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Creative Reuse: Discarded Buttons = Beautiful Bracelets

April 8, 2011 Leave a comment

This one’s for all you button factory workers out there: Courtesy of the INspirational INHABITAT, I give you button bracelets!

Quirky Necklaces Made From Buttons Found on the Factory Floor.

The artist, Mary McCormick, apparently collects discarded buttons from her father’s button factory floor and makes these beautiful bracelets out of them.  Count me as a big fan.  I don’t know when I’ll get my hands on enough buttons to make my own but it certainly serves as inspiration.  Check out her site for more.

Image via Rescate

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Categories: Uncategorized

Creative Re-Creation: Glass Cleaner from Household Materials

February 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Got water, vinegar and alcohol?  Then you’ve got glass cleaner.  That’s according to an eHow piece on making your own.  Cleaners can be one of the more expensive and toxic household items, and any way to reduce both is going to get a serious look from mine.

via Lifehacker: How to Create Homemade, Eco-Friendly Glass Cleaner on the Cheap [Cleaning].

Categories: Uncategorized

Food Scraps = Compost

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

So last week found out how we could turn out food scraps into veggie broth, but the real solution here is composting, or vermicomposting if you like pets. I’ve been vermicomposting for about 3 years now and I will never stop. I have seen the light and will never return to the dark. Ignorance is not bliss! And so forth. Anyway, speaking from personal experience I know the idea of having a bunch of worms around sounds smelly, messy, inconvenient, and just plain gross, but the reality is they’re almost the opposite of those things. Once you get the kinks out there shouldn’t be a smell issue, it takes little time and effort to keep it up, and it’s incredibly rewarding. Just by starting our vermicompost we’ve cut our trash by at least half, not to mention the stink that comes from rotting food waste in your garbage.

So, how do you do it? Well here’s a good guide to starting things off, via The Herb Gardener:

http://theherbgardener.blogspot.com/2008/05/how-to-start-vermicomposting-bin.html

All you need is one or two plastic bins, a drill, some newspaper and, of course, some worms. Keep in mind that they are not the kind of worms you’ll find in your yard but ones you’ll either have to find at a bait shop, pet shop or maybe through your local cooperative extension office (http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/ – a great resource in general, BTW). The latter is how we got our last batch of worms, after having moved to Portland, Maine and passing on our first batch to neighbors.

As for follow-up questions, here’s a good FAQs page from Santa Cruz County:

http://www.compostsantacruzcounty.org/Home_Composting/Worm_Composting/worm_faq.htm

And, as always, feel free to ask any questions in the comments.

Food Scraps = Veggie Broth

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m going to go out on a limb and say food scraps are a huge source of waste in almost every household, whether they’re going down the drain or in the garbage.  Regarding the former, Re-Nest had a post recently where they discussed the value of a garbage disposal after having decided not to install one in their new house.  I for one have always loved my various garbage disposals when I’ve been fortunate(?) enough to have one in my apartment, but I am now starting to realize how much of a crutch it can be. Now this article is starting to make me question whether I should be using it at all.  For one thing it makes composting optional (when the options are limited to throwing out food scraps and potentially stinking up your apartment and composting, composting becomes much more appealing), which really shouldn’t be the case.

What I’m trying to lead into here, as the title suggests, is an article via Wise Bread from Domestik Goddess on making veggie broth from your food scraps. I’ve always wondered what it would take to replace those little cubes and apparently the Goddess has an answer for me.

Re-Nest: Living Without A Garbage Disposal

Domestik Goddess: DIY Vegetable Broth from Scraps

Categories: Uncategorized

Creative Reuse: Cooking Fat = Oil Lamp

January 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Maybe I’m weird, but I’ve always wondered what I could do with my cooking fat.  Now that I live in a vegetarian household I don’t have that problem (benefit?), but for those of you looking at that can of bacon fat and wondering what to do with it when it tops up Atomic Shrimp is here (via Lifehacker), with a solution: an oil lamp!

DIY Oil Lamp from Recycled Cooking Fats [DIY]

Not exactly an easy project, but could be a cool project for a weekend.  There could very well be an easier way to do this, too.  Any thoughts?

Categories: Uncategorized

ReadyMade’s Top 20 Projects of 2010

January 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Etched Bulk Jar LabelsReuse-Friendly magazine/website ReadyMade has posted their top 20 projects of 2010.  Not the easiest projects, per se, but certainly motivational.

http://www.readymade.com/magazine/slideshow/top_20_projects_of_2010

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Reuse Resource: Freecycle

January 20, 2011 1 comment

One of our favorite resources for creative reuse is freecycle.org.  While not the prettiest or fanciest of websites, it is an indispensable resource for those looking to forgo buying something new when used will do 99% of the time – not to mention it’s cheaper.  In fact, as the name implies, everything on freecycle is…FREE!!!  How it works is you go to their website, look up your local freecycle chapter, and sign up for emails.  Next thing you know you’ll be getting emails with either WANTED, OFFER, or TAKEN in the subject, referring respectively to something someone wants, something being offered, or something that’s been taken (pretty straightforward, right?).  If you’re looking for, say, a vacuum just send off an email to the freecycle email address for your group with the correct format and wait and see if anyone out there has what you’re looking for.

Now, of course you can change your email preferences to whatever you can handle – for instance, if getting 10-20 additional emails a day doesn’t excite you you can subscribe to the “daily digest” or just not get any email, using the service just to post emails when you want something or want to offer something.

I’ve used the service in both Santa Monica and Portland, ME and have nothing but good things to say about it.  Sure, there will be the occasional flakey respondent who never shows up to pick something up, but that comes with the territory.  If you ask me, that’s a small price to pay for a free resource for everything from coat hangers to above ground pools and treadmills (no joke).

Any crazy freecycle finds out there?

http://www.freecycle.org/

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