Category Archives: Naturally Creative

Naturally Resourceful: The Second R, Reuse

I just finished this container of stevia:

Empty Stevia container

The easiest thing to do would be to toss it in the garbage. The second easiest thing to do would be to put it outside in the recycling bin. Everyone knows the phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reducing is a challenge for many of us Americans. We like stuff and having a lot of it!  Recycling,  we have gotten much better at. Reusing… I’m not sure most of us think about that one on a regular basis.

We don’t have a culture that supports fixing or reusing things. Everything is made so cheaply now that we don’t even think twice about running out and picking up whatever we need. You would be hard-pressed to find a convenient fix-it shop to take your broken electronics device to these days. Even if you could, buying a brand new one would probably cost little more than the repair. The same goes with storage containers. We don’t need to hold onto to bottles, coffee cans or jars these days because you can just bop over to the container store and get something cuter… or the dollar store if you are more thrifty.

I get it too! I really do. Who wants a bunch of empty bottles and jars hanging around? It can create clutter, especially if you have a small place. Stores already have staked a premium on our storage spaces by offering Buy One Get One deals (or buy 10 for $5!) We have a hard enough time storing containers with the contents still in them.

I have been trying to cultivate a more mindful practice of figuring out how I can reuse these containers before I use up the contents. The nice thing about this stevia container is that it already had a food product in it. So, I can reuse it for food again. (Since it is plastic, I would avoid using it for salad dressing or any other acid-based sauce that may cause leaching.) It’s also a great size. It’s small enough to fit in my lunch bag. It has a nice tight-fitting lid. So, there are no worries about anything falling out of it.

Here are some more items I can store in it:

  • Small craft supplies.
  • Contents from a larger container like a huge box of baking soda or bag of sugar.
  • Dried herbs from a garden.
  • Sewing tools like pins and safety pins.
  • Hair accessories like bobby pins or small barrettes.
  • DIY beauty treatments like bath salts, facial scrubs and scented oil.
  • Hardware supplies like nails, tacks and fasteners.
  • Office supplies like paper clips.
  • And more!

Do you reuse containers? Please share any unique tips you have. I would love to hear from you

Many blessings,

 

Cynthia.

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justdragonfly

Naturally Inspirational: Some of My Favorite YouTubers

It’s been a long day.  My neck has been acting up lately. (Teaser: I will be giving up some more arthritis coping tips in another blog post!)  So, I am going to keep this one short and sweet in the interest of not keeping my neck in an unnatural position, staring at the computer.  (The fact that I am currently sitting cross-legged on my bed and eating dinner as I type is besides the point…Good thing my chiropractor isn’t reading this!)  Let’s watch a little YouTube, shall we?

I want to share some other natural living bloggers with you, who also happen to be Vloggers.  I find the following YouTube Channels full of good info. on natural and healthy living.  I hope you do as well:

Sprout and Blossom

Sprout and Blossom is dedicated to to simple living.  Mary Harris is a college professor from New Jersey who is chuck full of tips on green living and holistic health.  Her channel definitely has a minimalist slant but she doesn’t take it to an unimaginable extreme.  Unfortunately, her “How To Zen Your Morning” video no longer appears to be available but she shares a lot of wonderful info. in her other videos

Ashley’s Green Life

Ashley’s Green Life is just as her title describes.  This busy mom of two, wife and kindergarten teacher shares her life and knowledge of green living with her audience.  She brings you everywhere on shopping trips, into the shower to demonstrate her no-poo hair cleaning method and even to her brother’s wedding to show you can enjoy family events while maintaining an organic, vegan, gluten-free diet.  She even demonstrated (in an appropriate way) how to use a squatty potty.  Ashley inspired me to up my chia seed consumption.  I am very grateful to her for that!

Frugal Green Girl

Are you guys sensing a trend in my viewing habits yet?  Frugal Green Girl is a tad more extreme than the previous two Vloggers I have mentioned thus far.  Oh my goodness is she full of great ideas!  “Green Living” has become quite chic over the last few years.  People end up spending a lot of money to be more Eco-conscious.   Frugal Green Girl proves that isn’t necessary with her amazing DIY solutions and money savers!

YouTips4U

I am going to change it up a little with this channel.  YouTips4U still offers some very interesting natural solutions but they are mixed into a potpourri of beauty tips, body language insights, fashion rules, crafts, exercise videos and even car maintenance advice.  This lady shares everything she knows and it works!  She also does some really lovely spoken word meditation videos.  Who knew a Long Island accent could be so calming?

I have a few more but I think that’s enough for today.  I need to put the laptop away and rest my neck.  I hope you check out and enjoy my selections!  Let me know what you think.

Many blessings,

Cynthia

Please follow me on Twitter.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page.

justdragonfly

Naturally Crafty: Upcycled Cards and Gift Tags

Ever go to the card store and find yourself thinking,”Man, cards are really expensive!?” Ever go to the craft store and find yourself thinking, “Man, paper is really expensive!?” Yes? Excellent! I think you are going to like this upcycled solution.

tissue boxes

I started noticing some really nice designs on tissue boxes after watching a few of Jennibellie’s videos on YouTube.  Definitely, check her channel out for inspiration.  She creates truly beautiful projects and often incorporates pre-used materials into her designs.

I picked up a few punches from Michael’s and began making some creations of my own (which I would have photographed more of if I had known I was going to write this post. )  Punches are a good investment.  They save you time, as well as wear and tear on your scissors… and your hands!

tissue hearts

It’s a lot of fun making your own cards because they can be as simple or complex as you want or have time to make.  You can add hinges made from ribbon or brads.  You can also personalize them to suit your gift recipient by adding their name, embellishments and using their favorite colors.  You’re only limited by your imagination!

Use what you already have whenever you can!

Use what you already have whenever you can!

Once you start doing these types of upcycled projects, you develop an eagle for materials that can be made over like these old name tags from work.  Why not? The card stock is good quality.  They would only end up in the trash.  Why not flip them over and give them a second life?

punched out name

Before you know it, you’ve created a pretty little, thoughtful gift decoration and it cost you practically nothing!  You didn’t have to go to a store.  You got away from electronics for a little while.  You have exercised your creative muscles.  You have made choices that are kinder to Mama Earth.

Heart pearlmonogram pearl

Do you make your own cards and gift tags? Leave me a reply in the comments section and let me know.  I would love to hear from you.

Many blessings to all,

Cynthia

Please follow me on Twitter.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page.

justdragonfly

 

Natural Lady: DIY Make-up Remover and Reusable Rounds

It took me a very long time to find an eye make-up remover that I liked.  A lot of them would sting my eyes or leave my skin chafed.  I found I really like the make-up remover wipes from Trader Joe’s but they were quite pricey. There were only 20 in a pack, requiring me to buy 2 a month.  All that plastic packaging and disposable material made me feel a little guilty.  So, I decided to try to make my own.

I culled through dozens of Do-it-yourself recipes on the internet.  They were wildly disparate and contradictory at times but three ingredients kept coming up over and over: witch hazel, water and some kind of oil.  Of course, I could find little consensus on how much to pour of each in order to make a bottle.  So, I decided not to use a bottle at all.

reusable rounds

I use a reusable round (mine are made out of bamboo and are really more oblong) and I put a drop of jojoba oil on it, followed by a drop of witch hazel and then I spritz it with rose water.  And voila! It works great and doesn’t sting.

Effectiveness is only one benefit.  There are others. I like keeping all these ingredients separate because I use them all separately as well.  By combining them as needed, on the spot, I am less likely to run out of anything and not have it available to use for another purpose.  Oh my goodness, the money you save!  I used to spend between around $10 a month on those wipes.  I have had that bottle of witch hazel for years.  Jojoba lasts a really long time too because you need to use so little of it.  The rose water I go through fairly quickly but that’s only because I like to spray all over my body from head to toe.

Do you think you will give it a try?  Do you have your own formula?  Leave me a reply in the comments section.

Many blessings,

Cynthia

Please follow me on Twitter.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page.

justdragonfly

 

Naturally Eco-conscious: Upcycle that box!

May I ask you a personal question?  When you empty a box like this:

Finish Box

 

What do you do with it?  Do you throw it away?  Do you recycle it?  Would you like to know what I’m going to do with this one?  I am going to upcyle it into a mailer.  It’s so easy!

1. I open the bottom up:

open bottom

2. Then I gently open this inside seam:

inside seam

3. Then I am left with:

open flat

4.  Now, I flip it around and re-join the seam:

brighter join edges

 

5. Tape the seam closed with packing tape.  (Make sure you press it into the tape really thoroughly.)

Secure Edge with tape

 

6. Tuck in the bottom flaps and tape those with packing tape as well.

Finished Box

 

Voila!  A cute little, free mailer box is born.  I wasn’t ready to put the item in yet.  So, I just used the orginal tab closure on the box.  Of course, when It is ready to go, I will tape the top down as well.  You can write your adress right on the box with a permanent marker or use a label.  I saved money and re-used something that may have just gotten tossed.

Do you upcycle the packages that your household items come in?  Do you think you might try it?  Please leave me a reply in the comments section.  I would love to hear from you.

Many blessings to all,

 

Cynthia

Please follow me on Twitter.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page.

justdragonfly

 

Naturally Resourceful: Getting Scrappy with Vegetables!

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows I’m a vegetarian. When you eat a lot of fresh vegetables, you end up with a lot of vegetable scraps. What do you do with them? Throwing them out seems so wasteful! I have put together a few suggestions to see if maybe I can help you see those scraps in a new light.

  1. Eat them

Stems and stalks may not be the sexiest parts of the plants but they are still loaded with all the good nutrition and fiber you find in the prettier areas. Stems can be tough but if you dice them up and toss them in a soup, stew or stir-fry, they will become tender and delish.

  1. Feed them to your pooch

Chauncy and Lucy regularly eat vegetables as I mentioned in my post, Natural Pets: Eat Your Veggies Fido! They love broccoli stalks, cut up to roughly the same size as their store-bought treats. Lucy goes wild over crunchy lettuce ends. They are also both huge fans of kale stems, raw or cooked. I will dice up kale or Swiss chard stems, steam them and mix them in with their dog food. They gobble it right down.

Chauncy and Broccolli Stem

Please be careful when feeding your dog fruit or veggies. Always make sure you give them safe veggies in small, manageable portions. Less is more is definitely more in this case! Never give your dog onions, corn cobs, grapes, nuts, avocados or stone fruits.

Lucy and Broccoli

  1. Make stock or broth

I have to admit…I rarely do this. A lot of people do though. They will reserve their veggie scraps and freeze them until they have enough to cook down into stock. The problem I have with this, besides giving up the freezer space, is not all veggies taste good together. While I love and appreciate kale mightily, it has too strong a flavor to use in stock. Maybe one day when I have my dream garden, (and don’t have a three hour commute) I can devote my time to separating scrap for stock.

  1. Compost it

Composting is a wonderful way to improve your soil. Vegetables are a beautiful, safe addition to your heap or bin. Again, this is not something that I currently do but would like to. If you are a gardener and have been contemplating whether or not to make your own compost, let this be the push to get you started! Find great information (and laughs) in Jeff Yeager’s wonderful article, Rotten Luv: My Love Affair with Compost.

Final Thought:

If you have to toss them in the trash, go ahead. There are far worse things stuffing up landfills than veg scraps. At least you know that they will fully decompose and not wreak havoc on the environment for centuries to come.

How do you use your veggie scraps? Do you throw them out? Have you tried any of the suggestions mentioned above? Would you? Leave me a reply and let me know.

Many blessings to all,

 

Cynthia

lease follow me on Twitter.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page.

justdragonfly

Naturally Generous: Giving in a Handmade Way to a Worthy Cause

One of the things I’m proudest about, that I started doing while I owned Chickyrhumba, is donating the jewelry I make to worthy causes to be auctioned off at their fundraising events. Although, I no longer sell my jewelry; I do still make it when time allows; and I still donate it as well. One of the places I donate to is Little Shelter in Huntington, NY.

Little Shelter is a wonderful no-kill, non-profit, animal rescue and adoption center. I am donating the Sterling Silver and Rhodonite Necklace and Earrings Set, pictured below, to be auctioned off at Little Shelter’s 7th Annual Masquerade Ball at Watermill Caterers in Smithtown. Please check out Little Shelter’s website, www.littleshelter.com, to learn more about what they do. There are so many ways you can help the animals there through donating time, money, food and other needed pet items.

Rhodonite NecklaceRhodonite Earrings

heart box

heart box in bag

 

My donation to Little Shelter for their Masquerade Ball

Gift box 2

Love and Blessings to All,

 

Cynthia

 

Please follow me on Twitter.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page.

justdragonfly

Naturally Kind: Baby, it’s cold outside!

I was at the supermarket the other day when I spied what looked like a big stack of small flat cages next to another big stack of what looked like Rice Krispies’ treats.  Naturally curious, I investigated.  The “Rice Krispies’ treats” were actually suet,  a block composed of fat, berries and seeds used to feed birds.  The little “cage” was a feeder to hold the suet.

When I noticed that the Audobon Society was distributing the feeders, I instantly thought of my grandmother.  She had a thing for birds. Nana wasn’t a birder per se, she never traversed the great outdoors counting yellow bellied sapsuckers, but she did keep two bird feeders well-stocked.  She kept a pair of binoculars on her tv.  So, whenever her little feathered guests stopped in for a snack, she could check them out in greater detail.

Given how cold the weather has been,  I thought the birds might need a little help.  So, I bought the suet and its’ holder.  It was only a few dollars for both.    I think Nana would approve.

Love and Blessings to All,

Cynthia

 

Please follow me on Twitter.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page.

justdragonfly