I have been rediscovering the beauty of vintage hardware recently. The back door to our garage had an old doorplate that had been covered in many many layers of paint. I recently found out that it’s very easy to remove paint from small pieces of hardware like the door plate. All you need is an old pot, something that you will not be using to cook food, and a little baking soda. You just put a few tablespoons of baking soda in your old pot, fill it three-quarters of the way full with water, pop in your hardware, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes. The paint just lifts right off. This piece of hardware had many layers of paint on it, so I did repeat the process about 3 or 4 times before all the paint came off. I love how it looks now that’s back to the original finish.
One of my very first posts was sharing with you how to extend your reach when you need to light a candle in a tall jar. Here’s another reuse idea along the same vein. Got old birthday candles? Especially the fancy long ones like Cheerlites? They work great for lighting candles that are too far down a jar for your fingers to reach. Plus it’s a nice way to use up old birthday candles without having to debate whether it’s green or gross to reuse old candles on a fresh birthday cake.
This year I started what may become a new annual Valentine’s tradition for us.
On Zakka Life I read about a simple and awesome way to turn envelopes into heart pouches. For weeks now each time I got something in the mail I trimmed down the envelope to make it into a little heart pouch.
On Valentine’s Day I numbered each of the heart pouches. Co-incidentally I had made enough to have 1 for every year of my Sweetie’s age so there were 39 in total. Then I wrote out scavenger hunt clues, famous quotations on love, and flirty little notes. Each heart got a slip of paper and then were placed around the house in scavenger hunt fashion. The only rule being to find the hearts in numbered order. From 1 to 39.
I started off by putting the first several hearts in plain site in our entry way on the stairs. The note inside Heart #1 said “Roses are red, violets are blue. See if you can see #2.” Of course Heart #2 was on the next step up so it was easy to find. Heart #2 said “I love your hazel eyes, use them to find #3”. After he saw that Heart #3 was just on the next step up he said, “oh these are easy”. Ha ha. Little did he know they were about to get more difficult to find.
After I had initiated the game with easy ones the next 10 hearts became progressively more creative with the clues and the hiding places. By the time he got to Heart #20 I had changed it up by putting a little chocolate in the heart pouch. For #21 he had to find me and give me a kiss to get the next clue.
After that the rest were either quotations on love or flirty notes and compliments from me to him. The were hidden around the house Easter Egg hunt style, partially hidden in plants or under a magnet on the fridge. A little bit of effort required but relatively easy to find. The final heart pouch had a clue to find a heart shaped box of See’s candies.
We both had a lot of fun. I could see that he enjoyed the scavenger hunt and that he was really touched by the effort that I put into it. He told me that his favorite quote was “Age does not protect you from love but love, to some extent, protects you from age.” by Jeanne Moreau.
And the only materials I used in the entire thing were envelopes that were already on their way to being recycled, scissors to cut the envelopes and the little pieces of paper, a red pen to write down the notes and a red marker to number the hearts. It was also really great using the recycled envelopes because it diminishes the sense of obligation to keep the hearts. We used them, enjoyed them in the moment, and now feel free to keep the memory and release the stuff.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
We all have them, right? A page or two of address labels with your name and address sent to you by a well-meaning charity soliciting donations. After I call up the charity to request that they put me on their “do not mail” list I’m left with more address labels than I can ever possibly use. So here are three creative ways to repurpose those labels.
(1) Cut off the postal address and simply use the Name part of the label. I’ve found this very useful for labeling my coffee mug, my leftovers in the community fridge at work, or anything where you just want to make sure people know this item belongs to you.
(2) Tape. Just peel off the pieces and use the old trick for making non-double sided tape into double sided and it’s great for wrapping presents or securing packages that you mail.
(3) Cleaning between the keys on your keyboard. Just floss the sticky side around your keys to pick up lint, crumbs, and dust and keep your keyboard clean.
Success. The Bernal Heights Library accepted all of the books I donated. I took them in to the Circulation Desk to drop them off. The Librarian explained to me that whatever they don’t keep they donate to Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
Next time though I think I will donate them directly to the Friends of the Library because they will give you a receipt for your tax-deductible donation. I don’t think the libraries themselves are setup to give the receipts.
Also, they don’t accept magazines. I have yet to find a local place that I would consider a good source for buying and selling (or even donating) used magazines. I called my local bookstore, Red Hill Books, on Cortland Avenue. They do not currently buy or sell used magazines. That would be the most ideal location for me if I could buy and sell used magazines there. I know I would stop in all the time. I did provide that feedback to the person I spoke with on the phone so I will let you know if anything comes of that feedback.
I was told that Green Apple Books might buy and sell used magazines. I called them. They said no they do not buy and sell used magazines. There is a used book store in Berkeley on Shattuck near the BART station that will buy (in limited quantities for like ten cents each) used magazines and does also sell used magazines. Alas Berkeley is also too far to be a stop on my regular errands and therefore would not be a simple solution for me.
For now the best solution I’ve found is that I’m going to donate them to Gifts on the Hill. Gifts on the Hill is run by the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center which is an awesome non-profit that serves Bernal Community members in large part seniors and low-income. I called Gifts on the Hill and they said they don’t sell used magazines but that the seniors would probably enjoy them so that’s where I’m going to donate my magazines this year. Perhaps knowing that they are going to a place where people will enjoy them will help me to donate them as soon as I’m done reading them so they don’t end up as house clutter.