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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.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Make Your Own Oxi-Clean Solution

Oxi-Clean is sodium percarbonate. What is that? It's hydrogen peroxide and washing soda. (See this post on finding washing soda in your local area)

I mixed up half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and about 1 T of washing soda. I put some blueing in the first mix and not the second and I don't see any difference.

Check for color fastness though, my girl's purple carpet has a slight bleach spot now with the blueing mixed one. :(

Works quite well on the micro suede chair that gets yucky almost everyday.

Got an orange shirt stained with cherry juice. I immediately took it off and washed it with laundry soap by hand and it only made it dark purple blue. I thought I had ruined the shirt, I squirted my homemade oxiclean on it and left it to attend to the toddler and forgot about it. An hour later I went back in to scrub it, and the stain was gone! Woohoo! Didn't even have to scrub!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Inexpensive Weed Killer

Take plain old vinegar, put it in a spray bottle and spray on weeds or plants you do not want at the beginning of a sunny day.



Looks like more than one just a light misting should be used, bet if I sprayed it twice those few bits of grass would have died as well.

Caution: This will kill anything, not just weeds, so if you want to keep your roses, don't use this on them.

UPDATE: I left them dead and didn't pluck them, not sure if they came back or more grew but some greenery can be seen in the area a few weeks later, but it did better than last year's attempt with Roundup. After using Roundup, my area looked more beautifully green with weeds several weeks later than before I used the Roundup; it was like I fertilized the area for them. I am assuming I am supposed to pick the weeds, but just haven't the time.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wowser Wednesday - Duct Tape Security Wallet

Need a new wallet? How about a wallet you can make for yourself out of duct tape, but this guy's design takes into account the fact that some of your cards and IDs have chips in them that can be read by computers. Make a wallet that will keep you from accidentally letting some thief steal it off you while it is in your back pocket.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Save Ink with an Economy Font

Instead of using a regular font for an item that you want to print out to take a look at it, why not use an economy font? An economy font is lettering that has little holes in it to reduce the amount of ink that your printer uses to print it, but remains legible. Of course, you don't want to hand in a business report or college essay with the font.

I downloaded the zip files and they were saved to my desktop. Then I extracted the files. Then I opened up my control panel>fonts folder. I moved the unzipped TrueType font into the font file and all was done and ready for me to use in my programs using fonts.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The GIft of Time Coupons

Is there a birthday or anniversary coming up in the near future? Think about giving the gift of time instead of a plastic toy that will only hold their attention for a few days or flowers that will wilt. Some people's love language is Quality Time and what better way to tell them that you love them than to make them some coupons so that they can ask for quality time when they need it? Determine in your head beforehand though that when they hand you the coupon you fulfill the request as soon as possible and cheerfully otherwise it is worthless.

Here are some ideas:

Read a book to them
Sit and watch a movie with them
Take them out for ice cream cone
Go on a walk with them alone
Play a board game with them
Play a video game with them
Take them fishing
Do a craft project with them
Get to choose the movie for the family to watch
Bath completely full of bubbles
Bake something with them
Go alone to grandma's house or friend's house that siblings usually attend with them
Eat dinner as a picnic
Able to sleep somewhere they want not in their bed (backyard in tents, in the living room with sheet tents, etc.)
Choose the restaurant
A sleepover at your house for their friends
A ride to a friend's house
Use of the car
Pedicure/Manicure session with them
An extra hour past curfew
Get out of a chore

Night of babysitting
Make the dinner for them
Breakfast in Bed
Have guys/girls over and spouse provides the snacks and cleanup for your poker or scrapbook party
Favorite meal
Wash and vacuum their car
Honey-do-free weekend
Do your chores for the day/week

Do your chores with no whining (this is a coupon for kid to give to parent)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Jeans Tote or Grocery Bag

I thought I would make a more durable reusable grocery bag by using old jeans, and I did, but I decided I liked my t-shirt version much better, it is easier and stores nicely. But, if you want to see how I made one from jeans, here it is.

First I cut off both jean legs to the height of 13" I think.

I cut open the legs from the side to make the seam go down the middle. Now I have two pieces, my back and front. They are a bit flared making the optical illusion in this photo that one is larger than the other along with my angle, but they are the same.

Then using one leg of the jeans, I cut off the leg the same length as the bottom hem of my bag for the bottom piece.

And then with the other pants leg, I cut it the same length as the side of the front/back pieces to make the side gussets.

Then I sewed the bottom piece to the front and back.

Then sewed on side pieces.

Then I cut off the waistband, cut it in half and then cut off two belt loops.

I centered the belt loops in the middle of the bag and then put the belt loops as small little loops on one side for attaching to the bag holders at the store.

And the finished bag looks like this:

Well, not right away, this was after ironing the sides and bottom to fold in. I hate ironing so that totally turned me off to making anymore. Plus, if you do this project, you need your sewing machine to use a jeans needle, but I still broke one when I got too many jeans seams together. Will use it for hauling stuff, but didn't care to make anymore.

Here's someone else's tutorial, may be a better one than mine considering it doesn't have gussets.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Straight Razor Saves Money

My husband is slowly getting sucked into the super thrifty lifestyle. He will come home now after a shopping trip and give me the detailed thought process he went through before deciding on coming home and making it himself or searching for it online, etc. I rub off on people; beware before you get too close to me!

So, a few weeks ago, I was proud of him when he came into the office and said, "You know. I have that antique straight razor and a diamond stone. These blade replacements are only lasting me two weeks. I should look up how to use that straight razor." Then he kicked me off the computer to look up how to do it.

It does take a bit of money to begin with. We bought a "Zeepk Straight Razor Set"on ebay for $45 (included was S&H) which is the best deal for all of it that we found (there are smaller kits and the razors themselves are not any good, but the other stuff is worth it (mainly the strop)) and some fancy aftershave; you do need aftershave, but he decided to try the best recommended which was a whopping $30. (You can put "Zeepk Straight Razor Set" in ebay, the store sells many of them) Of course, depending on your shopping skills it can be much more, so if you put in "buy straight razor" in Google and find one for $2000, don't be surprised. But let's say you spend $250 to start because you want some fancier stuff. If you were buying a $20 pack of 4 razors only lasting you two weeks a piece, then you normally spend $120 a year. After 2 years, it is paid for and you never have to buy anything more except shaving soap every now and then (a $2 purchase). Places with pharmacies (Like Walgreens but not Walmart) do carry brushes and soap, so you don't need to keep paying for S&H for a $2 soap which is nice if you live in the middle of nowhere. If you live in big city areas, I've read Nordstroms or fancy retail departments may carry it all. Also ask Grandma if she still has great grandpa's shaving stuff. Mom-in-law has some in her closet - try that avenue too!

Another benefit is that is it the closest shave you can get. His face after using the straight razor 24 hours earlier feels like his initial shave with his disposable razor.

I have to say though that the saving money thing and the fact that he has never had a better shave has become secondary in regards to his motivation. My hubby is a big knife guy. (He blacksmiths his own knives from scrap metal and walks around with patches of hair missing from his arms from the fun he has demonstrating to people how sharp he keeps his knives.) So, the fact that he is getting a big testosterone high from shaving with something that he could kill himself with, I think, is the real reason he is so excited about the process that has compelled him to tell everyone around him about his new thrifty hobby.

So, interested? Here are the sites he found helpful to learn how to reclaim the art of shaving with a straight razor. A warning: straight razor information sites do tend to be written by men running high on testosterone since they shave with a weapon, you will find several with a few bad words mixed in with the information. I wouldn't post any over the top ones, but it seems the ones my hubby found most helpful do have some of these words mixed in.

This is the definitive article according to my husband, it is long, but was essential to his know-how.

Good introduction article. (Questionable language in subtitle otherwise looks clean)

A kid fairly new to the process has a video series. Hubby liked seeing a newbie do it.
Equipment Care Video. Shaving Procedure Video. (Kid uses a few questionable words.)

Video of a man simply shaving with one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wowser Wednesday - Coat Hangar Shaving Caddy

TricksyHobbit posted a nice tutorial on Instructables on how to make a razor and brush caddy for the bathroom. I am sure something like this would work for any number of things in the bathroom.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Extending the Life of Razor Blades

Rust on a razor blade dulls it. So how do you prevent it and make those expensive razor heads last longer? By drying it. Make it a point to shake off your razor, blot it on a towel and store it in a less humid place (outside of the bathroom or in a ziploc bag (only if you make sure it is dry first!).

Need some research to convince you? Using a fan to blow dry a razor after each shave resulted in doubled life expectancy for a disposable razor head.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Inexpensive Aftershave

I have been doing this since I was a teenager. After shaving (especially if I can feel the burn starting), I splash on witch hazel. I put a small amount in the palm of my hand and wipe it on. If I try to tough it out and then decide later that I was silly to do so, the witch hazel is still there waiting for me and helps, but I feel it does better to do it immediately after shaving.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Reader Suggestion Friday - Child's underwear

Thanks to reader Dani' for leading me to a great site for making underwear. Two Wednesday's ago there was a post on t-shirt underwear, but what if you want to make boxers, bras or children's underwear? Here is a link that has some patterns and instructions. All kinds of scrap clothing could be repurposed for underclothes. She even made a thong from a tie!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Curtain Produce Bag

So, if you want to take along your own reusable grocery sacks to the store (See how I made some from a t-shirt here), what about a reusable produce bag for your romaine lettuce, tomatoes or onions?

I took a sheer curtain that got a few runs in it with the help of a kitten. One side was still ok.

I folded it in half and cut 11"wide rectangles. The length was whatever my curtain length was halved, probably 25". I was able to cut three from the curtain avoiding the tears.

Fold them inside out and sew up both sides and then turn them right side out again. Super simple! Put produce inside and tie a knot to keep it in there. The produce is just visible enough to make out what it is. If there is a number the clerk needs to read, then I would probably not knot it since I am not sure I could make it out with the sheerness of this particular curtain.

Stuff these in your reusable grocery bags to make sure they go with you to the store.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wowser Wednesday - Plastic Bags turned into . . . a plastic bag!

Want to take all those flimsy plastic grocery bags you have and make a more sturdy plastic bag? Here is a video describing the process. I really love the idea of using a seatbelt from a junkyard for the strap!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

T-shirt Grocery Bag

Do you want some easy-to-sew handmade reusable grocery bags you can make with something lying around the house? A t-shirt works great for this project. This is not a new idea, but I do have a twist on it.

First, grab a plastic bag from your store that hasn't been opened yet (makes a nice lazy pattern). Stick this on top of your t-shirt with the neck hole centered in between the bag handles.

Cut around the bag, but do not cut the shoulders area. On the right and left side I left a 3" strip for the "gussets."

Flip the shirt bag inside out. Do not sew where the arm holes would be. So just sew around the bottom of the bag starting from the bottom of the neckline on one side to the other.

Now you flip it inside out and viola! An easy handmade reusable grocery bag, but they are a bit inconvenient for the store clerks if you just hand them to them as a wad, so this is where my twist comes in. Cut off two arm sleeve hems and cut it so it makes a long strip.

Then cut about a one inch hole in the handles of the t-shirt grocery sacks. (The picture shows the holes to the inside since that is where the plastic sack holes were located, but I have decided that straight in the middle would work just as well and be stronger.) Thread the arm sleeve hem strips through the pile of bags through these holes and make a simple tie to keep them all together.

Then when you go to the store, you can take your whole pile of bags and slip the bags onto the store's plastic bag holders with one easy step. Then, untie the arm sleeve strips once they are in place and throw them into the bottom of a bag. Now they are ready to pack and pull off individually.

I made a test run of these to see how it would work. I ended up having to show the elderly lady what I meant by placing them on the hooks and taking off the strips. I told her to load them up heavy to test them out, and she put two really huge bags of frozen veggies in one and protested the whole time that it would get them wet, I had to assure her that I could easily dry them. Then she put produce in the other; that didn't really test its mettle, but the frozen veggies did, and the bag worked just fine. It did get a bit damp on the ride home, so I just let it hang from the kitchen drawer pull until it dried. I now feel good enough to make many more in order to have two bunches to give the clerk two bags to work at packing appropriately at the same time.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Homemade Pedialyte

My mother's day gift was a trip to the ER with my toddler who had an ear infection, but I came away with a Making Do tip straight from the ER doctor.

Instead of Pedialyte or Gatorade (these have artificial ingredients) for a vomiting or high fever child, he just takes a small glass of water and puts in three pinches of sugar and three pinches of salt. He uses this for his own kids instead of the pre-made expensive stuff.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Reader Suggestion Friday - Fixing Leaks

Do you have something that should hold water but doesn't? Before throwing it away check out Betsy Bargain's tip:

"My watering can was starting to leak, and I thought I would have to get a new one. My sister suggested I use silicone tub and tile caulking around the spout where it was leaking. It worked great! It no longer leaks, and I won't have to buy a new watering can just yet!"

I am betting tub caulk can fix other leaky things as well.

Check out Betsy Bargain's Talk Thrifty to Me blog.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Aloe Vera Plant

If plants want to survive in my house they have to be as hardy as a cactus! Without being outside where God can take care of my plants for me, they really don't stand much of a chance.

But one plant I can keep is an Aloe Vera. I would have said you can't kill one, but I did last year by leaving it in the car for a few days in freezing temperatures.

I have a few in a pot at the kitchen window so when I burn myself, I can go pull a leaf and squeeze its juice on my wound. When this happens, I am reminded to water the thing. Maybe the only reason why it survives is that fact that I am a clutz and I need it every so often.

It also has tons of other uses: laxative, sunburns, insect bites, etc.

See TipNut (great website by the way) for how to use an aloe vera plant and all the uses it is good for. And how to take care of it, but since I am actually capable of keeping one around, they aren't too picky.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wowser Wednesday - Plastic Bag Pom-Poms

Got a little cheerleader in the house?

Craftastica has a tutorial on how to use those grocery plastic bags to make pom-poms.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Make Your Own Taco Seasonings

Mix up a batch of taco seasoning and put it in an old seasoning bottle. Use about 2 Tablespoons per pound of hamburger (depends on your family's toleration for spices). Don't buy pre-mixed packets when you most likely have all of the items in your spice rack!

1 T chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder or 1/2 tsp onion flakes
1/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne

Try it out in little batches and up or down seasoning to please your own taste buds.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lessen the Seasoning

Seasonings are expensive, so you might experiment with not using as much as a recipe calls for.

Maybe not using a level teaspoon or using only half if you aren't fond of too much of that spice or the last time you made the recipe it was pretty evident that that particular seasoning was being used.

I know that when I bought the McCormick ready-made taco seasoning packets, I never used the whole packet. I poured out approximately half of the package and saved the second half for the next time I did it.

Of course, there are those spices (like garlic!) that I tend to double or putting in heaping spoonfuls! But maybe there are a few spices that you can think of cutting back on and getting a few extra "servings" from the bottle.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Reader Suggestion Friday - Worn Shirt Collar Makeover

Evelyn sent in her tip on how to get some extra life out of the collars of men's shirts:

"When my husband's shirt collars are beginning to look worn, I take my seam ripper and carefully detach the collar from the shirt. Then I simply turn it over, pin it back on, and restitch carefully. It is best not to wait until the collar begins to fray, but even if it is completely worn through, a few carefully placed stitches before reattaching can stabilize the break. This works on any shirt - from work shirts to dress shirts."