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This page is just a collection of handy recipes and perhaps ways to recycle that I have collected over the years. In many cases unfortunately I have usually lost the original source so am unable to give proper attribution other than to say they were devised by someone else.

On this page:


Laundry Gel

This is an environmentally friendly laundry liquid for those who use their grey water on the garden. It sets to a gel like consistency but a good shake sends it back to a liquid for measuring into the washing machine.

Ingredients

  • 100gram tablet of pure soap (Home Brand seems fine)
  • 250mL (1 metric cup) white vinegar
  • 250mL (1 metric cup) washing soda
  • 15mL Eucalyptus oil (about three teaspoons)
  • 10 litres of water

Instructions

  1. Grate the soap (metal cheese grater does it well) and put in saucepan with 2 litres of water and heat until boiling
  2. Add washing soda and stir until dissolved
  3. Add white vinegar and eucalyptus oil
  4. Heat half the remaining water and stir into mixture then add the remaining cold water. Stir well.
  5. Put into containers and allow to cool before capping

At step 5 you can add a few drops of perfume such as an essential oil but personally I never bother.

Use

I find that 1 to 1.5 cups are fine for a normal wash but experiment to see what suits you and your machine, I dilute it in a bucket before adding to the washing machine (a top loader) but I do that anyway with all laundry liquids and powders so it may not be necessary.


White Oil

This is a very handy for ridding your plants of a wide range of common pests and is so easy to make. I think this recipe came from an ABC Radio gardening program.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of vegetable oil
  • Half a cup of dish washing liquid

Instructions

  1. Mix the two ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Put in container and write the dilution rate (see below) on the container.

Use

Mix 1 tablespoon of oil mixture with 1 litre of water in a sprayer and spray thoroughly on affected plants.

NB the dilution rate is important apparently too much oil will damage the plant.

Another similar recipe also added a teaspoon of Methylated Spirits presumably to help keep the mixture in suspension.


Waterproof Bicycle Tool Kit Container

Where to cut bottleThis is not an original idea, I first saw the concept of using discarded plastic bottles on the Bicycle Fish web site, the same week the local hardware store was selling a bike drink bottle tool kit containing a useless range of crappy tools - put the two ideas together and my friend (John Todd) improved it no end to come up with this arrangement, much cheaper, much better and the tools? well, they're yours.

All you need is an old drink bottle of the style in the picture.

Use a Stanley knife to carefully cut around the bottle in the two places indicated by the black lines and throw away the waisted piece from the middle. NB. if you can afford the slightly narrower neck then leaving a small lip by cutting a millimetre or so higher than indicated on the bottom piece makes fitting the cap easier later on.

Take the top piece, hold by the spout and put about two centimetres of the cut end in hot water to soften the plastic then gently force over the base of the other piece. (A couple of points here - experiment with the temperature of the hot water and when expanding the top on the bottom part use the base rather than the open end because it is more rigid and will expand the top better) Once the top is over the base put under running cold water before removing, this 'sets' the plastic in its slightly expanded shape - if you remove the top while it is still hot it merely shrinks back to its original size.

You should now find the top part will slide snugly over the open end of the base. Even better the whole thing will fit in a normal water bottle holder and will be held firmly in place by the 'clip' part of the holder. Bottle for 12 volt SLA battery

You now have a waterproof container for your spanners, chain breaker, tyre levers, spare tube and miscellaneous tools (You will be surprised how much you can fit in - don't forget the 'spout' part too) or you could rig it up to carry a lead acid gel battery for your lights. If you prefer you can run a piece of electrical insulating tape round the joint to ensure it all stays together and is completely waterproof.

The picture on right shows a bottle being prepared to carry a 12v 1.3 ah sealed lead acid (SLA) battery to power a bright flashing rear light. I used this for years on my daily commute to work and it demonstrates that the uses for this type of container are only limited by your imagination (and the size of the object you wish to convey ;)  )

Where to mount it? Take your pick...So many places for a bottle


Fuel Consumption Calculator

Since the cost of fuel increased dramatically during the last year it has become more important to keep an eye on the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Picture of Sample Spreadsheet

Last year I made a small M$ Excel spreadsheet to keep an eye on my car's performance and I thought other people might find it useful too. So here it is for you to download and try yourself, let me know if you have any problems with it. The sheet has been enlarged from 200 rows to 1000 rows and upgraded to an Excel 2007 and 2010 template.

By the way all data is entered in litres and kilometres so if you still use imperial or US gallons and miles... tough! :)

There is a PDF file about the spreadsheet which also acts as a help file HERE (right click then 'Save link as...')

While the Spreadsheet itself is HERE (again, right click then 'Save link as...'or  "Save Target as..." in the context menu)


Homemade 'Creosote'

I have just replaced a fence and went to the hardware shop to get some creosote only to be told it is no longer available, all the other wood preservatives were much, much more expensive (ie $20 for a spray can) which probably explains why creosote has been banned. Anyway this is probably the nearest you will get that is affordable and works as a reasonable wood preservative. Remembering that as effective as creosote was termites still treated it as a garnish for the main meal.

The old fellow (now sadly deceased) who used to live opposite me painted his paling fence most years with old engine oil. The fence is still there and has been to my knowledge for over 30 years. He diluted the oil with kero so it is similar to this formula.

There are many variations on this theme but the formula I like is:

  • 2 parts old engine oil
  • 1 part diesel oil
  • 1 part kerosene

Mix it all together and slap it on the wood.

I have just applied it to the wood of my new fence and intend to recoat it fairly regularly though annually might be asking a bit much; in 20 years time I will be able to tell you how effective it is.


Make Your LG DVD Player Region Free

This seems to work for most LG DVD players (it has certainly worked for all mine). By making your DVD player region free you can play a DVD purchased anywhere in the world.

  1. Open the DVD tray

  2. Press '0' (zero) four times. This should take you to the Region Code page. Australia will show as region 4.

  3. Press '0' once more (0 = region free; 1 = USA, Canada; 2 = Europe; 3 = SE Asia; 4 = Australia; etc)

  4. Press the 'Pause' button

  5. Job done! Test it.

If you have a different brand try putting the brand name, Model number and "region free" into your search engine.


Template for DVD/CD Envelope

Australia Post used to sell envelopes that allowed you to send a DVD or CD for the cost of normal postage. They must have decided that they were doing themselves out of cash because now they only sell boxes for CDs which require at least two stamps (because they are not within the Post Office Preferred dimensions). So why not make your own envelopes out of thin card?

All you need is to download the PDF file (below) and print it onto thin card, cut out where indicated, fold and glue. It is really easy. This envelope is designed to take a double sided CD sleeve (see picture). Print it on A4 card.

Using it you can send a CD or DVD for the cost of standard postage.

The PDF file you can print on A4 card is HERE (right click then 'Save link as...')


Last updated 15/11/2014

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