Skittles from juice bottles

So my continuing bid to recycle my non recyclable waste set me to finding use for plastic bottles. These in picture are juice bottles I’ve collected the last few weeks & I decided a game of skittles was perfect choice for the collection of different bottles.

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I filled each with various amounts of water to weight them. You could use stones or sand but I had none to hand & water is a bit cleaner.

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I varied the amount so would all be weighted differently.

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Here’s the set up

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can he do it…

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… whoo well done Big Critter.

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Setting up for me now.

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You can stick stickers to them or tie ribbon on to make them different points & play competitive matches. We chose to just play can you knock them down free & easy fun.

tracy

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Home made beauty

Over at Cavern of Craftiness blog Sammy challenged a few of us to try home made beauty recipes.

I opted to try (ok well I opted Daddy Critter to try) deodorant  hair treatment & foot treatment for cracked heels.

First deodorant. I mixed equal parts of cornflour & baking powder. I gradually added coconut oil till it went to a smooth paste. 

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The coconut oil comes solid so will have to melt a little. I just popped it in a cup in a bowl of hot water.

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Its hard to describe the texture but will be almost like a dry paste that’s very matt & smooth looking.

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Daddy Critter rides a bike a lot (pedal kind)  & tested this over 2 days. He favours the use of natural products & has reported them to be a little useless unless reapplied numerous times which isn’t always that easy.

You can put this in an old wind up deodorant ‘case’ for ease of use which means great recycling opportunity.

His verdict of this? worked fab!! Lot less sweat & smells & feel so much nicer. We added couple drops of tea tree oil & he much preferred the smell as a lot of natural are scentless or very mild.

The hair treatment I tried was olive oil. It is meant to help make hair super shiney so was excited to try. At this point I totally forgot to do before picture so here is an old photo taken next to a bright window to show you how my hair normally looks. This was also after a dye job so was a bit shiny from that.

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I applied this to me hair prior to a shower. After 20 minutes I washed it off. It was super easy to wash out & also helps work for cradle cap leaving Baby Critters hair super soft.  This is after its brushed but still wet.

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This is dried

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This is straightened.

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This is with hair product added.

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As you can see by last picture my hair has a certain shine to it compared to other pictures. My hair that day was a lot more manageable & soft but it lacked body. I wouldn’t say was limp but was definitely less full as usual.

It stayed that way the following day also & had no grease issue. The shine factor for me failed. I would use again to keep my hair under control but not for shine.

For future tests it would be worth trying the oil warmed up, used overnight, used on clean hair & rewashed & even trying different oils.

I suffer a lot with cracked heels. I dislike socks so believe this doesn’t help. I looked after my feet but the cracks appear so quickly & so dramatically its difficult.

It was suggested I try mashed up banana but I decided to avoid that option & sought my own.

First I tried coconut oil for 2 days, my feet were same.

Then tried aloe vera gel ( yes not home made but natural & sometimes used in home made recipes) & was useless also. I found this actually hurt a little when applied so was maybe working a little but slowly too slow for me!

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My last option was lemon sugar scrub. Smell is lush to start with. 

Its 2 cups of sugar mixed with 1/4 cup of olive oil, recipe said almond or coconut but I used olive oil. I also added a squeeze of lemon juice but you can use essential oil if prefer.

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I resembled slighlty wet fluffy snow without being oily or sticky from either main ingredient. I tested it on my hand to start with just to check consistency was right.

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Don’t rub too hard cos this is tough stuff but works wonderfully. Left us all with lovely soft skin & not a hint of stickiness you can store in air tight container.

TRACY 🙂

Victoria Sponge

I made this other day & had to share because it was SOOO yum! My cake making tastes good looks rubbish you’ve been warned.

Preheat oven 190/fan 170/GM5*

CAKE

200 g caster sugar

200 g softened butter

200 g self raising flour*

4 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder*

2 tablespoon milk*

FILLING

100g butter

340 g jam

140 g icing sugar

Mix cakes ingredients all together. To reduce lumps sieve the flour & pre softened the butter.

Grease 2 sandwich tins or 1 bigger cake tin line with greaseproof paper & grease that. Bake for 20 minutes. I personally found it took 40 minutes & had to cover with foil to stop top burning.

Whilst that is cooking beat the icing sugar & butter together for filling.

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If you used 2 tins skip this step. Once cake is cooked & cooled slice in half, easiest way is to hold top firm & slice through.

Smother in the butter icing & top with jam, replace top & dust with icing sugar.

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Now this bit requires lot of attention but is easiest part….. EAT CAKE!!!

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*These are common acronyms you may find on your recipe travels:

self raising – SF

tablespoon – tbsp

teaspoon – tsp

gas mark – GM

tracy

 

Home made iron plate cleaner

The other morning whilst ironing Big Critters school uniform I spotted a huge burn mark. Knowing I use this for my makes it had to removed asap!

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So at 8am I hunted out my eco cleaning book & the suggestion was mix equal parts vinegar & salt together & heat up. So I did it stank.

I started off scooping up the salt applied to iron & using kitchen roll dipped in the heated vinegar I rubbed. It took a lot of scrubbing but here is result after 5 mins.

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Any other household suggestions you would like to challenge me to use let me know in comments

tracy

Recycling fun

So after the ‘big’ move a lot has changed one being our waste collection. Before we moved our waste was collected weekly & recycling once a fortnight. They’d take everything binbags & all form of recyclable materials.

New house area however they take waste every other week & recycling weekly but they don’t recycle plastic, cardboard & tetra pak which poses a problem for us because majority of our recycling is just that! Formula tubs, juice cartons, milk cartons, cordial bottles, food trays etc etc.

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So worried about the fact I’d be throwing these away & filling up my bin before was due for collection again I sought help from the council website & good news I can apply for a second waste bin but…. I have to show I’m using recycling facilities to its full advantage & think about creating less waste so I took that as a personal challenge & thought to myself perfect blog material.

So here’s what I came up with 😀

GLASS

Baby jars: we use coconut oil for all the family. So I used a small baby jar to pop some in for next to the change mat. These are NOT recommended for freezing as the manufacturers designed them for food storage & have not been safely made for freezers. If you do risk it make sure to check them over thoroughly for cracks if you spot one chuck it away food & jar.

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These are also handy for buttons, beads & other craft items & look pretty on your shelf too.

PLASTIC

Carrier bags: We get our food shop over the internet & end up with a huge bag of bags at end but we can give them back the next time they come! They reuse & recycle them .

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I also always have a bag for life wherever I go especially if I know I’m off to the shops.

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Means less cheap ones cluttering up my house & a bag for life is bigger & stronger. Certain shops you earn points for taking your own bag.

Food pots: Often when making stir fry, homemade pizza or other multi ingredient meals I like to pre-cut, pre-grate, pre-crush all my ingredients & pop  in bowls for easier access. Instead I used a washed out strawberry punnet tray saves washing bowls.

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I used this dip pot for my garlic inside my spice cupboard. Stops the flaky skin messing up my cupboard & I don’t lose stray cloves.

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The lid for these have 2 good uses: cup rest & spoon rest. I favoured the second choice over first.

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This had baby food inside & is fairly strong for a ‘throw away’ tub so my idea for this??? Well reuse for baby food of course. I would not recommend to freeze this though its good for food you plan to offer the next day.

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Mushroom tray makes a good cheese tray for the fridge. No more ripped packets spilling crumbs all over.

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Yoghurt & cream pots are prefect shape & height for spoons & pens. I store the baby spoons separate from everyone else’s & this provides easy access to one.

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Instead of buying plastic bottle when out & about & throwing away take your own washable water bottle. Has bonus of being healthy & is fab for encouraging young children to keep hydrated. It is also considered unsafe to wash out throwaway water or pop bottles because they aren’t designed for this & can leach unsavoury ingredients from plastic to the water.

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Milk carton bird feeder. cut hole like a door, hang string, fill with nuts,your done. Its that easy.

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Straws used for water & mild juice can be rinsed out & reused. I would only suggest reusing once and never for milk.

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Yoghurt pots make great paint & glue pots & although would chuck after use saves mummy or daddy washing out pots.

Baby juice bottles have multi use. Big bottles make good shakers, bird feeders & skittles. The smaller bottles make good mini set of skittles.

Watch out for my pop bottle tutorial coming soon.

PAPER

Envelopes: Some areas won’t take window envelopes so rip the plastic off chuck rest in with the paper.

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Newspaper is fab for polishing windows & mirrors as well as good packaging for house moves then you can throw in the recycling after.

Paper bags you might get at some shops make perfect gift bags. Spruce them up or leave plain.

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CARDBOARD

Cereal boxes make excellent book & magazine holders. Here’s a tutorial.

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Kitchen or toilet roll inners can be used to make cheap rain makers  Here’s my tutorial does require paper clips so as long as have those in your set.

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Tissue boxes often get chucked here so to save more rubbish I plan to buy the refill packs & here is my tutorial for a fabric tissue box cover to pretty up your box to refill.

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MISCELLANEOUS

Here we get a food waste bin for all the scraps, potato peelings & gone off food we accumulate. Other ways to use up stale food is to chuck it out for the birds: crackers, bread etc or go feed the ducks at local park.

Instead of food ties you chuck after use buy some food clips. These are a lot more effective at staying put therefore keeping food fresh & less food waste from stale food.

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Need to write a list but stick of wasting paper get a wipe board pen & use the fridge! I would suggest not leaving your list up too long or using as a doodle board because not really designed for this use & over time may stain but in a rush it’s a fab use of a dull fridge.

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Washable items like cloths & nappies can go a long way. Cloths especially can be thrown in the wash with other washing no trouble & tend to last longer. Cloth nappies raise different views which I would say is good for another blog.

Baby formula cans are made from tetra pak as are not always recyclable by many councils so are a huge waste.

We get our food shop over the internet & end up with a huge bag of bags at end but we can give them back the next time they come! They reuse & recycle them .

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I also always have a bag for life or canvas/material bag wherever I go especially if I know I’m off to the shops.

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Means less cheap ones cluttering up my house & a bag for life is bigger & stronger. Certain shops you earn points for taking your own bag.

I really enjoyed doing all this & hope it helped you think about how to reuse your waste.

tracy

Tissue box cover

In a bid to use my non recyclable waste I’m going to make a tissue box cover. This way I can reuse the box & just refill.

You will need:

Your usual cardboard tissue box (preferably unopened)

ruler

pencil

paper

material

sewing machine

scissors

pins

iron

I measured my box of tissues height, width & depth. I then removed the centre & traced round it. This is centred exactly so no need to measure the position.

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Once I’d drawn out the pattern I drew the cut out on. To do this fold your top piece in half & half again to find centre, do same for the oval cut out. Match the centres up & draw. When you cut it out leave 1 cm extra, this will be your seam allowance.

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Unfortunately at this point my memory card failed, I wasn’t aware of this issue so got no back up pictures. From this point will have to be text explanation.

Sew short sides to long sides using 1 cm seam until you have a ‘ring’

Next sew your top on, match up corners starting 1 cm from top edge sew using 1 cm seam to 1 cm above bottom edge. Remove from machine & align the next sides corners. Start sewing from the last stitch by time finished it will be on perfectly with no bulky corners.

Repeat for inside.

Put the top of the cover right side to right side & sew round cut out using 1 cm seam. You should clip the curves or you can trim the seam allowance to about 3 mm. turn out the right way & top stitch.

Now align the seams along bottom & turn both layer inside 1 cm & top stitch the base.

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You now have a beautiful reversible tissue box cover.

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TRACY 🙂

Rain Maker

In a bid to use my non recyclable waste & save money I set about making a DIY rain maker from what I had at home.

You will need:

paper clips at least 20

kitchen or loo roll inner tube

glue gun (glue will be fine also)

wire cutter or pliers

bubble wrap

paper

rice

awl or other sharp implement

If you don’t have paper clips I’ve seen tutorial using small nails called pins or you could use cocktail sticks. Ensure to snip the sharp ends though.

First job is to straighten your paper clips, leave a little ‘hook’ at one end.

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Using something sharp, I used an awl, make holes to thread your paper clips through. For each hole make another on opposite side same level.

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Start to thread your paper clips through both sides, leaving little hook to stop it falling out. You will secure this later with a glue gun.

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Inside the tube should look like this.

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Once you have place sufficient clips through secure the outer ends with glue gun. If you don’t have access to one use pliers to securely turn down each end.

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Once dry place glue at one end of the tube. I used the glue gun but good strong glue will work fine for this.

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Place this glued end on some scrap cardboard. Ideally cereal box craft cardboard is a bit flimsy for this stage.

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Cut a circle & do slits along as shown.

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Fold these down & secure with glue.  You could also use sticky tape because this part will be covered later on.

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Whilst that dries you can use wire cutters to snip off the excess paper clip ends.

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You are ready to fill your rain maker I put about 1 inch level at bottom including the off cuts from the clips no point wasting!

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Repeat process for covering up the end.

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Now it time to make it pretty. To protect little hands from the paper clips i covered my rain maker in bubble wrap. If you don’t have any wadding, craft foam or multiple layers of paper mache should do the trick.

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Using same method as the cardboard ends I covered both end with pretty paper & then wrapped the main part. You can use paper mache to do this or if feeling extra creative material would look fab. You could also stick sequins, buttons, stickers all sorts on. You could even join multiple tubes or use a big posting tube to make an even bigger version.

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tracy