Have you ever had a purse strap that was starting to go, with fraying bits or pieces that had already come off?
Enter the scarf. Cheaply acquired from a dollar or discount store, it will serve as an excellent new handle.
To do: Drape the scarf at the base of 1 of the handles so that you now have two "pieces" over the handle. Make one of the one pieces shorter, about 6 inches in length (the other "piece" will probably be lying on the floor right now ;) <- You can see a visual of this in this first pic above). Tie the shorter part to the longer one to make a tight knot.
Now start wrapping the longer part around the handle, winding and pulling on the scarf to make it tight. When you get to the base of the handle, make another knot and tie it tightly. Repeat with the other handle with another scarf.
Leave both scarf ends hanging down, as in this pic, OR trim both ends of the scarf close to the knot and pull the knot over the ragged edges to hide them, as in the pic below.
Done! Purse revamped with a simple scarf solution :)
Estimated cost of project: FREE if you happen to have 2 exact scarves or less than $5 for cheap ones at a discount store.
Ever thought about getting a dehydrator? While it'll cost you a few hundred dollars, it's really worth it. A dehydrator lasts for years and years, and if you're drying herbs and wild edibles, you don't even have to bother to turn the machine on, you can just let them air dry.
What else can you do with your dehydrator besides drying plants? LOTS!
Here are 5 reasons (plus recipes) of what you can do with your dehydrator, including
Here are 5 more reasons (plus recipes) of what you can do with your dehydrator, including:
Enjoy the recipe ideas :)
It's that spring cleaning time again, which also means it's gardening season! And that just might mean there are lots of objects which could get a new purpose (maybe even a facelift) as a cool planter!
For 12+ ideas on objects you might have lying around, see Creative Planters From Upcycled Materials. Bras, camis, purses, baby strollers, totes, hampers, birdcages, rodent cages and so much more!!
Speaking of rat and ferret cages, Cat, who used to house rats, came up with the idea one fine spring to repurpose the old cages into planters. Read on to get inspired for your next upcycling project...
Upcycled Ferret Cage
Here's the bottom of a large ferret cage (where many rats used to live!). Tape around the perimeter so that the sides will hold. A piece of cardboard taped to the front end makes a uniform boxed size. Finally, drill or cut holes to provide aeration (a knife gets the job done, but a drill is a better choice).
To decorate the cage, Cat came up with the idea of using a plastic tablecloth. The outside of the tablecloth repels rain while the underside has a cotton material that is easy to glue to whatever object you are using. Plastic tablecloths are cheap, too; Cat got hers at a dollar store. Cut the tablecloth to fit around the cage and then use a glue gun to glue in place. Tip: run several long parallel lines of glue along the side you are working on, then quickly place tablecloth in place. If you want, you can also use your glue gun to add decorations as well, such as ribbons and plastic flowers.
Cat says: The bottom of this ferret cage holds more than 6 inches of earth: perfect for use in square-foot gardening (which I did in the 2nd year). In the 1st year, I added several trellises to the planter and had cucumbers trailing and growing upwards (as in the above pic). My neighbor was curious as to what I was growing --- needless to say, this can be a real conversation piece!
Bonus: I placed this planter on a reused table, which meant that I could grow plants on top of the table and under the table. Just great for urban gardeners or those who live in small spaces/apartments :)
Upcycled Rat Cage
The hardest part on repurposing a rat cage is cutting the wires. Rat cages come in two kinds: square and domed. Either way, you have to cut off the top using a good pair of wire cutters (essential; get at a hardware store) to make it a "perfect" rectangle.
Even though you cut the wires as best you can, the edges are still rather ragged and sharp, so inverse the whole thing and slide the ragged edges into the plastic base. That's right, turn it upside down and slide it into the bottom of the plastic base so the sharp edges are on the bottom. It might not snap into place (Cat's didn't) and it may be a bit wobbly, but once you wrap it with a plastic tablecloth, it'll be much more stable, you'll see.
Drill or cut holes in the base; then fit, cut and wrap the cage with a plastic tablecloth. Use a hot glue gun to glue the table cloth in place, including on the wire sections.
This is the same pic of the cage, repurposed! See the very top of the wire cage, where the ribbon is? When you glue the tablecloth onto the top of this wire, it comes out uneven, so adding a ribbon pretties it on up. Here, tomatoes are growing quite successfully in a sunny spot on the balcony.
Here's another upcycled rat cage! It's hard to notice in this picture, but ribbon wasn't glued onto the top edge to hide the uneven tablecloth. However, with the height of these tomato plants (which grew so high that stakes had to be used to hold them into place), no one seemed to notice! So, depending what you plant, you may be able to leave the edge undone or ribboned-on-up!
Here's yet another little "cage:" this one was used as a carrier to transport ratties when they had to see the V-E-T.
Plastic boxes were where ratties used to hide out and sleep; now repurposed to house plants! Easy to do: tape box together, then fit, cut and glue plastic tablecloth 'round. The bottom of this box (can't see in the pic) has a big hole in it, which is how it was designed, so that rats could go in and out of the box. To help the earth stay in place, add a piece of mosquito netting (yes, like the screen on your windows; very cheap at hardware stores) to cover the hole; then add earth and plant, and be merry watching plants grow :)
Many Unused Objects = Potential Repurposed Planters
See what unused objects are lying around your house and give them a creative new purpose! Fun treasure-hunting/spring-cleaning awaits! Here's a milk crate idea to get the creative gardening "juices" flowing:
The planters put up quite well year after year: the tablecloth holds in place BUT the ribbons, flowers, other decorations, etc. can fall off or may need to be re-glued in place. The decorations or ribbons can also be destroyed by critters, FYI. This is what happened to Cat's milk crate planters when a squirrel decided to pay her a visit on more than one occasion!
The idea of using a tablecloth to repurpose items also comes in handy if you have unsightly planters. For example, although Cat had thrown in some soil and seeds, she found these two storage bin planters lacking in luster.
She pulled out her tablecloth and glue gun, a few ribbons and buttons...and voila! some pretty pots to house Spice Basil (that's right, she's related to Holy Basil).
PS. See how the inside edging is uneven in this photo? You can easily glue on some ribbon to give it a finished look OR pour soil to the top to hide the edge OR wait 'til the plants grow big and no one notices ;)
To your upycling adventures :)
Interested in some weight loss strategies? Of course you are!
A really great strategy is making every single meal high on the veggie scale, as much as 70-80% veggies.
Another excellent strategy? Avoid eating in the evening. It's a strategy known in TCM and in body building circles.
Want to check out some more strategies, plus use herbs to lose weight AND get some cool recipes (like Nettle Soup)? Read the full article HERE.
Are you looking for weight loss strategies? Ways to replace carbs with...veggies?! Then you might want to check out this article, 8 Ways to Replace Carbs with Home Grown Veggies.
Besides some veggin' ideas you can use instead of grain bread (like using tomato, pepper, zucchini, eggplant and leafy greens), there are also many yummy recipes you can try out:
Enjoy those veggin' days ahead!! :)
Interested in probiotics and building healthy gut flora? Good!
You might be interested in making your own cheaply then, instead of buying pricey capsules from the store.
HERE are 4 ways of getting in probiotics easily and cheaply by making:
Want even more recipes? Click HERE for the 2nd part of the article and get recipes to make:
Other cool probiotic recipes on the site include Aronia Berry & Rose Petal Kvass, Appley Root Veggie 'Kraut (with 8 veggies!) & Probiotic Green Detox Juice.
Here are 12 ideas you can check out to help get you inspired to count down the 12 days 'til Xmas. As one woman wrote in the comments, some of these ideas could be used any time of the year. Check it out: The 12 Days of Christmas in a Mason Jar.
Ps. One great reason to check out the article: There's a great sugar-free recipe to make gummy candies using stevia and Vitamin C. :)
Yes, it's true: there are OTHER ways of eating pasta besides the usual floured wheaty fare!!
Sure there's whole grain GF pasta. And also GRF pasta made with beans. Or konjac fiber. Or kelp. Or tofu.
You can also use spaghetti squash, carrots, yams, beets and parsnip into noodles using a spiralizer. And zucchini and daikon can easily be made into veggie lasagna strips using a mandolin or peeler.
Even better, how about making your own homemade pasta with Superfood Wild Edibles like Stinging Nettle and Chickweed --- can't buy that in a supermarkets, can ya?!
Well, if you're interested you can check it out: For Pasta Lovers Everywhere: 8 Ways to Enjoy Wholesome Noodles.
Did I mention there are Free Recipes Included....???
Just check it out already ;P
Got Mugwort, that tall, beautiful herb that is in the artemisia family? That mystical plant that is said to open the third eye and inspire visionary dreams?
Yes, that same plant that used to be used to ferment beer, before she got replaced with hops. Well, some people still do make Mugwort Beer and you can find recipes for that.
Yes, you can even use her as a flavoring in your cooking, including in your green smoothie recipes.
Muggie also has some great medicinal properties: she's well-known for being a stomachic and anti-parasitic.
Want to find out more? Check the full article on the [Grow] Network HERE.
Happy reading :)
Interested in reading an article called 9 Ways to Eat Commonly Wasted Seeds, Stems, Peels and more?
Why for, you ask?
FREE recipes! You love FREE recipes, dontcha? Such as:
As always, Enjoy :)
Have you tried Creeping Bellflower root, which tastes like parsnip?
How about using Hollyhock leaves as a wrap? Or eating Hollyhock root?
Day lily flower buds are most tasty and can be eaten fresh, fried, pickled or dipped in tempura. What's your preference?
How about a Hosta green smoothie or green juice?
Maybe a little Dame Rocket (tastes like arugula) in your salad? Add the flower, too!
Don't forget Pansies, Borage, Nasturtiums and Chrysanthemums!!!
Want to know more? Check out the article 9 Beautiful Ornamental Plants That You Can Eat on the [Grow] Network, HERE.
Enjoy and Happy Food Adventures :)
A rose by any other name...
Well, you know you how it goes.
If you've been looking for some ideas for rose petals, you might want to check out this article that Cat wrote -> 12 Uses for Rose Petals: From the Kitchen to the Boudoir.
Sexy, I know. But roses are an aphrodisiac and they do tonify both the male and female reproductive systems. Plus, you can use rose tea when you cook grains or even make rose petal jello. Oh yeah. And rose floral water too. And...
Click the link above, if you're interested.
Grew too much?
Or looking for zuke recipes?
Feel free to check out these 2 free recipes on the GoWildBeFree website:
You can also check out Cat's recipe ideas for zucchini on the [Grow] Network, 12 Ways to Make a Zucchini Surplus Disappear, here.
Lookin' for an alternative to using regular ol' shampoo?
Did you know that even shampoos sold in health food stores have less than savory ingredients?
Try this dirt cheap no 'poo alternative ("no 'poo" meaning no shampoo) using these ingredients you probably have at home: baking soda, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil (or a homemade sage/rosemary oil).
Get the full article* HERE on the [Grow] Network, plus check out other interesting tidbits about herbs, gardening, homesteading and more at growyourowngroceries.org You'll love the folks over there :)
*Cat is writing articles for the [Grow] Network! How exciting!
Ever have a salt craving, especially for chips, BUT you're watching your calories/weight/amount of junk food consumed?
Try this tip next time around:
Bake 5-6 pieces (1-inch in size) of kelp on a cookie sheet at 300 degrees F for 3-5 minutes (watch them the whole time). As soon as slightly toasted, let cool 1-2 minutes, then pop in your mouth, fresh from the oven!
Seaweed is salty, so you should have your salt fix fixed! If you still crave chips after the kelp, chances are you were also craving fat as well as the salt. You could then get in a handful of seeds/nuts or an avocado (a healthy fat) or something entirely different instead (e.g., a fruit).
Cat says: FYI: if you tend to crave salt often, it may indicate that you have kidney/adrenal issues. I rarely crave salt (sweet is my vice!) but when this happened to me on a rare occasion one evening, I came up with this trick instead. This usually hits the spot for me, and I've never been able to eat more than 5-6 pieces. One time, I still went out and bought chips after eating the kelp. The good news? Because I was quite saturated with salt already, I didn't eat that many chips after all (they just tasted too salty!). You may find that you have the same experience too. Try and see!
What's in your dream pillow or closet sachet? Probably mugwort, lavender or even some milkweed flowers? Have you ever considered using hairy vetch, vicia villosa? Oh, you really should! She told me herself!
You see, it was last summer, and I was on my bike going to the grocery store. The grocery store was part of a mini mall, and right behind the mall growing in concrete raised beds were a multitude of plants. Dandelion of course, but also coltsfoot, catnip, red clover, goldenrod and vetch. That's right, they are called plants, and they don't much take to being called weeds, so you better get your politically correct hat on.
I had been going behind the mall to get my groceries as well: the bigger, meaner and greener those dandelion leaves, all the better reason to add an extra apple or two in my smoothie to compensate for the bitter goodness! No really, dandelion told me that big leaves are at their peak for the pickin'; it's those small spring slightly bitter leaves that only neophytes can tolerate!
And there was vetch, so tasty and colorful to add to salads, just a bit, mind you, but so tasty and slightly sweet, being part of the legume family. That color: so inspirational purple for that third eye chakra... Now how many purple-colored foods do you eat in a week?
The season was drawing to a close and vetch told me to gather all her flowers and dry them. I wasn't sure why at first, but I did. I dried them and as I was taking the flowers off the stem, vetch whispered to me to use her flowers in sachets.
That Christmas, vetch reminded me of the project to fill sachets with her flowers and give as gifts. I did some with lavender, some just vetch, some vetch and lavender, and even some with milkweed flowers. My favorite was just vetch and vetch mixed with lavender.
The scent of vetch flowers is so delicate, lavender seems almost overwhelming! I gave a few to my neighbor who gardens, and she found the vetch pleasingly delightful and delicate in scent, as I had. She thought it might even be faintly reminiscent of vanilla...hm, I never associated peas with vanilla!
Vetch flower sachets, something new to consider trying!
Vetch also fixes nitrogen in the soil, so she makes a good plant to have in the garden. Plus you can eat a few of her flowers: check out my simple Vetch Flax Cracker recipe here (dehydrator needed).
Here are 7 Ways to get your Pasta Fix!
Suitable for ALL, including vegetarians, vegans and raw vegans ---
just avoid that 1st option, rawsters!
1. Gluten-free Grain Noodles. The obvious choice that comes to mind is pasta made with GF grains. Choices include brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, potato, or even a combination of ingredients (often with corn and soy). You can also get your noodles in all kinds of fun shapes like penne, fettucine, elbow, fusili, etc. A few organic brands that are corn- and soy-free include Sweet Soba Buckwheat, Sweet Soba Buckwheat and Sweet Potato, Trader Joe's Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusili, Tinkyada Brown Rice Noodles in different shapes, and Rizopia Brown Rice Noodles, also in many different fun shapes.
2. Bean Noodles. Explore Asia is a company that makes 3 types of bean pasta: adzuki, black bean and mung bean. Cooks in no time at all--- OR just add hot water and let the pasta rehydrate before eating with your fave pasta sauce. Suitable for everyone! Including vegetarians, vegans and raw vegans!
3. Konjac Noodles (also written/known as konjak, konjaku, konnyaku, gonyak and devil's tongue). The root of the konjac plant is very low in calories and consists mainly of glucomannan, or soluble fiber. Since fiber is filling and low in calories, it makes for a great choice for those wanting to lose weight or that have digestive issues. The noodles don't have much taste, but will absorb whatever type of sauce you eat them with. Easy peasy: rinse noodles well in water. Blanch in boiling water 1 minute. Drain and add your fave sauce!
4. Seaweed Noodles. Kelp is a seaweed that offers another low calorie pasta option with the benefit of added iodine. Crunchy in texture and bland in taste, try adding kelp noodles to soups, stir-fries or with your fave pasta sauce (kelp noodle alfredo, anyone?). You can also try your kelp noodles with green tea. Sea spaghetti noodles are yet another mineral-rich pasta option (there's even a free recipe you can try when you click on the link!).
5. Spaghetti Squash Noodles. Instead of the usual floured pasta fare, try eating your fave tomato sauce with spaghetti squash. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, then steam or bake in a covered casserole with a bit of water at 400F for 45-60min. Remove squash from skin. You'll notice when removing the squash why it's called spaghetti squash: because the squash is formed into long strands that look like pasta noodles. Add your fave pasta sauce and eat on up! Alternatively, you can also peel the rind from the squash and eat the noodles uncooked. Your choice!
6. Zucchini Noodles. This is a popular choice among those who eat a lot of raw fruits and veggies (such as raw vegans); however, anyone can benefit from this no bake recipe! It just requires using a tool that turns the zucchini into noodles. A Spirooli vegetable slicer is a cool little gadget that does the trick. Once noodles are made, just add sauce! Alternatively, you can use a vegetable peeler and make long thin strands. Simply remove the peel, peel into long thin strands (you can have strands with seeds or not - your choice) and add sauce. A cheese slicer makes thick slices likes lasagna pieces, so you could make your own "unbaked" lasagna by layering zucchini slices with pasta sauce. Note: the Spirooli vegetable slicer is also called a Spiralizer and you can get one for cheap on Amazon.
7. Carrot Noodles. Same as #6 above! You'll need that Spirooli or Spiralizer to turn those carrots into noodles; then add your sauce. Sweet carrot pasta here I come!
8. BONUS! Beet Noodles. Same as #6 and #7 above! Try using half carrot & half beet noodles with your fave sauce OR try a combo of beet, carrot & zucchini noodles! No bake pasta noodles was never so easy! ENJOY!
If you ever hear the word "best," run away.
Why do people ask what's the best this and what's the best that? What's the best ab exercise? What's the best sex position? What's the best diet to lose weight? What's the best etc etc??
The thing about the "What's the best (blank)" game is that nobody bothers to ask, for whom is it the best?
The correct answer is, of course, the best FOR ME. Do you really think there is just ONE ab exercise that is the top of the top? Any good trainer will have a little bag of tricks of the "best" exercises based on beginner, intermediate and advanced fitness level, and the one that will work the best FOR YOU is the one that is tough enough to do but not so easy that you're bored.
Same goes for other popular best questions like the best sex position: is it the best orgasm for a woman, the best position for an obese couple or the best position for a man who is less than the penile average? Best diet: are you looking to lose weight, get toned, build muscle mass, do a triathlon, go vegan, go SOS- (Salt Oil Sugar) free or just follow the latest breatharian diet because it's guaranteed to work since it's all about prana?
Q: Who ever said that there has to be just ONE? The best. Why can't there be a few or the top ten or a list of the best exerciseS, positionS, diet optionS? And who the heck is coming up with the best this or that, anyway?
So while the best game depends on a gazillion number of factors, this brings us to: TO WHOM are you asking the "best" question?
See the other thing about the best game is that there are at least two people playing this game (nah, it's not a solitaire-kinda thing). And the one (or few) people to whom you are asking this best question has got to have STATUS, baby, status. So if there's a celebrity, TV show personality, diet guru, yoga guru, come-hither best-selling author, god or goddess cute-as-all-heck personal trainer, and then there's you, oh-so-average boy or girl next door, well, it's the STAR that sparkles, shines and glitters, baby, and jello's got nothin' on crème brulé, right? Of course, it could just be some avatar EVERYONE talks about on a discussion board or a leader on THE must join group on Facebook.
But the real thing is that you listen to the other person BECAUSE they have status. And because they have status, they're the ones making all these must-see-do-before-you-die bucket lists.
The truth? EVERYONE has an opinion. Including you. You are the star of your own show. Can't be otherwise. No one can think, feel, workout or even go to the bathroom for you. Can't be otherwise.
Which means you got more status than anyone's opinion you ask. Key word: opinion. Everyone's got one of those. You know what's best for you because you are you.
Best to do? Ask what's best for You.