Monday, March 26, 2012

Recycling Bin Raid: Easter Crafts

Pinterest is hopping with Easter crafting ideas.  Many involve plastic eggs, styrofoam eggs and unnatural dyes.  You know how I feel about all the junk people buy each year for holidays, throw away when it's over and then buy again the next year from my Be Green This Easter post last year.  Avoid all of this unnecessary expense and waste, raid your recycling bin and create green gifts, decorations and fun!



I love these Easter egg carton chicks by Jeromina Juan at paper, plate, and plane.  They are so cute and very simple to make.



Another use for egg cartons is this colorful wreath from Homemade Serenity.  This could stay out well past Easter and enjoyed the rest of spring.




Garlands (or bunting) are especially popular these days.  This Upcycled Easter Egg Bunting from Anne Weil at flax & twine is made from recycled cereal boxes, fabric and trim scraps and a sewing machine.  What a lovely alternative to the plastic egg garlands I've seen lately.



Let's not forget my Repurposed Milk Jug Easter Baskets tutorial from last year!



Since I mentioned unnatural dyes in my rant above I thought I should include information about using natural dyes.  Two Men and a Little Farm has a great chart with the ingredients needed to make eleven different natural dyes for eggs.  I cannot wait to try some of these colors!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Week 5 - 40 Bags in 40 Days

We will have company on Sunday so I have a little extra motivation to clean up and get rid of stuff!  It's just the kick in the butt I needed too!

I haven't worked outside the home in about three and a half years yet I still have plenty of office clothes.  Each time we move I get rid of a few items but always keep most just in case.  Some are outdated and others don't fit after having two kids....time to donate them.  I managed to fill a bag and start another for my husband to complete (hint, hint).



I finally attacked my craft space (a teeny, tiny space behind the couch) and started to organize.  It still needs lots of work but I managed to throw out and/or recycle random crap I tend to hoard.....like cardboard.  Some of this will be stored in the garage (fun project coming soon!) but most will be recycled.



We brought this bag full of empty soda and beer cans back from our trip to Missouri.  My kind family saves cans for me to make ornaments (we can't drink all those beverages alone!).  The bag still had a little room so I added some of our cans and put it on a shelf in the garage until I am ready to make ornaments again.


Here is some of the random paper, receipts and other paper clutter I collected from my craft area as well as the kitchen counter, dining room table and entry table.  We have a serious paper problem.



This shelf has been leaning against the wall in our dining room since we moved here over a year ago.  I couldn't figure out where to hang it without the walls looking cluttered so it just chilled on the floor collecting dust.  Once Alice is crawling (anytime soon!) I know it will be a hazard.  It will soon be listed on craigslist and out of the dining room.



These toy boxes have been sitting in the laundry room since Christmas along with  last week's empty boxes and detergent bottle.  I usually try to keep at least the instructions that come with toys for resale purposes and just toss the boxes.  However, these Melissa & Doug boxes are either wooden (like the toys inside) or super sturdy cardboard and I would really like to keep them.  I decided to find room in Lucy's closet to store them until the girls outgrow their play kitchen.  At least they are now out of sight!



The grand total for week 5 is:
1 bag of clothes
1 bag of cans
2 bags of paper
1 pile of cardboard
4 toy boxes
1 shelf

Friday, March 16, 2012

Weeks 3 & 4 - 40 Bags in 40 Days

Sorry I missed week 3!  We drove to Missouri and I am still trying to catch up.  My 9 month old has made week 4 a challenge too.  I am dealing with mastitis (second time this year!), she is teething, grouchy, not sleeping well and refusing to nurse.  Luckily last night and this morning she nursed and seems a little happier.

I did not get a chance to attack the computer desk and file cabinet I mentioned in week 2 but I did shred all the paper next to the shredder.  Can you believe one sack of paper turns into 2 trash bags once shredded?



The infant swing is ready to go to the Three Bags Full consignment sale next week.  I am so excited to get the frame out of the garage and the seat out of our crowded living room.



I have a stash of plastic grocery bags that I have been saving for random craft projects like my Valentine's Day Wreath.  I'm tired of them taking up room in the pantry and garage so we stuffed them into the recycling bin at Meijer yesterday.  Now I just have to remember to grab my reusable shopping bags when I shop!



This one is a little embarrassing......I still haven't put away the wrapping paper, ribbons or bags we saved after Christmas.  They have been sitting across from the coat closet entirely too long.  Now they are in the storage tub in the garage and out of sight!



In December I purchased one of those plastic tubs with the dividers for Christmas ornaments.  I organized all my ornaments and tucked the tub on a shelf in the garage but left all the empty boxes on the floor near the washer & dryer along with an empty detergent bottle (saved to store homemade detergent that I have yet to make).  They are gone now!



I have been going through tubs of baby and little girl clothes for the past several weeks getting ready for a consignment sale.  I need more hangers and to print tags but I have everything gathered.  Getting rid of the clothes the girls have outgrown will make a huge difference in Lucy's closet not to mention earn a little money.




The grand total for weeks 3 & 4 is:
2 bags of shredded paper
4 bags of plastic grocery bags
1 bag of Christmas wrapping supplies
3 empty ornament boxes + 1 detergent jug
1 infant swing
at least 2 bags (maybe 3!) of outgrown baby & girl clothes

I still hope to attack the computer desk and filing cabinet.....stay tuned!



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Borax Crystal St. Patrick's Day Decorations


Once again, I found my inspiration via Pinterest!  The minute I saw the Shamrock Crystals tutorial from Housing a Forest I knew we had to try making our own Borax crystal ornaments.

You need:
-pipe cleaners
-containers (I used glass jars, drinking glasses and plastic food storage containers)
-Borax
-boiling water
-string or wire
-pencils or wooden spoons

I made shamrocks, four leaf clovers and rainbows from the pipe cleaners.  I used white pipe cleaners on the ends of the rainbows to hold all the colors together.  I wrapped them around and cut the ends off to make them look like clouds.





Tie one end of the string to the pipe cleaner shapes, the other end onto pencils and wooden spoons and rest the pencils on the edges of containers.  Make sure the pipe cleaners have plenty of room and do not touch the sides or bottom of the container.



I found that larger containers can easily accommodate more than one ornament.  Just make sure they do not touch each other, the sides or bottom of the container (they might stick together).



Add 1/2 cup Borax for every 3 cups of boiling water.  Stir until water is clear and carefully pour into the containers.




The first time we made these we let them sit for 24 hours and the second time just overnight.  The extra 10 hours did not result in more or bigger crystals and batches look the same.  Crystals grow on the bottom and up the sides of the container but easily rinse out with hot water.




Carefully cut the strings off, let dry and enjoy!















Friday, March 2, 2012

Week 2 - 40 Bags in 40 Days

Week 2 of 40 Bags in 40 Days is almost behind us.  This week wasn't as easy as week 1 since it was a full week and I'll admit I barely came up with enough.....I'm a procrastinator.  While gathering my stuff this morning I found several areas to focus on next week that will hopefully fill several bags.

This week I tackled our master bedroom.  I got rid of two boxes and most of their contents leaving me with a box of trash and a bag of paper to recycle (paper is our kryptonite).



We do not need three televisions in this house so I got the hubby to agree to giving the smallest one to Goodwill. 



Here is a pile of maternity clothes ready for hangers and tags.  They will be sold in a spring consignment sale later this month. This is at least one bag of stuff.



Even though we have a fireplace we never use it and the tools collect dust on the hearth and make me nervous with little kids so they will go to Goodwill too.



In the past we have used this corner shelf to store candles and display plants and picture frames.  Lucy took it over about a year ago and puts her stuffed animals in the bottom (we do not use candles anymore).  Also, it no longer goes with the rest of our stuff so it will be listed on craigslist soon.



Finally, I filled the bag I started last week for Goodwill along with a foot bath and the bag of paper from the master bedroom.



The grand total for week 2 is:
1 box of trash
1 bag + 1 TV, foot bath and fireplace tools for Goodwill
1 bag of paper to be recycled
1 bag of maternity clothes for consignment sale
1 corner shelf/cabinet for craigslist

Next week I plan to tackle our computer desk and filing cabinet.  The desk is covered in paper and houses desktop we don't even use anymore and the filing cabinet is unorganized and full of junk.  My goal is to get rid of both along with most of the papers (including the bag of paper that needs to be shredded...conveniently next to the shredder).




 See ya next week!




A Sad Week

The past week hasn't been easy. Much of the weekend was spent talking on the phone with family and mourning the loss of my Papa.  I also spent a little extra time cuddling and playing with my girls (nothing dries tears like a chubby baby hug or a silly toddler expression!) and telling funny Papa stories with my husband.  I even framed this old picture of him my sister gave me a few years ago.  It was long overdue and having it displayed seems to be helping Lucy understand what has happened (if it's possible for a 3 year old to comprehend a death in the family).

I like to think that I got some of my craftiness from Papa.  When I was little he and my Dad restored old cars, built houses, decks, docks and even a pontoon boat.   He always had a project in progress whether it was remote controlled airplanes, fun cars for the kids or a train village in the basement for his great grandkids.  He always had fun.  Rest in peace, Papa.