Posts Tagged ‘recycle’

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.

Paper Mosaics

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

What do you do when you have lots of scraps of construction paper left over from a valentine project?

You recycle them by making mosaics….and a mess of lots of little tiny bits of paper.  Of course.

But the kids have fun.   And if you’re a neater person than I, you can put the different colors of cut up paper pieces each in their own little container so they don’t make such a big mess.

You’ll need, construction paper, a pencil, glue sticks and scissors.

First have the kids draw a simple drawing of a single item (like a heart), or a design (like a tree with clouds in the sky) on a piece of construction paper.  

Next they cut the scrap paper in small pieces (this was my two year old’s favorite part.)

Now apply glue on a small part of the design and apply the small paper pieces within the lines.   Kinda like coloring with paper instead of crayons. 

The only rule is the pieces shouldn’t overlap and should be spaced somewhat evenly apart.

Continue applying glue and paper until the picture is done.

Now get out the vacumn.

Next plan.  Since the kids had so much fun making these, I’m thinking of getting a big piece of posterboard and letting the kids draw a neat design to mosaic.  Then in their free (”mommy what can we doooooo?”) time, they can get out their giant mosaic and work on it little by little.  It might take a whole month or so to finish and then we’d have a really neat piece of big art to hang in the kids play area.

Dollhouse Redo

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

I’m still here.

Admist wrapping paper, paint and fabric and with quite a list of gifts to finish yet today and tomorrow.

But at least I got my favorite gift for Makenna finished.

This dollhouse was mine, and I suppose I’m dating myself, because I bet you can tell it’s from the seventies.  You have to love those rug swatches.

I decided to paint the whole thing pale pink with a tan roof because, well, everything should be pink as far as Makenna is concerned.  And its so much more girly than the charcoal gray and barn red roof that it had when I was little.

The inside is the same color because I decided that rather than me do the decorating,  Makenna can choose the colors and fabric and decorate the whole inside herself.  She loves doing that kind of thing.

This is the furniture for it….a bit of it may have to be redone too.

I’m so excited to give this to her.   I can’t wait to see what she does with the place.  I’ll post photos when she’s done.

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.

Punched Tin Art

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Jarod made this great nail punched art at his church club last night.

I just love it!

And it’s not hard to do and it doesn’t take too much time. 

Now I do realize the metal can be sharp for the kids to work with, but if I do the cutting out the metal and nailing it on a board then its a a pretty kid friendly craft.   Oh yes, and there’s that whole hammer and nail thing to punch the holes, but with supervision I think I can keep the kids from doing too much damage. 

And I love the idea that we can recycle old metal cans or lid tops or pie pans or metal roof flashing…so many things to work with, so many possibilities!

Can you say Christmas gifts anyone!

 Here’s a few links I could find on the subject.  When we get around to making some of our own in the next week or two I’ll post a tutorial.

Punched Tin Lanterns.

Pie Tin Punched Art.

Snowman from Upcycled Baby Food Jars

Monday, November 16th, 2009

The kids love snowmen and this year we’ve made it a challenge to come up with lots of different snowman projects for ourselves.

With way too many saved baby food jars (I just can’t bear to throw away a perfectly good jar that must have a purpose some day) this seemed like a perfect way to start snowmen for the year.

We used three of the medium size baby food jars, although I was thinking that one larger one with just one smaller jar on top would be nice too.  Or even two medium ones. 

Other supplies were paint, glue gun and some felt and buttons.

Step one.  Paint jars and lids white.  (I took the easy way out and spraypainted them since I had white spray paint handy.)

Step two. Glue lids on two jars and leave one lid unglued for the top jar if you would like to put candy or hair ties or some such thing in it.  (The kids always like to put stuff in stuff, so why not a secret snowman hiding spot for little things.)

Step three.  Glue the jars together.  Bottom to lid making sure to put the jar with no lid on top.

Step four.  Paint a face on your top jar and paint or glue buttons on the middle jar.

Step five.  Devise a hat for your snowman.  We went with the traditional top hat and painted the lid black then cut out some felt for the top part of it and glued it on. 

Step 6.  Add felt scarf and any additional accessories.  Perhaps for a snowlady?

Put the lid/hat on top and you’re done.

Milk Jug Birdfeeder

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Cold is coming….well, not right now anyway.  It’s 70 something.  But naturally it was here last weekend for the twins birthday party (40 degrees) so we locked the kids in the basement to play.  Well we didn’t really lock them in the basement although it was tempting.   The quiet was nice.

But anyway, with the cold coming Makenna is concerned for the birds so we made them a birdfeeder.

Your standard recycled milk jug birdfeeder, but it looks cute hanging from the sour cherry tree and the birds seem to like it.  

To make your own.

Clean milk jug.   Cut holes in the two sides opposite the handle (see the big cirlces on the photo) for the birds to stick there little heads in.  Then poke two holes to push a stick or dowel rod through for the birdies to sit on while they’re eating(see the two black dots).   Poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage, but don’t make them too big or the birdseed will fall through.  Leave the lid on and poke two holes at the top and string wire or rope through them to hang your feeder.