About auntiemwrites

I'm a retired RN, full-time writer who lives in a very rural area in coastal NC. I live here with Doc and our 7 yr old Spinone, Radar. We have 3 grown married sons. On a daily basis we see deer, tons of birds including blue birds and woodpeckers, shore birds and the occasional black bear, and love living on the Pungo River, perfect for a writer. My award-wininng mystery, THE BLUE VIRGIN, is set in Oxford, UK, and is the first of a series featuring American Nora Tierney. Book 2, THE GREEN REMAINS, follows Nora's move to Cumbria. Book 3, THE SCARLET WENCH, has her getting mixed up in murder yet again!

Repurposing–and a Contest

ecolassieEco Lassie is a huge fan of repurposing things.

So she’s always looking for new uses for an old item.
One of the neatest ideas she’s come across is courtesy of “Real Simple” magazine and has to do with balloons.

Have a teen who wants cash above all else? I know the teens on my list prefer to choose their own clothes and presents these days.

Simply roll cash bills and insert into a balloon with a handful of confetti. Then blow it up! A clear balloon would allow the items inside to be seen, but any balloon will do.
moneyballoon

Inflate and tie off with colorful ribbons. Instant gift and so cute!

Have a youngster who loves to make noise? Make a simple drum by cutting off the opening and stretching the remaining rubber piece over the top of an empty coffee can. Secure carefully with several rubber bands. The tighter the stretch the different tone you’ll get.
balloondrums

The cans can be painted and personalized, too. A great craft project for kids.

One other idea that is a keeper: to keep guests from having to plunge their hands into cold, icy water when you’re having a party, make a beverage cooler that rocks. Simply freeze water in balloons and use them to line a tub filled with your drinks. Your guests will thank you.
icecooler

Now for the best part: REAL SIMPLE is having a contest challenging readers to come up with new uses for ANY of the following household items:

wineglass * dustpan * wooden spoon * smartphone case * belt * soda-can tab top * balance/fitness ball *
melon baller * coffee cup sleeve * DVD case * cutting board * rolling pin * magnets * shoelaces * garment bag *
shot glass * coffee K-Cup * contact-lens case

Winners will have their ideas published in REAL SIMPLE and receive a $100 gift card.

You can enter more than once. Send your ideas to: newusescontest@realsimple.com by November 14, 2014

If you win, let Eco Women know!! Good luck~

HHW sites

ecolassie  Eco-Lassie has been pondering HHW sites. These are for household hazardous waste materials.

She was shocked to discover that even supposedly “eco-friendly” nail polishes are so friendly.

These are usually labeled 3-FREE or 5-FREE and give the impression to the user that they are sound for the environment and the user, and can therefore could be safely disposed of in your normal garbage. They may be labeled “vegan” or “natural.”

polishaboutinrowThere’s no question this type of polish is healthier for your nails, and for the environment as well as the lungs that are inhaling the vapors from them.

But don’t be fooled into thinking they can be chucked out in your household garbage.

Enesta Jone, a spokesperson for the US Environmental Protection Agency, says that they are “not safe for the environment” and ALL of your polishers to be discarded should be brought to an HHW facility.

Other items that you should bring to these kinds of facilities? Paint cans are a biggie, as is hair dye–who knew? and of course, those pesky pesticides.

paintcans1

To find a collection area near you:

Visit earth911.com; click on Recycling Search.

Now input “nail polish” and your ZIP code.

Bt what to do if, like Eco-Lassie, the closest facility is over thirty miles away? It’s hardly cost- and environmentally efficient to drive that far to dump used nail polishes.

You can let the polishes dry out by loosening the caps. Leave them outside, away from flames, for at least 48 hrs. THEN you can throw them away in household garbage.

Letting them dry out allows the solvents in the polish to break down and evaporate, so they won’t seep into groundwater surrounding a landfill.

That’s Eco-Lassie’s tip for the day!

 

 

 

 

New Life for Glass Jars

ecolassieEco Lassie loves this time of year. The berries are in and she’s waiting for jams and jellies from her friends. Canning vegetables is starting, too. As she uses up the remnants of last year’s bounty, she’s left with a drawer full of nice glass jars with tight-fitting lids she could reuse for other purposes.

Of course Eco Lassie keeps her coffee beans in several of the larger jars, with their nice tight-fitting lids, but she’s also been thinking outside the box for other uses besides pantry items. Continue reading

Natural Remedies for your pet

ecolassieEco-Lassie extolled the virtues last month of using natural things around your home for spring cleaning. This month she’s applying that same rule of thumb to your pets and home remedies for them.

Our old friend vinegar rears its head once again, only this time we’re talking apple cider. If you pet is prone to yeast infections, simply adding 1 ml per cup of water into its drink bowl acts as a powerful preventative. That’s about 12 drops per every 8 ounces of water.

 

And if by some chance your poor pet gets into a toxic alkaline, like drain cleaner, and here Eco-Lassie shudders, take the time to mix 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water, suck it up in a syringe, and dose your pet twice on the way to the vet ASAP.

 

westie

What about smaller injuries, those scratches your terrier gets digging, or the skin irritation your white Westie seems to get? Witch hazel is a natural astringent that also has an antiseptic effect. Soak a cotton ball and apply to the area. You can also find it in spray or lotion form if your pet develops a chronic rash.

dog,+licking+paw

Then there are times your dog will develop “hot spots,” those areas of itching and rash he licks incessantly which often leaves a bald patch. These can be from many sources, from stress to allergies, but while you’re figuring how the cause, you can treat them simply with steeping black or free tea. Gently squeeze out the liquid after cooling and apply the damp teabag to the hot spot several times a day for a few minutes each time. The tannic acid in the tea helps to dry out the sore.

pumpkin_dog_treats

Eco-Lassie is a fond champion of the wonders of pumpkin. This is an all-natural stomach soother to the digestion, whether your pet is having a bout of diarrhea or constipation. Because of it’s smooth consistency, it pushed other foods through if your pet is having difficulties or straining when he toilets. Because it contains fiber, it firms things up if she is having loose stools. Add 1/4 cup to a meal; just be certain you use canned pureed pumpkin, not the pie mix!

corgipupbandana mblr_m7q8ybC9zk1rtoevyo1_1280

Finally, don’t forget the same aromatherapy human find calming applies to your pets. Soothing scents can help to calm an anxious dog or cat. Thunderstorm nearing? A few drop of lavender extract on a bandana wrapped around his neck can help to calm him. If your simply won’t wear a bandana, put he extract on a cotton ball near his or her bed. Just look at this Corgi pup snoozing away through a thundershower!

Other quick remedies:

If you nip a toenail and it bleeds but can’t find styptic powder, try flour or cornstarch.

Baking soda made into a paste with a few drops of water will neutralize bee or insect stings. Salt often does the same thing in a paste.

Have a diabetic pet? Raise their blood sugar quickly with a spoonful of honey until you can get her to the vet. And honey can be used to help a festering wound heal.

Have an aloe plant? Break off a piece and apply directly to your pet’s skin to soothe an angry area. The aloe gel is safe if ingested but don’t let your pet eat the plant itself.

Ginger root is great for pets who suffer from car sickness. Give your pet crystallized finer or ginger snap cookies at least 20 mins before the dreaded ride.

Toxin-free Spring Cleaning

ecolassieEco-Lassie is tired of winter. This has been one long, hard slog for everyone, and it isn’t over yet. 

In the interests of hoping to bring Spring to its sense, she’s started to do her usual purge and clean at this time of year. Shaking out the winter cobwebs and bringing that sparkly shine to her house may just put a smile on her face. Continue reading

Recyling: your cocktail shaker!

ecolassieEco Lassie has a few vintage cocktail shakers. You know, those cute ones every bartender knows how to use.

Hers has been out of the closet exactly twice in the past ten years, so she thought it would be interesting to see what other uses people had found for this interesting and stylish little strainer. Continue reading