3 Ways to Make Your Own Wrapping Paper

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With the great gift-giving season having arrived, all those amazing gifts you’ve bought for friends and family will most likely get wrapped up for optimal surprise-effect at the big event. Wrapping paper from the store is all good and well, but wouldn’t it be fun to do something different this year? Yes, yes it would! So this time try making your own wrapping paper- it can be surprisingly easy even if you’re convinced you don’t have a creative bone in your body.

Stamped Wrapping Paper Last year I made wrapping paper from plain brown rolls of “kraft” paper, a rubber stamp, and a black ink pad. It was amazingly simple, cheap, and looked awesome! If you go to a craft store like Michael’s or Jo Ann’s, they almost always have both stamps and stamp pads in the dollar section. You can choose a design and a color for the ink to suit your individual color scheme.

Marbled wrapping paper Marbled paper has been around for ages. It used to be used on the insides of books and each sheet was beautifully unique. With a few supplies you can make gorgeous marbled paper. It’s not as easy as the stamped paper, but the result is gorgeous and well worth the effort! Use this tutorial here to DIY some marbled wrapping paper.

Printable wrapping paper Ok, if you really want to take the easy way out and source your designs from the internet, print them, and be done with it, it can be done. The future is now!- check out these 18 printable wrapping paper designs you can generate just using the printer at your desk.

Unconventional, Useful, Beautiful: Ladders as Apartment Decor

When you live in a small apartment, wasting usable space is no longer an option! You become intensely aware of how little floor space you have and notice your walls are not just for hanging art anymore. For the same reason large cities have skyscrapers and build up and not out, you have to work your way up the walls in a small apartment to get the usable space you need.

This is why I think ladders are such a useful tool for apartment dwellers. The lattice-like structure of a ladder is perfect for hanging towels, jewelry, magazines, or even for hanging a simple light as seen in this Homey Oh My! post here (I love the way this one is two-toned natural wood and black paint, which would be easy to replicate a DIY version of). And not only are they functional, but they can add visual interest to an otherwise blank space.

These ideas extend beyond your standard a-frame too, although there are some great ideas for a-frames like these right here. While you can utilize an old thrifted or hand-me-down ladder, you don’t necessarily need one to create this fabulous organizational system. There’s a great DIY using copper pipes you can buy at your local home improvement store, right here. This one is a really nice dressed up version of the original wooden variety and would add sophistication to any room.

If you’re not necessarily the DIY kind of person, there’s a clever little chair from IKEA, the Rågrund, which utilizes the ladder idea in place of a traditional chair back.

Fun and Attractive Ways to Organize Your Chaotic Jewelry Mess

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This one may be a little more geared toward those of us who actually wear jewelry, so my apologies to the boys who don’t wear or own any jewelry, or to the girls who don’t have much of an interest. But the rest of you jewelry people hopefully can benefit from a few jewelry storage solutions for your apartment. Strangely enough, I’ve never been a big jewelry person, but I’ve recently acquired a lot of new pieces. Therefore, I most likely need these more than any of you because: 1. I’m newer to this game than most of you, and 2. My necklaces almost always end up in a giant, tangled pile on whichever surface I decide to throw them on at the end of the day. So in all selfishness, I’m doing this as much for myself as the rest of you.

One of the coolest, easiest ways to hang a collection of necklaces is an incredibly simple DIY – find a plaque or board (anything you find pleasing to the eye will do!) and add decorative knobs to it. Places like World Market and Anthropologie sell a plethora of decorative knobs that would add a lot of character to any room. There are a million ways to do this and it can be as unique as your personal style is. If you want to do this an even less costly way, cut up a thick dowel rod and glue the pieces to a board for a simple minimalist necklace hanger.

Home Edit has some good examples here.

There are many ways to store earrings, but it comes down to whether or not you have more stud earrings or dangly ones – I have more stud earrings and prefer to use little ceramic dishes to sort them out. Tiered organizers like this work really well, too and little dishes like that can be so easy to find at a thrift or antique store. If you have more dangle earrings (is there a proper term for those??) then you can make something fun like this to hang them up!

Thanks to the burgeoning online DIY community, there are resources out there for those of us with a really nasty jewelry organization problem. You may find yourself with a boatload of fun, new weekend projects! And to finish up with a few more ideas on jewelry storage, there’s a pretty good collection of ideas here.

Last Minute DIY Gift Wrap Extravaganza!

It’s that time – we’re down to the wire here before Christmas comes knocking this Friday with silver bells and sleigh bells and bells a-ringing. If you’re a generous enough person to be a gift giver (I won’t hate on those of you who aren’t because I’ve gone that route too) then you’ve got some serious gift wrapping to undertake. And you’re on holiday break now, so there’s plenty of time for this kind of thing. For the best and most festive gift wrapping results, recruit your friends to join in, get some sugary snacks, throw on a good Christmas movie, and get going! Here are some fun and funky ways to package up all your gifts this year.

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  1. You crafty people with an affinity for the southwestern style, try this Cactus pom-pom DIY gift wrap from Proper Blog, here!

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  1. Couldn’t resist the Emoji gift wrap, because Emoji everything. Our language will eventually dwindle down to a bunch of ridiculous cartoon faces symbolizing all the complexities of life. Get the tutorial here!

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  1. For a more sophisticated, shimmery approach, try these 4 pretty gift topper ideas!

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  1. If you like the natural kraft paper look (I feel like I was doing this before it was cool!…ok don’t judge for that comment), jazz it up like this.

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  1. For the minimalist: pair this star garland with some kraft or black paper, as pictured. Makes for an adorable, stylish gift wrap!

Your Genuine & Creative Space (That You’ll Want to Show Off)

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The interior design and DIY world are full of people who seem really really good at this kind of thing. So much so, that it is incredibly frustrating to look at for too long! There are pages of perfectly lit, staged photographs of everything in coordinating trendy colors set against minimalistic Scandinavian backdrops. For those of us who don’t spend hours and hours being perfect Martha Stewart clones, here are some easy ways to make your home look great and like you put a whole lot of thought into it.

First thing on the list: stop buying cheap garbage at Pier 1 and Target because somebody else says it looks cool. What do you like? What means something to you? The most interesting spaces are decorated with things people have acquired over the years, not just picked up at the local decor shop. If you feel like you don’t have any of these things, think again because chances are you probably do (if you really don’t, we’ll get to that next).

Many things can be used as decoration if displayed properly. Small floating shelves featuring your favorite books’ covers make a great substitute for wall art. Not only do the covers add visual appeal, but the books can be a real conversation starter with a guest. You can also apply this same method to almost any type of object you tend to cultivate a collection of: vinyl records, hats, ceramic cups, musical instruments, small framed post cards or photos. With the right approach, you would be surprised at what you can make look like an interesting collection.

If you really are in need of some objects for the apartment, I highly recommend using the antique malls instead of contemporary decorating stores. Those stores are great for the utilitarian parts, like shelving, candles, and textiles. However, the finished room will come across as more relaxed and genuine if you pick objects to display which have had a life and use, rather than cheap things manufactured recently which look run of the mill. It’s amazing the kinds of unique and interesting artifacts you can find at the antique malls and flea markets. Challenge yourself to find something that really speaks to your decorating style!

(photo credit: http://foundandchosen.tumblr.com/)

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent and Save Some Dollars!

Doing laundry is a necessity and a fact of life no matter how you look at it. Unfortunately, the detergent companies are well aware of this and love to sell consumers highly priced laundry detergents. If you have a little bit of patience, you can make your detergent for a lot less in the long run. If you have sensitive skin, this may be the best option for you anyway as it will be unscented and mostly chemical free unless you choose otherwise.

Here’s what you need:

1 Bar Fels-Naptha or Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

1 Cup Washing Soda

1 Cup Borax

A Plastic or Glass Airtight Container

(Add several TBSP Oxi Clean if you want to add extra stain fighting power)

Grate the entire bar of soap using a hand-held grater. If you want to chop the soap up more finely, use a food processor to create a powder from the soap. Mix with the other ingredients and store in the airtight container. Each load of laundry only needs a rounded tablespoon of the detergent formula, which should be put in the washing machine BEFORE your laundry. This will ensure the mixture dissolves completely and doesn’t leave any powdery spots on your clothes.

 There are multiple ways to make your own detergent, so for more recipes take a look here.

The Benefits of Witch Hazel

Witch hazel, a topical astringent that is made from the leaves, barks and twigs of the plant Hamamelis viginiana, may not be something that you have heard of. However, for something that has a spooky name, you’d be surprised to find that it serves many purposes that you’d find handy to have at home.

Astringent

  • Witch Hazel can be used to remove oil from the skin and shrinking those pores, giving you bright and fresh skin.

 

Bruises and blemishes

  • Witch hazel has been known to treat blemishes by brightening the skin and bruises by reducing inflammation and discoloration.

 

Bleeding and cuts

  • Applying witch hazel to minor cuts and scrapes helps stop bleeding as well as acts as a disinfectant.

 

Shaving

  • A great follow up for shaving, witch hazel stops bleeding from small cuts you may get from your razor as well as helping prevent razor burn.

 

Sunburns

  • With these warm Florida days, this may be one of the most helpful tips. Adding a bit of witch hazel to Aloe Vera gel can help your skin heal as well as prevent your skin from pealing afterwards.

 

Stings and bug bites

  • Rubbing a bit of witch hazel to bug bites or rashes from poison ivy helps ease pain and itching, perfect for those hikes and bike rides in the wooded areas of Gainesville.

Find more uses for Witch Hazel here.

How to clean your windows with vinegar

For those of you who don’t want to use store bought cleaners that are full of chemicals, you know there are many ways to clean your home with everyday home ingredients that are completely healthy. Distilled vinegar is a great cleaner, since it is a mixture of water and acetic acid that is perfect for cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing almost every surface of your home. Here is a step-by-step guide to how to perfectly clean your windows for a glistening, streak-free look.

  • Wipe down the window and window frame first to get rid of all the dust.
  • Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar.
  • Spray the mixture all over the window, be sure that if you are cleaning more than one window at a time, only take care of one window at a time.
  • Rub the mix with a lint-free towel, or a paper towel, all over the window. Make sure to work quickly to avoid streaks.
  • Use a microfiber cloth to dry the entire window surface.

The last step? Enjoy your shimmering windows!

http://www.wikihow.com/Clean-Windows-With-Vinegar

 

 

The many benefits of olive oil

Olive oil is in just about every single household in America, and for good reason. Not only can olive oil be used in cooking, but olive offers several benefits to your body as well as different areas of your home.

  • Use a few drops of olive oil on squeaky drawers, doors, or window hinges.
  • Add a few drops of olive oil to your favorite lotion and mix well to make your lotions and creams even more moisturizing. Or just apply the oil directly to dry or rough skin.
  • Instead of using harsh store bought makeup removers, you can wipe off your eye makeup with a cotton pad that has been dampened with some olive oil.
  • Wipe down stainless steel sinks with olive oil to give it that first day shine and keep water spots from showing up.
  • For those of you who are into DIY and happen to get paint in your hair, olive oil is perfect for gently easing the paint out of your hair.

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning-organizing/olive-oil-benefits-uses-460609

Homemade Goo Gone recipe

Goo, gunk, and sticky stuff, making a mess in our homes is a problem that everyone faces. From the sticky residue that you get from trying to remove the price sticker from products that you’ve just bought, to gum or grease being on your floors or counters, no one can escape these everyday nuisances. You could get dressed, get in your car, and drive out to the store to pick up a stain removal like Goo Gone, or you can make your very own stain removal right from home. All you need is:

-A small bottle

-1 teaspoon vegetable oil

-2 teaspoons baking soda

Mix the 2 ingredients in the bottle and put a bit of it on a paper towel and rub it over whatever sticky mess you may have. Watch the mess disappear in seconds!

http://www.hometalk.com/1183624/how-to-make-homemade-goo-gone