Call it a compilation of all the crazy projects I've come up with over the years. Call it a how-to for things around the house. Call it whatever you like :) It's what I do everyday. My blog is really just a way for me to share what I've learned over the years about home improvement, interior design, organization, diy, crafting and home repair. And most importantly it comes from always working on a budget and forever wanting to fend for myself when it comes to anything. I hope you enjoy (and learn a few things along the way :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Another zero calorie drink mixer post!

Yes, I'm fascinated with zero calorie drink mixers, but when I came across this one at World Market today I had to try it. It's all natural made with stevia! No gross saccharine, aspartame or sucralose.

Just tried it and OMG I love it. I'm shocked really because I usually don't like no-cal margarita mix. My recipe tonight:

Two shots Refine margarita mix
one shot tequila
one shot triple sec

Yummy! Doesn't taste like sugar free!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hair dryer storage project complete

Whoever doesn't think Pinterest is the best website ever invented doesn't get on it!

Now that I have that off of my chest :), here is my "saw it on Pinterest and did it" project for the day.  The hair dryer storage using a magazine file.

So this is the best idea I think I've seen (did I say that before ; )

You buy a cheap magazine file (or use one you have).  These two are from Ikea, both from the as is section for $3 each (but they have a lot of options for cheap regular price ones).  I wouldn't use the strong paper ones for obvious reasons (wet area and cardboard don't mix :).  Their metal and plastic ones are mostly 2 for $7.  I personally prefer the mesh one, but my older daugther didn't want to be able to see through it, so to each their own ; )

Just screw it onto your cabinet door (use three screws that are short enough that they won't go through your cabinet door, two on top and one on bottom) and set the hairdryer in.  It couldn't have taken me more than 5 minutes to do both.

For the mesh one, it was easier (holes were already in it.  For the solid metal one, I used a nail to "predrill" the holes : ) 

I placed two screws on either side of the top just inside for both.

I also found that you need to secure the bottom as well to make sure it doesn't move around too much.  I used the hole on the spine to place one more screw on the bottom of each.  This was hard to photograph, but here's the bottom screw on the solid one.

And here it is on the mesh one.  This access hole on this one isn't very big, but it was still easy to secure the screw.

Again, don't use screws that are too long and ruin the front of your cabinet.  Also, if your cabinet is "raised panel"  make sure you are placing the screws in the right places (where you have the thickest part of the cabinet).

This is a must do if you own a hairdryer so get on it : )

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Make a drawer out of your unused keyboard tray

If you have a keyboard tray you don't use on your desk (i.e., you have a laptop), turn it into a drawer with a drawer organizer.

This one we got at Ikea and used double sided tape to stick it down.

Just measure height width and depth so you get the right size (measure the depth with the keyboard tray open so it doesn't go back too far to be able to access the back bin)s.

$2.49 later my daughter has better places to store pencils, pens, etc.  Even looks good with the drawer closed since it matches the desk.  You could easily add a trim piece if yours didn't.

Quick, cheap and easy fix. 

Here's the before shot : )

Friday, April 13, 2012

Duct tape frame

I warned you that there would be several duct tape posts after my daughter's birthday :) And here's another. A duct tape picture frame...pretty simple actually.

Took an old frame I had in a drawer (really cheap dollar store type).  I cut duct tape strips the length of the left and right sides (with about and extra 1/4") and adhered it to the outside.

I made sure it was covering the corner just slightly ( to insure a good looking corner gaps). I then wrapped it toward the inside.

In order to get it to go around the inside corner, I just trimmed each side at a 45 degree angle once it was at that point.

As you can see the right and left side didn't have to be perfect since the top and bottom pieces will cover it up. 

I repeated the process for the top and bottom piece (I had to be more careful with my cut since you would see that edge of the tape.  Turned out pretty cute and more daughter loves it!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Success...found all 5 favors of Crystal Light Mocktails

It took stops at two different stores, but I found them all.

The main three, Margarita, Mojito & Appletini at Walmart for $2.68 (I also picked up their Great Value brand version of margarita...I'll be doing a taste test :).

Found the Limited Edition Peach Bellini and Pomotini at Tom Thumb for $2.50 (Safeway or Randall's sister grocery store). I have such high hopes for the Peach Bellini that I got two.

My friend was at Target and said they only had the three main favors, but on sale for $2.48 and Margarita and Appletini were sold out.

Let the mixing begin. They won't be "mock" for very long :) I'll post successful recipes as I make them :)

Crystal light mocktails

Off to find all 5 of these flavors right now. Will report back as soon as I have found them and tried them. How have these been out for a year and I've never heard of them???

(I'll report back on which girl I feel most like after drinking each one : )  Marketers are so funny...and yes I used to be one.

Hang candle chandeliers in your bath

Or maybe they are called candeliers? Either way they make a great addition to a half bath or WC.

It's often hard to warm up a small bathroom when there is little or no counter space to decorate. One solution is with a hanging candle holder. They are inexpensive and readily available now that the patio decor is out in stores.

Make sure you hang it high enough that no one will bump their head, but low enough that you can light them.

Then when you have people over, you can light the candles to make the bath smell fresh all night (nice way of putting it :)

Faux book storage

I don't know if you've seen these before, but national geographic used to make sleeves to hold their magazines (or they still do maybe).

Well I ran across them at half price books for 25 cents in the clearance section and immediately thought, "I can use these in my study as hidden storage." You know CD-roms, computer booklets, discs, etc. I bought every one they had and put them in my study bookcases. I then went to a second location and found more for 50 cents each. Still a great deal.

You can call ahead to see if they have any vs. driving around. I see them often at resale shops and estate sales as well. Easy thing to collect over time as you spot them.

Hope this idea helps you create more storage in your home :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

DIY iPad stylus...use on any capacitive know, one you have to touch with your finger :)

So this project was easier than I thought. One metal pen and one piece of sponge.

I took the ink cartridge out of the pen and shoved a thin piece of the sponge into it, making sure enough sponge was sticking out of the pen to protect the screen from the metal of the pen.

It really was just that simple. I found out online that sponges conduct electricity and therefore they work to get the electrical charge from you finger to the screen.  In this case, the electricity is able to pass from the metal pen to the sponge, then your screen. I had the sponge lying around, but I'm pretty sure I got it from the dollar store (the type that looks like a sponge vs. foam).  Like this:

If you are wondering if the sponge you have works, just test the sponge before you put it in the pen (holding the sponge and see if you can use it to control the iPad before you make the stylus). I was actually surprised that it worked :)

Another free project!

Hang baskets under your cabinets for extra storage

One of my favorite storage solutions in my home is my wall baskets in my kitchen.  I hung four of them under a bank of cabinets with an odd cut out spot.  It was dead space that was just crying out for a storage solution.

I found these hanging baskets at pier 1 and they fit perfectly.  Just enough room for four. We use them to store tape/glue in one, scissors in another, permanent markers in the third, and a few other office supplies in the last.  Keeps them "easy to find" and in their own specific spot.

It's sort of the same concept IKEA has with those rod and basket systems they sell (obviously this was a much cheaper option, and the type of basket I bought hides the contents...but theirs are very cute : )

Wall baskets can really be hung anywhere (down a odd small wall, on a wall in a pantry).  There are quite a few options out there if you just search wall basket (some are more country, others more primitive, some more modern).  Another great way to organize your stuff.

My latest apothecary jars - wine corks and monogram

Here is my latest apothecary jar update.  Since there isn't a holiday on the horizon, I decided to go with a more universal theme that I can use in between various holidays.  At first I thought I might do a generic spring theme, but when you have this many corks on hand, its too tempting to use them : )

I first needed the letters (I decided on an A monogram).  I went to Hobby Lobby and didn't like the A in the whimsical style of the only smaller letter they had.  It sort of looked like an oddly shapped D.  So I went to Michaels and found quite a few smaller-sized letters to choose from .  This was the only lower case option (they had three upper case options that I didn't really like either). 

I decided to paint them with my trusty Modern Options Sophisticated Finishes Blackend Bronze paint (by the way, I did look for it at Michaels while I was there to see if they still had it, and yes they do, right in the middle of unfinished wood section as before. Its $9.99 full price, but of course use your 40% off coupon : )

For the ribbon I used a furry cheetah that I found a Michaels a while back. It was a single-sided style, which always proves to be tricky in a bow tieing situation, so I just "glued" it into a bow : )  Whatever works right!

With this one you get a twofer.  Apothecary jar project and wine cork project!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Duct tape flower hairbow

My daughter asked for duct tape for her birthday, and now we are duct tape craft crazy! : ) This is a duct tape flower we made, then taped it to a headband.

You start with a rounded petal (fold the tape over about an inch and leave about 1/2" of tape showing.

Slit it up the middle about half way, then overlap the two parts slightly to make it curve. Trim off the corners to make it look rounded. Make 8 of these.

Then do 8 more slightly smaller. We made them exactly the same, but trimmed them 1/2" all the way around.

Then make 8 "halves" (making two petals out of one piece by cutting it in half first.

You are going to simply stack these four per level (4 large, 4 more large, 4 med, 4 more med, 4 small, 4 more small). centering each layer between the previous petals.

We then cut a small piece of red to cover any white showing in the middle.

For the center, we cut a 4" piece of purple, then cut that longways into 4 strips. We folded those over long ways 1/3, so 1/3 of the sticky was still showing. Finally we rolled and rolled those pieces until it made a tightly wound center. We hot glued that to the middle.

To attach it to a headband or barrette, just use a single piece of tape on the back.

It turned out so cute we'll be making lots of these ; )

Our first duct tape flower pen

My daughter asked for duct tape for her birthday, so after her grandmother took her shopping, she came home with 5 rolls of duct tape to craft was a proud moment for a mother who loves a good project :)

She already had a folded petal pen from a friend, so she decided on the folded corner style.  It is actually a very simple project that doesn't require measuring.

Basically you are going to first wrap the pen with your stem color (start where the cap ends so the tape doesn't bunch up when you put the cap on). You end about an inch from the top. You place it on in one piece lengthwise. 

Just eyeball it, cut it to the length and stick it on around the pen.

To start the petals, use the color(s) of choice, and cut a 2" x 2" piece (basically a square) off the roll. Fold the right corner down at 45 degrees to the center point.

Then repeat for the left corner, and you end up with a pointed end and a sticky end.

Simply wrap the sticky end onto the end of pen.

You will repeat this over and over until you are happy with the size of the flower. For us that was about 30 petals.  To determine the placement of each, just try to stagger the points.  We used two colors and alternated them, so we did three of each color per level, spacing the points evenly on each layer and making sure no two petals overlapped identically.

At the end, wrap the base of the flower with a small piece of the stem color tape to give the transition between the two a more finished look (if needed).

As you can imagine we have a lot of tape now, so I'll be posting a lot of duct tape projects :)