Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FIRST AND SECOND LIVES

You probably already know that I am a great repurposer. Before I throw anything away I think about whether I could give it a new use. So, when I saw this little beauty at a garage sale at a bargain $3, it didn't take me long to think about what I could do with it.


In its first life it was a tiki torch. It had a little stainless steel cup in the center and I knew for its second life it was going to become a succulent pot. I proudly showed it to my dinner guests that night. They didn't seem quite so impressed. In fact I think they were speechless! It didn't have the plant so maybe that would have made a difference. Or maybe it is another case of beauty in the eye of the beholder.

You all know their first life.


 In their second life they are pot feet. It helps to keep the ground underneath the pots clean.


The corks are easy to cut to size. For most pots I cut them into 4. Sometimes all I need are thin slivers.


Then stick them to the bottom of the pot. Or just place them underneath the pot.


I have also used them when attaching something to the wall to keep the item off the wall.


But not to forget the rest of the item. At this time of year I also keep the wine bottles. I fill them with water to use in the greenhouse as a passive solar heating. I also fill the one gallon milk jugs. Can you imagine what kind of party they think we have had when I put them out for recycling in the spring.


In their first life they were salsa cups from our weekly trip to Whole Foods for breakfast tacos.
In their second life they are a perfect place to keep seeds.


In their first life they held plants at the Great Outdoors nursery. In their second life they will keep bags of mulch and our firewood stack off the ground off the ground. We arrived just as they were throwing them in the trash.


In its first life it was a towel.


In its second life it is a new wicking mat for my greenhouse tray. The original one had the fuzzy surface removed to line a mouse's nest! I have in the past used strip of towel from pot to gallon jug of water to water plants when away. It works very well.
I recycle lots of other things too. I cut and bend coat hanger wire to make hold downs for the drip irrigation system.
I'm sure you have lots of ideas to recycle items around the home. Do share.


27 comments:

  1. What a lot of great ideas! I reuse wine bottles as decorations, but never thought to save the corks to use as pot feet. That's pretty genius. The tiki torch with the plant growing in it makes a great structural statement.

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    1. I've seen wine bottles used as pathway edger, bottle trees, melted to make cheese trays, ground up to make a mulch. They do have hundreds of uses.

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  2. You removed the towel fluff for the mouse? How thoughtful! ;)

    I use squeeze bottles to water seedlings under my lights. Mustard bottles are fine, but contact lens solution bottles are the best -- that tiny nozzle hole is great for shooting a little jet of water around seedlings. I'd also say that I reuse discarded bathroom shower doors, but to be honest I've just collected them so far and haven't gotten around to doing anything with them (except for a quick coldframe cover). I have ideas though.

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    1. I actually found the nest in a plant pot. Little tiny balls of the material thoughtfully placed over the naked babies. I like your idea of the bottle. I have one sitting on my bathroom counter and it is going straight into the greenhouse. Thanks.

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  3. Ha! Necessity is the mother of invention, after all :-)

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    1. Wish I could think of some really great invention!

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  4. I love the cork idea! I laughed at what they must think when you throw all those wine bottles in recycling! I've been saving milk jugs and various containers for wintersowing seeds. I have also saved a bunch of nice pallets and wooden crates from our move for use as raised beds, pallet gardens, or whatever else strikes my fancy. I love hearing everyone's ideas!

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  5. Great ideas for wine corks, which seem to multiply... I can use the idea of towel for watering too.

    We've had mouse nests in the BBQs, sweetly woven nests of grasses, plastic strips and whatever else she could find.

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  6. I love your succulent pot with that plant, very unique. I use wine corks as mulch on potted plants and like your idea of pot feet too. Sometimes I think I keep way too much stuff and then I need a piece of plastic pipe or a bit of wire and there it is in the shed ready to be repurposed.

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  7. I absolutely love your new succulent planter, of course it helps you picked the perfect plant for it.

    Thanks for the wine cork as pot feet idea, perfect! I am stealing it.

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  8. Beautiful is photo 1
    Greetings, RW & SK

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  9. I love your wine cork ideas! I am a member of the Museum of Modern Art New York and they had a $79 !!!!! trivet thing in their catalog that you stuff with your own wine corks. I loved that idea, but not enough to pay $79 for an empty little metal tray.....I will have to think of some similar concept to hold the corks.

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  10. The planter with the succulent is so striking! I love it. And what a great idea for using wine bottles in the greenhouse. I don't currently have any empty wine bottles so would have to get cracking, er, drinking, to empty enough to use in ours before it gets cold but...challenge, accepted!! I mean if it is for "the plants", right? I wouldn't have to enjoy myself....

    I often use corks to elevate and position smaller pots (typically orchids) inserted into larger decorative containers. I'm totally stealing that pot foot idea.

    I use intact thrift store plates as colorful drip trays under planters. I've used broken plate pieces as pendants for a planter "necklace", mulch in a garden bed, and as a "reverse" color shadow under a garden bench.

    My (current) favorite repurpose? I lined a broken large circular planter with old bottle caps, attached glass "pebbles" from the craft store inside each one and use it as a traveling "nicho" behind various garden elements throughout the year.


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    1. I remember seeing a planter with the broken plate decoration. I think they used copper wire to fasten it. very striking. Would love to see pictures of your garden decorations.

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  11. Great use for the wine corks. I'm going to pinch that idea :)

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  12. That's a great idea for the wine corks..pot feet. I use them for mulch, but the feet idea will be one I use, for sure.

    I hate to throw away anything. It does become a bit of a problem, sometime. :)

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  13. I like to mark those little cups with a sharpie and use them as 1 tablespoon measuring cups to measure out liquid fish emulsion and seaweed. I've been using wine corks as mulch in one small bed. I like the look, but it's takes a lot of corks. I love re-purposed containers for potting plants and I think your old tiki torch is very cool. I have some old colanders that I've planted with succulents and an old tonka dump truck that's tricked out as a planter too.

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  14. All great ideas! I'm definitely going to try the corks as pot feet. I consume large quantities of bottled ice tea and have used the glass bottles both as impromptu vases when giving flowers to friends and, at my old house, as edging materials to hold back soil. (I tried wine bottles but they required too much digging.) I also use old screen from windows and doors to line the bottom of pots.

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    1. Window screening is a great idea for pots. It stops the ants and pill bugs making a home in their.

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  15. I love the wine cork idea. My pots get so hot sitting on the concrete steps and cork feet will help some air move around below them. I've been using corks to mix into potting soil so that I don't use so much soil and the pots aren't quite as heavy. It sounds like I need to drink more wine so that I can get more corks!

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    1. I like the idea of lightening the soil with corks. Need to drink lots more wine.

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  16. This is fabulous! I'm going to use all these tips! Not only do you create beauty, you give every beautiful thing another purpose!

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    1. Thanks Linda. I think my collections drive David crazy.

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  17. What seeds do you start, just vegetables or anything for your flower gardens?

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    1. I will be starting a variety of seeds at the beginning of Feb. Both flower and vegetable. I usually try a few new ones each year and those seeds I have collected during the year.

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  18. A couple of weeks ago, I started using wine corks as mulch in pots out by the bottle trees. Thus far it's working well ... it will be interesting to see how they fare the next time we have rain.

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