Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Make Scented Pine Cones


I was in my yard planting flowers and saw some gorgeous pine cones just laying in the street. I had another "Pinterest" moment and quickly gathered them up to do something with. Well, that was a few weeks ago and they have been sitting in a bag just begging to be thrown away by my husband. With the threat of Earth Day hanging over my head...I just couldn't let  that happen. So, I decided to get CRAFT and make my own homemade scented pinecones.

I thought it would be difficult but actually found it to be pretty simple! I know that typically, these guys are scented with cinnamon but it is a bit too strong and "seasonal" for me so I opted for a lighter citrus scent. The steps are easy and you only need a few things so why not jump in and make your own!

Items Need:

  • Essential Oils (your choice)
  • Pine Cones
  • Spray Bottle
  • Container which can be sealed
  • Tin Foil (to line baking sheet)


JACKPOT!1. Collect Pinecones

2. Wash pinecones to remove any debris and bugs :)

3. Bake Pinecones at 250 degrees for about an hour. This will make your house smell awesome BTW! 

4. Add essential oil - there are 2 ways to do can
A) Put the pinecones in a container and drop in a few drops of essential oil. Shake well then seal for a week.
B) Add essential oil and water to a spray bottle. Spray the pinecones down with your scented water. With this method, you will only need to place the cones into a container for an hour or so then let them air dry the rest of the way.

The pinecones can be used over and over again and are a beautiful addition to any room.


Repurposed Glass Jars - Homemade Sea Glass


Homemade "Sea Glass"

So I am going to admit that this wasn't my creation. I have watched this trick make its way around pinterest until I finally had enough glass jars to keep all of the kiddies busy at the same time. My husband has been looking at me like I was crazy for saving these BTW...

This look is all over the stores right now! I spotted one in a teal color at TJ Maxx the other day that was marked at $50! After seeing how easy it was to make...I will find a huge vase at the Goodwill and will just make it myself.

So, here is all you need to make your own Pretty "Sea Glass"

1. Food Coloring
2. Foam Brushes
3. White School Glue
4. Glass Jars ( I used old candle jars and jelly jars)

This is really the easiest thing that I have picked up from Pinterest.

Check out this BEFORE and AFTER!

Please remember that the kids made these! I did go behind and do a second coat but they did most of the work themselves.


Take a DRY clean glass jar. I used candle jars and jelly and pickle jars.

Mix together white school glue and food coloring. We used the neon food coloring but you can mix any colors together to get a great effect.

Using a foam brush, paint the jars. We started with a light coat then went back over them with a second and sometimes a third heavier coat.

**Note - I don't know yet if they paint will wash off the outside so be careful getting them wet! School glue is washable so I would think it would go bye-bye!

Let them dry and you have....

This was a great way to spend a chilly afternoon, Upcycle some glass jars, and was a craft that I could keep all of the kids on at once! We have more jars to paint and even the hubby thought they looked cool!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

10 Ways to Recycle "Used" Lemons

10 Ways to Use "Used" Lemons!

My son and I  made a homemade batch of lemonade and ended up with a pile of "used" up lemons! I didn't want to throw them away (even though my husband looked at me like I was crazy) so I had to find ways to use these "leftovers" . Believe it or not, the were very easy to use up and there are hundreds of uses for them. Here are just 10 of them!

 **Quick Tip** Make your lemons easier to juice by rolling them in your hands and then microwaving for about 15 seconds. This will work up the juices and make it easier to squeeze and easier to get out all of the juice possible!

1. ZEST! There is so much of the lemon's flavor held in the rind so it is a shame to waste it! You can flavor almost anything with lemon zest! Add it to pie crusts, meringues, yogurt, etc! It is easier to zest the lemon first BUT it can still be done! If you need to save your zest for later lay your lemon zest out on a paper towel and allow it to dry then store in a glass jar.

2. Flavored Water - So what if you already squeezed out the juice..there is still flavor left! Drop one of these guys into a water bottle or tea pot and you will have delicately flavored water or toss in some crushed mint, rum, sugar, and soda water for a LEMON MOJITO! went too fast! :)

3. Stains on Clothing - Lemons work in the same way that bleach does so be careful! Remove stains from grass, tomatoes, ketchup, and red wine by blotting with lemon juice. You can rub a little salt into too for  a boost of cleaner, and then wash as usual. (may want to test a spot first!)

4. Polish Metals! You can use these to polish aluminum, chrome and stainless steel - use the actual  cut side of the lemon to buff away marks and fingerprints.  If you need a little extra cleaning power, mix a bit of  lemon juice with salt or baking soda to make a paste (this can be used almost anywhere in the house!). It will be gentle enough not leave scratches on the finish but still leave it polished and pretty!

5. Mani Pedi! Give your self a salon perfect manicure! Soak the fingers in warm water for 2-4 minutes and then rub the lemon slice on the nails and hands. If you need a little extra exfoliation..add a dash of salt while you are rubbing!  Lemon helps get rid of dark finger joints and will help moisturize your skin!  Gently rub the nail cuticles. Rinse with warm water and then apply your favorite moistureizer.

6. Clean your microwave!  Add  the used lemons to a microwave-safe bowl and fill it halfway with water. Cook on high for 5 minutes, allowing the water to boil and to steam. Allow the steam to sit for a few minutes then carefully remove the bowl and wipe away the mess!

7. Keep brown sugar soft! How did I not know this?! My brown sugar always turns into a brick of sugar that I have to hack away at to use. To avoid this, try adding some lemon peel -with all of the pulp removed to your bag or container of brown sugar! This will help keep it moist and usable!

8. Soften dry knees and elbows Use a half of the used  lemon and sprinkle it with baking soda.  Just place your elbow or knee in the lemon and twist the lemon (just like it was on a juicer) for about 5 minutes..

9. Garbage Disposal Cleaning - yep....cut these guys down a bit and toss them into your garbage disposal for a quick cleaning!
10.  Homemade "Febreeze" Air freshener - make your own air freshener!  Mix as indicated below them let it set for a bit so the oils in the lemon will infuse into the liquid!
•16 ounce empty spray bottle
•vodka, rubbing alcohol or witch hazel
•smash then add the "used: lemons

11. Whiten Teeth! I haven't tried this yet BUT it is on my list of things to do TODAY!!! Place some baking soda on your toothbrush and add a few drops of lemon juice. DO NOT DO THIS EVERYDAY as lemon juice is acidic!!! Brush your teeth right after with your normal toothpaste.  If you have these handy "used" lemons....cut it in a small piece..add the baking soda and brush WITH the lemon!

There are so many more ways to use them! They are said to remove age spots, sooth sore throats, lighten dark hair in the sun, clean your house and even brighten teeth!

Check out my list of homemade "green cleaners" click HERE! you can add lemon to any of these to boost the scent AND the cleaning power!

If you have a fun way to re-use Used lemons...please share!

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Save Money By Recycling Candles! 3 Easy Ways!!!

Recycling Candles Can Save You Green!

If you have read my blogs before, you know that I am a self admitted "cheap-skate".  I am also on a mission to reduce the amount of waste produced by my family. While I would like to say that I am going "green" to make a socially accepted statement, I honestly am not. My husband may call me a "hippie" but I leaned in business that waste equals money so I am applying this thought process to my home life. The more waste we throw away, the more money we spend. You can see this ideology reflected in the number of companies eliminating packaging and offering their consumers to opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint by "re-using" previous containers. Are they making a statement...nah...they saved money on the packaging!

I began my household spending and waste reduction by making my own green cleaning supplies. My husband hated to admit that they worked but the did so I was ready for my next challenge! I went to my cupboard and what did I find....over a dozen candle jars with leftover wax. Many of these cost $10 or more depending on the brand. Please remember, I am CHEAP and consider a $10 candle a luxury item. I buy them...but they aren't necessary. In the past, I have tried spending less on them but find that the scent and the burn time are not the same. These fallen soldiers have burned as far down as they could and now all I have to show for my $10 is a jar and extra wax. I am calling it a scam.The candle companies tempt you to make the purchase by providing nicer jars and making them seem as big as possible thereby increasing their apparent value. At the end of the day, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. When they have given you all they could..... you simply toss an expensive jar and over an inch of sweet smelling wax in the trash can. CONSPIRACY! are my thrifty (cheap) solutions. They are ways to recycle that unused wax and the gorgeous jar it came in.

1. EASY--Make your own candles!! This is easier than it sounds. Sure---you can go buy more wax and scent and make enough candles for everyone but you already paid for the scented wax and jar so why not just use what you have!
  • Depending on the wax, you can scrape it out of the jar with a spoon or you can place the jar in the microwave for a few seconds. If the metal part of the wick is exposed, remove it prior to placing into the microwave! I have heard of other methods involving boiling water but I have 5 kids so quick and easy is best for me.
  • Wash and dry the container you wish to use. You will need to place a wick at the bottom of the jar. Wicks are very inexpensive and can be purchased at craft stores. You can place a dot of hot glue to hold the wick in place but it isn't always necessary.
  • Now its time to put the wax in your recycled candle. If I scraped it out, I sometimes will just toss it straight into my readied jar making sure that it is butted up next to the wick. I sit it on my oven when I bake and as it warms, it will melt down and become a candle. If you have used the microwave to melt your wax, you should be able to pour the warmed wax directly into your new candle! If you are pouring, be sure to hold the wick straight up as you do to keep it from falling into the wax!
2. EASIER-- Use them like candle tarts -Many brands are now selling candle "tarts" . These tarts are simply candle wax molded into shapes that you melt down to release the scent.
  • Simply scape your unused candle wax into your tart warmer (if you have one) and you now have made your own tart! Okay, so it didn't start out as the same shape...but they all look the same when they are melted! :) I have even heard of some people just placing them into a decorative tin and placing them on a radiator, heating vent, or just on top of the oven as they bake to release the scent! The wick can be easily plucked from the jar and the jar can be reused!
  • QUICK TIP!!! To get remaining wax out of the jar add water to the jar and place the candle in the microwave for a minute or so. The wax will melt and will float on the water. Then you pour it out and are left with a completely wax free jar!
3. EASIEST--If you have a cupboard full of unusable candles and still have new ones that you are burning---simply chunk the wax out of your unusable candles and add it to the candles you are currently burning! This will use up the leftover wax and extend the life of your newly purchased candles!
I know that to some people this may seem like a waste of time and energy but it will certainly save candle addicts some green over the course of a year. It is also a great way to teach your children about saving money and is a low cost "quality time" activity with them. If you get started and enjoy extending candles, you can make candles for friends and family. Your local craft store will have all of the supplies (wax, scent, & wicks) and for about $20, you can make a dozen candles. If you are going to do this many, I would advise keeping an old crock pot just for candle making to melt your new wax and then ladle it into you candle. My next blog will have the full steps to candle making so stay posted!

Enjoy getting green and saving money! If you have any tips on these candles or other ways you save money...PLEASE SHARE!