Category Archives: Recycle, Re-purpose!

Holiday Idea’s from a reader

A fellow reader of my blog sent me this on Facebook. Neat idea for Christmas lights.



From an old dresser to a dollhouse with storage!


A pet bed made from an old sweater.



Next time you or a loved one takes their kids to the mall, slip this home-made bracelet on their wrist. Make it your cell phone number so that if the child gets lost s/he can show someone to contact you.




Mason Jar oil lamps



These are incredibly fun to make and nice to stare at, but keep out of reach of children or you have a fire hazard.

You can fill your lamp with all oil, or half water and half oil (a prettier solution).

Most of the materials can be found just laying around the house, or you can go purchase fiberglass wicks that you can use forever. Fiberglass wicks do not burn up like a typical candle wick, or other organic material.

There are endless variations that can be made. If you ever did the experiment in grade school with food-coloring-dyed liquids that float on each other due to different densities, you can turn this into a beautiful piece of artwork.

Glycerine and rubbing alcohol work well.

Did you know that a cork will float between the water and oil?


* 1 mason jar with metal lid.

* 1 nail, drill, or just something to puncture the top of the lid to create a small hole for the wick.

* 1 bottle of olive oil or indoor non-toxic burning oil.

* 1 strip of 100% cotton material to be used as a wick (an old sock, perhaps).

Making the Lamp/Lantern

It’s important that it be 100% cotton. If there is polyester or anything else in it, it may produce unhealthy fumes when it burns.

So, make a hole in the metal lid, and run your wick down to the bottom of the jar through that hole.

Only expose about half an inch of wick above the lid or you will end up with a pretty big flame.

The cotton material will eventually burn down and you’ll have to continue to pull the wick upward. Making it a little long to compensate is a good idea.

Personally, I buy scented oil and I use fiberglass wicks. I take copper freezer tubing from Lowes or Home Depot and cut off about an inch of the tube. I place my wick through the tube, and then the tube sits in the hole in the lid. The scented oil doesn’t work like it does in an oil burner, but you can still smell it.

Fiberglass wicks are used in everything from outdoor patio torches to designer oil lamps. They are great to have, but not a necessity.

Need Fiberglass Wicks? Buy them here for $1.12/ea!

Due to several requests and comments, we have purchased a very expensive spool, and have given you the best price on the fiberglass wicks. Just use this little PayPal form below and you’ll receive your wicks in the mail. There’s no sense in paying $8 on eBay for one wick. These prices are set to break even.

Scented Oil Burner Addition/Upgrade

This is an update to this article with a concept idea to build a scented oil burner into this lantern.

You know the little bowls that you pour scented oil into, and simply place a tea-candle under? Let’s mount that on top of the flame from your oil lantern.

At Lowes or Home Depot, you can find threaded rods, and nuts to fit them for about $2 dollars total.

You’ll need a saw to cut this threaded rod into pieces of about 5 inches. If using a hand saw, be very careful that when you get started, you don’t slip and hurt yourself.

If you do not have a saw, you can take a hammer and a flat-head screwdriver and simply ‘cut’ the rod by placing the screwdriver on the rod, hitting it with the hammer a time or two, then rotate the rod.

When you see an indentation all around the rod, simply bend to break it off.

You’ll need three pieces to make the balance.

I suggest using 1/4″ inch rods, and so of course you’d also need two 1/4″ nuts per rod.

Drill 3 evenly spaced holes into your lid, just like you did to insert your wick, but on the outer edges. (Don’t do this while the lid is on the jar, unless you are very careful not to drill into the jar itself).

Take each of your rod pieces and insert them about an inch into the ‘lid’.

Take a nut, and twist it onto the rod from the underside of the lid. Now, do the same from the other side (top of lid). Depending on your nut, these are not going to be super-tight and that is okay. However, you can help tighten them by twisting both nuts at the same time, which will be opposite directions, and they will tighten into each other.

Now, you’ve created these little towering rods that you can balance the belly of a symetrical bowl on, pour oil into it, and burn.

For decorative purposes, you can spray your lid, rods, nuts, etc., with Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.

There is this new fancy spray-can they have out now with a rotating paint nozzle, and that can cost almost $8, but you can use the traditional can since you’re just painting your oil lamp, get the same amount of paint (12 oz), and save about $2.00. The fancy can has “oil rubbed bronze” written on the front. The traditional cans will have it written on the white stick-on label on the back of the cans.

Alright, let’s see if this can be photoshopped decently enough to at least convey the idea.

mason jar scented oil burner lamp lantern addition

Insulate your windows with bubble wrap- On the cheap!

Todays entry comes from Build it Solar.

I am always looking to recycle, reuse, upcycle….what ever you want to call it these days. This looks like a really good use for bubble wrap that’s been sitting around. I plan on trying it out this season and saving myself some money from buying window kits.

There is only one thing I wonder about this method and that is the use of water. Will it dry up, hold on the bubble wrap and not cause mildew or condensation? Only time will tell. I am going to add a touch of vinegar to my water bottle just in case!! Let me know how this works out for you!

“I’ve used bubble wrap on windows for two three+ years now, and I’m amazed how quick and easy it is.  This year, we are even covering the windows in the guest room — we just take the bubble wrap down when guests come, and put it back up when they leave — 15 seconds a window.

This is a simple technique for insulating windows with bubble wrap packing material.  Bubble wrap is often used to insulate greenhouse windows in the winter, but it also seems to work fine for windows in the house.   You can use it with or without regular or insulating window shades.  It also works for windows of irregular shape, which can be difficult to find insulating shades for.

Its been 3 or 4 years since I put this page up, and I’ve heard from MANY people who are quite happy with using bubble wrap for window insulation.

The view through the bubble wrapped window is fuzzy, so don’t use it on windows where you need a clear view.  But, it does let plenty of light through.

I like the medium to large size bubbles.  The larger ones appear (from surface temperature measurements) to insulate a little better, and you still get a nice artistic effect looking out of them.  The small bubble warp totally obscures the view, but you still get light.  Most people seem to prefer the large bubble version.


  • Cut the bubble wrap to the size of the window pane with scissors.
  • Spray a film of water on the window using a spray bottle.
  • Apply the bubble wrap while the window is still wet and press it into place.
  • The bubble side goes toward the glass.
  • To remove the bubble wrap, just pull it off starting from a corner.  You can save it and use it for several years.  It does not leave a mess or stains on the window glass.

If you have trouble with the bubble wrap separating from the window when the film dries, you can try adding a little Glycerin to the water, but this probably won’t be necessary.

A few small pieces of double back tape can be helpful on really stubborn windows.

The bubble wrap can be installed in the fall, and removed in the spring.  Judging by how mine looks after a year, it may last quite a while.

When you take the bubble wrap down, put a small number in on the upper right corner of each piece of bubble wrap, and write down which window that number goes with on a piece of paper.  Save the paper for the installation next fall.  This tells you instantly where each sheet goes, and which way it’s oriented.

Some places to get bubble wrap:

– Save up bubble wrap packing material that you and friends receive

– Check places that sell larger items like canoes or furniture — bubble wrap is often used for packing these.

– Check for wholesale suppliers of packing material in your area — these places will often sell a roll to the public.

– Here is one potential online source: (I’ve not actually tried them, but looks OK)

– As a last resort, places like the UPS store have it, but the prices are usually high.

For pictures and more ideas follow this link:

What to do with wood ash.

I was cleaning out the fireplace in my bedroom and wondering while doing it, if you know of some of the many uses for wood ash. First, a little science.

Wood ash contains calcium carbonate as its major component, representing 25 or even 45 percent. Less than 10 percent is potash, and less than 1 percent phosphate; there are trace elements of iron, manganese, zinc, copper and some heavy metals. For a long time wood ash has been used in agricultural soil applications as it recycles nutrients back to the land. Wood ash has some value as a fertilizer, but does not contain nitrogen. Because of the presence of calcium carbonate it acts as a liming agent and will de-acidify the soil increasing its pH. 

Surprisingly, there are many uses for your old ashes so do not toss them away! Here is a list of just a few:

-dust baths for birds

-spread a low ring around individual plants are gardens to deter slugs/snails

-de-icer for walkway and driveways, wont hurt your grass and gives traction

-de-skunk your dog by rubbing the ashes over hid fur (make sure they are cold!)

-use in compost, enhance its nutrients by sprinkling in a few ashes

-control the algae in your pond. One tablespoon per 1,000 gallons adds enough potassium to strengthen other aquatic plants that compete with algae, slowing its growth

-pump up tomatoes. For the calcium-loving plants, place 1/4 cup right in the hole when planting

-lawn Fertilizer – Wood ash contains 10-25% calcium, 1-4% magnesium, 5-15% potassium and 1-3% phosphorus

-make a paste and polish your silver

-cleaning agent – mix with water to form a paste and use on the glass in your wood stove or fireplace. Ditto for rings left on wood furniture from glasses. It’s abrasive, so use with care

-make soap. Soaking ashes in water makes lye, which can be mixed with animal fat and then boiled to produce soap. Salt makes it harden as it cools

-dust your carrots to repel bugs

-odor control – Put in t-shirt material to insert in stored shoes

-used in tanning hides

-unclog drains

Remember if you are gathering your ashes to buy a metal pail to put them in. DO NOT use plastic! Even though you think they are cold, they may still have little embers that will melt the bucket and cause a fire! SAFETY FIRST. Before I got my metal buckets, I used an old roasting pan with lid for my ashes, works great and no dust will blow off of it. Dedicate the metal bucket for ashes,

Buy a metal strainer, the kind with the handle that looks like is has screening in it. That will help you get the chunky leftover bits of wood out.

Mother Earth called, she wants you to stop being such an assh*le! Renegade Mothering!

Just loved this article. Been there done that. Take a read and you will see what i mean. Some people just dont have all the money or resources to “keep up with the Joneses!” Bravo Renegademama!


Ten great DIY printed summer shorts you can easily make at home.

Summer time is shorts time. Hot days and warm nights means you won’t have to wear pants for at least another few months. Cute print shorts are all the rage this season, and you can channel that trend without breaking the bank. Just get out some basic tools like masking tape and an exacto knife and make a few of these great summer shorts. The instructions can be found here:

Great Ideas for old tee shirts!

What an awesome way to use and old tee-shirt! A great way to not have to buy a plastic bag. The directions for it are here:

Or how about tee-shirt yarn! You can crochet or knit with it. Make your own throw rugs or hats? The instructions along with a video tutorial can be found here:

I don’t know about you but I’m going to go thru all the old tee’s!