DIY: Car Paint Scratches

So I’ve had my current car for almost 2 years now, and never had a garage during that time. Plus, I live in NJ, which has even worse roads than Michigan (didn’t think that was possible). So the paint job has gotten a little beat up–plus I scraped the corner of the bumper during a vacation this summer.

So I decided to do something about it. The problem is, getting it done at the dealership would cost hundreds and regular body shops not much less.

So…I consulted the Google.

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DIY: Sangria!

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I love Sangria. I’m not a big drinker, but I do enjoy a glass of sweet and fruity in the summer, So this time I made my own.

I have a bottle of Rose that is a little meh on its own, but would work perfect as the base–you can use pretty much any wine as the base for Sangria as long as its drinkable but not too expensive (since you’re mixing it with a bunch of other stuff anyway). Spanish red wine is most traditional, but I’ve seen recipes with rose and white as well. Then you usually add some sort of fruit juice–often also alcoholic, sometimes not–and whatever fruit you fancy (apples, oranges, watermelon, lemon, strawberry, etc). Mix it all up in a pitcher and then–this is the important part–let it sit for a bit so the flavors, especially from the fruit, get a chance to meld together.

This time I mixed 2-3 parts rose with 1 part fruit punch with blueberries and strawberry I had left in the freezer. I then let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours. Easy peasy and very yummy 🙂

DIY: Painted Flowerpot!

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I bought a new plant recently. I don’t have the most stellar record with houseplants, but the little parsley was only $1.99 at the local grocery, so I figured what the heck. So far, it has survived the melon nomming on the leaves starting the day I brought it home, so I guess its going to stick around for a while.

The only problem was, the flowerpot I have is too small. So this weekend I stopped by a nearby garden store. The plain terracotta pots were the cheapest, so I picked one up for less than $5. Its kinda boring though, but I have a bunch of acrylic craft paint leftover from paint mad phase I went through in middle/high school.

Originally, I had some mad geometric idea, but crafts never end well when i get too ambitious, so instead I did a spin off of this. Super easy–wipe the pot down, mark off your pattern with masking tape, and paint! And the good thing about water-based acrylic is that it is easy to wash off or paint over if I get bored with it.

DIY: Fortune Cookie Kitty Toy

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I think I’ll call this one a success since the melon has been going absolutely nuts over them…

I found this very simple and easy fortune cookie kitty toy how-to online and thought I would give it a shot–I have a bunch of fabric scraps and half a bottle of dried catnip left over after all. I made two and was going to save one for Mia, but Mango stuck his kitty snoze in and nearly stole both while I was stuffing them with cat nip. I used fleece and the how-to used felt, so I imagine any kind of cloth would do. Ones with some thickness probably hold the shape of the middle “crease” the best though.

Halloween Decorations!

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It’s officially fall now, which would be my favorite season if it wasn’t for the fact that winter follows it. But with fall comes Halloween, and I do like Halloween. In our family we don’t actually carve the pumpkins but rather paint them. I picked up these two on the cheap ($2 for the big, $1 for the small) from the local Farmers’ Market last weekend for some cheerful decorations. I also swapped out my usual kitchen curtains for more appropriate ones using cloth napkins a friend got me a few years ago.

The leaves haven’t quite started changing yet, so I don’t have any pics of their full blazing glory, but my under-the-window blooms are still holding strong.

Repurpose/DIY: Chore Board

I hate doing chores. You know, vacuum, mopping, the whole bit. Laundry only squeaks by because the novelty of having my own washer and dryer after years of living without hasn’t quite lost the shiny yet.

But I like making lists. And I LOVE crossing stuff off of said lists.

Therefore I decided to make my own dry erase chore board. TADA!

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Well, kinda. Dry erase boards, at least the nicer looking ones and not the cheapie dollar dorm/locker ones you find, are sort of expensive. So what do you do? Buy a picture frame instead! The glass writes on and wipes off just the same as a dry erase board. All I did was put a blank piece of paper in the back. Someday I might paint the frame a more interesting color or do a pretty picture in the back, but for now this is more a Repurpose than a straight DIY.

I’ve been using this for a couple months now and…well, I still hate chores. But I have been doing them more on the regular, so I guess that’s an improvement…

DIY Litter Box: Part 2

After picking up my tote (I got an 18 gallon, the bottom of which is about the same footage as my old litter box) I assembled my supplies and got to work.
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What I learned? They lie when they say box cutters will work. Or I don’t know what sort of souped up knives people on the ‘net use, but my cheap little one didn’t do squat (it’s the yellow one in the picture). I spent two nights sawing at it, even tried softening up the plastic with a candle-lighter, and a big fat NOTHING.
          Finally I said screw it and went back to the store. I wanted to spend as little as possible on this project, but this was ridiculous. On more useful internet advice, I bought myself a small soldering iron. Ok, well really a “wood burning kit” because it was the cheapest thing there, but it looked like a soldering iron and works enough like a soldering iron for my purposes so same diff (sorry to all the hardware purists out there). It included the iron, a little stand, and several different tips.
It takes a little finesse, but the trick is to not try to cut through the plastic on the first go. You try that, and it starts to skid off a straight line, get stuck and covered in goo, and result in jagged edges.  Don’t think about it as cutting the plastic so much as melting it out of the way. So after letting it heat up, drag the tip of the iron lightly across the plastic where you want to cut. After you got your guideline, go back over the score you made to actually cut/melt through. Do this a couple of times. The longer you hold the iron in place, the more plastic it melts. Every so often you need to wipe the plastic goo off the tip with a wet towel (if you use paper, make sure it is quite damp to avoid burnage), or it will harden and get stuck there.
          Make sure you do this by a window or in a well ventilated area as the fumes from the melting plastic are icky. Seriously, don’t breathe them in. I accidentally got a few huffs and started a slight headache. Also, after unplugging, let the iron cool in a safe place. I let it cool in the sink away from hands or paws.
          And tada! A new litter box.
          Cost of project: ~$6 for the tote + $18 for the iron = ~$24 total. Not bad. Certainly better than $120 (plus shipping). If you already have a plastic bin or soldering iron around, then you can do this project for free.
          The kitty has been using the new litter box for over a month, and its great. No more mess to clean up and even less litter to sweep up around the box. Think I can call this one a success!