Friday, December 9, 2011

Tip on Hanging Laundry

My local power company recently sent me an insert in my bill that gave tips on conserving energy. Many of them I already knew but one tip really helped me change the way I hung my laundry. They said that towels, jeans and other clothing that typically dries hard on the clothes line can be hung out to dry. Then, when they are almost dry (with a slight dampness) they can be put in the dryer for 10 minutes on medium heat with a dryer sheet. This will cause them to soften again.
You know what, I tried that tip and it worked. I was able to further reduce my energy costs. I hope this tip helps you reduce the costs of your electric bill too.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Donate your old bicycle

I was reading this week's Parade Magazine which is an insert in my local paper once a week when I came across this great program. Wheels of Change ships used bicycles (plus seas, wheels, and helmets) from US to Africa, where they are sold and rented at a low cost. School children and medical volunteers ride for free.

Here's how it works:

Go to and fill out the form. They will email you the details on where you can take your used bike and/or equipment for donation. Please give the volunteers time to get back to you.

You can also start a chapter in your community if you would like to help. Please see website for more information.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

CVS Green Bag Tag Program

I was so excited to come across this program because I'm a bargain shopper. CVS has this initiative to help their customers remember to bring their own shopping bags instead of using plastic ones.

Basically, you get a leaf tag that gets scanned along with your Extracare rewards card. However, every fourth time you bring in your own bag or refuse a plastic bag at check out, you earn $1 Extra Rewards Bucks.

The only thing that I'm not crazy about is that you have to buy this leaf tag for 99 cents. Since all other rewards cards are free, I'm not sure why customers have to pay for this one. I have to admit that it's worth it if you are a regular customer and keep your reusable shopping bags in your car like I do.

For anyone who is interested in this program and shops at CVS, I have attached the link for you to register.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Hi Everyone,

Happy Halloween!!! This is a picture of my family and the giant 240lb pumpkin that my husband grew from a seed.

We had a noreaster in Pennsylvania this past weekend with several inches of snow. I know that most adults groan when a big snowstorm comes but how cool is it to be a kid this year and go trick or treating then sledding all in the same weekend?

My husband carved the pumpkin anyway despite the cold. Maybe next year the pumpkin will be even bigger. Last year, our giant pumpkin only weighed in at 172lbs.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thrift Find Makeover

I love makeovers of just about anything from people to things. A couple of weeks ago, I found this tray that someone started to make as a craft.

I loved the idea but it looked boring. I replaced the paper with one of my orchid photos. I took off the corner embellishments and replaced them with pearls. Then I took a chartreuse satin ribbon and attached it to the side to hide a few scratches on the frame and viola....

I recreated this beautiful piece. I can't help but get a sense of satisfaction that with a few tweaks, I can create something beautiful.

It's available on my Etsy store...

Friday, October 14, 2011


I saw this in Family Fun Magazine and I don't care for the mess that happens when carving traditional Jack-O-Lanterns. If you feel the same, this is a cleaner and eco-friendly way to decorate your pumpkins with the stuff you might have in your junk drawer and/or recycling bin. Let your creativity run wild and have fun preparing for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Step by Step to make Lamp from Window Blinds

I get Ready Made Magazine in the mail and I was looking at their website for inspiration and ideas.

I came across this really unique way of repurposing window blinds. I just had to share this with you too.

If you want the step by step instructions, go to

Monday, October 10, 2011

Answer The Call of the Wild

Since people who are inspired by nature are often the ones who are interested in preserving it, I thought this might be of interest to some of you.

Today, I came across a women only adventure travel company which arranges hikes in national parks in the US. It might be a unique way of seeing the US National Parks and spend time with a girlfriend.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Use for Glass Sugar Dispenser

I received my Paper Crafts magazine (Nov/Dec) edition today and I was pleased to pass along a great idea they featured.

Glass sugar dispensers often used in diners are the perfect size to hold twine and even ribbon. Loved the idea because it useful in organizing craft spaces.

You can find these dispensers often in thrift shops. Amazon also sells them but they would probably be much cheaper at thrift shops. Paper Crafts Magazine said they saw the idea from but didn't specify if it was from an article or a shop.

I might use this idea myself to organize loose ribbon I have in my drawers. I'll have to keep an eye out the next time I visit a thrift store.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Eco Tips on Used Tea Bags

I have a wonderful local publication that I pick up at the grocery store called Natural Awakenings. In their September issue, they had an article that gave ideas to extend the life of a tea bag. They stated that discarded tea bags add up to 1,500 tons of landfill waste annually. I personally compost mine (after removing the metal staple) but I am inspired to try some of these ideas before they go to the compost pile.

  • Tea bags can be used as a compress for bee stings, bug bites, sunburn and bruises. It is supposed to help with pain and reduce inflammation.

  • Make plantar warts disappear by pressing a warm, wet tea bag directly to the area for 10-15 min. Then let the area dry naturally. After a few days of repeated treatment, the wart should go away. Hmmm? Not sure about that one.

  • Green tea bags can be put in warm bath water and soaking in green tea is supposed to give you soft skin.

  • Puffy eyes can be helped with cold used tea bags. The tannin in the tea is supposed to help with this.

  • Razor burn can be relieved by pressing a tea bag to irritated skin.

  • Dabbing skin with a moist tea bag is supposed to dry up the rash.

  • Opening the bag and mixing the contents in soil can perk up acid-loving plants like ferns, roses, hydrangea, azaleas, etc.

These ideas were adapted from a website called

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Etsy Artist Creates Magic from Palm Trees

From this....

To this....

An Etsy store owner takes reclaimed palm fronds from trees and creates interesting characters from her imagination. Janet, who is a native of Florida, has been painting palm fronds for approximately 13 years. To relax, she rides her bike around searching for fronds that catch her eye and inspire her to create fun works of art.

She also recycles many different materials to use in her art, including rubber to make the fins and teeth for this particular fish.

If you would like to see more, you can check out her Etsy store at

To relax, Janet spends her time riding her bike to find new fronds that inspire her to paint. Not knowing what you'll find is what keeps it exciting for this artist.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Eco Clear Bags

I received a catalog after my order of clear bags and I was thrilled to see Eco Clear Bags. They are also compostable. How cool is that?

I plan on buying them next time. There's a pretty good selection. Thought I would share because I know I have some followers who have Etsy stores and may be interested in ordering these for their items.


Friday, September 16, 2011

So excited

Today, I finally took some time for myself and went to Salvation Army then Goodwill. At first, I was bummed because I saw a huge guilded mirror I wanted to paint ivory and hang in my daughter's bedroom. I wanted to make it look shabby chic but it was gone. When will I

ever learn...

I did manage to find two candle sticks that were ceramic and a ceramic plate that matched one of the candle sticks to make a cake plate. I found a recipe tin which I plan on making into a magnet recipe tin. Still had blank recipe cards inside.

Then I found a small hanging white jewelry cabinet that's missing a knob. I plan on painting it hot pink and black. I found the perfect pink jewel knob to match. Will make a cute tween gift. Everything for under $5. I can't wait to get started on these projects. I love going because there are so many things you can repurpose from what people discard. I will post pics as soon as I am done.

A little time, a little ingenuity, and a whole lot of imagination can make something beautiful and useful again. Thrills me every time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Family Fun Friends of Change Volunteer Contest

For fun I do sweepstakes and I came across this one. If you volunteer to make your community a greener place, you might qualify.

Last year's first prize winner was students from the Clifford School in Redwood City, CA who started a lunchtime recycling program. They obtained a grant to buy bins for collecting plastic and aluminum.

And students in the Jenison Public School in Jenison, MI collected phone books then donated them to a local company who makes ecofriendly cellulose insulation for homes. Imagine what you can do?

For our eighth annual volunteering awards, FamilyFun is partnering with Disney Friends for Change to celebrate all the ways families work to improve their communities. Together with generationOn (the youth division of Points of Light Institute), we'll select four grand-prize winners and ward $5,000 to each winner's favorite charity! Five first-place winners will receive $1,000 for their charity of choice. The entry deadline is November 30.

Good Luck!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Etsy Shop Owner Uses Found Objects to Make Jewelry

Queenginya's store owner began making jewelry from everyday things she found since she was 4 years old.

"What got me interested in opening a shop was buying a giant box of found objects at an estate sale and making all kinds of things for my exchange students. Weird pieces made with spent gun shell casings, buttons, pencil ends, old whistles, crazy stuff...and they loved it."

"As odd as it sounds I let the item 'tell' me what it wants to be. Some things I may have bought years ago and still am waiting for the vision...I bought a baggie of old clip sunglass lenses years ago because the edge was decorative metal. I finally made them into pins and necklaces. You just never know."

The items in Queenginya's store range from buttons, root beer tops, beads from curtains and lampshades, zippers and more. She is inspired more by the items that she finds in garage sales, estate sales and flea markets than things could can find in craft stores. Its the hunt in finding unique items and the challenge of finding a new use that really gets the creativity flowing for this jewelry artist. If you would like to see more items, click on

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Win win proposition

I'm always tickled when I come across an idea that is a win/win situation for all involved. A lot of organizations recycle cell phones to raise their donations money and that is really great. But I came across this website called that has a very unique concept when it comes to recycling cell phones.

Here's how it works:

  • You go online and either print a free shipping label or request a free mailer bag to be sent to you.

  • Put your phone and mail it back to them. They sell the recycled materials (metals) and the money is used to buy trees that will be planted. You receive an email as to how many trees were planted because of your contribution. I guess some cell phones contain more recyclable materials than others or metals that are worth more.

It's a pretty cool concept especially since people upgrade their cell phones every couple of years and the technology of the phones is constantly changing.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Another use for junk mail

Here's another use for the junk mail. Sometimes, companies include a blank envelope in their mailings. I keep them in a folder to use when I begin to harvest my veggies. I had a good harvest this year with all the rain we had.

When I dry the seeds, I store them in these envelopes and tape it shut. The envelopes get stored in a drawer in my dining room where temps are consistent.

Yesterday, I just dried some cantelope seeds and seeds from an enormous cucumber that my neighbor dropped off. We'll see if I can grow them next year.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Less is more

I bought a six pack of rollers for my painting project. My better half suggested that I use the plastic bag to store the roller in between coats. It worked. I only used half of the rollers for a long hallway, ceilings, the dining room and the living room. Not too shabby.

The paint on the roller stayed wet for a week. This is a great idea if you are painting a large size room by section like I am. I also stored those squares you slide across so you don't have to tape the molding. I only bought one package of refills and only used 1. I don't recommend this for brushes because I found that paint will clump up the bristles. I just cleaned my brushes in between uses.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reutilizing Sheet Metal

Okay, I can't take credit for this one. My dad made this for me to make painting floor molding easier and faster to paint. It saves time and $$ on paint tape. Even though he's pretty handy around the house, I was skeptical but you know what it worked. He cut a rectangle shape piece from sheet metal he had lef tover in his garage. I think it's over a foot long.

He used white electrical tape to tape the end I would be holding to prevent cutting my hands. I tilted the sheet metal at a sharp angle then painted the molding on top. I had to hold it pretty tight against the bottom of the molding and I didn't get any paint on my carpet. Then you can flip over and paint the top of the molding and no white paint got on the wall either.

Genius. Thanks dad!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's been too long...

Boy oh boy, has this summer been as busy for you as it has been for me? When the season gets warmer, there is so much to do. I've been so preoccupied with planting our first veggie garden which is finally producing lots of cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cantalopes, green peppers, roma tomatoes, and pumpkins for fall. Are you growing veggies or fruits this year?

Then when that project was finished it was time for our annual family vacation at the shore. Above is a picture that I took of the dunes. Aaaaa, nothing like rolling waves to refresh the soul.

And when we came home, I dove right into a project that I've been wanting to tackle for three years since we moved here. Painting the downstairs. Almost done but it's slow going when you have kids.

Now I can concentrate on what I love best. Writing, research, and photography. It's been too long since I've posted new ideas for repurposing and recycling. I can't wait to share more ideas that I have recently discovered with you.

Reusing Plastic Bedding Covers

I often felt guilty when I bought new sheets and comforters because of the packaging. Before I had kids I would keep them until they would pile up never knowing what to use them for, then my intolerance for clutter outweighed my guilt, I would end up throwing them away because they couldn't be recycled.

When I became a mom, my kids received toys with lots of pieces. Sometimes, I secretly suspect that some people purposefully gave my kids gadgets with lots of annoying noises and toys with lots of little parts to drive us crazy.

There wasn't much I could do about the noisy toys but I could tackle the clutter before we were buried in it. When I bought sheets for my son's toddler bed, I realized these sturdy plastic packages finally had a use. This package contains books and cartridges for an electronic reader. The bigger bags come in handy to contain games like Connect4, Chess/Checkers, etc. after the boxes disentigrate from heavy use. And when you're kids outgrow them, they can easily be displayed on a table for your next yard sale or go into the drop off box for Good Will, etc.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Paperback Swap

A few posts ago, I mentioned ways to to donate books and tips to recycle them. I came across another website that allows you to swap paperback books.

It's free to be a member. You post books you are willing to giveaway. If someone requests it, you print out a couple of sheets of paper, wrap the book, and pay the postage which they say runs between $2-$2.50. The book is theirs to keep. Vice versa, if you find a book you want, you submit your request.

It's certainly cheaper than Amazon or bookstores, which in my area are dwindling. Borders just closed their doors in my town. I still get books from library book sales but this is a nice option if you don't have access to book sales.

For more information, you can go to

P.S. I included a photo of My Antonia because I just finished this book the other day. Very good read by the way.

Happy Reading!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Recycling Floppy Disks

Today, I cleaned out our home office to get ready for an upcoming garage sale that I am participating in my parent's neighborhood in a couple of weeks. The whole neighborhood holds an annual garage sale and it's well attended. I live in farm country so it's not worth having one at home.

Anyway, I found a pile of floppy disks from back in the day. Okay, ha, ha. I can honestly say that it's been a while since I cleaned the home office. I came across a company that recycles these disks. Although they say that they erase the info on them, I would take this advice with a grain of salt. I took the liberty of erasing the info on these disks and some were blank anyway.

So if it's been a while since you cleaned out your home office and are looking to recycle these babies, here's the info.

Just a note, if you have 500 disks or more, they are willing to pay for them. This is good news for companies who want to unload a ton of them.

Household items can make a difference

St. Joseph's Indian School helps Lakota (Sioux) children escape poverty through education. They have a list of things they need on their website and they update it regularly. So whenever you are getting rid of stuff, you can check the website to see if there is a need for it. Most of the time, it's everyday things you use at home.

Of course, they accept monetary donations and I personally have made a modest donation last year.

There are many things you might have lying around the house not being used like shampoo, pillows, scrapbooking supplies, kitchen utensils, etc. I have duplicates of scrapbook paper that I got in a book which I won't use so I think the kids could benefit from making projects with it. I just have to find a mailer that can hold 12x12 paper.

Here is the link to the list of supplies that St. Joseph's needs in case you are interested... http://

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Terracycle is a company that was started by two guys in college who created the company for one of their classes. Terracycle partners with other companies to collect specific items and reuse them in new ways.

Now they have a new program just in time for summer. If you have lots of old flip flops lying around collecting dust or you can collect lots of them. Please go to to sign up for the program.

These programs are usually not ongoing and are often capped with the number of items they will take. Not shipping costs and proceeds can be donated to a favorite charity. I've participated in the soda bottle brigade in the past and now I am collecting highlighters, sharpies, pens and tape dispensers. I prefer sandals over flip flops but I know lots of people love them so here is an opportunity to put them to a new use.

BTW, there is a new post on composting natural fibers. Please view the March folder to find out more.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Barley Ball Experiment

Hi Everyone,

I'm working on a small experiment with my pond. Besides the fact that I need more landscaping in the backyard, I've been having a big issue with algae. The pond in my previous home was in full sun but algae wasn't an issue. And I lived there for six years. But at this house, you can't see anything. I've tried different chemical treatments for ponds but it didn't even put a dent in it.

My interest in recycling and repurposing brought me to another solution. I found on a barley ball. It seemed to have good ratings and although a bit expensive, I thought I would give it a shot. It's been in there for a week and this is the first time I can see the bottom of the pond. I can't actually count the number of fish we have instead of guessing.

You can see the algae stuck to the bottom of the ball. Basically it's loose barley grass in a netting with a styrofoam ball to keep it afloat.

Since it's made so much progress in a week's time, I expect it to work well throughout the summer.

I wonder if I can grow some barley myself to use in the future. I have the room to grow it. Does anyone have suggestions where I can buy seeds?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

120 ways to reuse a t-shirt

Megan Nicolay revolutionized the T-shirt. She repurposed it, reinterpreted it, reinvented it. What's great about this book is that everyone has t-shirts they haven't worn for a long time or don't fit anymore. What a great way to take a t-shirt and see what you can create.

Doing these projects together with your older kids will reinforce the value of not throwing anything away and being wasteful. Etsy sellers might pick up some new ideas for adding fresh products to your store. I just saw this book on sale on for $9.96, normally priced $15.95.

If you do pick up the book and make a project, please email me so I can post it on this blog with a photo of you. We would love to see your creativity at play.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Earthday Poster Contest

RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK - EARTH DAY - POSTER CONTEST - Nationwide - Restrictions - Ends 4/18/11POSTED ON 3/25/11 (Enter also by mail. See rules online for details.)

(3) One-per-grade-category. Grade appropriate books to the classrooms of one winner and one runner-up in each of the three grade categories. Value $125. LIMIT ONE ENTRY PER PERSON OR CLASS. (students gradEs K-6 with a teacher sponsor)

VOID in: PR. Five finalists in each of three grade categories will be determined by judging and their entrieswill be posted online for public voting from 4/21 to 4/27/11.Most votes wins. Winners notified approx. 5/2/11.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fabric Scraps

Fabric scraps from leftover craft and sowing projects can really clutter a space. Unless you have everything super organized.

If you are looking to get rid of fabric, you can post a free ad in You can donate them to a church, retirement home, or a charity collecting them for quilting. I give my sister-n-law a lot of fabrics because she is a quilter.

If the scraps are too small for using in future projects, I read in Martha Stewart magazine that you can throw natural-fiber fabrics like cotton and wool on the compost pile. Just cut in small pieces and mix them thoroughly into the pile. This was useful information to me. Now that I think about it, this makes sense. But before I read the article, it wouldn't have occurred to me which is why I thought it would be important to share with you.

My Seedlings

Remember that post a few weeks ago about reusing popsicle sticks? I had to take a moment and share how big my seedlings have grown since I took that photo.

Sad to say that this is the first time I've planted something from seed. Hey, better late than never. It was a project for me and my son. And considering it was our first time, I think we did a pretty good job.

He helped me plant the seeds and is now helping me repot the seedlings. It's been a great pet project for both of us and I smile when he lights up after remembering that he has to check his seeds. He runs to the dining room and checks them before we go about our day.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ditch the Junk Mail

Along with catalogs, credit card offers also can pile up in your mailbox. If you want to save time sifting through mail, take a few minutes to call 888-5-OPT-OUT and halt credit card offers. If you are going to throw out the mail anyway, then it's worth doing because 5 minutes of sifting through mail adds up over the course of a year.

Another option is the save the letters and use the opposite blank side to use as scrap paper. You can store them in a basket. They are handy for printing online coupons, printing directions, invoices after you order something online, and emails you want to keep in print form. I like to do sweepstakes and use them to print the official rules. Think of how much $$ you'll save from having to buy reams of paper.

I also use envelopes from junk mail to put my grocery list on or a "to do" list for the day. Sometimes I jot down reminders for myself.

Mail Stop

Catalogs can pile up. Some companies will only send a few and if you don't order anything, they fizzle out.

However, even if you order one can be inundated with catalogs. This can be especially hectic during the Christmas season.

If you want to dodge the onslaught of catalogs piling up in your mailbox, you can go to

Some of the services are free but for $20 a year, you can be unlisted to marketers.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Recycle Your Yoga Mat

If you practice yoga regularly, chances are your mat will give out eventually. There's good news. will
help you keep your yoga mats out of the landfill.
1. Clean it - See FAQ page for cleaning tips.

2. Package it - packaging will be reused or recycled.

3. Ship it - Send via United States Postal Service parcel post (usually the cheapest way), to the address below.
Shipping Address:Recycle Your Mat1323 SE 6th Avenue Portland, OR 97214
4. Once received, we'll email you a coupon for 20% off your next order of Manduka gear at

3 Ways to Repurpose Plastic Shower Curtains

Unfortunately, most recycling facilities do not recycle plastic shower curtains because most are made of PVC. It can compromise the chemical makeup of plastics that are recyclable.

1. Save it for a rainy day when you and your kids are painting or working on a messy project.

2. And speaking of painting, use it as a drop cloth for when you are painting a room or hallway.

3. Stay dry at picnics. You can use it underneath your blanket to prevent dew or rain soaked grass from seeping through.

Save $$ and prolong the life of your plastic shower curtain by using these ways to clean it.

1. You can throw it in the washer with detergent and baking soda.

2. Black spores? A few squirts from spray bottle filled with diluted bleach will clear it up in no time.

3. You can also fill your bathtub with Oxyclean and let it soak for a couple of hours, then rinse it off.

The cleaner you keep your plastic shower curtain, the less you will have to purchase in the future.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's not a Croc

Good news for you Croc shoe lovers...there is a recycling program when your Crocs have seen better days.
The manufacturer recycles used Crocs into new shoes and donates them to underprivileged families.

You can mail your used Crocs to : Crocs Recycling West, 3375 Enterprise Avenue, Bloomington, CA 92316.

They are nice and light so postage won't be that much.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Coat Donation Program Warms the Lives of Others

Spring will be here before you know it and it will be time to put our winter coats away. Now would be a great time to buy winter coats on sale for next year.
Goodwill or the Salvation Army are good places to donate your old coats.
Another wonderful organization would be happy to take your old or outgrown coats is This charity helps the homeless and other people in need keep warm during the winter. This is especially now important since the tough economy has impacted many families across the country.

There are two ways you can participate. You can type in your zip code to find a coat drive near you. I tried a couple of different zip codes and it seems that bigger towns/cities have drives that are closer than if you live in a smaller town.
Another way to participate is run a coat drive yourself. The website provides detailed instructions on how to coordinate one in your town.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Etsy Crafter that Repurposes with a Purpose

CreativeCorksNMore has embraced the green movement in Eugene, OR and was inspired into green crafting.

"When you see what can be done with recycled items, and how it can better both parties it is truly something exciting," says Tanita and Devon. " We are asked so often; 'why corks?' and the answer is simple and consists of two answers, really. First, corks are not only an image that states recycled, but they are very easy and simple to work with. Second, when you look at a cork the possibilities are literally endless, unlike general crafting medias."
CreativeCorksNMore are not just limited to corks. They have recently branched into wine bottles, ceramic, decoupage, and more. The goal is to have that something for everyone, and spread the philosophy we’ve adopted.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Repurpose Popsicle Sticks

This summer, you don't have to feel guilty throwing away popsicle sticks. Save them to use as markers if you want to start your veggie and herb garden from scratch. I just started mine for this summer. It's the first time I am starting from scratch and I'm bound to make mistakes along the way but at least I am able to reuse the popsicle sticks. You can wash then store them in a small container in one of your kitchen drawers or incorporate them in your recycling station. I am starting one in my garage.

Happy planting!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Upcycling to Keep our Pups Dry

Found a small mention in Ladie's Home Journal about Taryn Zychal who collects broken and abandoned umbrellas in her hometown in Philadelphia, PA. She creates raincoats for dogs and donates a portion of the proceeds to animal charities.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Squeaky clean donation

How many of us have those little hotel soaps and shampoo bottles cluttering our drawers and cabinets? Or worse, the endless bath products given as Christmas gifts that we never use because we didn't like the smell of them.

Clean the World is an organization that collects soaps and donates them to third world countries to help prevent the spread of diseases.
There are a few ways to participate. You can coordinate a soap drive with friends and family. There are tools and specific directions how to coordinate one in your area.
You can ship unused soap to Clean the World400A Pittman St.Orlando, FL 32801.
Or if you happen to be shopping on, you can purchase soap online to be donated to the organization.

Drowning in stuffed animals

There is a stage of motherhood where stuffed animals invade your home. And I do mean invade. Some of my childhood toys were kept for my kids to enjoy. Others were gifts when the babies were born. Some were given by family members when their kids got too old to enjoy them. And the rest, heaven only knows where the heck they came from. These are only a sampling of what he has.

Since clutter tends to stress me out, I'm doing my best to deal with it and allow my son to enjoy this "babies" as he totes them around the house in his bag then proceeds to dump them in every room in the house he happens to be playing in. I've taken photos of him with his friends for his scrapbook to enjoy. I plan on letting him keep the ones that are the most special to him.

But what to do with the others? There is a firehouse locally that accepts stuffed animals in good condition to give to children who experience the trauma of losing their home to a fire. If you are looking to tackle your stuffed animal dilemma, check with your local firehouse to see if there is a similar program. If not, there is an organization called SAFE who takes gently used stuffed animals to homeless shelters, hosptials and emergency aid works like paramedics and firefighters.

Inkjet and Toner Fundraiser

Recycle and give Great Danes a second chance for a loving home.

The Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League has been running an inkjet and toner fundraiser for at least several years now. Please check out the following links to find out how to participate. It's easy and all of the money is used to feed, foster, and find homes for homeless Great Danes.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Composting-Spreading the responsibility

In one of my previous posts, I said that you can't always make people do the right thing. Heated deliberations, forcing values upon others, and even guilt trips rarely change bad habits.

So if you can't beat them, make it easy and/or cheap for them to do the right thing. I tried to talk my dad into getting one of those compost bins but he wasn't interested and he didn't want an unsightly pile in his small yard.

With this in mind, I bought my dad a compost pail for Father's Day. He's always cooking and throws away tons of compost. When I make my weekly visits with my kids, I just bring him a clean, empty one and take the full one home. He gave me a smile understanding my ulterior motives but conceeded. Now I get a very full, heavy pail of compost for my pile which is good for me too. Basically, I've created a symbiotic relationship with composting with my family and it's become an ingrained habit that we've managed to keep up with.

P.S. The composting pail I use is one from Gardener's Supply Catalog. It's stainless steel and it really does a nice job keeping my kitchen from being stinky. I put it in the dishwasher to sanitize it and it's been holding up well for two years.

If you are in the market for a great pail, go to and look for the Brushed Stainless Steel Compost Pail - Item #38-560 $19.95. There are liners you can buy, but I've been using it without them and the interior gets some staining.

Storing Used Bags for Repurposing

Plastic bags and packages I want to reuse have a way of cluttering a space. I have found some useful storage containers that can be hidden away and keep the clutter to a minimum.

This is a photo of the one I use. It's under my kitchen sink, attached to the inside of the cabinet door. I bought one for my parents from Bed, Bath, and Beyond to hang on their garage wall. I noticed the pile that was cluttering the doorway which is why I chose that one for them. I gave it to them for Christmas.

You might be thinking, why I haven't been able to convert them into using cloth bags like me. All I can say is that I have learned that you can't force people to do the right thing. I have taken the great Mahatma Ghandi's words to heart, "be the change you want to see in the world." I can only lead by example and step in to make a difference even if it's a small one when I can.

So when I visit once a week, I collect the plastic bags and put them in with my cloth ones. So the next time I go grocery shopping, I put them in the plastic bag recycling bin. Weis/Kings and Giant have these receptacles for plastic bags. Do you know of any other stores in your area that have a similar program? Feel free to post a comment if you want to add to this list.

New Uses for Used Bags

Although I try my best to be mindful of the packaging of most of the foods I buy, there are some staples I need that come in plastic bags. If you can't recycle it, repurposing is the next best thing.

As a mom, I used the Diaper Champ and reused grocery plastic bags to line the interior instead of buying a box of plastic bags for the pail. I dreaded changing the bag and sanitizing it in between changes became a huge chore. With my second child, I didn't even use it. And by that time, I began to use cloth bags for my groceries so I collected very few plastic bags anyway.

I threw the pee filled diapers directly in our garbage. But I used bread bags and veggie bags for the poo poo diapers. They were easy to tie off on the end and I threw it in the garbage outside to avoid a stinky diaper pail.

Other bags I found useful were Thomas' English Muffins, cereal bags, and even the plastic bags that held diapers. I just rolled them up in a tight ball or reused a twistie tie close it.

Are there ways you reuse packaging that isn't environmentally friendly? How do you store it? Feel free to add to this post.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Recycling Sneakers?

Spring is in the air and it won't be long until you will be cleaning out your closets. What to do with all of the old, yucky sneakers no one is wearing anymore. You don't have to throw them out in the garbade because Nike has a recycling sneaker program and the best part is that they will recycle any brand of sneaker. to find a drop off location. If you don't have one close enough, don't worry, I didn't have a drop off location near me either.

You can mail the sneaker (s) to

Nike Grind Processing

8400 Winchester Rd

Memphis, TN 38125