I love finding ways to use everyday items in new and different ways. The internet is a great source for learning alternate uses but some of these are uses I’ve picked up from some of the great older ladies in my life. There are quite a few surprising uses for toothpaste that I’ve tried over the years. You may want to give them a try as well.
We use a lot of garlic in this house. Naturally most of it goes to culinary use but there are a lot of uses for this member of the allium family you may not know. But garlic is for more than just cooking.
Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca Tree which is indigenous to Australia. The Aborigines are believed to have used the leaves for centuries, perhaps even longer. They crushed the leaves and inhaled the oil to treat coughs, applied crushed leaves to wounds and made infusions of leaves to treat skin conditions and sore throats. There are so many uses for it you should definitely keep tea tree oil in your home.
We’ve all seen the commercials by the egg producers (the people, not the chickens) but it’s not just the incredible “edible” egg. There are alternate uses for eggs you may not have tried; along with some obvious ones.
Cinnamon is a wonderful spice. It adds flavor to both savory and sweet dishes, was once used as a love potion, and was a perfume for the wealthy of Rome. But did you know that cinnamon is great for your garden?
There are two types of cinnamon. Ceylon is a buff-colored cinnamon and is mildly sweet. Cassia is the cinnamon sold as “cinnamon” in many countries, including the United States. It is brown in color. Both are harvested from the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree. Cinnamon oil comes from the pods of the cinnamon tree and is used both as a flavoring and medicinally.
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Every year I end up with plant pots that I’ve used and can’t seem to bring myself to toss. They were under my front porch. They were under my back porch. They were on my potting table in the basement. I started to feel that they were going to end taking over the entire house. Now I’ve found 10 ways to reuse plant pots that you may want to try, too!
Make a water ring for your water-loving plants – Tomatoes, peppers, and some other vegetables are water-loving plants but giving them enough water can cause the soil to become compacted. This means the plants aren’t getting all the water you try to give them. An easy fix is to take a large plastic pot, cut out the bottom, and push it about halfway into the soil. Then place your plant inside the pot, fill it partway with soil, and water. Each time you water the ring will hold water in allowing it to gradually soak into the soil instead of running right off. If you’ve already planted these water-loving plants just cut a slit down one side of the pot, push into the soil, and then use waterproof tape to close the slit.
Make water reservoirs for other thirsty plants – Summer squash is another vegetable that requires lots of water. But making a water ring around a zucchini plant won’t work. Instead, take an old pot (any material as long as the pot has drainage holes in the bottom) and dig a hole a few inches from the stem of the plant. Put the pot in the hole, leaving a couple of inches sticking out. Then just fill the pot with water. The drain holes at the bottom will allow water to soak deep into the soil.
Make a transplanting guide – When your plants are ready for new pots fill the new pot partway with soil. Take a pot the same size as the one your plant is in and put in inside the larger pot. Fill around the empty pot with soil. When you’ve put the correct level of soil into the large pot just remove the smaller one and you’ll have a ready-made hole just the right size for your transplant. Just pop the plant out of the old pot, loosen the roots, and put in the hole. Gently pat down the soil and water the plant.
Make a home for bees and other beneficial insects – Take an empty pot and fill it with sections of bamboo cut to fit. Hang the pot using a hook screwed into the side in a sheltered area. The insects will thank you!
Make a garden twine dispenser – I’m always losing the end of my garden twine on the spool or it gets so tangled I end up throwing the entire spool away. Now I just put the twine in a pot, thread the end through one of the drain holes in the bottom, fit a bit of cardboard on the “bottom” (the original top of the pot), and affix the cardboard with duct tape. To prevent the twine from slipping down into the pot I glue a peg to the outside of the pot and just make a couple wraps of twine around it after I’ve cut what I need. This also works for kitchen twine. And you can use non-toxic paint to make the dispenser prettier for indoor use.
Make a produce pre-wash bowl – When I gather my produce I like to give it a wash before taking it in the house. In the past, when I didn’t do this, I found I was bringing bugs in with the vegetables. Now I use a large, lightweight pot to gather my vegetables and give them a good spray with the hose before taking them inside.
Make a stand for painting projects – If you are painting and don’t want to have the item touch the ground try turning over a few appropriately sized pots and using them as a paint stand.
Make an ornament box for tiny decorations – When my husband was undergoing chemo therapy we didn’t want to put up our large Christmas tree. We got a little tabletop tree and used tiny ornaments. The problem is that those ornaments are easily lost. My solution was to use a seedling tray to store mini-ornaments. The tray keeps the delicate ornaments from bumping each other and the entire tray can be kept in a cardboard box for easy storage.
Make a winter salt shaker – I used to throw de-icer on the porch and steps with a cup but this was a bad way for me to do it. The porch right outside the front door got piles of the stuff while the steps got less and less the farther down they were. This is my trick for distributing de-icer more evenly. Hold one pot inside another. Fill the interior pot with sidewalk salt or other de-icer. Shake the interior pot over the areas you want to de-ice. Using two pots keeps the salt from falling out too quickly, causing some areas to get too much salt and others not enough.
Make a bead holder – I try to craft. I really do. So I sometimes buy craft items which usually ended up jumbled up in a plastic zipper bag. This caused me to say things I shouldn’t when I tried to fish out a particular item. Now I use a seedling tray to keep beads and other small craft items organized and separate. Seedling trays are also great for organizing screws, nuts, bolts, and other small hardware.
Do you reuse your old pots? I’d love to hear how!
After a long day of gardening I enjoy soaking in a hot tub with Epsom salt but here are 10 uses for Epsom salt you may not know.
- Before you plant your garden put one cup of Epsom salt per 100 feet of garden in a spreader and spread it over the soil. Then simply mix it in with a tiller or cultivator. Your garden will produce bountifully.
- Too late this year to mix the Epsom salt into the soil? No problem. Just mix 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt into a gallon of water and spray it on your tomato and pepper plants. It will also help your flowers! Treat your plants every 1 or 2 weeks and you’ll have bigger fruit and lots more of them!
- If you have a slug problem in your garden just sprinkle some Epsom salt around. Slugs can’t stand the stuff. That’s the end of your slug problem!
- Your garden is thriving but your lawn isn’t? Just mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt into a gallon of water. Use a sprayer to spread it over the lawn and make sure it soaks in. Treat the grass every 2 weeks. The Epsom salt adds magnesium and iron to the soil which grass needs. They say the grass is greener on the other side and, with this treatment you can be the other side!
- Sprinkle Epsom salt around the outside of your garden and around your trash cans to deter raccoons. They hate the smell and will leave both your garbage and your garden alone!
- Itchy Skin or Bug Bites- Dissolve a tablespoon of Epsom salt in to 1/2 cup of water and cool. Spritz on itchy skin or apply a wet compress to help relieve itching.
- Mix 4 cups of Epsom salt and 20 drops of essential oil to make your own fabric softener crystals. Use 1/4 cup per load and add at beginning of wash.
- Everyone wants full looking hair and Epsom salt can help! Combine equal parts of conditioner and Epsom salt and leave on hair for 20 minutes. Rinse well and let air dry for thicker hair.
- Making Magnesium Lotion- Using magnesium flakes is a better option, but in a pinch, you can use Epsom salt to make homemade magnesium oil
- 1/2 cup Epsom salt
- 1/2 cup distilled water
- A glass bowl or glass measuring cup
- A glass spray bottle (plastic will work too)
- Boil the distilled water. It is important to use distilled to extend the shelf life of the mixture.
- Add the Epsom salt in the glass bowl or measuring cup and the pour the boiling water over it.
- Stir well until completely dissolved. Let cool completely and store in the spray bottle. Can be stored at room temperature for at least six months. I keep in my bathroom to use daily.
- How to Use Magnesium Oil
- Spray on arms, legs, and stomach daily. You may feel tingling on the skin the first few times it is used. Not to worry. This is normal. It should fade after a few applications, but you can dilute with more water if it bothers you too much.
- Leave on the skin or wash off after 20-30 minutes. You can try it after a shower then, after about 5 minutes apply coconut oil.
- Reduce the appearance of bruises by making a cold compress with Epsom salts and water can help you to reduce the appearance of bruises. Use two tablespoons and apply the compress to the bruised skin.
You know that pepper is an essential seasoning when you cook. I love the heat that pepper brings to my recipes. But pepper can do more than add a little spice to your cooking! Here are some uses for pepper you probably don’t know!
- Cure Impotence – I knew that would get your attention. Some research has purported that pepper can increase sex drive. It even suggests that it may help with erectile dysfunction. It’s been hypothesized that the high concentration of zinc, which is linked to testosterone, may be the reason pepper can be effective. So add a little extra pepper in the kitchen to spice things up in the bedroom.
- Pepper brightens laundry – It’s believed that pepper helps remove soap buildup on fabric making colors look less dull. It’s likely the mildly abrasive quality of pepper does the trick. All the way back in 1892 a Good Housekeeping issue advised adding it to wash water to keep black stockings looking vibrant. Add a teaspoon of black pepper to your wash and your laundry will thank you.
- Quit smoking with pepper – Inhaling black pepper essential oil helps reduce cravings for nicotine and withdrawal symptoms. It’s believed the sensation of inhaling the oil mimics the feeling of smoking in the chest. This makes it a very effective replacement for cigarettes.
- Use pepper to boost memory and metabolism – The antioxidants in pepper fight damage caused by aging and protect the brain. Piperine, which is the alkaloid responsible for the pungency of black pepper along with its isomer chavicine, improves cognitive function and can reduce the impact of Alzheimer’s disease. Adding black pepper to your detox juice stimulates digestion and increases circulation. It also helps balance glucose levels, reduces inflammation. By lowering oxidative stress the risk for diabetes and heart disease. The piperine increases energy.
- Sooth arthritis pain – Decrease the pain, stiffness, and swelling of arthritis with black pepper. Piperine has anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties. It’s very potent on inflammatory arthritis. Apply it topically in oil or balm form. In this application it also produces a soothing, warming sensation that helps reduce irritation.
- Send critters packing – Sprinkling pepper around your plants will keep deer and many other animals from nibbling on the plants. The smell and taste are unpleasant to many foliage eating critters. Sprinkle some black pepper into standing water to kill mosquito larvae.
Let me know if you try any of these uses for black pepper. I’d love to know how they worked for you!