Upcycling – How to Use and Repurpose Plastic Containers

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Environmental

Ready, set, reuse! Recycle if you must, but if you can, join the upcycling movement. This is the practice of giving something a new purpose without having to reduce its properties and start over again. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few great ideas for those boring plastic containers that nearly everything seems to be sold in these days.

Antibacterial wipe containers – These are absolutely perfect for storing the plastic bags you use to bring groceries home from the store. You can fit a lot of them inside and they pull out one by one just like the wipes. 

Plastic pop bottles – This is way too much fun if you have kids. Remove the labels and clean with warm, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and let dry completely. Then, get creative and use acrylic paints to paint cute faces or designs on them. Fill them 1/3 with sand, and set them up as bowling pins for your toddler! 

Honey bear plastic bottles – These have been around forever, and it’s nearly impossible to toss one in the recycling bin because they’re so darn cute. Take advantage of the classic design by adding some glamour. Visit the local craft store and purchase some gold leaf paint. Don’t forget to buy a plastic primer so the gold leaf will adhere to the bear. Hand paint a fancy design and top with a clear acrylic coat to permanently set your handiwork. The result is fancy little bear that you can display on its own, or leave the lid off and fill with fake flowers, long feathers, or anything else that will plume at the top. They look especially great in rooms that feature antiques because the gold leafing resembles vintage finishes traditionally applied to antique knick-knacks!

Upcycling – How To Use and Repurpose Sundry Household Items

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Environmental

It usually fills slowly, over time, but you’re steadily adding to it every month. It’s that box – the one that is the catch-all for the miscellaneous items around the house that don’t get used anymore. There’s a good chance that you even still like some of them, but after a couple of years of no use, it seems silly to keep them around. Your goal is to drop off the box at the local donation center once it is full, but that’s an errand that too easily put off. Perhaps that a good thing, because we’ve got some suggestions for how to put those things to good use by giving them a new purpose!

Dessert and cakes stands: Set on your vanity, bathroom counter, or craft table. Desert stands make for a beautiful display of jewelry, accessories, perfume. Cakes stands are a nifty way to assemble a collection of bottled art supplies, such as acrylic paints.

Shot glasses: The tall skinny ones are super for organizing and displaying those expensive makeup brushes you invested in. They are also ideal for specialty pens and markers that you don’t want to get lost in the shuffle of the common stuff. Short shot glasses work well for painting too, but in this case you can dispense various paint colors in them and not run the risk of accidently mixing the colors as might happen on a palette or tray.

Old metal funnels: Flip them over and insert taper candles. The wide base will ensure that the candle doesn’t fall over, and if the wax drips on them it’s highly likely that they’ll look even better.

Silver, gold, or brass candle sticks: If you’re a modern gal you may have switched over to battery run faux flames to add ambience. But it’s a shame to let go of something solid and traditional, like heirloom candle sticks that might even have sentimental value. So, use them to hold and display bracelets and watches!

Hard sided sunglass cases: Avoid the ‘cord drama’ caused when you toss chargers and earphones in your handbag. Simply wind them up and store them in a sunglass case, and they’ll emerge from your bag without tangles.

Upcycling – How to Use and Repurpose Food Packaging Containers

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Environmental

Sure, you could toss this stuff into the recycling bin and still be doing a good deed. It didn’t end up in a landfill, right? But what if you were able to accomplish even more by not disposing of it at all? Even though recycling is a wonderful thing, it still requires resources. Better yet, just think a little outside of the box about ways to give things a new use. Here’s a list of some of the most commonly discarded food packaging items that are fabulous for reusing.

Parmesan cheese shaker:  Rinse it out to remove residue and remove most of the label. A little cooking oil will help loosen a stubborn label. Then, toss it in the utensil basket in the dishwasher to clean it completely. Remove any label remnants and make sure it’s completely dry inside and out. Then use it for anything that benefits from a bit of sprinkling. Such as, baking soda, glitter, sidewalk salt in the winter, and sugar mixes like cinnamon sugar. Another great use is watering household plants. The water will disperse better. 

Large, plastic juice containers with wide, pop top openings: Clean in the same way as recommended for the parmesan cheese container. If the plastic juice bottle doesn’t fit well in the dishwasher, you can opt to clean the inside with a dishwashing sponge-wand. Then, use it to store and dispense: small animal food, sand, cereal, and anything else that’s the right size to successfully pour out of the opening. It’s also a great replacement for a standard plant watering jug. 

Cold coffee beverage bottles – We’re referencing the ones that you buy at the grocery so you don’t have to pay top price for a frappacino at the coffee shop. Collect enough of them to store your collection of bulk spices! Clean those with warm soapy water, rinse, dry completely. You can paint the lids all the same color to make it a matching set, and then use a glass marker to label them.

Non-Toxic Kitchen Cleaner

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Environmental

Using less chemicals in the home is healthier for you and your family. Find out how to make an excellent cleaning agent that cost a fraction of the price of a store bought, chemical cleaning solution.

What You Will Need:

¼ Cup Baking Soda

Approximately 2 Tbsp. Peroxide

Directions:

Add ¼ cup of baking soda to a bowl. Add enough peroxide to make a paste. Use a fork to mix the two ingredients.

What to Clean With the Paste:

Pots and Pans

Stove

Oven

Refrigerator

Bath tub

Shower

Sink

Either apply paste to items by hand or add the paste to a clean sponge, for tougher stains. For particularly dirty baking pans, apply the paste to a balled up piece of aluminum foil and scrub. This method works better than using plain steel wool.

Do not save the mixture. Make the solution as needed to clean items. The paste works the best after it has just been mixed.

Do not use this paste on granite or natural stone countertops or on stainless steel appliances.  

Composting Tips

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Environmental

Composting is a great way to nurture your garden as well as use food items that would normally be thrown out. This is an easy way to keep your garden healthy, naturally. By composting regularly you have to water and fertilize your garden less. Find out the tips and tricks to pulling this gardening task.

Things to Compost:

Fruit rinds (citrus and melon)

Banana peels

Coffee grounds

Egg shells

Rotten fruit and vegetables

Tea bags

Shredded paper and news paper

Grass clippings

Fireplace ashes

Tips:

Get a composting pail. These can be purchased at your local home improvement store, in the gardening section. Choose one that has a lid on it. Compost can get smelly and attract fruit flies.

Keep the composting pail in a convenient location. On a patio or porch is a good place since fruit flies will find it. Turn the material inside when it starts to smell and attract flies. Add water to the compost if it has been dry. Keep compost moist. Avoid adding too much water, you do not want it to be completely damp.

Chop up fruits, veggies and the rinds so they can decompose faster. Wash out egg shells before adding them to the compost.

Turning the compost is needed every couple of days. This adds oxygen to the pile; which is needed by microorganisms to break down the material. Use a pitch fork to properly turn the material. When adding organic material make sure to mix it in with the rest of the compost by turning it using the pitch fork. Add compost to your garden about once a week. 

Dawn Dish Soap: A Safer Alternative to Pesticides

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Environmental

When growing your own garden of fruits and vegetables that you intend on eating, it is best to use an organic way to kill insects. The biggest reason most people plant gardens is to eat cleaner and know what exactly is in their food. Having to spray a chemical pesticide on your fruits and veggies, makes you wonder why you didn’t just go to the grocery store. Worry no more, making this solution is safe on plants and still considered organic. Find out how to make your own pest control solution, that is safe to eat and cheaper than a store bought pesticide.

What You Need:

Pure Dawn Dish Soap (do not use the kinds with any degreaser, bleach, perfumes or dyes)

Vegetable Oil

Water

Spray Bottle

Directions:

Make a mixture of 2 ½ Tbsp. of Dawn dish soap and 2 ½ Tbsp. of vegetable oil. Whisk the mixture in with one gallon of water. Place liquid into a spray bottle. The dish soap suffocates the soft insects and the oil keeps the solution on the plant longer.

It is important to make the solution you need for one application. The solution will not work if you leave it and use it again for a later application.

Generously spray directly onto plants. Make sure and apply the solution on a day where there is no chance of rain and only when the temperature is less than 90 degrees. The plants leaves will burn if this is sprayed on them in 90 degree or above.

This can be done as needed and should be done when you see insects on the plants or in the garden. This solution kills soft bugs, like caterpillars. Apply the application once a week until you see the bugs are gone. If they come back continue to use the spray.

If you wish to make a smaller amount add 1 Tbsp. of the pure dish soap and 1 Tbsp. of vegetable oil to 8 Oz. of water and add that mixture to a spray bottle.  

Healthy Home

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Environmental, Family, Hints, Tips and Advice, Tips and Advice

We all know that keeping your home clean is key, but keeping your home healthy is important as well. Consider the following tips:

Defeat allergens – Use zippered dust-proof casings for pillows and mattresses; the pore space of such casings is so small that dust mites and their waste products can’t get through.

Vacuum properly – Use HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters to prevent tiny particles of dust from being blown back out into the air.

Change the vacuum filter – Changing the filter is an essential part of keeping dust out of the air and preserving the life of the machine.

Speaking of filters – Never run your heating/air conditioning system without filters, and be sure to change them regularly.

Run your bathroom fan – Running the exhaust fan (and making sure it’s vented to the outdoors) helps remove moisture from this naturally humid room.

Tend to the gutters – Leaky gutters can cause excessive moisture entering your basement or crawlspace. If you don’t have covered gutters, regular litter removal is a must, not only in the fall but all year long.

Use your nose – If you detect a musty smell in your home, inspect closely until you find the source of the smell. The sooner you find the mold, the easier it will be to remove.

Keeping your home allergen and mold free makes it a healthier place for your entire family.

 

Taking Care of Cork Flooring

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Environmental, Floors, Hints, Tips and Advice

Cork flooring is a very popular option these days. Cork floors are gorgeous, environmentally friendly floors, hypoallergenic and incredibly durable. However, they do require proper care and maintenance so that they stay looking good for years.

Here are a few tips on how to take care of your cork floors:

  1. Perform regular maintenance – sweep your floors often to pick up dirt and dust.
  2. Prevent fading – over a period of time sun exposure can cause your floors to fade. Be sure to install curtains, blinds or a window tint to block direct sunlight.
  3. Protect – lift, don’t drag furniture across your floors. Place felt pads under all furniture to prevent scuffs.
  4. Mop –damp mop your cork floors weekly. Remember that cork is absorbent, which means it can easily be stained from spills. All spills should be wiped up as soon as possible. Do not use abrasive cleaners or solvents, especially those that contain glycerin. These products can harm the finish making it impossible to refinish. A neutral PH detergent (PH of 6-8) should be used to clean cork floors either with a wrung out sponge or misted over the floor and damp mopped.

Cork floors are one of the easiest floors to maintain. If you follow our tips on keeping them clean they will continue to look beautiful for years and years.

Got Allergies?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Environmental, Hints, Tips and Advice

Summer’s blossoms might be knocking you out — and not just by their beauty. Allergy season has arrived earlier this year with extra force. If you’re an allergy sufferer, and odds are good that you are, you probably already know that. About 40 million Americans now have what are known as indoor/outdoor allergies, with the most common triggers being tree, grass and weed pollen, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Experts say that this may be the worst allergy season on record. While you may stock up on allergy medication and tissues, isn’t there anything else a Mom can do? Here are some tips to reduce the effect of dust mites, spores and pollen.

A well-ventilated house and non-leaking ductwork is a first line of defense against bringing allergens into your living space. Use HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in the air conditioning system. Maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent. Mold likes moisture, and dust and pollen are easily stirred in dry air. Keep your windows closed when pollen counts are highest: in the early morning hours, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and in windy conditions. Pollen and mold spores settle on clothing, so when you come in from outdoors, remove your outer garments in the mudroom, and take a shower.

Clean up clutter. The less stuff in your house, the fewer places for allergens to hang out. And, just as important, the easier it will be to clean thoroughly once a week.

Your bathroom is for mold and your bedroom is for dust mites — heaven at home. Inspect water pipes for leaks and fix them. Regularly clean walls with a nontoxic cleaner. Make sure that ventilation fans are routed to the outside, and run them for 30 minutes after a shower or bath. Scrub away mold on pipes and fixtures.

Fabrics and carpeting generate help create dust by the breaking down of fibers. Consider pitching curtains, high-pile carpeting and upholstered furniture in the bedroom: all cozy accommodations for allergens. Become a fan of washable throw rugs over wood, linoleum, or tiled floors. Damp mop regularly, and clean walls and other surfaces. If you must have carpeting, make it short, tight pile and vacuum weekly with a cleaner that has a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

While we can’t eliminate 100% of allergens we can at least minimize their impact.

Sustainable Hardwoods

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Environmental, Hardwood

Do you think about the environmental impact of your purchasing decisions? Many people today have modified their approach to buying a product by exploring the company’s approach to sustainability.

As consumers pay more attention, suppliers do too. One good example of this is a research project started recently by PE International, a consulting firm specializing in environmental consulting. They are investigating the environmental impact of American hardwoods, from the initial extraction to the final delivery at wood import firms. This analysis will eventually help you make more informed decisions when you purchase wood floors and furniture.

Choosing a hardwood floor involves many choices: style, budget, wood tone, type of wood, manufacturer and installer. Today, many consumers also want to know about a product’s carbon footprint. As a result, many suppliers and distributors are working hard to get that information for you. When you make important purchasing decisions, it’s worth your time to ask about any environmental information available.