Apparently this blog really wanted to be a kind of country diary with cycling and crochet accents - and that's okay. But we're still living as simply as we did six years ago, and recent income changes have meant that we're earning even less than we did then. The upside is, we've had years of practice at tightening our belts. Our current situation is just a good reminder to drop some excess life-weight and find ways to slip that belt over another notch or two.
Today's post was written in that spirit.
Note: Simple living and recycling aren't always pretty; sometimes they're merely practical. So none of the photos here are intended to be Pinterest-worthy - but I do hope that someone may find them helpful.
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"Drizzle with icing" must be one of the most delicious phrases in the English language. ("Top with chocolate" is a close contender.) If you like to drizzle icing on your baked goodies (who doesn't?), here's a quick tip for a reusable icing bag.
Take an empty confectioner's sugar (or other sturdy plastic) bag, and cut a large quarter-circle around one of the lower corners, like this:
Fill half-way with icing, twist top to close, and snip a very small piece off the corner:
Squeeze to drizzle the icing. Perfect for jazzing up some birthday breakfast scones:
This little bag can be washed and re-used many times over. I've been using mine for a couple of years now - the plastic seems indestructible.
Other uses for sturdy plastic food bags (or used freezer zip bags):
- They make a wonderful non-stick barrier between a rolling pin and sticky dough (e.g. tortilla dough or pie crust). Cut away any zippered portion, then cut carefully along one side and across the bottom of the bag so you can open it out flat. Roll your dough, repositioning the plastic as needed. When you're done, wash the plastic and save it to use again.
- Cut bag open as above, and use to line smaller pans (in place of butter, foil, or waxed paper) for easy release of non-baked bars and treats. (Don't put anything hot on the plastic.)
- When shaping hamburgers, center the meat on one half of a plastic bag piece, fold the other half over it, and press with a plate. The plate will stay cleaner, and the burgers peel right off the plastic.
- To make a bowl of leftovers airtight, drape the plastic over the bowl and hold it in place with a plate or a rubber band. (You can also use a towel and a plate.)
(This technique also works for intact zipper bags. Dry the outer surfaces first, then turn them inside out and repeat with the inner surfaces. Air-dry until no moisture lurks in the corners.)
Some might say that all this repurposing of plastic wouldn't be necessary if we didn't buy plastic-packaged things in the first place - and they would be right. It's something we're working on. But I'm happy to state that we haven't bought any plastic wrap for at least five years. This may not save the planet, but it's one small step towards simpler and more sustainable living practices. And it saves us money. Kind of a win-win.
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What can you do with a hole-y sock?
I've learned to darn my pricey merino wool socks, but cheaper cotton and bamboo socks don't seem to mend as well. Yet I don't like to throw them away - so here are some ways I keep worn socks out of landfills.
- Cut off the feet and use them for dusting or cleaning (just slip one over your hand)
- Use the ribbed cuffs to protect long sleeved tee shirts when cooking or slicing things that splatter. I keep a stash of cut-off sock cuffs in the drawer next to the stove, and slip them on as needed. (Many people would just push up their sleeves, but my wrists get cold in winter. The cuffs therefore serve a double purpose: they protect my sleeve hems from getting stretched out while keeping splatters off my sleeves.)
- Speaking of cold wrists: sock cuffs, while not pretty, make great wrist warmers in a pinch. Mr. M has even been known to cut the toes from worn woolen socks, cut a slit for the thumb, and make rough-duty mitts for himself.
|New Life for an Old Sock: Mrs. M's Cooking Cuff|
- Cut off the toe and/or foot section and use as above for cleaning or dusting.
- Wear the leg section as leg warmers - this works especially well under shorter socks in winter time.
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Do you have any tips for repurposing socks, sugar bags, or any other items that might otherwise be thrown away?
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