY Homemade Paper

I have always wanted to make homemade paper.  There are so many things you can make with paper, and what a wonderful way to reduce garbage from going into the landfill.  In my case, the past couple of years I took about 10 bags of used Christmas
wrapping paper to use just for this purpose.  My whole intention is to make a butt load of paper.  I found some great sources to guide me along in my journey of becoming a paper-maker.  But instead of going there, follow my easy instructions with photos here!

Materials:
Waste Paper
Blender
Water
Wood Frame
Screen
Roller
Food coloring (optional)
Racks (optional)

Step 1:  Collect paper.


Step 2.  Get rid of tape. I’m not sure if taking off the tape does anything but common senses makes me think that it’s a slippery surface and if left intact the final paper product may not stay together.

Step 3:  Cut into small pieces.  Easier to stuff in a blender.

Step 4:  Fill the blender about 1/2 to 2/3 water and start adding paper.  I add a handful at a time because if you add too much it could make the pulp too dry, and cause your blender to stall.  If it get’s too dry, just add more water.

Tip:  Collect brightly colored paper that can’t be recycled (at least in our city) and add to your blender to add color.  By adding a teal envelope to my pulp I ended up getting light blue finished product.

Step 5:  Prop the screen over a surface that’s okay to get wet.  I put mine over the ledge of the tub.  I have a handy hand sprayer to help me clean up the mess.  Over a sink would do just fine.  I found an old window screen on the boulevard during spring clean up.  No purchase necessary.  I used some tulle because I though the holes on the screen would be too big.

Tip: You can buy wood frames made for making a canvas at a craft store, then buy screen and staple around the frame.  I have had trouble finding screen in my town so I used a window screen that I had on hand.

Step 6:  Dump pulp over the screen.

Step 7:  Lay a towel on top of the pulp.  In my case I used an old Tshirt that was destined for the garbage anyways.  (this blog is about being green, reducing waste :))

Step 8:  Roll out the excess water with the roller, this also flattens it.

Step 9:  Gently lift screen off sink, holding the towel/t-shirt steady to release from screen.  Once dry enough, lift paper off towel/old T-shirt.

Step 10:  Place on rack to dry quicker.  Once dry, place under heavy books to flatten.


Some things you can make with this paper.  Stationary, gift tags, cards, use in scrap-booking and ornaments.  I intend on blogging about what I make with my homemade paper once I accrue enough.  So please come back!  See you soon!

DSC_0311 1

DIY Cherry Cordials

I didn’t make as many gifts as I would have liked this Christmas, but I am going to dedicate a large portion of 2012 in making my own gifts for next year.  However, I did have difficulty finding gifts for my mom this year but I remembered she used to always have a box of Queen Anne’s cherries in her fridgerator.  I decided to give making my own a try this year.   I found a recipe that I thought was at my culinary skill level and got busy.
First the recipe; courtesy of veronicascornucopia.com

2 (10-oz) jars maraschino cherries (you’ll need 40-50)
¼ c butter, softened
2 ¼ c powdered sugar
1 T reserved cherry juice
½ t vanilla extract
¼ t almond extract
1 (12-oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cake paraffin wax, shredded OR 2 T vegetable shortening

*I replaced the chocolate chips and shortening with Baker’s Chocolate.

First step is to get the cherries out of the juice.  I drained it with a colander and saved the juice.  (Do not rinse) I plan on using the cherry juice for something else.  Possibly cherry infused vodka or brandy for another gift.  I placed the cherries then on a paper towel to rid the excess juice.  This helped when wrapping the fondant around them.

In the meantime, cream the butter with 1 cup of the powdered sugar, then add 1 T reserved cherry juice, the extracts, and the remaining sugar; stir until mixed. You may have to knead it with your hands as it will be firm like dough.  I ended up adding about another tablespoon of non-butter (the kind in the tubs) to give it a dough like consistency as I kneaded it.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Take small pieces of fondant, about 1 or 2 teaspoons, and press them flat on your palm. Wrap around the cherries, pinching off the excess before rolling them smooth and placing on the wax paper. Repeat until all cherries are covered with the fondant. Set in the freezer until well chilled. I did this step a day in advance and proceeded with the dipping the following day, so they were frozen hard.

Melt the Baker’s chocolate until smooth. Dip each cherry in the chocolate using a fork, drawing fork across rim of pan to remove excess coating. Drop coated cherry upside down onto waxed paper, swirling a thread of coating from fork across top for a decorative touch.  Once all are coated, place in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set; check bottoms and reseal with additional melted coating, if necessary. You want every part of the fondant covered or it will start to leak out as it liquefies.  Store in a cool place (do not refrigerate) for 2 weeks to form cordial.

I tried mine about 5-6 days after making them and they were not ready yet.  Make sure you give them enough time to liquefy.

Place in a nice tin with tissue paper.  No other wrapping needed.  You don’t want to use wrapping paper that will just get thrown away, do you?  This year I ended up doing all of my wrapping with reused wrapping paper from previous years, bags or tins like for these delicious treats.  Everything can be reused or repurposed.  Hope you all had a Merry “Green” Christmas!