How to Recover a Lampshade

How to Recover a Lampshade

Thrift stores are full of lamps that are just begging for a makeover.

Thrift Store Lampshade Before

I mean, take a look at this vintage lamp that I found at a thrift store a few months ago. I was immediately drawn to the color and the raised bamboo pattern. It just needed the right lampshade to bring it back to life. [Read more…]

Make Your Own Ant Bait Traps

Make Your Own Ant Bait Traps

Dealing with ants now that the weather has warmed up? Yep, so are we. For the past couple summers we’ve had a persistent ant problem centered around our kitchen sink, and our tried-and-true solutions haven’t been working. We’ve made ant poison by mixing borax and powdered sugar together in equal parts. We’ve kept the sink cleaned out and dry. We’ve wiped down the sink and surrounding countertops with vinegar to remove their scent trails. None of it’s working. So, it’s clearly time to up our game.

And up it, we have. We just made a bunch of homemade ant bait traps. One went in the sink, where we’re seeing the ants, and the rest went around the foundation of our house. Makes sense, right? I mean why wait for the ants to come into your house? Kill’em before they have a chance to get there.

Here’s a look at how we made our ant bait traps. [Read more…]

Let’s Talk Trash

I’ve shown you many of the things that we’ve rescued from other people’s curb piles over the years, but I haven’t shown you what we rescue from our own trash. And that’s as much a part of how we save money. So, let me take you through some of the things that we’ve deemed too good to throw out, and I’ll show you how we use them.

Washi Tape

Bread Tags

I stick them on the ends of my Washi tape rolls, so we don’t have to peel up the ends every time we use them. This saves us quite a bit of time when we’re preparing Etsy orders.

Gift Baskets

Take-Out Containers, Strawberry Boxes and Oatmeal Containers

This is my gift wrap of choice. Just add a little tissue paper, and you have the perfect presentation. Since these containers are food-safe, they also work beautifully for wrapping food gifts. Click here to see more examples.

Homemade Bug Repellent

Empty Deodorant Containers

I wash them out, and refill them with my homemade bug repellent sticks.

Board Game

Plastic Newspaper Sleeves

I use them to bundle small items together when we’re having a yard sale or participating in a consignment sale. Just tie a knot in the top, and you don’t have to worry about anything falling out.

Wintersowing Milk Jug Greenhouse

Milk Jugs

We save them all winter. Then, we use them to wintersow our garden seeds.


Egg Cartons

Since we have chickens, we refill our cartons again and again until they’re worn out. Then, they go in the compost pile. Occasionally, I’ll use them to make fire starters. Just stuff the cups with dryer lint (something else I don’t throw away); pour melted wax over top; and you have a great fire starter.

Egg Shells

Egg Shells

Since egg shells are full of calcium, they’re the ideal fertilizer for tomatoes. And since broken egg shells are sharp to the touch, they’re also an excellent pest deterrent. Just grind them up, and sprinkle them around your vegetable plants throughout the growing season, to prevent blossom end rot and keep slugs, cats and other garden pests away.

Plastic Grocery Bags

Plastic Grocery Bags

Paying for trash bags pains me, so we use grocery bags in all of our small trash bags. That just leaves us buying bags for the kitchen trash can, which is painful enough.

Dried Herbs

Spice Jars (lids off parm cheese)

I grow and dry a lot of my own spices, so I wash and reuse my store-bought spice jars. I also keep the lids off of my empty Parmesan cheese containers. When you screw them onto a wide-mouth jar, you have the perfect container for storing bulk spices.

Candle Wax

Old Candles

When I’ve burned a candle all the way to the bottom, I melt down the remaining wax, and use it to make a new candle or a batch of fire starters.

So, those are some of the things that I don’t throw away, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a bunch more. Are there things that you refuse to throw out? I’d love to hear from you.

My Cleaning Kit

My Cleaning Kit

As my mad scientist skills have improved over the years, I’ve been able to replace many of the store-bought cleaners that I used to buy with homemade cleaning solutions. Here’s a look at what I keep in my cleaning kit these days. [Read more…]

Shopping for Car Parts at a Junk Yard

2002 Jeep Liberty

High-mileage vehicles – they’re kind of our thing. We buy used cars, and then we do whatever it takes to keep them on the road. A coat of wax twice a year keeps the paint looking nice, and some basic maintenance and upkeep helps us to avoid many expensive repairs.

So, when we bought our weekend homestead, and suddenly found we needed a vehicle with four-wheel drive (our other vehicle couldn’t make the drive in), we didn’t hesitate to buy another high-mileage vehicle – a 2002 Jeep Liberty with 189,00 miles. The body was good. It drove well, and it didn’t seem to have any major mechanical issues.

We paid just $2,900 for it – taxes and all, so we figured there was plenty of room to make repairs, if we needed, too. And you know what? We’ve been driving it for four months now, and in that time we’ve only had to replace one sensor. Can’t complain about that.

Having gained some confidence in our Jeep, we decided it was time to address some of the small issues that it came with. [Read more…]