Monthly Archives: June 2014

When Trash Becomes Treasure: The Joy of Repurposing & Upcycling

Lately, I have been on a repurposing kick.  It’s an area of my green journey that I didn’t visit as much before.  Many things I would have thrown out or recycled, have suddenly found a second life, a reincarnation into something new and inspiring.  So, please enjoy this photo essay of upcycling and repurposing by myself and other bloggers.

Turning Old Jars Into Gems

Why recycle when you can reuse? Remove labels from jars by soaking jars in water for an hour or two.  After that, labels will easily come off .

 

Jars for Storage

Nut butter jars now store whole nuts. Spice jars are refilled with bulk spices. A small jar now houses rose petals for tea.

 

Store an avocado, carry your lunch or put homemade nut mylk in repurposed jars.

Store an avocado, carry your lunch or put homemade nut mylk in jars. The possibilities are endless.

Make your own wholesome dressing and put in a mason jar.

Make your own healthy dressing & put in a mason jar.

Other Containers Creatively Reused

An old mug houses a bottle cleaning brush.  A jar is reused to hold veggie scrub brushes.  A tiny clay pot hold steel wool.

An old mug houses a bottle cleaning brush. A jar is reused to hold veggie scrub brushes. A tiny clay pot holds steel wool.

Clockwise:  A spray bottle is reused to contain vinegar and water to condition my hair. A bath salt jar gets a second life holding a homemade body butter.  A silicone lid from a broken travel mug becomes the perfect soap dish.  A protein bar baggie now houses one of my many sample soap bars.

Clockwise: A spray bottle is reused to contain vinegar and water to condition my hair. A bath salt jar gets a second life holding a homemade body butter. A silicone lid from a broken travel mug becomes the perfect soap dish. A protein bar baggie now houses one of my shampoo bar samples.

A jar lid becomes a plant dish.

A jar lid becomes a plant dish.

A strawberry container upcycles into a linen closet organizer.

A strawberry container upcycles into a linen closet organizer.

 

Coming up, here are some of my favorite upcycling ideas from others:    

A chair becomes a towel rack and shelf. Courtesy of the blog, Twisted Sifter.

A chair becomes a towel rack and shelf. Courtesy of the blog, Twisted Sifter.

Incandescent lightbulbs become mini hanging vases.  Courtesy of Red Ship.

Incandescent lightbulbs become mini hanging vases. Courtesy of Red Ship.

Oh, lovely.  A bike is held by old bike handlebars.  Courtesy of Upcycle That.

 A bicycle is held by old bike handlebars. Courtesy of Upcycle That.

Apparently, all you need is a glass cutter and very coarse sand paper.  Courtesy of The Art of the R's.

Apparently, all you need is a glass cutter and very coarse sand paper to transform wine bottles in glasses. Courtesy of The Art of the R’s.

Who wants this beautiful lamp made from a wine bottle?  Courtesy of HGTV.

Who wants this beautiful lamp made from a wine bottle? Courtesy of HGTV.

This mirror is made from collected sticks that are painting white and attached to a mirror.  See HGTV on how to do this.

This mirror is enhanced from twigs that are painted white and attached to it. See HGTV on how to do this.

An old wine box transforms into shoe storage.  Courtesy of Twisted Sifter.

An old wine box transforms into shoe storage. Courtesy of Twisted Sifter.

 

Ever wonder what to do with old, mismatched kitchen utensils?  Courtesy of Twisted Sifter.

Ever wonder what to do with old, mismatched kitchen utensils? Courtesy of Twisted Sifter.

Need to decorate?  How about framing an old piece of wood with character?  Courtesy of HGTV.

Need to decorate? How about framing an old piece of wood with character? Courtesy of HGTV.

Transform your old jars into a decorative herb garden!  Courtesy of Camille Styles.

Transform your old jars into a decorative herb garden! Courtesy of Camille Styles.

 

Have you ever repurposed or upcycled?  What ideas would you like to try? Share the inspiration in the comments section below.

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The Magic Of Rainwater For Your Hair

 

Who enjoys dancing in the rain?

Who enjoys dancing in the rain?  Photo Credit: Praise Philly

Nature is absolutely magical and sometimes even beautifying.  The simplest things can be the most profound.  Take rainwater, for instance: while I used to resist being outside in the rain, particularly in cold weather, I now remind myself, when caught in a spring sprinkle,  to relax and enjoy.  The rain brings out the child in me who wants to splash in puddles, muse at drops glistening over leaves and enjoy the sensations of tiny droplets falling on my skin.  Not to mention, rain does amazing things to my hair.

Just two days ago, I got caught in the rain.  I told the part of me, that wanted to hurry to my destination and get out of the rain, to relax.  I slowed my pace, relaxing into the sensations of a light, cool rain showering all over my skin.  I was wearing flip flops and seemed to inadvertently splash some dirt, from puddles, up the backs of my legs.  There was a joy to this messiness.

Once I got indoors and spied my reflection in the mirror, my previously flat, slightly frizzy hair, was now wavy, soft and glossy.  Hooray!  I have also noticed that when I get caught in a rain or mist, that I can go an extra day without washing my hair.

So, what is about the rain that creates this hair magic? Rain is a soft water which hair loves. Hard water doesn’t wash your hair as well; you can’t lather as well and it doesn’t rinse out the soap scum very well either.  Also, rainwater doesn’t have chlorine, which is harsh for our skin and hair.

Digging a little deeper, what I found out from a company called,  Rainwater Connection, is that rainwater is a “high quality water” that “is soft, neutral in pH, free from disinfection by-products, salts, minerals, and other natural and man-made contaminants.”   However, they caution that you should properly collect and filter your rainwater for personal use.

When googling about the benefits of rainwater for hair, several websites cautioned against using acid rain.  Holistics.com cautions: “Rainwater still has chemicals in it, but it won’t contain some of the heavier chemicals found in hard water. Rainwater is not safe to drink without filtering it first. If you live in an acid rain area or any place where a layer of smog casts a pallor over the town, washing with rainwater is not for you.”  I even looked at a map that showed acid rain prone areas of the United States. It looks like I live in one of them.  Still, my hair seems to love getting caught in the rain.

Here are some other website pages that tell you how to wash your hair with rainwater and also things you should be cautious about when using rainwater:

I keep wondering, however, if there is something else about rainwater other than it’s softness, lack of chlorine and lack of other contaminates?   Unlike treated tap water, it comes from the sky and is part of the cycles of nature.

It is alive.

A selfie of yours truly, enjoying a light morning rain.

A selfie of yours truly enjoying a light morning rain.

The Persistence Of Nature In The City

 

Springs lushness ignites the soul.

Spring’s lushness ignites the soul.

Spring has been springing for over two months now and I’m still in awe.  A city that had felt hostile, cold and barren now dances in bird song and explodes in green lushness, flowers and joy.  I just can’t get over it and nor do I want to.

The beautiful merging of man-made and nature.

The beautiful merging of man-made and nature.

I often take the scenic route, avoiding busy or ugly streets, preferring the magical blend of beautiful architecture, lush gardens and the sway of trees sighing in the gentle wind.

Every bit of green helps.

Every bit of green helps.

You see, ever little bit of green helps in an urban environment.  The less cement, the better.  I often wish the sidewalks were narrower, giving way to plant life instead.  Perhaps, our walkways could be like quaint brick paths with little grasses, weeds and dandelions creeping up  between the bricks, exposing the soil and the richness of life.

Nature persists.

Nature persists.

In spite of the concrete, pavement, dense buildings and humanity’s intent to control and contain nature, she persists, determined to burst forth.  You see her in between sidewalk cracks, growing up the side of buildings and taking over the yards of vacant homes.

Nature persists through concrete.

Nature persists through concrete.

I often wonder about her rich soil and microorganisms trapped beneath streets, buildings and sidewalks, wondering if they persist too?  I wonder about the rain water that longs to feed the soil and give birth to life, that is often left to trickle down the cement and into storm drains instead?

And, I wonder if cities could be like forests, seamlessly merging man-made with nature in a mutually nourishing  and symbiotic dance expressing the web of life?