Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Old Christmas Cards Make New Gift Tags and Canning Jar Toppers

If you are giving home canned foods (anything in a canning jar), dig out those Christmas cards you saved from last year. 

Trace your lid over the area you desire to cut out, and place it between the top of your lid and under your jar rim.

 (Jars of Cinnamon Honey Butter, sitting on a placemat made from recycled Christmas cards and covered with clear contac paper)

Tie on a recycled card also, or simply write on the card topper itself.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to Make a Cinnamon Stick Christmas Tree ~ Christmas Tree Ornament

Items needed:

long cinnamon sticks
artificial evergreen stems or garland that you can cut from 
scrap twine, ribbon
optional:  wooden star, paint, paint brush
glue gun and glue stick for it

1. Cut pieces of artificial evergreen in sections to that each piece is a bit larger than the last, as shown in the photo.

2. Glue them to the cinnamon stick and allow to dry.  

3. Glue on ribbons tied in bows, twine tied in bows, start at the top, bells and buttons. Allow to dry.

4.Turn over and glue twine tied for a hanger.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Ways to Reuse Canning Lids (Canning Jar Lids)

When you have boil sealed your canning jars, and have opened them, recycle or reuse your lids. 

 Ideas for You:

1. Make Ornaments
2. Make a Template
3. Use them to give thank you gifts in jars that don't require a boil seal.
Click here to get Directions

4. More to come....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How to Make a Canning Jar Lid Christmas Ornament

Use any size canning jar lid to make fun Christmas Ornaments

Materials Needed:

used canning lids
scrap fabric, felt, wallpaper, or other material
templates (see below)
strong glue (we used E6000 glue)
piece of recycled string (we used feed bag string)
pen or pencil for tracing templates
edging scissors (optional)
embellishments (optional)

1. Wash and dry any size canning lid.

2.  Use a template to cut two larger circles of any fabric, wallpaper or other material.

For this ornament I used two regular canning lids.  For the cut circles I used "template 1" that uses an old CD.  

3. If you prefer to add a fun edge to your circles, now is the time.  Hold both cut circles, wrong sides together, and with one hand hold one canning lid on top of them.  With your scissors, cut evenly around, while hold the material and lid together.

4. To piece together: 
~Place one canning lid with top side down, place a bit of glue on the other side. 

~Place one piece of cut circle over the lid, centering the lid.  Place a tied recycle piece of string and secure it with glue, then place the second piece of cut material, centering it and pressing down gently to secure together.  Be sure to position the tied portion of your string (ribbon or other material for a hanger) in the center.  When it dries completely, your ornament will spin to show both sides.

~  Place the second cut piece of material over with wrong sides together, pressing gently to secure the glue.  Place glue on the bottom of the second canning lid, and press down onto the material, centering it.

Allow this to dry for 48-72 hours until you handle it again.  This will allow your materials to secure together and remain centered.

To Add Center Piece
1. For the regular canning lids, you will need the regular size rim for another template.  Place the lid upside down, on the wrong side of your material, and trace the inside of the rim.

Ideas to embellish your center piece before cutting it out:

1. minimize a computer iron-on transfer and iron to material

2. Embroider a design

3. Secure small tatting pieces to create a design

4. Cross-stitch a design

5. Consider decoupaging items to the center lid

2. Cut both circles (for center of lids) and glue wrong sides of fabric to the center of both canning lids on your ornament. For this one, I simply took leftover scraps of fabric and a button.

Taking it one step further:  Sew a creative border into the larger circle edges with leftover feed bag string, thread, or embroidering threads.  Tat around the edge of your larger circles.

How to Make a Canning Lid Template

1. Wash and dry any size canning lid you wish to reuse or recycle.

 2. Turn your lid so that the top is up.

3. Wash and dry any plastic bottle lid that has a bit of height to it.  For this one, I reused a lid from a syrup bottle.

4. With a strong glue (I used E6000 glue), spread glue on bottom rim of your plastic lid, and gently place onto the top side of your canning lid.  Be sure to do this in an area that has a protected surface, and is where you can leave it to dry (untouched).

5. Allow it to dry according to you glue instructions.

6. Store your fun template with your sewing or crafting supplies (possibly with or near your cutting tools).

Use your template for cutting fabric yo-yo's, fun place cards......the ideas are endless for your new circle templates.  These will last a long time, and you can try so many different items that you typically throw in your garbage.

Try using old wine corks, or other recycled items for your template handle.  These can even be used to blue stamps to the underside, for example using a recycled foam tray, or other stamping materials.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Plastic Peanut Butter Jar Lids

Peanut butter jars often come with either a metal or plastic lid.  Ideally, most people will recycle the plastic or glass jar that it comes in.  However, what do you do with the plastic lids?

Here are a few ideas to reuse those plastic lids that most recycling centers will not take.

1. Use at a soda can top, when enjoying your drink outdoors.  It keeps the bees and other unwanted pests out of your beverage.

2. Make a cup coaster. Line the inside, and the top of the lid, with a layer of felt or recycled material (flannel pajamas).  This helps absorb the condensation and by covering the top of the lid, it keeps the cup coaster from sliding on surfaces.

3. Use them for homemade Christmas ornaments.  Use a versa-tool to melt a hold in the rim to tie on a hanger.  Fill the inside with whatever you feel inspired by, and create a fun ornament.  Wrap recycled ribbon, or scrap ribbon around the outside for more decoration.

4.  Keep one by a sink to hold jewelery when needed.

5. Use them to hold office supplies, such as rubber bands or paper clips.

6. Make one into a picture frame, by cutting a photo to fit the inner circle, glue a magnet to the backside and allow to dry.  

7. Use them to hold beads or other small craft supplies while working on a project.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Scrap Twine ~ Easy and Inexpensive Drawer Pulls

Make these fun, affordable, and useful drawer pulls with scrap twine.  Depending on the size of your original screw holes, you may not be able to use twine from straw bales (too thick).

Simple cut a piece, long enough to make a pull loop, and run both cut ends into the screw hole, from the outside of the drawer.  Have someone hold the loop, while you knot the two ends from the inside of the drawer.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reusing Cardboard Canning Jar Boxes

Cardboard canning jar boxes, the ones with a bottom and only sides, can be reused for so many things.  If you are canning this summer, and have to buy new jars, read over these ideas for reusing your boxes.

1. Decorate and use to hold library books

2. Keep a few by the door inside, and use to hold dirty garden shoes, mucking boots, and horse riding boots.

 3. Give one to your cat for a cozy cat bed.  Cats love cardboard.

4. Save them to hold food when transporting it in your vehicle or to school.

5. Use it for craft projects

6. Use one to gather produce from your garden.

7.  Give a few to your kids to play with.  They make fun fake computer screens.

8. Use them to organize any supplies in a room, garage, or garden shed.

9. Use one to store scrap printer paper.

10. Decorate them and use them to deliver gifts or food to someone in need, who is sick or simply someone you wish to gift. 

11. Tear it into strips and add it to your compost.

12. Recycle it at your local recycling center.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Feed Bag Strings ~ Creative Ways to Reuse Them

When you open your animal feed bags, and pull the top string away, don't throw it in the trash.  Save the string.  And don't forget your bags (plastic lined) can be cut and made into tote bags, wallets and so much more.

Here are ideas for you, on ways to use your feed bag strings:

1. Use for tatting small items (embellish cards etc.).
2. Use to tie herbs together to hang and dry.
3. Use to tie poles together for runner beans to climb.
4. Use to tie spices inside cheesecloth for baking, canning and cooking.
5. Cut shorter pieces to run through gift tags and use it to tie the gift tag on.
6. Use the string in place of ribbon, when wrapping gifts.
7. Crochet smaller items for scrap booking, note cards, and embellishing gift tags.
8. Use for a frugal curtain tie back.
9. Use for hangers on homemade or store purchased Christmas tree ornaments.
10.Use several strings of different colors to braid, and make friendship bracelets or hair ties.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Magazine Subscription Cards ~ Ideas for Reusing Them.

Recycle and Reuse Magazine Subscription Cards:

1.  Use them for bookmarks.  Teachers often keep a stash of these in their desk for students to use.  Keep a stash for yourself, or in your nightstand.

2. If you have young children, you can use them as teaching tools.  Have children write their name, address, and even phone numbers on the subscription cards to practice remembering important information, and to practice writing it.

3. Keep several magazine subscription cards in a "rainy day" box.  Kids can be very creative in using them.  Use them to protect surfaces when painting very small items.

4. Kids and play mailman or house with magazine subscription cards.  They can use them to write notes to family members.  Be sure to give them junk mail envelopes for fun mail.

5. Use extra subscription cards for campfire kindling.  Keep a plastic bag in your camping supply tote, and fill it with these cards for easy fire starters.

6. Kids can fold them in different ways, creating fences or building tops, when building cardboard or paper towns to play with.

7. In a pinch, magazine subscription cards make a quick cup coaster.  Although it will get wet, it can be useful at times.

8.  Use them to write down addresses you are traveling to.  They make reading your travel location a bit easier.  Tuck them in your travel journal when you are finished with your trip.  You can use them for future trips.

9. Recycle them.  Simply take them to you recycling center, or shred for packing boxes.

10. Use them to write out small shopping lists.

11. Donate them to your local preschool.  Call ahead to see if they can use them.

12. While traveling or visiting patients at hospitals, it is possible to sit and read magazines.  If you do, and you do embroidery, these magazine cards come in handy.  Instead of bringing all your supplies, use the cards to wrap extra embroidery thread, and to hold needles.  It works great until you come home again.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Animal Feed Tote Bags

I saw these for sale in a store a few months ago, and was pretty sure I could make them myself.  They were selling these for $15.00 each and felt it was way too much.  However, after I made this first one, I can see why the cost is high.   Sewing the bag is a bit cumbersome.  I'm not an expert with sewing, and I am using a dinosaur of a sewing machine also.  It did turn out pretty good.

To make one, wash an animal feed bag with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar water.  Allow the bag to dry completely.

For this bag, I measured from the bottom of the bag, and marked it at about 13 inches.  Then I cut across the bag from the side edge.  Then fold the cut edge down, inside about 1 inch.

With the remaining top cut half, measure in from the cut edge 2 inches. Before you cut, measure again, from those marks, another 2 inches.  You will then cut across from the side edges.  These are your straps.  Cut them so that they are 25 inches long each. Recycle the remainder, or use it to sew wallets, or smaller totes.

I machine stitched the tote edge from the wrong side.  However, after I finished stitching from the right side would look nicer.

For the straps, one at a time, fold them in half long ways.  So instead of 2 inches wide and 25 long, they are now 1 inch wide and 25 inches long.  Simply machine stitch the cut edges. I trimmed my edge, with scissors, after I had each strap finished.

 (view from the inside of the bag after the strap was sewn on)

Measure about two inches from the side (or however you prefer your straps), and sew a square and then an X to secure the bottom of the strap to the top sewn edge of the tote bag. You will sew these to the inside of the bottom tote. 

As you can see, it's not perfect, but it's only my first one.  The kids are fighting over this one.  One of the kids will be testing it out, but it is not for heavy items.  This would be great for the beach, pool, lighter library books, for a shopping bag or other use.  Use plastic coated feed bags from cat food, dog food, chicken and/or other animal feed bags. They would make wonderful gift bags also. 

Experiment and have fun.  Create messenger style bags and more.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Scrapbooking ~ Book of Possibilities

Inspired by Queen Latifah (Movie Last Holiday), I created this scrapbook/journal to document my dreams or possibilities.  Simply use recycled paper, or a scrapbook with paper pages, and add you “possibilities.”  If you made cereal box journals, those would work perfectly also.  Many of my kids now have one of these scrapbooks.

To make one for yourself, cut pictures, letters, and words from recycled magazines, newspapers or other sources.  Use scrap pieces of material, and add other sources of scraps.  For this cover, I embroidered the year onto a scrap piece of cross-stitch fabric and glued it to the page.

Each page, or section of your journal is dedicated to something you would like to accomplish, but needs time to complete.  For example, is there something you would like to purchase, but simply do not have the money at this time?  A hot rod?  A camper?  A cottage by the lake?  A cabin in the mountains?

This scrapbook/journal is all about inspiring yourself.  Keep adding to your scrapbook, and keep it in a location where you can look at it often.  The above page was created with photos printed from a computer, with backgrounds of recycled newspaper and fabric.  Words were cut from magazine pages.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cereal Box Journals

These turned out very nice.

Simply cut the front and back of a large cereal box, and trace an 8 1/2 x 11 inch rectangle.  I used a piece of sturdy card stock to track these.  When you cut them out, cut outside your tracing line, to make the cover and back slightly larger than the paper you will include. 

We used 100% recycled copy paper, and took them to a copy center.  The plastic binding was attached for less than $5.00 (USD).  You can fill your journals with any recycled paper, but pages must all be the same size, and flat.  Ask you copy center for prices and thickness of bindings.  We made these about 3/4 inch thick.  Now, each of my kids wants a cereal box journal.

These are great gifts for kids, adults, teachers, and groups.  Journaling is fun and these blank pages allow for more creativity.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Upcycling ~ Garden Hose Keychains

While cleaning out the barn, we found an unused, old garden hose.  We re-purposed it to make keychains, and other uses. 

To make one, simply cut a portion of the hose with sharp cutting shears, create a hole at the top (I placed one on each side) by piercing it with a sharp ended tool, or versa-tool (on a safe surface, with safety equipment).  

Using pliers, slide a key ring or large sturdy slip ring into one hole, and then onto the hole on the opposite side.  Add another larger key ring to the one you use attached.

Adding the first ring can be difficult, however these make fun keychains for lawn mowers, sheds, and other outdoor equipment. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Make it with Bottle Caps

Bottle Cap Keychains

To make these, you will need a very small drill bit, and a drill.  Drill a hole into the top inside rim, on a safe surface.  I use a scrap piece of wood.  Attach a jump ring, you may need 2 of them if your attachment (Keychain) does not have one.  These types of attachments can be purchased at most craft stores.  These are fun to make, great gifts for kids getting their license and make nice gifts for sending "fun" mail to someone.

Bottle Cap Magnets

To make these, simple wash and dry metal bottle caps from beverages, apply a dab of strong glue to the backside, place a strong round magnet on the glue and allow it to completely dry.  For our magnets, we purchased round magnets at the discount store, applied glue on top of the one magnet, and applied a second magnet.  This creates a heavier and stronger magnet.  We love giving these as gifts, using them around the homestead, and more.  The kids love using them in their lockers at school.   The also make nice thank you gifts, teacher gifts, and more.

I have also seen jewelery, such as earrings and necklaces made from bottle caps.  I just may have to make a few of those too.  Although, it's getting harder to find beverages sold in glass bottles.  Most beverages are now produced in plastic bottles, with plastic lids (which are very difficult to recycle).  There is one place that does recycle plastic caps:  Aveda Salons.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Herb Drying Rack ~ Scrap Wood

You can make simple drying racks for your herbs.  Here we took a scrap piece of wood and painted it with a coat of white paint.  After the paint dried, a layer of crackle medium was applied, and also dried.  Then the green paint was applied and dried.  The crackle medium, allowed the white to show through, and appear as aged paint.  Decoration was applied with paint pens, and also dried.

The clothespins (wooden) were painted first and allowed to dry.  Then they were glued to the board with a strong holding glue.

With a drill you can drill top holes to hand screw eye screws into the top.  Tie on your scrap twine and you have a nice sized drying rack for your herbs.

The paints were not purchased for this project.  The paints that were used, were scrap bottles leftover from other projects.

You may also like:
Barn Wood Herb Drying Rack

Toss and Catch Game for Kids

Recycle your plastic creamer containers.  Simply cut the bottom portion with a sharp knife or utility scissors, and cover the cut edge with duct tape.  Be sure to use caution when you are cutting the bottom off.

Tie a scrap piece of cotton string to a plastic golf ball or small plastic ball with holes, and secure the other end in between the red cap and bottle neck.  You can secure the string with duct tape as well.  Have children try to swing the ball into the cup for a fun, recycled toy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Homemade Soap Dispenser

While shopping in Amish Country I saw very cute soap dispensers.  Of course, the prices are sky high, and looking at it, I figured anyone can make these.  

You can use any glass jar and metal lid.   Smaller canning jars would be cute too, but for the one we made, we recycled a food jar.  The lid and jar are from Tahini I bought at the store.   

The pump itself is recycled from a Bath & Body lotion dispenser I received as a gift.  Once the jars were empty, they were washed and dried.  The dispenser itself had a much longer tube underneath that required being cut.   

The lid was drilled through with a hand drill (using proper safety), and secured inside the lid with a tie strap.  Now we can refill our soap dispenser with bulk soap, or make our own.

Update:  Spray your lid with a few coats of acrylic spray prior to using it.  Allow it to dry.  Otherwise a metal lid will rust after a long use of it.  Although I have not tried it yet, you could also use a spray on rust metal primer as well, to protect against rust.