Category Archives: DIY, Gardening and Self Sufficiency

Do-it-Yourself Deodorizing Disks



These last for a month or so and work well to freshen rooms or areas where poor scents develop or an improvement of scent is desired such as shoe and coat areas, clothing closets, garbage and diaper areas, laundry rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, main living areas or dining areas for when company comes over, etc. They can also be thrown into the laundry with heavily soiled loads – which is an excellent way to use them up when the scent starts to wear off.

What you’ll need:
2 cups baking soda
1 – 2 cups distilled water
2-6 drops essential oil (any preferred scent)
Silicone mold or ice cube tray

Simply mix the baking soda, distilled water and essential oil, the pour into mold(s). Let dry 1-2 days. Place anywhere you like.


DIY decorative Winter Windows

I wouldn’t have thought of this myself! From

Spray-on window snow – remember this stuff? I do. We’d be giddy if we got to apply any of this (possibly from seasonal merriment, possibly from the spray fumes) but would never do much more than spray corners of the windows to simulate the drifting snow that was, frankly, already all over the outer side of the windows, the drive, the yard, the steps. So. Much. Snow.

It’s time for spray-on-snow redux. I came across this great  lace style stencilling for windows and thought it would be perfect for spray on snow.



I’m going to have to see about getting some stencils! Meanwhile, should any of you try this, send me some pics and we’ll share the love! Get more details on the above designs here.


Healthy Ideas and tips


Natural Aromatherapy

Caught a cold? Try hanging a bundle of eucalyptus (sold at craft stores and flower shops) from your shower curtain rod. “The heat and steam help to activate the herb’s essential oils, which can ease congestion,” Seo explains. Hang a bundle with natural garden twine (more moisture-resistant than cotton twine) on the shower rod, away from the spray of the water. Enjoy the scent for a few weeks as you take a hot shower.


Rustic Candles

Melt down the dregs of burned-out candles to make new ones in old flowerpots. You’ll give both items a new lease on life. 1. Scrub the inside of the pot only, leaving the outside aged. 2. Use a coin to cover the drainage hole in the bottom. 3. Insert a ready-made stiff cotton wick (sold at craft stores) or make your own wick out of cotton twine. To hold the wick upright, tie one end loosely to a pencil laid across the top of the pot. 4. Melt chunks of old candles in a pot set over a low flame or in a double boiler. Pour the liquid wax into the flowerpots. 5. Let set overnight and then trim the wick.


Next time you are making eggs, try using an onion ring from a spanish or videlia onion to hold the eggs shape.


Need to organize your cans in the pantry? Try using a cardboard soda pop case. You can decorate it any way you like!


Use a bread tab or pop tab to make your place on any roll of tape. Saves time trying to find the ends.


Cut a shoe saver in half and screw it into the cupboard door in your laundry room or bathroom to hold cleaners or hair products.


Herbal Fire Starter

Pinecones and dried herbs such as rosemary, sage leaves, and cinnamon sticks make fragrant kindling for a winter fire — and, unlike composite firelogs and lighter fluid, don’t rely on chemicals to ignite the flame. 1. Bundle dried herbs and small pinecones in a sheet of newspaper and secure the ends with raffia or cotton twine. 2. As you pile up logs for your fire, nestle the herb bundle underneath, with paper ends sticking out. 3. To start the fire, light the newspaper ends. As the paper burns up, the herbs inside will ignite and incinerate, giving the logs a chance to catch fire. Cost: less than $10 to make.

Fun Fall Place Settings for special occasions or just to amuse your family 😉

Candy Cane Fudge
by Heather McKillip


2 (11 oz.) packages white chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
1½ cups crushed candy canes, divided


Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Grease the foil.

Combine the vanilla chips and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat.

Stir frequently until vanilla chips are almost melted.

Remove from heat and continue to stir until chips are completely melted and mixture is smooth.

Stir in peppermint extract and 1 1/4 cups candy canes.

Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Top with remaining 1/4 cup candy canes.

Press lightly into fudge.

Chill for two hours in the refrigerator, then cut into small squares.

“While dreams of sugar plums danced in their heads…”
DIY Gnomes! :

DIY Yule Log Candle Holder ~ A very long tradition, a yule log has been used for hundreds of years on the longest night of the year – Solstice and for Christmas traditions. This year we decided to take the idea of the yule log and turn it into a beautiful candle holder!

You need:

A log (ours is 15 inches long)
a wood chisel
a 1 1/2 inch Forstner bit
an electric drill
tea light candles

I know, just looking at that list, many people will say it isn’t easy. But really. If you have the tools, it takes less than 15 minutes. And everything you need, you can find at Home Depot for less than $15 (and there are MANY other times where I have used these same tools as well. At my baby shower with Logan we used the tiny white pumpkins and drilled holes to put tea lights in the center of each one… beautiful!)

1. First, you chisel off the bark on one side of the log. You can do this with other things as well, such as a putty knife, or a box cutter. It is just easier and safer with the chisel so if you choose to do it with something else, please be careful!

2. Then you lay the log’s bark-free side down, and make sure it doesn’t roll. Measure to the center and mark. Lay your candles on it, arranging them how you want, and then mark the spots on the log.

3. If it is an odd number of candles than set the forstner bit in the center and drill away! If you need an even number of candles for your log, then measure from the center, and start at one of the center spots.

Clean it up with the chisel and perhaps a bit of sandpaper if needed. Then put the candles in and decorate (we used hot glue, holly, and boughs from the yard).

Light and enjoy!

Holiday Idea’s from a reader

A fellow reader of my blog sent me this on Facebook. Neat idea for Christmas lights.



From an old dresser to a dollhouse with storage!


A pet bed made from an old sweater.



Next time you or a loved one takes their kids to the mall, slip this home-made bracelet on their wrist. Make it your cell phone number so that if the child gets lost s/he can show someone to contact you.



DIY Boot Socks using your old Sweaters


Starting out using the arms from old sweaters, you can make your own boot socks.


A little lace next and voila!


See the entire process with different styles here:






You may have seen this picture of the spilled red wine posted on Pinterest or other sites around the web lately. It’s from an online article at and the title is:

The Only Spot Remover You’ll Ever Need.
Well that definitely got MY attention…because I had JUST the“spot” to test this “spot remover” on. Lately the undershirt/t-shirts my boys wear have been bugging me to no end!  They are relatively NEW t-shirts…but after a few times wearing them playing basketball or whatever boys do to get all sweaty and disgusting….the underarm areas are all stained yellow!

The BEFORE and AFTER’s are QUITE amazing…….especially considering I had tried everything I could possibly think of to get them white again.

The online article describes the stain remover mixture as consisting of one part Dawn dishwashing liquid mixed with two parts HYDROGEN PEROXIDE  (which of course I have OODLES of for making my Miracle Cleaner).

The author then goes on to say you pour the mixture directly on the stain, and watch it disappear like MAGIC.”



I knew the stains on my boys t-shirts were uber STUBBORN (since even pouring straight bleach on them hadn’t worked previously)…so I used the above “recipe” PLUS added some baking soda (of course!) for the extra scrubbing element…and I used a small laundry brush to work the whole concoction into the stain for a few minutes.  After that I walked away and let the whole thing sit there for an hour or so and then laundered as usual.

And here are the “hard to argue with” results!




As I HOPE you can see in these photos….the difference was actually quite amazing and very encouraging!  Can’t wait to try it on more clothes that have been hiding in my closets, too embarrassed to come out.
UPDATE: 11/20/2011 There have been a few comments posted inquiring whether you can use this on colored clothes too. This weekend I decided to put it “to the test” on an old DARK BLUE t-shirt of mine that had some grease spots on the front that I have tried EVERYTHING I could think of to get out…to no avail.

armpit stains

 As you can see….no ill effects (ie. fading/bleaching of the color!) The mixture I scrubbed on with the brush above was 1 tsp. Dawn dishwashing detergent, 3-4 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, and a couple tablespoons of baking soda.  Pretty pleased with this since this is an OLD shirt that I just hadn’t got around to throwing out. Now I don’t have to! 🙂

armpit stains

Happy Thanksgiving Homemade Pumpkin Butter

This weekend is our Canadian Thanksgiving, which seems strange to me after the week madness, but I am just happy that I am not the one preparing the entire meal this time. 😉

I have been thinking of something that I could bring for my in-laws that would make a fun Thanksgiving hostess gift. I didn’t feel like bringing cookies, pie, or something of that nature, so I put my thinking cap on and surfed the web for ideas.

And then it hit me like a ton of pumpkins.

Happy Thanksgiving Homemade Pumpkin Butter

This was super easy to make and quite delicious. I doubled the batch below so I could have some to enjoy myself. This will be fantastic spread onto pancakes, toast, or even layered with Vegan Overnight Oats! The possibilities are endless, and I plan to find them all. 😉 Note that I reduced the sugar by 1/3 of a cup as I didn’t want it super sweet. You can adjust the sugar and seasonings to your own taste of course.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.


  • 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree, approx. 3 1/2 cups or fresh
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2-1.5 teaspoons ground ginger (optional, sometimes I omit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice


1. Combine pumpkin, apple juice, spices, and sugar in a large saucepan and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil, covered with lid ajar (I prop it with a wooden spoon). Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer, covered with lid ajar, for 35-45 minutes, stirring frequently. Be careful as the mixture bubbles and pops!

2. Remove from heat and let it sit for a few minutes before removing lid. Adjust spices to taste. Stir in lemon juice. Once cool, pumpkin butter can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Makes enough to fill one large mason jar or about 3.5 cups.

Note: Canning is not recommended.

Get your super cute Mason jar and set aside…