Friday, June 29, 2012

An Upcycled Tabletop Fire Feature

If you're following me on Pinterest then you've likely seen this DIY project from Curbly.com pinned to my boards:


It's cute, right?  I pinned it so I could come up with an upcycled version....and I did.  Here it is:


I swear it's lit, but it's really hard to see in the daylight!


This was SO easy and the only thing I bought was the fuel.  Here's what you need and what to do:




...it's that easy!

Here's how it's upcyled:

1.  I had this vase left over from a party that I threw years ago in my former life as a Volunteer Manager.  I would have liked a taller one, but the one I had broke in my last move and you know me...use what you have!  If you don't have one, you can thrift for a buck a two and they are the thick heavy ones!

2.  The glass rocks I've had for at least 7 years and have used them to decorate around candles as well as in flower vases.

The fuel that I bought (at Party City) had a closed lid with a wick which made adding the rocks super easy.  Just toss everything in the vase and light the wick.  Easy Peasy!

Here's a pretty crappy indoor picture to show you that does actually have a flame:




Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Single Serve Storage Waste, "No Thank You!"

Have you seen that commercial where the woman pulls out a jack hammer to separate her frozen chicken pieces? Yeah, it's kind of humorous and we've all been there at one time or another after tossing a full package of meat into the freezer.  But is the solution really to buy plastic bags that you can slip onto your hands to wrap single pieces of meat which are then stored inside of yet another plastic bag?

You know I say the answer is, "Absolutely not!"  I say, "save the cash (and the waste) and use what you have."  Here's how I do it:



If you've ever purchased deli style sandwich meats or ready made potato/macaroni salads or the like then you probably have these fabulously reusable plastic containers kicking around.  Even if you have to purchase a few, it still saves you a boatload of cash as you'll use them over and over again.  Just slap a serving or two into the containers and label them with a dry erase marker.  No fuss, no muss...no waste!!

Hint:  Be sure to wipe the label off before you put the container in the dishwasher.  The heat will set the maker into the container.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kitty Litter Box Turned Garden Helper

There really are a ton of uses for those fabulous buckets that kitty litter comes in. Although with  five cats, the oldest one being 15, if you do a little math you'll soon see that I should have enough to build a house from those buckets.  I use them as storage, cleaning and hauling buckets, recycling cans in the craft room, you name it!  Here's my recent project:


It's a fantastic little helper in the garden keeping all your tools together, providing a place to put all those weeds and even acting as a stool to rest your weary behind. Here's how I did it:

Grab your supplies:
1. Kitty litter bucket
2. Old pair of jeans, cords or other heavy-weight material
3. Velcro (Industrial strength/earthquake velcro AND clothing velcro)
4. Scissors and a sewing machine

To make the skirt, measure how much fabric you'll need to cover the flat surface of the bucket and add a bit for seam allowance.  Measure that amount out on your material and cut off the excess leg material.  You'll have something that looks a little like a pair of daisy dukes.  Then cut the zipper (and crotch, if it is still intact) out.  Continue to trim from the zipper area until the fabric fits your bucket (just leave an inch or two of overlap where you can add a velcro closure).

 
Now you can finish your edges around the bottom hemline and up the center of the skirt.  A quick tip; the waist band will be very thick if you fold it over on itself and sew it as you would for a hem.  So I cut a bit of the waistband smaller than the rest of the skirt (see picture) and just did a simple zig zag stitch to keep from unraveling.

Then just fold over the remainder of the material and stitch it up!

Here's a fun detail to add...The pants I was using had a big of stretch to them.  If you add a gently tug to this fabric as you sew the bottom hem you'll get this fun wavy hem, like the one in my first picture.

The last thing you'll need to do is add some velcro.  You will want to use the hook (rough and sturdy) side of industrial strength velcro (AKA earthquake velcro) on the bucket.  It's a simple peel and stick deal.

You'll need to attach the loop side of regular ole clothing velcro along the inside of the waist band.  I used fabric fusion velcro but I think you'll do better to sew it in.  The thickness of the waistband makes it difficult to get a good bond.  Finally, add just a bit of hook and loop for the closure and attach your skirt to the bucket.

Once it's attached, you can start filling up the pockets.  The belt loops are great for attaching carabiner hooks and such.  Easy removal allows for cleaning when needed.



Cute, right?  I definitely think I have the best dressed weeding bucket on the block!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Oh What to Do Next?!

Pinterest in killing me!  So many projects, so little time and all that. There are a few projects that I've been dying to do.  Of course, I'm not looking to replicate them exactly they'll have my own little spin on them.  Here's a few of the pins that I'm recently obsessing over:


Fire Bowl from B3HD

Kids Beach Games from Martha Stewart


So Many Upcycled Lighting options on Pinterest

So where should I start?  With an upcycled version of the fire bowl using repurposed glass jars or vases? An easy to transport version of Martha's beach game suitable for car rides and that includes all the pieces for playing? Or should I try my hand at some sort of lighting?

Vote here or vote on Facebook, by week's end you'll have made my decision for me.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Freecycled Wood Chips?

If you garden you know mulch isn't cheap.  If you have smaller gardens where you aren't buying mulch by the truckload you also know that it typically has a wasteful plastic bag, too.  Well my environmentally-minded friends I'm here to tell you that you don't need to worry about that at all!  A quick click or two over to Freecycle.org and you can have a freshly mulched garden for free that didn't waste anything.  Here's mine:


How's this possible?  Well, a fellow Freecycler recently chipped a fallen tree and had a huge pile of the debris in her driveway.  She posted an ad and I responded with a smile...and about 15 kitty litter buckets.  Unfortunately, I didn't even put a dent in the pile for her but I'm sure others will be along!

And how about that border?  While it wasn't technically a Freecycle, I did put to use something that was someone else's trash.  One of the houses in my neighborhood is remodeling and the owners had cut down a tree in the process.  They put a big sign out front that said free firewood (during one of the hottest spring weeks in years).  So after driving by the pile for a couple of weeks I finally I stopped and grabbed a few of the smaller stumps just to define the bed.  I think I need to stop for a few more but I like the definition they add. 

What are you upcycling in the garden?

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Cat Toy Made of T-Shirt Yarn

I've been experimenting with cat toys...cheap, easy DIY cat toys.  I found one that's been a real hit with the kitties, as Gremlin demonstrates here:



This one only requires an old T-shirt and a pair of scissors.  Check out my T-shirt Cat Toy Video Tutorial over on YouTube to make your own.  In the meantime, I need to figure out a cool toy using my old bath scrubbies...Angel is constantly hunting them!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Snapple Bird Feeder Is Working!

Remember the Snapple bird feeder that I made last week?  Well, I'm happy to report that it is actually working!  Here's what I saw when I came home from work last night.  There's only a smidge of bird seed left in the bottle.


I probably wouldn't have even notice if it weren't for the giant Blue Jay sitting atop the Shepard's hook eating.  I don't know how someone that big was able to feed from it, but there he was - the very first Blue Jay that I've seen in my yard.  I was very excited!

Have you tried it yet?
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