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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.
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Friday, October 31, 2008

Ramen Noodle Soup Stock

I am not sure if anyone else is as weird as my hubby, but he doesn't drink his Ramen noodle soup, he sticks the noodles on a piece of bread to eat and leaves the soup behind. Maybe no one else in the world does this, but there are other times I haven't used the soup stock. Sometimes I use the the noodles as an emergency substitute in other recipes or when feeding them to my toddler, I don't give her the soup. So, if you have leftover ramen noodle soup broth, freeze it in a leftover kitchen container (I use my country crock tubs). I throw all of the different kinds in there (We mainly eat the pork and oriental ones). When I have enough, I make soup adding a little extra beef broth if necessary. I substitute this for beef broth recipes.

FYI - The packet of soup seasoning is the practically the same price as bouillon. If you can use the noodles for other recipes and the soup seasoning as stock, the noodles are basically free.

Here's a very simple soup that I usually make with this.

1 lb. hamburger
spices for hamburger (I use broiled steak seasoning)
1/2 cup small pasta
5 cups beef broth (or Ramen broth!)
2 cups frozen veggies (Frozen Veggie Mix)
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook noodles according to package. Brown hamburger with its seasoning then drain. Place broth, cooked hamburger, veggies and seasoning in large pot. Bring to boil then, cover and simmer 5 min. Drain pasta and add to soup. Serve.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Frozen Vegetable Mix for Soups

If you have just a little leftover vegetables from dinner, don't throw them out. Take a large freezer Ziploc bag and designate it as the vegetable soup bag. Every time you have a little leftover veggies, throw it in the freezer bag. When it comes time to make soup, you have a stockpile of frozen veggies of all different kinds for your soup!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Showering Water and Heat Saver

Take a shower and close the stopper. This will be a very easy visual picture of how much less water you use than when you take a bath. Most likely the water trapped in the bath after your shower would not be enough to make a comfortable bath.

Plus, if it is winter, leave that hot water in the bathtub. If you just let it drain, you are wasting the heat that could keep your air in your bathroom warm for awhile instead of relying on your furnace. The water "cooling" is actually warming up the air until they reach the same temperature.

Then if you are really frugal, keep an ice cream bucket next to the tub and use that standing water to flush the toilet or water plants.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No Sew Cloth Diaper

Use a hand towel for a no sew cloth diaper.

With a young baby, fold the towel lengthwise before putting on.

For a toddler, fold 1/3 of the towel up before putting on.

Especially useful when you get behind on laundering your cloth diapers or you are at someone's house without an extra diaper. Of course, borrowing their hand towel for this purpose might just convince them to give you one instead of insisting on it being returned.

For those that use disposable diapers, this would work well as an emergency diaper instead of running and paying too much money for disposables from a convenience store in the middle of the night or at any other inconvenient time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Playing Card Bookmarks

Not very inspired, but if you have a deck of cards that are missing a few cards, reserve them for bookmarks. If you read as many books at once and have a toddler that likes to take out bookmarks and eat them like I do, having several hundred bookmarks is a must!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gourmet Hot Chocolate Cheap!

I have to admit when visiting my Mom and getting in on her Sam's club membership, I almost caved to impulse shopping and bought this pack of gourmet specialty hot cocoas. The graham cracker chocolate one was really calling me. Thankfully the price of the cocoas and the amount of staples that were actually a bargain already in my shopping cart kept me from it.

A few days later, dreaming about that cocoa as I washed dishes in my cold kitchen reminded me that I had learned a trick for flavoring hot cocoa. Just put in a drop of extract.

I buy the cheap big can mix of hot cocoa.

Want one that tastes like ....

Almond joy? Put in a drop of coconut extract and almond extract

Mounds? coconut extract

French Vanilla? vanilla extract

Mint Chocolate? peppermint extract

Chocolate Raspberry? raspberry extract

And for my Graham Cracker one? - sprinkle of brown sugar, drop of honey and vanilla

Smores? add marshmallows to the above graham cracker one.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

No Sew Curtain

I found some really stretchy fabric in the $1 bin at Walmart that went with the color scheme of my bathroom and I was afraid to sew on it! (I am not a good sewer.) I took the whole remnant and it was just (barely) twice the length of the window. So, I decided that I would put up the curtain bar and just drape the fabric over the bar. Works for me! It slides on the bar and keeps the sun out. I think I might just do it on purpose again in the future. Just measure the heighth of my window, buy enough cheap fabric to equal two lengths plus a few inches and drape it over. Much easier and cheaper than making/buying curtains. Maybe some day in the future I'll sew it up, but I have better things to do at the moment.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wedding Dress Christening Dress

I was fairly certain my wedding dress would never be worn again. One, it was already a tad to short for me and I was marrying someone taller, so most likely the girl(s) we would have will not be shorter than I. Two, styles change so quickly, she will surely want something else especially since it was "out of fashion" when I wore it, but it fit my style. Three, I can't be sure I can keep it well enough or that it won't be burned in a fire, etc.

So, selling it wasn't an option since it was out of date, no resale shop would take it for more than $25 (even though I had just bought it at a resale shop for $200!) So, on one of those Hobby Lobby 75% off pattern days, I had stocked up on all the period costumes and baby costumes that I will probably never have the ability to sew, but bought anyway to drool over. In that pile, I had bought a little Christening gown pattern. We don't do infant baptism or Christening, but generally in the churches we attend they have a baby dedication service. So, I had my mother-in-law make the dress out of my wedding gown (Remember, I am not good enough at sewing to attempt it myself). The torso was the neckline of my dress and the dress length is my train. The bonnet is my sleeve.

Unfortunately, we were in the middle of looking for a church when the kiddo came of age to wear it and we didn't feel comfortable dedicating our baby in front of perfect strangers who could probably care less. But, I didn't want to pass up the use of the gown. So, I did a little photo session with my girl and recreated a picture of my great great grandmother as a baby. It now hangs in a bubble convex frame (found in Mom-in-law's closet) in my antique colored bathroom.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Decorate the Walls with a Sharpie

So, I had decided that I wouldn't put up a post that was solely a link to something else, but I gotta say that this is too cool to keep to myself. I guess I am rescinding my unwritten rule.

How about wall decorating for only $10? Extra stars from this avid reader/former English teacher for the literary themed decorating.

Now, where can I do this in my house???? I promise if I do it, I'll post it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Aluminum Can Fish Cookie Cutter and Goldfish Cracker Recipe

My toddler is addicted to Goldfish crackers. I had been buying the whole wheat kind to make me feel better about her ingesting large amounts of goldfish, but the grocery stores here have pulled them off the shelves! So, I couldn't bear getting her the less healthy kind much longer especially at the price and amount we go through. So, I figured I could make them, but she refers to them as "Crackers Fish," so I had to make them look like fish. So I had to make a cookie cutter. I had heard about making them out of tuna fish cans, but I didn't have any of those, so I drug a root beer can out of the recycling bag.

First, I sliced one in half with a knife and then cut a strip with my heavy duty scissors all the way around.

Then I evened up the edges by cutting them as straight as possible.

Then I worked with the strip to create the fish shape. Don't bend too often or you will crack it. I did it on my third try. Sorry that this picture is missing the last bend back to make the flat edge of the tail, but after three tries, I lost count of what photos I had taken!

Then I sneaked my stapler in the back and stapled it together. I cut off the mismatched edges.

And there you have a fish cookie cutter. I have to admit it isn't the most comfortable to use, I am thinking about putting some duct tape along the top edge because pressing the piece down with no handle hurt just a teensy bit after awhile. It is probably 6 times larger than an actual goldfish cracker, but it's a fish!

And here are the goldfish crackers! They are quite yummy and pretty like in taste. My hubby hates goldfish, but he wouldn't stop eating these. Recipe follows as I made it - here's the one I fiddled with: Cheddar Pacman Crackers

1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
4 T. cold salted butter, cut in tiny pieces
8 oz. shredded cheese (I used "Fiesta Blend" generic shredded cheese - Monterey Jack, Asiago and Cheddar I believe)
1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put flours, butter, cheese and pepper in a food processor. If it doesn't come together into dough, slowly add water a tablespoon at a time until it pulls together. Wrap dough ball in Saran wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes to 2 days. Flour your surface really good and roll it out as thin as possible (about 1/8") for the crispiest crackers. Cut into shapes. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until browned. I put mine on a cloth while still somewhat hot to absorb some of the cheesy oil. Supposed to keep for a week in an airtight container - doubt they will last long enough for me to figure out if that is correct or not.

UPDATE: They got soggy pretty quickly. The thinner the crispier. Really need to have them in an airtight container.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lower the Annoying Toy's Volume

Is one of your child's electronic toys driving you crazy? Here is an easy way to deaden the volume: Put a piece of shipping tape over the speaker.

Here's a demo.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Make Your Own All Purpose Spray Cleaner

Forget about buying the spray cleaners for the bathroom, counters, etc. Make your own with the stuff you have at home. (Save a spray bottle from your last venture into paying others to make your cleaner or buy a cheap squirt bottle).

2 cups water
1/2 tsp. dawn or other dishwashing soap
1/4 cup white vinegar

There you have it. Clean away.

P.S. Don't use paper towels - use rags or cut up t-shirts

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ice Cream Bucket Plunger Keeper

Do you hate moving that drippy yucky plunger across the floor back to wherever you have it stored, on its grimy spot? Take an ice cream bucket and permanently assign it to your plunger. After use, the plunger travels no farther than to the bucket and it stores wherever without making a mess.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

T-Shirt Head Bandage Bow

Ok, I had to go back to the drawing board. My toddler has insisted on scratching a sore on her head for months now. I had come up with the shirt sleeve cap as a remedy when gauze wasn't working, but it would fall off in the night, and she would scratch it in her sleep. Also, after a month and a half of wearing it, she started getting tired of it. So, I brainstormed with my mother and decided an old rag curler tightly curled onto the sore area would work. I made some rag curlers like the ones we used to use, but it wasn't tight enough on her scalp.

So, I cut off the hem of a t-shirt sleeve, used it like an actual rag curler and just curled her hair down on it and tied it. It looks pretty cute. After wearing it for a few minutes, she got mad and tried to pull it off, but it stayed put. Hopefully this will work! (Fingers Crossed)

It looks like it might be a good way to keep the little ones hair out of her face as well!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cushioned Rag Curlers

My sister and I many times in our childhood would sleep on rag curlers. However, just winding hair around a strip of fabric always made the ends really kinky. So, we found some curlers (I think they sell a similar curler (Sun curlers??) at Walmart now) that were cushioned and they got rid of the terrible kink at the end of the curl. Well, after decades of use, they have fallen apart and Walmart's are expensive and with the thickness of our hair, if my child gets thick hair (which is likely) it would take too much money to buy enough of them.

So, I made some out of shoulder pads (taken out of thrift store finds), pipe cleaners and t-shirts.

First, cut a pipe cleaner in half. Then, cut a rectangle of shoulder pad (you could use a few layers of batting or micro fleece or something similarly squishy) that will fit around the pipe cleaner.

Then tack on the shoulder pad so that it won't open up inside the curler in the future.

Then set the curler on a tshirt (you could use other scrap fabric) and cut a strip of material to cover the back and the front. I tapered it here a bit.

Then stick the pipe cleaner and shoulder pad combo in between the two layers of t-shirt.

Then sew around the curler, try to get pretty close to the pipe cleaner, but don't sew onto the pipe cleaner.

Cut off the excess fabric ouside of the seam and zigzag around the edges.

And now you have one cushioned rag curler. You could probably do it without the pipe cleaner, and just sew in a pad and tie on the curler - hmm, will have to try that. Metal twisties came in my old ones, so that's why I chose to do it this way.

This is how you would use it. Start out at the end of the section of hair and begin winding it onto the pad.

Wind it down to the scalp.

Twist the pipe cleaner to make it stay.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Plastic Grocery Sack Trash Can Liners

I still see store bought tiny trash bags for bathroom trash cans in people's homes/businesses, and I wonder why they buy them. It is easy and virtually free to use your left over plastic grocery sacks for that purpose. And they come with convenient handles to tie them off.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hard Suitcase Toy Boxes

I use old hard suitcases that no one wants anymore and are pretty cheap at yard sales to organize my child's heavier or large collection of toys. I have put blocks in one and cars in another. Easily moved and pretty cheap storage. They stack nicely (I only get the flat sided ones.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Extra Gasoline

When you are at the fueling station, have you ever taken note of the fact that the hose makes a "u" and then comes back up to the fuel dispenser? Prior to fueling up, lift that hose up and you will get about 1/4 cup of gasoline that is standing there (if the previous fueler didn't do this) and after filling up, bring the hose up again and you can get about another 1/4 cup. I tried this once onto the ground and in fact that was about how much gas spilled out, not that it is very much but every little bit helps!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blog Scrapbook and Diary for Your Child

I made a physical scrapbook for my infant through her first year. As a baby it was pretty easy, her accomplishments and growth was fairly recordable on "film," but as a toddler, it was getting pretty hard to remember to write down all the new words, etc. and organize them for later scrapbooking. When she had turned 18 months and I was forgetting things she was doing, but didn't feel like I could make a scrapbook page, I felt I needed an alternative.

Plus, scrapbooking was getting expensive even though I was mainly using dollar store scrapbooking supplies and printouts from my computer, and I had no way to put in my digital video. So, I signed up for a blogger account (Like this one). It's free, and I can put on photos and videos. Each day the kiddo does something that I feel would be of interest, I write a small blurb (or large blurb depending on the day).

Don't worry about it being public. You can go into settings > permissions and make it totally private or readable by email invitation only.

The grandmas love that they can get on and see what she is doing almost every day since they live far away. And I like the fact that I can put down the stuff she does and not worry about forgetting that she licked the knothole in every fence post or held hands with the cute little boy at library story hour, etc.

If you are afraid that it isn't permanent and can be destroyed by the internet at any time, then you can backup your data. This one worked for me Blogger Backup

Use Blurb to make a book of your kiddos blog periodically.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wool Sweater Diaper Bag

Now that I made a dirty diaper bag from an old wool sweater, why not have a diaper bag to match?

First I took one of my really thick felted wool sweaters (shrunk in a hot/cold wash and dried in the dryer) that I felt was too bulky for a diaper cover or longie. I cut off the sleeves from the body which I will make the dirty diaper bag from. The body is what I will be using for the bag.

Using a folded diaper as a guide for how deep I wanted the diaper bag to be. This one nicely fell at the armpit holes. I cut from one side to the other front only. Then I cut off the neck hole. The flap of the back of the sweater will be my bag flap.

I felt it was too big for a bag and took off some inches to my desired size. Then I turned it inside out and sewed up the bottom waistband and the newly cut side.

Then I sewed up a hole in the sweater with a zigzag stitch that was luckily in a place where the flap will cover it.

Then using the neck hole excess, I made two long strips of sweater since I couldn't get one length long enough for a strap.

Then I sewed each end into the corner of the bag. I held it onto my shoulder and decided where I wanted to sew the straps together to make it the length I want (Hint: Go shorter than you want because the strap will stretch some when carrying it around loaded with supplies) I used this kind of stitch to make sure it was a strong seam.

Then I rounded the corners of my flap because I wanted to and there you have it! It may not be the most gorgeous diaper bag in the world, but it cost me less than $1!

I've stocked it with diaper liners, diapers, a wool cover, my dirty diaper wool bag and a ziplock bag of premoistened diaper wipes.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wool Sweater Dirty Cloth Diaper Bag

So, I have to admit for 2 years I have been taking the baby out on errands around town in a disposable. If I knew I was going to be gone longer than 30 minutes, I put her in a disposable so I didn't have to worry about carting around a dirty diaper. Last week, I tried to go out on a several hour run in cloth diapers and put the dirty ones in a gallon ziplock bag, but the fumes when opening it were overwhelming and I knew I couldn't reuse the bag.

So, I was cruising around a cloth diaper selling site when I saw them offering a wool wet diaper bag for $30+ dollars. Wait a minute, duh! I can use those wool sweaters that don't shrink so nice and make one myself! I'm just kicking myself for not thinking of it every time I put her in a disposable for a run to the grocery store these last two years when I knew I could get around it if I would just think.

First I took one of my really thick felted wool sweaters (shrunk in a hot/cold wash and dried in the dryer) that I felt was too bulky for a diaper cover or longie. I cut off the sleeves from the body. I will be making this out of the sleeves, I am reserving the body for a matching cloth diaper bag.

I cut the sleeves to the length of bag that I felt would contain a folded wet diaper by using a diaper as a "ruler."

Then I cut open the sleeves.

I placed the sleeves inside out on top of each other. Then I cut it into the shape of the bag I wanted. This sweater's sleeves shrunk with more of a bell shape than I wanted for a bag. Then, I sewed all around the edges leaving the cuff edge as the opening.

Then I decided on the number of buttonholes I wanted. It should be an even number and this one took 6. I marked where I wanted them with pins and took it to the sewing machine.

I made a drawstring by braiding three strands of yarn together and here is my dirty cloth diaper bag. I will wash it along with my covers and this will be reusable and not as stinky as a ziploc bag.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Skylight Shade Curtain

I have two skylights in my office which not only heat up the room in the summer when heat isn't wanted, but also at certain times of the day create a glare on my computer screen. I went to Lowe's to price skylight shades and I could not fathom paying that much. So I came up with this idea instead.

I took two tension rods per skylight and took some scrap dark fabric and some scrap white shiny fabric. I first measured my skylights and made the length of the fabric the same as the window but added enough inches for a large hem on both sides of the curtain for the tension rod slots. (I should have been a little more generous in retrospect, but it works well enough.)

I sewed shiny white fabric on top in the direction that the curtain would be facing the outside to reflect the light.

I have put these curtains in and even though I was a little off in the width, they have significantly cut down on the summer heat and no more glare on the computer. I can leave them in and scrunch down the fabric to open it up halfway to let in light yet still keep the glare off the computer.

The only inconvenience is still having to get up on the ladder to open or close them.