Eco-Friendly Dish Scrubber Ideas

The cost of a good dish scrubber is a steep one at times, but with these eco-friendly dish scrubber ideas, you’ll never have to worry about that cost.

The cost of a good dish scrubber is a steep one at times, but with these eco-friendly dish scrubber ideas, you'll never have to worry about that cost.

Mesh Produce Bags

I love happy accidents in upcycling adventures and this eco-friendly dish scrubber is one of my favorites. I don’t have a dish washer in my apartment and sometimes getting my dishes clean is a real struggle. Until about a year ago, I was stuck buying sponges, scrubbing pads and sometimes even a copper SOS pad. Not anymore. One day, I was out of just about everything and I really needed to get a pan clean so I could get to work. The regular sponge wasn’t working and I was out of everything with a scratchier surface. I saw a mesh produce bag lying on the counter and I just grabbed it and hoped for the best. Seriously, there’s nothing I can’t get off with this eco-friendly dish scrubber.

At first, I didn’t mess with trying to make it look cute, instead I just hung it around the sink. Then I saw this super cute scrubbie tutorial and decided to give it a try. I decided to slightly modify it because I had some different fruit nets I wanted to use up. Check out the tutorial below.

Step 1: Cut off the ends

It’s best if the nets are opened from the ends because it will give you more material to work with.

Step 2: Roll Them Up

This is where I started slightly modify the previous tutorial. My nets were small and loose, while hers could be more tightly rolled.

Step 2: Roll Them Up This is where I started slightly modify the previous tutorial. My nets were small and loose, while hers could be more tightly rolled.Step 2: Roll Them Up This is where I started slightly modify the previous tutorial. My nets were small and loose, while hers could be more tightly rolled.

 

Step 4: Fill the Exterior Net

First, push the exterior net up through the holes of the three interior nets. Leave just enough at the end to wrap around the three wrapped nets.

Step 4: Fill the Exterior Net First, push the exterior net up through the holes of the three interior nets. Leave just enough at the end to wrap around the three wrapped nets.

Step 5: Wrap It Up

Pull the interior around the outside of the bags and then up through the middle. Wrap the exterior bags around until you get the end.

Step 5: Wrap It Up Pull the interior around the outside of the bags and then up through the middle. Wrap the exterior bags around until you get the end.

Step 6: Tie a Knot

Once you’ve wrapped the exterior net as many time as you can, tie a knot in the end to hold it all together.

Step 6: Tie a Knot Once you've wrapped the exterior net as many time as you can, tie a knot in the end to hold it all together.

And there you have it! A practically free, eco-friendly dish scrubber! You can see in the picture below how easy it is to clean your pans with this fruit net scrubbie. You’ll never have to waste money on scrubbies again!

Luffas

My whole life I always thought luffas were from the ocean, but actually they’re gourds that grow on a vine. The luffa vines are prolific. For just the cost of a packet of seeds, you can grow enough luffas to serve as eco-friendly dish scrubbers for quite some time.

Check out this informative post about how to grow your own luffas.

You’ll have more luffas then you’ll know what to do with, so see more unbelievable ways to use them here.

Toothbrushes

We all have one of these lying around from time to time. Although there’s always that certain point where we should stop putting them in our mouth, there is still one last use for them. They make great eco-friendly dish scrubbers, especially if there’s a hard to reach spot.

Plastic Bags

Once I discovered the beauty of mesh produce bag scrubbers, this was kind of the next step. This requires some crocheting and plarn making, which is why I prefer the mesh produce bag method, but in a mesh bagless bind, this looks perfectly fine. To learn how to make plarn (plastic yarn), check out my tutorial here.

Once you’ve got your plarn ready, you can check out this simple eco-friendly dish scrubber pattern here.

Save

Save

Save

Spring into Action: Earth Day Activities

Earth Day Activities

There is no shortage of Earth Day Activities to help celebrate and preserve our beautiful Earth, especially with all this beautiful weather we’ve had. In honor of the beautiful weather and Earth Day right around the corner, I’ve compiled a list of Earth Day Activities.

There is no shortage of ways to spring into action. Help celebrate and preserve our beautiful Earth with this list of Earth Day Activities.

  1. Take Alternative Transportation

    As much as I like a quick car ride to work, it often serves as a barrier to me and my environment. There is so much we miss in the car. Taking a walk, riding a bike or even a bus can completely change the point of view. You might find a new restaurant, hang out place, even make new friends when you think outside the car. Plus, one less car on the road has amazing environmental benefits and health benefits.

  2. Have a Buy Nothing Month

    There are so many benefits to having a buy nothing month. From the mining or harvesting of resources, to pollution and working conditions of factories, capitalism is not the best thing for our Earth. An economy based on capitalism does our Earth a huge disservice and wreaks havoc on our pocket book. Being aware of what we buy and why we buy can put us in better position both financially and environmentally.

  3. Plant a Garden

    There are so many environmental and personal benefits to growing your own food. The average piece of produce travels over 3,000 miles to get to your plate. As the produce travels, it loses its nutrients and taste. There is nothing more delicious than a freshly picked peach, picked at just the right time, but there is no way to enjoy those benefits unless you grow your own. Plus, if you grow your own food, you get to control whether pesticides are used.

  4. Use Reusable Shopping Bags

    As Americans, we go through 100 billion plastic shopping bags every year, costing retailers about $4 billion dollars.

    There is a mindset that plastic bags are “free,” but not only do stores hide their cost in higher prices at the register, but also there is a cost for taxpayers of .17 cents per bag in pollution clean-up costs too. In the state of California alone, public agencies spend more than $25 million annually to manage plastic bag pollution.

    It’s easy to forget those reusable bags. I’ve gone to great lengths to make sure I never have an excuse to not use them. I put a set in my car’s truck, but some by the doors, so I can grab them as I leave, if I plan to walk.  Another solution is to get bags that fit easily in your purse, pocket or on your keychain, so I can have them at all times.

    Even without plastic bags, we still bring in tons of plastic items into our homes. To take this step to the next level, you can opt for plastic-shopping. Bring your own produce bags or bulk items sacks.

    There is no shortage of ways to spring into action. Help celebrate and preserve our beautiful Earth with this list of Earth Day Activities.

  5. Pick up Litter

    There is only a few times in life where you can have your cake and eat it too. What better Earth Day activities would there be than to make the Earth a cleaner and better place, while also enjoying the beauty of nature?

  6. Reduce Food Waste

    According to the USDA, Americans throw away 25 percent, 52 billion pounds, of the food they purchase.  During the holidays, it is estimated, we throw away three times during this time as much as we do the rest of the year. This one area you can definitely make a major dent in saving your family money and also helping our Earth.

    Food waste is an epidemic in America and probably in many of the other first world countries throughout the world. There are many reasons for this problem. Food is getting cheaper and cheaper, so now people tend to undervalue these products. Also, people are so far removed from where their food comes from and how much work goes into it that again, people undervalue their food.

     

    Get organized and start meal planning is one of the best ways to reduce food waste. You can also plan to trade leftovers and meals with family and friends, if you’ve bought too much or made too much for your family. Although it should be a last resort, you can also compost raw produce to help cut down on food waste.

  7. Set Goals

    Sit with the family and set specific goals to recycle and save energy- It’s often as easy as changing your light bulbs, adjusting the setting on your fridge, or making a routine trip to a nearby recycling bin.

  8. Switch to Non-Disposables

    Really, using single use products is just silly. I get so tired of seeing my apartment complex’s trash filled with single use plastic items, Styrofoam and paper products.

    I mean come on. Water bottles only contain FOUR cents worth of water and for what? There is more and more information being released that clearly says tap water is no worse than bottled water. Yet, Americans throw away 35 billion plastic bottles every year.  Only 25 percent of that plastic is recycled, but if we recycled the other 75% we could save 1 billion gallons of oil and 44 million cubic yards of landfill space annually. If you just HAVE to have bottled water, opt for gallon jugs or those huge reusable jugs for your bottled water needs.


    Here
    are some other great ways to drastically reduce your use of plastic and why these steps are so important.

    This doesn’t go for just bottled water. This also the case for Styrofoam. Styrofoam has a whole list of chemicals linked to all kinds of health problems that can be leached into your liquid, especially hot liquids like coffee. Plus, Styrofoam is virtually impossible to recycle or reuse.

    This is why a reusable bottle is one of the first changes you can make to help reduce the amount of trash you throw away.

  9. Contact

    And last, but not least, contact corporations, your local representative in congress, anybody who practices unsustainable. Ignore the first paragraph of this post and it has EXCELLENT info about why you should contact your congressperson and how to do it.

    Earth Day reminds us we all share the same planet. Sharing Earth means taking responsibility for what we use and how we use it. It is a day to think of the environmental challenges we face and how to solve them. Protecting Earth is every person’s and every country’s responsibility.

Looking for some other ways to celebrate spring? Check out these other posts!

How the Beauty of Spring Shows the Renewal of the Gospel – The Peculiar Treasure

DIY Spring Flower Pots with Patina Copper – Curbside Overhaul

How to Choose Plant Varieties in the Garden – Little Sprouts Learning Garden

Don’t forget to pin these Earth Day activities for later!

There is no shortage of ways to spring into action. Help celebrate and preserve our beautiful Earth with this list of Earth Day Activities.

Save

How to Make Plarn

Why Do I Make Plarn?

There are so many reasons, I love to make plarn and it’s one of my favorite upcycling projects.  I have mentioned it quite a few times in various posts, so today I’m actually going to show to make plarn.

Making plarn is one of my favorite upcycling projects. I've mentioned it quite a few times in various posts, so today I'm going to show to make plarn.

Plarn is plastic yarn made from plastic bags. The beauty of this activity is that you can find the medium for these projects literally anywhere.  If you talk to a crocheter, their eyes will light up when you talk about their yarn stash. Crocheting with plastic bags is the same way, but instead of going to the store, you can walk outside and see these little treasures. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve been having a bad day, took a walk and found a plastic bag just waiting to be turned into a beautiful bag for the homeless. It’s affordable, easy to find resource and it helps both humans and the environment.

We cut up 36 bags, to make 576 yards of plarn to make one bag for someone in need.

I also think crocheting with plarn is important for environmental reasons. Every year, Americans reportedly throw away 100 billion plastic grocery bags.  The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. These bags are considered the American flag because they are found everywhere, wreaking havoc on plant and animal life. The local landfill pays a hefty fee to keep them cleaned up around the landfill. Of the bags that make it to the recycling programs, only 1 percent are recycled. They often clog the machine because they are so light weight.

Also, we make plarn often as a family activity- our whole family gets together for a ‘plarn making factory’.  Crocheting plarn is a win-win-win. It’s a win for the environment, it’s a win for you because it’s free and it’s a win for who ever you create the project for.

Materials Needed:

Plastic Bags
Scissors

Step 1: Prep

You can find inspiration for this project everywhere. Go on a walk, get your family involved on your treasure hunt. Once you’ve collected a few dozen plastic bags then lay them out flat, fold them in half and cut the seam at the bottom and the handles off the top.

Step 2: Fold

Once you have an open rectangle, you’re going to fold it almost in half, leaving about an inch uncovered at the top. Fold the bottom flap again in half, then once more, still leaving that inch at the top.

Step 2: Fold Once you have an open rectangle, you're going to fold it almost in half, leaving about an inch uncovered at the top. Fold the bottom flap again in half, then once more, still leaving that inch at the top.

Step 3: Cut the Strips

Cut 1 inch strips up to the top of those bottom folds, leaving the 1 inch seam uncut.

Step 4: Cut the Spiral

Unfold the strips and you’ll find what looks like a rib cage with that 1 inch seam unfolding like a spine to hold the ribs together. Put your arm through with that spine going length wise across your arm. Start to cut the space between the first loop and the second loop at an angle, such that you’re cutting from the top edge of the first loop to the top edge of the second loop, as shown in the photo.

Step 4: Cut the Spiral Unfold the strips and you'll find what looks like a rib cage with that 1 inch seam unfolding like a spine to hold the ribs together. Put your arm through with that spine going length wise across your arm. Start to cut the space between the first loop and the second loop at an angle, such that you're cutting from the top edge of the first loop to the top edge of the second loop, as shown in the photo.

Step 4: Cut the Spiral Unfold the strips and you'll find what looks like a rib cage with that 1 inch seam unfolding like a spine to hold the ribs together. Put your arm through with that spine going length wise across your arm. Start to cut the space between the first loop and the second loop at an angle, such that you're cutting from the top edge of the first loop to the top edge of the second loop, as shown in the photo.

Step 5: Crochet and Enjoy!

Hopefully you see how easy it is to make plarn! It’s easy and fun, get your friends involved and share the joy. Here are some other posts where I talk about my love for plarn!

Why I Love to Help Others

How to Find Your Beautiful Treasures

For the Love of Handmade

Don’t forget to pin these instructions for later!

Making plarn is one of my favorite upcycling projects. I've mentioned it quite a few times in various posts, so today I'm going to show to make plarn.

 

Save

10 Easy Steps to a Green New Year

How to Have a Green New Year

There are so many resolutions for a green new year.  Some people choose not to mess with resolutions at all because they know how difficult it is to actually follow through. Making a resolution, especially one to be more green, really doesn’t have to be hard. The trick is to narrow down that resolution to a specific goal and make a plan. It’s also not about overwhelming yourself with resolutions, this can also make it difficult to complete the resolution. Hopefully, this post will give you some ideas for baby steps for a green new year and once you conquer those, come back for the tips to step it up!

here are so many options for sustainable resolutions. If it seems a bit overwhelming, start with these 10 Easy Steps to a Green New Year.

1. Reusable shopping bags

As Americans, we go through 100 billion plastic shopping bags every year, costing retailers about $4 billion dollars.

Although people think plastic bags are “free,” not only do stores hide their cost in higher prices at the register, but plastic bags actually cost taxpayers .17 cents per bag in pollution clean-up costs too. In the state of California alone, public agencies spend more than $25 million annually to manage plastic bag pollution.

As far as sustainable efforts go, I’m sure this ranks high on everyone’s list for a green new year, but there is always one small problem. We can’t ever remember to bring them… This used to be a huge problem for me, but then I started shopping at Aldi’s. For those who haven’t experienced this joy, one of the many joys of Aldi’s is they charge extra for shopping bags. Generally, stores have the price of bags built into the cost of its products, but at Aldi’s they encourage you to bring your own bag or they’ll charge you extra to buy theirs. This practice helped me into the habit of bringing my own.

Tips

But for those, who don’t have an Aldi’s to remind them, having a routine that makes it easy to remember your bags is extremely important. I would recommend always having your bags put back in the car. If you have two cars that might end up with you at the store, then stock them both with your own bags. If it’s too much of a struggle to get the bags back to the car, maybe have a spot by the door to store them, so you can grab them as you go out.

Another solution is to get bags that fit easily in your purse, pocket or on your keychain, so you can have them at all times.

Step It UP

Even without plastic bags, we still bring in tons of plastic items into our homes. To take this step to the next level, you can opt for plastic-shopping. Bring your own produce bags or bulk items sacks.

2. Take your own cup

It is estimated that 500 billion disposable cups are discarded to landfill every year. That’s one million cups a minute, every hour of every day of every year. One-hundred forty-six billion of those are dedicated to our morning coffee.

One way we can easily change this is to simply bring your own cup to get your coffee or drink your water.

Although, I’m not a coffee drinker, I’ve been drinking from a water bottle for about a year now and I love it. I’m never thirsty or searching for the nearest water fountain because I always have a water bottle at my side.

Step It UP

Once you’ve started bringing your own cup for a while, it’s time to spread the joy so others can have a green new year. Having a New Year’s party or some other gathering throughout the year? Don’t use single-serve cups. Be an example for your friends and family with reusable cups and glasses. Sure it might require an extra step, but the benefits for our Earth and future are limitless.

3. Eating at the restaurant

Take out is full of single-use items that have no other purpose than to be thrown away. Generally, restaurants buy food in bulk, so while eating out might not be better for your health or pocket book, eating in actual restaurants is better for the Earth when it comes to packaging. You’ll get extra bonus points for eating at restaurants that serve locally-grown produce.

Step It UP

To take this step to the next level for a green new year, cooking at home is much better for your health and pocketbook. It’s tough to go from a lifestyle of eating out all the time to cooking at home, but it definitely gives you more control over where your food comes from, it’s quality, how it’s packaged and so many other factors.

4. Recycle cardboard

Cardboard is probably one of the easiest things there is to recycle, it also is more valuable for recycling companies, however many people still don’t see the value in recycling it. Recycling centers generally don’t take greasy or dirty cardboard, so it takes little effort just to put clean cardboard into the recycling bin rather than the trash.

Step It UP

Other recyclables take a bit more effort to recycle, but in the end are totally worth it. Once you’ve seen how easy it is to recycle cardboard, take a look at your current habits and see what else could easily be recycled. It will depend on your location and the services offered, but it is a great opportunity to help your local recycling company and help the Earth at the same time with minimal effort.

5. Don’t Litter

This one really should be a no-brainer, but there is no end to the amount of damage litter does to our eco-system. There is no reason to litter, just wait until you reach the gas station or your next rest stop before throwing that cup or cigarette out the window.

Step It UP

A lot of the pollutants out there might not be caused by careless folks, but rather trash that got caught in the wind. No matter how it got there, it can wreak havoc on animals and waterways. If you see a piece of trash, pick it up. It might seem small, but those pieces will add up. Your good example might inspire others to do it too.

6. Walk to places close by

Not just a suggestion for a green new year, but walking is good for your health and  cuts down wear and tear on your car. It’s up to you and your schedule, but a good goal would be to walk anywhere that takes 15 minutes or less to get to. If you have multiple stops within close proximity, you can park the car on one side and walk to the farthest location and work back toward your car.

Step It UP

Again, this is kind of up to an individual’s schedule. But try to add some extra steps to your routine and replace driving time. Plan your route to reduce driving or maybe make a commitment to walking any place within a mile.

7. Donate instead of throw away

Christmas just passed and if you’re anything like me, you have to get rid of some stuff to make room. It’s easy to just toss everything, but donating used items can be better for the Earth and your local thrift stores that probably use that money for charities.

Step It UP

This takes a bit more effort, but a minimalist life style can really be of great benefit for your every area of your life. It’s a lot less stress, requires less cleaning and effort in the long run, and is much better for the planet because you’re not buying as many new things.

8. Buy nothing one day a week

There are so many benefits to not buying things. Take one day a week to assess you budget and purchases for the week. Are these things you really need or that you have money for? Yes, there was probably a good sale, but when you stop and think that you could actually save 100 percent by not buying anything at all, it really is a no-brainer.

For me, buying nothing for a day, week or month is also about showing solidarity to the workers who make it. Especially in the electronics department, there is so many human right’s violations that went into making that. I try to live a simple life so that others might simply live. Buying less and letting go of the mentality of keeping up with the Jones’ is so freeing. I can focus on saving up for a house or investing my money, instead of living paycheck to paycheck for things I don’t really want or need.

Step It UP

Expand your buy nothing day to a week or even a month. This challenge really helps get your focus on planning ahead and only buying what you need, instead of whatever catches your attention. If you expand this practice to a greater length of time, maybe think of a buy nothing new year. Instead of getting new products made, you can purchase used products from thrift stores, Craigslist or maybe even check into a Buy Nothing New Facebook group or site. Finding a new sale is always exciting, but so it the liberation of buying things you don’t need. The hunt can go the opposite way. You can hunt at thrift stores or around your local stores and find the cheapest option.

9. Meatless one day a week

The benefits of eating less meatless are endless. A lot more of the planet’s resources are spent on meat as opposed to veggies. Going meatless once a  week is a great start to a more well-rounded diet. As a rule, eating more vegetables is better for your budget, too.

Step It UP

If you decide doing one meatless day a week is doable, try to expand to do more than one day or as many days as you feel comfortable.

10. Water plants with leftover water

This may seem small, but it can make a big difference over time. Cooking water can be used in a variety of ways.

Leftover non-salted water is a great thing to use to water your plants. Let the water cool down before you disperse it on any plants. If you don’t have any plants that need watered, keep the water for making soup.

Salted or Boiling water can be used as a weed killer.

Ice cubes that fall on the ground are great for small house plants.

Step It UP

Install a water collection system. This can be a huge benefit for your water usage. Once the collection system is in place, you can free, non-chlorinated water. There are many uses for this rain water including using it for garden or agriculture, using it in place of water used for washing pets, cars, driveways and side walks, refill your pond or swimming pool, some people even use to wash their clothes and flush. For more information, check out this great link for Rainwater Harvesting 101.

I hope this list inspired you to live a green new year. Leave a comment below on your tips and tricks for a green new year!

Don’t forget to pin these for later!

here are so many options for sustainable resolutions. If it seems a bit overwhelming, start with these 10 Easy Steps to a Green New Year.

Save

Save

Why I Care About Our Environment

My Journey

Why do I care about our environment when caring for our environment is no easy task?

If you would have told me 15, even 10 years ago, that I would even put a moment of thought into my action into such a thing as Earth, I probably would have reacted in such a way that you’d think twice about letting me care about ANYTHING of yours.

But here I am, 24, and I sleep and live environmental issues. It’s all-consuming. It’s kind of struggle because I run into so few people who care or can understand my passion, but I just take care deep breaths and keep on, moving on. So how did I began my journey to care about our environment?

There are so many reasons why we should put in more effort to care about our environment. Learn more about my journey and reasons for environmental concern.

 

Continue reading

7 Ways to Repurpose Leaves and Celebrate Fall

Fall is the air. As the temperatures cool down, the leaves start turn pretty colors, and people get their rakes out. Raking leaves is necessary because leaves can clog drains, get stuck in the gutters and coat everything. But what happens to those leaves we bag up? Despite the fact that they still have use, most are layered on top of the landfill to buried under layers of more trash. What a waste when there are so many ways to repurpose leaves.

There are so many good uses for the fall leaves. Instead of packing them away in the landfill, we can repurpose leaves and celebrate fall!

Continue reading

How Upcycling Gave Me a New Beginning

How Upcycling Gave Me a New BeginningNew beginnings are hard. Although nothing has really changed between December 31 and January 1, this new year has already had it’s ups and downs. One minute is great and just as I start skipping along whistling my favorite tune  someone runs into me with scalding hot coffee, metaphorically. My job has been a little rocky with the need to constantly be learning something new, my documentary has definitely run into some problems and I’m generally just tired of always worrying that something else is going to go terribly wrong.

But you know what gets me through it? The idea that something ordinary, discarded, unwanted, even ugly can change into something beautiful or useful or both. We see it all the time in nature with butterflies, the different seasons where trees are losing their leaves, go to sleep and then wake up refreshed and flourishing, or a seed germinating to make a beautiful flower or something yummy to eat.

I think that’s why I find upcycling to be such a fascinating thing for me. I guess because if an ol’ pop bottle can have a new beginning as something as beautiful as this hummingbird feeder then maybe someday I, someone ordinary, unfinished, inadequate, will find my purpose that brings fulfillment in my life and makes me feel useful.

(At the beginning of this post, I was feeling quite down, pessimistic, confused and frustrated, but I still felt hopeful as I wrote the rest of this post. Because like I said, if someone can take care of a discarded pop bottle, then surely I will find a purpose too. It has been on my mind until this past Sunday when I randomly went to a new church service and they played this song. It validated the hope I still felt as finished this post.)

Take this orange fruit netting. Do you see a use outside it’s original purpose of holding these oranges? Although it’s not as bad as plastic bags that blow away so freely, this orange fruit bag net does still cause problems for wildlife. They might try to eat it or get tangled up in it. Fruit net bags can cause problems for the environment and animals, but they can be repurposed. Click to find out more!

Oranges are super easy for me to grab on the way to work, so I tend to buy a lot, but I have never been comfortable with throwing these nets away. Another problem, we don’t have a dish washer and sometimes even with the scratchier sponge, which we don’t always have anyway because we go through them so fast. We just can’t get our pans clean.

I spent 10 minutes trying to get this plan clean. Find out how I did it!

I spent like 10 minutes trying to get that clean and it wasn’t even budging. Then I saw an empty net just sitting there and I grabbed it out of desperation. It worked like a charm. It still took a few minutes, but I haven’t seen it that clean in months.

Ever have burnt food impossible to get off your pans? Find out my secret to getting clean dishes every time without a dishwasher.

Before, that little net had a very temporary use, but now it has a new beginning that will extend its use many times over.

scrubbie-01

 

What about these boxes?

Do you see potential for these boxes outside the landfill, never to be used again? Click for inspiration.

Obviously someone didn’t see enough use in them to throw them in the recycling bin, not even 20 feet from that dumpster. Other than metal, cardboard is one of the best recycling markets. Recycling would give it a new life and that could help a local business owner striving to make the city cleaner, but nope, that particular person didn’t even see enough potential to take the time to throw it in the bin. What do you think? Do you see a new beginning for it?

Did you know this is made with a diaper box? How Cute!

I found this upcycled project using diaper boxes, but these projects could have easily been used. I thought it was the cutest thing and if you’re interested in making it, check out this post.

What about light bulbs. Light bulbs are a pretty practical thing and they last for quite some time, but a new beginning could extend their life more. How can you say no to these cuties???

Upcycled Lightbulb Penguins

Need an idea for a homemade gift? These penguin and snowmen are made from used light bulbs. You can decorate them with extra scrap yarn or fabric.

I think my favorite thing to give new beginnings to are plastic bags. America use 150 billion plastic bags, which equals 150 million gallons of gas just blowing around our planet or wasting away in the landfills.

They really are the most impractical things ever invented. They cause problems for everyone. For the grocer that charges you extra to compensate for their cost, you, as they fill every nook and cranny in your house until you remember to throw them out or take them back to the store to be recycled, the recycler because they clog machines and are extremely expensive to recycle, and the environment as they choke animals and get stuck on every tree. The only exception is the industry that makes a killing off destroying the environment. Occasionally, I will bring some home because I need something to put the used cat litter in, but other than that I try not to use them.

Normally, when I see plastic bags I see a nuisance and beyond that a careless action that led to them being blown in the wind or stuck in a tree. But now instead of being annoyed, I pick them up, dust them off and take them home because even if someone else doesn’t care, I do. I see a new beginning for them.

Although many people tried to teach me to crochet over the years, it wasn’t until my grandmother gave me this beautiful bag made from crocheted plastic bags that I finally got the motivation to keep trying until I got it.

plarn crocheted bag

It is extremely sturdy and I have since learned to adapt the use of plarn for other projects and sometimes add colored yarn to add a little extra texture and color to them.

Here are some of my favorites:

You can watch this video to learn how to make plarn

Change is hard, but as I look back on my life, I can see when things ended it’s because something great was about to start. And when I get down, I just binge on pinning upcycling projects and it just makes me feel so much better! I hope you found encouragement in this post. I wrote as part of a collaborative post, so if you interested, click on the pictures below to see what my group members wrote about.

10649476_10153863428941323_8902713386971979931_n

734884_10153848539227065_7898950137464875627_n

happylsh

Shedding Light on Upcycling Solutions in Stillwater

Shedding Light on Upcycling Solutions in Stillwater

I have been searching for a upcycler for quite some time. I really wanted to find someone who did more than slap a new coat of paint on something and call it good. Yes, that does serve a need, is super creative, but this purpose I needed someone who really took time to take the unusable or unwanted and make it functional. Someone who not only showed interest in this project, but also followed through with an interview! I mean this guy is pretty much a miracle!

Continue reading

Stillwater’s 10 Easy Ways to Go Green in 2016

I’ll be honest. New Years is my favorite holiday. I’m not idealist (don’t tell anyone but I actually am) but it gives you a clean break.

10ways

10 Easy Ways to Go Green in 2016

I don’t always wait until the New Years to try to start something new, I mean that would just be an overwhelming and daunting task, but it gives me an official goal, if that’s what I need. While there is nothing different between December 31 or January 1, really, but I can make it one if I want to or need to.  You can also just make a clean slate in certain areas of your life. The past was last year and this year is a new opportunity to be different.

Continue reading

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…Garbage?

it's beginning to look a lot like garbage

It’s beginning to look a lot like garbage

Ev’ry where you go

Take a look at the nearest dump, it’s more than just a giant lump

With old foods and trivial goods a waste

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like garbage

Toys in ev’ry store

But the worst site to see, is where all the toys will be

Just to be replaced with more

 

Thrown away is wrapping and extra packaging

piling up everywhere

Plastic ware and paper plates used to celebrate

Used once then thrown away without a care

There long after the thought of them is gone never to be thought of again

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like garbage

E’rywhere you go

Crumples of packaging there, more than people are aware

We assume away we’ll have to throw

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like garbage

Soon we realize too late

That the message of the holiday is lost, deep with in the frost

Thrown away with our fate

It's beginning to look a lot like garbage