Recycling Clothing

Did you know the average American throws out 68 pounds of clothing per year?

Recently I took a class in Global Change, and the emphasis was on how much we pollute our Earth. This sparked me to look up that scary titbit of info mentioned. How wasteful we are!

Since I have a passion for sewing and ability to wear out blue jeans, the only natural thing to do was “Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle”.

It started with the discovery of my worn-out favorite jeans. Wanting to keep them in my clutches forever, I decided to make a blue jean purse out of them. It got my creative juices flowing and I couldn’t wait to make more of them. I began digging for other jeans once deemed “favorite” long ago worn out, and found quite a few. Fabric at Joanne’s started jumping out at me too, as “perfect” for a jean purse.

It wouldn’t be long before other projects and ideas would come to mind. For example, over the summer we adopted a new kitten, so naturally he needed a few toys. A quick scan of the cat toy aisle in various stores had me saying “I could make that”, or at the very least, something like it. I’ve always done better creating my own patterns and instructions (I don’t do well following orders!), so I made one for a cat nip mouse. Planing every detail of the toy was so much fun! My creativity jumped several notches after a trip to Hobby Lobby in search of cat-toy parts.

El Senior Mousey

A few useful items had to be worked in, such as my daughter’s lunch bag and a organizer made of scraps (still being completed, piece by piece!). After finding a fantastical fuzzy fabric at Joann’s, I got carried away making pillows for anyone that wanted them.

While my hobby will never be more than just that, I can at least feel good about saving money and taking pride in items I make myself. Isn’t that kind of the point? I do hope you’ve gotten a few ideas on ways to recycle clothing and a jump start on your current projects. Please feel free to share! I’m always curious to see what others are making themselves.🙂

A Dozen Ways to Use Lemons around the House

A Dozen Ways to Use Lemons around the House
Guest post by Marina Chernyak


Lemons are eaten, drank, used for seasoning, as a cooking aid, a cleaning aid, insect repellant, and a beauty aid. The lowly lemon is so versatile that one wonders why junk cars are called lemons.

Lemons help the cook.

  • A squeeze of lemon rescues the salad from browning. Apples, artichokes, avocadoes, fennel, celeriac, and bananas keep their appealing color.
  • Squeeze just a little in the water while cooking asparagus and broccoli to retain the vivid green coloring.
  • Add just a tad to the water when cooking cauliflower or rice to retain the brilliant white.
  • Using a potato peeler remove the outer layer of the organic lemon to prepare zest. Adding this when preparing foods will add zip to many dishes and enhance the food’s natural flavor and color.

Lemons help to relieve a cough.

Steep about two tablespoons organic lemon rinds, 1 teaspoons of sage and ½ teaspoon of thyme in boiling water for 15 minutes. Sweeten to taste (preferably with honey), let cool slightly and drink as a tea throughout the day.

Lemons are air fresheners.

  • Toss your lemon rinds in the fire place to freshen stale odors in your home.
  • Soak cotton balls in lemon juice, place in the refrigerator to freshen.
  • Place a few teaspoons of lemon juice in the water in your humidifier to deodorizer the air in your home.
  • Place lemon slices in dishes in the home for a natural deodorizer and to repel ants and fleas.
  • Toss lemon peels, cloves, cinnamon sticks and orange peels in water and simmer for a delightful fragrance.
  • Toss the lemon peels into the garbage disposal when running the disposal to freshen and deodorize.

Lemons help do the laundry.

  • Mix lemon juice with white vinegar and soak underarm stains to remove them from blouses and shirts.
  • A paste of salt and lemon juice rubbed into mildew stains helps to remove stains.
  • Lemon juice is gentle bleach for whites.

Lemons are a beauty aid.

  • Wash you face each night with lemon juice to lighten age spots, and freckles.  Do not rinse until morning and watch your complexion clear up. This also helps to stop black heads and acne.
  • Before sitting in the sun, spray your hair with lemon juice to get blond highlights.
  • Add lemon juice to your favorite shampoo to aid in the removal of dandruff and add two teaspoons of lemon juice to two cups of warm water to rinse hair after washing. This will aid in removing hairstyling buildup and dandruff.
  • Blend lemon juice and olive oil to rub into hands and feet to relieve aches and pains and soften skin.
  • Soak nail polish stained fingernails in lemon or a mixture of warm water and white vinegar to help bleach the nails back to their original color.

Lemon juice helps in other ways.

  • Lemon juice helps to make the breath fresh. Bad breath is created by bacteria and lemons kill the bacterium that causes bad breath. Drinking or gargling with the juice is all it takes.
  • A few drops of lemon juice mixed in a glass of warm water in the morning helps to maintain regularity.
  • Pour lemon juice directly on rashes from poison ivy to relieve the itch and discomfort.
  • Dab warts with lemon juice daily until the wart falls off.
  • If you have no alcohol in the home, use some lemon juice to dab at minor wounds. Not only will it kills germs but it will also aid in stopping the bleeding.

Warnings and tips:

  • Because of the acid contained in lemons, use only stainless steel, ovenproof glass, porcelain or ceramic when cooking with lemons or lemon juice.
  • Be careful not to get lemon juice in the eyes as it will sting.

Marina Chernyak is SAHM and co-owner of an hall and foyer table website located at –

Back To School Sewing – Lunch Bags

I’ve been in such a sewing mood lately I just had to make something useful for the kids. The boy declined a handmade lunch bag, but he’s 11 so I forgive him. My 8 year old daughter, on the other hand, was super excited about it.

The fabric she picked out came from Joann. Originally it was to make a quilt from, but I couldn’t resist using it for some back-to-school stuff. Especially because of the girly sports theme.

I absolutely stink at making my own patterns or instructions for others to share, although seem to do alright when I design them on the fly. Sometimes it involves ripping out a few seams, but usually projects come out looking like they are suppose to.

Obviously this one isn’t my best work, but the girl is happy with it, so that’s all that matters. I started by reading over a few tutorials on lunch sacks, including a pretty easy lunch sack from Simplicity.

Since we’ve been on a mission to “go green” and recycle, I didn’t have special fabric or “real” insulation, nor did I want to buy it just for one project. However, we did include batting so it will keep foods semi-cool. The up side is it’s 100% washable in the machine, and I don’t have to worry about special care instructions.

I also added a strap to make it a bit easier to tote around, something I didn’t see much of on other patterns.  It’s a simple “sew together and pull inside out” strap, which totally works for a little girl.

Hopefully my pattern skills will improve so I can share more projects in the new future!

Stephen King Revisited

My desire to read has conciderably dwindled since the addition of our bedroom TV. Although sifting through shows on Netflix, I came across an old obsession.

I was so addicted to The Dead Zone on USA at one point in time, and craved more after seeing every episode they made. When I came across the orginal Stephen King book at a used book store, I read it immediately.

You know what they say, “the book is always better”, but that’s not the case here. Both had their own unique twists, making them each a real treasure.

One of these days I’ll get around to watching the movie from the 70s, but I fear it wouldn’t be as fantastic as the book or series.

If you haven’t experienced the Dead Zone in any form, I highly recommend you do. I’m getting started on the series again, and may just read the book again, too.😉

Easy Summer Sandwich Melts

The summer heat must be getting to me, since I don’t feel like making supper or doing a whole hell of a lot around the house. With TV with Internet and tons of sewing supplies in my bedroom, it makes it hard to leave the comfort of my bed to enter a hot, noisy kitchen.

Lucky for us we have a George Foreman grill that makes bacon uber easy to cook with minimal mess. With tomatoes finally ripe and a ton of lunch meat left over from our tortilla wrap obsession, making melty sandwiches seems to be the only way to go.

We don’t have a sandwich maker (hard to believe I’m missing a kitchen toy, isn’t it?), but we made some fantastic melt sandwiches anyway. Here’s how we make them:

1. Cook the Bacon
I know this isn’t a favorite past time in the summer, or any time of year for that matter. We cook our bacon int he grill, but microwave works also. If you really do not want to fight with bacon, this step can be skipped.

2. Toast the Bread
I’m sure you have a toaster. Insert bread, push the button, and ta da! Toast.

3. Assemble the Sandwich
Add your favorite sandwich items such as cheese (we used slices of Colby Jack, but mozzarella is good too), deli meat, mayo, tomatoes, and maybe the bacon if you were brave enough to make it.

4. Nuke It
Pop your sandwich in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until the cheese is melted to your liking.

That’s it! No sandwich maker or hot oven needed here, just a microwave and possibly a stove top. The significant other loves these, and they are super easy and fast to make.