Reviving Dry Markers

This bin is our dry marker storage until I take it to Staples for recycling. That’s right, Staples will send these to Terracycle for recycling into new products. Check it out here. Another company that will take back markers is Crayola, but from what was shared to me and my own looking, Crayola burns them to make fuel. Check it out here.

I seen a tip from another group member on Facebook about wetting the dry markers to bring them back. I tested it and it works!! In the main picture (above), the markers in the bin did not come back, but the rest did!

I took a cup of water, wet the end of the marker and stood it up to let the water drain inside. Right away it was working! The kids were thrilled as we were running low on markers.

The left side marks are the before strokes. The right side (3 lines each) are the after strokes.
Julia used the markers to make a picture.
Lots of colour
Jack too, made a picture.
Lots of colour
These pictures and test were done July 7, 2019. Today is August 5, 2019, and those markers are still in use!

Stripping Cloth Diapers

About a month ago, I started to use up the stash of disposable diapers I had sitting around since October of last year. I figured I had better use them up (only needs diaper at night or trips out and about). There were 43 I believe, we are down to about a dozen now. One of the reasons I switched back to using them (besides we already bought them, they need to be used by someone anyways, destined to landfill either way) was because Thomas’ cloth diapers started to repel liquids. Every morning he was wet as well as all the bedding.

I had come to realize, with help from friends on other groups, that the diapers had formed a mineral buildup (from hard water) and the laundry detergents were not getting that off the inserts. If I put water on the insert, it would not soak into the pad. It actually just stayed on top, beaded water that would slide off when the pad was tipped. I will note, he has had no rashes, the inserts and everything else have been cleaned, no problems in that area.

I really did not want to switch back to using Tide. We have eliminated it and I did not want those chemicals back, or the scent that came with it! Blah!! I visited the Fluff University site online, and read the directions for stripping. Tide was the best option. But, determined, I tried what I already had.

I soaked the cloth diapers for 7 hours in hot, oxygen bleach water with Nature Clean Powdered detergent as well as Borax. Agitated the load every hour or more. I rinsed the load and let it sit in a cold load with oxygen bleach for 30 minutes, then put them on 3 wash cycles with detergent and Borax.

Sure enough . . . they were still repelling the water. What a waste! I was disappointed! So, Chris bought some Tide for me to use, Unscented though. No way could I deal with the scents! (I was in the attic the other day going through stored clothing and I could smell the Tide off them . . . so gross when one has been away from those smells).

So I did another strip wash like the above steps, but this time with the Tide unscented. The inserts came out mostly improved. Tonight I will try one on Thomas as a test, maybe they need to soak again, but there is definitely improvement, very little repelling.

Update. Thomas was dry this morning!! Yay!!!!!


More Clothing Repairs and Jacks Teddy Pup

My clothing repair corner is getting pretty big! I have lots to do with my new sewing machine. I have not Used it very much and received it for my Birthday from my mom and step dad back in January.

I have more plans for making cloth bags and even a cloth bag to hold the refundable recyclables instead of using a blue bag or a box. Once the cloth bag for two are full, I can take them to the depo and take my bags back and wash them. Reduce and Reuse! (I just got to take the time to make them, lol)

Cotton thread, not synthetic. Will not support synthetic.
Feet pretty holy. These have been worn by Daniel and Jack.
Sewed on a patch to the inside of both feet, hoping to get one more child through these, Thomas. Surly the feet part can be replaced altogether, as the rest of these pj’s are in great condition!
Not quite sure what to do about the outside. At least there is no draft anymore! Lol
Any tips?
Julia’s pjs got a massive hole too.
Patched up.
Jacks teddy pup was in need of mending.
Found another hole.
Jack is happy!
Christmas bag I told my brother Scott I could fix up with the sewing machine. On one side, the seam completly let go almost down the while bag.

Repairing Some Sweaters

Daniel and Alaina each have a favourite sweater and they were both in need of some mending! Daniel’s sleeve cuff was coming undone and Alaina’s sweater came undone along the whole seam of a sleeve and body. I could not believe how much it was coming apart! Her sweater, which I can not remember where it came from, must have been hand made, knitting or something.

Anyways, Daniels was pretty easy to fix up, my sewing skills are slim, so it was not the prettiest job done, but the hole was mended. I also did not have black thread to match the colour. Oh well. lol.

Alaina’s sweater was a much bigger job and I took it to the sewing machine and fixed it right up.  It may be a little tighter than it was before and I did not match the colour patterns up very well, I did not even take notice as I mended it up. Though, I do not think it is very noticeable unless you look right at the seam, which is hidden under the arm anyways. Lesson learned for next time! Mistakes are good, they are lessons we learn from.


Cleaning Residue Off Glassware With Homemade Apple Scrap Vinegar

I am trying out my first batch of apple scrap vinegar. I had to get a second opinion on my batch, and I had a lovely visitor, Gina Rideout, today who came all the way from St. John’s Newfoundland. She is a Certified Health Coach and doTerra Wellness Advocate at doTerra Essential Oils. She thought my batch was good. I thought it smelled like alcohol still, but she says more like apple cider vinegar. Yay!!!

So I’m geared up to try it on my residues glasses. Plastic free vinegar in the works and it is working amazing!

I just poured the vinegar in a bowl and let it sit a few minutes, turning the glass half way to coat the other side. A quick rinse and our glasses were sparkling again!

I will be putting a cup worth into the dish washer to help as the vinegar in the rinse agent dispenser is not cutting it! I put some store bought vinegar directly in the washer a few days ago and the dishes were not so residue feeling. I really did not want to buy more plastic jugs of vinegar, so I will experiment with this! Yay!

My second batch has been fermenting since April 25 and still going strong. I have apple cores stored in the freezer awaiting for this batch to finish, another week or more I think.

I had a couple bottles from Olive oil, and I will put them to good use to store the vinegar! I have been storing the first batch in a plastic juice container as I had no glass containers to hold the amount. Gina mentioned that the acid from the vinegar will ruin the container, which no knew, but, she gave me a little needed nudge to find an alternative. I did not want to go buy one and don’t have the time to go thrift shopping so I took a look to see a batch had for jars. I made up my mind that if I have to use a bunch of jars to stores the vinegar, so be it. Get away from the plastic container.

I found a Olive oil jar stashed away and luckily I had an empty one by the sink waiting to get washed. Meant to be! Thanks Gina! 

Broken Slide Fixed

Our backyard slide and swing set is about 8 years old. We have had it adjusted to hold more swings thanks to Chris’ dad, David. It used to hold 2 swings, now four. I think we may need to add one more with 5 kids who still love to swing! This Spring, Thomas is out of the baby swing! Full on big kid swings for everybody!! Yay! Another baby stage gone. 

So the other day, Julia decided to lift the slide off the ground, causing the screw places to completely let go. The slide was detached. The kids were not happy. With so many broken toys lately, I was determined to make sure it got fixed.

The screws were old and rusted making it hard to remove them. The screw was becoming stripped. I remember a trick I seen a while ago and decided to put it into action. A thick rubber band placed across the top of the screw and then I used the screw driver to gently turn and take the screws out. It was a slow process and the band got a bit holy. The screw did not get stripped too much because of the band. Yay!

I placed the slide back into position and put the screws back in place. I used the rubber band again. I probably could have used new screws, but I did not think about that at the time.

Kids are happy and so am I!

Fixing Those Cheap Kids Scool Bags

No more of these bags will be bought by myself. Time and time again, these cheap bags come apart. They are not made to last. They may be appealing to the target market, the children, but definitly not so for the environment. Even before this zero waste journey these bags were unliked. The catch to us buying them, they were cheap. Well, I am over that and will be paying more for a better quality backpack.

Meanwhile, we still need to take care of what we already have and I am determined to have this packback last Julia to the end of the school year. It has already been repaired once, here we go again!

Julia’s bag is coming apart at the top
At the side
Fixed with some fabric glue!
I had these on hand from when I was doing crocheting. I did some incorrect moves while switching colours and they were coming undone. I saved the blanket with a bit of fabric glue.


Julia’s teddy she got from Daniel for Christmas was in rough shape. The arm fell off before Julia recieved it, and after Christmas the two legs let go as well. 

Today, a no school day, Julia was fumbling through my repair basic I have set aside for sewing repairs. She found her teddy and asked if I could fix it. Right away, I pulled out my sewing kit and set to work. Two legs secured on and the other flimsy arm got adjusted too, would not be long cord that one to come off either.

Patched a hole I found on the foot too. Julia is super happy and renamed her teddy, Reindeer. How original! Lol.

Alaina’s pajama top turned into a strange disaster when the neck line started to let go. She got this one at Christmas time and held together for a couple months only. Disappointed in this one. Should have held better.

But I fixed it too. I learned the collar is a separate price of material, just folded over the main shirt material. I sandwiched them back together and secured it. Not a pretty job, I’m no professional, but it worked. No more holes.

Repair What You Own and Refuse Free Items

I am very proud of myself! I refused to throw away a certain item when I was feeling forced to. An item that could be repaired easily. To someone else’s eye, it was doomed.

This item was one of our very first Compliments, Reusable Bag For Life. This bag must be 10 years old. It’s the only old one we have and its colour scheme is different from the rest of our other ones. I mainly use it to carry all my other reusable bags. Its our bag for bags.

So a couple of weekends ago, I was out shopping for groceries. I loaded our items onto the belt. As I started to load the first few bags into my cart, the cashier working took a brand new reusable bag from her stash, scanned the paper and then told me she was replacing one of my bags (free) as it had a rip.

I thought, oh. I had no idea. She showed more the bag, and sure enough, it was the bag for bags. A seam had let go at the top about 3 inches, maybe less. I said, “oh, I can fix that!” She said, no, they replace the worn bags for free. 

She continued my order and again I tried asking for it back, that it was a quick fix. She denied me. Told me its not a problem. Standing there, in this situation, my heart was pounding. I knew it was wrong. That bag could be fixed. Am I really going to let it go? I am not a person who stands up for myself. I usually just let go of annoying/irritating/bothering situations. Don’t sweat the small stuff, right! I thought about the words Refuse. Repair.

She emptied my bag of its contents, cloth produce bags, other reusable bags and a Nickle. She put the bag behind her on an empty till. Placed my belongings in the new bag and handed it to me. Inside I was shaking. Shocked. She did not understand me.

As I loaded the last bag in the cart, my bank card in hand, and the cashier waiting for me to pay, my heart still pounding, I stopped, stood back from the payment terminal and stated “I want to undo the transaction for the new bag and I want my old one back. I can fix it. I am cutting out waste at home.” I slightly mentioned about avoiding plastics and such.

The cashier (whom I see regularly, and is very nice, loves seeing the kids) took on an expression of confusion. She reached behind her, picked up the broken bag and gave it to me. As I was starting to empty the new one, she said to keep it, “You are a good customer”.

I continued with the payment, and as we were finishing, she asked me, “Is it hard? To avoid plastic?”  I said “yes, a little. Small steps and saying no, like I just did.” My mind was so boggled, I did not know what else to say in that moment. She nodded and we said good night.

I’m not upset with this cashier, she as only doing her job. But it goes to show how much things can just get tossed away over simple things. They should first ask for permission before removing and replacing the bag. Even mention that they can be repaired by the customer or someone the customer knows rather than assume no one can add some stitches.

I have to say though, a year ago or two, I probably would have let that bag go. So different mindset now! I am glad I have grown to reduce our waste, mend our things and stand up for myself. Even to be able to talk with others and give my own opions. That is new for me too. I like it!!

So a couple days later, I took out the sewing machine, I like the sewing machine, and mended the seam within a minute. It really did not take long!! If I did it by hand, probably a few minutes or less.

My bag is set for more trips. Side pockets for cloth produce bags. 2 thermal bags for meat packages. No contamination, no little thin white bags needed, and if there happens to be a leak, these bags clean very easily! All my other reusable bags fit neatly packed.

After explaining the situation to my husband, he wondered what happens to these reusable bags. Are they trashed or recycled? So I went ahead and sent a message to Sobey’s via facebook.

I asked what happens to their ripped reusable bags. I know the policy is to replace the Sobey’s brand bags. The reply was, you may return the ripped “Bag For Life” to your Sobey’s store to be replaced.

I then said I knew that, but happens to the bags? Are they disposed or recycled. The response  was, “They’re recycled Rachel”.

I was not feeling there was enough detail. So I asked again, if they were made into new bags or something else. I did not get a response for a few hours, so I sent another message telling about my experience with my bag. Our question to wanting to know what happens to these worn out bags. I also said I know not all recyclable items are recycled, and was wondering if you knew where they go and what the result of the recycling was.

The response was simply, “all ‘Bags For Life’ are recycled.”

Oh dear! Not impressed! No answers. No conversation. No nothing!