How to Avoid The 6 Most Common Mistakes A New Gardener Makes

I am getting ready to start my indoor seeds (yes, I do have faith that this snow will melt in time for me to plant) and came across this article.

How to Avoid The 6 Most Common Mistakes A New Gardener Makes.

How many of you keep gardens?  I love gardening but last year was the first time I grew more than tomatoes and I had a blast. I am doing lots of research right now so that I can grow enough this year to put up some veggies for the winter.  I am really excited about and am looking forward to sharing sone of my ideas for the garden this month.  I may be overly ambutious but we will see how it goes, haha.

 

Day #30 in 30 Days of Handmade!

We have reached the end of our 30 days of Handmade items.  This has been so much fun.  Especially toward the end when I began to wonder what I was going to do!!!   This last idea was a last minute one…but, it was a good one!  You could say I saved the best for last!

I have seen these clothespin ideas on Pinterest (can you tell I love that site?) and never thought they would look that great.  BUT, I decided to try them out today to see what I could come up.  I am amazed at how well they turned out…and at the multitude of ideas there are out there.

I ran out of clothespins before I ran out of ideas.

Here are some of my creations.

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Some of them are Gift Tag Holders

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And some are magnets

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I even antiqued some that are still drying…

You can do the same by brewing some strong coffee

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and letting the clothespins sit in it for an hour or so.

Then clip them to a backing rack while they dry…

Notice the difference in colour…

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I’m looking forward to decorating these.

When you’re finished with them, you can place them in ziploc baggies, make a fancy tag, and fold it over the top and staple.  It’ll just give them a finished look.  Here’s a template from Sandy Toes and Popsicles

There are so many other ideas there for clothespins…but my favorite was this clothespin mirror from Keep the Home Simple

And these toys would be fun for kids to play with!

These are from estefimachado.com

And from Stories and Children this catapult looks like sooo much fun!

DIY Working Catapults

You can search for own great ideas on decorating clothespins.  The nice thing about this homemade gift is that you can get quite a few clothespins at the Dollar Store for cheap.

Think of all the fun things you use these as gifts for:

Teachers can use magnets in their classroom to pin up paperwork

Moms can use a whole bag of them to hang their laundry on the line

Dads can use them in their office to hold up paperwork

Kids can use them at home to show off their pictures, etc.

There are so many ways you can gift these!

So Happy Homemade from Quiet Workings!!!!

I have a few things in the work so even though I won’t be posting every day now, make sure to check back and see what is going on.  You might be pleasantly surprised to find a great gift for Christmas coming soon!

Liquid Soap–Day #29

Here’s another great Pinterest idea coming your way!  I’ve seen this floating around and always thought it would be fun.  I hate strongly dislike bar soap.  The thought of all those germs coating the surface of it, ick…nasty.  So yeah, you will find liquid soap in our house to wash your hands with.  We’ve been very blessed to be able to get it on sale most of the time (especially when the big containers go on sale) but, honestly, it is expensive.   If I can eliminate one expense in my house I’m certainly going to try!

This was super easy to do.

My ingredients were:

2 Bars of Dove soap

4 cups of water

Now…I want to note that if you are not using Dove soap the results will be slightly different.

a. most recipes not using Dove soap call for glycerin as well for added moisturizing (Dove soap is 1/4 moisturizer if you look at the label)

b. you don’t need as many bars of soap if you are not using Dove so you might want to check out the recipe at the bottom of this post for regular soap

FYI – I read that you don’t need glycerin (as most recipes call for it) because it is just a moisturizer so if you’re happy without it you can make your soap without it.  But, if you do want to add it, you can find it in the aisle with bandaids and things like that in the pharmacy section of your grocery store.  I’m not sure how much it would cost, though.

TO MAKE:

Grate your soap into flakes (using a cheese grater or similar instrument).

Place soap flakes and water in a large pot and put on medium heat to melt soap.  You don’t want to boil it so keep an eye on your pot and stir it every so often.

If you’re using a soap with little scent you may want to even add some essential oils at this point for added scent.  Tea tree oil would also give it added anti-bacterial properties.  Make it unique by what you put in it.

At this point your soap should look like this:

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That yellow on top is the oil/moisturizer in the Dove soap.

DO NOT LET IT BOIL!  It takes about 20 minutes to completely melt the soap in the water.  Just let it take it’s time and keep turning down the heat on your burner if it looks like it’s going to start boiling.

When it’s completely melted take if off the stove to cool.  Most of the websites I read about this said to leave it about 24 hours or overnight.

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It thickened overnight just a bit so it was more soap-like.  Don’t worry if the initial liquid seems a little runny.  This is what it looked like in the morning.

Then I used my cake decorating tips to get it into containers as I don’t have a funnel, lol.

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I filled two containers and have LOTS left over.  I think I’ll just store it in a plastic container until these are used again.

If you have liquid soap containers that you’ve been collecting, you can always fill some, add a nice bow, and give them as Christmas gifts.  I’ve received liquid soap as birthday gifts and as Christmas gifts.  I LOVE it.  And a slightly homemade liquid soap would be even more fun!  Especially if you made your own special blend using essential oils.  It would be unique.  I’m thinking some cinnamon-smelling soap would be fun for Christmas!

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Yeah for soap! =)

Cost: 2 bars of Dove soap (on sale) $2

         Water – FREE

         Containers (used) – FREE

Can’t beat months of soap for only $2!!!!!

Recipe for Liquid Soap using Regular Soap

You can use Ivory, Irish Spring, Whatever!

8 oz bar of soap (check the label because for some this will be one bar and for other soaps it will be two bars)

2 Tbsp of liquid glycerin (again, you don’t NEED this.  It is for added moisturizer)

1 gallon of water (or about 16 cups) – this varied on blogs some said only 8 cups…you can always try it at 8 cups and add more water if you find it is too thick.

Follow the same steps as above for melting and cooling.

Some tips from homesteadrevival.blogspot.ca

It the runny soap bothers you, perhaps these two tips will help:
• One reader on Roby’s blog made a solution of 3 T. table salt and 8 oz. hot water, stirred until dissolved, then added it to her room temperature liquid soap. According to the reader, it instantly thickened it.
• Another reader suggested not adding as much water if your soap is high in oils (which mine was).

If your soap ends up being too thick:
• Try using an electric hand mixer and breaking it up a bit.
• Try adding a bit more glycerine.

Some Glitz and Glam–Day #28

Only a couple more days until we are done with our 30 days in Handmade November series.  We’re down to the wire.  For our last few days I wanted to bring you some more no-sew ideas.  I know not everyone has a sewing machine…or even likes sewing, in general. 

I saw the idea for washer necklaces floating around on Pinterest and I have to admit that when I first attempted this I felt it was a colossal failure.  All the tutorials said just to slap on some modge podge, add some scrapbook paper, and voila!  Well, it wasn’t quite that simple.  My paper didn’t shave off close to the edge very well, so it looked cheap.  I hated it.  And they got thrown in a basket and left there for a few months.  Yup, months.

Then, one day I came across one tutorial that suggested using nail polish to “paint” the washers.  And they looked adorable!  BUT, I knew before I even started that I would never achieve the same look.  I can’t even paint cool designs on my toes with nail polish brushes.  So I held off, and held on to those washers.

Until ONE DAY I had a light bulb moment.  Fabric paint!  Certain kinds of fabric paint containers come with a pointed tip.  I use them all the time to do fun designs on fabric projects.  So I thought, why not try it out on my washers?  Using my scrapbook paper designs that were already glued on the washers, I used the fabric paint to embellish.

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My favorite is the Christmassy one.  I love holly.  But I think they all turned out pretty good.

The washers cost me about $.30 for the big ones, I think (it was a while ago that I bought them).  The scrapbook paper was some that I had sitting around my house (most of it was given to me).  The yarn and fabric paint that I used to embellish were also around the house but for sake of argument – the fabric paints cost me about $1.29 for each colour and the yarn comes in a huge ball for $3.97.  So, really, this project would cost less than $1 to make. 

I took three strands of yarn and braided them to make the chain for the washer.  I’m even thinking that these would be cute as bracelets if you used the smaller washers.

I love that the yarn has a glittery strand in it.  Just adds some glitz to it.

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I even used the fabric paint on the edges of this one and the Christmas one.

They are pretty easy to make and look nice when dressed up.  I thought just the scrapbook paper made them look too dull.  I have seen a few tutorials where you can get this gel that puffs up over the top.  It looks neat but I have no clue where you would buy it.

Let me know if you try this out!  Happy Crafting

Day #26–These are a Few of My Favorite Things!

I always LOVED playing with play dough when I was a kid.  We didn’t have the fancy store bought kind, nor did we have all the special tools that they have out now (do kids really have no imagination that they need those to create cool things?).  But, oh, it was fun.

Today I want to bring a really easy home-made recipe that I, sort of, came up with on my own.  I used this recipe from artfulparent as a base.  However, 5 cups of anything sounds like a lot.  I wasn’t prepared to package up 100 jars of playdough, hehe.  AND, I had no cream of tartar so I had to adlib.  This is how I did it.

Amanda’s Recipe:

2 1/2 cups water

2 cups salt

3 TBS lemon juice (you can also use vinegar – it will apparently do the same thing as the cream of tartar)

5 to 6 TBS of oil – depending on how oily you want it.  (I think I did 6 and it is quite oily)

2- 3 cups of Flour

Food colouring

Peppermint extract

Instructions:

Put the water, lemon juice, and salt in a pot and cook until it is hot.  (Artful parent says to put the food colouring in here but I realized after I started to add it that this will negate white play dough…so I stopped but I already some in there so I got a nice pink tinge to it – SO WAIT to put the food colouring in)

Add oil.

Stir in flour, a cup at a time until the play dough pulls away from the pan and is no longer sticky.  (I actually took it out of the pot before it reached this stage and kneaded in the extra flour until it was the consistency I liked – but be careful! it will be hot).

Add food colouring and extract and knead until it is smooth.

FYI about the food colouring – kneading it into the your dough will cause your hands to be stained.  However, I washed a sink full of dishes and showered after I was done and most of it had washed out at that point.  By the next morning my hands were normal again.  So, you can add it into the liquids at the beginning – but you won’t end up with white unless you make two pots.

ALSO – it will take a lot of food colouring to make a nice dark red.  I wasn’t even completely satisfied with the shade I ended up with.  Just so you know.

Add a pretty ribbon and you have a wonderful gift that will fit in a stocking or in a pretty gift bag.

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I had enough to fill these four jars … and a large butter container (I didn’t want to use more jars, lol).

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Don’t you love my red and pink snow man?  hehe

And, after you play with this, your hands will smell amazing!  Yum…peppermint.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas!–Day #25

I love decorating for Christmas (or for winter as I told one friend).  I just love greenery in my house and snowflakes hanging everywhere!  It just makes me happy…I like to leave my decorations up till February (or Valentines…the next major holiday).

I have never been one to make wreaths.  My mom always had a nice one for our front door at home and here I never put one on my front door.  I just thought that they cost too much money and I never had the money to spend to spend on one.  Even just to buy the greenery to make one seemed to cost a lot!

I have to admit that I would have loved to receive one as a gift.  I love wreaths…they just seem to dress up your house/apartment.

With the advent of Pinterest, however, I began to see that making wreaths could be a whole lot easier (and cheaper!) than I thought. (AND, what an awesome home made gift!)

I saw this neat idea of using a coat hanger on everythingfab.com

This particular tutorial was on hot gluing ornament balls to the coat hanger – and they really do look gorgeous.  BUT…ornaments have really gone up in price this year (one year I got a huge box of them for $5…this year the same size box was was $15) and I’m cheap – I admit it!

So, when I was pulling out my decorations I realized that I had a length of greenery that I had cut from one of those cheap 9’ pieces (about $2 at Walmart).  I had used it on my table as a centerpiece last year but didn’t want to use it for the same thing again – so I ad-libbed.

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I used the hanger and bent it to as circle a shape as I could get it.  Then I bent my length of greenery (about 2 1/2 feet – so you could three wreaths from one length of greenery) into a circle shape and hot glued it to the hanger.

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I like this idea because it creates something on the back of the wreath (the hook of the hanger) for hanging it on your door, etc.

Then I took my cheap (ahem, dollar store) ornaments and hot glued them to the wreath.  It only took a small dab on the back of each one to make it stay (in other words, hardly any glue at al!).

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I’m terrible at taking pictures…urgh.  And I think it looked better without the ribbon (it might be coming off in the next day)

I added some Christmassy ribbon and a bow at the top…and hung our “C” we usually have on our door over the hook and in behind the ribbon.  I think if you had access to a plug outside that it would look awesome with lights strung through it.  I need to find some lights that run on batteries…they would look great!

And you could do so much with them.  I have an idea for adding some musical instruments or notes to mine and removing the ribbon (I’ve never been good with bows).  We’ll have to see how it eventually turns out.  You could really make these to fit people’s personalities, though…music notes, little pop cans (for coke lovers), buttons and spools of thread for sewers, there are so many possibilities!

I would love to see any that you make!  Share your work and happy wreath making!

*UPDATED – I added some tulle to the back of my wreath and took off most of the ribbon – much happier with this result.

 

Day #24–Keep track of Your Keys!

I have seen some really cute tutorials out there for making keychains.  I love having something big on my keychain because I’m forever losing my keys.

Today I’m going to show you a tutorial of a keychain/card holder that I whipped up today.  I attempted to follow someone’s tutorial but I was very confused (chock it up to being tired?) so I just came up with something and it turned out great!

I started with two pieces of material. (I’m missing pictures of this step…sorry!) I used a jean and a pretty print for this one.  The jean piece was about 6 or 7 inches long and I folded it in half (use one of your debit cards/license, etc. to check the size.  You want your cards to fit inside the pocket created here, snugly.  Your second piece will be just a little longer than your card (you want this piece to fold over the top with some velcro on it so your cards don’t fall out).

And you need one narrow piece of material or twill tape…fold it over the keychain and just baste it so it stays folded

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Put your material (right sides together with your folded jean – you want the wrong side of your pretty fabric facing out)…and insert the keychain so that the circle is towards the top of your pocket…basted end IN the seam you are sewing and sew up three sides.

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Folded jean material and pretty fabric…right sides together.

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Can you see that little piece attached to the circle in there?  3 layers = pretty fabric, keychain piece (or twill tape), and folded jean material.

Then turn your pretty fabric right side out (will give you two pockets on the inside)…just give a tug on the keychain and it should turn pretty easy

Add some velcro pieces to keep it closed and voila!

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I love my keychain/card holder.  I can throw my license, money, whatever when I go on walks with D…and I don’t have to carry everything with me.  I’m sure a lot of people would love one of these as a gift.  AND…they use up some of those scraps of fabric you have laying around (we all keep those little scraps because some day we might need for something! lol)

There are a couple of other neat ideas as well…

You could make a lanyard (includes some extra hardware)

The Loopy Lanyard

This one is from Craftsy.com – you can download the pattern for it on the right hand side of the page.

And this is a serious scrap buster tute from Craftiness is not Optional

The one I did above took me all of 10 minutes to make…so you could whip up a number of these in no time at all.  They would make great gifts for a Sunday school class (teens obviously) or a mom’s group, or co-workers…seriously easy!

And you know what?  I think you could even make this no-sew by hot gluing your seams instead of sewing them…would probably be even faster if you don’t have to fool with thread and machines.  Wow…the possibilites!