Category Archives: Recycled!

I am a firm believer in doing our part for the environment. We can’t stop the madness, but we don’t need to add to the madness in participation. RECYCLE people. It’s super easy and personally I think it’s super fun and quite a good feeling.

Re-used beer carrier!

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Beer bottle carrier cardboard is perfect for most glass ball ornaments. I have bad luck keeping the manufacture boxes in great condition, over time they break. This is a solution so that and they sit nicely in your Christmas decoration boxes/totes neatly. Win win! Recycle, re-use! Happy holiday clean up!

Toilet Paper Tube Icicle Tutorial

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Toilet Paper Tube Icicle Tutorial

 

 

 

 

Master Recycler = Me. I try to reuse as many things as I can in secret hidden you don’t know it’s trash ways. Here is another one them!

Needed:

Toilet paper tube (as many as you want)

scissors

large metal knitting needle (easier to clean) *Optional*

glue

brush for gluing

glitter of your choice in a ziplock style bag

1. Cut your tube following the natural line around the tube.

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2. This is how it flattens to look.  If it looks like this, you’ve done it right so far!

 

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3. Cut it along the center. Now you have 2 strips.

 

4. Cut the 2 you have in the center again and it multiplies to 4. You can cut smaller but remember when you glue them and reform them they are thinner and may be weaker.

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5. I didn’t get pictures of the gluing and glitter as I needed more hands than I had! However I will try to explain in detail. I glued both sides of the tube strips and tossed them in the ziplock to shake the glitter onto them. I let them dry a short time, still damp but not fresh, I took a knitting needle, the metal kind and used it to shape the icicle, twirling it around the needle in the natural direction it wanted to go and formed it. Let it dry, there you have it. Toilet paper tube icicles. I hole punched one end to wire them.  Below is what they looked like with my choice of glitter… this time. ;p

Note the icicle there….toilet paper tube hidden secrets of love!

icicle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brown Paper Bags Revisited

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Brown Paper Bags Revisited

The beginning of this year I put a blog tutorial on my brown paper bag flooring technique. I’ve had some great responses to this and have had people send pictures of their completed projects using my technique. This is so exciting. It blows my mind in such a major way. I ponder it all the time. Thank you for the responses and amazing shares from your projects, I appreciate the feed back so much. It’s in part why I took the time to share. I love finding things that inspire me, and so that if I can inspire people, it’s just all good! Ok, so in May I completed the largest art project I have ever done. It truly was the largest art floor to date! 1,300 square feet church sanctuary. The floor was in horrible shape, and because it’s an historical building there was not much we could do to level it. The church had left it bare concrete with hideous cut back from a previous flooring.

As soon as we started going to the church as parishioners I knew we had to do something about the floor! Acoustics were terrible, the “coolness” of the decor was lost with the bad floor. So I approached the staff and all agreed. They gave me creative license, lol oh boy! Here is what was come up with as the option to hide a buckled, heaved and uneven floor.

When you look at the flooring now, you don’t see the issues. I created an optical illusion with lines that draw away from structure issues. The worst part of the floor is exactly where most look at, it’s where the podium sits. Knowing that would have to be hidden, I put the church logo in a embossed raised lettering and gold leafed it. I essentially put a lampshade on the elephant in the room and it blended in. So here is the biggest art floor I’ve ever done, I am pretty impressed. Gradient light to dark or dark to light depending on how you view it. Colors pulled from the walls of the church throughout. The end result is very warm and inviting. I am however glad to be done, it was a HUGE project! ❤

To check out my flooring tutorial click here: https://trashtalkinhomesteader.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/brown-paper-bag-tutorial/

Christmas tree skirt… out of plastic bags? Mmhmm

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Christmas tree skirt… out of plastic bags? Mmhmm

 

tree skirt tree skirt close up

This is going to be a short tutorial on how to make a Christmas tree skirt out of plastic bags. The plastic bags you get from shopping. So don’t throw them out.

Items needed:

Plastic bags, think ahead and plan so you’re getting the colors you want and saving them.

Wax paper

Iron

Sheet

scissors

a design in mind

You want to set your iron at the 3rd heat setting. Be careful not to let it sit in one place to long.

1. Cut the logo from the bags and set aside to use later if you need part of the logo.

2. Cut the design components out.

3. Lay a folded sheet or something you can use to iron on.

4. Line the folded sheet with a layer of wax paper large enough to hold the plastic.

5. Layer the background of the plastic, in my case it was white, I had about 5 layers of the background plastic.

6. Lay another layer of wax paper on top of plastic layers now. (Note: make sure the wax part of face up and face down on the plastic respectively, this insures it peels away properly from the finished plastic sheet)

7. Run the iron over the entire thing briefly, you want the layers to be together enough to proceed with the next steps. You don’t want to iron as though you’re finishing yet.

8. Carefully peel one side of the wax paper off, this will be the side you apply your design components too.

9. Flip the piece over and on the side that still has the wax paper, draw a circle the size you need it, in my case I used a cardboard disc from a paper mill as my guide, the disc is HUGE. Anyway, mark and cut the circle the size you need.

10. Now that it’s cut into the circle, keep that wax on the bottom, flip the piece over again and start placing the design pieces. Once you’re done placing the design, put the wax paper you carefully took off back over the plastic, carefully, the whoosh of the wax paper going down may move your plastic pieces.

11. Iron over the entire piece again, this time you will make sure it’s all stuck in place and solid.  Turn the piece over and iron the other side also.

12. Allow to cool then peel the wax paper off and VOILA! Christmas Tree Skirt. Cut your slit and your stalk hole and it’s the coolest!

 

The Christmas promise continued…

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paper ornaments Brown paper bags… again. I used a stencil and traced the shapes and cut them, those with a cricut will probably have a quicker go of this. :/ I paired two sides up and machine stitched with metallic thread and before I stitched all the way I stuffed a candy in there. Once they were stuffed and sealed I hole punched and strung them. Christmas day treats that sub  as ornaments until then! Then you eat the innards, and recycle the outside. No ornament storage and that’s cool! Enjoy ❤

Vermicomposting

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Vermicomposting

We’re worm keepers. They save us money on organic soil purchases, they help me keep newspaper clutter down. They eat up all our vegetable, fruit and grain scraps.  They’re quite and clean. I love our worms.   Here is some information I’ve gathered.

  • ORGANIC MATTER: Anything made of living or once-living animals or plants. This can include paper, cotton socks, hair clippings, eggshells, wooden rulers,corn husks, and leaves.

    PEOPLE PRODUCE GARBAGE: Approximate 600 pounds of solid waste per year! An estimated 10%-20% is organic waste and can be recycled into a rich source of nutrients for plants and trees using vermi-composting (composting with worms!).

    WORMS EAT ORGANIC MATTER AND HELP PLANTS GROW: Worms eat and digest organic matter, burrow through the soil, and leave behind castings (manure) – a super source of nutrients for plants and trees. This is a SLOW-release, organic fertilizer, that will not burn plants.

    Within the gut of a worm, soil and decomposed organic material are mixed. The sand or soil in the worm’s gut helps break down the organic particles and is mixed together with microscopic bacteria, fungi, and mold. When the worm excretes the castings (manure) the microorganisms in the castings add to the health of the soil. They are all held together in a sheath that acts like a binder and dissolves slowly over time as food for plants. Cool.

    SOME WORM FACTS: No worm diseases are communicable to humans Worms have no bones, eyes, arms or legs Worms are hermaphroditic – having the reproductive parts of both the male and female. In the wild, worms can consume up to their own weight in organic food every day. Eisenia fetida –the preferred composting worm, known as the red worm, is top feeder staying less than 12 inches below the ground. Worms breathe through their skin. Worms need a great deal of moisture but can’t swim. Worms are nocturnal – and for a good reason. Direct sunlight can kill them in less than three minutes. The first 1/3 of a worm’s body contains most of the vital organs – the rest 2/3 of a worm are the intestines. Salt is harmful, even fatal to worms. Worms can’t hear but they respond to vibration, light, and temperature. Adult Red Worms have between 80-120 circular rings on its body. Setae, little hair-like legs help the worm tunnel, move and grip onto objects. Satae is made from same thing as fingernails. Worms have 5 hearts (more to love!) Worms have a mouth but NO teeth.  The worm produces enzymes which act as both insecticide and antibiotic for the worm. These are passed on to the plants as they absorb the worm castings. Worms and plants have a symbiotic relationship.

    SETTING UP THE BIN: Worms need a roomy “floor space” but anything deeper than 12” will not be used by the worm. A worm bin can be made from just about any old (untreated) wooden box, plastic bin, metal drum, even an old baking pan.

    I started out with a 10-14 gallon Rubbermaid or Sterilite-type storage bin found in Target or Wal-Mart. Do not use a clear bin because worms like it dark! Drill ¼ holes approximately 4” apart in the lid and bottom. These holes are for air flow and drainage. NOTE: Worms will try to escape through the holes if there is a major problem in the bin. See trouble shooting below

    Take an old cotton shirt or pillow case and soak it in water. Squeeze the water out and use it to cover the bottom. This allows excess moister to drain out while keeping the bedding in!

    Yes, worms need bedding. We use shredded newspaper and cardboard that is soaked in water for 24 hours to make sure any chlorine evaporates. The bedding should be damp but not wet! If you can squeeze more than two drops of water from the bedding it is too wet. Fluff the bedding and fill the bin almost to the top.

    Worms need soil or sand to act as “grit” in their guts. Worms also need other organic matter to help break down food small enough for the worm to eat. A handful of organic potting soil (NO FERTILIZER) should have enough microorganisms to get the bin started.

    Eventually you might find mold, fungi, bacteria, sow bugs, Springtails (tiny bugs), grubs, and mites in your ecosystem that act as PRE-DIGESTERS. These are all part of your mini ecosystem

    You can also use aged compost or manure from goats, cows, horses, rabbits, or chickens in place of potting soil but DO NOT use human, dog, or cat manure.

    Now it’s time to add the composting worms. We only use red wiggler worms. The worms will need a few days to settle into their new digs. You may keep your worm bin under the kitchen sink or in the laundry room – anywhere it is not too hot or cold. There are many places to buy worms. WORMS GROW: An adult (3 month old) worm can produce 2-3 cocoons per week. 11 weeks later the cocoons hatch. Each cocoon produces around 3 hatchlings and in 2-3 months they are ready to produce. A population can double very quickly. IDEA: Do the math and figure out how many worms you’ll have in a year if you start with two, or eight, or twenty.

    A worm cocoon is small yellow lemon-shaped object about the size of an “O”. Hatchlings first appear white then turn pink and finally red after around eight hours. The little buggers are HUNGRY and can eat!

    WORMS EAT: How much to feed worms? In captivity they will only eat about half their weight per day. In a container collect kitchen scraps of organic matter listed below. Chopping and freezing waste aides in the molecular breakdown. Soaking cotton, paper towels & cardboard help too and add moisture to the bin.

    Do feed them: Apples, pears, banana peels, bread, corn cobs & husks, coffee grounds and filters, veggies or all types, egg shells (they need the calcium!!), tomatoes, melon rinds, onion peels, celery sticks, carrot tops, cardboard, paper, old cotton socks, oatmeal, muffins, strawberry tops, rotting lettuce, napkins, and honeydew melon to name a few.

    Do NOT feed them: Salt or salty items such as potato chips, milk or creams, dairy items such as cheese, no meats, pressure treated wood, grass or leaves that may have been treated with pesticides, snack foods like fries, olives, no carbon paper, animal manure, citrus waste (oranges & lemons), vinegar, green grass (they create high temperature) alcohol, fruit pits, chemicals of any kind, or plastics.

    Trouble shooting: Trouble is bound to happen. After all this is a LIVING ecosystem with many variables to consider such as temperature, food, chemicals, bedding, and nature itself. Part of the learning process is to observe, come up with theories, experiment, take corrective action, adjust and make conclusions…THINK!

    Too wet? Add dry cardboard to soak up some moisture.

    Have ants? It’s too dry or exposed food. Add some water or frozen foods to bedding and bury the food just under the bedding.

    Have many mites? It could be too wet or you may have too much food.

    It smells! Lack of air, too wet –try to fluff bin, bury food, add dry bedding, & check drainage. A healthy worm bin should have a pleasant earthy, forest smell. Anything else is a red flag that something is wrong.

    Have fruit flies? –You probably have exposed food – bury food just under bedding Have white thread-like worms? These are natural. Do nothing.

    Worms try to escape? May be too wet, did you add salty foods, chemicals, maybe overpopulation is happening. Is the temperature too hot (do not keep over 84 degrees).

    THE HARVEST: In 4-6 months from building the worm bin you can harvest! The day before harvesting the worms shred and soak newspaper for new bedding you will need. On the harvesting day take a plastic table cloth and lay it out on a table outside. Wear gloves (to avoid getting our oils on the worm cocoons). Make 4- 5 cone-shaped mounds of humus on the table. The worms will dive down for cover to escape the sunlight. Take this time to prepare your new bin. Every five minutes or so take the top 2-3” layer of the mound off and put aside in another container – this is the HUMUS – the good stuff we’ve been waiting for! Continue until you are left with mostly worms and quickly add those worms to new bin. Extra worms can be used for another bin.

    Castings (worm manure or humus) can be used right away as plant food or fertilizer. It will not burn plants and is safe to use even indoors around pets. IDEA: Experiment to see if plants grow faster and taller with your worm casting fertilizer or with store-bought chemical ones.

    WORM TEAS – or liquid fertilizer is another great product to use.–Take one cup of castings and place in a sock, stocking (no fishnets) or cheesecloth. Soak in one gallon of water for three days. Pour liquid into a small spray bottle to use on household plants. You can still use the castings from the tea in your home or school garden! GREAT FUNDRAISING IDEA – Package worm castings or Worm Tea and sell to parents, teachers or neighbors for fundraising projects.

    Resources for worms: Southern Oregon Sanitation, sometimes have worms available at their Grants Pass location at 1381 Redwood Avenue. It is recommended that you call first to see if they have them available at 541-479-5335.

    Ladybug Indoor Gardens – 3960 W. Main Street Medford, 541.618.4459 $30 per lb. or $20 for a ½ lb.

    Internet resources specifically in Oregon:

    www.redwiggler.com – Corvallis, www.wegotworms4u.com – McMinnville, www.wonderworman.com – Bend A great reference for getting started and maintaining a worm bin is the book “Worms Eat My Garbage” by Mary Applehof. It’s published by Flower Press; ISBN # is 0-942256-03-4.

    There are  also several resources online about vermi-composting.