Archive for the ‘recycle’ Category

Free Pretty Flower Pots

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

If you’ve ever bought any plants for you yard then you probably have a few of these not so attractive black pots stored somewhere in your home.  (You may also have an adorable, although very loud, stubborn and moody toddler, if you do, this post will not help you with that.)

But, if you’re like me, then you have dozens of them (the pots, not toddlers) floating around your garage, shed, basement and attic just waiting to be used because they’re pots and they must be useful for something.  Right?  So you keep them, indefinitely, and you accept more of them from friends and family, who know you like plants, because they can’t bear to throw them out either, but unlike you and me, they don’t want them cluttering up their house. 

Meanwhile you go out and buy similar pots because they’re prettier colors.

Enter the always useful can of spray paint.  You have your choice of any color, and one $4 can will cover a dozen or more pots depending on their size. 

We’ve previously done pink and blue pots for the twins to each have their own flowers, but this year I went bland and got a terra cotta color to match my other pots.

Oh, and one last thought, as far as paint durablity goes, we’ve found that most of our pots look nice for about 3 years before we have to repaint them.

Handy Items from Recyclables

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

With spring upon us, I find myself using lots of recycled things lately.  So much so that Makenna has even said, ‘Wow mom you can use lots of recycled stuff….I’m going to start saving everything.”   Really, she said that.  Which is good for the earth, but not so good for her bedroom which will end up crammed with used containers in every inch of extra space….kinda like my garage.

So anyway, thanks to Makenna, I thought I would share some of my favorite recyclable uses in case it’s something you could use too.

My favorite is the scoop.  We use it for birdseed, the sandbox and scooping soil when planting seeds.  

We sometimes make them out of 2 liter soda bottles but ones made from heavier plastic, like from juice bottles are sturdier and work better for our purposes.  

Milk Cartons cut in half the long way make great shallow planting boxes for seeds.  Just cut in half then tape or staple the angled edge flat and punch holes in the bottom using a scissor or nail and fill with soil.

Milk jugs but into strips make great waterproof seedling markers.   Just make sure to round the edges so you don’t have sharp points, and then write using a permanent marker.








Water bottles with holes punched in the top are great to use as a sprinkling bottle for plants like tender seedlings.

What are some great practical recycled items you use often?

Recycle it . Bird Feeder.

Monday, March 8th, 2010

We were excited when Jarod made this cool bird feeder at cub scouts last night because we’ve really enjoyed feeding our wild bird friends this year, and the birds seem to really enjoy the simple Milk Jug Birdfeeder that Makenna made them last fall. 

He used an

*Empty Pringles can with lid

2 sturdy ‘plastic ware’ plates

Piece of string

Two screws and a washer

Cut four holes at the bottom edge of the can for the feed to go through. 

Next, punch a hole (that is barely large enough for the screw to go through) in the lid, and bottom of the can, and through the center of each plate.

Punch two holes off center on the plate and two holes an inch from the top of the can for the string to go through.

Screw a plate onto the bottom of the can with the washer on the base,  and then screw the plate and lid together.

Put the string through the other two holes.

(this picture shows the inside of your feeder and where the string is attached to the can.)

Attach the lid to your feeder!

To fill the feeder simple pop the lid off and pour in the feed.

*next time we make one we will use a similar size plastic container for more durability in the wet, since a pringles can is cardboard we figure eventually the rain will ruin it.

Springtime Vase

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

The house needed some ’spring-i-ness’ and the kids needed a project and this is what we ended up with for our home.

We’re previously made fabric covered yogurt cup vases, which I love, but I was looking for something a little quicker and less messy for this morning.

They spraypainted some yogurt cups.

Then broke out the beloved acrylic paints and brushes.

The greens are compliments of a euonymous bush that has been very happy inside on our fireplace all winter.  (Little does it know that in the spring it will be planted outside and most likely end up being deer food, like every other bush in our yard.)

We tried a small ribbon grouping the vases together…but I didn’t care for that.

So we went with a bigger ribbon, which is nice if your kids designs aren’t exactly what you envisioned for on the vases.  (i.e. you can hide the paint job.)

But we decided we would use them all seperately to brighten up different areas in the house.

See, they even make my bathroom sink look more ’springy’…if only cleaner too.

Hot Wheels Garage from Recyclables

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

If you have any of these….

Then you probably have too many of these…..   scattered all over your house.

So we took some toilet paper roll tubes and a juice carton and made a garage.

It only fits 8 cars, but they’re fun to make, and this way he can keep a ‘garage’ or two in a few different rooms to play with at will.

Some basic instructions.

We cut folded the end down on a juice carton and taped it with duct tape. 

Next we cut a long front side leaving it attached at the long top side to make a garage door that folded upward.

We cut the toilet paper tubes so they would fit in the carton without the ends sticking out.

We used a hot glue gun to glue the tubes in the garage.

Next we spraypainted the whole thing silver.

He made a ‘Jarod’s Garage’ sign for on the front of the door. (which refused to have it’s picture taken….I discovered that white on shiny silver doesn’t photograph well).

Insert cars.

The end.

Oh, and Make more garages to fit all the other cars.

Recycled Tin Punch Ornaments

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Ever since Jarod made this neat Tin Punched Car at church last month I’ve been working on ideas for making some punched things for Christmas.

Frozen orange juice lids (the cross design), those round metal ends that come off the package of crescent rolls (the star design), and canning lids (the snowman) made for some fun ornaments of different sizes.   And for kids, they all have smooth edges that won’t cut fingers.  

We started by drawing a design on the lid in pencil and then we tapped a nail 2 to 3 imes for each hole, along the drawing.

After the design was punched we spray paint the lids in gold or silver and then added embellishments with a glue gun, color with permanent markers and acrylic paint and on some we had to add glitter, of course.

The kids loved making these, and are already working on more designs for our tree.   As soon as our tree is up (I have two weeks yet), I’m sure they’ll look beautiful hanging with lights glittering through the holes. 

Christmas Cards using Recycled Fabric

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

I’m so excited.  We got our Christmas cards done early this year.

They’re not mailed yet, so there’s still no guarantee that I’ll get them out early, but I figure I at least have a good shot at them arriving at people’s home before New Years this year. 

For these cards we decided to raid the fabric scrap bag.  You’ll notice we used all types of fabric, not just Christmas themes.  There’s some from dresses I made the girls, as well as fabric from an old shirt that added a little variety.

This was a simple card that all three kids could help to make.

The twins cut the fabric triangles and Alexandra (who is two) was able to help mod podge the ‘trees’ on the card.  Then we used fabric paints to outline the trees and for the stars.

We picked a bible passage for the saying inside and printed it out on some name badge labels I had laying around (8 per sheet), and the kids stuck them inside the cards.

If you’d like to see last years stained glass church cards made from recycled crayon the post is here.

Fabric Yo Yo Pins and Hair Ties

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Fabric yo yos!  I had forgotten about these things for ages then rediscovered them a few years ago as a fun way for the twins to learn hand sewing.

When Alexandra, the princess (for Halloween) needed a brooche to keep her cape on for her costume yo yo’s and pin backs (found deep in the recesses of my craft supplies and never used) were a perfect fit.

 And now I’m seeing yo yos in a whole new light….Christmas gifts!

Put two together (one larger, one smaller), and they make a pretty flower.  Add a button or a bead or a fabric covered button in the center to make each unique.

Then glue them to a pin back or barette, or stitch them onto a hair tie for a beautiful hair decoration.

Cut a circle from your fabric.  Remember the finished yo yo will be a little less than half the size of your circle.  So if you cut out a circle that is 6 inches across, your yo yo will be about 2 and 3/4 inches across.

Working with the right side of the fabric down, fold over the edge of the fabric about a 1/4 inch and do a running stitch with needle and thread.  Be sure to have a knot in the end of your thread then go Up through the folded edge and then back down through the folded edge and continue.  The closer together the stitches are the more ‘ruffled’ your yo yo will look.

When you’ve stitched completely around your circle pull the needle end of the string tight to bunch up your fabric to the center.

Once your fabric is completely bunched to the center do a few more stitches up and down through the folds in the center so it stays in its shape.

Stitch through and tie off the thread on the underside of the yo yo.

For a double yo yo flower make a smaller size yo yo and then place it on top of the larger one and stitch them together through the center.

To apply them to a pin or barrette I took the easy way out and hot glued them on.  And for a hair tie I stitched them on.

Christmas Packaging from Upcycled Pasta Boxes

Friday, November 27th, 2009

As I sit here thinking that it’s early for me to start our Christmas packaging, but in the dark recesses of my mind, I also know that every year I think it’s early and then all of a sudden it’s a day or two before Christmas and I’m in frantic mode .  

So we started our Christmas boxes this week, and since we give lots of food we thought these boxes would be perfect.  There’s a little window to show through the mixed nuts or candies or cookies that are tucked inside in a sealed plastic bag.

Trying to be green (and frugal) we used all recycled stuff. 

Pasta Boxes (ours had the window on the bottom but many have the window at the top or middle which I think would be cuter)

Old Wrapping Paper, Construction Paper, Tissue Paper, and Magazine Pages in the color that we needed.  Some ribbon and Mod Podge.

Oh… And a stapler to attach the ribbon handle at the top sides.

For bigger recycled gift boxes ideas check out this post.

The opposite of recycling. Excessive Newspaper Ads.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

This was this morning’s newspaper (that thin thing on the left).  The pack of 24 store advertisement is on the right.

For all the talk of going green and conserving you would think that having a pack of ads that is three times thicker than the actual newspaper seems a bit, well, not green.

How much paper and energy is wasted to print 24 seperate store ads (3 of them being 1/4 inch thick magazines).  And half of them just had a seperate ad in the Sunday paper just two days ago. 

I’m done venting.  Now I guess I need to go do a few newspaper crafts.