July 2, 2013

Nontoxic Home Cleaner

I have been slowly trying to transition away from cleaning chemicals for a couple of reasons. First, there is god knows what in those cleaners! Second, they are expensive (and I'm cheap). So, for the last few weeks I have been using this super easy recipe: 

You can actually use white vinegar as well, which is a little cheaper than apple cider vinegar. Also, don't worry about the smell! Once the area you clean is dry the smell goes away. I use it to clean up pet accidents, wipe counters, and it even gets rid of the pee smell around the toilet. Easy, cheap, and works great! Whats not to love?!

June 26, 2013

DIY Non-Toxic Organic Pesticide

I have struggled to grow tomatoes for the last few years due to pesky leaf miners that destroy my plant's leaves.  Very sad :( This year I decided to fight back , but I really didn't want to use any type of chemical pesticide. 
So, I made this organic pesticide for my little patio garden! Adding a tablespoon of dish detergent adds additional protection, but it actually works pretty well with out it. 

Here are my tomatoes after using my natural pesticide. You can see the leaves on the right still have a little damage from the stupid leaf miners, but its bouncing back and I have a bunch of new tomatoes coming in!

Fun Fact: Technically, this recipe isn't actually a pesticide, as it doesn't kill bugs. However, most people identify it as such, so I labeled accordingly!

June 24, 2013

Save Your Sponge!

Hey guys. If you have been following me you might have noticed a slight change in direction. That is because, while I WILL still feature upcycled craft projects, I have decided to branch out to all things green, sustainable, and cheap! I hope you will appreciate the change in direction and feel free to let me know what you think!

I found this easy way to sanitize a kitchen sponge and had to share! Easy and quick, which is hard to beat! Be sure you don't microwave it for long all at once, it tends to split up the sponge. Also, be careful, the sponge gets a lot hotter in just a few seconds than you might think!

I usually toss them in the wash, but this is much quicker! 

December 5, 2012

Free Art Friday!

I recently began participating in a newish artistic movement called Free Art Friday. This movement is a way for artists and crafters to share art with the community. Participating is easy, there are no real rules, and any artist or crafter can  join in.

Want to participate in Free Art Friday? It is easy!  Here's how:

Make Some Art
Make something new, or dust off an older piece you love but never found a home for. For my first Friday, I choose a few pieces of jewelry that had been hanging around my art room.

Research Your City 
See if your area has a Free Art Friday Movement already. Check out Facebook and Instagram.  I live in Jacksonville, Florida, and there is a Facebook group for artists to share what they are dropping off and leave clues.  Check out  what artists around the world are doing for Free Art Friday! 

Mark It!
Put your work in a clear plastic bag (or something to protect it from the rain and dew) and a note with something like "I'm Free!", "Take Me Home!", and "Free Art Friday".  Include a business card if you like.  I use hashtags for Instagram: #fafjax and #freeartfriday

Drop It!
This is the fun part.  Drop your art- anywhere!  Leave clues on Facebook or Instagram, or leave it for someone to find randomly.

That is it!  Enjoy Free Art Friday, and happy hunting!. 

March 20, 2012

Wine Bottle Wind Chime

If you tried my wine bottle to drinking glass tutorial, you probably have a bunch of of wine bottle tops and no clue what to use em for. Sadly, these tops can't be recycled in most areas because of the sharp edges.

Something about the guys who pick up recycling bins not wanting to slice their hands open...so selfish.

Here I am trying to make art....

Any how, here is a sweet project you can make with all those wine bottle tops. Chic or bohemian, let your wind chime take on a life of its own.

What you will need: 

  • two or three wine bottle tops (Be careful to choose tops with no cracks or the bottles will shatter when they knock together.)
  • wire (I used guitar string, but any sturdy wire will do)
  • wine corks, large button or bottle caps (this will keep the wire from pulling through the bottles)
  • beads
  • needle nose pliers (not completely necessary, but makes it easier to work the wire)
  • crimp beads or strong glue 
  • hand sander, sanding block, or fine sandpaper and a lot of elbow grease. 

1.  Sand the cut edge of each top smooth with a sanding block or hand sander.

 2.  The next step is to make a plug so you can string the bottles on a wire.  There's a ton of ways to make this work, I tried drilling a hole in a cork and cutting holes in a bottle cap.  The cork works better, probably because it fits perfectly into the neck of the bottle. (Just make sure you drill TWO holes in the cork!) A large button or bead would also work.

 If you don't have a cork or a drill, use a utility knife to cut two holes in a bottle cap.  Make sure you get the holes straight on all the caps or the bottles will hang wonky. (...and by that I mean crooked)

 3.  Now, thread the wire through the first bottle cap (or cork), being sure to leave a little loop at the end so you can add the hanging beads later.

 4.  Thread the wire and stopper through the first bottle, then tie a knot in the wire or attach a crimp bead af few inches above the stopper.  Add the next stopper and the second bottle.  Make sure the bottles are spaced so that they can  move freely, but are not so far apart they won't chime. I learned this by trial and error...it was messy...

 5.  Once you have all the bottles threaded on, add a few wires of varying length to the bottom stopper. (Again, I used guitar strings but any sturdy wire will work)
 6.  Add beads to the wires and use a crimp bead or dot of glue to keep the beads from sliding off.
 7.  Twist the wire at the top to make a hook or a loop so you can hang your new wind chime. Sweet. Picture sort of sucks, but I took it at night with crappy lighting.  It happens.

 A few random tips to make your life easier:
  • I don't recommend using clear bottles, you can see the wire and the stoppers and it looks crappy. 
  • Don't use bottle tops that are too short or your chime won't chime. It will crash...into tiny glass pieces you will have to sweep up before your pets cut their paws open...
  • Add extra wire and beads to the top if you want to spruce up the hanger. 
  • Use bottles with a really, really clean cut. (No false starts or cracks) Other wise they bottles will shatter when they knock against one another. 
  • You really don't want to spend the next month picking glass shards out of your feet. It sucks. 
  • For the brave: Using one bottle top as the base and three or four bottle necks as chimes would be really freaking cool.  Haven't gotten there yet, but I'll let you know if I ever do. Or let me know, whatever. 

Looking for more ideas to upcycle wine bottles?  Check out 10 Ways to Reuse or Recycle Wine Bottles  

March 11, 2012

UpCycled Candle Votive : For A Friend's Wedding

I freaking love having an occasion to make something new! Mostly cause I am a bit lazy and I need motivation! Lucky for me, one of my closest friends is getting married next month. (Lucky for her too, her fiance is pretty awesome!)

After the ceremony they are hosting a beach house party and she wanted unique candle holders that didn't cost an arm and a leg. Why buy plain cheapo ones from the dollar store when you can use your favorite beer to make personalized ones? They saved up a dozen Modelo beer bottles and I cut them into these cute candle votives.  This is the first trial run, but it turned out really well.  Simple and elegant.

With Lit Candle 

Shadow kitty wanted to be in this shot....
Before and After! (After and Before, whatever)

  Beer bottles are slightly harder to cut than wine bottles (the glass is thinner and shatters more easily), but with a little practice you can make all the cute votive holders your little heart desires.  I think Red Stripe bottles would be bad ass. 

The ring on the edge is made by applying glass etching cream, which you could also use to add personal touches like names or the date of the wedding. Or any other stencil you can dream up, I just happen to be making em for a wedding! 

Want to make candle votives from your favorite beer bottles?  I wrote a super easy tutorial!  on cutting glass.  Find out how you can make awesome drinking glasses from wine bottles, too. 

March 4, 2012

Awesome Sites in the Upcycle genre!

Friday favorites has fallen victim to my work schedule which is pretty much always.  I am constantly trying to find a balance between making enough money to pay the bills and having enough time to do the things that I love.  At the moment, I am working far too much for my tastes.

Mind you, I do not mind working, (and I love to travel, which requires money) but I hate playing financial catch up which leaves me little time to write and make stuff.  Being creative gives me purpose and working all the time feels like being in a hamster wheel!

All the belly aching aside, I have a couple of pretty bad ass sites I wanted to share!

 The first is Recycled Market which is essentially Etsy for upcycled work.  Very cool, I hope to set up shop there soon, but I still need to explore the site a bit.  Defiantly a good spot for crafty inspirations!

The other site I stumbled upon recently is Hipcycle.  I love what they are doing, even if some of the work is a little too machined for my tastes.To be fair, I am not sure how their items are made, but the cut glass pieces look so clean I am thinking they were laser cut.Which is awesome, but impossible for me to replicate in my modest dining room turned art studio!

 I am also stoked about their Pinterest contest.  Hipcycle is challenging artist and crafters to make something amazing out of old VHS tapes.  I piddled around on the internet and found very, very few projects made with VHS tapes.  Which is exciting!  Totally new territory for me and I am curious to see what everyone comes up with.

Funny how I hated being given assignments for art class in high school but I get so excited for one now!  What can you create?   Hurry, the dead line is March 17th!