Thursday, April 17, 2014

Plarn Basket

basic instructions here

I would have totally taken basket weaving in college it they offered it! When I saw this basket making pin on Pinterest I decided to try it out. I had already cut out some 1" strips of bread bags for plarn that hadn't worked out for crochet plarn. So, I put them to use to make this kooky little hinged basket. At some point I'd like to make a bigger piece such as a tray, laundry basket or small trash bin. I really like how it turned out and it was a lot of fun to make and a great way to upcycle plastic bags into a functional little container.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Glass Bottles

Glass bottles being washed for reuse

Much as I try to NOT to purchase single use bottles, they creep in. They come with guests. They come holding delicious sauces and liquids that I don't know how to make. Some I send off to recycle. The ones that have good tops that can be washed (most of them) I clean and reuse. Because of the small opening, cleaning can be a bit of a challenge. Typically they go through the dishwasher but don't come out fully clean. Enter the bobble wand - find it where the bobble water bottles and filters are sold. It's silicone and small and works great for larger mouthed bottles. The secret weapon for harder to clean or small mouthed bottles is activated charcoal. I keep a few tablespoons in a tin by my sink. These little black "rocks", along with hot water and soap, and a vigorous shake, gets bottles clean clean clean! So, after all that, what do I use these bottles for? 
  • home made salad dressing
  • lunch box drinks such as tea, kefir, soda
  • home made syrups for my soda machine
  • concentrated coffee for iced and hot coffee
  • iced tea
  • instead of water bottles

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Refuse - the fourth R

cards ordered from

The Plastic Pollution Coalition has introduced me to a fourth R - Refuse. So it's Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Refusing brings a bit of advocacy into the Reduce strategy. And that's perfect for what I'm trying to accomplish this year. It will however be a challenge for me to go this Refuse route. By nature I'm a conflict-avoider and recoil at the thought of embarrassing someone for essentially doing their job (giving me a straw, paper napkin, disposable cup, etc.). I'm going to turn that awkward moment into an opportunity to share the message with others. When I ask the waitress if I could use my own cup for a cold drink...I'm going to share the reason why with her, ack! I'm enlisting a prop to help me out. I've purchased 100 of these little cards to help me broach the subject and leave people with something to think about. On the front is a brief statistic and the link to this blog, and on the back is an image related to upcycling/reusing. I hope that the act of handing this over and gently explaining what I'm trying to accomplish this year will endear me slightly and make this refuse thing easier to deal with. 

(I did a bad and ordered some mini-cards that are not printed on recycled paper, they do claim to be sustainably sourced though...I'll Do Better next time...and now I REALLY feel pressure to use them up so that won't have been an even greater waste of resources).