Showing posts with label recycle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recycle. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reviewing Handmade Book Crafts for Readers and Writers

Know a book lover? Show your love with a gift to warm their book-loving heart. Here's our review of easy to make handmade book crafts for readers and writers.

There's a new craft website on the Web and, in its first month, Craft Closet has been a busy place. When you're looking for crafty ideas, information, and inspiration, browse the Craft Closet archives. There are sewing projects, crafts for kids, ideas for paper crafts, jewelry tutorials, crochet patterns, and so much more. 

Today I'd like to share with you some of the cool handmade book crafts that the Craft Closet writers have created.

Update:  Sorry, but the Craft Closet has closed and all of their article links have been removed

Scrapbooks Made With Paper Bags

Making scrapbooks is a popular hobby and a great way to preserve memories. If you have some lunch-size paper bags around the house, you can make your own scrapbooks. Just stack the bags on top of each other and sew down the middle.

After you've assembled the basic book, it's time to get out your scrapbook materials and begin decorating. This paper bag scrapbook even has pockets where you can slip small surprise pages.

Easy to Sew Fabric Book Covers

Book covers are an easy way to hide an ugly book, keep your reading choice a secret,  decorate a bookshelf, or protect a valuable book.

When you want to be creative and you have basic sewing machine skills, this pocket-style fabric book cover is a fun project that can be completed in an hour and can be made from fabric found in your scrap drawer.

These fabric book covers can be made to cover any size book. Send kids off to school with a funky new covers for their textbooks. Make a one-of-a-kind cover for your checkbook. Or, hide your latest romance novel behind a cover of fabric.

Customized Journals

Do you or a friend keep a diary? Every have difficulty finding just the perfect journal? Here's an easy way to solve that problem. Upcycle a journal for yourself or your friend using colorful duct tape or washi tape.

Start with a simple and inexpensive journal or notebook. Shop your local dollar store or other discount store for good deals. Then, pick your favorite colors and get taping. You'll have a journal to fit your mood in less than 30 minutes.

More Book Making Ideas

If you've been inspired and want to try your hand at a few more book craft projects, check out the Little Book of Book Making for more ideas.

Inside the Little Book of Book Making, you'll find dozens of unique book making projects from folded books to books with sewn bindings.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sharing Thanks With Handmade Crafts for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for expressing thankfulness for all of the good things we've received in our lives. Some families have traditions where they express their gratitude during dinner while other families may find it hard to share these feelings verbally. Sometimes it takes a little creativity to find just the right words and the right way to express those sentiments.

Here are four DIY handmade crafts for Thanksgiving that will make it easy for you to express your love and gratitude to your family and friends. These crafts are easy to make and most of the materials can be found in your recycle bin or backyard.

Hang Your Gratefulness on a Tree

Simply Vintage Girl designed The Thankful Tree, With Chalk using items found in her backyard. This tree is made from a broken branch that is used as the tree form. Small wooden discs are painted with chalkboard paint and suspended from the branches. Before your guests arrive, place a piece of chalk under the tree so that family and friends can write down those things for which they give thanks when the spirit moves them.

Stuff Your Thanks in a Turkey

I {Heart} Crafty Things created a Thankful Turkey Box Tutorial from an upcycled tissue box. This is an awesome craft for kids because it is so easy and downright adorable. The kids can explore their creativity and when the crafting fun is done, they can write their thanks on a slip of paper. During Thanksgiving dinner, have everyone take a turn at pulling a slip of paper out of the box and reading the words of thankfulness.

Set a Place Mat for Giving Thanks

Abby M. Interiors has 8 Ideas for Creating Your Thanksgiving Table that will show your gratefulness all through dinner. I especially like number 7 on her list. Make place mats out of upcycled paper bags or kraft paper and draw lines on the mats for guests to write down the good things in their life.

Spread a Garland of Thanksgiving

Carina Gardner shares her gratefulness with a Giving Thanks - Free Thankful Banner Download that makes it easy for family and friends to write their reasons to be thankful on a decorative garland strung near the dinner table. Use your own creative skills or download the free printout to make leaf shapes for the garland. Put the shapes in a jar with a pen and clothespins, find a convenient place to hang the garland string, and encourage your family to write their thanks on a leaf and pin it to the garland.

May the holiday season bring you comfort, joy, and good tidings.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Recycle It Right and Keep Trash Out of Our Oceans

Make Every Day a Coastal Cleanup Day

Every year in September, communities around the world band together to pick up trash. They're not just picking up trash for the sake of picking up trash. They're picking up trash to keep our oceans clean and safe for marine animals. And, they're cleaning up the environment for a better future for all humanity.

For the past 29 years, the Ocean Conservancy has hosted the International Coastal Cleanup. And what a success it is. In 2013, over 648,000 volunteers in 92 countries collected over 12 million pounds of garbage by walking 12,459 miles of shorelines and searching 455 miles of water. The numbers aren't in for 2014 just yet.

What kind of garbage did they find? 

At the top of the list are cigarette butts, food wrappers from potato chips and candy bars, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps, and straws.

Stuff that people use every day. Items that would be so easy to toss in a waste receptacle or in a recycle bin. Things that could be eliminated from our environment.

I went on a search for ways to reduce and reuse some of the common garbage items found floating in our oceans and littering our coastlines. Junk food wrappers, plastic bottles, and bottle caps can be the inspiration for a craft project. And, disposable items are easily swapped out with sustainable and reusable goods.

Need some ideas?

Halloween is almost here and the perfect opportunity to rummage through the recycle bin for some scary decorations. Make a Mad Hatter Mini Top Hat with an old plastic cup and a damaged CD.

Plastic straws are so uncool. If you want to be the coolest kid on the block, get a set of Plastic Free Glass Drinking Straws for you and your friends.

Bottled water may be one of the biggest plastic garbage producers that our oceans see. Instead of buying bottled water, bottle your own and carry a Reusable Water Bottle.

Confused about recycling? 

The first step to keeping waste out of our oceans is to practice recycling the right way. Every community has different recycling programs, but there are some basic recycling rules that everyone follows. Print out this Recycling Decoder from the Ocean Conservancy. Post it on your refrigerator. Fold it up and keep it in your wallet or purse. Keep it handy for when you need it.

Want to get involved?

Start by Learning the Basics of Marine Debris. The Marine Debris program sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is a wealth of educational resources. You'll find information on the types of waste found in our oceans, where it comes from, its impact on wildlife, how it affects the world economy, and solutions to this worldwide problem.

Then, organize a cleanup day in your neighborhood.
I hope you'll join us in keeping our world Clean and Beautiful.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Stop For A Moment And Think Green

There is so much that each of us can do to save our planet and make this world a better place for each and every one of us. All it takes is to stop for a moment and Think Green.


Before you toss that garbage into the trash, stop for a moment and think green. Could that useless piece of garbage be turned into a priceless treasure? Our Sesame Street friends at Oscar's Junk Band have a lot of fun creating music from items others have thrown in the trash. Stop for a few minutes and listen to their tune. What Bob thinks is a broken broom handle, Oscar turns into a rotten, terrible, junky song. It's all about recycling and recycling is good!

Oscar isn't the only one that thinks creatively. In Paraguay, kids living next to a garbage dump are Making Musical Instruments from Trash. They triumph over the tragedy of poverty by finding the good buried beneath the waste.

Turning trash into treasure isn't the only way to protect our fragile environment and protect Mother Earth. It's easy to reduce our impact on the environment with these 8 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint. It's as simple as using cold water to wash clothes, turning down the temperature on the heater, and turning off the lights when no one is in a room.

Next time you're about to throw something in the trash, stop for a moment and Think Green. Could that piece of garbage be put in the recycle bin instead? Could that old CD be turned into a crafting project? Is that old sweater in good enough shape to donate to a thrift store? Think green and turn an old broom handle into a musical instrument. Oscar did!

Please help save our Mother Earth. She's fragile and she needs our help.

Until next time, Think Green!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Getting Ready for an Upcycled, Recycled, and Earth-Friendly Halloween

Halloween is in full swing on the Web and writers are busy telling tales of their favorite Halloween costumes, crafts, decorations, movies, and books.

I have been having so much fun getting ready for Halloween, too! Boxes of scrap fabrics, bags of odds and ends, and baskets of ribbons are scattered all over my crafting room floor in anticipation of haunting crafts to come.

As you can see, it's not a spooky kind of Halloween for me. Oh no, it will be A Low Key, Fun and Not So Scary Halloween Party here at the Recycler crypt. Setting the tone for this year's festivities, these Big Bows for Steampunk Halloween Decorations will be seen hanging from vintage family portraits and sitting next to our spooky sculptures.

There are more upcycled and recycled Halloween crafts sitting on my crafting table. I can hardly wait to show off my Steampunked fashions.

I've sent Halloween Party Invitations to a cast of characters and I'll need treats for kids young and old.

My sweet-toothed little goblins are sure to gobble up these Organic and Fair Trade Halloween Candy selected by GraceOnline. She's put together a list of gummy candies, jelly beans, lollipops, and bite-sized chocolates that are earth-friendly and contain organic ingredients.

The sophisticated ghouls are a bit of a puzzle. Maybe I'll take a lesson from Poetvix and learn How to Make an Apothecary Bottle of Unicorn Tears and fill it with homemade bath salts for the hairy monsters, herb-infused vinegar for the sourpusses, and vanilla sugar for the fairy princesses.

And, if anyone wants to slip a little treat into my trick-or-treat bag, my favorite candy bar is Endangered Species Panther, Extreme Dark Chocolate (88%).

That's all for today folks! Thank you for spending time with us today and we hope you've found some inspiration to recycle your way to a Happy Halloween.

Best wishes,


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Getting Organized and Going Back to Work

Just the other day, a friend reminded me that it's only 24 weeks until Christmas. Do you wonder where the time has gone this year? Does time fly while you're having fun? Or, have you been too busy to notice?

It's been too busy around the Recycler household. The year started with the hunt for the perfect home. It took us a month of sorting through the list of foreclosures and estates sales in our town until we found a home, that, if we didn't look too closely, looked like the home of our dreams.

After the papers were signed, we had a short party and then spent the next three months getting the place in shipshape condition with An Environmentally Friendly Spring Cleaning Solution and a lot of pruning to recover from what was definitely not an example of how to Plant the Right Tree the Right Way.

Now that the hard work is done, it's time for us to get organized and go back to work. It's important that our home be organized and work-ready. Our dream home is not just the place where we eat, drink, and be merry. It is also our home office, art studio, and crafting room.

One corner of the house has been set up as a combination office and crafting room. In the middle of the room is a very large, pub-height table that we use as a computer workstation and a crafting table. I wanted a tall desk so that I could stand while working. I had experimented with standing at the kitchen counter at our old home and I loved it. I felt more productive and stronger by just standing for a few hours each day.

Finding the perfect standing height desk setup wasn't as easy as I had thought. There's a lot to consider before standing while working. How the standing height workstation will be used and personal health issues should be considered, along with preferences about the size of the desktop and the storage features.

Standing and working isn't a full-time gig for us. We keep a couple of comfortable stools next to the bar, excuse me, desk, so we can saddle up for some serious sitting time. It doesn't take a permanent standing height workstation to get the benefits. There are several Stand Up Workstation And Adjustable Desk Options that convert a standard desk into a temporary stand up workstation. Sometimes it just feels good to mix up the work routine.

With the crafting workstation in place, the place needed some organization. There must be a thousand and one Craft Room Ideas, Designs and Organization tips on the Web. Our workroom has plenty of bookshelves and cubby holes to fit art supplies, upcycle materials, and books. As we grow accustomed to our new workspace, we're learning what organization methods work best for our working style. Our organization style... Implement the best and toss the rest in the recycle bin.

Now that the neglected house we purchased has been turned into a clean, well-lighted home with an awesome workspace, it's time to give the old resume an update and a good polish. This girl needs to get back into the work-at-home workforce. And, create a few more Steampunk fashions on mom's vintage Singer sewing machine.

As we slide on into the last half of this exciting, changing, and busy year... reduce the stress, reuse the best, and recycle the rest.

Here's to your health and happiness!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Building Teams and Growing Friendships

Online communities are everywhere. An overwhelming number of websites offers surfers a place to play, share, write, create, read, and participate any which way they choose. How do you choose the right place to spend your time? Join me on a tour of Squidoo. A great place to learn new things, to write about the things you know, and to make new best friends.

NOTE:  On August 15, 2014, Squidoo announced that it was being acquired by HubPages. I will forever appreciate what I learned during my time at Squidoo. So long, Squidoo. It's been good to know you! 

Thirty something years ago, I became a writer. For the first 25 years, I worked as part of a team. Accomplishing projects with the input of my co-workers and supervisors.

Then came the Internet and a concept called telecommuting.

For the first time in my writing career, I found myself an Independent Writer With No Team Of My Own. No team to brainstorm ideas, no team to keep the project on schedule, and no team cheer leading sessions.

Then I found Squidoo. And my whole world changed.

From the very beginning, Squidoo has offered me the opportunity to join a team. To become a part of something bigger. To contribute to making life better in all kinds of ways. I have enjoyed A Year of Storytelling on Squidoo and I hope to enjoy many, many more.

Squidoo's RocketSquid web writing workshop was my first opportunity to join a Squidoo team. Through RocketSquids, I met a lot of people and, unknowingly, the seeds of friendship were planted. During my first year, I joined more teams, met more people, and grew friendships that make my world a better place.

These friends have become my team members. We check on each other from time to time. We offer ideas when one of us can't nail down a story. We share our joys. And, we share each other's stories.

Squidoo was my online garden. A place with Plants and Flowers Where Friendship Grows.

Until next time, be happy and be well!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Getting a Notion to Upcycle With Crafting

Crafting and do-it-yourself projects were a big part of my life, way back when I was a kid. I enjoyed sewing, macrame, paper mache, basket weaving, and any other craft that kept my hands busy.

When I grew into an adult, crafting time disappeared to make time for The Job. And, there was all that time spent traveling around the country with no place to set up a crafting table.

I thought my crafting life was over. I was wrong.

Crafting never did leave my life, even though I set it aside for other activities. While I traveled about, my parents carefully stored my boxes of fabric, buttons, ribbons, twine, and other notions. They must have known that one day I would come to my senses. Parents are so smart.

I did come to my senses. I settled down, bought a new home, and collected a few of my forgotten belongings from my parents storage shed. As I unpacked boxes that I had not seen in decades, a million surprises spilled out onto the floor. One box in particular caught my eye and kicked my brain back into crafting gear.

It was a box full of notions. Ribbons, buttons, thread, zippers, and a whole lot more. Where did I begin? At Squidoo, of course! Why, because I loved Squidoo and it was a fantastic place to be a writer.

My journey began by writing about the collection of ribbons that filled that box. There were so many ribbons that there had to be at least 101 Things To Do With Ribbon. And, what a great title for a story.

So, I'm writing a list of all the cool ribbon crafting projects I come across. On this list you'll find ways to turn ordinary ribbon into bows for a little girl's hair, flowers for a spring bouquet, decorations for a holiday party, and bookmarks for your favorite bookworm. This list of 101 Things To Do With Ribbon is a work in progress and I keep adding to it as I find new and interesting ribbon projects.

Learn how to make this Fabric Paper Handbag.
With my ribbon project well underway, next came the fabric. I'm not ready to set up my 1958 Singer sewing machine and start sewing again, but I wanted some cool and unusual project that would put all my scraps of fabric to good use.

I came across a cool tutorial by ImagineCreateInspire on How to Make Fabric Paper. This looks like such a fun and easy project. All it takes is fabric, paper, and glue to make handbags, shopping bags, memory books, scrapbooks, gift wrap, and wall art.

A Tatted Alphabet
And, finally, I had a bushel basket full of thread in a rainbow of colors. Oh my, what shall I do? Once again, a search for ideas brought back memories. Crochet projects gone wrong and thread crafts that I had long ago forgotten.

Anyone remember tatting? Tatting is similar to crochet, but with thin threads, and is used to make doilies, lacy edgings for dresses, and cutout monograms for towels. It can be done on a train, in a plane, or while watching TV.

I remember giving tatting a try when I was in high school. It was fun, but life was going a million miles an hour and tatting just didn't hold my attention. That is, until I came across a story by Studentz filled with information on How to Tat, Tatting Craft Tutorials and Projects. I even rummaged through my sewing kit to find those itty bitty crochet hooks that mom gave me long ago.

Until next time, rummage through your closets and see if you get the notion to upcycle into crafting!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Handmade Dolls from Upcycled Materials

Dolls create special magic for children and adults, especially when those dolls are lovingly made by hand. The writers on Squidoo share their secrets to doll-making success with projects for a Tin Can Man, a Lalaloopsy Rag Doll, a Japanese bottle doll and doll clothes made from a sock.

Dolls were a memorable part of my childhood. My Dad Was an International Traveler when I was a kid and he brought me a doll from every country he visited. My mom taught me to sew and one of our favorite mother-daughter sewing projects was a set of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy rag dolls.

When I was selected as the Recycler Contributor on Squidoo, I wasn't too sure what to do about a logo for The Recycler Network's social media channels. I grabbed an assortment of recycled and upcycled items found around my home, arranged those items artfully on the kitchen counter and started shooting pictures.

One of the items I grabbed was a doll that my aunt had made for me many years ago. She's only 6 inches tall but she's 100% recycled. From her button arms and legs to her hand-me-down dress, her sock stuffed body and her yarn scrap hair. She begged to be the mascot for The Recycler Network.

If the traditional rag doll is more to your liking, chibikitty shows us How to make a Lalaloopsy Rag Doll and even supplies a free pattern to make it even easier to create your own rag doll.

Until next time, share the love and give the gift of a handmade doll!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Friday, June 6, 2014

Garden Decor Project: Make a Mosaic Pot

handcrafted mosaic pot
Mosaic Pot by Mickie_G
A few summers ago, I made the mosaic pot you see to the left at a workshop sponsored by Aldridge Gardens in Hoover, Alabama.

Ever since I was a child, I have loved creating crafts that involved tile. I remember my mother taking me to the hobby shop every year just before our annual summer visit to my grandmother. My mom knew that if she let me pick out a craft kit, I would not get bored. More often than not, I chose a mosaic kit.

I still remember the 6" circular dish I made with prayerful hands in the middle. The kit came with enough 1/4 inch square tiles for me to play with the design if I did not want to make one just like the example on the box lid. I usually I ended up choosing a checkerboard pattern.  These mosaic craft kits filled my days with much happiness and gave my parents a vacation from entertaining me, I imagine. But enough reminiscing!

I won't go into how I made the mosaic pot shown in the images on this page, but I will share with you some things I did learn about tile covered pots:

  • Do not leave your mosaic pot outside during the winter months as the freezing temperatures will cause the pot to break and the mosaic pieces to fall off.
  • If you use broken dishes or crockery, it is best to use totally flat pieces if you use larger, broken bits.  It is easier to rub off the grout if there are no sharp points that are higher than your decorative shards. You can see in the photo below that I used some broken pieces from a plate. I should have trimmed the sharp points on the edges off. 
  • To break up dishes and crockery, put them between several sheets of newsprint before you break them up with a small hammer. 
  • If you want to preserve the pattern as it is on the dish, use duck tape on the back of the dish before you break it into pieces.
  • Try to fit the "tiles" close together as possible but still leave enough room for the grout. I think I left too much space so there is a lot of grout space. 
  • Wear a mask to mix up your dry grout and powdered mastic. This is a MUST!
  • Gloves for your hands are another must when rubbing in the grout. Surgical ones work best. 

Close up of my mosaic pot. 

mosaic craft 
I used glass globs and a broken dish. 
Can you see the buttons, too?

I am a "keeper" of useful things and a recycler of the broken and chipped, so I have a stockpile of broken dishes and pottery. However, I do not have the supplies like the grout and ceramic tile adhesive for making a mosaic piece.

Here is a video by "DIY Maven" that I discovered on YouTube that shows a very similar and easy process for making a mosaic flower pot.

There are several articles on Squidoo that might whet your appetite for making other types of mosaic crafts. Unfortunately, there are none about how to make a pot like mine. How To Mosaic: Art For Your Garden is a good introductory article to the craft of mosaics. 

If you like the idea of a "kit", I found several mosaic craft kits for children available on Amazon. Here are a few links for you: Kits for ages 14+kits for ages 8 to 13; Kits for ages 5-7 years; Kits for ages 2 to 4. Most of the kits for young children use foam pieces and no grout. That is a good thing.

Keep your hands busy, y'all!

Photos: Mickie_G - all rights reserved.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle the Small Stuff

Recycling is a way of life at my house. My grandparents were born into simple farming families at the turn of the 20th Century, my parents grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930s and I am a starving artist that must make every cent count. Reducing, reusing and recycling are just one way that generations of my family have saved money and made the most of every dollar spent.

It doesn't take a big effort to make a big difference. When it comes to recycling, small steps can go a long way. Just look in your recycle bin for inspiration. What items do you find in the trash? Is there some way of using it instead of tossing it? You may be surprised at what you can do!

One of my favorite trash to treasure projects is to Recycle Egg Shells and Make Sidewalk Chalk. We eat a lot of eggs at our house and usually the egg shells end up in the worm composting bin or in flower pots. Except when the grandkids come to visit. That's when I grind up those shells, add a little flour and mix in some water. In a few days, the kids and I draw up a storm. You see, recycling is fun!

BritFlorida finds creative ways to save space through recycling. After reading her story, you may be motivated to Create Mini-Storage in Your Home With Cardboard Tubes. BritFlorida uses the cardboard tubes from rolls of toilet paper and paper towels to store small clothing items, hide cords from electronic devices, keep jewelry from getting tangled, separate the knives from the forks and organize the medicine cabinet.

Got a bunch of glass jars? Need extra storage space?  Lyndamakaracreations has some Simple Glass Painting Ideas for Recycled Jars. All you need to do is save a few jars from the recycle bin and buy some enamel craft paint.

My new home is covered in wood floors and I need a few rugs to soften the load on my feet while working at my new standing height desk. JaneNew uses old sheets to Crochet Rag Rugs.This sounds like a fun activity to do while watching TV at night.

And, because I'm such a book worm and have so many books piled up in bookshelves and corners, LBrummer came to my rescue with a list of Book Page Crafts to create handmade cards and altered art using book pages. I see some new pictures hanging on the walls of my new home very soon.

I hope you enjoyed our simple steps to recycling. Do you have a favorite every day item that you recycle? I'd love to hear about your adventures in the Fast & Easy Recycling Lane. Leave a note in the Comments section below and, if you've written a story about your recycled project, share the link to your story.

Until next time, recycle the small stuff and make a big difference!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Recipe Recyclers: Keeping Food Fun and Healthy

The man in my life is a true Southern Gentleman who loves his granny's buttermilk biscuits. I'm a latte loving, health nut kinda Seattle girl. When my guy insisted on Biscuits Like Granny Used to Make, my whole grain spine shuddered at the thought of all that butter.

I wanted to please my man but I didn't want to clog our arteries. It was time to put on my apron for a session of Recipe Recycling. After a few experiments, my Old Fashioned Southern Buttermilk Biscuits Done Seattle Style successfully fooled my Southern Gentleman's taste buds.

Some people spend hours flipping through cookbooks looking for the perfect recipe. Others are content to follow a single cookbook and only venture into the suggested variations. Then, there are the Recipe Recyclers, like me, who are always testing new taste combinations, questing for new variations on an old theme, searching for the perfect taste treat.

When I need a basic recipe, I turn to my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It contains over a thousand recipes and is my best source of cooking inspiration. Recipes are just guidelines and ingredients can be changed to satisfy taste buds, to meet dietary restrictions or to substitute healthier ingredients. Sometimes these recipe experiments turn into a new family favorite. Sometimes a flopped dessert can be salvaged.

A few of my friends are also Recipe Recyclers and put an international twist on the recycled and personalized recipe. I'm always surprised at what new culinary delights can be found in the Cyber Kitchen.

Marathon Running comes from Croatia and she specializes in dainty morsels that pack a powerful taste. Along with some great recipes, she uses step-by-step instructions and photographs to make sure your recipes turn out exactly right.

Smine27 lives in Japan and has family in Hawaii. He is always looking for great foods and ways to reduce the sugar and gluten from his diet. He knows that he needs to eat right to maintain a happy body weight. Yes, diet food can taste good. Try these delicacies:
Recipe Recyclers aren't just about creating new and improved food sensations. Recipe Recyclers are also on the lookout ways to reduce food waste by reusing leftovers. My neighbor to the north of me, Ruthi, has been known to make a Not Quite Paella Surprise when she has leftover vegetables in the refrigerator. Around our house, those wilted vegetables are turned into a Chicken Stew.

I hope you enjoyed our gastronomic journey into the world of the Recipe Recyclers. Do you try your hand at recipe recycling? I'd love to hear about your food experiments. Leave a note in the Comments section below and, if you've written a story about your recycled recipe, share the link to your recipe.

Until next time, be safe, buy real food and eat well!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mod Podge can make miracles happen!

craft idea modpodge
A Dictionary Lamp--just needs some trim!
A few years ago I got the "make over" bug and decided to re-do an old lampshade (that is a link to my DIY page, btw).  I used what I had on hand and you can see the result in the photo to the left. Yes, I did rip up an old dictionary! Do not hate me, because the book was already headed to the recycle bin. Those of you who know me will confirm that I never destroy a book that is still in good shape. I then decoupaged the pages from that torn up book onto the lamp using watered down craft glue. This recycled lampshade project turned out pretty good. 

While I was the The Glue Gun Slinger Contributor on the now defunct website, Squidoo, I  discovered that I could have used ModPodge (by Plaid) for the project instead of that diluted glue! Using a glue + water mixture was successful for me at the time, however. As it turns out, lots of people use a homemade version of ModPodge just as I did on my lampshade project. Tracy Boyer wrote and article and shared a recipe for this economical adhesive mixture for those of us who don't want to guess at proportions.  The Tracy suggests 2 parts glue to 1 part water.

Sometimes using a name brand commercial product will produce consistently good looking results. I have to admit that my own decoupage medium did not look as good after it dried as some other projects that I have seen at craft fairs and such. 

Now, I need to haul out the glue gun and put some trim on that dictionary themed lampshade. Who knows, I just might give it a fresh coat of ModPodge! Stay tuned for the results!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Handmade Mother's Day Gifts

Happy Mother's Day!

Moms never get too old to enjoy those Made by Hand and Handcrafted with Love gifts from their children. And, children should never get too old to create those one of a kind presents that have so much meaning to their parents.

For our mom's birthday and for Mother's Day, my brother and I crafted together to create a unique and upcycled present for mom. We found ourselves Recycling Memories of Love and Flowers. My brother pressed and dried a bouquet of flowers. I learned how to Recycle a Rusted Metal Picture Frame and Watch It Shine.

This turned out to be an easy project and mom spent hours deciding where to hang her framed work of childhood art. My brother's pressed flowers turned out really well for his first time. Here's how he did it:
  • Place a piece of parchment paper on a hard and flat surface. Select a spot that is cool and shaded.
  • Arrange the cut flowers on the parchment paper. Lay the leaves flat and bend flower stems to "pose" the flowers.
  • Place another piece of parchment paper over the flowers.
  • Cover with a flat board.
  • Evenly stack books or bricks on the board. Start with just a few bricks so that the flowers are not crushed.
  • Check on the flowers every day. Add more bricks to slowly press the flowers.

Recycled flowers and upcycled picture frames aren't the only ways to impress a mom. Most moms love jewelry, too. Here's some crafting talent that is waiting to help you create something special for your mom.
Show your mom some love. Give a present that is handmade from the heart.

Until next time, be safe, be well and Happy Mother's Day!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Do Not Toss Your Greeting Cards--Reuse Them!

I am a hoarder! I will admit that to you, but you have to promise not to tell my friends and family.

I mostly hoard greeting cards that I cannot bear to toss into the recycle bin or trash barrel. In order to save space, I usually tear off the front of the card so I can use the artwork again in some other form (ie. gift tags -- see the image below, the stocking tag used to be the front of a greeting card).

However, the one practical use is to recycle the front of the card INTO another greeting card. That is actually very easy to do. All you need is some card stock or blank greeting cards and envelopes. You then just cut the original front to fit on the new blank card. Sometimes I find the written verse in a card to be so very good that I trim off the signature on the card and so I can "borrow" the sentiment and glue it into my "new" card.

Having been the "official" Glue Gun Slinger Contributor on the now defunct website, Squidoo, I do have a few adhesives in my crafting tool kit, but my knowledge about glues for "paper" crafts is mostly limited to book repair. However, I have been know to make a paper craft project or two, and I highly recommend Elmer's Washable All-Purpose School Glue Stickscraft glue

While you are on the site, be sure to check out "Card Making and Craft Budget Tips" by writer/crafter "paperfacets". If you are at all interested in making greeting cards, this page will be helpful, indeed.

I have read that it is best to use a glue that will not "wrinkle" the card stock when making a card. Does anyone have a good suggestion for me to try? I am thinking that a glue stick might work. What about glue dots? Has anyone used them? I really like to know about a product before I invest my hard earned cash.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Recycler

There's a little bit of recycling in everything we do!


Whirlwinds of activity have been happening around my home office this week. On top of everyday work and living, my family is buying a house. It's keeping us busy and keeping me distracted. But, my writing and my friends at Squidoo have been keeping me on course. Moving has provided an influx of ideas and my friends are filling my inbox with projects that will help us turn that house into a home.

I'd like to share some of the recycling inspiration that has come my way this week.

One of our biggest chores will be moving a yard full of potted plants and vegetables. While cleaning up the plants, I was reminded that even nature recycles. Some of our plants die back only to reappear magically in the spring. We've never had a failure when we Grow New Zealand Spinach in Containers and Recycle the Seeds. New Zealand spinach almost grows itself and the plants provide enough seed to share with our friends.

After packing up my mother's 1958 sewing machine and yards of fabric scraps from her past quilting projects, I told myself it was time to get serious about sewing again. But fabric is so expensive. Valerie Proctor Davis comes to the rescue with tips on How to Save Money By Sewing Your Own Clothes. She has some great ideas for turning old clothes into new clothes and how to reuse clothing patterns.

Nothing is perfect when moving into a new home and there are always unexpected expenses. When a new bill pops up, another planned purchase must be delayed. Furniture is one of those items that can be worked around when money is getting tight. Eva shares a great idea for saving a few dollars on furniture in her story of How to Decoupage an Old Desk.

Paigsr reminded me that moving creates a lot of unwanted trash. Moving is the perfect time to de-clutter and find a new home for the stuff that is no longer needed. As we pack our belongings, we'll be thinking of ways to reuse and recycle every little thing because even small recycling gestures like Returning Bottles "Can" Make a Difference!

I'm getting excited about moving into our new home and all of the recycling opportunities this new venture will bring. And, I'm looking forward to finding even more exciting and creative ways to recycle in our every day lives.

I  hope you enjoyed today's recycling stories and found some inspiration to recycle more in your own every day life. It's cool to recycle, even nature does it!

Until next time, be happy and be well!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine Upcycle Events and Celebrations

Recycle the Valentine Happiness All Year Long

Valentine's Day is a day to share love, happiness and appreciation. It's a day for which many crafters spend weeks in preparation. Homemade cards, hand crafted gifts and upcycled decorations are all created for this one special moment. Share your love and happiness all year long by recycling the sentiment of Valentine's Day.

Hello Recycling Sweethearts!

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day and that you were able to spend the day with those people that are special to you. 

Last week, Valentine crafters around the Web were busy preparing for this romantic and caring event. To celebrate their handmade creations, the Recycler hosted an impromptu Hashtag Event. Crafters were invited to share their Valentine creations by Tweeting their stories and pictures using the hashtag #ValentineCrafters.

Almost 200 crafters were seen at the Valentine Crafters 2014 #ValentineCrafts Hashtag Event. Some showed up with just a photo of their hand crafted Valentine present. Others came dressed to the nines with detailed step-by-step instructions to duplicate their sentimental creations.

Vallain was seen Making Homemade Valentines. She saves scraps of paper and greeting cards so that she has a supply of recycled materials from which to choose according to her muse. Her Valentine card ideas can easily be reused to make greeting cards for any holiday.

MSchindel made a splash wearing the jewels she designed during her Romantic "Queen of Hearts" Earrings Project. I love these earrings, I love this earring style and I'd love to make several pairs, all with different beads to complement the different seasons.

It was a ton of fun to host the Valentine Crafters 2014 #ValentineCrafts Hashtag Event. It was so much fun that plans are being made for the Easter Crafters 2014 Hashtag Event. So, get your upcycled, recycled and reused Easter crafts ready. Write a how-to or recipe to show us your creative magic. We'll be announcing the date and sending out invitations in a few weeks.

Until next week, be clean and be green.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Recycle in the Garden and Grow Gorgeous Plants

Keep Your Garden Growing with Homemade Compost

If you have a yard, it's free and easy to make compost from the yard waste left behind after you've mowed the grass, pruned the shrubs and raked the leaves.

Hello Recycling Fans!

It may still be winter, but it's time to start planning a spring garden. While you're busy thumbing through seed catalogs and polishing the rust off your garden hoe, remember to make space for a compost pile.

There are many ways to approach composting. A couple of weeks ago, I challenged my friends to Review Your Favorite Composting System. There were a variety of tips, tricks and product reviews that came from this challenge.

Here is some of the composting fun that these friends shared. They all approach composting from a different perspective but all of them love having a never-ending supply of home-brewed fertilizer for their garden plants.

Paperfacets is thrilled with her witch's brew pot in the corner of her backyard. She tells us that there are 10 Exciting Reasons Why I Love to Compost. I really enjoyed her excitement over the little critters that grow in her compost pile.

LadyMermaid asks us to reduce our impact on the environment. Her motto is Compost - Go Green. She has some great tips on the kinds of trash to compost and some ideas to help you get started if you've never composted before.

The fun part of composting is that there's no real right way to compost and no real wrong way to compost. As long as you add the right materials and give the pile some air, you can create compost almost anywhere.

If you live in a suburban neighborhood, you may not be able to have an open compost pile. I lived in one of these Deed Restricted communities for a few years. The fashion police were constantly on the lookout for any yard that looked a mess. I hid my unsightly compost pile by Making Beautiful Compost with the Envirocycle Original Composter. If you look in the background of the garden picture above, you'll see just how attractive this closed, barrel-system composter looks.

I hope you've been inspired to recycle in your garden to grow gorgeous plants and that you've learned something new about composting. Don't throw your yard waste away. Use it to fertilize your garden the natural way.

Until next week, may your days be blessed and may your compost pile grow beautiful blooms.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Take the Upcycle It Challenge

Happy Saturday, Recycling Fans!

I hope you all had a good week and found one new opportunity to reduce, reuse and recycle. Today, I'd like to introduce you to a few of the RocketSquids on Squidoo.

NOTE:  On August 15, 2014, Squidoo announced that it had been acquired by HubPages. This program is no longer available on Squidoo.

The RocketSquid program was Squidoo's web writing bootcamp for new Squidoo members. Each week, RocketSquids were presented with a writing challenge and reading material to help them become successful on the Web. Their completed assignments were reviewed by experienced Squidoo writers who provided RocketSquids with encouraging critiques and helpful tips.

Last week, Squidoo's RocketSquids took the Upcycle It challenge and wrote stories about their adventures in recycling. Their assignment was to spotlight something that they upcycled, recycled or transformed into a new object.

The challenge motivated me to start a project involving pressed flowers from a floral arrangement that has special meaning for my family. My creativity sparkled with an idea to Recycle Memories of Love and Flowers. I gathered the assortment of pressed flowers, then searched for a picture frame and fabric to complement the flowers. Adding a bottle of glue, a precious memory will be forever enjoyed.

As a kid, growing up in the 1960s, we used all kinds of trash to make art. Magazines, Popsicle sticks, tin cans, fabric scraps. Anything with color and anything that would stick to glue. My favorite was to cut up magazines and make collages.

My mom is always recycling old blankets and scraps of fabric. With the best pieces, she makes baby blankets and donates the blankets to a pregnancy aid center for low-income families. These Homemade Organic Baby Wipes are much gentler to a baby's skin than the disposable baby wipes. And, you can use a soap that does not irritate baby's skin.

What do you do with old mattresses? When I bought a new mattress, I wasn't sure how to dispose of the old mattress. A scrapper, making his run through the neighborhood alleys, offered to take the mattress off my hands. It went in the back of his truck, on top of his collection of scrap metal. Away to the recycling center he went.

I hope you enjoyed these Upcycle It stories and found some inspiration to create an upcycled project with stuff you find tucked in a corner of your basement.

Until next week, keep on recycling!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, January 25, 2014

It's Fun to Recycle, Let's Turn Our Trash into Treasure!


I'm Coletta and I was the Recycler Contributor on Squidoo

NOTE:  On August 15, 2014, Squidoo announced that it had been acquired by HubPages. With this acquisition, the Squidoo Contributor program was cancelled.

It's an honor to be here with such a terrific group of talented Squidoo writers and I'm extremely excited about Squidoo's new Contributor Program.

The Squidoo Contributor Program is a tremendous opportunity for us here at Review This! and for our fellow Contributors to share stories, reviews, recipes and how-tos that answer your questions and spark your creativity. Stories that are unique, useful and updated.

The Recycler will be searching for informational stories, descriptive product reviews, delicious recipes and entertaining how-to articles to help you to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in every aspect of your everyday life. Stories that will help you 
spend less of your hard-earned money while saving the environment.

Through The Recycler Network, the Recycler will bring you tips and tricks to reduce waste in your kitchen and garden. You'll also find creative craft projects using items that we often see in the garbage can or recycling bin.

Here are some highlights from The Recycler Network this past week:

  • We're saving money on our food budget and reducing food waste. It's easy when you Recycle Your Vegetable Scraps and Make Soup Stock.
  • The kids in the craft room really know how to recycle old crayons and it's is a great way to let kids get colorful and creative.
  • If you like plants, rotting your yard debris and making compost will grow a healthy garden. The Envirocycle Original Composter ( is an inexpensive way to grow a healthy garden.
  • New to composting? Here are some Fast Composting Tips - Composting Made Easy for every gardener.
The Recycler is anxiously waiting for next Saturday. Squidoo's RocketSquids are, right this very minute, putting their creative juices to the test and writing stories about their adventures in recycling. Next week the Recycler will share with you the best "Upcycle It" stories these RocketSquids create. I've taken a sneak peak and I'm excited by what I see.

I hope you'll join the Recycler and start reducing the garbage from your life. I'm looking forward to this new adventure in reducing waste, increasing savings and making recycling fun.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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