One of the first places I head to in my local thrift store is the glassware section. It is not uncommon for me to buy up all the mason jars or other glass jars they have. I like ones with lids (as long as they don’t have mold or rust) but I will buy ones without lids as well because they are one of my favorite storage containers. I rarely buy anything from the store that comes in jars like these (spaghetti sauce, pickles) so I have to get mine second hand.
Last year I wrote about 10 Ways to Reuse a Glass Jar and I was inspired today to write about 10 MORE ways to reuse and repurpose glass jars cause I just LOVE them!
1. Drink out of them – I drink my green smoothies out of them and because they are often rimmed or bent I use a glass straw as well. My husband drinks iced coffee and tea out of them too. They are the first drink glasses we will go for. I steal the smaller chipped ham glass jars that my dad buys and those are the kids glasses. It was those chipped ham jars that I drank from every summer when I stayed with my grandma. She was the queen of thrift and managed to save over a million dollars during her working years, while employed at a factory. Every time I drink some OJ from a chipped ham jar I think of it as a frugal luxury.
2. Collection Jars – Glass jars are great places to put marbles, buttons, sewing notions, stickers, shiny rocks, pretty baubles or anything you or your kids like to collect. Not only do they store the items for you, they display them nicely for you. There is a lady down the street from me who put 3 shelves inside the window sills of her windows and on them she displays glass jars filled with various treasures. Every time I pass by her house I have to look!
3. Dried Beans, Nuts, and Seeds – Instead of buying glass jars from Wal-Mart or some other store I just put old ones to work for storing dried beans on my counter top. I use jars in the refrigerator and freezer for raw nuts and seeds too. You could also use them for flour, spices, or virtually anything.
4. Specimen Jars – If you homeschool or just enjoy home education projects then glass jars make great specimen jars. You can put herbs, leaves, bugs, cocoons, or other objects of interest and then line them up for your kids to identify and study. The bottom can be labeled with the name of the specimen so they can check their work. They can be reused every week with new specimens to encourage your little scientists and nature lovers.
5. Nut Butters – The great thing about having a food processor or a Vita-Mix (which I have) you can make your own nut butters like almond butter, peanut butter, or cashew butter. Glass jars are a great place to store them.
6. Snack Jars – When your kids get home from school you can whip out a couple jars filled with grapes, nuts, raw cookies, and dehydrated fruit in jars. It makes them feel special to have all these options to presented to them in a pretty way and they know exactly what they can snack on when they get home without ransacking through the frig and pantry, or maybe its just my kids that do that!
7. Paint Brush holder – All our paintbrushes are stored in a glass jar so that if the kids don’t bother to clean them afterwards there is no large mess to clean up.. I just rinse the jar out when it needs it. I use candle jars from the thrift store for the wet paint. You can also use a glass for holding straws, pens, pencils.. you name it.
8. Fermentation – Jars are awesome for your sour dough starters, Kombucha tea, and homemade vinegar.
9. A hanging lantern – In one of MaryJane Butter’s books (I can’t recall which at the moment) there are instructions for using glass jars and the lids to make a hanging lantern using a chain and a candle. They would be perfect for eating outside in the summer and if you put a citronella candle in them you could keep the bugs away too. The ones in the book are absolutely lovely.
10. Voodoo Jars – This is probably geared towards Halloween but I just love it. You put scary little items in the jars.. like eyeballs or those little babies like you get in the King Cakes at Mardi Gras (been years since I had some King cake!) and then you color the water and make it look like you have been conducting “evil experiments”. Muhaaawa! Plus you can probably get most of the stuff at your local thrift store so you don’t have to buy new.
Election Day was November 3rd but you or your friends may have some leftover election signs now. If so do not just toss them!
Put Old Campaign Signs to Good Use
The results are in which means election season is officially over. It’s time to take those campaign signs off the front lawn but instead of throwing them away, why not put them to good use!
Disney FamilyFun magazine recommends turning those old campaign signs into special birthday signs for your children. Just prime and paint them “Happy Birthday Ryan!” and reposition them in the front yard for a very special birthday surprise.
Your kids will love this new tradition and the signs can be repainted and stored for years to come!
While cleaning up my linen closet I found a fitted sheet that had ripped awhile back. I stuffed it in the back of the closet until I figured out what to do with it and that day came today when I had a hard time rounding up four king size pillow cases for my bed. Some people lose socks, we seem to lose pillow cases! I think my oldest son may be stealing them actually. Sooo…I decided to turn that ripped sheet into 3 king size pillow cases.
I used an existing pillow case as my template and I cut around it, leaving some space to be able to turn and sew. I thought about cutting the elastic off but figured if I left it on, that was just one side I wouldn’t have to sew….I am all about easy. After cutting I turned it inside out and started sewing, reinforcing the edges and corners as I went. Then I flipped it right side out and I had a pillow case! This was a great recycling project that only took about 20 minutes from start to finish for all the pillow cases.
Then you need to watch the following video and stop by a donation center for Soles United. This looks like an amazing program that not only helps the less fortunate but it repurposes a popular product that is being sold my the millions in this country.
Last year when the lead toys fiasco all came to light, I briefly blogged about a new company called Green Toys. They take recycled plastic and other environmentally friendly materials and turn them into stylish and practical toys. They are made in the USA so you don’t have to worry about weak safety standards like you would if they were imported from China. They comply with all safety standards prohibiting phthalates and BPA.
My family recently got to test drive these great toys made from recycled milk jugs and they got a BIG thumbs up here. They are perhaps a bit more expensive than toys you could buy at Wal-Mart but you really do get what you pay for. Green Toys are sturdy and attractive…not cheap and flimsy looking. I love the darker pastel and earthy colors and to me they just shout out QUALITY. I think they are a much more appealing than anything you could find at a big box store, they are tough and will stand up to some serious play, and they are turning garbage into treasure.
Green Toys covered the basics with the following toy sets:
Green Toys Tea Set (17 pieces) – What little girls don’t love tea sets? I know my daughter does. She has several and unfortunately some of them are the cheap, low quality ones, so we are phasing them out. Her favorite tea set is a Strawberry Shortcake set made with real ceramic but since she is 4, I prefer she play with something less breakable for a while and earth friendly, green toys are perfect. The colors are beautiful with blues, greens, purples, and mauve.
Green Toys Cookware and Dining Set– If you have a play kitchen in the house then you need this cookware set. It has 27 pieces including a stock pot with lid, skillet, plates, bowls, cups, and 4 utensil place settings. It uses the same color scheme as the tea set so this makes a great pair for kids who like to make believe they are cooking and throwing diner parties. My kids could spend all day slaving over their hot imaginary stove. ;)
Green Toys Indoor Gardening Set– My kids get plenty of exposure to gardening outside but other than cut flowers we sometimes forget to bring nature indoors so this is a fun set for kids. It is adorable. It comes with 3 pots, a pea-pod shaped planter tray for the pots to sit in, a trowel, soil, and 3 packets of organic seeds. The seed packets (Teddy Bear Sunflower, Zinnia, and Basil). It is pretty easy to use too. Just drop in the peat, soak with water, wait 30 minutes and you are ready to plant. Unfortunately the pots do not have drainage holes so if your kids will be watering they need to be careful not to get things too wet. We will see I guess, if this presents a problem.
Green Toys Sand Set– We have a nice sandbox outside so these are a hit of course. If you are familiar with sand toys then you will likely know how cheap and breakable they usually are but these are sturdy and sure to last for several summers. The set comes with a bucket, a sand castle mold, a shovel, and a rake. These are perfect for your personal sandbox at home or for trips to the beach. They stay true to the gorgeous blues, greens, and oranges that the other set use too.
Overall I was very impressed with these toys. They will last, the kids like them, they are attractive, and they make use of landfill waste…turning it from trash to treasure. This green mom likes Green Toys.