Category Archives: Homemade

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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.

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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.

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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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Homemade Facial Scrub

As long as I remember, I have had terrible skin.  I have battled acne since I was a teenager.  Now 30, I am still battling it.  I have taken all sort of prescriptions over the years that has made me dizzy, left me with horribly dry skin and some just didn’t work.  I think dermatologists lied to me.  They always said that sugar and pizza won’t give you acne.  I think it does.  I have cut back on sugar for weeks and my skin improved.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was better.  Great skin comes from the inside.  It’s what you eat and drink that affects your skin.  There are other factors that play a role in skin health.  My hormones will bring about blemishes sometimes too.

I have found that having a good scrub works.  It gets rid of the dead skin cells that can clog your pores.  I made this scrub today to see if it will help.  It has only 2 – 3 ingredients so it is really easy to make.  I made a single serving to see if it will work, but you can quadruple the batch and give away as gifts.

Here is what you will need:

Crystallized honey

Olive Oil

Essential oil (optional)

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1.  I used some honey that I have had for a long time and has naturally crystallized.  This would make a great scrub so I wouldn’t need to add sugar crystals for the exfoliate ingredient.

2.  I added 3 parts honey to 1 part olive oil in a small bowl.  Use a fork to mix well.  Then just add a drop of essential oil if you want.

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3.  Then apply.  Before I apply this scrub, I am going to rest a warm cloth over my face to open my pores.  After a few minutes, I will apply the mask.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Then use warm water to remove.

4.  Give away your extras as a great gift for your favorite lady friends.

*Honey is a great antibacterial and speeds healing of blemishes and olive oil is a great antioxidant which helps prevent cell damage and also has soothing properties.

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Homemade Lip Gloss

I finally found a use for Vaseline!  A good use too!  If you are looking for a good gift for a female friend, you can make lots of lip gloss, then package it with a DIY facial scrub that I plan to make later today.  These are easy to make.  It just requires about 5 minutes of your time.

 

 

Here is what you will need:

Vaseline

Lipstick

Mixing bowl

Knife and fork

Container to put the finished product in

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1.  Take the mixing bowl (I used an old baby food jar) and put about 3 tablespoons of vaseline in it.  You can always add more as you go.  It is really just an estimate.

2.  Chop off about a half inch of lip stick into the mixing bowl.

3.  Using your fork mix the two ingredients until well combined.  My lipstick had a bit of shimmer in it already, but if you have some blush that has some sparkle, you can add a dash of this also.

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4.  Once combined, you will fill your small tub/bowl with a twist top with your lip gloss.  Use your knife to smooth the top so it’s flat.

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5.  Done!  Easy, wasn’t it?  Now you just have to give away.

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DIY Plastic Bag Reusable Tote

My husband normally does the grocery shopping, since he does the cooking, but since we were going to be out and about anyways I tagged along.  I searched for our reusable bags that I normally would bring, but only found 3.  We have about 10 around the house somewhere.  I am sure they are all in my husbands car being unused.  That being said, we have a lot of plastic bags that either need to be used, or turned in at our grocery store for recycling.

I wanted to try to make my own reusable bag from this link.  Please reference that site for better pictures of the process.  I tried my best, but most times I was frustrated at something and just wanted to be done so skipped the pictures.

First thing I did was gathered all of my shopping bags.  I noticed I had two types and separated them even further by bag type.  Next, I flattened them out, cut the bottom seam off and the handles.

You need 4 bags for each panel.  I used the smaller bags for the sides and bottom, then the bigger ones for the front and back.

You will now need an iron, wax paper and either a towel and sturdy table or an ironing board.

I used a table and towel and it worked just fine.  Lay the towel on the table.  Place 4 flattened, cut bags on top, then a piece of wax paper that spans the entire bottom of the bag on top of the bags.  Ensure your iron is set to wool setting.  You will have to keep the iron moving fast otherwise the plastic will melt and create little holes.  I found this out the hard way.

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I always ironed the middle bottom then out to the side.  Once the bottom is done, flip and do the same on the other side.  Then rotate and do the top side until all of the bags are melted together.  Do this for all 4 sides and the bottom.  Please reference the link above for sizes or you can really size it any way you want, which is what I did.

Next you will need your sewing machine set up with a zig zag stitch.  Sew the front and back panels to the bottom first, then the sides to the bottom next.  Last, sew the sides to the front and back.  I left about a half inch seam so I could cut later.

Last part you need to do is sew the handles on.  I just used scraps from my panels that I didn’t need.  I sewed 3 rows of zig zag stitches on the handles to ensure a good solid attachment.

I also stitched about a quarter inch down from the top of the entire circumference of the bag just in case the plastic bags separate.   This shouldn’t happen if you ironed it enough.

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Now you have just used approximately 20-21 of your plastic bags laying around your house.  They will be able to be reused infinite number of times, as opposed to it’s typical single use.  I also intend to make a few fabric versions of the reusable bags coming up.  I wish you luck at bag making.  Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

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Ruched Garland

Christmas was pretty good in our family.  We celebrate with my husbands side on Christmas Eve, and my side on Christmas Day.  We had 2 days of good eating and not having to clean or cook.  Can’t beat that.

Sadly though, we had to put down our dog Charlie on December 29th.  Charlie had been battling lymphoma since October so we are lucky to have had him this long.  He didn’t suffer, actually he was pretty spoiled.  He got lots of treats, and home cooked meals.  He actually gained 6 pounds since we found something wrong.  He was a beautiful, patient and loyal dog, and we will never forget him.

I was inspired by Make It Give It’s blog about Dictionary Garland.  I wanted to try something that I could hang easily on my Christmas tree.  While we were decorating our tree it was missing something, and I realized, I haven’t added any type of garland to our tree in years.  So this was a project I figured I could try.

My idea was to purchase some ribbon and elastic cord and create a garland that looks ruched, or gathered.  It was a little bit more difficult to do than I had thought because the ribbon I used wasn’t very good.  At least I was able to get enough garland to use up the entire length of my ribbon.

You will need just ribbon, elastic cord (I got the thinner kind), thread and a sewing machine.  And, probably a scissors because I had to start over several times.  I had to relearn how to thread a sewing machine.  In the end I did get it to work.

I placed the ribbon down, under the footer of the sewing machine.  I placed the elastic on top of that, and sewed a few stitches in order to attach the elastic to the ribbon.  Once they were sewn together a half inch, I lightly pulled on the elastic while I continued sewing the ribbon and elastic together.  This will give it that bunched up look that I was going after.  You do not have to pull hard to get a nice gather, just a little.  Just make sure you are sewing straight down the middle of the ribbon and elastic.  Keeping straight while tugging the elastic is hard to do.

This project has many ways that you can make different just by changing the width of the ribbon, or by adding layers of different materials, like newspaper, or dictionary pages like the inspiration blog above.

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DIY Beer

My husband has classified himself as a beer connoisseur.  Two years ago, my husband and I traveled to Colorado.  He went there to attend the Great American Beer Festival and I went there to visit my aunt.  My husband spend 3 long days in Denver drinking beers from around the country.  Since then, when the mood sets in and he is craving a beer, he purchases the specialty beers at the local booze shops.  These beers are not cheap.  On average $8 – $10.  Not the way I like to spend our money.

So my husband decided to brew his own beer.  When I first heard of this idea I thought, “Are you mad?  This is going to take up lots of room and will take lots of time.”  It seemed easier than I though.  In today’s blog, I want to try to share how easy it is to make beer.  Honestly, I wasn’t around when he was making the beer.  I was actually napping.  That is how quick it is to make beer.

First step is you need to buy a Beer Equipment Kit.  I think Ben spent just over $100 bucks for this kit, but it is reusable.  It comes with 11 different pieces like the bucket with a spigot, bottle filler, capper, handbook and cleaners.  With this kit you also need to purchase: Hops, corn sugar, malt extract, bottles and caps.  The handbook comes with a recipe for making your first batch of beer.  It looks like there are more advanced techniques in the handbook, but it gives you all you need as a beginner.

First, follow the instructions on the recipe in the handbook.  This makes your wort (beginning beer).  Add some water and let it sit in the bucket for a week.  You will see bubbles coming out of airlock, supplied with the kit, but that is normal.

After the week of fermentation it gets bottled.  You will want to collect used or new beer bottles and sanitize them.  You will need to purchase new caps.  The most difficult process in beer making is the sterlization of the equipment and bottles.  For anyone who cans it’s easier than canning tomatoes in our opinion.

Now the bottled beer sits in the closet, or cool place for a week.  Then the beer goes into the refrigerator.  What I liked most about this whole process is the reusing of all of the beer bottles we had lying around the house.  No bottles were thrown away or even recycled.  They were all re purposed and will continue to be re purposed for as long as Ben will be making beer.

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DIY Homemade Gift Tags

From my previous post DIY Homemade Paper I showed you how much Christmas paper trash I saved from going to the landfill.  I made a couple of batches of homemade paper to use for other crafts.  I came up with one great idea that can save you a little money and also make your gifts look chic.  Homemade Gift Tags!

 

 

1.  Collect all of your homemade paper.

2.  Decide on the size of tag you want, and trace circles all over your paper.  If you have any blemishes on the paper, or wrinkles cut around them.  Only use the best parts.  Save the rest for another batch of homemade paper.

3.  Cut out the tags.

4.  Use a paper hole punch to cut the holes for the ribbon.  I used my makingmemories Instant Setter tool to make the holes.  I got this a long time ago but I want to learn what all it can do.  I couldn’t find my hole punch and I like the size of the holes this tool made so I just used this.

5.  Finished.  Now you can adorn with ribbon of your choosing.  I suggest just slipping it into the ribbon you are already using for your wrapped package.  Or some nice twine or hemp string would look organic.

You can use these tags for bags, or wine bottles for a hostess.  You can use it for any holiday or birthday.  This was a fun and easy project.  I hope you consider saving some Christmas paper from the trash to make these nice tags!

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DIY Homemade Cleaners

I went shopping this weekend for some toilet bowl cleaner.  I wanted to find it in bulk so I didn’t have to repurchase the small cleaner with the curved neck.  I figured if I could buy it in bulk I could reduce what is thrown away.  Well, it wasn’t an option so I didn’t buy anything.  I decided that I would research homemade cleaners.  I already make my own laundry soap, why not make the rest of my cleaners.

The basic ingredients that we all probably have in our cupboards that can make a number of different cleaners are: Baking Soda, Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Borax and Rubbing Alcohol.

Soap Scum/Stove Top:  I am going to use: Baking Soda, a wet sponge and water to rinse.

Window Cleaner: Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 quart warm water.  Use crumpled newspaper to clean.  Mix accurately because too much vinegar can etch the glass.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner:  Mix 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into basin and let it sit for a few minutes.  Scrub with brush and rinse.  A mixture of borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.

I found these recipes on http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm.  There are a list of other good recipes; check out that website.  Not only are these recipes green, but they will also save you lots of money.

 

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DIY Homemade Paper

I have always wanted to make homemade paper.  There are so many things you can make with paper, and what a wonderful way to reduce garbage from going into the landfill.  In my case, the past couple of years I took about 10 bags of used Christmas
wrapping paper to use just for this purpose.  My whole intention is to make a butt load of paper.  I found some great sources to guide me along in my journey of becoming a paper-maker.  But instead of going there, follow my easy instructions with photos here!

Materials:
Waste Paper
Blender
Water
Wood Frame
Screen
Roller
Food coloring (optional)
Racks (optional)

Step 1:  Collect paper.


Step 2.  Get rid of tape. I’m not sure if taking off the tape does anything but common senses makes me think that it’s a slippery surface and if left intact the final paper product may not stay together.

Step 3:  Cut into small pieces.  Easier to stuff in a blender.

Step 4:  Fill the blender about 1/2 to 2/3 water and start adding paper.  I add a handful at a time because if you add too much it could make the pulp too dry, and cause your blender to stall.  If it get’s too dry, just add more water.

Tip:  Collect brightly colored paper that can’t be recycled (at least in our city) and add to your blender to add color.  By adding a teal envelope to my pulp I ended up getting light blue finished product.

Step 5:  Prop the screen over a surface that’s okay to get wet.  I put mine over the ledge of the tub.  I have a handy hand sprayer to help me clean up the mess.  Over a sink would do just fine.  I found an old window screen on the boulevard during spring clean up.  No purchase necessary.  I used some tulle because I though the holes on the screen would be too big.

Tip: You can buy wood frames made for making a canvas at a craft store, then buy screen and staple around the frame.  I have had trouble finding screen in my town so I used a window screen that I had on hand.

Step 6:  Dump pulp over the screen.

Step 7:  Lay a towel on top of the pulp.  In my case I used an old Tshirt that was destined for the garbage anyways.  (this blog is about being green, reducing waste :))

Step 8:  Roll out the excess water with the roller, this also flattens it.

Step 9:  Gently lift screen off sink, holding the towel/t-shirt steady to release from screen.  Once dry enough, lift paper off towel/old T-shirt.

Step 10:  Place on rack to dry quicker.  Once dry, place under heavy books to flatten.


Some things you can make with this paper.  Stationary, gift tags, cards, use in scrap-booking and ornaments.  I intend on blogging about what I make with my homemade paper once I accrue enough.  So please come back!  See you soon!

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DIY Cherry Cordials

I didn’t make as many gifts as I would have liked this Christmas, but I am going to dedicate a large portion of 2012 in making my own gifts for next year.  However, I did have difficulty finding gifts for my mom this year but I remembered she used to always have a box of Queen Anne’s cherries in her fridgerator.  I decided to give making my own a try this year.   I found a recipe that I thought was at my culinary skill level and got busy.
First the recipe; courtesy of veronicascornucopia.com

2 (10-oz) jars maraschino cherries (you’ll need 40-50)
¼ c butter, softened
2 ¼ c powdered sugar
1 T reserved cherry juice
½ t vanilla extract
¼ t almond extract
1 (12-oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cake paraffin wax, shredded OR 2 T vegetable shortening

*I replaced the chocolate chips and shortening with Baker’s Chocolate.

First step is to get the cherries out of the juice.  I drained it with a colander and saved the juice.  (Do not rinse) I plan on using the cherry juice for something else.  Possibly cherry infused vodka or brandy for another gift.  I placed the cherries then on a paper towel to rid the excess juice.  This helped when wrapping the fondant around them.

In the meantime, cream the butter with 1 cup of the powdered sugar, then add 1 T reserved cherry juice, the extracts, and the remaining sugar; stir until mixed. You may have to knead it with your hands as it will be firm like dough.  I ended up adding about another tablespoon of non-butter (the kind in the tubs) to give it a dough like consistency as I kneaded it.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Take small pieces of fondant, about 1 or 2 teaspoons, and press them flat on your palm. Wrap around the cherries, pinching off the excess before rolling them smooth and placing on the wax paper. Repeat until all cherries are covered with the fondant. Set in the freezer until well chilled. I did this step a day in advance and proceeded with the dipping the following day, so they were frozen hard.

Melt the Baker’s chocolate until smooth. Dip each cherry in the chocolate using a fork, drawing fork across rim of pan to remove excess coating. Drop coated cherry upside down onto waxed paper, swirling a thread of coating from fork across top for a decorative touch.  Once all are coated, place in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set; check bottoms and reseal with additional melted coating, if necessary. You want every part of the fondant covered or it will start to leak out as it liquefies.  Store in a cool place (do not refrigerate) for 2 weeks to form cordial.

I tried mine about 5-6 days after making them and they were not ready yet.  Make sure you give them enough time to liquefy.

Place in a nice tin with tissue paper.  No other wrapping needed.  You don’t want to use wrapping paper that will just get thrown away, do you?  This year I ended up doing all of my wrapping with reused wrapping paper from previous years, bags or tins like for these delicious treats.  Everything can be reused or repurposed.  Hope you all had a Merry “Green” Christmas!

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Homemade Magnetic Board – Versatile Gift

My inspiration for this project is a cute little magnetic board that I have at work.  It is a 5×7 size photo frame wrapped in metal and it came with cute magnets.  My friend really wanted one and I couldn’t find where I could purchase one.  So I decided to make one.

Step 1:  Purchase a picture frame.  In order to be green I bought one at the local thrift store, and this one was already damaged.  Who would buy it anyways?  Cost $2.99

Step 2:  Demolition.  You have to take it apart to make it pretty.

Step 3: Voilà.  Not done yet!

Step 4:  Prime.  I used a low VOC primer so it’s more earth friendly.  However, it does still stink.  I primed because the frame was glossy and I wanted my final paint to stick.  Sorry for no picture.  But you didn’t really need a picture exactly as above but in white, did you?

Step 5:  Cut metal to fit frame.  I bought a piece at Home Depot about 12 x 20 inches.  Larger than the frame but not too huge for the trunk of my car.  When you buy metal make sure to pick a metal that is magnetic.  I bought iron.  I also brought in a magnet just to be sure.  I cut the metal with tin snips that I had on hand.  Jagged edges = beware!

Step 6: Iron the fabric.

Step 7:  Cut fabric so there’s enough to wrap around the metal.  I also taped the cut edges of the metal so it wouldn’t cut the fabric after it was all assembled.

Step 8: Glue the fabric to the metal.  This took the longest because I had to wait for the glue to dry before I started the opposite side.  I am a bit of a perfectionist so I folded down the edges so you can’t see any fabric fray.  Tip: This is awesome glue.  I wanted something industrial for the magnets, that I also made for this project, but also that I could use to glue the back of this metal.   It’s low VOC glue and it dries fast.  I couldn’t even smell it.  Awesome purchase.  I remember in my interior design classes we had to buy this 9000 crap which you had to use a gas mask for.  Awful stuff.  Not this!  Two thumbs up!

Sometime between Step 4 and Step 9 you have to paint the frame the color of your choice.

Step 9: Assemble gift.  Just put the frame back together.  Minus the glass.  I also painted the back to this so it looked professionally made.  See the cute magnets?  They are just buttons glued to strong magnets I purchased at the craft store.

My friend who is receiving this gift loves the color blue, so I had to pick a fabric just for her.  You can also personalize this by different size frames, different fabrics and even stamp on some letters to be specific to the receiver.  Your friends will love the homemade-ness of this gift.  I think a boy may even like this!  Pictures of cars and girls I would suppose.