Posts Tagged "DIY"

Benny’s Big Reveal!

The RV remodeling/renovations are complete! Four months of time, countless trips to the hardware and auto parts store and more work than we anticipated (when is it ever less?) and the only thing left to do is convert Benny the Brave to run on waste veggie oil (WVO) and move a few things in. All Before and After shots here It’s still a little stark, but I’m seeing it as a wide open canvas, to be filled with memories along the way. I’m thinking of embroidering the shower curtain and front window curtains, hanging photos and finding unique items to decorate the walls all while on the road. Interior: Removed vinyl wallpaper from ceiling Refinished ceiling Replaced broken paneling on walls Cleaned more smoke residue off the walls than I thought possible Removed old carpet Removed microwave Built doors for cupboard where microwave was Painted bright white to open space…

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Repairing Reusable Shopping Bags

These canvas shopping bags are about 20 years old. They belonged to my mom; proof we’ve been living green before I even knew what it meant. The average reusable bag has the lifespan of over seven hundred disposable plastic bags. I love the fact they have lasted so long! Canvas shopping bags are the best; their durability is obvious. I’ve seen some reusable bags that were poorly made and had holes or broken handles within a year. The red is even still bright! Using canvas bags can save an average of 425 plastic bags per person, annually! Our “vintage” bags (as the store clerk calls them) only recently broke a couple straps. We load them up pretty heavily and the stress started to show in two of the 8 bags’ handles. Their canvas material makes them easy to repair: I just overlapped the two halfs of the broken handle by a…

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade vanilla extract is the best. And the cheapest! With what we’d spend to buy a few ounces of vanilla extract at the store, we made two large jars full. (Over a year later and we and others are still have barely made a dent!) . One ounce of vanilla beans, sliced open (we bought ours here) One L of vodka or bourbon (any cheap brand will do) Two quart-size mason jars . . Add the alcohol to the jars and the vanilla to the alcohol. Shake on occasion. Don’t take the beans out. Do your best to keep your cocktail-lovin’ husband out of it for at least 6 weeks or until it smells scumptious. . . Enjoy more vanilla extract than you will ever use in a lifetime. Bottle some up, with a bean thrown in for pizazz and give it away as a gift. Use it in your homemade…

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Janky

Jan-ky [jang-kee] -adjective 1. Inferior quality; held in low social regard; old and dilapidated; refers almost exclusively to inanimate material objects: We tried to pick up on these girls waiting for the bus, but I was driving my sister’s janky 1989 Geo Metro so we just got clowned instead. . 2. Poorly constructed or unattractive; put together of whatever you have on hand: We rigged this janky trellis for our grapevine out of hemp twine, scrap wood and nails. . . Cuz that’s how we roll.

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Built!

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to our “brand new” recycled fence! Yessiree, I got my sweet hubby to do one task (and one task only, as per our agreement) while on vacation. And it was a biggie. A total of 12 hours, a rerouting of sprinklers, a bit of concrete, a whole lotta frustration. I learned I can’t hammer for sh*t but I love me a pin gun and chop saw. I learned it doesn’t matter how much you plan, you will make at least three trips to the hardware store before you’re done. We used the lattice for climbing melons or vegetables, and also for honeysuckle and jasmine to attract the butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. We even have a cute little gate up there near the house. We had to dig many post holes and are excited about the healthy soil we found. I’ll have to post before and after photos…

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Homemade Toothpaste

We’ve been using Tom’s of Maine for awhile. While I prefer it (and it’s fluoride-free recipe) over conventional toothpaste, I was tired of the price. I was also tired of running out and forgetting to get more at the store. Since we’ve switched to homemade toothpaste, we’ve not only saved oodles of money but we’ve both noticed a difference in bad breath and morning breath after several weeks of use. And my hygienist (er, aunt) swears this is better than any toothpaste on the market and habitually prescribes it for her patients. I’ve been tinkering with the recipe for awhile now and I think I have it perfected. The “parts” for me refers to teaspoons. Because I don’t know the shelf life of these ingredients once mixed and only two of us use this toothpaste, I prefer to only make a small batch at a time. If you have more people using…

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Homemade Yogurt!

Learning how to make homemade yogurt is so incredibly simple to do and SO inexpensive, I’m actually mesmerized it’s not more popular. First, I boiled a half gallon of organic milk. I used the suggested water jacket so I didn’t scald the bottom. My instructions said to get it to 185 degrees. Then I chilled it to 110 degrees, which is the temp the cultures multiply at. I’m actually wondering if the boiling was necessary or if I could have just brought it to 110 degrees. Anyone know? After that, I added a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt with live cultures. I accidentally bought the Vanilla yogurt instead of Plain yogurt, but I used it anyway and it still turned out great. Lastly I stuck it on a heating pad for the day. My instructions said 7 hours, but recommended taste-testing it before that time. It can also be left…

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Homebrewing

When we first talked about becoming self-sufficient and contemplated setting the goal of not buying anything we can make at home, we discussed all the things that would we have to give up. I foolishly mentioned he might have to cut back on the beer. To which he informed me that he could in fact, brew his own. His excitement grew from there and when asked what sustainable gift he’d like for Father’s Day, a home brew kit was top of the list. (Yu-Gi-Oh cards from Ebay for he and Zeb to play with was a close second.) So he’s done it. He ordered his beer brewing kit. And he’s so excited about it. He purchased a top-of-the-line *organic* homebrewing kit, complete with glass carboys (instead of plastic) and organic Oktoberfest brew ingredients. He used up an about-to-expire bookstore gift certificate (since we rarely buy new books) on a “How…

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More posts about hair?!

I figured after posting all about my own hair, I should fill in some gaps on Justin’s hair. After reading on Path To Freedom’s blog about their Justin’s experiment of using no shampoo, my Justin decided to give this a try. He’s shampooed exactly once since reading this back in March and has had no problems at all. He does a quick rinse with water to wash out any dirt or sawdust from the jobsite. (Others often “no-poo” with baking soda and vinegar, but Justin hasn’t seen the need.) To back this up, I offer you two articles. The first is provided by Jennifer about the Shampoo Scam. The second is in regards to “no-poo” provided via AboutMyPlanet.com. But the best part of Justin’s hair is the haircuts. For a couple years he’s opted to spend $15 at the Hair Cut Conveyor Belt down the street. I finally convinced him…

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Look What I Did!

Thanks to Miranda who showed me the ropes! Woot! I rock!

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