Category Archives: clever uses

Clever uses for every day items and food.

12 Recycled Craft Projects You’ll Want to Show Off

Earth Day is coming up, which means it’s about time to go out and hug some trees, lay in the grass and just generally enjoy the beauty of the Earth for as long as we can (unless it’s snowing in Chicago, which it has been doing the past few weekends…so the Earth and I are on rough terms right now) 😉

To help celebrate Earth Day, here are a few cute and fun recycled crafts that are great for using up leftover trash or recycling. Most of them are budget-friendly and can probably even  be made with stuff you already have in your house!

craft-projects

12 Recycled Craft Projects You’ll Want to Show Off

Use an old Mason Jar to save up for an upcoming vacation. Decoupage a map of wherever you’re going for added motivation!

vacation-jars

Light up the night with these DIY Duct tape milk carton lanterns.

milk carton lights

Use an old toilet paper roll tube to create mock phone holder (and speaker!).

phone holder

Turn old wine corks into adorable place settings for any holiday or celebration.

place cards

Turn plastic spoons into cute votive holders.

votives

A busted or broken sweater makes a suuuuper comfy pillow!

throw pillow

Wine corks also make great trivets for hot plates and pans.

trivit

Turn old jeans into a cute mat.

jean-rug

Turn a box into a cute hair tie organizer.

hair tie organizer

An old out-of-date purse makes a great wreath for hanging flowers on the door.

purse wreath

Turn a plastic bottle into a cute planter.

planters

Finally, use toilet paper rolls and tubes to keep your desk organized and tidy.

desk organizer

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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11 Adorable Bottle Cap Crafts

So earlier this week we explored some recipes you can make with beer, specifically stout and porters, so now let’s find a use for all those bottle caps that you have lying around the house!

11-adorable-bottle-cap-crafts

11 Adorable Bottle Cap Crafts

Make cute coasters for the den or bar with these bottle cap coasters.

19 Easy and Striking DIY Bottle Cap Craft Ideas - Diy Craft Ideas & Gardening

Show off your favorite wedding memories with these bottle cap magnets.

DIY Fridge Magnets Out of Bottle Caps **Using 1

Make adorable French macaron ornaments with bottle caps and glitter.

These are such adorable little DIY French macaron ornaments. Such a great idea and they have SO many uses!

Create an amazing back splash by attaching bottle caps to the wall (this is one of my favorite ideas!).

Google Image Result for http://www.naturalhomeandgarden.com/uploadedImages/blogs/Green_Decor/bottle-cap-backsplash.jpg

…or attach them to a table…

DIY Bottle Cap Table – Your Projects@OBN

You know I love maps!  Show off your favorite places with these bottle cap magnets!

Bottle Cap Magnets  Recycled Atlas/ Map

Turn your favorite quote into a necklace with these bottle cap charms.

DIY book nerd necklaces. Cute upcycled bottle cap craft tutorial

Keep track of your wine glass with these cute bottle cap wine charms.

Create the ultimate poker game with these flattened beer bottle chips.

Beer Bottle Cap Poker Chip Set by TheArtofDrinkingBeer on Etsy, $175.00

Or turn your cap collection into an amazing wind chime.

Bottle Cap wind chime idea

So, you sew?  Try making these little pin holder rings to keep track of all your pins.

Pincushion Ring Tutorial - A bowl full of goodness

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Toilet Paper Roll “Speaker” and Phone Holder

I don’t know about you, but I love jamming out to my favorite tunes when I’m cooking.  Maybe some Sinatra if I’m making pasta…maybe some bluegrass if I’m making some down-home stick-to-your-ribs comfort food…or, if all else fails, I’ll just pop on Pandora and hit shuffle!

But sometimes it’s hard to hear the phone speaker when I have pots and pans moving all over the place…and I always lose my phone under some towel or cookbook, only to find it when it ultimately falls on the floor…

So instead, I’ve found a crafty way to keep track of my phone AND hear my music better when I’m cooking!  The solution, funny enough, lies in your bathroom.

IMG_0377

Yes, I’m talking about toilet paper rolls.  Love em or hate em, these buggers are pretty useful around the house…and this little DIY Phone Speaker is a clever way to use it to your benefit.  All you need is some paper or Washi Tape to dress it up!

Make sure you put your phone or device into the holder speaker side down, which will help pump out the sound so you can jam to Dr. Dre when you’re cooking, cleaning or just chillin’ on the couch.

Toilet Paper Roll Phone Holder

Materials:

  • Toilet Paper Roll
  • Pencil
  • Craft Knife or Scissors
  • Washi Tape or Patterned Paper
  • Glue Sticks
  • 4 Push Pins

Instructions:

Place your phone on top of the toilet paper roll and trace around it to measure how big your hole will need to be.  Use a buddy to hold the toilet paper roll or tape it to your desk to prevent it from moving around.

Using a craft knife or scissors, cut out the hole.

Now it’s time to decorate!  You can use Washi Tape to decorate your phone holder quickly, or use patterned paper to glue onto the toilet paper roll.

Push one push pin into front and back of each round side of toilet paper roll.

Place your phone in the holder and jam out to your favorite tunes!

IMG_0378

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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9 Clever Ways to Keep Your Food Cold in the Summer

HAPPY 4th OF JULY!

If you’re a citizen of ‘MURICA, chances are you’re donning your red, white, and blue attire and heading to your local firework display or BBQ cookout, picnic basket in hand. And if you’re traveling with fruit, deli salads, meats, cheeses, desserts, or the like, you’re probably wondering how to keep your food cold, despite boiling July temperatures. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re just trying to keep your edibles cold in transit or you need them cold for outdoor entertaining, these picnic and entertaining hacks will help you keep your cool and refreshing treats, well, cool and refreshing.

Summertime Hacks!
How to Keep Your Food Cold

keep-food-cold

Place bottles of water in the freezer and use them to keep food cold when traveling. If frozen at least a week in advance, the bottles could stay frozen for up to a day, much more economical than that gas station ice that lasts about 2 seconds.

Keep drinks cold by placing them in a mixture of water and ice. Using just ice won’t distribute the cold as evenly as water will, so placing your drinks in an ice bath will keep them colder longer.

Full coolers tend to stay cold longer, so if your cooler has empty space, fill it with ice.

If traveling by car, keep your food/cooler in the passenger area. The temperature is usually cooler inside the car than it is in the trunk.

Create an ice bowl by putting a medium-sized bowl inside a larger bowl, then fill the larger bowl with water and freeze. Serve your salad or fruit in the insulated bowls.

If possible, freeze part of your dish. If you’re serving a fruit salad, mix in frozen blueberries before you head out the door. They should defrost in about 30 minutes.

Fill small water balloons with water and pop them in the freezer. Use them around your food to keep your table cold and decorative!
Side note, add some food coloring to the water before you freeze it. Peel the balloon off the frozen water for an amazing winter (or summer) decoration.

If you’re traveling a long distance, consider waiting to assemble your dish until you arrive at your destination. Mayonnaise, for example, can be kept at room temperature until the container is opened. It might also allow for easier travel if you don’t have to worry about your bowl tipping over. Just cut and package everything and assemble when ready.

Like your fridge, a cooler will stay colder if the lid stays closed. Avoid opening and closing the lid of your food cooler by keeping drinks and food in separate coolers, if possible.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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10 Clever Uses for Bundt Cake Pans

They may be vintage in design, but Bundt pans can prove to be very beneficial both inside and outside of the kitchen.

If you’re not a fan of cakes with holes… My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 movie funny comedy family

You can use Bundt cakes for several other things!  Great for organizing and decorating, a Bundt cake pan can come in handy all over the house!

10 Clever Uses for Bundt Cake Pans

Bundt-Cake-Pans

Make an Organizer: Stack Bundt pans of different sizes to create a decorative organizer for food, craft supplies, or other nick-knacks. Personalize it further by spray painting the pans to match your décor.

Make a Wreath: Spray paint an old Bundt pan to look like an apple, pumpkin, or peppermint candy. This is a fun and unique decoration that will surely add character to your home.

Organize Makeup: Keep your counter clean of clutter with this cute makeup organization idea. Use the hole in the Bundt pan to hold your makeup brushes and place your must-have’s right in the bowl.

Roast a Chicken: This is a genius way to roast your chicken. With the chicken standing upright in the oven, the fat will drip off the chicken and into the bowl, making this a clean and healthy roasting alternative.

Peel Corn on the Cob: Not a fan of eating corn ON the cob? Remove it from the cob by placing the bottom of the cob in the small hole in the Bundt pan. Run your knife down the cob and all those sweet little kernels will collect in the bowl of the pan.

Create a Wind Chime: Old antique Bundt cake pans are great for this project. Attach ropes of beads, bells, buttons, or charms to the Bundt pan and hang it outside for a cute, eclectic decoration that will liven up any garden.

Make Wall Décor: Arrange Bundt pans of various sizes and shapes on the wall for a cool 3D decoration that is great for both living rooms and kitchens. Color the pans if you’d like, or leave them as is for a cool rustic touch.

Create a Party Sandwich: Don’t worry about ordering subs for your party, create a party sub right in your kitchen with a Bundt pan! This could easily feed 8 to 10 people, depending on the size of your pan, and it’s a fun activity to do for family dinner night!

Make a Decorative Ice Cube: Keep punch and other drinks cold with a Bundt pan ice cube. Use a small Bundt pan to create a decorative ice ring and place in punch bowl to keep your drink cold. For an extra decorative touch, drop cranberries, flowers, or herbs in the ice cube for added color and flavor.

Create a Garden: Create fun planters using old Bundt pans. Try herbs or succulents for a cute garden decoration. A Bundt pan with succulents would also make a great housewarming gift for friends and family.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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13 Clever Uses for Cotton Balls

Who would have thought that cotton balls could be such a help around the house? From simple sachets to helpful cleaning tools, these little balls of cotton can do much more than remove nail polish and makeup.

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13 Creative Uses for Cotton Balls

  • Here’s a great tip for spring cleaning…saturate a cotton ball in your favorite scent and drop it into your vacuum cleaner bag. As you vacuum your house, it will slowly release the scent into the room.
  • Spring time also means flood season…and when it comes to fighting mildew, it can be a never ending battle of frustration to get to those hard to reach places. If you’re having trouble cleaning little corners and crevices, soak some cotton balls in bleach adn place them in those hard to reach spots. Let them sit for a few hours and rinse with warm water.
  • Nasty stink coming from the fridge? Soak a cotton ball in vanilla extract to keep you fridge smelling nice and clean. Granted this won’t get rid of the smell, but after you wash your fridge and rid it of any unwanted food, the vanilla can help keep your fridge smelling clean.
  • Cotton balls also make great ear plugs. We all remember the days of ear infections and using cotton balls to keep the medicine contained in the ear, right? Well cotton balls are also great for blocking out loud sounds if you’re trying to sleep or concentrate.
  • Cotton makes a great fire starter. You can use them for lighting oil lamps and candles that are hard to reach with a match or a lighter.
  • I use cotton balls to stuff small toys and objects that I’m sewing. No need to buy all that filling if I’m making a small felt toy…I just pull apart some cotton balls and use them to bring my project to life.
  • Help your beautiful daffodils last longer by filling their hollow stems with water and plugging it with a cotton ball. This method works similarily to those plastic tubes that come with store bought or mail order flowers.
  • If Peter Cottontail is reaking havoc on your garden, soak some cotton balls in white distilled vinegar and place them in one of those old 35mm film containers (remember those?). Place these around your garden to keep bunnies from eating your crops.
  • Keep ants and other pesky critters away from your food by soaking cotton balls in peppermint extract adn placing them in the corners of your cabinets. This is great for those moving into a college dorm or an old apartment that’s in need of some work.
  • Don’t you hate when your pop goes flat? Help prolong the life of the fizz by placing a cotton ball in the bottle before you place the cap on (just don’t push it in too far…you don’t want it floating around in your drink!). The cotton will help plug any air leaks so your pop stays fresh. This also works for cans as well. Just place a cotton ball in the opening to help keep it fresher longer.
  • Cotton balls are also naturally great for removing nail polish and makeup, cleaning dust from a computer monitor and/or keyboard, cleaning jewelry, touching up shoe polish, and they can act as a temporary bandage if you accidently cut yourself and can’t get to a doctor in time.
  • Cotton balls are also great for crafty folks. Besides being used in thousands of craft projects, they can also work as paint brushes and a way to spread glue onto a surface.
  • Does your hair need a bit of a lift? Add a few cotton balls to beef up a chignon or French Twist hairstyle.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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12 Clever Uses for Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a common ingredient in the kitchen. Perfect for thickening up everything from soup to pudding, cornstarch is a wonderful go-to product that can do wonders for your favorite recipes. But don’t limit yourself to gravies and sauces…

Cornstarch can also be used to make face paint, untangle knots, clean oily hair, fight tough stains, and so much more. One box can last you for months, and you’ll love how easy your cleaning (and cooking) routine becomes with the help of this wonderful ingredient.

corn-starch

  • Use cornstarch to make face paint for Halloween, birthday parties, and more. Simply mix two parts cornstarch with one part white vegetable shortening to make a non-toxic grease paint. Add food coloring to change the color.
  • Make your old silverware sparkle like new with a simple combination of cornstarch and water. Use a soft cloth to apply it to your silver, let it dry, then buff each piece for a beautiful shine.
  • Late night poker game leave your cards gross to the touch? Dump those cards in a paper bag, along with a couple tablespoons of cornstarch. Shake the bag to coat the cards, then wipe them down to clean.
  • If your carpets are smelling a little musty, you can sprinkle cornstarch over the surface and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Vacuum as normal.
  • You can use cornstarch as a dry shampoo. Between regular shampoos, a sprinkling of cornstarch can help absorb excess oils. Brush thoroughly to remove excess cornstarch. This is also a great temporary method to help clean dogs as well.
  • Use cornstarch instead of flour to help thicken gravies, sauces, casseroles, soups, and stews. When your recipe calls for flour, use ½ as much cornstarch and your result will be much creamier (so for 2 TBS flour, use 1 TB cornstarch instead).
  • Untangle knots in strings and shoelaces by sprinkling the trouble spot with a little cornstarch.
  • Create your own streak free window cleaning solution by mixing 2 TBS cornstarch with ½ cup ammonia and ½ cup white vinegar. Combine everything in a large bucket containing 3-4 quarts of warm water. The solution should look milky when ready. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray on car and home windows to clean. Rinse with warm water and wipe with a paper towel.
  • If you have a roach problem and want to take matters into your own hands, combine equal parts of cornstarch and Plaster of Paris and sprinkle into any crack and crevice in your home. The roaches will eat the fatal mixture and you should be roach free!
  • Need some spray starch for collars and shirts? Mix one tablespoon cornstarch and one pint of cold water. Stir to dissolve. Fill a spray bottle with the mixture and use normally as you would any starch.
  • Sprinkle cornstarch on furniture, clothing, briefcases, and shoes to help eliminate stains. This method works especially well for oil stains. Let the cornstarch work its magic overnight and rub the stain out the next day.
  • You can use cornstarch to prevent and kill mildew in your old books that may have had water damage in the past. Just sprinkle the cornstarch all throughout the book to absorb the moisture and let it sit several hours before wiping the book clean.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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