Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tips and Tricks Tuesday #5 - Shake, Shake, Shake


Welcome to the fifth Tips & Tricks Tuesday linky party here at the Brambleberry Cottage.

It's always so much fun to see the tips and tricks you creative bloggers have up your sleeves.  Let's check out some of them from last week's party.

Have you ever found a necklace and earring set that you absolutely loved, only to discover the earrings clipped on?  What a pain...literally!  Visit a little bit of everything and see her nifty trick for a quick conversion.

Beth Anne @ The Thrifty Ba shared a great tip on getting that sewing pattern–you just have to have–without the hassles of waiting in line at a retail store.

We're all looking for unique ways to update and remake what we already own.  Mrs. D @ Life in Dawleywood shared a great tutorial on a quick embellishment for towels.

Junk mail.  Don't ya hate it!  But, wait!  Don't toss it out until you first check out Michelle's creative reuse of hers.  Visit her blog Happy Hodgepodge Home for the details.

I've been waiting for inspitation to hit for the reuse of an entire crate of old door panels that reside in my barn.  Blue Creek Home shared, not one, but five different uses for that type of salvage.  This was one of my favorites!

I love. love, love all those tips and tricks you share.  So keep 'em comin'!

Here's my Brambleberry Cottage tip and trick for the week.

One of the advantages / disadvantages of living on old farmland is the history that is uncovered occasionally after a hard rain.

I really like old bottles and have been fortunate to find a number of them around the farm–still intact, emerging from the earth.

The keepers always require a very thorough cleaning, before they can be displayed or used in any capacity.

Sometimes there's an entire microcosm existing within a bottle. 

Such was the case with this one.  Besides the dirt, moss, algae, and bugs, there were also a few snails hiding in their shells.

The bottle above happens to be one of quite a number of old Clorox bottles I've found–that keep surfacing in the same general area on the farm.

After a few investigative inquiries of the locals, I discovered that the lady who used to live here–during the 40s and 50s–washed clothes for a living. 

From the number of old Clorox bottles I've found, I'd say there were a lot of folks walking around my town back then with bright white clothes!  ; )

Would you like to know my trick for cleaning the little treasures I find?

The first step is to rinse the inside, and outside, thoroughly with clear water.  Believe it or not, the three bottles pictured above have already had that part of the treatment.

The next step is to run a basin of hot water from your faucet, and add dish detergent and ammonia.  The amount of each will be determined by the number of bottles you're soaking together.

I soaked a dozen, the size of the three smaller bottles above, in a sink of hot water, with a squirt of detergent and a cup of ammonia.

Then let them soak a day or so.

Sometimes a good soak is all that is necessary; most times this next step is required.

Empty about two thirds of the water out of the bottle, add some uncooked rice, and shake, shake, shake the rice all around–rotating the bottle as you do so. 

Again, the amount of rice used will be determined by the size of the bottle.  For my smaller bottles, I used about 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon per bottle.

The trick is not to have too much water left inside, or the rice will be suspended and not perform its function.

Since these were way too small for bottle brushes–and the curved shoulders would have been impossible to clean with one anyway–the rice acted as little scrubbers.

If your bottles have years of grime–and in my case, algae–glued to the inside, you  may even have to pull out the big guns to get them clean.

After soaking for days in soap-and-ammonia water, some of my bottles still had algae stuck to their insides.

The three smaller bottles pictured above were the culprits. 

So...I rinsed them out, placed a small amount of OxiClean in each, filled them with hot water from my faucet, and let them sit on my window sill for a few days.

Over the course of that time, I actually watched as the algae–and whatever else might still have been in there–began to dissolve.

Now, they're perfectly clean for my next project.

By the way, the white iridescent haze that you see comes with age and is part of the wonderful character of old bottles.

Linking this helpful tip to Kristen's Works-for-Me-Wednesday.


  1. Thank you so much for featuring my "earring fix"!

  2. Thanks for featuring my junk mail! :o)

  3. Brilliant tips, and very timely, too, I just got a bunch of little bottles from a boot fair, which need thorough cleaning.

  4. I was coming over to check out what your Time Travel Thursday is all about and found my Mom's door panel redo's on your post! Isn't she wonderful?! I love those old bottles and I love it that you can just walk around and find them! Its like a treasure hunt in your backyard.

    Looking forward to joining some of your parties!



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