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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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Solar Power All the Way

Posted on June 1, 2017 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

For part of the year I live in Edinburgh, Scotland and I find that the folks there appear to be far ahead of us in Canada when it comes to household solar energy power. Most of the buildings in the area where we live have solar panels on the roofs whether it's an apartment building or a private home. All our hot water and heating needs are provided very efficiently by the solar panels on the roof of our building. However, in Ottawa, it's rare to see a home or building with any signs of solar energy panels except for a few solar powered path lights. Considering how little sunlight Edinburgh gets compared to Ottawa (it rains a lot there!!), it seems remiss of us not to consider switching over to this more environmentally efficient system. 




That said, I recently received a request from Deelat Industrial in Calgary to test out their Integrated Solar Motion Light. I had a number of friends test it out and they also were pleased, so much so, that they have not returned the units back to me!! Not to worry, right now I am located several floors up in an apartment building in downtown Ottawa and, except for the annoying pigeons who may have been seriously traumatized by this motion light when I tested it out on the balcony, this place has no need for such a light fixture so that my friends are welcome keep them.


Having solar powered motion lights as a security feature may be a small way of starting to add solar energy to your home because it does not involve any major reconstruction and hopefully, builders of new homes will see the light (ha, ha!) and start using solar energy as a viable and environmentally sound alternative to traditional heating and lighting systems. Think of the jobs this could create!!


Check out Deelat Industrial's outdoor solar lighting products here.


Ciao.

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Workshops Closed and Candle Making

Posted on May 21, 2017 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

My May workshops are all booked and, once, they are done, I'm closing up for the summer. However, I suddenly discovered - drum roll, please! - candle making! A friend gave a candlemaking kit last Christmas and I never got around to doing anything with it. That is, until last weekend. It was raining and I was bored. My TV is on the blink (good job, too, as I had no idea how much time I wasted because I was bored!!). Having read my last book from the library, I decided why not try candle making.


Being the klutz I am, I was afraid I might set the house on fire but it turned out to be easier than I thought. So, of course, I made tons and gave quite a few away to family and friends to try out. And the response was so good that I've decided to flog them in my Shop.



NOW FOR SOME MARKETING!


What makes my candles so different, you ask? Well, for one, each one is hand-poured in small batches, organic and fairly reasonable, cost-wise, (actually that's three reasons!). As for the containers - all will be recycled ones that I source at charity shops, flea markets and garage sales.


Right now essential oils of rose, sweet orange, lavender, cinnamon, and rosemary are available, but I'm working on adding more essential oils. Once you have made your purchase, you choose your essential oil and the candles will be hand-poured and then sent off to you.


About my Packaging


To save money on packaging and the planet(!!), I use only preused recycled paper boxes that I get from local merchants for shipping my products - removing all previous labels first, of course. Sometimes the packaging inside may be preused plastic foam so I provide a leaflet on how these can be recycled once more as crafts, gifts, etc. Nifty idea, no?


Stay tuned ...

DIY Mother's Day

Posted on May 10, 2017 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Eh gads and zuts alor! - it's Thursday and I haven't posted anything for our Mother's Day. I hope you've been giving some thought to what you can make for your Mom. Your recycling bin, believe or not, is full of great possibilities for repurposing containers, etc. and to help you along, here are a few ideas for you.


CARDS FROM MAGAZINES, JUNK MAIL, ETC.



These cards are so easy to do and all you will need are some junk mail, magazine, gardening catalog, etc, some brown paper (I used a brown paper grocery bag - but use what you have), thin cardboard (cereal box, etc) and a bit of ribbon (leftover from other occasions). If you are artistic, you could draw flowers but, as I'm not, I roughly clipped out pictures from a gardening catalog and glued these to some cardboard before cutting these out so they looked like flowers.


Here's what I did: I cut two pieces of brown paper in the shape of a flower pot - one for the back and one for the front. Fold the top of each part over so it looks like a flower pot, then glue these two together at the bottom and sides, leaving the top wider part open. Then I cut a cardboard insert in the same shape but slightly smaller and glued the flowers to this. Then I inserted the flowers into the pot, glued on a ribbon tied into a bow in front and voila a nice Mom's day card was born!


MORE MAGAZINE RECYCLING FOR MOM - LET HER HAVE CAKE!



If your Mom loves cake but you don't have the time or inclination (or like me, no ability) to bake one yourself, head for your grocery store and buy a plain iced cake. When you bring the cake home, style it up with a couple of flowers (fake or real) and some butterflies cut out of magazine pages. Stick the whole thing on a pretty plate and wait for the compliments.


Click here for a butterfly template.


GIFT WRAP LEFTOVERS - FLOWER VASE



You don't have to break the bank to present a nice bouquet of flowers to Mom. Heck, you can raid your garden and clip a few from there. Grocery store flowers aren't too expensive and you can separate the flowers to make a couple of bouquets. To make the cone, use gift wrap or scrapbooking paper if you have it. Or you're a little artist, why not make a nice drawing on plain paper and use this as the cone wrap.


Here's a cone template for you.


Before sticking the flowers into your vase cone, insert the flowers into a plastic sandwich bag so water doesn't seep out. You want them to stay fresh for at least a couple of days, no?


REUSING EGG CARTONS - FOR MOM'S BATH BOMBS



Bath bombs are so easy to make that I wondered why I hadn't attempted these before. But I couldn't think of a way of packaging mine until I raided my recycling bin. I used those plastic eggshells from Easter as moulds to make the bath bombs and it was a no brainer to use the papier mache egg cartons from my recycling bin as the bath bomb containers .


For a bath bomb how to, click here.


RECYCLING VINTAGE BAKEWARE - JUST HANG IT!



If Mom's a whiz in the kitchen why not raid her bakeware and see if you can find a few spare pie plates or tart pans to create some kitchen wall art for her. Write or print out some of her favourite baking recipes and cut out to fit inside the plates or pans, use double-sided tape to hold the recipes in place and hang the how thing up. Several would look spectacular.


I found the ones shown here.


FINAL WORD


Okay, we've got cards, cake, flowers and some wall art for Mom. I think she'll be pleased and you haven't emptied your wallet completely and even did some good for the environment, too. Hurrah!