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DIY Milk & Juice Carton Recycling - Part 1

Posted on April 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I know that I promised you a bunch of Easter recycling ideas but I thought I'd take a little break and focus on the real intent of this blog: i.e., recycling stuff. A few days ago, a friend brought over a few milk cartons (the kind with cap and spout) and asked me how she could go about these as she has several kids and ends up with dozens of these cartons from both milk and juice in her recycling bin. 'Are there any ways', she asked, 'I can recycle these?'  'Well, yeah', says I, 'maybe, perhaps - let me think about it.'

So here goes. Let's start with the cap and spout first. You know those pesky packages that stuff like salt, sugar breadcrumbs, or baking soda come in? Whenever I poured anything out of them, they either would just dribble and stop pouring or pour out too quickly. So I decided that if I reused the cap and spout part of a milk or juice carton, I could solve that pesky problem. Here's what I did.



Now I know this is something others have thought of, so I'm not claiming it as my own idea, but if it works, it works. To start, of course, you will need canning jars - new or vintage - for this to work. You can pick up vintage canning jars at any charity shop or church bazaars - I collected a zillion of them at the Sally Ann over the years. Or you can buy new ones at hardware or kitchen supply stores. To replace the canning jar lids, just cut out the cap and spout part of the milk or juice carton and then, using the metal ring of the jar as a guide, trim to fit the jar.

Lastly, pour whatever contents you want into the jar, top with the new lid, and replace the metal ring.

You do know the jar should be clean and dry first, right?  

Easter Recycled - Eggshell Easter Wreath

Posted on March 30, 2014 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Isn't this a sensational Easter wreath - made mostly of broken eggshells? I'm showing it as I did promise you a few ideas for Easter. I've wandered over to European sites as they still celebrate Easter moreso than we do over here. I found this at, a Czech website that appears to be similar to Etsy as everything has a price tag - I'm just guessing as my Czech isn't great (i.e., no-existent) and Google Translate is about the same level as me (well, maybe a mite better).

So don't toss out your broken eggshells - this wreath is a great way to recycle these shells and looks so pretty. The idea here is not to copy exactly what you see but to put your own spin on it. Personally, I wouldn't add the little bows or the dried stuff. A few springs of pussywillow branches could also replace the feathers. Let your creativity loose. 

By the way, you can freeze eggs so you can happily break up a dozen or so for this wreath without any waste. 

Anyway. for more similar wreaths, click here.  


Heel and Toe - Recycling Shoe Trees &High Heels

Posted on March 21, 2014 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Need somewhere to hang up your keys, coat, scarf, or hat? Why, just put up a few of shoe trees (or lasts as they are also called) and you're in business. They'll add a bit of flair wherever you put them. This idea is yet another one from my friend, Sean. 

To find more inspiration for recycling, reusing and repurposing shoe trees/lasts, head over to Susan and Jimmy Gaston's website where they do a lot with wooden shoe trees.

Here's my own take on recycling anything shoe-related. Some time ago (it was a Mother's Day idea), I stumbled across a bunch of derelict high heels in a tip outside a shoe store on Queen Street. I politely asked the shop owner if I could help myself to a few (why - I wasn't sure at the time - it just seemed like a good idea!). Anyway, I hauled a few home and this is what I created. 

These do take a little more work than just hanging them up on the wall but I have how to instructions here.

By the way, Easter is not too far away and because I am getting ready for my annual sojourn to Scotland and won't have time to make stuff, I will be posting some finds that I love soon. 

Searching for that Pot of Gold - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Seems everyone has gone green today - ecologically (I hope) and because it's St. Patrick's Day. Even if you're not Irish, you can enjoy all the festivitites associated with this day. Too bad about the curfuffle in New York City but don't let that stop you from enjoying the day. Have a Guinness on me, too! And keep looking for that pot of gold.

Book Folding - Recycling Paperbacks

Posted on March 16, 2014 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

My first Book Folding workshop is over and here are a few samples of what we made. Book folding is an easy and fun way to relieve stress - a little like knitting. You can do it while watching TV (once you've mastered the folds - very easy!!) or while on the phone. Just don't tell the person on the other end that they don't have your full attention.

Each of the above samples can be made under one hour. So - what are you waiting for. Grab a book and get started. By the way, I get most of my books by going to different second-hand bookstores and asking if they have any books they can't sell and usually they let me rummage about in the cellars and back rooms for old, battered books they've yet to get rid of. Cost - usually nothing but some do charge a buck or two. These I don't bother with. You can also pick up cheap books at church bazaar sales. Charity shops here are now getting too expensive for me!! 

Recrafting with Sean

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I have a most fabulous friend, Sean, who like me has a brain that's wired a bit differently than the norm. When we get together, we have a blast to see who can come up with ideas of how to recycle, reuse, reinvent, repurpose stuff others toss out. Not that it's a contest - I like to think we complement one another. We just both love the idea of giving something a second - even third or fourth - (useful) life. And I know what you're thinking - don't these guys have a life? Well, we do but being blessed (or cursed) with brains and imagination like ours, we find it extremely difficult to walk by something that's been discarded or thrown out without seeing it's potential. And I mean ANYTHING. 

So we both get excited when we come across things like National Geographic Magazine holders (slipcases) or old shoe trees or puzzles (the 1000+ pieces kind), old envelopes, maps, etc. For us, it's like finding the pot at the end of the rainbow (well, maybe not quite - gold coins would definitely trump just plain old stuff). But we spend many a happy hour dreaming up how we can repurpose and not toss out what we find.

Okay, okay, some of you may not even know what a shoe tree is but you may have few of those leather bound National Geographic Magazine holders or similar. So at our last get-together, when Sean brought over the magazine holders and shoe trees, he quickly showed me how these can be repurposed without any effort. 

Need somewhere to put all those office or craft dohickeys? No problem if you've got a couple or more of those magazine slipcases. They would look very retro and decorative at the office since the slipcases are leather bound with gold lettering. In the craft room, you'll never lose those little odds and ends anymore. Nice, don't you think?

Ahhh, shoe trees - you can still get them but these days they're made of plastic. The function of foldable shoe trees is to help leather shoes keep their shape between wearings. In the olden days, when shoes were hand made, shoemakers often custom-made these for their customers. And these wooden ones do have an intrinsic beauty of their own. If your shoes are of the more plastic variety (and most are these days), shoe trees are no longer necessary. But don't chuck them out - there's are ways to reuse these little gems. I have a pair just sitting on top of some shelves as sculptures; Sean showed me how they can simply be folded and used as bookends.

And here's the good news - no scissors or glue required for either. To quote our lady Martha, "... and that's a good thing."