Category Archives: Upcycling

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Back in January I talked about my goals to reduce our household waste. So I thought I would do a little recap and see where we are at.

We have been doing okay with this in general, though there are some areas we could improve in:

  • We have not been as good on plastic bags as I would like, but we are recycling them instead of throwing them out as we used to do. It’s mostly an issue because I ensure I go for a walk at lunchtimes and often do some household shopping then and I don’t always remember to go to my car to get the eco bag first. Definitely something I need to work on habit wise.
    Eco Bags
  • Meal planning has also gone out the window for us for the most part just due to different crazy life things going on. I try to do it in my head a bit, obviously this is nowhere near as good as if I were doing it properly though so I really need to make an effort with this. Not only is it better for reducing waste, but it is also kinder on our wallets and better for our health because when I plan we end up with healthy well rounded meals.

Things we have done include:

  • I have done research into some of the things we buy and try to only buy items that have recyclable packaging (harder than you might think – though the redcycle program at Coles has helped a lot).
  • When it comes to items like egg cartons which are recyclable I will also look for opportunities for reuse. For instance our library storytime sometimes uses egg cartons for craft. In fact I found a flower craft recently for Mother’s Day that I sent through as a suggestion that uses egg cartons. This will mean that all staff’s egg cartons will be donated for the next few weeks to be used to create Mother’s Day gifts rather than being thrown out or recycled.
    Image result for egg carton flowers
    There are so many fun crafts you can do with egg cartons that I am actually going to save that for another post I think πŸ™‚
  • Though we do not want junk mail it seems to keep magically appearing so I use the elastic bands from them on my frozen veggie bags once open to reduce the chance of freezer burn and recycle the junk mail. It’s only a little thing I know, but I also feel that that thought and little effort if magnified by many certainly counts.
    I also found out that my girlfriend who lives 30 minutes further bush than me doesn’t get junk mail at all so I now keep them for her and she recycles them after use.
  • When we next needed rice I bought a 5kg bag. Every one that sees it thinks I am crazy and it does take up a lot of room, but I used to buy the 500gram packet so I am literally saving 10 plastic packages and it saved me a BUNCH of money!
    We may not have sugar in our house, but if you need a cup of rice I am definitely your girl
    Image result for cup of rice cartoon
  • At work I have noticed that I have naturally become a lot more conscious of recycling and providing opportunities for people to learn more sustainable habits. No matter how small the scraps are now (from cutting out or whatever) I will put them in the paper recycling bin. I have also gotten into the habit of checking the staff paper recycling next to the internal printer for scrap paper as this is always in high demand at the library.
    Our Council has business card sized laminated signs with a cute cartoon of a light bulb reminding people to turn off switches. I have ordered some of these to place above the switches in our study areas as people often leave these on. I have also convinced Council to add recycling bins into all the libraries and centres (gyms and pools) which is amazing!!!
    I also had a chat with the guy from Council who runs eco programs like creating sustainable gardens, building terrariums and composting at home. It started with me offering to promote his programs in the library particularly on our social media sites. He was super excited about this and we are now talking about him possibly running some programs at the libraries which is amazing because we get a whole new slew of programs whilst our resource output would be minimal and we would be collaborating and networking with a whole new area of Council so I am pretty excited about this possibility πŸ™‚

It was great for me to discover that I was able to make a difference at work as well as at home.

What changes have you made or do you suggest I make?


Inspiration boards – Front lounge

So awhile ago I started to put together images or rather inspiration boards for the different rooms in our home (OMG I have a HOME!). As you may guess I am pretty flipping excited about owning our first home. You may think that doing inspiration boards is a bit over the top especially because we are going to be pretty poor after the next few months. It will be so weird to see so little money in our accounts when we have been saving like crazy and had very healthy accounts.

Anyway I thought I would share with you my inspiration for our front lounge room. I have never had a proper lounge room before that was a separate area of the house. Here we go…

2 seater lounge

I’d like this in a 2.5 to 3 seater. I LOVE this fabric. The lines are great and the style is Ruby which is one of my favourite animated characters.

armchair

I love the armchairs too. Would love two for either side of the lounge either in a matching colour or something completely different like a turquoise.

bookshelves

We actually already have these bookshelves so this will cost us nothing. Have always loved these and can’t wait for them to be a feature in our home.

light

I love the look of this light and would love it for the corner of the room. It is a little expensive for my budget now so will wait for a sale or maybe birthday or Christmas.

rug

LOVE this rug and the tri knot pattern matches the pattern on my engagement ring and our wedding rings. Would be a great piece to really stamp our personalities on the room.

Because our place was built we had a lot of pallets hanging around and a few were really good quality wood. The plan was that I would use these to build us a coffee table as part of my “Try Something New” resolution. Unfortunately someone came into our backyard and took them. I still plan to do this project, but the plan now is to go for walks in our new neighbourhood and wait for someone to put a good one out for cleanup πŸ™‚

coffee table

This is what I hope to end up with from the pallet. The larger pieces of wood I have already scored from offcuts from our build.

I plan to be quite industrious. There are a lot of off cuts around our neighbourhood currently due to everyone building. I am hoping I can save us quite a bit by knocking together some of our own pieces and you can get bottles of “trial” varnishes and/or paint for a couple of dollars so in all a coffee table like this might cost me $5 haha.


Upcycle – Birdcage succulent planter

One day I came across a beautiful vintage look birdcage that was a bit worse for wear and so had been cast onto the corner for garbage pick up. I loved the style of it and thought it would be a terrible waste to send it to the dump so I grabbed it and took it home. I have always loved the idea of upcycling and I decided I was going to figure out a way to make this into a beautiful planter.

Here is what I was starting with. Meanwhile check out the little photobomber I just discovered haha.

Here is what I was starting with. Meanwhile check out the little photobomber I just discovered haha.

I have no idea what this horrid, tacky, stubborn, pink, sticky crap was, but it was everywhere and a pain in the butt to remove!!! I resorted to an old toothbrush, boiling water and detergent, followed up with some alcohol wipes.

Evil pink stuff

Evil pink stuff

So once it was all clean and pretty it was time to decide what I was going to do with it. I had a vision of creating a succulent planter. The idea being that in time the succulents will grow and poke out through/overhang the bars. So I went shopping…

My haul :)

My haul πŸ™‚

Then it was time to find out if what was in my head would translate well to real life [I should note that I know others have done this successfully, but I was doing it without any instructions from any of those people πŸ™‚ ]. I lined the base with Coconut fibre to stop the soil from falling straight through the bottom of the cage.

Make sure you compress it well. I tried to make mine a bit like a nest with the edges raised.

Make sure you compress it well. I tried to make mine a bit like a nest with the edges raised.

Then I added in the succulent planting mix and my succulents. Here are some photos of the finished product πŸ™‚

 

I chose succulents that would spread, grow and hang out between the bars nicely as well as flower in different colours.

I chose succulents that would spread, grow and hang out between the bars nicely as well as flower in different colours.

 

 

I am very proud of my first upcycle attempt. Especially considering there were no instructions… I am happy to report that there were no pieces leftover post construction πŸ™‚