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Category Archives: The War on Waste

Being Green (in the tub)

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A month or so ago, a friend of mine had to move suddenly from Prague, and left me with a nice bottle of bubble bath that she had used once.  We don’t use bubble bath around here, what with our uber-sensitive skin, but my penchant for procrastination meant that the bottle hung around for a week or two.  I couldn’t decide what to do with it, since it was nice stuff, but who can you give a bottle of partially used bubble bath to?  Except me, of course…

Then, I was cruising around a new to me blog, and swiped this idea for Monster Bubble Bath.  Actually, all I did was add neon green food colouring to the bubble bath and pour it into a new jar instead of making it from scratch, but hey, it will be perfect for my nephews.

Don't you love the color?

Don’t you love the color?

I love being able to repurpose stuff, and what little boy won’t enjoy bathing in monster green bubbles?


What to do with an empty milk container

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Or rather, what to do with it before you recycle, throw it in the bin, or use it around the house for some mysterious purpose.  I know I can’t be the only person that dumps a tablespoon or two of water into the milk jug to swish out the last bit.  At any rate, I do, and this leaves a milk wash that can be used in any number of ways.  It probably doesn’t save much milk, but I figure it must add up over the course of a year or two.

So, what to do with this one or two tablespoons of watery milk?  The possibilities are endless, but here you go…

1. Any baking recipe that calls for milk, just dump it in to the rest of the milk.

2. Use in baking recipes that only call for a few tablespoons of liquid in place of what is called for

3. Dump it in to any cream soup, and finish off with regular milk.

4. Use it in making creamy dressings.

5. Use it in as a wash to top baked goods before baking.

6. Use it as a liquid for making a spread for sandwiches, for instance if making a flavored butter or cheese spread.

7. Dump it into the glass of milk.  I promise that you can’t tell the difference.


Salvaging tea when it’s gotten cold

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Proper black tea isn’t hard to come by here in Prague, but it is pricey.  I’ve become a bit creative at salvaging what has gone cold in the mug or the pot.  We don’t have a microwave, which would seem to be a logical solution, but then again, microwaved tea always tastes funny to me.

For me, the easiest way to warm something liquid back up to drinking temperature is to add in some boiling water.  Not too much mind you, because you can dilute it too much to be palatable.  However, a tablespoon or two of boiling water to a mug of cold tea should warm it up to a nice temperature without affecting the flavor.  The alternative is to add very hot milk, if it’s a latte, milky tea, or something similar.

Of course, a cleverer person would either drink their drink before it got cold or keep in an insulated cup of some kind, but that doesn’t always fit into my life, so I have to resort to other, less elegant solutions = ).

Stocking stuffer ideas

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First, I think bookmarks are always a good idea.  I’ve had to time recently to toodle around on the internet, and I found several pages about making bookmarks from old greeting cards. It is so simple, basically cutting out the shape you want, then punching a hole through it and running a piece of ribbon or yarn through the hole to make the tassel.  You can make them more durable by laminating them, if you feel so inclined.  I think this is a great way to use up my stash of saved greeting cards, especially ones with unique designs.

Second, I think I will give Daughter a deck of playing cards with this set of instructions in it.  We have a car now, so she spends a lot of time in the back seat alone, and we will be doing a lot of travel as well.  I consider the purchase of a pack of cards an investment in peace. = )

Thirdly, I will raid my button stash, since Daughter has started taking an interest in sewing.  She likes using buttons for eyes and decorations, so I think I can throw in any of the odd buttons that I have floating around in my sewing basket.

Finally, I will also make bags of candies and bundles of tea to pop into stockings, but I think it will fill things out nicely.

Baby leg warmers

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Really, baby leg warmers, I love them.  What other fantastic way can you cover those wonderful baby legs?  I made a striped pair for my nephew out of stuff in my stash.  I used an acrylic blend sock wool in black and grey to make them masculine, and they are cute.  The pattern is here, but it works up like any leg warmer.  You just cast on enough stitches to make them wide enough, rib the first few rows, then knit your heart out until they are long enough, rib a few more lines, and cast off (repeat).

I unfortunately did not get a picture of them because I couldn’t resist putting them on him, and then how can you take them off when they are so cute?  So he went out the door with them, unphotographed.  I did want to make them as a Christmas present, but I’ll have to find something else to make for him…

Handmade Christmas Craft Along

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I am joining Tricia over at Crunchy Catholic Momma for her handmade Christmas Craft Along (details here).

So here it is –

I, Kara, pledge

To take a political stance against mass consumerism of Christmas
To give gifts that are unique, meaningful and full of love

This is also kind of a no-brainer, because we live in Prague, and gift-giving is a bit of fiasco anyway.  Coupled with the fact that we celebrate with gifts on Christmas Eve and stockings on Christmas Day, plus Daughter’s birthday on St. Stephen’s, it turns out to be much easier if I actually make most of my gifts or buy them in charity shops when we’re visiting the UK.

So, a-crafting away I will go…

Curry Stains

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Sometimes, if you’re like me, you end up with curry stains on clothing or tablecloths, particularly after a particularly lively curry take-away dinner.  The yellow stain, left behind by turmeric, is nearly impossible to get out with detergent, but I have a discovered a trick to this.  A friend from India told me that her mother leaves the stain out to bleach in the sun for a few hours and then washes out the oil stain as normal.  Eager to try this, I stuck a tablecloth with a big curry stain on it outside the next time the sun was bright and, lo and behold, the stain is gone!  An oil stain is left behind, but I can get at that with shampoo.

Apparently, the dye in turmeric is reactive with the sun, and fades if it hasn’t been set by ammonia.  Who knew?