New Year New Start

Posted on January 11, 2014 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Over the past few days I've been clearing out my closets and storage area with the aim of downsizing the stuff I haven't looked at or used over the past year. Some of these are already posted on my Etsy shop and on UsedOttawa and Kijji. All the money that I make from selling my stuff goes into my grandson's college fund (he's only 3 but, hey, the sooner you start saving, the better).

Unlike the hoarders you see on those reality TV shows, I really don't have a lot of stuff. I find having too much weighs me down mentally so normally when I get something new, my philosophy is to get rid of something that's not being used. It usually works. My problem is that I can see possibilities in almost anything for the purposes of recycling, reusing, or upcycling so it can be a tough process. I'm off loading the what's left of my Tiffany glassware (via my Etsy shop), my cherished vintage canning jars (mantra - I don't need them, I don't need them, I don't need them, etc.) via Kijji and Used Ottawa for starters.

I did use my canning jars for storage but these took up a lot of room as I could not stack them. Now instead of storing craft stuff in my lovely canning jars, I'm using clear plastic containers my neighbours pass on to me. Before the canning jars, I kept my little bits and pieces in boxes but could never find anything without having to open up every box (labels always mysteriously disappeared). Keeping them in jars made finding stuff easier. Now the plastic containers will serve the same purpose - they are also stackable, lightweight, almost non-destructible, and I don't have to worry about broken glass if these get dropped.

Also, I'll be reusing any jam, pickle, mustard, etc. jars from the grocery store (emptied, of course!). Aren't the stylized Union Jack lids of these jars cute. They came on condiment jars I purchased at Marks and Spenser's food court in Edinburgh and, after finishing off the contents, now serve as containers for my office supplies.

How are you getting organized for the new year or are you?

Recycled glass chandelier

Posted on July 11, 2011 at 9:34 AM Comments comments (1)

I've been wanting to put up a chandelier to brighten up my balcony but after looking in charity stores for a second hand one and finding none, then checking out the price of new ones, I thought I would have to give up. But IKEA came through again with this really easy-to-make chandelier and it has inspired me to try making my own.

Perfect for me because I already had everything I needed to make this chandelier: old wine glasses that I never used, a large wire Christmas wreath form, Christmas lights. That's it. I will just wind the lights around the wire form, wire on each glass using thing white wire, add a few baubles and voila a new chandelier. To hang I will have to get a large S-hook and an extension cord. But first I have to figure out how I will hang it as the ceiling on my balcony is metal. 

Upcycle Old Tennis Rackets into Stylish Mirrors

Posted on August 17, 2010 at 9:08 AM Comments comments (1)

When I was clearing out my stuff before my big move, I found a couple of wooden tennis rackets long forgotten and collecting dust in the basement. What would be a clever way to reuse them, thought I? Well,  Country Living magazine has a clever and fun way of transforming them into stylish mirrors.

Here are the instructions:

1. Take a racket to a glass shop and ask them to cut a mirror to fit inside the racket. You could, if you like, also get them to custom-cut bevel the edges of the mirror but this can be pricey.

2. Following the package instructions, squeeze a mirror adhesive (Liquid Nails Mirror Adhesive $4.97 from onto the back of the looking glass and firmly press it onto the strings (be sure to protect your work surface with newspaper).

3. Let the adhesive dry overnight before hanging this decorative ace from a nail.

NOTE: If you have glass cutting tools and an old mirror you can use, measure the inside of the tennis racket and cut the mirror to fit. Then go to step 2 above to attach the mirror to the racket. You won't get a beveled edge with this mirror but you'll save money doing it yourself. Just be careful cutting the glass and make sure you sand the edges to avoid cuts.

Image Country Living magazine.

How to Recycle Glass Bottles and Jars

Posted on January 13, 2010 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (0)


Since selling my lovely vintage preserve canning jars, I started to think about how long these have lasted (mine were from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s and had a lot of use) and how many different ways I’ve used them over the years. No – I didn’t do a lot of preserving except for fruit jellies and jams which are easy to do. But these jars followed me from home to home and I always found a new use for them. Besides storing food supplies such as beans, rice, flour, and sugar in the kitchen, I also filled some with pencils, crayons, felt pens, buttons, elastic bands, and sewing whatnots in my studio. And they were great for my homemade soap bars and bath salts in the bathroom.


I also used some of them to hold votive candles when we ate al fresco on summer evenings. Some I sent away filled with dry cookie and soup ingredients to my daughter at university or to friends who needed a boost. And did I mention how great they are for sprouting seeds? If I still had them, I would probable use them as pieces of sculpture, leaving them empty in rows at the top of my bookshelves. But now most of them are gone – I sold them to a lovely guy who is rebuilding a farmhouse and will be using the jars in much the same way I did. It’s nice to know that these will continue to be used.


Of course, any type of glass jar or bottle can be recycled, vintage or not. All you need are the jars and I’m sure you can come up with dozens of new ways to recycle that jar. And did you know that by recycling a single glass jar or bottle, you can save enough energy to light a 100 watt light bulb for as much as 4 hours. So you’re also helping the environment. Cheers!