Reusing Jars Part Two: Beauty Treatments

This project and subsequent post is so overdue. You know what they say: “Sometimes life gets in the way”, and the past couple months have definitely thrown some curves at me. Now that the holiday dust has settled a bit, there’s time to pick up where I left off.

Originally, I planned to mix up this recipe to fill the jars from the first part of this post and give them out over the holidays. I realized though, in the last couple of days, these could also make cute gifts for Valentine’s Day. So, while my sweetie was cooking us breakfast this morning, I busted out the supplies and got to work.

My first step was to sanitize the jars and lids in the dishwasher to destroy any microbes that have lingered from the jars’ previous uses. Next I mixed and tested the scrub. I found that I needed a bit more coconut oil than the recipe called for, to create the consistency that I prefer. Otherwise, it was a bit dry and tended to crumble away. Once I had the mixture down, and the jars were ready, I redecorated the lids in appropriate St. Valentine fashion using scrap booking remnants and leftover Christmas ribbon.

I’m really happy with the finished product and am excited to present these to my loved ones. I’m also considering whipping up some body butter to pair with the scrub for a complete winter skin treatment.

St. Valentine's Scrub

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Reusing Jars Part One: Halloween “Candles”

So we ended up with about ten of these adorable jars after a family member’s wedding in October. The brides had used them to package some delicious frosted pecans to give out as favors, and we managed to snag a couple extras. We ate them all almost immediately and were then left with the empty jars to reuse.

I have a final plan for these cuties, but in the meantime, I put them to use as non-flammable candles for a family Halloween party using some electric tea lights, a bit of spider webbing and some plastic insects and rodents. They were easy to make, safe to have around kids and pets, and set the mood well. Best of all, I can use the jars again for the final project, which may or may not have to do with holiday gifts. Either way, I’ll post their next incarnation here.

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Wishful Wardrobe – Sweatshirts

I’m late to the fall fashion party, but in my defense it’s only been in the last week or so that we have finally felt any real chill in the DC area. Today, I am making up for lost time. The weather, while not terribly cold, is gloomy and overcast providing a perfect backdrop to peruse autumns sartorial offerings online. I am especially taken by the trend toward sweatshirts as a legitimate fashion element and not just something to throw on as I’m dashing out the door on my way to a youth sports event. There is nothing else quite as cozy and easy to layer as days get colder. I found a neutral, basic top from the H&M Conscious Collection and created three different looks using upcycled, vegan, or thrift shop items along with a couple basic pieces currently in my closet:

Sweatshirt-Work
Sweatshirt-Flirt
Sweatshirt-Play

All Hallow’s Eve

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My Halloween tribute to Christina Aguilera
with a Dr. Evil photobomb

I have a special place in my heart for Halloween. The eerie aesthetic has always been a draw, plus my oldest son was born so near to the holiday that I have spent most of the last 18 Octobers planning and executing some type of holiday/birthday event. In other words, I’ve had my fair share of crafting, cooking and creating all things dark and creepy. The downside is that like any other holiday it can get pricey real quick, not to mention wasteful (all that candy!) when I get carried away. So in the spirit (ha!) of sustainability, here’s a few links with ideas for celebrating Halloween without sacrificing those things that make the day so much fun.

Decorations: Who doesn’t love turning their yard or walkway into a festive display for trick-or-treaters or party guests? One of my friends – a teacher and veritable superwoman – along with her boys, made a horde of these monsters using plastic bottles and lined their driveway with them. Also super cute and simple to make using jars and acrylic paint, are these glass luminarias. For our party last year, we placed several sets of these spooky glowing eyes made from empty toilet paper rolls in the foliage behind our deck. We used glow sticks in lieu of the LED light and battery, and they turned out well. I definitely recommend borrowing a hobby knife, if you don’t have one, for an adult or older child to use when cutting the eye shapes. Scissors will work, but not as easily.

Pumpkins and Jack o’ Lanterns: If you find yourself with an extra, uncarved pumpkin, or even one that has already been cut into (a masterpiece gone awry, perhaps?), making it into puree for baking is easy. Just don’t use any carved pumpkins older than 24 hours. As for the guts, the more ambitious chef with time to shell seeds might like to try making pumpkin seed pesto, otherwise classic roasted pumpkin seeds, make a tasty, healthy snack. Once carved pumpkins are past their prime, they can be tossed right into your compost bin. No bin? You can find a location to dispose of your organic food waste here, or simply bury the shells in your garden to enrich the soil.

Costumes: I love all the other prep that goes into Halloween, but the dressing up is my favorite- whether I spend an entire month or just the final hours before a party working on my costume. Refinery 29 presents some ideas for piecing together a costume from the thrift store, but you may even be able to shop your own wardrobe. Your favorite television character, zombie bridesmaid (never a bride), or even “Carrie” could already be in your closet. For additional inspiration, try some tips in one of these You-Tube make-up tutorials also assembled by R29. (WARNING: The Jem and the Holograms make-up video included in this listing is extra awesome and may lead to the immediate and uninterrupted viewing of all Vintage or Tacky’s other tutorials.)

Candy: We always end up buying more candy than we can hand out, and our own kids bring in such a haul that it gets a little crazy. If you find yourself buried in Halloween treats, consider donating them to the troops. For those chocolate based favorites deemed too precious to part with, you can boost the nutritional value by melting them down to make a dip for fresh fruit or a recipe such as these banana pops. Unreal Candy and YummyEarth Organics offer some alternatives to the usual handouts for trick-or-treaters, plus a directory of fair trade chocolatiers can be found here.

Hopefully, you came across something in this post that you can use or put your own spin on. Would love to hear additional tips and ideas from others, too, so please feel free to share. Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Notes from NYU sustainability conference: Cafeteria Culture

As I mentioned in the “welcome back” post, there was so much awesome and inspiring stuff to take in at the the conference I attended over the weekend, I thought I ought get started on these posts! First up is an NYC public school cafeteria recycling program that engages and empowers the students to participate in reducing their school’s waste while imparting important lessons about mitigating environmental impact. This video is fun to watch and says it all:

Quick Note: Soap, DDR and tiny computer thingys

This is old news for geeks and gamers already flocking to DigitalSoaps to procure clever hand-crafted soaps, but you should definitely check them out if you haven’t already. These gaming inspired soaps have become so popular that the creator had to cut back on working her “real” job-it’s no wonder with fun items such as Mountain Dew scented Nintendo NES soap and coconut lime verbena scented Space Invader soaps. Even more exciting is the fact that these products are made with no animal ingredients:

“The soap bases I use are natural and vegan – No animal products, animal testing, detergents, sulfates or sugar solutions. I’ve been obsessed with finding quality, great ingredient soaps. I found a high quality source of soap base and combined two interests: A love of all things geeky and a love of being clean.”

Awesome. In case you are thinking of giving these as gifts, order by December 5th if you want them in time for Christmas.

Looking for a fun holiday gift project? Even if you’re not a DDR fan, this handbag is pretty cool (it even says so right on it!) and not to difficult to make.

The creator of this bag, Liz McLean Knight, also makes cute jewelry out of computer hardware-not sure if she recycling old, used parts, but the point is that a person could if they wanted to-as far as I know anyway.

Quick Note- DIY Handbags or: What You’re Getting from Me for Christmas

Refashioned Bags

Just came across this book and I am so very, very excited! Excited enough that I had to share right away. 

Even though I don’t have as much time for this kind of thing as I would like, I really do enjoy making stuff and typically when I get down to sewing something, it starts out as a purse. It may not end up as a purse, but hopefully this book will remedy that -once I get my hands on a copy, that is. Until then, I will continue to be inspired by other creative folks who are making awesome bags out of some interesting materials:

Sailcloth bags-said to be incredibly sturdy. I love their summery look. This skull bag is my favorite.

skull sailcloth

Construction netting– cute, structured bags available at maliadesigns.com. Bonus: proceeds go to fight human trafficking and increase economic opportunities for women.

Mod Blue handbag

Juice packets– colorful and fun, these items are constructed of 100% recycled materials and assembled by workers who earn a fair wage.

 woven wooden handbag

Vintage fabric– not too surprising in terms of the materials used, but I threw these Kim White bags in because they are adorable and reversible.

reversible bag brown wallpaper

Finally, here’s a video on how to repurpose old books into cute purses. Enjoy!