DIY Envelopes

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

These DIY envelopes add a fun and decorative touch to cards and letters. They are quick and easy to make with just a few items you might already have on hand. I used cardstock and scrapbook paper to make my envelopes because it is sturdier and more opaque than most paper. In this blog post, I will show you two ways to make envelopes.

For the first envelope, I used 8″ x 11″ cardstock because the envelope is smaller. For the second envelope, which is larger, I used 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper.


What you need:

  • cardstock or scrapbook paper
  • envelope (for tracing)
  • scissors
  • glue stick or quick dry glue
  • pencil

DIY Envelope #1

Instructions:

  1. First, choose the kind of envelope you would like to make. For my example, I used an invitation envelope.
  2. Next, carefully peel the envelope apart at the seams so it lays flat.


3. Place the envelope on the cardstock and trace around the edges.


4. Cut the traced envelope out of the cardstock.


5. Fold the cardstock envelope, using the first envelope as a guide.


6. Glue the flaps of the envelope. Make sure not to glue the top flap.


7. Wipe off any excess glue.

You’re done!


DIY Envelope #2


Instructions:

  1. First, choose the cardstock or scrapbook paper you would like to use. For this envelope, I used 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper.

2. With the decorative side facing down, fold the bottom corner up to meet the opposite side, making a square.

3. Cut off any extra paper at the top.


4. Next, fold a crease in the paper that crosses the first crease, making an “x”. These creases will be used as a guide.


5. Turn the paper so that one corner faces up. Fold in the other three corners to the middle, using the “x” crease as a guide.


6. Fold the bottom half of the paper up, leaving the top corner as a flap.


7. Lightly glue the bottom and sides of the envelope. Wipe away excess glue.


You’re done! When you’re ready to mail your envelope, seal it with tape or a decorative sticker.


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DIY Mini Vinegar Lemon Glass Cleaner

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

Cell phones these days have put everything we need at our fingertips. Not only can you make a call or text anytime you want, but the possibilities of having the internet on your phone are endless. But, after using your cell phone all day, you’ve probably been stuck with a dirty, greasy screen.

That’s why I came up with the idea of a mini glass cleaner that is small enough to fit in your purse or pocket. The glass cleaner is made with only a few household ingredients and lemon essential oil. Just spray a small amount on your screen and wipe with a tissue.

I found these 15 ml glass bottles with sprayers on Amazon. Each bottle holds about 2 Tbsp. of glass cleaner, so keep in mind while making the glass cleaner that you will need to leave a little room at the top for the sprayer.

What you need:

  • distilled water
  • white vinegar
  • lemon essential oil
  • 15 ml glass bottle with sprayer
  • small plastic funnel (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Pour 1 Tbsp. white vinegar into the spray bottle.
  2. Warm a small amount of distilled water in the microwave for about 20 -30 seconds.
  3. Pour 1 Tbsp. warm distilled water into the spray bottle.

4. Add 4 – 6 drops of lemon essential oil to the spray bottle.

5. Replace cap and shake.

6. Label bottle (optional).

You’re done!


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DIY Water Bottle Name Tags

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

Have you ever gotten your water bottle confused with someone else’s water bottle? Well, these DIY water bottle name tags should solve the problem. These are quick and easy to make, using only some elastic cord and plastic beads.

For my water bottle name tag, I used plastic beads in several colors and letter beads for my initials. Feel free to use any kind of plastic beads you like. Another idea is to use other stand-out beads that you like such as different animals, plants or flowers, hobbies or symbols to mark your water bottle.

What you need:

  • water bottle
  • letter or other stand-out beads
  • other decorative beads
  • elastic cord
  • scissors
  • measuring tape (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Start by wrapping the elastic cord around the water bottle to determine how much you will need to cut. Leave about 4 – 5 inches extra on both ends for tying knots. Keep in mind you will want to stretch the cord so that it fits the water bottle a little snug.

2. If the hole in the beads you are using is too big for a knot, tie a stopper bead at the end. Simply tie the cord through and around the bead and secure it with a knot. This will hold the beads on the cord as you string them.


3. Begin by stringing your decorative beads on the cord. String several inches (about halfway) of beads.


4. Next, string you initials, name, or other stand out beads.

5. Continue with stringing the decorative beads until you have enough to wrap around the water bottle.


6. When enough beads are strung, tie the two ends together in a knot. If necessary, wrap the beaded cord around the bottle before tying, to make sure it fits tight enough. You want the name tag to be tight enough so that it doesn’t fall off the bottle.

7. Trim the ends of the cord and cut the stopper bead off, if necessary.


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Nature Photography and Videos

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

In recent posts, I have been focusing on DIY crafts for around the home. In this post, I would like to share another fun hobby, nature photography.

From time to time, I am able to grab my camera or smartphone and catch wildlife in their natural habitat. Whitetail deer, shown here, are common where I live in Michigan. Recently, the weather has been very hot and humid, so I haven’t been able to make it outdoors to capture more photos. I hope to share more nature photography in future posts.

I have also included a short Youtube video of the same Whitetail deer. Please scroll down to the end of this post to watch the video. Feel free to subscribe to my Youtube channel by clicking the link in the menu on the right.

Photos by Kathleen Quandt

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DIY Braided Sock Dog Toy

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

In an earlier blog post (July 12, 2020), I showed three simple ways to make dog toys out of old socks. The braided sock dog toy, shown above, takes only a few more steps to make. This toy is still uses old socks and is very easy to make.

One thing to keep in mind while making the braided sock dog toy is to use longer socks. You will need several extra inches to braid and tie the socks.


You Will Need:

  • 2 old socks
  • sharp scissors


Instructions:

  1. Begin by cutting the socks open so they lay flat.

2. Cut each sock into three strips, about 2 or 3 inches wide. You will need a total of 6 strips.

3. Gather all 6 strips and tie them together in a tight knot.

4. Pair 2 strips together each to make the 3 pieces needed to make a braid.

5. Begin to braid the sock strips. Pull the strips to tighten the braid as you go.


6. Braid several inches if the sock strips, making sure to leave enough length at the end to tie another knot.


7. Trim the strips to make both sides even. You’re done!


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DIY Pom Pom Cat Toys

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

These pom poms made of yarn may have many uses when it comes to making crafts, but they also make great cat toys. They are simple to make using yarn and a few household items. I have included three ways to make pom poms, each makes a different size.

There are just a couple of things to keep in mind while making your pom poms. First, when tying the pom poms with a separate piece of yarn, be sure to tie very tightly. This is what holds the pom pom together. Second, make sure you hold the pom pom securely in your hand or on a flat surface while cutting the pom pom. This is so pieces of yarn don’t fall out before your’re finished. Third, the more yarn you wrap, the bigger and fuller the pom pom.

What you need (for all three pom poms):

  • yarn
  • fork
  • cardboard
  • jar or can (for tracing)
  • quarter (for tracing)
  • scissors
  • two empty toilet paper rolls or one empty paper towel roll


Small Fork Pom Poms

What you need:

  • yarn
  • fork
  • scissors

Instructions:

  1. Start by wrapping yarn around the fork until the yarn is about an inch thick.
  2. Cut a separate piece of yarn about 12 inches long.
  3. Wrap the piece of yarn around the yarn on the fork through the middle tines. Tie the yarn very tight.
  4. Slide the yarn off the fork and tie the separate piece of yarn tightly again.
  5. Slide the scissors through the loops of the yarn and begin to cut them until they are all cut.
  6. Fluff the pom pom and trim any stray pieces.

Cardboard Circle Pom Poms

What you need:

  • yarn
  • cardboard
  • jar or can (for tracing)
  • quarter (for tracing)
  • pen or pencil
  • scissors

Instructions:

  1. First, trace a jar or can on the cardboard twice.
  2. Then, trace a quarter in the middle of each circle. (shown above)
  3. Cut out both circles with a small space in each one to make the letter “C”.
  4. Put both circles together to make one circle.
  5. Wrap the yarn around the circle until you have reached desired thickness (about 1 inch).
  6. Slide the scissors between the two circles to cut the yarn. Make sure to hold the yarn in place while cutting.
  7. Cut a separate piece of yarn, about 12 inches long.
  8. Place the piece of yarn between the two circles, wrapping the pom pom, and tie tightly. Repeat (optional).
  9. Remove the two cardboard circles.
  10. Fluff and trim the pom pom.

Large Cardboard Roll Pom Poms

What you need:

  • yarn
  • two empty toilet paper rolls or one empty paper towel roll (cut in half)
  • scissors


Instructions:

  1. Begin by wrapping the yarn around both cardboard rolls until you have reached desired thickness.
  2. Cut a separate piece of yarn, about 12 inches long.
  3. Slide the piece of yarn between the two cardboard rolls and tie tightly. Repeat (optional).
  4. Slide the yarn off of the cardboard rolls and tie the yarn tightly again.
  5. Cut the loops of yarn until all of the loops are cut.
  6. Fluff and trim the pom pom.

These pom poms are instant fun for you feline friend! Kitty (a.k.a Ginger, shown above) is curious about her new toys!

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DIY Sock Dog Toys

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

Give those old worn out socks a new life by upcycling them to make dog toys. All it takes is a few old pairs of socks and some other common household items.

These sock toys take very little time and your dog will love them! You will need to tie a knot in the sock to make the toys, so, make sure you choose socks that are long enough.

You will need:

  1. An empty water bottle
  2. A tennis ball
  3. Old socks

Basic Knotted Sock Toy

  1. Hold the sock in both hands and stretch the sock while tying a knot in the middle. Make sure to tie the knot tight so it doesn’t come undone.

Water Bottle Sock Toy

  1. Rinse out an old water bottle and remove the label.
  2. Fit the water bottle into the sock until it reaches the toe.
  3. Tie a tight knot at the top of the bottle.

Tennis Ball Sock Toy

  1. Fit the tennis ball into the sock until it reaches the toe.
  2. Tie a tight knot just above the tennis ball.

You’re done! These DIY sock toys will give your dog endless hours of fun!

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4th of July Fairy Lights

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

Whether you’re throwing a party or just want fun decorations, fairy lights can liven up any decor. They are inexpensive and easy to use. Fairy lights use batteries, and because of this they can be used many different and creative ways.

Because it’s the 4th of July, I decided to use red, white and blue striped ribbon. The same idea could be used for other holidays and festivities by changing the color of the ribbon. For example, use red and green for Christmas, or orange and black for Halloween. How many ribbons you tie on the lights is up to you. Be creative!

What you need:

  • 3/8 inch grosgrain ribbon
  • string of fairy lights
  • scissors

Instructions:

  1. Begin by measuring and cutting several lengths of ribbon. For the photo above, I cut 4 inch pieces of ribbon.

2. To make the ties, start by folding the ribbon in half underneath the fairy lights.

3. Fold the two loose ends down over the fairy lights and through the loop made my folding the ribbon in half.

4. Hold the fairy lights taught while pulling the ribbon into a knot.

5. Repeat this as many times as you want, until you have reached the end of the strand. For the fairy lights pictured above, there is one ribbon tied between each light on the strand.

Another option is to ties bows instead of knots with the ribbon. I used 8 inch pieces of ribbon to make the bows. The trick is to tie the bow directly onto the fairy lights. After the bow is tied tight, then position the ribbon to make the bow look the way you want.

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

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Bug Spray with Citronella Essential Oil

Everyone loves spending time outdoors in the summer. It’s a great time for picnics, gardening, ball games and going to the park. It’s also a great time for pesky mosquitoes.

While store bought bug sprays can be costly and harsh smelling, you can make your own bug spray by using two simple ingredients and citronella essential oil. Citronella essential oil is a natural mosquito repellent. There are many other essential oils are good for using in bug sprays. For this recipe, I have used citronella as my main essential oil, and smaller amounts of lemongrass and eucalyptus essential oils. Adding other essential oils makes a more pleasant smell, and to adds to the strength of the repellent.

Other essential oils for bug sprays:

  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Eucalyptus
  • Tea Tree
  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. spray bottle
  • 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 15 – 20 drops citronella essential oil
  • 3 – 6 drops your choice of other essential oils (listed above)

Instructions:

  1. Add 1/4 cup distilled water and 1/4 cup witch hazel to the spray bottle.
  2. Next, add 15 – 20 drops citronella essential oil.
  3. Add 3 – 6 drops of other essential oils (listed above).
  4. Replace cap and label the bottle (optional). Your’re done!

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Essential Oils: Storage, Safety and Other Uses

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

Essential oils are oils derived from plants through steam distillation. I use essential oils in many things I make for several reasons. Not only do they have a wonderful all-natural smell, but they are known for their medicinal and therapeutic properties.

How to Store Essential Oils

Essential Oils are considered volatile, meaning they will quickly lose their scent and therapeutic properties if they are exposed to air, sunlight, or extreme temperatures. There are a few things you can do to keep your essential oils stored correctly.

  1. Store essential oils in dark glass bottles. Sunlight can cause essential oils to deteriorate and lose their smell. Dark glass such as amber and cobalt keep out harmful light and keep the oils safe.
  2. Store essential oils in a cool dark place. Essential oils need to be stored where the temperature is stable. A shelf or drawer is a good place to keep them cool and away from sunlight. Also, consider buying a wooden essential oil storage box.
  3. Avoid bottles with a rubber stopper or cap. Essential oils can cause the rubber to deteriorate and ruin the essential oils. Instead look for a bottle with a built-in dropper.

Essential Oil Safety Precautions

Essential oils are essentially safe to use, although there are a few simple safety precautions to take when using them.

  1. Do not use essential oils undiluted on skin. This can cause skin irritation. Instead add a few drops of essential oil to a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil.
  2. Some essential oils may cause sensitivity, irritation, or and allergic reaction in some individuals. Try a small patch test on a small area of skin before using.
  3. Watch out for essential oils that are phototoxic, or sun sensitive.

Carrier Oils and Other Uses

Carrier oils are often used to dilute essential oils especially when applied to skin. There are many different types of carrier oils. Although carrier oils have different properties, which carrier oil you choose is up to you.

Some Carrier Oils:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Apricot Kernel Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Rosehip Oil

Essential oils have many uses, such as making household products, health and beauty products, and aromatherapy. They work great in a diffuser because their wonderful scent and for other therapeutic properties.