Do It Yourself
Refinishing your furniture with a crackled and antiqued lookInstructions to refinishing your furniture for an antiqued look fast ansteps.
Have you ever seen furniture that is old and charming? It has little cracks in the paint and you can see the old finishes. Well, you can give your new or unfinished furniture that same charming look with a few simple steps.
Installing a mailbox postThis article is a step-by-step guide to installing a mailbox post on your property.
Whether you have an old mailbox post that has rotted away or you just don't like the one you have, installing a new one is a simple process that can be completed in one day. You can find pre-cut mailbox posts made of wood or metal at almost any home improvement store. They come in many varieties and lengths. If you are choosing a wood post, be sure to buy pressurized wood for the longest life possible. Remember before you do any digging anywhere, you should call the North American One Call Referral Service to be sure you are not going to damage any utility lines that may be running through your property. The number for One Call is 1-888-258-0808. Once you have called and know that you are about to dig in a safe place you are ready to begin.
Be sure to call your local post office for specific regulations about heights and placements of mailboxes. The federal regulation for post height is 42 inches from the ground to the bottom of the mailbox. The post should be at least two feet from the side of the road so that your mail carrier can safely pull off of the side of the road to deliver your mail. If you have purchased an extended post, be sure to compensate for this when you decide where you will place your post. An extended post means that the mailbox will be set closer to the road then it would be if placed it on a straight post. Your local post office will be able to tell you what side of the road the box should be placed in the event that you are installing a box on new property for the first time.
How to make a pet sofa protectorTired of pet fur all over your furniture? This sofa and chair protector will prevent that mess in the future.
Pets are such a wonderful addition to our lives but some things about them can drive us crazy. If you love your pet but you're tired of fur all over the sofa make a couch protector pad for the pooch. Measure across the width of the first cushion. The protector doesn't have to be the exact size of the cushion - it can be wider or more narrow depending upon how large of a dog you have. And if you want, you can make the protector the size of the couch for multiple pets. You know your pet's favorite spot to lay so make the protector to cover that particular area of a sofa or chair.
How to make paper for gifts and crafts
Papermaking is a fun and easy craft, suitable for gift-giving, that uses simple materials that can be found around the house.
Whether you want to recycle, create your own unique stationery or make a gift with a personal touch, papermaking is a fun and easy craft. In order to make your own paper, you will need water, a tub or sink, paper scraps, starch or glue, a blender or food processor, a screen and pieces of cloth.
Any of the following can be ripped into small pieces and used to make paper pulp:
- Computer paper
- Paper towels
- Paper bags
- Typing paper
- Construction paper
- Light cardboard
The texture and color of your final product will depend on the make-up of the paper scraps used in the pulp.
You can also include decorative materials in your paper like:
- Colored thread
- Small bits of foil
- Dried flowers, leaves and herbs
This is your chance to really experiment to make a unique craft or gift.
The most common screen used in papermaking is a wooden frame with a piece of wire mesh screen stapled to it. It is possible to use any material for the frame, as long as you can securely attach the screen to it. A simpler alternative is to bend a clothes hanger into a rectangle or square and slip a pantyhose leg over it.
1. Tear the scrap paper into small pieces and fill the blender or food processor about half full. Add warm water. Blend until the mixture looks smooth and there are no individual pieces of paper left.
2. Fill the tub or sink with warm water and then add the paper mixture. Mix it together thoroughly. Add a little bit of glue or starch - this will help make it so that inks don't bleed, making the paper better for writing.
3. Put your screen into the paper pulp, letting the mixture settle on top of it. Shake it back and forth a little for more even coverage.
4. Lift the screen out of the tub, keeping it level. If the texture of the paper doesn't look right, you may want to add more water or blended paper to your tub and try again. A little experimenting will help you learn how thick the mixture should be for the type of paper you want. Press as much water as possible out of the paper pulp.
5. Lay a piece of fabric or felt on a flat surface. Flip the screen over onto the fabric, and transfer the paper to the fabric. Place another piece of fabric over the paper and squeeze out any excess water by hand or with a rolling pin.
6. Repeat this process for as many sheets of paper as you wish to make.
7. Leave your paper out to dry. When it is completely dry, peel the paper off the fabric. You may want to iron the pieces of paper to remove any final dampness and to flatten them out a little more.
8. If you are making the paper for yourself, it's ready to use. You can cut it to size or trim off any rough edges, although it's often the roughness of homemade paper that makes it so unique. If you want to give your paper as a gift, bundle it together and tie it attractively, perhaps with a nice pen attached.
How to dry out fresh cut flowersFind out how you can dry and keep your own flowers fresh from your garden by reading this article.
Have you ever stuck a flower, like a corsage from a wedding or other special occasion that you wanted to keep, in between the pages of a thick book? After awhile, when you open the book again, the flower is dried, brown in color now, and flat. This is called pressing flowers. While being pressed, the flowers dry out too. Over time, the flower will deteriorate and become hardly recognizable. This was once a popular way for people to preserve, so to speak, flowers of every sort.
Nowadays drying flowers has become an art form. Dried flower arrangements can be seen in a lot of homes and businesses: they don't take much care and they stay looking nice for a long time to come.
Gift basket ideasIdeas for creating gift baskets that your friends and family members will love to receive. Can be created as a hobby or as a profitable home business.
People love receiving gift baskets. Fun to create, they show the person receiving the gift how much you care and value their individual tastes. There are so many different ways to make these wonderful gifts that the ideas become endless.
There is also the opportunity to sell your creations. Design a web page and sell them, or advertise in your local newspaper and yellow pages. Gift baskets are highly profitable especially if you have a flair for creating beautiful and unique baskets. If you do decide to get into the gift basket business be sure and find places you can buy wholesale, which will greatly increase your profit.
Here are some ideas for different types of baskets you can create.
TEEN AGED GIRLS
Find a small to medium sized basket and line with pink tissue paper or raffia grass. Buy a sampler pack of flavored lip glosses, powders, lotions, a makeup kit and a light sporty fragrance and artistically arrange. Don't forget bracelets, rings, watches, earrings, and necklaces. Wrap in colored cellophane and tie with a bow.
TEEN AGED BOYS
Place a couple of their favorite c.d.s in the basket along with a pocket comb, cologne, and skin care products designed for males.
Using a medium sized basket, place a thin and soft blanket in as a liner. Select a couple of dolls, stuffed animals, cars, or whatever toys the child might enjoy inside.
Big kids are wild about cartoon pencils and erasers, stickers and trading cards. Add small games (like a Game Boy along with accessories) and the latest Harry Potter book.
INFANTS AND BABIES
Place a soft receiving blanket in along with socks, onesies, teething rings, rattlers, and a small plush toy. Baby brush sets, clippers, bottles, and pacifiers can be added. Or make a basket filled with baby skin products and diapers.
Buy a couple bottles of wine and add cheese, crackers, a cork screw, a pretty bottle top cork, and a couple of wine glasses.
Make up a batch of your famous BBQ sauce and can it in a pretty jar. Add bags of chips, beer and/or cokes, homemade potato salad, and big soft cookies wrapped in colored cellophane. Line the basket with red gingham cloth napkins, and add a package of rolls and a can of baked beans.
TEA OR COFFEE LOVERS
Place gourmet tea or coffee in a basket along with cookies, tea cups or coffee mugs, pretty cloth napkins, and a ceramic tea pot (or coffee pot.) Add sugar cubes and flavored creamers. You could also include flavored syrups. If the person you are giving the gift to likes music or reading, throw in a c.d. or a novel.
FRUIT AND BREAD BASKETS
Buy an assortment of various fruits and create a basket filled with fruits and nuts. Add homemade breads and rolls, or cookies, candies, or other goodies.
A romantic gift idea would be to add sexy lingerie and massage oils into a basket. Include flowers, scented bubble bath, a soft jazzy c.d., candles and a bottle of champagne, along with two wine glasses.
How about creating a basket filled with art supplies? Include paint brushes, different types of paints, markers, pencils, and sketch books.
There are many more ideas but by now you should have the picture. Think about what the person you are giving the basket to and then create a special gift that they will remember forever.
Homemade air freshenersFun, easy, natural, homemade ways to freshen the air indoors!
Indoor air quality is becoming more of an issue as people are spending more and more time indoors. Most of us have seen reports on common dangerous household pollutants such as deadly molds, lead from paints, asbestos, and many others. What many people are not aware of are the dangerous chemicals we are willingly bringing into our homes and using in the form of air fresheners! Many commercial air fresheners use chemicals that have detrimental side effects such as agents that deaden your sense of smell, oils that coat your nasal passages, chemicals that can be damaging to skin and eyes, and ingredients that can be very poisonous if accidentally ingested. In addition to being potentially dangerous, many commercial air fresheners don't actually freshen the air, they just mask one odor with another! So, what are we to do if we want a pleasant smelling indoor environment? Try a more natural approach!
The very best way to make indoor air smell good is to maintain a clean environment. Remove the source of any offensive odors instead of just trying to cover up a bad smell with a good one. Cleanliness goes a long way in maintaining a pleasant and healthy environment. Plain white vinegar can be purchased for very little and is an excellent stain and odor fighter, as well as an air freshener. White vinegar can be diluted in a bucket of water and used to mop floors that are moldy, mildewy, have a pet odor, or any other offensive odor. The same solution of vinegar and water can also be used on carpets. Be sure to do a small "test spot" on any surface you are going to clean to make sure it will not be damaged by the vinegar.
The absolute easiest and cheapest way to truely freshen indoor air is to open up widows and doors and allow outside air into your home. Not only will the fresh air smell good, it will help remove any toxic air that might have been building up in your home.
A wide assortment of air fresheners can be found hiding in your kitchen cabinets. Many of the herbs and spices we cook with also make wonderful air fresheners (such as cinnamon, clove, ginger, rosemary, basil, etc.). Try boiling your favorites alone or combined. Scented extracts (such as vanilla, almond, etc.) can also be used. Try dabbing some onto cotton balls and then placing the cotton balls throughout your home. Another kitchen staple renowned for removing odors is baking soda. An open box of baking soda placed in a room will help eliminate odors, especially musty mildew odors. A cup of vinegar can also be used in the same fashion to help remove smells. Simply fill several small bowls with vinegar and place in the area of the offensive smell.
Potpourri is a fun and versatile home air freshener. It can be homemade using dried flowers, herbs, and scented oil or purchased pre-made. Potpourri can be placed in pretty containers throughout the home, in sachets and tucked into closets and drawers. Or even boiled in simmer pots* for an extra strong scent.
Scented oils alone also make wonderful air fresheners. They come in a wide variety of scents and potencies. Oils can be dabbed onto cotton balls, or placed into special porous containers made to hold oils and dissipate their scent. Oils can also be added to boiling water to enhance their scent, or used in simmer pots*.
Be creative when looking for ways to pleasantly scent the air in you home. Even something as simple as a loaf of baking bread could be considered an air freshener if you like the smell. Cut flowers, opening the windows to the smell of a freshly mowed lawn, cutting lemons and placing them out in the open for a fresh blast of citrus scent are all fun, natural, simple ways to make your home smell good!
* A simmer pot is a small kettle shaped pot with an enclosed heating element on the bottom of the pot. It plugs into a standard wall outlet and heats the contents in the pot to enhance their aromas.