Lately I’ve been actually doing some of the things I’ve pinned. I know – crazy idea, right? I’d even say some of them are becoming household staples.

  1. Borax + washing soda + Fels-Naptha soap = laundry detergent. I just made my second batch – I think the first was in May! It’s easy. It’s cheap. It’s effective. It’s free of a lot of nasty chemicals. If you have any doubts about how clean it can get clothes… I used to use Fels-Naptha to clean my paintbrushes when I did oil painting. It knows its cleaning business.

  2. These sweet potatoes┬á(scroll down the post). Oh my goodness. These are SO good! And really easy. The only tough thing is waiting for them to be ready! I even made them for a friend who doesn’t like sweet potatoes and they were a hit. What I love about it is that I can just cut up half a potato and cook them in my toaster oven for a one-person portion.

  3. I made this meat-veggie-potatoes-in-one-dish meal last weekend. Again, super easy (sense a theme with my homemaking?) and quite delicious! The one thing I’ll do different next time is marinate the chicken breasts beforehand. They didn’t have a ton of flavor, although it was still good. But the carrots and potatoes were amazing! I will definitely be using this in the future. I think it’ll be a great choice for taking meals to new parents. One dish to stick in the oven and one dish to return.

  4. The little man I nanny and I made a hug like this for his dada to take to work. He really enjoyed making it and I think it was a hit with its recipient. We didn’t do a hand print; I traced his hands on construction paper which he had colored.

Have you been putting any pins to practice? Let me know how it’s gone!



DIY Paper Files

So I’ve been super poor this year, blah blah, y’all all know this. ­čÖé It’s actually kind of been fun to really stretch my creativity to make beautiful, nice things with a budget of $almostzero. Because I use recycled paper for my earrings, I have a large collection of found papers – wrapping paper, old envelopes, store bags, etc. I needed somewhere to stash it all.

Inspiration hit when I saw a box my roomie had set out for the trash. It was nice and sturdy, having originally held a couple bottles of toilet bowl cleaner. It even had a handy-dandy finger hole. And it was the perfect width – I’d tried a cereal box before, but they were never wide enough to accommodate the catalogs in my collection. I picked up a roll of pretty wrapping paper and some spray adhesive from Wal-Mart for maybe $7. Then I followed the process loosely outlined in the photos below!

1. Find a good sturdy box, with enough depth to hold your papers without smashing them.
2) Cut off the flaps, then decide where you want the down-side of your slanted side to end. Measure and note the distance from the bottom of the box to your desired end-point. Then use a ruler to draw a line from the opposite corner to the end point, wrap straight around the back, and then up to the opposite corner, parallel to the original line (I hope that makes sense).

3) Now you’ve got the finished shape – the cut lines probably make more sense know.
4) Because of how dark and patterned the box was, I knew it would show through the wrapping paper so I first covered it in white contact paper. I didn’t measure exactly but used the grid on the back of the paper to cut my pieces. I covered the bottom first, then the front and back, leaving an inch or so on all sides to wrap over the edge. I made small cuts at the corners to help it not wrinkle and bulge.

5. At this point, the front, back, and bottom were all covered. Don’t worry that where the pieces overlap, it’s a more opaque white. The wrapping paper will even it out.
6. For the sides, the only overlap went over the top (the slant). The other sides of the contact paper piece were square to the edge of the box.
7. Up to this point, the finger hole had been covered in paper. Using an xacto knife, I poked through the paper and folded it back, using a lot of little cuts by the corners to help it lie flat. Then I covered everything with a piece of contact paper to keep the ends secure.

 8. I wrapped the box in the wrapping paper the same way I did the contact paper. I first tried modge podge before the spray adhesive, but it made the paper wrinkly.
9. I folded the corners like one would wrapping a present.
10. I didn’t wrap around the finger hole again – I just cut very carefully next to the edge (on the front)

And then it was done! I liked it so much I did another one in a box big enough to hold my 12 x 12″ scrapbook paper. My craft hutch has always been somewhat organized (I couldn’t stand it if it wasn’t), but I’m trying to further sort/purge and use pretty containers. It’s a good start, wouldn’t you say? Oh, the little metal bins are from the Target $1 spot a couple years ago, but I see them again every now and then.