Friday, 30 May 2014

21 Uses For Left Over Coffee Grounds

Once that hot steaming mug of fresh coffee is poured, Most people don't give their coffee grounds a second thought. Check out these clever uses for coffee grounds

  • Odor Elimination: Place the old grounds in a small can under the sink. Next time you chop an onion or fresh garlic, scoop out a small amount of grounds, rub them thoroughly over your hands and rinse. Voila! No more Odor!
  • Fertilizer: Coffee grounds are highly acidic, so spread them generously over the flower beds of acid loving plants for amazing blooms. Acid Loving plants include azaleas, rhododendrons, blueberries, Hydrangeas,lily of the valley, roses and creeping phlox.
  • Make your own Gardeners Soap- melt a bar of glycerin soap and add 1/3 c. coffee grounds, reshape bar in a mold and use.
  • Garbage Disposal Blade Sharpener: add 1 T. Grounds to running garbage disposal (with water running!) to sharpen the blades
  • Ant Repellent- sprinkle old grounds around the perimeter of your home (outside) to deter ants.
  • Dye- steep the grounds in boiling water to make your own dye for paper, fabric or easter eggs
  • Garden- Cat Repellent- mix used grounds with chopped orange peels and sprinkle liberally around your garden and flowerbeds to keep your kitty from using your garden as her restroom.
  • Double Your Harvest of Carrot & Radish- When planting, mix your carrot and radish seeds liberally with coffee grounds, plant as directed.
  • Flea Dip: After bathing your pet (dog or cat) rub 1- 2 c. of coffee grounds into his fur, be sure to work them to the skin, rinse well. Not only does this kill fleas, but will make his fur silky smooth.
  • Make homemade "Henna" Tattoos with dye from Coffee Grounds
  • Cellulite Reducer- if you look at those high price cellulite creams, you'll see coffee is a main ingredient of many. Simply mix 1/4 c. warm coffee grounds (used) and 1 T. Olive oil. Apply liberally to problem areas, wrap with plastic wrap. Let set for 10 minutes, unwrap and shower normally.
  • Grow Mushrooms
  • Feed the worms- if you like fishing and have a wormbed at home, add coffee grounds, they love it! To make the BEST worm beds mix aged horse manure and coffee grounds, add worms. You'll grow some nice big fat ones for fishing!
  • Highlight Hair Naturally- if you have auburn hair, you can rub coffee grounds through wet hair, leave for 3 minutes, rinse thoroughly. It will leave your hair soft, silky and with natural highlights.
  • Pin Cushion Filler- Make your own pin cushions and use dried out used coffee grounds as a filler. It will keep the pins rust free!
  • Deodorizer- place a small uncovered container of used grounds in the freezer to absorb odors naturally- also, this works great to get rid of a Mothball smell from closets or campers!
  • Faux Parchment Paper- Crinkle up a piece of paper into a ball, unfold, place in a 9x13 pan of water with 1/2 c. used coffee grounds for 30 seconds, remove from liquid, gently blot excess coffee off, and allow to dry. This makes gorgeous labels for jars or apothecary bottles
  • Repair Scratched Furniture- mix 1 T. coffee grounds with 1 Tsp olive oil. Apply with a cotton ball, wipe dry.
  • Clean Fireplace- before removing ashes from your fireplace, sprinkle wet coffee grounds liberally over the ashes. Then scoop out the ashes & grounds together. This helps prevent the "dust" plume
  • Abrasive Cleaner- when you need a quick abrasive cleaner mix equal parts of old coffee grounds and baking soda, scrub. (Be careful of using this on surfaces that are susceptible to stains!)

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Growing Your Own Pineapples From Wastage

Juicy, delectable pineapple is a favorite of many people but few know it can be grown right in your home. The next time you buy a pineapple at the grocery store, don't discard the top after cutting it off.
Remove any excess pineapple and skin from around the leaves, being careful not to cut into the tough area around the bottom of the leaves.

Take the top and immerse it in a combination of water, 1\2 teaspoon epsom salts and 1\2 teaspoon of powdered tea. Set it in a window that gets sun for two weeks, taking care to keep the fluid level at the bottom of the leave.

The first thing you will notice is that the original leaves of the pineapple will begin to turn brown and new leaves will begin to grow at the center.
Transplant the pineapple into slightly damp potting soil, combined with sand and vermiculite. Keep the soil damp for another two weeks.

Be careful not to over water or the new roots that are forming will rot. In the next few weeks all the outer leaves will die and can be removed, as the new leaves begin to grow. It is best to allow the plant to grow, removing the dead leaves for the next year. During this time the pineapple should be watered no more than once a week.
Pineapples like a dry, acid soil so occasionally add a little excess coffee to your water. During the spring sprinkle a teaspoon of epsom salt near the base of the plant and continue watering as usual. You can also set the plants outside in a semi-sunny area.

After approximately a year, you can force your pineapple to bloom by placing the mature plant in a plastic bag with an apple for three days.

The trick is the gas that is produced by the apple and after the plant is removed it should bloom in two to three months. How you water a pineapple is also important. The pineapple should be watered from the top so that the cups at the bottom of the plant are filled. It is also healthy for the pineapple plant to wet the leaves as you water.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Making A Personalised Candle For A Special Occasion

  • White pillar candles 
  • White tissue paper
  • Printer
  • Printer paper
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • Wax paper
  • Embossing heat gun (found at any craft store)
    or hair dryer 

Step 1: Cut out a piece of white tissue paper slightly smaller than a sheet of printer paper, then tape the tissue shiny side down to the paper. 
Step 2: Print your desired photograph onto the tissue (just feed the paper with the tissue attached into your printer as usual). Cut out, leaving little a border around your image.
Step 3: Place your tissue-paper image on the candle and wrap a piece of wax paper tightly around both.  Tip: Make sure and make the wax paper tight, otherwise you little creases will be melted into your candle.
Step 4: Apply heat to the image using your embossing heat gun. (If you use a hairdryer for this process, use a diffuser attachment or wear gloves to protect your skin from the heat.) Continue applying heat to the image until you see the ink coming through (it becomes darker and clearer).
Step 5: Gently and slowly peel the wax paper off, and your picture candle is complete!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Sand Pit Ahoy, A Simple Way Of Making A Sandpit

Repurpose a Tractor Tire into an adorable sandbox for the kids! 
You'll Need:
Used tractor tire
- Exterior paint (1 quart)
- Reciprocating saw
- Pool noodle (1.5 needed for a 6Õ tire)
- Old sheet/cloth or weed guard
- Sand
- Plywood (cut in a circle to cover sandbox)

I started by looking in my local online classifieds. I found FREE sand from a family who was getting rid of their sandbox.

Lumber is not too expensive, but I thought a big old tractor tire would make a good sand pit. I searched the classifieds and came up short.  I thought, “There has got to be used tractor tires that people don’t want, right?!?”  After two phone calls, I found the place.  I started by calling a tractor supply place in my area and they referred me to a tire shop.  I was able to go down to their lot and have my choice of tire for FREE!  Of course my son wanted one that was taller than him lying on its side.  To avoid having to dig a pit for it, we went for a smaller 6′ tire.  I found that people are very nice and helpful when you simply ask for their help.
Tires are filthy so we scrubbed it down and painted it. I thought a light color would make it so it wouldn’t get so hot in the sun.  For low price paint, check the section at Home Depot of returned paint.  We used an exterior paint and found one quart was plenty for two coats.
We wanted the hole of the tire to be bigger so my hubby cut it with a reciprocating saw.  To cover the jagged edge, we used a pool noodle, slit it and glued it to the tire.
I didn’t want weeds to grow through, so to prep the ground where the sandbox was going, I weeded, then laid down a tarp.
Finally, measure and cut a circular plywood cover to lie on the top when the sandbox is not being used. This keeps the neighborhood cats out.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Most Fantastic Bird Feeder- Easy To Make And So Cool

DIY Flowerpot Bird-Feeder

Carolina Chickadee
I'm preparing a class for the Master Gardener chapter that I'm a member of on making bird-feeders utilizing natural sources, recycled materials and re-purposed items. Of course the best bird-feeder is what nature provides: nuts, seeds and fruit from native trees, shrubs and wildflowers (and native insects)... Here's my hand-out for my "bird" talk I give:  Creating a Bird Garden

But - this class is all about creating bird-feeders and I've been trying a few DIY feeders I've found over the Internet. I found the DIY instructions for this "Flowerpot Feeder" on Birds and Blooms website; here's the link:  Flowerpot Feeder

I basically followed the same look of the inspiration feeder, but changed things up a bit and added my own twist...


  • Terracotta or clay flowerpot and two saucers. I used an orchid pot (which has pre-drilled holes), but I also made one out of an azalea pot and drilled seed holes (any flowerpot that you have on-hand and want to re-purpose as a feeder will work). The saucer needs to cover the top of the flowerpot (as a lid). 
  • Glass and tile drill bits (1/2" for seed openings, 1/8" for hanging)
  • 3/32" vinyl coated wire rope (about 2 feet) 
  • 1/8" ferrule and stop set
  • Pliers
Start by drilling 1/8" holes in the center of each saucer. It's pretty easy to drill these holes with the appropriate drill bit. I also added 3 drainage holes in the base saucer with the same bit. Use the 1/2" bit to drill three seed holes about an inch from the bottom of the flowerpot.Thread the wire rope through the top saucer, flowerpot and base saucer. Using pliers clamp the ferrule and stop onto the wire at the base and top.

If you re-purpose a flowerpot and saucers, this feeder will cost you about $2.00!

I added a few "embellishments" to my feeder... I love how it turned out and my backyard birds seem to approve also!

Male Red-bellied Woodpecker
Male Red-bellied Woodpecker

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

What To Do With Those Old Towels - Here Is An Idea

Bath towels are one of those items that really irk my wallet. They are very expensive, and the fibers used today break down way too soon. They just don’t hold up.

You love cutting them up and using them as cleaning rags, but you really don’t want to do that until the towel has reached its point of no other use. Plus, do you really need (or want for that matter) a gazillion rags cluttering your cabinet?

You can always use a tote, can’t you? Have you thought about using those towels as shopping bags? How about a beach or pool tote? Maybe it would be useful to carry your picnic items or do yard work? I know, I know…a bag for hauling in loads of firm produce (no tomatoes, please) from your garden this summer!

Great ideas, but not sure how to make them happen? The instructions below will help you create bags and totes for all types of uses and with very little effort, time, or work. 

Once you use a bag to it’s full potential and it starts wearing out, then you can turn the once-upon-a-time bath towel into rags (or another project).

The greatest attribute to this project is that you can, but don’t have to, measure anything! Nothing here has to be precise for this to work. It is what I call an “Eyeballing” project.

Equipment and Supplies
Old Towel
Straight Pins
Sewing Machine – Use tight zigzag stitch if available.

Bag Section

Identify torn and weak places in your towel. You want to try to keep these out of the final product. 

Fold towel in half, matching short ends (this will be the opening of the bag and will be referred to as the Bag-Top) and aligning edges. The fold created will be referred to as the Bag-Bottom. Make sure holes and worn spots are visible, if possible. 

Using “Eyeballing” technique, determine the width you want the bag to have. Place a straight pin at the Bag-Top (near opening of bag) and one directly across from it at the Bag-Bottom. Cut from the Bag-Bottom to the Bag-Top using the pins as guides. Set the small cut off portion aside.

Slide the bottom fold up between the layers of fabric just a small amount (about the size of a saltine or so) to create two folds at the Bag-Bottom. This step will create a flat bottom for the finished bag. All sides & the bottom folds should align fairly closely. 

Slightly raise one side of the top fold and pin the two layers together. Be sure you don’t pin all four layers together and or pull fabric in any direction to askew the matched edges. Repeat this step for the two layers of the bottom fold and the other side of Bag-Bottom.

Pin both sides of bag, leaving Bag-Top open. 

Sew one small section of Bag-Bottom (base of bag) from fold area to where inner fold meets sides. Be sure you backstitch several times at the beginning and end, but also throughout the entire seam to give more strength. Repeat this step for the other small bottom section on the same side. 

Working on the same side of the bag sew the side beginning at the Bag-Top down to crux where side and inner fold meet. Repeat steps 7 and 8 for other side of bag. Sit aside.


You have the base for your bag. Now you need to create a handle or strap to make carrying easier. This tutorial uses only one strap. If you would like two, use these same steps to make and attach two.

Fold it in half, short ends matching up. 

Using the “Eyeballing” technique again, determine the width wanted for the handle and mark the top and bottom with straight pins. Cut along the imaginary line from pin to pin. Move unwanted piece off to the side for later use if desired.

Sew both sided of handle, backstitching several times along the way to create strength.

Place one end of handle where you want it inside the bag. Pin in place.

Sew, backstitching many times, to attach the handle. I used the needle pivot method to create a box seam for strength. (Needle Pivot – Sew (backstitching well) to end of line. Drop needle into fabric so fabric cannot slide out. Raise pressure foot. Pivot material. Drop pressure foot. Continue sewing (backstitching well at beginning and end of line).

Place the other end of the handle on the opposite side of the bag taking care to ensure handle is not twisted. Pin in place and sew as described above. Keep in mind that spacing may get a little cramped. Be sure another section of the bag or handle don’t get in your way or under the pressure foot and needle.

You can turn bag out or leave as in for that jersey – sewn look.