Repurposed=Organization

Last week, my goal was to reorganize my hall entryway unit. I was quite pleased with myself for up-cycling some items around the house and turning them into organizational units.

I felt like I needed a small tray to put some key in. One of the items that I wanted to get rid of was an old glasses case that was coming apart. “Eureka!” I thought. I could re-purpose the case into a little tray. It was easy enough. I removed all the covering on the case to find that the body of the case was made of metal. I pried the two sections of the case to come apart with some plyers. Then, I cut out the insoles of my running shoes (new insoles, that I never will use since I have orthotics, also wanted to get rid of this) to  provide some cushioning for the metal case. Lastly, I cut out a piece of paper and pushed it down on the insoles, providing my new trays with a pretty finish. No glue, no fuss, no muss. I can change the paper out when it starts to look uninspiring.

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The other thing that I used was plastic salad containers to house all the bits and bobs in my drawer. I glued on paper to the bottom side of the lid and lined the container with a matching piece of paper.

Both my organizational  items were quite stress free to make. The part I like best, is challenging myself to think of a new way to use an item that I might not want anymore.

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DIY Luggage tags

We are redoing our laundry room and part of the process has been to figure out what counter-tops, cabinets etc to purchase. Thankfully all the decisions have been made and now we need to install all our purchases.

We had some leftover counter-tops samples and I figured that they could be recycled into luggage tags. Using some hot glue, I stuck two pieces together, covered the sides with tape and stuck on some fabric decorations that I had.

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Easy Coaster pattern (Crochet)

My 11 year old daughter has become quite a crocheter. She has been crocheting many mini-sombreros, coasters  and  dish cloths, as gifts. She came up with this coaster pattern that take her under 30 minutes to make.

 

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Abbreviations:

ch- chain

hdc- half double crochet

sc – single crochet

dc – double crochet

sl st- slip stitch

 

Magic circle ch 2

Round 1: 8 hdc in the circle, join with sl st

Round 2: ch 3, 2 dc in each stitch join with sl st

Round 3: ch 3, 2 dc in each stitch join with sl st

Round 4: ch 2, sc in each stitch

Round 5: switch colours,  ch 2, * sc in first 2 stitches 2 sc in next* repeat from * around, join with sl st

fasten off weave in all ends

Easy ways to add colour to the garden

I was a little tired of the lack of colour in the garden before the flowers started to bloom. So I decided to add some colour in the garden with some easy painting projects.

I stacked some painted terracotta pots that I had on hand. To make it more stable, I put a rod through the pots. Added some soil to the top pot and planted a little perennial plant.

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For my second project, I used the trunk of my last Christmas tree. I cut off the branches and hung some wooden flowers on it.

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This should brighten my garden a little until all the other flowers come in.

Christmas Star decorations- recycled

Every year after Christmas, I always feel a little nostalgic. To extend my Christmas spirit, I find that I usually make a Christmas decoration for the tree or house.

This year, I found a decoration for Christmas stars, and put my own twist on it. You can use any cardstock that you like. I used some Christmas cards and flyers to create these Christmas tree decorations.

Instead of a 5 point symmetrical star, you can draw a star or use a template to draw an unsymmetrical 5 point star.

You will need a bone folder and a ruler to make the ridges.

 

1. Flip the the star over to the back. Using the bone folder and ruler, draw a line from each point to the middle.

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2. Flip the star back to the front. Using the bone folder and ruler once again, draw lines from the non-points to the middle. (Hope this makes sense)

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3. Press along each fold along the star.  Tie a little ribbon and you have a Christmas tree decoration.

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These decorations are so light, it is great if the branches on your Christmas tree are thin. They also make cute tags.

 

Enjoy and have a great 2015.

Easy and practical homemade cleaners

With Earth day coming up, I decided to make some household cleaners. I have been wanting to do this for a while, but was not sure how best to proceed. I wanted this endeavor to be easy and stress free. Therefore I needed to find a few cleaners that were easy to prepare and would not require me to get a bunch of additional ingredients that I did not have around the house.

I am starting with three homemade cleaners
1) Handsoap/ dishwashing soap. This is not for the dishwasher. Instead it is for the kitchen sink.
I diluted Dr. Bronner’s castile soap 1:10 with water. (http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=1127)
I used the lavender castile soap, for a lovely fragrance when washing the dishes.

2) All purpose spray. I got this recipe from David Suzuki’s Queen of Green
(http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/downloads/2011/QueenOfGreen-Green-cleaning-recipes.pdf) There are other recipes here as well.

This spray uses- castile soap, borax and essential oils. Once again if you use a castile soap with a scent, you can probably leave the essential oils out.

3) Vegetable wash. Just soak your vegetables in a bowl of water with 1/8 -1/2 cup of vinegar for about 10 minutes and rinse the vegetables well.

I am hoping that with these few simple and easy recipes, I will be able to make the change to become a little greener.

Happy Earth Day!

Easy Christmas decoration

As I am hosting Christmas dinner this year, I needed to have a few additional decorations to make the house look festive.  I really like this easy and inexpensive idea. I used bottles and vases that I had around the house and filled it with Epsom salts (represents snow). I got some inexpensive red berry decorations from the craft store and placed it in each jar. These bursts of red really liven up the house. You could also use any Christmas decorations that you have to put in the vases/ jars.

Now after Christmas, I can look forward to relaxing and having many baths with all the Epsom salt that I have.20131124_172205

Recycled funnel

I buy a lot of things in bulk and often have trouble putting the contents into bottles. This recycled milk funnel is fantastic and has saved me from a lot of wastage.

I cut of the top part of a 2 litre milk jug and wash it.

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When inverted, this make an easy funnel. You can even use it to fill small bottle. Just make sure that the mouth size of the bottle is the same size or bigger that your milk jug.

 

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Recycled cards

I have challenged myself to make all my greeting cards from recycled items. At first I thought that this would be a little more difficult. However, once I had this challenge in place, I started looking at items differently. Before throwing a flyer in to the recycling bin, I automatically question myself if I could use it in a card.

This challenge has made me think more creatively. I have to figure out the best way to use a certain item and what would match with it from my stash. Another upside is that items are given a second purpose before they get recycled.

Some resources that have been particularly handy are large envelopes that I have received in the mail. I have used them as the body of the card. Flyers, magazine advertisements, pieces of ribbons from items that I have received, packaging material, small boxes that have bright colours and even tissue boxes. I also used some paint chip samples that we had collected when we wanted to paint a room.

The bigger challenge I find is not keeping everything that passes my way. I have a shoe box for all my finds. Once the shoe box gets full, I either have to make more cards or get rid of some of the recycled materials I have saved.

This challenge has certainly inspired me and has made me excited about making cards again.

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Homemade Pinata

My daughter is turning 9 on Thursday. I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by. For her 9th birthday party, she had a sleepover party with a few of her friends. One of her party requests was to have a pinata that you pull instead of one that you hit. This easy project was fun to make with my darling.

We used a paper grocery bag as our base. The handles of the bag was cut off. Then the bottom was covered with tissue gift wrap paper.  Next we covered the bag with coloured streamers, working from the bottom. We kept going until we reached the top of the bag.

We did this project a little bit each day over a week. My daughter was assigned the task of snipping the edges of the streamers during the week. A task that she quite enjoyed doing.

The next thing we had to do was to add the yarn to the bottom of the bag. At the bottom of the bag, I made a small hole at each corner .

I prepared two sets of yarn that comprised of 6 strands each (the length can vary, make it long enough- remember the children are going to pull on it). From the bottom, outside of the bag, I threaded it into hole X and then pulled it out through the other hole X. I did the same with hole Y.  See diagram below. My yarns were now crisscrossed inside the bag, and when pulled hard enough, would cause the bag to break, allowing the contents to fall out.

The next step was to fill the bag with goodies. Remember that the items should not be too heavy, as they could break the bag or hurt the children when they fall out.

Once the bag was filled, I glued the top of the bag together.  Punched two small holes on either side of the bag, and using more yarn created a handle. I did reinforce the top holes to ensure that the bag did not break from the top and just fall on the kids, but it probably was not necessary.

    X                                                                                                              Y

 

 

 

   Y                                                                                                               X

The kids had lots of fun pulling the yarn to break the pinata. There were 4 girls at the party, as each held on to one corner of the bag and pulled away.

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