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World Environment Day

Posted on June 5, 2017 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)



Today is World Environment Day - I guess the idea is to stop and think about what we are doing to the planet and maybe think twice about what we personally can do to stop things from getting worse. I choose plastic peanut butter jars as my project for the day because I'm sure we all have a few similar plastic containers in our recycling bins. Why not give them a new life - at least for the short term? I'm actually making these for my little guy and also for my after four group. 


Make a Night Light



I created a night light for my little guy by using a solar powered light from a torn outdoor paper lantern. To make it more fun, I added a couple of his miniature airplanes inside. The only purchase was the metal ring used on preserve jars. The leather thong handle is actually a shoe lace from an old shoe.


Nature Jar 01 - Capture and Release




This jar was made to hold water samples from the stream near our home and from the seashore. To enable air circulation I glued a bit of netting recycled from a plastic net bag that once held store-bought garlic cloves. I also glued some little stones on the bottom so the jar was balanced when empty. Once the little guy's had a chance to example whatever we find in the jar, he will return the sample back where we found it.


Nature Jar No. 2 




If you don't know who Gerald Durrel was, you should look his books up at your local library. He wrote some very critical and also very funny books about how he got started. Anyway, the third jar is meant for collecting insects and bugs. I add a twig for insects to grasp and some moss for the more shy critters. Again I glued a piece of netting inside the metal preserve ring for air circulation. And again, every bug or insect collected will be set free.


Sippy Cups



And don't forget my original use for these BPA free plastic containers: Sippy cups. Details here.


So - what are you doing for World Environment Day.

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Garden Recycling - Plastic Containers 2

Posted on May 24, 2016 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)



For those who were wondering if my plastic container garden was ever completed, wonder no more. Over this past long weekend, the weather warmed up and I found the time to repot into my recycled plastic containers. It was surprising to see how quickly the plants resettled in. Once the plants are sturdy enough, I will repot them up permanently in my larger metal garden containers - old kettles and pails. With more warmer weather on the way, it won't be long.




This year I've planted sage, tomato, flat-leaf parsley, oregano, thyme, chives, some garlic, rosemary, and mint from seed. All of these were started off in empty eggshells 'pots', then each one placed back into egg cartons. If my egg cartons had been those paper ones, I would have simpled planted the seeds into the carton compartments but mine are clear plastic and I like to reuse these over and over again. I stored the carton 'incubators' under the kitchen sink cupboard - a nice dark and cosy place for seedlings to sprout. Once the seedlings had grew a few inches, I transplanted the little fellows into plastic milk containers (the ones I used for the pizza gardens last year).


Note that before transplanting, I gently crush each eggshell and then place each in the new container. Even though the eggshells will soften in the new pots, it's still a good idea to crush them as it allows the seedling roots to quickly reach out and settle in new soil. Because it was too cold to put these outside, I placed the plastic containers in front of a sunny window near the heating ducts. When it was warm enough outdoors, I moved the containers onto to their bamboo perch.



This is such a simple way for anyone to garden. The kids that live in my apartment building are already working on this year's balcony gardens (I gave each one my surplus seedling plants) and were, again this year, eager to see the results. Note you don't have to use plastic containers - waxed milk containers work just as well. So do tin cans. If you are using tin cans, remember to put something under each can to prevent rust showing up on your patio or balcony. An old saucer or plastic lids work well.


Also you don't have to start off your seedlings in eggshells - egg cartons (as I mentioned above), newspapers or cardboard toilet rolls work just as well. Use what you have and get the kids involved. As with the eggshells, you should make tears in the toilet roll pots and open up the bottom as cardboard takes a long time to disintegrate and this can stunt the seedling roots. Newspaper on the other hand falls apart quickly.


Enjoy your gardening!


Garden Recycling - Plastic Containers 1

Posted on May 11, 2016 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm getting so impatient to start my little balcony garden. I've managed to start chives, garlic, and thyme plants this year and have kept these nice and warm under my kitchen sink. Now it's time to get them outside. However, here in Ottawa it's still a little too cool to put out my plants. My plastic milk containers, all in a row, are ready to be filled. 



I slipped a bamboo rod throw the handles of each container to hold them in place and then added two over-the-door hooks to secure the rod to my balcony railing. I love this time of gardening as it saves me lots of room on my long, but very narrow, balcony. And it's portable, too, so I can move it when the plants need more sunshine. Once the plants are too big for the containers, I will transplant them into bigger garden pots. 

Earth Day Project - Plastic Jar Recycling

Posted on April 18, 2016 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (0)



In my second Earth Day project, I've recycled plastic jars into sippy cups for kids. Yes, I know, you can purchase Mason (or canning) jars versions at about $4.99 each (then you have to buy the sippy lid!). If you're a DIYer, there are oodles of online tutorials to make these glass versions as well.

 

However, I wanted to be sure that the little guy and his pals had more kid-friendly sippy cups - light-weight, unspillable, and unbreakable if accidentally dropped. So I thought I'd repurpose my empty (and clean) stack of PET plastic jars that originally contained organic mayonaise into my version of a kid's sippy drinks cup.



How to Make a Plastic Sippy Cup:


All you need are three things: a PET plastic jar, a milk or juice carton, and a metal canning jar ring. You can buy these rings at any hardware or food supply shop. I got mine at Home Hardware for $5.99 for a pack of 12. Note: Save the original lid of the plastic jar to use as a cookie cutter!


To make: First roughly cut out the cap/spout part of a fruit or milk carton, then using the canning jar ring for the template cut the cutout into a round shape so that it fits inside the ring. That's it. Your kids can add their names to the jars and/or decorate them with felt pens.


Fill the sippy cup with your kid's favourite beverage and plunk in a straw. When the cap is put on, it makes the sippy cup unspillable. Not bad, eh!