Posts Tagged ‘Reuse’


Sharing the awesome

April 16, 2010

I wanted to share a great tutorial I just read from Just Something I Made.  Cathe took a vintage book and used it to make a cover for her planner.  The instructions are easy to follow and the pictures really illustrate her directions. Check it out.

Vintage book planner tutorial

I love blank journals, and planners, and diaries. I cannot wait to try this project for myself. Which I will do as soon as I find a vintage book I don’t mind cutting up. 🙂


Thrift stores and Threadbangers

November 7, 2008

Yesterday, I went to a local thrift store that had recently moved into a new location. I had no real goal in mind, other than perhaps some nice lightweight sweaters.  I found several, but they were all too short.  I hate the recent style of all women’s tops being shorter.  I like a top to be long enough to be tucked in or to come down far enough to keep my lower back warm.  Anyway, I struck out with the sweaters.

I did find a nice button down dark green top that will be wonderful to layer over either a short or long sleeve shirt. I am all about the layers. This shirt had unnecessary pockets on the front though, so last night, I ripped them off using a seam ripper. Now I just have to wash the shirt and decide if I like it like that, or if I want to alter it further.

My super fantastic find was a suede coat. This coat had to have cost 150+ when it was new in a department store. It is beautifully made, had all the buttons, plus and extra, is lined, had a belt and fits me like a dream. There are no stains on this coat, all the seams are intact, it is lovely.  I am forever a thrift store convert because I got this coat for less than five dollars.

I was inspired to check out the thrift store from watching several episodes of Threadbangers.  This site has videos, forums, and all kinds of ideas and instructions on how to make clothes, alter clothes, and more.  It is a informative resources for anyone who wants to bring personal style to their wardrobe and their life. One reason I bought the shirt is when I say it, I thought, it would be great without the pockets.  In the past, I would have left it in the store.  But yesterday, I thought, “I can take those off myself and have a great top.”

My next goal is to fire up the sewing machine.  I saw an episode on how to tailor a shirt for a better fit and I have some shirts that almost fit, but I think they could be better.

What’s your favorite thrift store find?


New (to me) Bookcase

September 8, 2008

This weekend I decided to move one of my bookcases from my library to my living room.  This is your standard, self assemble brown bookcase that you get from the big box store.  I have had this bookcase for years, and it has served well.

When I got it in the living room, I realized it was too dark.  What I really wanted was a white bookcase in the living room.  Now, I could have gone out and bought a white one, but that seemed extreme.  So, I just happened to have primer and paint on hand, so I painted it.

I laid a plastic drop cloth out in the middle of my living room, then I carefully laid the bookcase down on it. It took too good coats of the primer to cover the dark color, plus the wood is glossy, so the primer didn’t really want to stick.  That took most of Saturday.

Sunday, I moved on to painting.  The paint went on great since I had been very careful to be liberal with the primer.  The white is a white Satin paint I had left over from when I painted my bathroom cabinets.  When it was dry, I stood it up, put in the shelves, and then added the books.  It looks so fantastic.  I’m so happy with how it turned out.

I decided that the bottom shelf did not need books there.  Instead, I have a huge glass planter that I am filling with marbles.  Inside of that, I am nestling a small pot that has a beautiful aloe growing in it.  The marbles will completely hide the smaller pot and it will look like I have aloe planted in marbles.   I just have to finish that up this week, and the whole project will be done.

I am so proud because the only thing I bought for this project was one small can of primer when I used up what I already had.  The brushes, rollers, drop cloth, (gallon of ) primer, paint, bookcase, planter, pot, and plant are all items I already had on hand.  I will most likely have to buy a few bags of marbles to finish up my planter, but that’s it.

I’m working on borrowing a digital camera so I can get you pictures of the bookcase and planter.  I know you will be inspired to decorate, paint, or move something in your house when you see how lovely the finished product can be.


Plastic Bags, Endless Uses

September 2, 2008

If you are anything like me, you hate to use anything only once. I hate to just throw something away unless I know it is completely used up and finished. This is especially true of those plastic shopping bags that seem to reproduce when you aren’t looking. There are many ways to reuse these.

1. Garbage can liners. All my little bathroom cans and office can have one of these bags. Most are white, and they look just like the little can liners you can buy.

2. Cat box liners. I don’t have cats but I hear the bags work great for this.

3. Fresh food bucket. When I picked blueberries this year, it was so easy to hang a bag over my arm and pick until the bag was full.

4. Car garbage bags. Keep some in your glove box and every time you clean your car out, you have a ready place to put the trash. Also, you can hang one on your door handle or gear shift.

5. A new bag. Here’s a LINK to instructions that show you how to turn bags into strips that you can then crochet into a new bag. The advantage is you use up a lot of the bags, and you have a new stylish waterproof bag.

6. Make a rug. Go here for instruction on how to turn these bags into floor rugs.

7. Dryer lint holder. I save my dryer lint in one so that when I go camping, or have a bonfire, I have a ready supply of dryer lint for fire starter.

8. Shoe organizer. When you travel, keep each pair of shoes in a bag.

9. Outfit organizer. When you pack for little kids, put each day’s worth of clothes in a loosely tied bag. Then, each day night, they put their dirty clothes in one bag, and the next morning, they get a fresh outfit out of a new bag. With all the clothes contained, there’s no danger of leaving anything behind and packing to leave is a cinch.

10. Dirty clothes container. When you travel, take a few to put your dirty clothes in. When you get home, you know exactly what is dirty and any clean clothes you have left over are still clean.

11. Wet swimsuits. Put your suits in a bag after a day of water fun. This is only if you are changing into dry clothes and then coming home. You do not want to leave a wet suit in a plastic bag for more than 24 hours because the suit can mildew.

12. Store your plastic bags. I use one bag to keep all my other bags in.

13. Seasonal storage. Put all your Christmas decorations in separate bags. Small items can be put in a bag, and then the bag wrapped around the item which provides extra cushioning. When you get decorations out in December, they will be unbroken and dust free. This also works for your decorative Easter eggs, your ceramic Halloween jack o lanterns and your Thanksgiving pilgrims.

14. Tool storage, car. Many cars have a place in the trunk to store the jack and the spare tire. However, it’s a good idea to keep a few other basic tools in your car and those can be kept together in a plastic shopping bag.

15. Tool storage, shed. In the shed, paint brushes and rollers can be stored in plastic bags, ready for their next use. Tie the bag shut so that dust and pests do not get on them and label the bag.

16. Donations, clothes. Many people go through their closet once a year and take old clothes out to be donated. Plastic shopping bags are just the right size for this, and they have convenient handles.

17. Donations, kids’ toys. Stuffed animals, small games, dolls, action figures, or kids’ books all fit well into a plastic bag.

18. Garden Helper. When you are repotting a plant, putting a bag down under the pot contains any dirt spillage and makes clean up easy. Also, plant cutting or shoots can be wrapped in a damp paper towel and then set in a plastic bag for easy transport to a new home.

19. Mixing bag. If you like to mix your own potting soil, put your components in a bag, hold shut and shake to mix. If you don’t need it all right then, you have a convenient storage bag for next time.

20. Plastic bags can be ironed together to make a thicker plastic sheet that can then be turned into wallets, or totes, or whatever your imagination and sewing skills can envision. HERE is a link for directions.

21. Packaging material. When I ship breakable gifts to friends, I use the bags to wrap the item and to fill the box. The gift is cushioned and now my friend has packaging material she can reuse.

22. Scarecrow accessory. If you have a garden, hanging some plastic bags on a line or posts scares birds away from your produce. Hang a few aluminum pie pans to and the flapping, rattling, shiny cacophony scares off all but the most determined feathered thief.

23. Shoe Booties. If you don’t have to little plastic covers for your shoes, you can use plastic bags tied up and over your shoes.

24. Craft Projects. Lay a bag flat as a place to mix paint for painting projects, clay for sculpting projects, or just a table cover for marker coloring.

25. Moving. Plastic bags are great to pack small items. More can be used as cushioning material for breakable items. In almost any case where you would use newspaper, you can use plastic bags for packaging material. Also, if you are packing items for long term storage, plastic will not rot or be feasted on by bugs as newspaper would.

26. Shopping bags. You can take the bags you already have to the store. Most bags can be used over and over. If you are embarrassed to use a Wal-mart bag in Target, just turn the bag inside out.

I hope this list gives you a place to start reusing your plastic shopping bags. Now, the best thing to do is to use these bags up and to limit how many new ones come into your life. Take your own bags when you shop so that eventually, you have a bag free home. What’s your favorite reuse of these shopping bags?


Reusable Drinking Straws

August 26, 2008

I still use plastic drinking straws.  Sigh, I know, these are a one use item, unless you wash them which I usually do.  Still, they don’t last forever and then they are just more plastic, sitting in a landfill, forever. I am finishing up a bag of straws that I bought several years ago.  When they are finally gone, I will buy reusable, compostable or recyclable straws.

Green Home offers a beautiful set of glass drinking straws, complete with a brush sized just right for cleaning them.  I think these would be perfect for my smoothies, that I love to sip on throughout the morning.  These are my favorite of all possible options.

Green Home also offers compostable straws made from corn.  These are offered in boxes of 4000 straws which is WAY more than I need. I would love to see these at restaurants.

Bamboo is another reusable, washable alternative.  Bamboo will last much longer than plastic, although not as long as the glass.  When they are finally worn out, they are completely compostable. I like these because you can get a set of 12 for a very reasonable price.  I think these would be awesome for my next friendly get-together.

If you are in the market for a better drinking straw, I think you couldn’t go wrong with any of these options.


Replace my cotton balls

August 12, 2008

So, Erin over at Going Green offered to send out little squares of cloth to use as replacements for cotton balls.  I use a few cotton balls a week, so I was happy to take her up on the generous offer.  They came in the mail yesterday and they are so cool!

Each one is about two inches square although they are a little more rectangular than square.  They are stitched all around so they won’t fall apart.  I emailed her to ask if they need to be in a mesh bag when I wash them, and she said just tossing them in with the regular wash load should work fine. Cool!

(Sorry no pictures, camera is broken.  Hope to have a working one soon.)

Cotton is versatile plant and there are arguments on both sides about the value of growing it.  What I am concerned about is simply to reduce to amount of what I throw away.  If I can replace a one use item with something I can get tens or hundreds of uses out of, then to me, that is the better option.  Plus, not buying another bag of cotton balls means one less plastic bag coming into my life.  It is a win on two fronts.


Reusable Water Bottles

July 31, 2008

Currently, I am reusing a glass bottle for my work water bottle.  It sits on my desk and I refill it from the water fountain as needed.  For those concerned about germs, yes I wash it at night when I leave, and it is ready to go the next day. I like this bottle because it holds 17.5 fl oz, and it has a metal cap.  The label is paper.  There is no plastic connected to this bottle and that makes me happy.

In September, I will be going back out on the road with my job.  We travel all over the state from September to May.  My dilemma is that I do not want to carry a glass bottle.  I could carry one of the plastic bottles I have washed out to reuse, but I want a better solution.

Two options I have found are the Kleen Kanteen and the Ecowaterbottle.   Both are stainless steel bottles.  They will not leach toxins into my water, they are reusable, recyclable, and won’t shatter if I drop them onto concrete.  The Kleen Kanteen comes with a plastic cap, but you do have three choices of what shape cap you want.  There are also several size options.  The Ecowaterbottle also has a plastic cap, but only in one shape, and one size bottle.  Both companies are in California, so neither has an advantage in shipping miles.

The prices are close so either seems a reasonable choice.  One reason I am leaning toward Ecowaterbottle is they are a sponsor of JUNK, a ship sailing from California to Hawaii to raise awareness of the plastic problem in the oceans.  I am still debating and as long as I order one some time in August, I am sure I will have a nice durable bottle for traveling starting in September.

Do you reuse your water bottle?  Have you bought, or would you buy a stainless steel water bottle?