Category Archives: DIY & Crafts

Do It Yourself and craft projects

Quick Kitty Bedroom

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Here lately I haven’t been able to put a bag down without Sophie trying to climb in it.  She’s really been in need of a quiet little space of her own, but I haven’t had the extra finances to purchase one of those cute ones at the store.

Then just the other day I watched a life hack video about making a cat “tent” with wire coat hangers and an old t-shirt but it looked too flimsy for Sophie to use.  She tends to be a very antsy, nervous cat, more so the older she has gotten.  She’s now 11.

So today I took an old t-shirt that was ready to go to that “great laundry basket in the sky” (a.k.a. rag pile) and put it over the box, gathered the back up and fastened it with a safety-pin.

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Then I inverted the sleeves to get them out-of-the-way.  I was going to also safety-pin them but they tucked in nicely and it wasn’t necessary.

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I put one of my beach towels in the bottom so she has something to curl up with and I can swap it out with another one so I can wash them periodically.  The neck of the t-shirt gives her ample room to climb in and out, but allows the box to retain the warmth that she needs as an older cat, especially in the wintertime.

2 minutes, a re-purposed t-shirt, a cardboard box and a happy cat!  Your turn!  Share your quick crafts!

{{hugs}}}

Maggie

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Cute File Box project

Hi all!

Sorry for the hiatus but I’m slowly getting back to things and wanted to share my latest project with you.  It used to be a box that Bestie received slippers in for the holidays.  I covered it with the material from a leg of a pair of jeans and then lined it with an old bandana!

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A little hot glue and it was done in minutes and looks SO much better on my craft table then a box that talks about slippers!  If I find some white eyelet trim on the cheap I might trim around it to embellish it a little more.

Sure I could have bought a file folder or a magazine holder, but this was completely frugal – it didn’t cost anything but my time.  And that’s less to throw away so it’s green as well as cute!  And it would make a cute gift!

Update:  I found the last piece of the puzzle today…what do you think?

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What great crafts have you made lately?  Share them below!

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

10 Awesome Uses for Dental Floss

Dental floss is so handy to have around the house, you’ll want some in your kitchen and first aid kit too!

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#10 – Slicing soft cheese or dough

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#9 – Slicing a cake – much better than a knife that gets covered in icing and crumbs

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#8 – “Lock” your luggage before heading to the airport.  No keys to misplace, easy to remove and you’ll know if anyone’s messed with it.

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Image from my women stuff.com

#7 – String beads or re-string a broken necklace

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#6  – Make a dream catcher!

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#5 – Sew a button and make it last!

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#4 – Quiet a dripping faucet

Tie a piece around the faucet at the spout and leave one end long enough to reach the drain.  The drip will travel down the floss.

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#3 – Replace a shoelace

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#2 – Support climbing plants – Tie those tomatoes to your trellis

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And the #1 best reason to keep dental floss on hand for emergencies is…

 

{{{hugs}}}
Maggie

Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

This easy craft will look adorable sitting on your sink or as a gift!

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A cup or pint sized mason jar with the lid and a disposable bottle of liquid hand soap is all you need for this project that literally only takes minutes to complete.

 

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I started the center hole with a nail, then used an old fashioned can/bottle opener (sometimes called a church key) to start turning in the center, then went to the pliers.  Make sure to keep it even and try to put the pump in from time to time so you can see where you need to adjust the hole and how it fits.  You don’t want the hole too big either.

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Once the hole was completed, I hammered down the edges.  They are very sharp so be careful!  A little hot glue on the underside of the pump before you slide it in place and you’re done!

I prefer the bottles of foaming handwash.  You use less soap that way, which is great when you have kids and frugal too.  I buy the bottles of “smell nice” soaps at Bed, Bath & Beyond when they go on sale for $1 a bottle.

Just fill the jar about 1/5th of the way with liquid soap and fill the rest with water.  Mix well and that’s it, the pump does the rest.  That $1 bottle will literally last me over a year.

 

Vanilla Mint Honey Scrub

by Erin of Mountain Rose Herbs

This body scrub is so easy to make and smells amazing. It leaves your skin feeling refreshed but not too minty as the soft vanilla bean aroma lightly perfumes your skin. Honey is a luxurious ingredient that helps moisturize, nourish, and protect the skin with its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and humectant properties. In fact, I love to use honey alone as a face mask several times a month. If you’re collecting recipes for this year’s herbal handmade holiday gifts, this one will be perfect for the vanilla lovers out there.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fine sea salt or fine organic sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic sweet almond oil
  • 1/4 cup raw organic honey
  • 1 organic vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 10 drops organic peppermint essential oil
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract (optional)

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

Directions

  • Mix the salt or sugar with the oil, scraped vanilla bean pulp, and honey.
  • Add essential oil and stir. If too oily, add more salt or sugar until you reach the desired grainy paste consistency.
  • Scoop into a jar with the split vanilla bean on the bottom for a decorative touch and screw the lid on tight.
  • Use a tablespoon of scrub at a time and rub the paste in your palms until loosened.
  • Gently massage into wet skin and rinse after 2-5 minutes. Your skin will feel exfoliated and moisturized!

Get everything you need here at Mountain Rose Herbs!

Purveyors of fine herbal products

Frugal Refinishing

I lovingly refer to our home as Creekside Manor.  It sits on a hill overlooking a tributary of the Ohio River here in beautiful West Virginia.

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Here’s the view from off the back porch looking down the hill.

Due to the setting, we’ve opted for a more rustic country style of decorating, some left by the previous owner and some that we’ve added ourselves.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that I live together with a dear friend of almost 30 years and her husband (a.k.a. Bestie & Handy Husband)

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This is most of the house, looking up from the hill.

Well Handy Husband was doing his usual handy things around the house.. in this case, finally making sense of the basement with our two combined households of boxes after the move and holidays, when he came upon this rustic gem!

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You may recall I did a post on Chemical-Free Furniture Makeovers a while back and decided to use the same method to clean up this piece.

Since I’m not overly thrilled with before and after shots, I decided to do this in halves to show you how significant the difference is.  I washed it with a sponge and some hot water with a little Dawn in it to remove all the dust and dirt.

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These are the only “tools” I used… a wet sponge, a terry cloth dish towel and my oil & vinegar mixture.

Then I made a mixture of one part white vinegar and one part grapeseed oil (you can use vegetable oil if you’d like) and then blasted it in my Magic Bullet so it didn’t separate.  I’ve whisked it together with a fork before and it works fine, but I love my Magic Bullet and it takes less energy.

I dipped the end of the terry cloth dish towel into the oil & vinegar mixture and rubbed it into the wood in a circular motion.  That’s it!  Just let the mixture soak into the wood.

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TADA!  So here it is.  I used some pale yellow paint that matches the kitchen walls in the grooves for the lettering.  I wanted them to stand out more.  That’s it.

I think maybe in the future I may go over it with a little bit of sanding paper since there seems to be a thin layer of varnish in spots.  But for right now, this is how it’s staying.

The total project took about 45 minutes, and that’s including the lettering. Only about 30 minutes just for doing the wood.  And since this piece was found and not purchased, the total cost was far less than a quarter!  It doesn’t get any more frugal than that!

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All that with no chemicals, no fumes, nothing that’s going to ruin the house if it gets spilled and it didn’t matter that I did it indoors in the winter.  Of course you know what this means don’t you?  I can’t wait till yard sale season!

{{hugs}}

Maggie

Jelly 101: How To Get Started

Not only is this a great way to preserve the fruits of you labor from your garden but it’s a great way to save.  Purchase “clearance produce” at farmers markets, roadside stands and cash & carry markets at a mark down when the fruit is prime for jelly making!  Stock your pantry and give some as gifts!

Burpee Gardening

Perhaps the very easiest thing to can is homemade jam.  It’s not very expensive, it’s simple, and once you’ve made one kind of jam, others just cooperatively fall into place for you.  It’s a great way to get started canning.

The instructions for basic jams are all pretty much the same – you only need to make minor modifications for different fruits.  So, because we’re all creative people, I’m laying out the basic how-to, giving you a chart with special instructions fruit by fruit, and you can take it from there.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of fresh or frozen fruit
  • 1 packet of pectin + ¼ of a package (I like to use the no-sugar-needed, but then still add sugar – just less!)
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 2 tbsp- 1/4 cup of lemon juice

Directions

1.      Prep your fruit by washing it and cutting it up if necessary.

2.     Smush your fruit.  You can do this with a potato masher, food processor, blender or food mill.  For some fruits I like to puree them and have a smoother jam and for others I like chunkier jam – it’s up to personal preference.

3.     In a small bowl, use a fork to mix ¼ cup of the sugar with one packet of pectin.

4.     In a saucepan, stir the fruit, lemon juice and pectin together well.

5.     Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.

6.    Once it is boiling, stir in the sugar and return to a boil for one minute.

 

7.     This is important:

Jam Making Rule of Law: 

Always test your jam!!!!  

How?  You do this by keeping a spoon in the freezer – to test, drip a bit of the hot jam into the spoon to allow it to quick cool – the consistency it reaches is the consistency your finished product will be.  At this point, I nearly always end up adding another 1/4 – 1/2 package of pectin – I use the cheaper pectin to “top it up” – return to a simmer for a couple of minutes and test again.   Omitting this step may result in a very tasty ice cream topping or waffle syrup, but not jam!

 

8.  Ladle the jam carefully into your awaiting (sanitized) jars, wipe the rim and cap your jars with snap lids and rings.

9.  Process in a water bath canner, according to the ingredients chart and making adjustments for your altitude.

Jam Making Chart

FRUIT
SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS
PROCESSING TIME
Apricot
Peel, slice in half to pit
5 minutes
Blackberry
optional step: mill to remove seeds
10 minutes
Blueberry
optional step: puree
7 minutes
Cherry
Pit with a cherry pitter, chop before cooking
10 minutes
Grape
Mill to remove seeds
10 minutes
Huckleberry
Check for stems
10 minutes
Peach
Peel, slice in half to remove pits
10 minutes
Plum
Slice in half to remove pits
5 minutes
Raspberry
Crush with a potato masher
10 minutes
Strawberry
Remove cores, mash with a potato masher
10 minutes

If you are using more than one fruit in your jam, follow the instructions for the fruit that takes the longest to process.  For example, if you are making a blackberry and plum jam, process for 10 minutes instead of 5 minutes.

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About the author:
Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio.
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca