How to Build a Carpenter Bee Trap

Build a Carpenter Bee Trap

I’ve done a lot to attract bees to my garden – planting flowers that they like, building them houses, etc. But carpenter bees? I’m not a fan. They do too much damage to our house, tree house and swing set each year for me to be on good terms with them. I’ve read article after article that says they only go after non-treated, rotting wood, but that hasn’t been my experience at all.

Carpenter Bee Damage

See those holes? They were made by carpenter bees. That’s pressure treated lumber, and they started boring holes in it as soon as we finished building our tree house. They continue to bore new holes in it every spring.

When we built a new roof overhang over the basement a couple years ago, they bored holes through the new cedar supports, before we had a chance to finish them, and they continued to bore holes through them even after we stained them. They’re destructive creatures, I tell you.

So, this year, it’s on. Since we’re not fans of chemical solutions, my husband and I decided to build some carpenter bee traps. We’ve been seeing them in catalogs lately, so we did some research, and came up with our own design. Here’s how it’s made: [Read more…]

Homemade Hair Conditioner Recipe

Homemade Hair Conditioner Recipe

When my hair conditioner ran out before I found another clearance deal, I decided to see if I could make my own. After a few rounds of experimenting, I ended up with a conditioner that I like better than any commercial conditioner that I’ve ever tried. It takes me less than five minutes to make; costs very little to put together; and leaves even my oldest daughter’s crazy-long locks easy to brush. I also love that I know exactly what’s in it (not much) and that I can use essential oils to customize it to my hair’s needs.

Want to try my recipe for yourself? Here’s my latest formula (recently tweaked for longer shelf life):

[Read more…]

How to Make Wax Melts

How to Make Wax Melts

I popped into Walmart the other day, and was surprised to discover almost an entire aisle dedicated to wax melts. Wow! I knew they were popular, but I had no idea they were that popular. And here’s the thing: most of the wax melts they were selling were made out of paraffin wax and synthetic fragrances. Those aren’t things I want my family breathing.

But I do like the idea of wax melts. So, I grabbed a cheapy electric warmer (less than $7), and I went home to make my own wax melts. My version cleans the air instead of polluting it, and can easily be tweaked to help with sinus and cold/flu symptoms. Check it out. [Read more…]

How to Make Reusable Food Wrap

Homemade Reusable Food Wrap

Plastic food wrap is a hard product to have love for. It’s disposable, which means you’re buying it just so you can turn around and throw it away; it’s made out of plastic; and it always gets stuck to itself when you try to use it. Annoying!

Well, as of last week, this is one product that I’ve banished from my kitchen. Yep, I’m done with plastic wrap. From now on, I’ll be using reusable food wrap, made from beeswax-dipped cloth. Maybe you’ve seen this stuff, since it’s kind of “in” right now. It’s literally just a piece of fabric that’s been coated in beeswax. The wax makes the fabric waterproof and air-tight, and it gives it just enough body, so that when you press it around the edge of a bowl or casserole dish, it stays put. Pretty nifty. It even folds around a sandwich nicely.

There are actually several companies selling this product right now, but as easy as it is to make, I opted to make my own, which means I also got to pick the fabric.

Ask your grandmothers or your great-grandmothers how they covered food before plastic wrap came along, and you might just find that they used beeswax-dipped fabric. Yep, while beeswax food wrap is trendy right now, it’s far from a new idea.

Ready to banish plastic wrap from your kitchen? Here’s how to make your own reusable food wrap. [Read more…]

Make Your Own School Supplies

My kids started back to school yesterday. Crazy, but true. We dropped them off with their backpacks full of all the supplies on their school supply lists, and as usually happens, they came home with another list of supplies that they needed.

Normally, that’s not a big deal because I keep a big stash of school supplies on hand – things that I’ve gotten free after rebate, on clearance or from yard sales. It’s pretty rare for us to have to run out for school supplies. But this time, they got me. My oldest daughter needed a five-subject notebook, a student planner and a sketchbook. I didn’t have any of those things on hand. Darn it. I did, however, have $40 in Staples Rewards that I’d been saving, just in case, so we headed out to pick up everything she needed.

And that’s when the sticker shock set in.

The cheapest five-subject notebook with a poly cover was $8. A sketchbook with halfway decent paper was $12.99, and most of the student planners were in the $25-35 range. They had a cheapie pocket planner for $6.99, but it didn’t really have any space to write anything.

Did I really want to spend $46, plus tax for three items? Um no.

The longer I stood there, the angrier it made me. A five-subject notebook is nothing more than a pack of filler paper and some dividers sandwiched between a cover and bound with a spiral ring. Why does it cost so much more than filler paper?

Then, it hit me. We could make one. We already had everything we needed at home, including binding machines. In fact, once I thought about it, there really wasn’t any reason we couldn’t make her sketchbook and planner, too.

So, we left the store without buying anything, and within an hour, all of her new supplies were tucked inside her backpack.

Check it out:

Homemade Five-Subject Notebook

We used a poly file folder to create the cover for her five-subject notebook. I had a bunch I’d bought at a yard sale a while back, so I pulled them out, and let her pick what color she wanted. [Read more…]