How to refill a non-refillable pepper mill

I got a pepper mill at the dollar store.  I was thrilled because I’m a tightwad, but I have fancy, expensive tastes.  Fresh pepper, ooo fancy!

But look at the back!


Logic would dictate a screw top to make the pepper mill refillable.  I hate inefficient stuff like this!  I know there are real problems in this world and annoying pepper mills are not that big of a deal, but what can I say?  It bugs me.

“Do not refill??”  Challenge accepted!

You will need:

a poorly-designed supposedly non-refillable pepper mill

a mug

an inch or so of hot water (or cold water and a microwave)

a towel

some peppercorns or whatever you would like to grind in your pepper mill

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I used a microwave, and I heated the water for 33 seconds.  That’s because I like to be efficient, and looking for the 3, and then looking for the 0, and then pressing start is more complicated than looking for the 3, pressing it twice, and then pressing start.  If your microwave has a 30 seconds button, that would be even better.  I thought about getting a microwave like that, but they were more expensive, and when I calculated the cost per use versus the amount of time saved pressing buttons, I realized it would be even more inefficient than calculating the time cost of pressing buttons for every microwave I was looking at.  So I got the microwave where you have to push more buttons.

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Tip your emptyish pepper mill into the cup upside down and leave it there a minute or so.  You are waiting for the plastic cap to expand a little bit more than the glass jar.  So don’t leave it for five minutes because your water might cool and then it won’t work right.

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I spent the time fooling with my phone camera because I wanted to make these instructions for you, but you could use the time to open a can of mixed vegetables and dump it into the crock pot (without draining it).  If you’re quick with the can opener, you could also dump a little leftover spaghetti sauce or salsa in there too.  And some water and rice.

Now take your pepper mill out, wrap it in the towel (because it’s a little slippery), and snap the plastic top off.

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It’s a little messy, but that’s OK.

Try to remember how the pieces go together.

Then drop the plastic top in the cup of hot water to rinse it off.  Use the towel to dry each piece of the pepper mill.

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Fill up the bottle, and then put it back together the way it was.

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You’ll have to press on it a bit.  Use the towel if it hurts your hand.  When I did this, it made two snapping sounds when I got it back together.  Once to get it on crooked, and once more to straighten it out.

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Dump the cup in the crock pot.  Now you’ve got a full pepper mill, plus some yummy vegetable soup!

All you math geniuses are going to quiz me on how much money this actually saves.  The answer is “not much.”  The pepper mill is from Dollar Tree, so that’s $1 for 1.4 ounces, or 0.714 per ounce.  I used some very fancy peppercorns, which are a little more expensive than regular peppercorns.  Say it, melange.  See? Fancier.  These go for about $5 at Walmart for 7.5 ounces, which is 0.667 per ounce.  (I got it for less at a discount store, because I’m a tightwad.)  Regular black peppercorns are $5 for 9 ounces at Walmart, or 0.555 per ounce.

So if you like black pepper just fine, and you know your dollar store is going to carry these pepper mills forever, and you have a way to recycle the lid and jar, and you’re going there anyway, and you don’t want to waste any more time than you’ve already wasted reading this blog post, you should probably just buy a new pepper mill.  But if you want to grind up fancy pepper or maybe cinnamon or something else, or if you just like doing things yourself, I hope my little tutorial has made your life a bit more fun.

Thanks for checking in!

I found some more white Spark A Doodle, plus Freddy Fazbear mask and ribbon organizer

FYI I found some more of that white Spark A Doodle yarn.  I’m going to list it for sale in my eCrater store on Sunday night as soon as I get the kids to bed.  Bed time is 9 pm Eastern time, so probably about 9:15 or so.  I had to spend a little more to get this yarn, so I am only selling it on eCrater to keep the price as low as I can.  (The fees are much higher on eBay and Etsy.)

I will list it right here on Sunday night 10/25/2015 just after 9 pm Eastern time.  I know it’s hard to get and I have a few people asking for it.  I want to be fair and give everyone a fair shot at the yarn, so that’s why I’m selling it this way.

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I have four balls of yarn with the label and seven balls without the label.  The yarn with the labels will go for $11 and without for $10 each.

And here’s some random stuff we’ve been making at our house:

Ready for Halloween!
Ready for Halloween!

I helped my son make a Freddy Fazbear mask for Halloween.

In case you don’t have the privilege of FNAF-obsessed people living at your home, Freddy Fazbear is a video game character from Five Nights At Freddy’s.  The game is a horror game suitable for children.  It’s pretty scary, and the scares are jump scares, not blood and gore or violence.  It seems to be based on the old terrifying Chuck E Cheese theme restaurant.  (When I was a kid, Chuck E Cheese had a giant robot band of Chuck E Cheese (a mouse) and his creepy friends on a stage that would “perform”  while diners attempted to choke down the most awful pizza I have ever tasted.  Chuck E Cheese is still around, and the pizza is still disgusting, but they’ve ditched the rat robot band in favor of video games.)  I wonder if they have a FNAF game at Chuck E Cheese?  That would be cool!

We watched this video to get ideas for the mask, and then used stuff we had at home to make it.  We didn’t have a giant piece of brown felt, so we used some other fabric we had.  I think the felt would have been even better, but my son is very happy with his mask just the way it is.  I’m proud of him!

ribbon holder
ribbon holder

And here’s a ribbon holder I cobbled together out of a really annoying over-the-door towel holder and some stuff I had lying around.  I think there’s room for a couple more rows of ribbon in there, but I guess I’ll have to move my poster.  That constitutes a major redecorating move for me, ha ha!

Thanks for checking in!

How I fix my plastic skeletons

I love the plastic skeletons, but I hate them too.  I got them a few years ago at a rummage sale.  The woman who sold them to me said she couldn’t take it any more because they broke so easily.  Here’s the problem:

the "ert thing"
the ert thing

The problem is the ert thing.  The skeleton goes together by popping the ert thing into the hole on the next bone.  My eldest does not like ert things.  They bother him.  So he breaks them off.  Even if he didn’t have a thing about ert things, these ert things are very flimsy.

the hole
the hole

Trying to connect the hole to another hole doesn’t work, but we can’t just make another ert thing.

Junk to the rescue!


I use bits of flexible plastic from a broken cup, some string, and a hole punch to make a repair doohickey.

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I twist or fold the plastic and jam it in the hole on each bone.  Here I’ve got it twisted.

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Here it’s folded.

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The repair is done!  Well, for one joint anyway.

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