Category Archives: Reuse

Easiest DIY to to Upcycle Corks Ever!

The easiest way to reuse a cork is to stick it back in the bottle.  So, technically this would be the second easiest.  You might be able to do it right now.

I was organizing my essential oils when I spotted an accumulated collection of wine corks.  Am I the only who has trouble throwing them away?  If you do too, you might want to try this.  It occurred to me that if I put some cedar wood oil in the cork; I could throw it in my closet and it would work like those little cedar balls that you can buy at the drugstore.  So, I did and it does.

Just put a few drops right in the hole where the corkscrew went.  You can put it anywhere you want really since the cork is porous.  However, it’s a lot less messy if you put it inside.  It occurred to me that I could use whatever scent I wanted.  So, I started adding a few drops of lavender oil as well.  My closet now smells lovely!

There you have it: easiest cork DIY ever.  You’re welcome!  Tell your friends!

Many blessings,

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Naturally Crafty: DIY Father’s Day Card

Did you know that greeting cards were handmade up until the middle of the nineteenth century?  That was when advances in printing made it possible to reproduce a design relatively cheaply.

I can’t help but think sometimes that technology and the ability to mass-produce cheaply has turned many of us into mass consumers rather than creators.  Well, I say “NO” this year to a cheap, mass-produced Father’s Day card and “hello” to creating my own handmade greeting.  I also decided to make it mostly from materials destined for the bin.

When we get book inserts at work, they come wrapped in shrink wrap on these cardboard pieces to keep them from getting damaged in shipping.  Since my office building doesn’t recycle, I have been trying to find ways to reuse them.  Usually, I stick them in large envelopes to keep documents from getting bent in the mail but I have found they are also great for craft projects like making cards and journals.

Father's Day Card Materials smaller

All of the materials used in this card, except for the gold ribbon, the lettering, the white inner paper, the gold washi tape and the Velcro dot on the inner envelope, were saved from getting dumped in the bin at work.  (If you need orange envelopes…call me.)

Father's Day Card Front

The white heart was punched from a name tent from a past class.  The circle behind it is punched from a Thank you card someone was kind enough to give me.

Father's Day Card Inside

While it may not be perfect in the way that a commercial card is, making your own gives you an excellent opportunity to add fun embellishments or personalize your greeting to the recipient.

Lucy Envelope

I added this envelope in the back, so I could include a letter from my parents’ dog, Lucy.  (They receive correspondence from Lucy whenever they go on long trips.  Perhaps, not surprisingly, this began when I found myself with an over-abundance of orange paper and envelopes.)

Tell me, do you ever make your own cards?  Is it something you would consider?

Wishing all you fathers (of humans and furry kids) a very happy Father’s Day!

Many Blessings,

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

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Repair or Replace: Are You a Lamp-Saver?

What do you do when something breaks in your home? Fix it, forget it or replace it?

Recently, I was in my parents’ garage when I spied their bedside table lamp languishing in a corner. I remembered about a year or so ago that it stopped working. My father said he would fix it. Somehow, it migrated from the bedroom to the basement and eventually ended up in the garage a.k.a. “The land of forgotten best intentions.”

I picked up the glass shaded touch lamp and wondered how it would fair out in the outdoor storage area for long. Other than a coat of dust and a slightly bent finial, it seemed fine. It seemed too nice to eke out the rest of its existence, forgotten in the garage. I remembered Mom saying she liked it better than the replacement they picked up. I had no idea what was wrong with it or how to fix it but I seem to have a knack for figuring things out (My superhero name would probably be The Researcher. Sexy, no?)

A few quick google searches revealed that the little lamp was probably ailing from a dimmer switch that went bad. Apparently power surges are the main nemesis of touch lamps. The part was about $8 at Home Depot. (I wonder how much the new lamp was.) I picked it up and attempted to install it myself but was thwarted by the plastic caps on the end of the wires. Little suckers wouldn’t come off! So, I turned the project over to Dad and within an hour he restored it to working order.

The whole thing got me thinking about how people seem to have stopped repairing things like that. It’s just so easy to go out and pick up a new one, relatively cheaply. I wonder how many of us really even think twice about fixing anything that originally cost under a $100. We then start accumulating all of these broken items in garages, sheds and basements because we feel guilty, knowing they can be fixed and should be, but it just doesn’t happen. Eventually, we run out of room and these items either get moved to a storage facility or thrown out. If they get thrown out, they sit in landfills, taking many, many years to decompose or are incinerated, releasing toxins into the environment.

We don’t like to think about our waste or what it is doing to the planet. I get it. I am busy too. Sometimes, it seems like if I have to stop and consider the implications of everything I throw away, my head might explode. I forgot to bring a fork to work with my lunch the other day and ended up using a plastic one. It happens. I wasn’t about to eat chili mac with my hands. However… maybe when something like a lamp or something similar breaks, knowing it’s not a big, expensive repair, it’s worth considering the time and effort to save it. When you do, you are saving money, space, the environment and possibly giving a repairman much needed work if the job is outside your abilities. That’s a pretty great return on investment!

Are you a Lamp-Saver? I would love to hear about your home repair triumphs. Please share them in the comments section.

Many Blessings,

Cynthia

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

justdragonfly

 

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.

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

justdragonfly