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Instead of posting links to Making Do Ideas on this blog now (I'll just post my own projects here though they are few and far between now), I'm now posting them on my Pinterest Board named Making Do Stuff.
You do not have to have a Pinterest account to see it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Balance Beam

I pulled out a salvaged 4x4 that I had pulled all the nails from, took two cinder blocks and made a balance beam for outdoor play. I wedged in some bits of wood to make the beam snug and immovable and made sure it was on level ground. Even I got up on it with her and it seems to be a great outdoor agility toy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wowser Wednesday - T-shirt Underwear

One of my favorite fabrics is t-shirts. I have a huge pile of them from thrift store free day and all the ones that get holes etc. I already have 13 projects posted on this site where I have used t-shirts. If I ever do this project from getcrafty, I don't think I will be posting for my readers a picture of it, so I shall share it with you today.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When should I turn off lights?

So we have all drilled it in out brains and the brains of household members to turn off lights when they leave a room, but when should we do that considering we may return to that room soon?

We have a competition between the price of the bulb, the shortened life span of a bulb being turned off and on, and the price of electricity to keep the bulb on.

April 2009 Reader's Digest made a distinction between incandescent bulbs and the new CFL bulbs.

Incandescent bulbs are cheap to buy but more costly to keep on. Turning these off more often shortens their life span but they are cheaper to replace than the electricity they sap being turned on. The CFL bulbs are more costly to buy and cheaper to keep on. Turning these off less often is good if you return shortly to the work area because you don't want to have to replace these costly ones as often.

Reader's Digest gave this rule of thumb:
Turn off incandescents if you will be gone more than 5 seconds.
Turn off fluorescents if you will be gone more than 15 minutes.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Saving Electricity from the Electric Vampire and bonus Surge Protector Information

According to the April 2009 edition of Reader's Digest, $4 billion dollars is spent to pay for electricity no one is using.

Take a look at what you have plugged in. Does it have a little light on it? That little light sucks electricity. Can it be turned on by a remote? That capacity to be always ready for a remote control to turn it on sucks electricity. Do you leave your computer on all day? Not only does that suck electricity, but the computer brains can't reboot and can muck up the computer's workings (I have had a computer guy tell me that sometimes when he is called to fix a computer all it needed was to be turned off and turned on again.)

So. Take a look at what you can unplug. Like my battery charger, it only needs to be plugged in when I am recharging batteries, but I have often left it in to sap money. If you have an entertainment center, consider putting it all into a surge protector strip (good to possibly save you from power surges too) and turn the surge protector off every night.

My microwave has a clock that I never set, leaving that plugged in costs me money; that's next on my list, to get it set up where I turn its electricity sapping quality off instead of draining pennies from me.

I asked the computer guy about surge protectors when I had to have my modem replaced when it was hit by lightning (plugged into my surge protector which was on). He said the surge protector only gives you a bit more chance not to get fried machines from power surges from the company. He says turning it off doesn't kill the protection because now it doesn't need protection because it isn't drawing power. As to them being able to save you from lightning, they really can't do that well, he actually suggested if you want to be as safe as possible to unplug the surge protector during a storm although that isn't 100% effective either because he said he once had to replace a modem that he could see the burn mark left from the jump from the outlet to the modem nearby.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nutritious Air Freshener

How's that for a weird blog title? But it's a good one!

I am not big on buying air fresheners; well honestly, I don't think I have ever paid for an air freshener in my life. I just prefer to open windows if necessary, that's free and always available.

But right now I am enjoying the smell of my house--apples and strawberries. I am using my dehydrator. So, if you are a person that likes fruity smelling air fresheners, don't buy fake stuff, buy an inexpensive food dehydrator and use it! Buy bulk fruit on sale and make your house smell beautiful while you are making a long lasting nutritious treat.

I have found that the dehydrated fruit I make myself at least once a week now comes in handy. When I get the munchies it is a more healthy to grab some apple chips than something else less healthy that I am always tempted to eat. And I am loving putting it in my homemade granola cereal, granola bars and instant oatmeal packets. But even if you buy store bought oatmeal or cereal, you can add your dried fruit to add vitamins and other things you need to your breakfast. I have also found it to be a great way to use up things about to go bad or that my toddler won't finish (she'll eat the top half off of the apple and leave it, if I am not feeling like finishing her apple, I just cut up the bottom half for drying.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Saving Seeds for Years Later

Does anyone really need to plant 100 lettuce seeds?

Cut your garden bill for next year by not planting all the seeds just because you have them and instead save them for next year. I just planted some seeds for transplants from last year's batch and they all came up, so I can attest to the efficacy of this way of storing seeds.

Keep your seed packets from not getting damp and leaving them out in humid air. (Don't lay them in the dirt in the garden). Store unused seeds in their packets in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator whenever they are not in use. Do not put in the veggie crisper because the gasses of some fruit and vegetables will interfere with the dormancy of your seeds. Put something in the ziploc bag to absorb any moisture that finds its way in there, like the silica gel packets that warn you "Do not eat!" or dry milk powder. Store them in the refrigerator until next season.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wowser Wednesday - Aluminum Can Bags

I am not sure how to cite this lady's project because it is in a yahoo group's photo files. She goes by Cath and that is all I know. Anyway, she decided to use her aluminum cans to make handbags. I am not too much into purses, but it was interesting!

Here is what she wrote on the group:
"My soda cans usually end up in a bin bag for some guy to come and pick-up. For
each can he recycles he gets a penny. He hadn't been since b4 Christmas! So I
just had to do something with them....and I wasn't gonna chuck them away! So I
created something myself...and have made some cash from it to!All my friends
think I am really weird but now you can judge for yourself! Have a look at my new
album Canny Ceration."




Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Garden Twine Nets

I am attempting the square foot gardening this year and one of the details is to have your vine growers like cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, etc. to grow vertically. Once you put up your metal support, you either make twine hang down or buy a net. But I figured I could make a net since I liked the idea of a net better, but didn't want to pay for it.

I bought some jute string. And I took 6 foot pieces and tied them to my indoor clothesline to a width of 6 feet. (I had tried to do this on the floor but it was a disaster.)

Then I took some more 6 foot pieces and tied them on horizontally. I found it best to tie at the top, bottom and middle first to keep the net from getting narrower as you get closer to the bottom.

Then I just kept halving the distances in between my horizontal pieces until I made the net.

This makes a great cat toy by the way, but my toddler loved to try and hang herself in it by wrapping her head in it, so word of warning, do not leave this unattended with small children!!


It took me awhile to come up with a knot that I could do that was sturdy, but that I could do all the way across. Basically it is a clove hitch knot. It took a while to figure out how to do it without having two end pieces, so I made a video of me doing it if you are interested. (Husband zooms in on the second try so you can see it more clearly if you wait through the first knot). If you were a boy or girl scout you will probably laugh at my ineptitude with knots, but knots are just not my thing. But I like this one because if you pull tight, it doesn't slip, but loosening it is doable in case you knotted it too high or too low and didn't catch it until later. The knot is movable.
video

Now I have two t-posts in the ground. I just weaved the sides onto the t-posts and then I weaved the cross bar (don't ask me what it is, I salvaged it off of a barn) through the top of the net and then used baling wire to secure the cross bar onto the t-posts, so now the net is permanently attached and ready for a vine to go climbing through it.


If you are wondering, I used salvaged wood from my balcony and a pile of bricks found on my property to make the pathways around my little squares. Under them, I took a large piece of black plastic that you can buy at home improvement stores for $15 dollars or so (we had used it to cover up half of our house when we where stripping the exterior, but Kansas wind just tore into it) and cut it to fit under the pathways, so hopefully I won't have any weeds growing through them. I hope to teach the toddler that she can only step on the paths because last year she found it a hoot to step on the plants.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mini Blind Garden Markers

I am doing a square foot garden this year. I wanted a non-biodegradable way to mark off my sections so I can reuse them every year. I asked for a used mini-blind on freecycle and got one (had many offers, but only needed one).

I cut the strings to the mini-blind and "harvested" all the slats.

Then I took some of those slats and cut them in four pieces.

Then I wrote on each slat the name of my plants that I intend to plant to mark their squares.

I then wrote on the back of them any special watering, growing directions so I could see it when I was out in the garden.

Then just put them in the ground!


It had just rained, and I am not ready to plant yet, but so you have an idea, I put out the slats to "mark off" the areas for planting. When I actually do this, the dirt won't be mud and I will cut them to fit exactly the space I need and set them in the dirt sideways so only half of it is sticking up.


UPDATE: A reader was kind enough to send a link on the recall of some mini-blinds for lead poisoning. Here's the link. You'll want to be careful what old mini-blinds you use in and out of the garden.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Free Computer Office Suite

Tired of paying for Microsoft stuff? I had the Microsoft 2000 Professional (I wanted the Powerpoint, so I payed for the whole thing) and then come 2007, none of my stuff was upgrading anymore or having its bugs fixed because they wanted me to pay for the new Microsoft Office 2007. I was not about to shell out several hundred bucks again! I got a bit angry.

So, I found that you can have a completely comparable Office Suite just for downloading. It is called OpenOffice. It has everything the Microsoft Office Professional has and more! Writer is the same as Word (a wordprocessor), Calc is Excel (a spreadsheet), Base is the same as ... I forgot the name for Microsoft's (a database), Impress is Powerpoint (presentation slides), and then it has two bonuses, Math which will do scientific equations (don't ask me how) and Draw which is kind of like a wordprocessor but you can stick in pictures and arrows without the funky formatting problems you have with a wordprocessor. I had fun creating a timeline on it, it worked very well!

I have used this now for a year and have no complaints. I use mainly Writer, Calc and Impress. I taught a class with a slide presentation with Impress, I liked that I could save the slides as pdf files and send them to the class participants so they could click the links on my slides without having to have Open Office on their computer. And for Open Office Writer documents, I have to submit things in Word format and read Word format and Writer will both accept and save files as Microsoft Word documents (or almost any other format from the looks of the list of things you are capable of saving your document as).

But best of all it's free! You can download it and see if you like it with no hurt to you, or maybe the Extra Math and Draw things are of interest to you. You can put it on as many computers as you want for whatever purpose you want. When I bought my new laptop I didn't even bother asking for the Microsoft Suite, just downloaded Open Office.

UPDATE: I have found its weakness. If you need to save it in other formats with Track Changes set on, it goes screwy. So if you need to do track changes and send them to people in other formats it's not a good bet. I had to buy Word because I got tired of it messing up hours of work. I would save it, but as soon as I clicked out of the program the saved work showed up differently the next time it was viewed. So if you are just looking for something that you can type with and print out, it's a good deal (that's what I have done for years), but now that I am critiquing other's work and formatting it and sending it, it's more headache then help.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cheap Shaving Gel

Instead of buying fancy shaving gel, you can use conditioner or lotion if you don't like the use of regular soap lather.

Some free sources for this: Complimentary hotel lotions and conditioners or Walgreens and similar stores often give rebates for hair products. In fact, I have yet to buy a conditioner for a few years, mainly because I hardly use it for my hair, but I pick up the free ones from Walgreens and they are starting to become stockpiled.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wowser Wednesday - Cute Snakes

Want to make some cute toy snakes for the snake lover in the family?

Dave's Garden uses some old neckties to create snakes.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Make Your Own Allspice

Save up an empty seasoning bottle and make your own allspice

Mix

2 part Cinnamon
1 part nutmeg
1 part cloves

Monday, April 13, 2009

Make Your Own Italian Seasoning Blend

Why buy an extra bottle of Italian Seasoning when you can make it with what is already in the spice rack?

Save up a empty seasoning bottle.

Mix

2T oregano
1 T garlic powder
2 tsp onion salt
2 T basil
1 tsp rosemary
2 T thyme

Friday, April 10, 2009

Frugal Master Quiz

Hope you enjoy this silly quiz I wrote. Have a good weekend, my fellow wannabe frugal masters!

Are You a Frugal Master Quiz – Take this unscientific questionnaire to discover where you are in the journey to becoming a Frugal Master. Choose the answer that best describes you.


1. Take a look at the coats in the closet, what do you see?
A) Several stylish coats to go with different outfits.
B) A warm one from the thrift store and a really warm one you got on discount 10 years ago.
C) Why would you look in the closet? You wear your coat 24/7 in your 60 degree house.

2. Why would you buy a rabbit?
A)As a coat
B)As an Easter present for a kid's pet that you will end up wishing you had never bought because the kid won't go out in the cold to take care of it.
C)You'd get two -- An endless food supply.


3. What's for dinner at your house?
A)Chinese Takeout
B)Meatloaf, Instant Mashed Potatoes and Rice Pilaf from a prepackaged bag
C)Soup, of which the ingredients have come from varied paths: stale bread, leftover veggies from yesterday's stir fry, the meat juices from the day before's pot roast and the leftover hamburger patty the 2 year old refused to eat.

4. What do you do with junk mail?
A)Throw it away.
B)Collect it for recycling and you have gotten on the no junk mail list
C)The envelopes are used for shopping lists and notes, the newspapers for mulch in the garden, the magazines for children activities and the rest in a pile to burn, recycle or for whatever else you can come up with before it goes either place.

5. What does the UPS man have to walk around to get to your door?
A) An ornate ironwork gate and a jacuzzi tub
B) The kids second hand bicycles and a potted plant
C) A raised garden of tomatoes growing in a tire, a windchime made of old silverware you couldn't bear to throw away and the goat who got loose from his pen.

6. How do your family members spend their time when visiting your house?
A) Relaxing with a glass of wine, watching pay per view movies and playing the latest video games
B) Barbecuing on the grill, chatting around the fire place and playing with the children
C) Helping you finish your house remodel, moving drying racks of clothes around to get to the couch and insisting on buying you the things that you don't have but obviously need like Windex and paper towels.

7. What do your co-workers think of you?
A)All of them wish they were your friend to get invited to the summer bash you throw every year around the pool with a live band and pig on a spit.
B)They think you are pretty average and like/do not like you based on your personality
C)They think that you are pretty strange and keep their distance, but once they fall on hard times, they run to you for suggestions.

8. How much money do you have horded away?
A) None really when you take into account the outstanding balance on your loans and credit card balances.
B) A bit, and you contribute to your 401k.
C) Everyone thinks you are dirt poor, but you know that you are debt free and have more socked away in high yielding interest accounts than 80% of those around you who make more money than you do, and you have hobbies that make a little money on the side.

9. If some major catastrophe like the Great Depression happened again, how do you think you would fair?
A)You've never thought of it, you suppose you would lose most of your possessions and move in with your parents.
B) You worry a little about it and think you would have to start spending less and maybe bring in a boarder to share the house payment.
C)You think of that all the time. You keep adding to your knowledge base of things to do to become self-sufficient, like gardening and butchering your own animals, and sewing and mending of clothing. You have already cut spending to a minimum before hardships even loom on the horizon, and you love to pick old folks brains for how they lived on the farm.

10. What is your gross out factor?
A)Anything mildly gross that has to be cleaned up you try to pawn off on someone else or do it with your eyes closed holding your breath.
B)Toilet backups, baby diaper explosions, and body fluids
C) You rarely get grossed out anymore, you are perfectly ok with using cloth diapers and reusable feminine hygiene products, snaking your own toilet backups, shoveling animal manure to use in your garden, butchering chickens, and turning your own compost.


11. You have a rare weekend without the children, what do you do?
A) Hop on a plane and go sightseeing or on a cruise
B) You eat out and go to a concert and maybe go shopping at a store complex you have had your eye on.
C) You use it to get finished those projects at home little hands have interfered with, buy some fancy piece of meat at the supermarket to grill that you never would have paid for on a normal grocery trip and watch a few movies you got second hand or from the library.

12. What is your idea of a garden?
A) The Olive Garden or the Botanical Gardens
B)A nice relaxing hobby where you can grow some pretty flowers and have some fresh great tasting cheap produce for the summer months
C)Your main attack against grocery bills, you know how much you need to can in order to get through the winter and the excess crops you plan to sell at the farmer's market

13. What is your opinion of thrift stores?
A) You donate to them clothes that you have tired of to help clothe the homeless
B) You stop there occasionally to supplement your fast growing child's wardrobe and sometimes find a neat trinket
C)You do all your major clothes shopping there, and not only that, but you buy clothing there for their fabric to refashion into quilts, diapers and shopping bags.

14. A guest enters your bathroom, what do they find?
A)A tropical theme: the curtains match the rug, shower curtain, towels and soap dispenser. A timer on the wall spritzes the air with perfumed freshener periodically
B)Clean, but bare bones bathroom with a bulk amount of 1 ply toilet paper stored under the sink and recycled magazines for reading
C)An instruction sheet on when or when not to flush and how to use the cloth toilet paper, two wastebaskets for burnables and non-burnables and homemade soaps and shampoos and a space heater to only be turned on when they are in the bathroom.


15. Where is your clean laundry?
A) At the cleaners
B) In the dryer
C) Hanging on a line in a snow storm

16. What is in your freezer?
A)Fancy Sorbet from the health food store, Diet Popsicles, and tubular ice cubes to put in your bottled water
B)Packages of frozen veggies, a bucket of ice cream and juices from concentrate
C)It has many dinners frozen in serving portions for future use, half a cow and wherever there are spaces, milk jugs full of water to keep the efficiency of the freezer top notch.


17. What does your pantry look like?
A)Pretty Threadbare
B)Has a lot of the things you eat, some items have been sitting there for 6 months+ which will be donated to the next food drive
C)Packed with homemade canning items, large amounts of canned goods found on sale so you bought 10+ cans and those things that were bought by mistake, given to you or you found out you didn't particularly like -- you are bound and determined to figure out someway to use them before they go bad

18. What pets do you have?
A)You have a $1000+ pure bred dog who lives inside or in an air conditioned dog house.
B)You have a few family pets for the kids.
C)You only have animals that contribute to the family. Chickens for eggs, cats in the barn for mice control, goldfish in your rain barrels to eat mosquitoes

19. How do you view utility companies?
A) You most often pay the bill on time and want the best service they can give you.
B) A necessary evil, but you are determined that they will not get all your hard earned money, so you try to remember to turn off the lights, turn down the temp at night, go with the low end internet speed and take a shower instead of a bath.
C) Outrageous thievery! You take in your own trash, burn wood or make solar panels out of aluminum cans to reduce heat bills, use daylight or CFL bulbs or candles for lighting, collect water in rain barrels and are seriously thinking of building or are in the process of building a windmill to start making enough energy that the company is paying you for electricity.

20. How do you get recipe ideas?
A)You watch cooking shows that have great recipes such as Mahi Mahi, Sushi and Scallops, but you rarely touch the stove.
B)You peruse cookbooks and you pick up ones at the grocery store checkout line, but you generally stay with the tried and true or the ones off the back of the box of food you are using.
C)You surf the internet for recipes according to what food you have about to go bad or leftover and you really get a kick out of cookbooks written prior to the 1900s or ones with titles like The Weed Cookbook.




Frugal Master Quiz Results

All A's – Not going to elaborate, since you aren't reading this quiz.

Some A's and Some B's – You most likely have realized you have to start cutting back on your costs and want to become more frugal, but reading the C answers on this quiz have made you a little leery of becoming that frugal.

All B's - You have been happy thinking that you are quite good at this frugal thing, but then you will stumble upon a crazy frugal blog, or meet a cloth diapering, chicken butchering, bread making, do-it-yourself house remodeler and realize there is another level. You go your own way for awhile, but one day, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, you will be staring at your check register and think back to those crazy frugal things you heard about and try to come up with one or two that you think you could pull off without the spouse and friends thinking you have gone crazy.


Some B's and Some C's – You know that you have room to improve on your frugality and are actively seeking out better ways to scrimp. You've been inspired by the some of the C answers and are planning right now how to implement some of them.

All C's – Congratulations, you are a frugal master. You are searching for the email address of this author to give her some tips since some of the C answers weren't frugal enough.

Do not reprint without permission of the author. © 2009 Melissa Jagears

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cloth Tissues and Napkins

My hubby has gone through an entire two boxes of kleenex with his cold this week, and I couldn't stand to go buy any more boxes. So, I grabbed some of my aunt's old handkerchiefs that I had sitting in a drawer to make a pattern off of and decided to grab one of my cloth napkins as well.

A cloth handkerchief is about 12"x12" and a cloth napkin is 16"x16." On the tissues, I am just using any worn flannel, but on the napkins where I want both sides to look the same, I will only use a plain colored fabric.

I made a square pattern from some green paper that was left at my new house when I bought it. Any paper would do, to make it square, fold it into a triangle. (It just happened to be 12"!)


Pin on the paper pattern to your fabric and cut out. I am using worn flannel since that is about the texture and thinness of the old hankies I inherited.


I then surged around the edge. You could zigzag around or hem it on a regular machine.


And that's all there is to it! I took an old pajama pant leg and a worn flannel shirt. I got 3 tissues from the pant leg and 5 tissues from the shirt. Find a nice tin box or some other container and fill it with reusable hankies.


The same pattern will be used when I get around to making my cloth napkins.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wowser Wednesday - Plastic Water or Soda Bottle Vase

Welcome to Wowser Wednesdays! On Wednesdays, I will now point you to some post or website of some cool "making do" project that I don't think I will do but made me say, "Wow" when I saw it and wanted to share. I hope you enjoy!

Cheap 'N Cheerful
has great instructions on how to make a beautiful flower vase from a 16 oz like plastic bottle.





Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Glass Dry Erase Board

I use the mirror in my sewing room as a dry erase board to write down the measurements as I go. Also comes in handy to keep little one occupied as I sew.


But that made me think of how to make a fancier dry erase board that will fit home decor. So, I took a picture frame that went along with the color scheme of the room (silver). Printed out a background that matched (black and white roses printed on draft ink level). Wrapping paper, child's artwork, fabric or scrapbook paper could work as well. And slipped that into the photo's spot. Now I have a dry erase board that is a part of the room.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cloth Wipes or Toddler Training Wipes

I miss my cloth diaper wipes! My toddler is toilet training and paper toilet paper usage is a disaster! One, my child thinks a quarter of a roll is necessary to use each time she visits the potty. We have gone through a lot of toilet paper in the last few months! Two, have you ever tried to clean up a toddler who didn't make #2 in the toilet with paper toilet paper???? Virtually impossible; make the toilet paper wet and you add a whole new level of mess. Plus, you end up using a quarter of a roll to clean the kid up. (Maybe that's where she got that idea!). I have put her in the bath a couple of times when I gave up getting her clean, but I don't want to continue that for she would view that as a reward.

So, I have gone back to cloth wipes for potty training. It is easy to tell her, one square. And wet it with a little water it is 50 times less of a job to clean her up when I have to. My old ones were a bit crude and hubby complained when he used them on her that he disliked the odd sizes. So, I decided to make nicer, softer ones.

If you use family cloth (cloth toilet paper), this design would work well for that. I am not going to get into the debate of cloth toilet paper, but if you have never heard of cloth toilet paper use and are interested you could look at this or this site which I think are a good source of information. Googling "family cloth" would easily lead you to many articles or posts on the subject. Someone commented on my blog earlier that they use the money they save on this specific frugal/green project to buy the family a year pass to the zoo.

Side Note: I always get a giggle out of people that are "shocked, appalled, horrified" by mention of cloth diapers, cloth toilet paper, cloth pads, etc. What do they think people who lived before mass production of disposable products did? Prior to the late 1800s/early 1900s toilet paper didn't really exist (unless you count the ones that included splinters, then you could reach back to the mid 1800s) and even though it was available doesn't mean it was bought and used, especially in an era where underwear was unmentionable in mixed company! I can't imagine a woman from the Victorian era plopping down toilet tissue on the mercantile counter. My mom, who was definitely born much later, grew up with an outhouse equipped with the Sears catalog and corn cob husks and I don't consider her or my grandparents untouchables or crazies. More importantly, they survived! :)

First, I grabbed a big ugly flannel bathrobe I got from a thrift store. I doubled over the fabric and cut out a 7"x7" square (or what roughly resembles a square). I had done 6x6 earlier, but I thought they were a bit small.


Then I flipped it over so the wrong side of the material was facing out. (I could have skipped this step if I just folded it that way to begin with!) Then I just straight stitched all the way around and stopped about a third of the way from the folded side. (Where it shows my machine stopped in the picture)


I cut off the corners so when I turn it right side out, I don't have a hard little wad of cloth in the corners. (Don't cut the unsewn corner.)


Then turn the cloth inside out. It's poofy.


To sew up the hole and make it lie flat, Tuck in the hole and start there to zigzag stitch all the way around.


And now you have uniform-sized soft, 2 ply cloth wipes. I threw in one of my 6x6's to show you the zigzag more easily.


Wash like you would cloth diapers or cloth menstruation pads/tampons.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Conserve Contact Solution

I used to work for an eye doctor and ordered the contact cases (cost only pennies). The little flip top lid kind use much less contact solution than the screw cap travel kind for the exact same purpose. We always gave several away because of their cheapness that I didn't realize some doctor's offices don't have them. At my new eye doctor, the ladies said they didn't even know of their existence (I found that hard to believe, but they acted genuinely confused). With a necessary upgrade to a more expensive solution, I was not about to use the screw cap kind. (The only kind you can buy at the store; Quite tricky of your contact solution sellers -- use more, buy more). So, armed with the knowledge that these are cheap giveaways, I decided to visit another eye doctor. I told them that I wasn't their patient but I was looking for the flip top contact cases and they promptly handed me a handful.

By the way, I learned at my job (not when I first got my contacts) that you should rinse your contact case under tap water every day and flip them upside down to dry during the day to keep your contacts hygienic. Since I have done this, the contact case doesn't get crust on it and I can use that case much longer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Vacuum Seal with a Straw

I have yet to find the cost of a food vacuum sealer palatable, so I use a straw to try to avoid freezer burn and spoilage. I put the left over food I want to put in the freezer in a ziploc bag, insert my straw, snap the ziploc up to the straw and suck air out. As I get to the end, I suck, pull out the straw and as quick as possible seal the rest of the way all at the same time. May not be as good as a vacuum sealer, but would bet it's 80% as good, and virtually costless. I do save the straw unless I stick it in something nasty accidentally.