Author Archives: Jennifer Noonan

About Jennifer Noonan

Jennifer Noonan is a writer (and home improvement lover!) living in Delaware. Check her out on Google +!

Staying Safe: 5 Home Must-Haves for Storm Emergencies

Don't wait for storm clouds—or warnings—before taking steps to keep your family safe. Here are 5 things you can do today to keep you safe and storm-ready should rough weather strike tomorrow.

Shutterstock

Photo: shutterstock.com

The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially true when it comes to storm emergencies. Almost everyone knows you should have batteries and water on hand when the weatherman sends out the warning. Still, so many people end up scrambling at the last minute, with wind and rain bearing down, waiting in long lines at stores that are already sold out of storm essentials. Don’t get caught unprepared. Here are five home must-haves to keep you—and your family—safe should a storm emergency occur.

Energizer Weatheready Area Light

1.5-Volt Energizer Weatheready® 360-Degree Area Light at The Home Depot for $17.97.

1. Light & Batteries. When the power fails, it’s essential to have an alternative light source—and the batteries to power it. Consider something that is compact, yet offers abundant light, like the Energizer® Weatheready® 360-Degree Area Light, available at The Home Depot. The 1.5-volt lantern powers an LED bulb and operates on either AA or D batteries. (You can also use it for camping or wherever an additional light source may be required.) Make sure to have an ample supply of batteries not just for it, but for flashlights and portable radios as well.

2. Food & Water. You should keep a supply of food and water set aside for storm-related emergencies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends storing at least one gallon of water per day for each member of your family, and to store a two-week supply. If you can’t store that much, store what you can. You should also consider storing a two-week supply of food. Include foods that are high in calories and nutrition, and that don’t require refrigeration, water, or special preparation. Canned food, dry mixes, and cupboard staples are all good to stock. Keep your stores in a cool, dry place—dark, if possible. Monitor the expiration dates, and be sure to use things before they go bad, replacing as necessary.

Sentry Safe

Sentry®Safe Waterproof, Fire-Safe® Security Chest at The Home Depot for $28.97

3. Protection for Documents & Records. Storms and natural disasters can displace people from their homes, and sometimes destroy their homes altogether. It may be unpleasant to think about, but prepare for the worst. Recovering from disaster is hard enough—it’s even harder if you can’t prove who you are. Protect your important identification documents, such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, marriage certificates, adoption papers, passports, and naturalization documents, in something like a Sentry®Safe Waterproof, Fire-Safe® Security Chest. It will keep everything safe from water and fire damage, and, because it is compact and portable, you can take it with you if necessary. Other documents you should protect are wills, living wills, powers of attorney, and property deeds and titles. You can also store important DVDs, portable disks, and flash drives.

4. Plan for Evacuation. Should a big storm come your way, it may be necessary to evacuate. You’ll fare better if you are prepared, so develop an evacuation plan before your area is threatened. In devising your plan, keep a few considerations in mind:
- Be aware of low-lying areas on your evacuation route, and prepare for ways to circumvent them if necessary.
- Choose a destination to evacuate to that is outside of the affected area, preferably with family or friends who live close to your home, but who won’t need to evacuate. Hotels and motels fill quickly in evacuations, so if you do need to stay in one, make a reservation as early as possible.
- If you can’t get to family or friends or a hotel or motel, plan to go to a shelter. But be prepared to bring your disaster supply kit with you, and make arrangements for any pets, as shelters will not accept them.
- If you’re evacuating by car, be sure your tank is full of gas. Traffic jams are a given, and fuel supplies on the road could be very limited.

3M First Aid Kit

3M™ 169-piece First-Aid Kit at The Home Depot for $19.97.

5. First-Aid Kit. Be ready to handle minor injuries, because emergency workers will be stretched thin during a major storm. Have a first-aid kit on hand, such as the 3M™ First-Aid Kit, which comes in a portable carrying case and includes bandages, gauze, a cold compress, scissors, tweezers, and more.

With proper preparation, you can ride out a storm or natural disaster in relative comfort, with a modicum of inconvenience. So, don’t wait for the governor to declare a state of emergency.  Stock up now, be ready, and have peace of mind.

 

This article is sponsored on behalf of The Home Depot. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Weekend Projects: 5 Quirky Ways to Build a Bird Feeder

A DIY bird feeder will attract feathered friends to your yard and charm two-legged visitors of the wingless variety.

Whether you’re washing dishes at the sink or sitting at the desk in your home office, it’s pleasant to look out the window and see birds atwitter in the yard. You can invite feathered friends to your property—and help them survive difficult winters—with a bird feeder of your own devising. With only a modest investment of time and a minimal number of basic tools and materials, you can easily create a DIY bird feeder that will provide an enduring enhancement to your landscape.

 

1. TWEAK A TEACUP

DIY Bird Feeder - Tea Cup

Photo: elizabethkartchner.com

Here’s an offbeat yet undeniably charming DIY bird feeder design: Using strong adhesive and a cut-to-length wooden dowel, you can transform a teacup-and-saucer combination into a pretty pit stop for peckish winged creatures. Include a spoon too—it makes the perfect perch for incoming and departing birds.

 

2. HANG A CAN

DIY Bird Feeder - Paint Can

Photo: goodhousekeeping.com

Got any empty paint cans sitting around your basement or garage? Choose a small one, and coat its exterior in a bright color. Next, reach for the hot glue gun, using the tool to affix a 3/16-inch dowel to the lip of the can. Wrap and secure a strand of ribbon around the middle of the can, and use the ends to suspend it from a tree limb.

 

3. BOTTLE-FEED A HUMMINGBIRD

Wine Bottle

Photo: sierranevadacreations.com

Almost any bottle can become a DIY bird feeder specially suited for summer hummingbirds. Decorate the bottle in whatever fashion you please, fill it with nectar, and insert a hummingbird feeder tube into the neck of the bottle. Hang the feeder from a tree via chain, wire, or twine so that it points downward.

 

4. GET IN SHAPE

DIY Bird Feeder - Cookie Cutters

Photo: prudentbaby.com

Your kids would love to join you in the kitchen to help make this waste-free DIY bird feeder. Mix birdseed with plain gelatin and then put the mixture into a series of cookie cutters. Once you’ve filled the molds halfway, insert a loop of twine before finishing. Let them dry overnight, then place your creations at strategic positions around your backyard.

 

5. BORROW A BOWL

DIY Bird Feeder - Repurposed Bowl

Photo: ninered.blogspot.com

You must own at least one bowl that you hardly ever use. Why not take it outside and repurpose the dish into a DIY bird feeder? Decorate the bowl—or don’t—then drill a small hole in its underside for drainage. Finally, drill holes on three sides of the vessel, outfitting each one with an eye hook to facilitate hanging.


Weekend Projects: 5 Beautifully Basic DIY Bookends

Display your favorite books—and your individuality—with a pair of custom-made bookends. Here are five designs you can make in a weekend.

If you have a few especially beloved books in your collection, why not use a pair of DIY bookends to set them apart as a reminder to yourself and a message to your guests? Though making DIY bookends entails some time and effort, the immensely rewarding results can last for years. Scroll down now to see five of our favorite bookends made by creative and stylish do-it-yourselfers. Then either mimic their ideas or let their designs inspire your own signature set.

 

1. DO A DIORAMA

DIY Bookends - Dioramas

Photo: seaofshoes.com

You can stock up on hiking guides and trail maps, or you can invite nature onto your shelf another way: with wilderness-themed DIY bookends. In your local craft store, there’s a section devoted to the supplies needed to put together this diorama. Sand and stain a couple of wood blocks, then glue on the tiny scene of your choice.

 

2. TOY WITH TOYS

DIY Bookends - Toys

Photo: theweekendhomemaker.com

Here’s a way to make some “ferociously” fun DIY bookends for a kid’s room. For each bookend, glue and nail two pieces of wood at right angles, forming an L-shaped base. Prime and spray-paint the two wood bases as well as your chosen figurines. Finally, hot-glue the toys to the painted wood. Voilà: one-of-a-kind decor!

 

3. REPURPOSE A JAR

DIY Bookends - Mason Jars

Photo: sfgoodwill.org

Do the wonders of spray paint ever cease? Choose a can of paint that features a bold, eye-catching color you love, and use it to transform a couple of canning jars into DIY bookends. (If you don’t have glass jars in the pantry, they can be purchased for a song). Once the paint has dried, fill the jars with pebbles or sand for added weight.

 

4. GO FOR A RECORD

DIY Bookends - Vinyl Records

Photo: flickr.com/gasoline_rainbows

For years you’ve held on to a crate full of vinyl records. Choose two, remove them from their sleeves, and then—are you ready for this?—you can actually shape them into retro chic DIY bookends! Run the records under hot water until they’re pliable, then bend them into right angles. Just be careful not to ruin the labels!

 

5. EMBELLISH TWO BRICKS

DIY Bookends - Brick

Photo: abubblylife.com

For DIY bookends like these, you need only a couple of bricks, painter’s tape, and your choice of spray-paint colors. Use the tape to mark off a pleasing geometric design, then spray on a combination of contrasting or complementary colors. There may be no easier—or cheaper—way to control the chaos on your shelves.


Weekend Projects: 5 Bike Racks to DIY on the Cheap

A simple, sturdy bike rack can help you clear up that jumble of two-wheelers in your garage or scattered around your yard. Try one of these DIY bike racks, and you'll have everything stored and tidied up this weekend.

Depending on where you live, you may be completely surprised or utterly unimpressed by this fact: Worldwide, bicycles outnumber automobiles. America’s love affair with bikes began in the 1800s, and that relationship continues to evolve today. Bikes are no longer solely recreational. In urban areas in particular, they are fast becoming a common mode of everyday transportation. But while most home designs include space for an owner’s car, one rarely sees similar accommodation made for pedal-pushed two-wheelers. No matter: You can create your own storage solution. For inspiration, check out these five favorite DIY bike rack projects.

 

1. PVC PIPING

DIY Bike Rack - PVC

Photo: singletrackworld.com

For less than $50 in PVC—and armed only with pipe cement and a handsaw—you can build a DIY bike rack identical to the one shown above. Though large enough to hold the bicycle collection of an entire family, this easily completed assembly is also lightweight enough to be moved from one location to another in the home.

 

2. OFF THE RACK

DIY Bike Rack - Storebought

Photo: bikeforums.net

Browse the aisles of a sporting goods store, and you’re destined to find a selection of ready-made bicycle storage products. In many instances, it’s possible to build your own approximation of these designs with off-the-shelf items sold at your local home center. The DIY bike rack shown here cost less than $100 to put together.

 

3. SCRAP WOOD

DIY Bike Rack - Scrap Wood

Photo: singletracks.com

To make this rack, you won’t have to look any further than your basement or garage workshop, if you keep a stash of scrap wood in either locale. Only straight cuts are needed, at least in the examples pictured, so woodworking expertise is not a prerequisite. If you choose, paint or stain your creation once complete, or leave it unfinished.

 

4. HANDLEBARS

DIY Bike Rack - Handlebars

Photo: hiconsumption.com

Where floor space is limited, here’s a compact and cool-looking—and yes, somewhat quirky—DIY bike rack idea, perfect for those who love, love, love bikes. Detach the curved handlebars from a vintage racing bike (available online, in thrift stores, or from repair shops) and mount them to the wall with a metal flange.

 

5. PALLETS

DIY Bike Rack - Pallets

Photo: worldwidecyclingatlas.com

A shipping pallet needs no alteration to function as a DIY bike rack. The slats are spaced far enough apart—but not too far apart—to hold a bicycle wheel. Lean the pallet against a wall, whether in your garage or in the garden, and poof—problem solved. Best of all, pallets are readily available, if not for free, then for very little.


5 Ways to Make Your Lawn Care GREEN

This summer, as you work to achieve the perfect lawn, consider steps you can take to contribute to a greener planet too. Here are five eco-friendly ways to make your lawn care green.

Front Yard Landscape

Photo: mostbeautifulgardens.com

Everyone wants a green lawn. Not only does it look good, it reflects a pride of home ownership that is undeniable. But there is a green lawn, and a GREEN lawn—one that’s beauty and care are a direct result of earth-friendly measures and practices. If you are doubting the claim for the latter, it’s more than possible. Here are five strategies to make you more eco-conscious as you strive to achieve the perfect summer lawn.

1. Water Smart
According to the EPA, 30% of the 26 billion gallons of water consumed daily in the United States is for outdoor uses, with irrigation among the largest. Since lawns require only about 1 inch of water per week to remain green during the growing season, get smart by learning when to water and how much. The best time to water is very early in the morning, before the sun and wind increase evaporation. It will take less water to keep your grass hydrated if your sprinklers finish running by 7 or 8 a.m. Next, be sensitive to how much water.  It’s better to water deeply and less frequently than to water a little bit every day.  Watering less often promotes deeper root growth and makes grass hardier.

2. Use Organic Products
The average American lawn receives far more pesticides per acre than farmland.  Since chemical fertilizers and pesticides can run off into water supplies, they can kill the helpful organisms, like earthworms, that are vital to healthy soil.  You can use organic products in place of chemical ones to control weeds and grubs.  Corn gluten is a natural pre-emergent, and keeps weed seeds from sprouting, while adding nitrogen to your lawn.  Milky Spore is effective at controlling Japanese beetle grubs, and is safe for humans, as well as birds, bees, pets, and beneficial insects.  Within a year of using organic products, earthworms and other beneficial microbes will return to your lawn and help keep your soil in balance.

GreenWorks Mower

GreenWorks' Twin Battery-Powered Mower

3. Go Fuel-less
More than 5% of the U.S.’s air pollution emissions comes from lawn mowers, according to the EPA. Using a fuel-less mower and yard tools, like those from GreenWorks, can help to keep hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide out of the atmosphere.  The new G-MAX 20″ 40V Twin Force Mower—the first cordless electric mower to offer a dual blade cutting design—offers a variety of earth-friendly and labor-saving features that start with just a push of a button. Offering up to 70 minutes of runtime from rechargeable twin 40V L-Ion batteries, the mower’s generous 20″ cutting deck and dual blades are engineered for improved cut quality and superior mulching. The 5-position single lever height adjustment also offers a range of cutting heights for the perfect cut on all grass types.

Weighing close to 40 lbs. less than comparable gas mowers, the GreenWorks’ G-MAX Twin Force Mower offers easy operation and maneuverability. And, since it is battery-powered, it is cleaner, quieter, and most importantly, fuel-less.  The versatility of a battery platform makes this an added value since GreenWorks currently offers 14 different tools to accomplish all of your yard work without the need for fuel

4. Keep Your Grass Clippings
Many people see grass clippings as a waste product—bagging them and leaving them at the curb.  But grass clippings are an organic material that can enrich your soil and strengthen your grass.  If they are not too long, you will do your lawn a favor by leaving them where they are. Grass clippings are mostly water, and if left on the ground, will start to decompose almost immediately, putting nutrients back into the soil. With the innovative dual blade design of the GreenWorks Twin Force Mower, you can get finer mulch while cutting making it easier for decomposition.  If you can’t bear to leave clippings on your lawn, consider composting them.  If mixed with other organic materials like leaves and kitchen waste, those clippings will make rich, dark soil you can return to your landscape.

5. Take Care of Your Soil
In reality, you should be feeding your soil, not your grass.  Your soil is a living entity, so feeding the organisms, like earthworms that keep your soil healthy by doing what they do, you will be improving lawn growth. These creatures also need air, so aerate your lawn if it gets compacted by foot traffic or mowing.  If your soil is rich in nutrients and naturally aerated, you won’t need to feed the grass with fertilizers.

So this summer, as you work to achieve the perfect lawn, consider steps you can take to contribute to a greener planet too.

 

This post has been brought to you by GreenWorks Tools. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

 


5 Things to Do with… Tree Stumps

After you cut down a tree, you're left with an unsightly, sad-looking stump. What on earth can you do with that? As it turns out, quite a lot.

As the country emerges from a harsh winter, many homeowners are facing the prospect of cutting down and cleaning up hazardous trees. Certainly, a felled tree could go a long way toward replenishing your store of firewood. But for those without a fireplace—or for a do-it-yourselfer who can’t resist a new project—there are many more creative ways to reuse the stump or other parts of the tree trunk in your house or garden. Scroll down now to check out five of our favorite DIY tree stump ideas from around the Web!

 

1. SET A TABLE

Tree Stump Ideas - Side Tables

Photo: abeautifulmess.com

Bring the outdoors in: Transform a tree stump into a nightstand or side table. The pair shown above were stained white and sealed with a coat of polyurethane. Particularly at home in modern decor, these beautiful surfaces are also quite versatile; each sits on a quartet of caster wheels, providing hassle-free portability.

 

2. CONTRIVE A PLANTER

Tree Stump Ideas - Planter

Photo: flickr.com/heylucyloo

It can be challenging to remove a tree stump. The main reason to go to all that effort is to get rid of an eyesore. Here’s a labor-saving compromise: Convert the stump into a planter. Use a chisel or a power drill to hollow out the stump to the depth and width desired. Then simply add soil and your choice of flora.

 

3. READY A BIRDBATH

Tree Stump Ideas - Bird Bath

Photo: shutterstock.com

With a tree stump, you can easily create a birdbath that integrates seamlessly with your landscape. Locate a tree stump on your property that is either flat to begin with or can be made flat. Position a large plate, tray, or pot saucer on the stump and fill the vessel with water. Then watch as birds bathe and butterflies and bees visit for a drink.

 

4. BOOST A STOOL

Tree Stump Ideas - Stools

Photo: fun.kyti.me

Indoors or out, a tree stump of the right size—or a hefty log cut from a trunk—makes for a natural place to sit. Make your “stump stool” more comfortable by attaching a cushion to the top. Using canvas (choose a weather-resistant material if you plan on putting the stool outdoors), sew a basic pillow in a round shape that can fit like a sleeve over the flat-topped stump.

 

5. DESIGN A PLAYGROUND

Tree Stump Ideas - Playground

Photo: carrieannesnyder.blogspot.com

If you’d like to build a natural playground in your backyard, rounds cut from a trunk are the ideal building blocks. Arrange rounds of varying heights in a straight line for a rudimentary obstacle course. Then for a balance beam, lay a large log across two shorter stumps. Encourage your kids to devise their own challenging layouts!


Weekend Projects: 5 Sturdy and Stylish DIY Dining Tables

To create a dining table that's perfect for your family and your surroundings, go the DIY route. While you may need to scrounge a bit for materials, you'll end up with a piece that's just right.

The dining table is where families gather to enjoy meals, swap stories, and make memories. Given its central role in the life of any household, doesn’t it make sense to customize your dining table to meet your needs precisely and coordinate attractively with your decor? You’d be surprised by the number of sturdy and stylish dining table designs that are easy enough for a beginning do-it-yourselfer to create. This weekend, instead of shopping around for the perfect piece, create your own DIY dining table.

 

1. REPURPOSE PALLETS

Pallet Dining Table

Photo: lanared.blogspot.com

Rich in character, this DIY dining table includes a mix of materials. The tabletop is an old door that’s been sanded smooth and surfaced with scrap wood repurposed from shipping pallets. Charmingly unrefined in its look, this table is as great a conversation starter as it is a place to have a conversation.

 

2. SPIFF UP A SPOOL

DIY Dining Table - Spool

Photo: etsy.com

A large wooden electrical cable spool lends itself naturally to reuse as a dining table, perfect for a compact apartment or eat-in kitchen. To complete the arrangement, use smaller spools as matching chairs. Here, a variety of translucent stains work together to create a geometric peace sign pattern.

 

3. RETOOL A SEWING MACHINE 

DIY Dining Table - Sewing Machine

Photo: allsortsofpretty.com

For an easy, eye-catching DIY dining table, start with the legs of an antique sewing machine. You can find these vintage wrought-iron gems either online or at your local thrift store. The tabletop, meanwhile, is simply made from boards of stock lumber that have been stained to highlight and enhance the wood’s natural beauty.

 

4. GIVE A DOOR SOME LEGS

DIY Dining Table - Door

Photo: staceyembracingchange.com

Here’s yet another DIY dining table that involves an old door. Readily available—perhaps you already have one in your basement—a wood door doesn’t need much alteration to become an eating surface. Although a pair of wooden sawhorses function as the legs here, you can raise a door on many different types of platforms.

 

5. SUPPORT A BUTCHER BLOCK

DIY Dining Table - Butcher Block

Photo: lumberjockeys.com

The advantage of butcher block is its resilience; after all, people use this stuff for cutting boards. Joining together multiple blocks can be time-consuming, though. The quickest route to a DIY dining table like this is to purchase a premade butcher-block countertop and to support the surface on hairpin legs.


5 Things to Do with… Artificial Turf

Today's synthetics are a far cry from your father's artificial turf. New products more closely resemble the real thing and can be incorporated into some authentically creative DIY projects. Check out just a few.

When artificial turf came onto the scene in the mid-1960s, it offered several advantages over natural grass lawns, ease of maintenance first and foremost. Over the years, advancements in the design and manufacture of artificial turf have made it much more realistic, both in looks and texture. That improvement has not gone unnoticed, inspiring creative types to test out the material in a variety of DIY projects in and around the home. Scroll down to see five of our favorites!

 

1. GROW A WALL

Artificial Turf DIY - Wall

Photo: thehomedepot.com

Here’s an artificial turf DIY project that blurs the boundary between a home office and the leafy yard beyond its window. Unlike wallpaper, fake grass doesn’t call for the use of adhesives; you can nail or staple the green stuff directly over drywall or plaster, creating a distinctive look that can last just as long as you want it, whether a single day or multiple years.

 

2. TEND A TABLE RUNNER

Artificial Turf DIY - Table Runner

Photo: notonhighstreet.com

For a spring-season dinner party in the dining room or a casual backyard get-together, why not repurpose artificial turf as a table runner that’s bound to be a conversation starter among guests? Using a utility knife, you should have little trouble cutting the product into a strip of the appropriate length and width for your table.

 

3. SPROUT A STOOL

Artificial Turf DIY - Stools

Photo: 221vision.com

Introduce a summer theme to your man cave or customize the stools at your backyard bar with seat covers just like these, made from two pieces of artificial turf cleverly joined by means of a heavy-duty sewing machine. Come on, could there be a better way to settle in for an evening daiquiri, mai tai, or piña colada?

 

4. PLANT A PILLOW

Artificial Turf DIY - Pillows

Photo: sfgate.com

Quirky and delightful for any sitting area, whether inside the home or on a deck, porch, or patio, these artificial turf DIY throw pillows are as eye-catching as they are easy to make. Simply cut a large sheet of turf into a pair of equal-size squares, place padding between the two pieces, then finish by sewing the edges closed.

 

5. CULTIVATE A CARPET

Artificial Turf DIY - Floor

Photo: diynetwork.com

When used as a floor covering, artificial turf behaves similarly to traditional carpeting, at least in the sense that both are relatively hassle-free to maintain with a vacuum. But whereas wall-to-wall carpeting isn’t a surface you would typically paint, artificial turf all but cries out for stripes of white to approximate yard lines.


5 Things to Do with… Test Tubes

Test tubs aren't just for the lab! Check out these surprising and practical projects that will have you scattering test tubes all around the house.

Test tubes are commonplace and entirely unremarkable in locations like science labs and chemistry classrooms. But in the home, where you normally wouldn’t expect to come across them, test tubes are an arresting sight. As simple as they are practical—and available in a range of sizes, with or without stoppers—test tubes appear in a variety of storage and decor projects, both in and around the home. Scroll down now to see five favorite test tube crafts from around the Web.

 

1. ARRANGE FLOWERS

Test Tube Crafts - Vase

Photo: ourblogoflove.com

Whereas a single bloom is a pleasing sight, a grouping of flowers serves up a lavish, delightful feast for the eyes. Start with a metal or wooden rack, either wall-mounted or portable. Set a row of test tubes into the rack, fill them to the halfway point with fresh water, then place one or two stems into each vessel.

 

2. KEEP SUPPLIES

Test Tube Crafts - Storage

Photo: madvertizing.wordpress.com

Home office supplies are so often jumbled in a desk drawer, remaining maddeningly elusive on those occasions when you really need a thumbtack or paper clip. Rarely is a desktop organizer as design-savvy as the above set of mini test tubes. Occupying limited real estate, the compact trio keeps all the essentials within easy reach.

 

3. STORE SPICES

Test Tube Crafts - Spice Rack

Photo: instructables.com

If you frequently cook at home, then you already know how quickly and completely a spice collection can take over the cabinet it’s stored in. Sound familiar? Let test tubes come to the rescue! They are perfectly sized, airtight containers for any dried spice, and the colors and textures of the contents make a lovely display.

 

4. TRY A TERRARIUM

Test Tube Crafts - Terrarium

Photo: fragiletaller.etsy.com

There are a million and one ways to do a terrarium. Here’s one more. Fill the bottom quarter of a test tube with pebbles and a small amount of activated charcoal. Next, add about a half-inch of dirt followed by a thumbprint-size piece of moss. Cap the test tube and display it on a stand or attach a magnet and stick it to the refrigerator door.

 

5. HANG A CHANDELIER

Test Tube Crafts - Chandelier

Photo: makezine.com

Simultaneously retro and futuristic, and elegant without being overly formal, a test tube chandelier like this one makes for an unforgettable conversation starter, especially when the integrated tubes are filled to varying levels with dyed water in a spectrum of bright, buoyant hues.


5 Things to Do with… Coffee Grounds

Once you've had your daily cup (or three or four), save those coffee grounds for one of these smart uses.

If you drink coffee, chances are that you drink it every day. Sure, sometimes you get it on the go, but if you’re anything like me, there are plenty of occasions when you brew the stuff at home. Now, think back over the years to all the coffee grounds you’ve chucked into the garbage. If that strikes you as a waste, then you may be interested to know there are many different practical uses for coffee grounds both in and around the home—and a few might even surprise you!

 

1. FERTILIZE YOUR GARDEN

Uses for Coffee Grounds - Fertilizer

Photo: unh.edu

Coffee grounds contain calcium, potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus, all of which are highly beneficial to plant growth. Aware of these qualities, experienced gardeners have long known that one of the best uses for coffee grounds is adding it as a fertilizer near acid-loving varieties like azaleas and rosebushes.

 

2. FIX UP FURNITURE

Uses for Coffee Grounds - Furniture

Photo: onegoodthingbyjillee.com

Some uses for coffee grounds may seem odd, but believe it or not this trick really works: Yes, coffee grounds can effectively conceal a scratch in dark wood furniture. With a cotton swab, rub the grounds into the scratch (or scratches), let them sit for 5 or 10 minutes, then clean them off with a dry cloth.

 

3. DETER SNAILS

Uses for Coffee Grounds - Snails

Photo: wikimedia.org

You learn something new every day: Snails hate caffeine. In fact, if the dosage is a high enough, caffeine can be lethal to gastropods. So, if snails have been sabotaging your flower beds and vegetable patches, try sprinkling coffee grounds at the base of affected plants. Many people say that tea leaves work, too.

 

4. DEODORIZE YOUR FRIDGE

Photo: wehatecleaning.co.uk

Is your refrigerator or freezer getting a little funky? Let a bowl of coffee grounds sit for several hours or overnight. The granules not only absorb foul odors, but also impart their own refreshing scent. If you love the effects of coffee but not its smell, try mixing in a few drops of vanilla or cinnamon extract.

 

5. ENRICH COMPOST

Uses for Coffee Grounds - Compost

Photo: groundtoground.com

Coffee grounds make an excellent addition to the backyard compost heap, because they contain nitrogen, which compost can’t do without. Also, coffee grounds attract the earthworms that further aid decomposition. Just remember to balance the nitrogenous grounds with carbon-rich materials such as leaves.