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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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Paper Toys

Make some toys for kid play with paper. When they get tired of the toy, no guilty feelings for decluttering and throwing it away.

Paper Toys at Toymaker

Monday, September 28, 2009

Free Printable Maps

Would you like some free printable maps to help your child with a school project or to learn geography?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wrinkle Release Spray

Want to make your own wrinkle release spray?

1/2 oz rubbing alcohol
1 oz liquid fabric softener
13 oz water

Pour in spray bottle and shake. Mist on wrinkled fabric.

Or you can be lazy like me and just wear the wrinkled clothing, it will look just plain ol' lived in throughout the day, it gets wrinkled anyway sitting in it, right?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Outdoor Faucet Soap

Did you try out the soap carving and want to know what to do with all the hunks of wasted soap?

Do you have slivers of soap and a run in your hose?

Take the slivers and place in the ruined hose. Tie the hose onto your outdoor spigot. Then when you want to wash your hands outside, just rub on the hose covered soap.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wowser Wednesday -Soap Art

Since this week is all about soap, just thought I'd share a bunch of links to some really neat soap carvings.

Incredible Soap Art

Soap Art

Want to make flower shaped soap? Here is a whole gallery of ideas.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Soap Carving or Whittling

Do you have a young boy who would enjoy whittling but you aren't so sure you want to trust him with a knife, but you's be ok with him handling a plastic one?

Or maybe you like fancy shaped soaps in the guest room, or want to make a friend a bath gift set (along with the homemade bath salts).

Then Ivory soap carving might be a fun project for you or your kids.

Here are instructions from Ivory.

If your child really gets into it, there is a book for children.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bath Salts

Making your own fancy bath salts is easy. Take Epsom salt, drop in a few drops of food coloring and a few drops of essential oils until you are satisfied.

Would you like more detailed instructions and even pretty labels for making them into gifts? This is a nice site.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Convert your Cassettes to CDs or onto your Computer for Cheap

Ok, anybody else out there like me who has boxes of cassettes (or records for that matter) who haven't listened to them in forever because they are so less convenient or maybe you no longer even have a tape deck? And you've gotten used to the convenience of skipping tracks etc.?

But you can't get rid of your good music from your childhood!

Have no fear, for about $8 and the cost of blank CDs, you can convert them.

1) You need a cassette player that has red and white audio out jacks. I looked at the few left in my house and none had them. So, I went to my thrift store, in the jumble of out of date electronic junk, I found a Sony stereo cassette deck, fancy stuff for back then, hi-speed dubbing, etc. But most importantly, red and white audio jacks. I got it for $5.

2) You need a "Y" Connector from Radio Shack. On one end is red and white audio jacks, at the other end is a 1/8" stereo plug (the kind that fits into your microphone jack). I got it for $7.49+tax

3)Dowload free software - Audacity

Now it's time to collect up all those cassettes and get all excited.

Here is someone's directions that proved useful for using the audacity software because after you open it, your eyes might glaze over like mine did. "How am I supposed to use this mumbo jumbo?"

1) Plug in your y connector from the player's audio out jacks into your line-in or microphone port.

2)Open Audacity and click Edit>Preferences> and then turn Device to Line-in or Microphone depending where you put the jack and change Mono to Stereo below that button if necessary. If you want to listen to the music as it goes through click the Playthrough button at the bottom of that same window.

3) Push the red dot record button on Audacity and push play on your cassette player and tada! It starts recording.

4)When the cassette clicks off, push stop on Audacity. Then you can export the entire side of the cassette to a file or if you want to separate songs, drag your mouse cursor over the part that constitutes a song to highlight it and then go to File>Export Selection as WAV and now you have a .wav file of your song which you can listen to on the computer or burn to a CD. Or if you are listening to it you could stop it each time.

Caution: These will not play in a regular CD player, but will play in the computer CD player. I read that it's possible to get them to play if you burn them on a CDR but since I only had CDRW I can't tell you if that's true.

5)If you want to convert them to an mp3 for your mp3 player (I don't have one, so can't vouch for this) then you could convert the wav to mp3. I use the free Switch to convert files.

A bit time consuming, yes, but you get to listen to your songs all over again and you don't have to pay for the album a second time. Now technically to be legal, you shouldn't sell your cassette in a garage sale or anything, only one person should own what was paid for once, so either store the cassettes as your back up copy or throw them away.

I got decent quality sound.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yard Sale Tips

When a friend of mine heard I was doing a yard sale, she asked what tips I had for a successful yard sale, so I will give you mine, if you have good tips you believe increased your sales, leave a comment.

  • Have very large specific signs, I've only done one yard sale with an ad in the paper, and I'm not sure I had a better turn out because of it. I have always been given compliments on my signs, which I assume means they came because of them. I know when I see a yard sale sign there are a few things that determine whether I follow them or not (excluding if I have time or money in my pocket):
  1. Very Large Print. I made these last signs out of 2' x 4' scrap lumber and spray painted black lettering. I have also used very large cardboard moving boxes or large brown grocery sacks written on the side and rocks in the bottom to keep them from flying away. I use the biggest signs I can at the start of the trail. If I can't read it until I've driven pass it in the car, I'm most likely not turning back.
  2. There is a date on the first sign, not just "Saturday" but the actual date, I don't want to go down the road and find out that it was last Saturday.
  3. Post a time on the first sign. If you plan to be open past lunch put it on there. If you don't, your traffic will start to disappear at lunch, too many close at noon, so they won't follow unless there is a time. Don't put "8AM - ????" That tells me nothing. Hang out an actual time to end. If you want to change your mind later, just staple a piece of paper over that time to the new time.
  4. Distance on the first sign. I don't want to wander down 5 miles and not see any signs and wonder if it was last week. When if I had known ahead of time it was 6 miles, I would have crested that hill and seen your sign instead of turning back.
  5. Signs at every intersection. Even if they shouldn't turn, tell them to go straight, otherwise they may give up. Start from every nearby busy road and lead them in from all directions.
  6. Homemade or Unique Signs. For some reason, I don't like following the premade ones, unless there is an embellishment like balloons, probably because I have found that these are often the ones that are left up forever or are so vague or so few that I can't follow them to the sale, so unless I really want to go yard saleing, I am more likely to follow the homemade signs with distinct signage, bubble letters, etc. And don't do a hodgepodge of signage, make them all the same, all have blue bubble letters or all have balloons or all are made from boxes. This keeps me following your trail.
  7. Be Ready. As soon as you put those signs up, people follow you home, I don't care how early it is. Once I put them up at 5:30 AM thinking I had 30 minutes to get ready for the early birds, nope, they saw me put up the sign and since they had nowhere to go for 30 minutes, they followed me home. So don't put them up unless you're ready.
  • Work with a Partner. I would recommend getting together with a friend and doing the sale in one yard, "2 yard sales" on your sign will entice drivers. Separate your stuff by some kind of obstacle, the driveway, a barricade or something to keep money gathering simple if possible. If you can't hold two or more sales, still have a friend or spouse or child work with you. They can change, take down, or put up your sale signs, get you lunch, cover for you for potty breaks etc. And they are there to chat with when the traffic hits a lull. I did one sale completely alone, and I can tell you, it was absolutely not easy and no fun.
  • Coordinate with other sales. At the beginning of summer, ask the neighbors if they intend to have a yard sale, try to find a day to do it all together. More signs on a curb entices drivers more than a single sign. If your city plans city-wide sales, do it then, catch people when they are already yard saleing. You'll get more traffic.
  • Set up before hand. The more stuff you can get out the night before, the better. You aren't missing sales by still carting out stuff or arranging it. Buy some shower curtains or dropcloths at the dollar store to drape over your items to keep them from getting dewy overnight.
  • Accommodate Early Birds. I know there are a lot of ads that say "no early birds", but rethink that. Some of my best sales are to the early birds, these are the shoppers who mean business and are out to buy stuff.
  • Accommodate the After Work Crowd. If you do a Friday sale, seriously think about staying open for those that pass by on their way home from work. They have a paycheck, and they are happy because it's the weekend. 5PM to 6PM on Friday had high traffic for me this last weekend.
  • Tables. Use whatever you can to get stuff off the ground. Every spare table in your house, borrow tables from a church, rec center, etc. Make makeshift ones, I have made do with plywood propped up on a wagon, propped up with 5 gallon buckets, propped up with cinder blocks. I have even cut up really large moving boxes and used that as the table surface. You may not be able to get enough to put up your stuff, but get out as many as possible.
  • Hang adult clothing. People will rifle through kid clothes since they grow so fast, but they usually won't with adult clothes. I have hung them off the edge of my porch roof, took out my portable clothes rack from the laundry room, tied rope between two trees and even set up two ladders across from each other and sat a third ladder between them across the top to use to hang clothes on.
  • Kid's stuff low to ground. If you are making tables, put kid toys on the lowest one (like those on cinder blocks) or if you don't have enough tables, choose to put the kids stuff on the ground (if you don't want it to get wet, place it on wood, cardboard, plastic dropcloths or shower curtain). You want the kids to see Stuffed Snoopy and ask Mom for it, it's only a quarter! Don't put kid stuff above their heads were they can't ask for it.
  • Spread it out. Piles and stuffed boxes don't sell unless someone is desperate for something and will dig for it. Spread things out as much as possible, so they can glance at it. Maybe they don't need any more movies at home, but they saw your copy of Dirty Dancing and got nostalgic and can't pass it up for $1. (R.I.P. Swayze). If you can't get it all out at once, spread it out throughout the day as people buy things and create space.
  • Arrange and Rearrange. Put things out in categories. Guy stuff, home decor, baby clothes, etc. That way people with particular interests will spot that you have what they want and look. People will rifle through things and mess up your arrangements. Constantly monitor and put it back nice and neat. Also, if you have stuff on the ground, bring it up onto the tables when room is made. People don't like ducking or crouching and might miss it on the ground.
  • Put guy stuff and home decor stuff out front and prominent. If you have guy things, put those out on the curb, so that the husband driving the wife around sees you have guy stuff and gets out of the car. I tell you, guy stuff sells like hotcakes, I rarely keep guy stuff around for long (must be because it's so hard to get guys to let go of stuff, there isn't much to be had.) Also, if you have decor/junk, put it out front. Don't put it in back, obscured by kids clothes. Not everyone needs clothes, don't let them drive by thinking that's all you got. Everyone is enticed to look through the junk.
  • Spread out the movies and price them for less than a rental. I price all my movies at a $1, even VHS. It's cheaper to buy it off of me to watch at leisure then to pay for it at a rental store. Everyone likes to watch movies.
  • Price tag as much as possible. People in America are leery about haggling. They won't often ask you to come down in price, nor will they ask you what something costs unless they really want it. This last yard sale, I had too many clothes to price, so I made a sign, but I have to say that didn't work, no one looked. I priced everything in my yard sale that I wanted more than a quarter for and said to every customer "If it doesn't have a tag, it's a quarter." This worked, my sign was ignored. If you have the time, price everything.
  • Make it all even money. 25 cents, 50 cents, $1, $2, $3, $4 etc. don't bother with ten cents, quarters are cheap enough. Make it easy on yourself and everyone with simple pricing. Don't bother with putting change after dollars. You can haggle down to $1.50 is you want. Also, be ready for lots of $20s in the morning. Go take out change (bills) from the bank. You'll put it back in after the yard sale, none of it gets lost, but if you can't change a $20, you could easily lose morning sales.
  • Give them a deal. If someone asks you for a deal, go down in price! Do you really want the stuff back in the house? The only thing I wouldn't do it for is stuff you want to sell on ebay that you have had success selling before that way or maybe nice children's clothes that the consignment shop will take and you intend to take it there. Otherwise, go down in price if they ask! If you don't, they are less likely to ask about any of your other stuff they are interested in. And maybe no one else will want that particular piece of junk, so you get to take it back home at the end of the day.
  • Clothing Pricing by the Bag. If you have a lot of clothing, bring out plastic sacks and offer anyone who starts picking up clothes this line: "All clothes are (50) cents, but you can stuff as much as you want in a bag for $(5)." This gives someone a deal and an incentive to take away your junk.
  • Greet People. This goes back to my work in retail. Greet people when they step into your yard, it lets them know you are approachable (they might be more likely to ask you about an unpriced item or have the guts to ask for a deal on something they want). Also, if you see they are interested in things, give them a price run down of the items if they are unmarked or the bag deals you have going or tell them that the prices are negotiable.
  • Say Prices are Negotiable. Watch your customers, if they finger that vase for awhile or talk about it with their spouse for a bit but put it down, hurry up and say, "The price is negotiable." The word "negotiable" seems to work better than saying, "I'm willing to haggle." "I'll make a deal with you." "Shoot me a price if your interested." etc. I don't know why, but it seems like the magic word. More people will actually offer me another price if I say "negotiable" over any other combination of words I've tried.
  • Have an extension cord ready. If you are selling gadgets, have an extension cord out for people to test things rather than making them take your word for it that it works. When they ask you if it works, offer them the plug in and test it themselves. They will less likely try to give you a lesser price on the item if you prove it works and therefore they feel it isn't a risk to take it home and find out it doesn't work like they wanted it too.
  • Offer free stuff. I don't particularly know if this improves sales, but it makes people happy. If no one is wanting quarter items, you might want to replenish the free box with these items throughout the day. Also, if you include kid stuff in the box, a whiny kid who wants something can get it from there and not distract mom from looking through the stuff she is going to buy.
  • Saturday end sales. Unless you want to do this again, lower your prices as the day wears down. Are you just going to dump it at the thrift store? Then after lunch or once you see a lull in the traffic, slash prices. Tell people when they walk up that everything is half off, or everything is a quarter, or everything's two for a quarter or fill a bag for $1. (If you do this and there are a few items you would rather keep or sell to a consignment store, gather these up and put them somewhere special or take them inside before starting the end of day sale). Why give it to the thrift store and get nothing, when you could get a quarter?
Hope that helps inspire you to think how to sell your stuff to the best advantage and have a better sale than you've had before!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Coffee Ice Cubes

Have a reserved ice cube tray in your freezer, if you drink coffee. When you have leftover coffee, pour it into the trays and when you want to have iced coffee or a quick way of cooling your coffee without watering it down, throw in a coffee ice cube.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Replace a Laptop Key - buy the whole keyboard

My "z" letter on my laptop is falling off because a piece of plastic broke off on the key retainer clip. I looked on ebay for "key retainer clip" and my laptop model and I could buy a key set for about $8 or I looked up buying a whole keyboard which only costs $20 plus shipping. It costs more, but if you needed two more key repairs over the life of the keyboard it would pay for itself.

Here are good directions on how to replace keys or even steal keys (like you would in the above scenario) to fix broken laptop keys.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Leftover Root Beer Float Popsicles

My husband and I hardly drink sodas, but we like to have one occasionally, so even though liters are cheaper, they go flat because we don't drink them fast enough. So we have a package of cans in the pantry that sits there until we are in the mood.

But, we want more than half so we can't share, but a whole one is too much, so....the root beer gets made into float popsicles.

The first quarter can gets poured in the bottom quarter of the popsicle mold. The tray of popsicle molds gets put in the freezer and stays there until the next time we have a soda. Then when that time comes, I scoop in enough vanilla ice cream to two quarters of the mold (I always have vanilla ice cream on hand), and then I pour the leftoverquarter can of soda on top, suck off the foam and put in the popsicle sticks and pop them back into the freezer.

There you have a leftover soda float popsicle:

Pretty good I must say, although I think I'll cram more ice cream in the next ones, the soda fizz in them is just yummy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Broken Hobby Stuff Collage

My hubby likes to fly fish and tie flies. (Although we don't live near any good flyfishing areas anymore, weep tears for him, readers.)

He had some broken stuff or nonworking stuff he couldn't part with for sentimental reasons, like his father's fishing hat and a tag from his first trip to Roaring River. Then one day at Bass Pro, I saw this art thing with a taxidermy fish that gave me an idea on what to do with his broken stuff.

I collected his broken rod, too small fishing vest, old hat, pictures of him fly fishing in Montana and a fly box that no longer properly closed.

Then I looked for old looking picture frames (thrift store), a big rustic frame (75% off at Hobby Lobby) and a fish. Never came across a taxidermy fish, but I found in a garage sale free box a key hanger "Gone Fishing" sign. I scrounged up some cardboard and scrap fabric and off I went.

I glued on the fabric to the cardboard and then stapled the cardboard backing to the frame.

Then I arranged the items on the backing overlapping onto the frame. (I sewed the fishing vest together so that all four layers were attached to each other). Then I used a whole lot of hot glue to put it all together.

Attached screws and wire for hanging and here is the finished project on display. I think it looks pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Paper Bag Floor

I began awhile ago collecting brown paper bags because I intended on redoing the floor with a faux leather finish. Well, when it has become time to do it, I decided I wanted the whole lower floor of the house to be the same flooring and it doesn't fit what I want to do anymore, plus it would be in the dining room and constant furniture moving on this kind of floor is not supposed to be a good thing. I did do a test patch on my floor, and as hubby said when he saw it, it looks just like patches of leather. Tore it up though before it got hardened, forgot to take a picture, but if you are interested in a low cost flooring option that will need touched up with Polycrylic every now and then here are the sites I looked at and pictures of how it looks.,96689,97755#msg-97755

Monday, September 7, 2009

Paper Bag Shipping

Use grocery store paper bags to wrap books or boxes for the post office. Don't need to buy the brown paper on rolls, just use one bag to cover up the majority of the box and put pieces in the holes that aren't quite covered and tape them on.

This is especially useful for shipping books. Don't need a envelope or box, just wrap them up in paper bags.

Put shipping tape across the address sections all the way around the box to keep it from getting torn off in transit.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Reader Suggestion Friday - Egg Carton Fire Starters

Robin was kind enough to send in her directions on using egg cartons, old candles and dryer lint for making Fire Starters. I like the tear away aspect of these instructions.

"I save the cardboard egg cartons, fill with dryer lint (or wood shavings or small pinecones) then pour in melted wax (from old candles) until is full or starts to soak through the outside. Let harden. To use just tear off one or two cups place in the center of your kindling cover with some paper and wood and carefully light one corner of the cup. It will hold the flame long enough for the wood to catch fire. These can easily be stored up and a bunch made at a time. I have several friends that give me the lint, the containers and wax in exchange for the finished starters.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Make Your Own Water Paint Coloring Book

I had some watercolor pencils and a kiddo who likes to paint. (I've made her cheap watercolors in this post and cheap and tasty fingerpaints in these posts.) And decided to try and convert a coloring book to a paint with water book.

So I outlined and colored in the areas that would be shaded and thought the water colors would bleed over into the uncolored portion. About 50% of the picture.

But it didn't do it enough for my satisfaction, especially the lighter colors, so I tried again covering about 80% of the picture and had my toddler water brush it.

Before After

Not extraordinary, so now you know. Although it was a fun excuse for Mom to color, although she prefers the color range choices of a 96 color crayon box.

And then of course, the munchkin spent the next 30 minutes using her wet brush to paint the pages in the coloring book sans color.

So, even cheaper water color book option - hand the three year old a blank coloring book, a bowl of water and a brush and let her imagination provide the colors.

UPDATE: I stumbled back upon where I got the idea. Off of inspired ideas, she uses watercolor paper and draws the pictures. Maybe the watercolor paper would make them turn out better, but all my girl wants to color is princesses and butterfly fairies, don't have time to free hand draw that, so I think I'll stick with the coloring book method.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wowser Wednesday - Scrabble Tile Jewlery Pendants

Got a handful of scrabble tiles and no desire to play the game any longer? Convert them into jewelery, better yet, use pretty junk mail catalogs for the pictures on the pendants.

Here's the tutorial from Makes and Takes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sharpening a Reel Push Mower

In this post, I talked about about using a reel push mower to mow the lawn without gas.

There is a cheap easy way to sharpen a reel push mower.

Buy valve lapping compound at the auto maintenance store like AutoZone ($5). Then adjust the mower's plate (the cutter bar) at the bottom of the reel mower to where it makes contact with the blades throughout the blades' entire rotation. Then put valve lapping compound on every blade using your finger, rotating it as you go along to get all the blades. And then on a smooth surface without cutting anything, push the mower until all the valve lapping compound is gone, keep doing that until it is sharp.