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Origami Butterflies

Origami is a great way to create a unique backdrop or centerpiece with just using a bit of paper.   I am in love with butterflies so I found this easy origami technique and had to try it myself.  I am a visual learner so here are simple instructions with photos:

PicMonkey Collage Row One 1

1.  First you have to start with a perfect square.  I had some already cut paper in long strips so I just folded one edge over to meet the other to form a triangle, then cut.

2.  Fold it diagonally both ways, then in half both ways as above.

3.  Fold the left and right sides inwards as above.  It will turn into a triangle when flattened out.

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4.  Start with the triangle so the flat edge is at top.  Then pull down the left and right edge towards the bottom center (left photo).

5.  Flip butterfly to other side and pull down the center top so the tip overhangs the flat bottom.

6.  Flip butterfly over again and fold the tip over to the other side.  Slightly bend inwards the sets of wings.  This will separate the bottom wings a bit.

Once you get the folding steps down you can do one of these in 15 seconds or less.

Now you can place a dot of glue over that little tab you folded over so everything stays in place, but if you do, it’s no longer origami, but Kirigami.

butterflies

Ways you can use origami butterflies:

1.  Baby mobile or hang them from the ceiling in a kids room.

2.  Artwork – use a few of different sizes and use pins to adhere them to the back so they pop.

3.  A backdrop for a wedding or implement them into place settings or table numbers.

4.  In replace of a bow for wrapped presents.

5.  Window displays in stores.

6.  As a cat wand toy.

7.  Get a bare branch and paint it a metallic color or black.  Glue some brightly colored butterflies to the branch.  Can be used as art in the house.

8.  Christmas ornaments (used wrapping paper).

9.  Wedding cake toppers/decor.

10.  Party garland.

I used scrapbook paper, but you can also use homemade paper, newspaper,  wrapping paper, book or magazine pages.  Each of these different papers will create a way different look.

Decorate With Your Favorite Books

Many people assume books are made for bookshelves.  Think outside the box and design with books throughout your home, not just in your library.  Use the below pictures as inspiration.  And, by using the books you already have, this is a way to change up your space without spending money.

On a shelf

Against the wall

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Waterfall Art

Book 1

On a staircase:

steps

 

Antique books or sorted by same color:

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On a ladder:

ladder

As an end table:

side-table

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Reduce Waste and Save Money

I put on a pair of slipper socks the other day and I realized that I have had those socks since I was in elementary school.   This is 20 years.  This got me thinking to what else I have held on to without replacing.  I see a lot of us wanting to get the newest and greatest thing when it comes out.   Here is my golden list of things that I have had for a LONG time.

  1. My car.  It is a 2000 Saturn and has just over 90,000 miles.  I barely drive and bike as often as possible.   It would be cool to get a new car, but that would also mean a car payment and possibly higher insurance.
  2. My cellphone.  Verizon told me that I have had my cell phone since January 2011.  I do not have a smart phone.  I am okay with that.  My phone is much cheaper and it does what I need.  I am online enough, I don’t need another distraction.
  3. My slipper socks.  20 + years old.  I actually don’t think I have bought socks my entire adult life.
  4. My tennis shoes.  I found a picture with them that was over 4 years old.  I don’t run and they fit like a glove.
  5. My winter coat.  I think I got it in 2000.  It’s showing it’s age, but I love it, it doesn’t look like it belongs to a homeless person yet, I will hold on to it a bit longer.

Replacing things frequently costs money and I don’t like spending money.  Plus, lots of things that are replaceable generally still have life in them.  Consider holding on to your things a bit longer to reduce waste.

waffles

Sunday Waffles

Martha Stewart is a genius.  She helped make the best brunch I ever have.  Why go out for Sunday Brunch when you can make it at home:

Waffles by Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Maple syrup and butter, as desired, for serving

Directions:

  • Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk milk and eggs; pour over flour mixture, and whisk gently to combine (don’t overmix). Gently whisk in butter.
  • Following manufacturer’s instructions, cook waffles until deep brown and crisp. (For a standard waffle iron, pour a generous 1/2 cup of batter into center, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edges, and close; waffle will cook in 2 to 3 minutes.) Serve warm, with maple syrup and butter, as desired.  *I used the blueberry sauce instead (below)

Blueberry Sauce by Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint fresh raspberries (I used blueberries instead)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Combine blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a small, nonreactive saucepan over low heat. Cook until berries release their juice and just start to break down, about 5 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to press berries through a fine sieve; discard solids. Let cool, and refrigerate until ready to use.
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Butterfly Art

I went through all of my greeting cards this past weekend.  I sorted into piles of crafting and piles of keep and piles for garbage.  The kept more than I probably should have but they had sentimental value.  The crafting ones I am using for this art project.  The cost of this project was minimal.  The cards were free.  The butterfly paper punch was maybe $2.99, clearance at a stationary store.  The frame I had laying around, and I couldn’t find anything to do with it.  I bought a double mat at 40% off.  The rest was stuff I already had.

I went to work cutting out a whole lot of butterflies.  I selected the portion of the card I thought was the most colorful or decorative.  Some had sparkles, some had pattern and some had embossing.  I wanted to get an assortment of colors as well.

butterflies for blog

The next thing I did was get a scrap piece of paper that I drew my grid on.  I measured the opening of the mat board, then measured rows and columns to my liking.  After that, I transferred the cross marks using a needle so what was left were little holes where I was going to glue my butterflies.

PicMonkey Collage20I wanted my butterflies to pop up a little.  I made sure I had enough room in the frame, that is why I chose a double mat.   Everywhere I had a hole, I glued down a small bead.  I’ve had these beads since I was in elementary school.  I am glad I am finally finding a use for them.

beads

Once the glue was dry I started gluing my butterflies to the beads.  I assorted my colors so they would be mixed in the finished art.  I first glued all of the blue, then the green, then magenta and so on.

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Once everything is glued on and dried, assemble the frame and you are done!

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Ta-da!  Nice, eh?  I love this so much I might make a couple more.

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Gift of Love

Valentine’s Day might be over but it is never too late to show your love to your significant other.  I did this for my husband a few years ago and I wanted to share it.

Literally all you need is a box (I had one laying around), paper and pen.  I wanted to pack this box with as many reasons that I love my husband so when he opened it, it exploded.  *Which I hear it did.  I put it in his lunch box so he saw it while at work.  Who doesn’t like mid-day surprises like this?

All you need is $0 and a bit of time and you will have a wonderful keepsake forever.

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Reuse Birthday/Christmas Cards

When I need to do some cleaning in my house, I first put on an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive for a bit of motivation.   I find it works great.  After an episode this past week, I decided to put all of my cards together and store them.  I figured one photo-box would suffice.  Nope.  Maybe two or three would have done better.   I have some when I was a kid from my grandma so those hold some sentimental value.   There are so many cool cards that I have saved but I was thinking what else I could do with them in order to re-purpose them more thoughtfully than sticking them in a box.  Here are a couple of ways to reuse your hoarded cards:

1.   Cut of the front and use as a postcard.

2.  Use patterns for scrap-booking.

3.  Use a circle punch and make gift tags.

4.  Make bookmarks.

5.  Make into coasters or place mat. -> here.  My grandma had these.  Brings back wonderful memories.

6.  Canning jar toppers.  -> here.  I like this idea.

7.  Make garland.  ->  here.  Very creative idea and chic.

8.  Artwork.  ->  here.   I am going to try the butterfly one.  Love it.  Include the personal messages if you want to showcase in your artwork.

9.  Frame your favorites.

10.  Pine cone ornament for next Christmas. -> here.

Do you have additional ideas?  I would love to hear about them.  I am looking to do a couple of these soon!

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DIY Covered Bulletin Board

When I shop at our local thrift stores, I will often find really cheap artwork that either has no glass or damaged somehow.  Mostly really ugly artwork.  But, the frames can really be in good shape, and that’s what I look for.  I bought one for $4.99 maybe and it’s approximately 2 foot by 3 foot.

You can really do a lot with these.   I decided to make a bulletin board covered in a cool funky fabric.  Chevron is in style so I picked some up at Hobby Lobby, and used a 40% off coupon, maybe costing $4.00 in the end.  The rest is just a bit of labor and assembly.

I first pulled off the paper backing to reveal the staples that held it all together.  Usually you will find some cardboard that fills the frame, behind the artwork.  This is what I glued the cork to (also purchased the cork at the craft store).  There are different thicknesses, I went with the 3/8th inch thickness.  I glued the cork directly to the cardboard backing.

I had to iron the fabric because it had creases.  I wrapped it around the cork and left about a 1.5 inch margin, enough to glue it to the back.   I don’t have a glue gun yet, so I used Aleenes Craft glue and used the paperclips to hold it down until dries.

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Then, just fold the corners so they look nice, this is optional.   Assemble  the cork inside the frame, and push back the staples so it’s secure.  I will need to mount some hooks to the back, then all done.

Probably a total cost of $15 tops, I got a cool inspirational board.  Now I have a tough decision on where to put it.

Scarf Wrap

Green Christmas Wrapping

I vow to not use any new wrapping paper for this Christmas.   I still have some used wrapping paper from last year that I saved.  I also saved a lot of bags that I have reused for many years.  But you don’t have to stop there.  There are a whole bunch of ways to “wrap” your Christmas presents without wrapping paper.

1.  Christmas tins.

Christnas tims

2.  Photo box.

3.  Wicker basket.

4.  Scarf.

5.  Magazine pages.

6.  Comics.

newsprint wrap

7.  Small gifts in a coffee mug.

8.  Wrap just in tissue paper.

9.  Towels.

10.  Tupperwear.

11. Egg cartons.

 

lavender

Lavender Extract

Today I was due to pull out all of my dead flowers for winter.  It’s said to snow this weekend so I wanted to make some lavender extract before the flowers went bad.

All you need to make lavender extract is the flower heads of lavender and vodka.

Separate the flower heads from the stalk and place them in a container with a lid.

Cover with just enough vodka and let sit for a couple of weeks.

Shake once every other day.

Then use it in cooking.  I have never used lavender extract in any cooking before but I look forward to experimenting.

extract
Homemade Lavender Extract

Making Life More Efficient

I always thought that decluttering would make life less stressed.  We own bigger homes than decades ago just so we can fill it up with stuff.  I think half of it is the thrill of shopping.  Buying something new makes us feel good.  These things clutter our lives and add stress.

So my husband and I had a rummage sale and tried our best to rid our lives of as much stuff that wasn’t needed.  We definitely could have got rid of more.  But, by even doing this…we continue to get frustrated by how cluttered and messy our lives are even with less stuff.

We had an ah-ha moment.  Yes, it’s nice to get rid of things and declutter, but it’s more about our home is organized.  We made a plan.  We figured out what frustrated us the most and drilled down to see why it was a problem.  Here is what we discovered and how we made it better.

1.  We always had garbage all over our counter top.  We decided that the location to our garbage can was not working for us.  We originally had it in a closet…out of sight, out of mind.  Having to open a door every time to throw away something was a hassel  By buying a new garbage with a lid, and putting it out in the kitchen has kept our counters clean.

2.  We always misplaced our keys.  I didn’t want to install a key holder because our sun room had nice wood paneling (not the 80′s style – more like cabin style) and I didn’t want to mess it up.  So I installed those adhesive hooks that you can pull a tab and it releases.  This was an efficiency that requires a new habit but so far it’s working.

3.  We put a garbage in the bathroom.  This made a huge difference.  I didn’t realize how much garbage we created in this room.

4.  We put a laundry hamper in the bathroom as well.  We would always have piles of dirty clothes on the floor and just putting it in a bin has made our house so much cleaner.

5.  We always had issues with one of us opening mail and leaving it all over the table.  We are still working this one out.  We need to find a way to remove consistently putting waste in the recycling.   This will require a new habit.

We do have a long way to go, but we are finding ways to make our household easier to live in.  So far, it’s making a huge difference.

hair

Make Your Own Hairballs

Do you have lots of cat fur laying around?

I do – so I make hairballs to keep my cats busy.

Just take a bunch of pet fur from brushing (the Furminator works wonders) and roll into a ball.  Roll for a few minutes.

Then roll across the floor and watch your cats chase!

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Homemade Cat Toys

Or just lay on top of it, like my cats do.

stamps

Reuse Bed Linen Zippered Pouch

Use these little clear zippered pouches that you get when you purchase bedding for your craft supplies.

I use one from pillow cases to store all of my stamps and ink pads.

Other things you can store in these things:

  1. sewing supplies (needles, thimbles, zippers, string, buttons, etc.)
  2. scrapbook stuff (rub on stickers, ribbon, scissors, pictures, glue, etc.)
  3. hair accessories (hair ties, combs, brushes, curling irons, straighteners, etc.)
  4. make up and nail polishes
  5. kids craft stuff (markers, crayons, paints, etc.)

All of these ideas you won’t have to throw them away again!

 

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Travel Shadow Box

After returning from our trip to Europe, I had to go through all of the crap that I brought home with me.  I kept everything…bus/train tickets, brochures of the tours we went on, receipts to tours, maps, etc..  I planned on filing this in our filing cabinet, but I wanted a better way to showcase our trips.

shadow box

I had this shadow box laying around.  I pulled out our past travel keepsakes, then threw them in the shadow box.  Simple as that.  What a showpiece this is to have along with your pictures on your mantle.  If ever you want to go down memory road, open up the shadow box and reminisce.

You can also include pictures, found objects (seashells, leaves, rocks), your passports or anything that triggers a memory of your travels.

You can have multiple of these.  What about having a shadow box for any big trip you take?  Or even a big event, like a wedding, child memorabilia (their softball years or younger years).

Shadow boxes are so versatile.  Let your creativity go wild!

ingredients

DIY Composter: Take 2

I blogged in 2012 about making a homemade composter.  But I made one on such a small scale it didn’t make sense.  I am moving up in size ladies and gentlemen!  I am just going to use a garbage pail, one that is small enough to roll around on the ground, but not large enough for it to be bulky and difficult to hide.  I have seen a lot of cool composters people have made and designed it with a door, and on 2 by 4′s so you just have to turn a knob to mix it:

composter 1With my vacation coming up I don’t have the time to make this so I made a simpler one.

This is what you will need:

Round Garbage Pail with a lid (one that locks in place if possible).

Food Scraps/Yard Waste (I will get into more detail below on what you need here).

Water

Electric Screwdriver

Soil or finished compost

In order to make good compost you need a good combination of green ingredients, brown ingredients, water and air.  Green ingredients are things like, fresh cut grass, fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, plant trimmings, coffee grounds and filters and hair (I had 3 cats so I have an abundance of cat fur)  Brown ingredients are dead grass (if you need to rake, this will give you a lot of brown ingredients you can stock pile), saw dust, newspaper, pine needles and straw.   I mixed mine in layers.  I started with brown, mixed in some green, soil, greens and brown.  Add just enough water so it’s as wet as a damp sponge that has been wrung out.

Make sure you drill enough holes in the lid to get good air flow.  This mixture should create heat, but you don’t want it to get too hot.

Pop on the lid and secure and you are done.  I will keep adding food scraps and yard waste until it is full.  In the mean time I will ensure it is properly mixed every few days by rolling it over the ground on it’s side.  This will be easy that the garbage pail is round.   I will update on the progress as it gets closer to complete compost.

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One Mans Trash is My Treasure

Spring cleaning is next week and people are loading up there boulevards with as much crap as they have been collecting up until this time of the year.   I end up seeing a lot of stuff that can be repurposed, if the right person comes along.  Enter me.  I found this!

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I am not sure what I will do with it yet, but for now I absolutely love the texture of the wood, and the old look of the brackets.  I am pretty sure I can put it to use somewhere.  I am looking forward to finding some other cool things this week.  I spied a saw horse in a neighbors lawn and I was thinking about carrying it home to see if it could be of use for me, or my dad.  The City of Fargo suddenly changed back the Spring Cleaning week to this week so I won’t have much  time to search for treasures.

We also see a lot of people collect metals of all sorts to trade in for cash.  I honestly love seeing this, because some people make a ton of money from this, and it also prevents a lot of metal from going to the landfill.  An article I had read recently in our local paper stated that our landfill has about 11 more years left before it’s at capacity.  This is happening in a lot of more cities than Fargo.  If we can all be a bit more mindful of what we throw away we can extend the life of the landfill.   The city collects food scraps with it’s yard waste during the warm months, Fargo has electronic recycling day where we can turn in computers and TV’s and also has free curbside recycling.  There should be no reason why we have to put our trash can on the boulevard filled to the brim each week.

10 Things to Do With Toilet Paper Rolls

Last week I found out that the spring cleanup week will be postponed until September because of the Fargo Moorhead flood fight.  The flood crest prediction has been lowered and cleanup of the city afterwards will start sooner than we all predicted so the city announced spring cleanup will resume as the first week of May.  This is great news because I like to garbage pick for reusable items and things I can blog about.  I am hoping I can find some old wood to make furniture with.  In the mean time…while people are loading their boulevards with other people’s treasures, I am going to compile a list of things you can do with toilet paper rolls.

1.  Hamsters/Gerbils love them.  See: picture of hamster loving toilet paper rolls.

2.  Make Fire Starters.

3.  DIY compostable peat pots.

4.  Artwork: Creativity 1, Creativity 2, Creativity 3 (and my favorite)

5.  Add to your compost pile.

6.  Make bird house mobile.

7.  Crafts for children.

8.  Chic Christmas Ornaments.

9.  Use as a stencil.

10.  Christmas garland.

smallspace

If you had 260 square foot of living space…

What would you keep?  What would you donate?  Would you get bored with only the small amount of things around you?  Is our livelihood, happiness and popularity defined by what we own, or how little we own?

I live with my husband and 3 cats in a home the size of about 1400 square feet, included in that a 2 floor sunroom-loft and living space above the garage.  I believe I can live with half this amount of space.  If I did not have the loft or the garage living space I wouldn’t miss it.   The space we spend the most amount of time is the living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.  These to me are the only required spaces and they do not need to be large.  More space makes us believe that we require more stuff to fill it.

Check out this link.  I could live here.  You can pick where you want to live (it’s on wheels).  We ought to spend more time in the outdoors, rather than indoors anyways.  Do you think you would be happy living in a house this small?

Media Inspiration

I am inspired by a lot of things.  My interests in the environment and being healthy have been formed by many things that I have seen on the internet, watched or read.  I am even inspired by others.  I watched a really inspirational documentary last night and I wanted to share with you all.  Living On One Dollar is the name of the film and it is about Americans spending time in Guatemala living on very little income and trying to survive.  They show the difficulties local families endure deciding on whether to buy food or to educate their children.  It’s quite sad.  But it makes me want to do something.   I want to be happy with what I have and seeing these families happy yet struggling to get by makes me really think about all that I have and why I constantly want more.  If you want more information on this documentary or to donate, check out this link.

I have also seen several other documentaries that you should check out if you have not already:

  1. An Inconvenient Truth-you all probably have heard of this one by Al Gore.  This is the science behind global warming.
  2. No Impact Man-a small family spends one year without environmental impact.
  3. Supersize Me-made me swear of fast food.
  4. Food Inc.-overview on corporate farming.

Also, if you have a chance, you should read the book, Not Buying It by Judith Levine.  A woman goes one year buying only the specific list of agreed upon essentials prior to starting the year.  This means not eating out, going to movies or going shopping.  Wine is not a necessity, neither is travel.  To me, these types of videos and books are inspirational to me.  They make me want to make a change, as I hope they will inspire you to make simple changes.

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Paper Pulp Planters

Do you a simple project to use all of that junk mail, newspapers or wrapping paper?  These planters are easy and you can repurpose waste that is otherwise destined for the trash or recycling into planters that you can plant right in the ground once it thaws.

All you need is:

Newspaper/Paper or Wrapping paper

Water

Blender

Cupcake tin

Flour sack or wax paper

Colander

1.  Put half a blender full of torn up paper shreds into the blender and add enough water to saturate it.  Blend until it looks like paper pulp and you can’t see much of what the paper used to look like.

2.  Strain the pulp in the colander and let drain until much of the water is out.  You can wring it out a bit to get more of the water out.

3.  I applied the pulp to the cupcake tins without anything between the pulp and the tin and most of then got stuck.  Next time I will try a flour sack and wedge it down into the groves before I apply the pulp.  Or you can try wax paper or even butter to grease the sides.

4.  Allow to dry for a couple of days.  Once fully dry, lift the flour sack off the tin.

5.  Plant seeds in each cup using soil and some homemade compost.  Plant in garden once ready and water accordingly.

If you are like me and can’t wait for spring, these will be a nice way to start early.

Blog Spotlight: Refashionista

I absolutely love the idea of this blog.  She buys the really ugly clothes at thrift stores for mere dollars if that, then turns them into beautiful outfits.  A lot of times she has a inspiration outfit she likes, then cuts, pins and sews the “ugly” garment into the magnificent new one.

refasiIf I knew anything about making clothes I would try some of these redesigns.  This is re-purposing at its finest.  You definitely need to check out this blog.

Get Rid of Cable and Satellite

Our decision to cut satellite service was an easy one.  I wanted to save money.  On top of  money, we are still getting all of the shows that we want anyways.  Some shows are not as easy to get as others, but with the internet, you can see almost all shows just a day later if that.

My husband told me about Roku.  It is a little box you buy from Best Buy, or online and it works as a link between the computer and TV.  I think it cost about $60 (approximately $2.50/month if you assume an upgrade in 2 years).  You even get a little remote.  You then subscribe to Hulu, Amazon Prime and/or Netflix streaming.   $7.99 for Hulu Plus, Amazon is $79 per year ($6.58/month) and you get movies, shows and 2 day free shipping from Amazon.  Netflix I haven’t signed up for yet, but will soon.    With that all tallied up the approximate cost for all of this streaming is $17.07 per month.  Previously we were paying just over $70 for satellite service for the same TV.  We are saving over $50 per month.   If we add Netflix streaming it would be $7.99 per month in addition.

I find the quality of the TV is better.  There is limited commercials, maybe 30 seconds tops.  The only difference between Roku and having satellite is you have to know what you are going to watch.  You can’t just turn on a channel and just watch whatever is live.  All of these shows are previously aired and you essentially pick what you want to watch.  The only other thing is you never watch anything live.  So watch out for spoilers.

Is saving $600 per year worth waiting a day to watch your favorite programs?  What does $600 buy or pay for?  It pays for 1 entire month of mortgage payment on one of our properties.  Or it would pay for 5 full gas tanks worth of gas.  Or 3-4 nights stay at a fairly good hotel.  A lot of nice clothes.  20 meals out with your significant other.  Pretty tempting, eh?  Why not do some research on streaming and give up the bill!

 

Smart Phone Rant – No – I Am Not Anti-Smart Phone.

Before I get into my smart phone rant, I will admit that I WILL get a smart phone someday.  But hopefully not someday soon.  My distaste is not the large amounts of money that you spend on a data plan (that is a valid reason to NOT get a smart phone), but it’s the idea that we are already addicted to our phones way too much – me included!   And, not only cell phones, but computers, TV’s, video games and FACEBOOK!

If I were to average how much time I spend on technology in any given day, I would say 8 + at work, then come home and spend 2-3 more hours online and in front of the TV.   Much of that I am sure is because it is winter still, and not much you can do outside…but if I were to cut out 2 hours after work, just think of how much I could accomplish, how many friends I could hangout with, how much cleaning I could do, how much crafting I could do.

My goal is to live a simpler life.  Not one, bogged down using technology ever waking hour.  I want to go on walks, play with my cats, read and practice yoga or meditate.  I would love to write, draw or play piano.   Unfortunately I have carved such deep habits in my daily routine  that I don’t feel as relaxed as I should if I don’t spend time online.

So, if/when I get a smart phone, it will become a part of me.  I know it will.  An extra appendage that I can’t leave home without.  I am not ready for that yet.  Some day, I will be, but I am okay with the cell phone that I have now.   My happy blue dumb phone.

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Make It Burn – Firestarters

What can you do with empty toilet paper rolls and a whole lot of dryer lint?  Make these awesome firestarters.  I hate when you are trying to light a fire on a quiet dark night and you are trying to enjoy some nature, but you can never get the fire going.  So you pull out the lighter fluid only for the fire to blaze for a few minutes.  That stuff is crap.  It is totally unneeded now that you have these FREE firestarters!

Directions:

1.  Do a few loads of laundry.  This is something you are bound to do anyways, unless your parents still wash your clothes.  If they do, you have awesome parents.  But see if they can part with their dryer lint.

2.  Collect lint from the dryer.  We typically only dry our clothes inside when there is still snow on the ground so the time for us to prepare these are only through the winter season.  *Sadly our winter is from October through April.  So, had I started these earlier, I would have had a butt load!

3.  Collect toilet paper rolls.  Generally my husband and I are too lazy to throw these away, so they end up collecting on the back of the toilet.  Surprisingly I must have been on top of my game this week at cleaning because I only found one.  *You can use paper towel rolls as well.  (Do you see a face in the pile of lint in the below image?  I see Yoda smirking at me).  {I didn’t know the name Yoda so I had to ask my husband who the gremlin looking feller was in Star Wars}.

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4.  Stuff the lint into the roll.  Voila!

I think this blog can go under being thrifty as well.  You can save money, reduce waste and live green – all at the same time!

Spring Ahead

Spring is not only known for spring cleaning, but also for getting ready for gardening, flip flops and long weekends.   Maybe a few extra beers in there too.  In any case, I look forward to gardening, the scents that come with spring and fresh produce the most.  Also, the disappearing act of snow.  Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of room, actually, no room to plant a garden.  But we hated the idea of paying the ever increasing costs of produce at the grocery store, and it’s not even organic.  AND it’s shipped from all over the country and some from Latin America.

There is a solution!  Subscribe to a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  In essence, you pay an upfront “subscription” fee, then for months June through October you get a box of veggies (or two boxes depending upon the size of share you opt for).  My husband and I did the CSA thing the last 2 years.  We picked up our box once a week from a designated pickup site and the produce (organic – our CSA was anyways) vary from week to week, based on the season.  Initially we received a lot of lettuces, herbs, radishes and potatoes.  Then,  tomatoes, raspberries, beets and cucumbers towards the middle of the season.  Then for fall, squash, pumpkins, garlic and anything left over was in our share.  2 years ago our CSA actually allowed all those interested to come down to the farm and pick as many tomatoes as we could fill in 4 HUGE pails.  We managed to can enough to take us through 2 winters.

The benefits to CSA are numerous.

  1. You have the ability to try new veggies.  I found that I REALLY love kohlrabi and I have never tried one before we signed up for a CSA.
  2. You are more apt to “eat your vegetables.”   Every meal we had featured vegetables of some sort.
  3. You support the local economy. The farms that provide CSA’s need subscribers like you to continue to operate, in some cases.  CSA’s may be their only means of income.
  4. It’s a less carbon footprint.  Our veggies only traveled 45 miles to get to us.   As opposed to coming from California, Mexico or Florida to Fargo ND.
  5. It’s fun!  You never know what you are going to get.  It’s like opening a present.
  6. It saves you a trip to the grocery store.   Some CSA’s actually deliver to your work place (if there’s enough interest).
  7. Many CSA’s are organic, so you are not getting veggies covered in synthetic fertilizers.

With all of those benefits, why not?  Especially if you do not have the ability to garden yourself.  As you are taking out the flip flops and the lawn furniture, why don’t you consider signing up for a CSA!  It is worth it in so many ways!

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Toilet Paper Roll Printed Textiles

I bought this HUGE bolt of fabric.  If that’s what you call it.  I used it to make curtains about 5 years ago and now I am left with this crapload.  I was thinking about selling it in my garage sale, but I think I can find other uses for it.  Like make prints using toilet paper rolls!  Imagine the possibilities once the paint is dry.  I was inspired by THIS blog post.

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What you need:

Fabric

Fabric paint

Toilet Paper Rolls

Paint Tray

Iron

Sturdy Surface

Directions:

1.  Make sure the fabric you are using is clean (free of cat fur – mine was not).

2.  Lay it on a table, make sure you have something behind it, like mat board, in case paint seeps through.

3.  Drop paint on the paint tray and flatten it out with the end of the toilet paper roll.  This was my practice round so I smushed my tp roll like a petal for one part.  Then practiced with circles.

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4.  You can use multiple colors too.

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5.  Let the paint dry for a few hours at least.  Then use it however your imagination wills.  This is one of the cool things you can use with toilet paper rolls.

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Polka Dot Homemade Cards

I attempted to go to pick up a card yesterday at Zandbroz, a downtown unique store.  I totally forgot that there was a St Patty’s Day parade going on.  Luckily, I realized this before I got too close because it would have been a headache getting out of there.  So I didn’t get to pick up my card, so I decided I would just make one.

I always have random envelopes laying around, which is a requirement for card making.  Everything else can be improvised.  I just found some art paper, then pulled out all of my stamps, ink and other such materials that I could use for a card.

I decided to create a texture on white paper instead of using a printed paper.  I pulled out some bubble wrap and made the background as my jumping off point.

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The rest of the stuff just sort of fell into place.  I created some flowers from my homemade paper.  Used some wire from my jewelry making for the stems.  Jewelry to come in the future.  Then some ribbon that I had laying around finished it off.  Turned out beautiful, I think.  I like that you can use just random materials to create a beautiful project.

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What other materials besides bubble wrap could you use to create a texture for cards?

1.  Foam

2.  Doilies

3.  Tree bark

4.  Leaves

5.  Flowers

6.  Loofah

7.  Fabric with texture or denim

8.  Eraser on end of pencil

9.  Screen Mesh

10.  Old carpet scraps

11.  Corncobs

12.  Lace

13.  Buttons

You get the picture.  There is inspiration everywhere.  You can make your own card with just about anything laying around!