Balanced on a few overturned flowerpots, an old wooden door becomes a rustic and sturdy outdoor coffee table or work surface.
Balanced on a few overturned flowerpots, an old wooden door becomes a rustic and sturdy outdoor coffee table or work surface.
If all the bookshelves you find in stores are too tall, too wide, or too unwieldy, consider stacking sturdy wooden benches to make a streamlined shelf that’s just right for your space. Ours is made from three benches; two would work as well, but don’t stack more than four. Paint the benches (we used a latex semigloss paint) to suit your decor. To assemble, stack 2 benches. On the front of each leg of the top bench, drill a 45-degree hole (centered 1 inch up from the bottom of the leg) through the leg and partway through the top of the bench below. Use a long wood screw to attach the pieces (screw size will vary depending on the thickness of your bench legs). Repeat on back legs. Stack another bench on top (if desired), and repeat to attach. Fill and finish the holes.
I actually posted this exact picture on Instagram and Facebook, with that caption (first shot on this had a major typo as a headline), and got some likes. Really? Are potatoes that interesting? Well, I think they are. So, starting now, I am going to post a yummy recipe made with… you guessed it! Potatoes!
Mini scalloped potato cups
Preheat oven to 350°F and spray 12 small ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Place potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl; cover and microwave on HIGH for 6 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute more. Slowly stir in 1/2 & 1/2, cooking until mixture is smooth. Add cheeses, a little at a time, then stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon into prepared ramekins and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Makes 12 appetizer servings.
Calories: 130 Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 20mg Sodium: 260mg Vitamin C: 25% Carbohydrates: 12g Fiber: 1g Protein: 7g Potassium: 176mg
22 Ways to Repurpose Furniture & More
Turn that old wooden door into a coffee table or even make your own chess table!
Choose a green coffee bean depending on your personal preference, such as Kenyan, Ethiopian or Jamaican. Try a coffee bean sampler if you don’t have a favorite type.
To oven-roast your green coffee beans, you will need a perforated metal baking sheet, a spatula and a metal colander. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Pour the green coffee beans onto the baking sheet in a single layer and place in oven.
After a few minutes in the oven, the beans will start to pop or crack. Once the popping starts, the beans will start to darken quickly. Move them around on the sheet with the spatula every few minutes to ensure a more even roast. It will take 10 to 15 minutes to achieve the desired color. Once the beans are roasted, remove them from the oven and pour them into the colander.
The beans will continue roasting as they cool, so moving them around in the colander can help speed up the process. Do not cool them in the refrigerator, as this will build moisture. Once cool, store in a tightly sealed jar.
Letting the roasted beans rest for 24 hours ensures optimal flavor. After that, you’re ready to grind your freshly roasted coffee beans to make a perfect cup!
Sorry ladies… this one is for the boys! Support the idea and you could be invited into the man cave one day.
Every man cave needs a large flat screen TV to watch the latest sporting and entertainment events and to play video games on. When choosing the television for your space, be sure to look for one with high definition for the most realistic experience possible.
2. Gaming System
Regardless of the gaming system you prefer, you’ll need all of the components to make it enjoyable. This includes the console, enough controllers for friends and, if possible, a surround sound stereo system to make the games come to life.
Every man needs his own reclining chair where he can sit back and relax. If you’re going out in search of one, look for a chair that’s upholstered in leather. A leather recliner not only looks great, but it makes cleaning up spills an easy job. As for your friends, they’ll need seating as well. An oversized couch with cup holders and a few bar stools should provide enough seating to enjoy any man cave.
4. Personal Pieces
To make your man cave a success, you’ll need some wall art to complete the design. Posters of favorite films, TV shows, sports teams, automobiles or whatever you’re into will not only personalize the space but add some color to the room.
5. Poker Table
If you enjoy playing cards, a poker table with all the fixings is a definite necessity. You’ll need poker chips, decks of cards, a proper poker table and seating for players.
6. Pool Table
A typical pool table requires enough space to move around comfortably with cue in hand. If your man cave doesn’t have the square footage for a standard pool table, consider buying a smaller game version.
7. Dart Board
As with a game of pool, you’ll need enough space in your man cave to play darts. Decide on the best spot in the room to hang your board and then arrange your furniture with game space in mind.
Since a man cave is a place to withdraw from daily stress, your space will need a refrigerator so you won’t have to go in search of cold beverages once you’re there. A full size refrigerator works best if you often have friends over. But if you don’t have the space or budget for a standard fridge, consider a smaller bar version.
9. Indoor Grill
A man and his BBQ is the perfect combination. A tabletop grill that can be used to barbecue inside while watching the game is convenient and there are many sizes and styles available.
Finally, to keep your man cave organized you’ll need enough storage for all your…stuff. Whether it’s records, books or gadgets, you can use inexpensive items like milk crates to make shelving or consider buying a seating piece like an ottoman that doubles as a storage unit. Whatever you choose, be sure it has the right style for your space.
Check out these non-toxic home cleaning ideas! I use a lot of these in my own home. Very safe and inexpensive in the long run!
Courtesy of http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm
|1. Homemade Substitutions|
There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives which can safely be used in place of commercial household products. Here is a list of common, environmentally safe products which can be used alone or in combination for a wealth of household applications.
Is Borax Safe? Borax is considered a mild skin irritant similar to baking soda. The MSDS lists borax as a health hazard of 1, similar to salt and baking soda. A health concern with borax is with its potential to disrupt the reproductive system. Studies have not been done in humans regarding this; however, potential reproductive issues in mice are suspected from high levels of ingested borax. Use of borax for home cleaning formulas, where no borax is ingested, has not been shown to pose health hazards. Borax is a natural substance which is non-carcinogenic, does not accumulate in the body, or absorb through the skin. It is not harmful to the environment.
Combinations of the above basic products can provide less harmful substitutions for many commercial home products. In most cases, they’re also less expensive. Here are some formulas for safe, alternative home care products:
|Note: These formulas and substitutions are offered to help minimize the use of toxic substances in your home, and reduce the environmental harm caused by the manufacture, use and disposal of toxics. Results may vary and cannot be guaranteed to be 100% safe and effective. Before applying any cleaning formulations, test in small hidden areas if possible. Always use caution with any new product in your home.|
|Make sure to keep all home-made formulas well-labeled, and out of the reach of children.All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc. Or use a citrus-based natural all-purpose cleaner.
Another alternative are microfiber cloths which lift off dirt, grease and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals, because they are formulated to penetrate and trap dirt. There are a number of different brands. A good quality cloth can last for several years.
Air Freshener: Commercial air fresheners mask smells and coat nasal passages to diminish the sense of smell.
Bathroom mold: Mold in bathroom tile grout is a common problem and can be a health concern. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray on areas with mold. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using shower.
Carpet stains: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.
Chopping block cleaner: Rub a slice of lemon across a chopping block to disinfect the surface. For tougher stains, squeeze some of the lemon juice onto the spot and let sit for 10 minutes, then wipe.
Coffee and tea stains: Stains in cups can be removed by applying vinegar to a sponge and wiping. To clean a teakettle or coffee maker, add 2 cups water and 1/4 cup vinegar; bring to a boil. Let cool, wipe with a clean cloth and rinse thoroughly with water.
Dishwasher Soap: Mix equal parts of borax and washing soda, but increase the washing soda if your water is hard.
Dishwashing Soap: Commercial low-phosphate detergents are not themselves harmful, but phosphates nourish algae which use up oxygen in waterways. A detergent substitution is to use liquid soap. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the warm, soapy water for tough jobs. Or use a citrus-based natural dish soap.
Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. For stronger cleaning power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use non-aerosol spray bottle. (This is not an antibacterial formula. The average kitchen or bathroom does not require antibacterial cleaners.)
Drain Cleaner: For light drain cleaning, mix 1/2 cup salt in 4 liters water, heat (but not to a boil) and pour down the drain. For stronger cleaning, pour about 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clear residue. Caution: only use this method with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used. Also, do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener–the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.
A commercial alternative is to use CitraDrain Build-Up Remover which uses natural enzymes to safely eliminate grease, oil, soap residue and more to keep pipes flowing properly.
Fabric softener: To reduce static cling, dampen your hands, then shake out your clothes as you remove them from the drier. Line-drying clothing is another alternative.
|Floor Cleaner and Polish:|
|vinyl and linoleum: mix 1 cup vinegar and a few drops of baby oil in 1 gallon warm water. For tough jobs, add 1/4 cup borox. Use sparingly on lineoleum.
wood: apply a thin coat of 1:1 vegetable oil and vinegar and rub in well.
painted wood: mix 1 teaspoon washing soda into 1 gallon (4L) hot water.
brick and stone tiles: mix 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon (4L) water; rinse with clear water.
Most floor surfaces can be easily cleaned using a solution of vinegar and water. For damp-mopping wood floors: mix equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and water. Add 15 drops of pure peppermint oil; shake to mix.
|Furniture Polish: For varnished wood, add a few drops of lemon oil into a 1/2 cup warm water. Mix well and spray onto a soft cotton cloth. Cloth should only be slightly damp. Wipe furniture with the cloth, and finish by wiping once more using a dry soft cotton cloth. Or use CitraWood, a natural wood polish.
For unvarnished wood, mix two tsps each of olive oil and lemon juice and apply a small amount to a soft cotton cloth. Wring the cloth to spread the mixture further into the material and apply to the furniture using wide strokes. This helps distribute the oil evenly.
Laundry Detergent: Mix 1 cup Ivory soap (or Fels Naptha soap), 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. Use 1 tbsp for light loads; 2 tbsp for heavy loads. Commercial natural, biodegradable laundry detergents are also now available online and in select stores.
Lime Deposits:You can reduce lime deposits in your teakettle by putting in 1/2 cup (125ml) white vinegar and 2 cups water, and gently boiling for a few minutes. Rinse well with fresh water while kettle is still warm.
To remove lime scale on bathroom fixtures, squeeze lemon juice onto affected areas and let sit for several minutes before wiping clean with a wet cloth.
Marks on walls and painted surfaces: Many ink spots, pencil, crayon or marker spots can be cleaned from painted surfaces using baking soda applied to a damp sponge. Rub gently, then wipe and rinse.
|Metal Cleaners and Polishes:|
|aluminum: using a soft cloth, clean with a solution of cream of tartar and water.
brass or bronze: polish with a soft cloth dipped in lemon and baking-soda solution, or vinegar and salt solution. Another method is to apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over tarnished spots.
chrome: polish with baby oil, vinegar, or aluminum foil shiny side out.
copper: soak a cotton rag in a pot of boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup white vinegar. Apply to copper while hot; let cool, then wipe clean. For tougher jobs, sprinkle baking soda or lemon juice on a soft cloth, then wipe. For copper cookware, sprinkle a lemon wedge with salt, then scrub., A simpler method is to apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over tarnished spots.
gold: clean with toothpaste, or a paste of salt, vinegar, and flour.
silver: line a pan with aluminum foil and fill with water; add a teaspoon each of baking soda and salt. Bring to a boil and immerse silver. Polish with soft cloth.
stainless steel: clean with a cloth dampened with undiluted white vinegar, or olive oil. For stainless cookware, mix 4 tbs baking soda in 1 qt water, and apply using a soft cloth. Wipe dry using a clean cloth. For stainless steel sinks, pour some club soda on an absorbent cloth to clean, then wipe dry using a clean cloth.
|Mold and Mildew: Use white vinegar or lemon juice full strength. Apply with a sponge or scrubby.
Mothballs:The common mothball is made of paradichlorobenzene, which is harmful to liver and kidneys. Cedar chips in a cheesecloth square, or cedar oil in an absorbent cloth will repel moths. The cedar should be ‘aromatic cedar’, also referred to as juniper in some areas. Cedar chips are available at many craft supply stores, or make your own using a plane and a block of cedar from the lumberyard.
Homemade moth-repelling sachets can also be made with lavender, rosemary, vetiver and rose petals.
Dried lemon peels are also a natural moth deterrent – simply toss into clothes chest, or tie in cheesecloth and hang in the closet.
Oil and Grease Spots: For small spills on the garage floor, add baking soda and scrub with wet brush. Or useCitraSolv nontoxic degreaser.Oven Cleaner: Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water. Use 3/4cup baking soda, 1/4cup salt and 1/4cup water to make a thick paste, and spread throughout oven interior. (avoid bare metal and any openings) Let sit overnight. Remove with spatula and wipe clean. Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots. Or use Arm & Hammer Oven Cleaner, declared nontoxic by Consumers Union.
Paint Brush Cleaner: Non-toxic, citrus oil based solvents are now available commercially under several brand names. Citra-Solve is one brand. This works well for cleaning brushes of oil-based paints. Paint brushes and rollers used for an on-going project can be saved overnight, or even up to a week, without cleaning at all. Simply wrap the brush or roller snugly in a plastic bag, such as a used bread or produce bag. Squeeze out air pockets and store away from light. The paint won’t dry because air can’t get to it. Simply unwrap the brush or roller the next day and continue with the job.
Rust Remover: Sprinkle a little salt on the rust, squeeze a lime over the salt until it is well soaked. Leave the mixture on for 2 – 3 hours. Use leftover rind to scrub residue.
Scouring Powder: For top of stove, refrigerator and other such surfaces that should not be scratched, use baking soda. Apply baking soda directly with a damp sponge.
Shoe Polish: Olive oil with a few drops of lemon juice can be applied to shoes with a thick cotton or terry rag. Leave for a few minutes; wipe and buff with a clean, dry rag.
Stickers on walls: Our children covered the inside of their room doors with stickers. Now they are grown, but the stickers remained. To remove, sponge vinegar over them several times, and wait 15 minutes, then rub off the stickers. This also works for price tags (stickers) on tools, etc.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into basin and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse. A mixture of borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.
Tub and Tile Cleaner: For simple cleaning, rub in baking soda with a damp sponge and rinse with fresh water. For tougher jobs, wipe surfaces with vinegar first and follow with baking soda as a scouring powder. (Vinegar can break down tile grout, so use sparingly.)
Wallpaper Remover: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and hot water, apply with sponge over the old wallpaper to soften the adhesive. Peel of the lifting paper and reapply the mixture to stubborn patches. Open the room windows or use a fan to dissipate the pungent vinegar smell.
Water Rings on Wood: Water rings on a wooden table or counter are the result of moisture that is trapped under the topcoat, but not the finish. Try applying toothpaste or mayonnaise to a damp cloth and rub into the ring. Be careful not to run too vigorously so as not to mar the finish. Once the ring is removed, buff the entire wood surface.
Window Cleaner: Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 liter (qt) warm water. Use crumpled newspaper or cotton cloth to clean. Only use the black and white newspapers, not the colored ones. Don’t clean windows if the sun is on them, or if they are warm, or streaks will show on drying. Be sure to follow the recipe, because using too strong a solution of vinegar will etch the glass and eventually cloud it. The All-Purpose Cleaner (above) also works well on windows, or you can buy CitraClear natural window and glass cleaner.
|3. Healthy Home Cleaning Habits|
Exchange Indoor Air
Many modern homes are so tight there’s little new air coming in. Open the windows from time to time or run any installed exhaust fans. In cold weather, the most efficient way to exchange room air is to open the room wide – windows and doors, and let fresh air in quickly for about 5 minutes. The furnishings in the room, and the walls, act as ‘heat sinks’, and by exchanging air quickly, this heat is retained.
Remove clutter which collects dust, such as old newspapers and magazines. Try to initiate a ‘no-shoes-indoors’ policy. If you’re building or remodelling a home, consider a central vacuum system; this eliminates the fine dust which portable vacuum cleaners recirculate.
Use Cellulose Sponges
Most household sponges are made of polyester or plastic which are slow to break down in landfills, and many are treated with triclosan, a chemical that can produce chloroform (a suspected carcinogen) when it interacts with the chlorine found in tap water. Instead try cellulose sponges, available at natural foods stores, which are biodegradable and will soak up spills faster since they’re naturally more absorbent. For general household cleaning, try Skoy Eco-Cleaning Cloths. These cleaning cloths are non-toxic, extremely absorbent (15x paper towels), reusable, and biodegradable.
Keep Bedrooms Clean
Most time at home is spent in the bedrooms. Keep pets out of these rooms, especially if they spend time outdoors.
Use Gentle Cleaning Products
Of the various commercial home cleaning products, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and oven cleaners are the most toxic. Use the formulas described above or purchase ‘green’ commercial alternatives. Avoid products containing ammonia or chlorine, or petroleum-based chemicals; these contribute to respiratory irritation, headaches and other complaints.
Clean from the Top Down:
When house cleaning, save the floor or carpet for last. Clean window blinds and shelves first and then work downwards. Allow time for the dust to settle before vacuuming.
|4. Commercial Non-Toxic Household Products|
In the marketplace today, we are seeing the emergence of new products which are safe and non-toxic to use for home cleaning tasks, without sacrificing effectiveness. Here below are natural cleaning products which Eartheasy currently stocks. These products meet our standards for safety and effectiveness.
|CitraSolv Concentrated Natural Cleaner and Degreaser – Made from limonene, the clear liquid from the peel of the orange. Its concentrated form allows you to use it for a wide variety of your cleaning needs: whether full-strength for the toughest stains, or diluted for every-day household cleaning. Unlike other heavy-duty cleaners, CitraSolv is made from natural ingredients and leaves behind a fresh orange fragrance. Learn more: Click to view CitraSolv Concentrated Natural Cleaner and Degreaser.
CitraSolv Natural Multi-Purpose Cleaner – Made from the same ingredients as CitraSolv concentrated solution, this Multi-Purpose cleaner is ideal for use on many surfaces, including stainless steel, wood, porcelain, aluminum and other surfaces. The easy-to-use trigger bottle can be refilled by diluting CitraSolv Concentrated Cleaner with water. Learn more: Click to view CitraSolv Multi-Purpose Cleaner.
KitchenStone Cleaning Block – An environmentally friendly, pumice-like cleaning block made from recycled materials. It provides safe, non-toxic cleaning of baked-on messes in your kitchen. The KitchenStone works well on hot or cold surfaces, and can be safely used on most kitchenware including ovens, ceramics, glassware, pots, pans, and other cooking surfaces. Learn more: Click to view KitchenStone Cleaning Block.
Soap Nuts 100% Natural, Biodegradable Laundry Liquid – 100% biodegradable laundry soap. The main ingredient is saponin, a natural low-sudsing cleaner that is very effective, yet safe for even the most sensitive skin. Learn more: Click to view Soap Nuts Laundry Liquid.
Nellie’s All-Natural Laundry Soda – Made with Sodium Silicate and Coconut oil-based surfactants, Nellie’s laundry soda is hypoallergenic, leaves no residue and is biodegradable. Great for baby clothes and for people with allergies or sensitive skin. This product also comes asnuggets, which dissolve readily in cold or hot water. Learn more: Click to view Nellie’s All Natural Soap.
Nellie’s All-Natural Oxygen Brightener – This chlorine-free Oxygen Whitener releases a boost of oxygen for bleaching stains, while cleaning and brightening colours and whites. It’s color-safe, septic-safe, and environmentally safe. Learn more: Click to view Nellie’s All Natural Oxygen Brightener.
Skoy Eco Cleaning Cloths – An absorbent, biodegradable and natural multi-use cloth. Use in your kitchen, bathroom, and on most surface areas in your home or office. SKOY cloth can be used in place of your sponge, wash cloth or paper towels. It’s equivalent to 15 rolls of paper towels! Learn more: Click to view the Skoy Eco Cleaning Cloths.
And there’s more! Click here to see all our nontoxic home cleaning products.
I live in Pennsylvania, and I can attest first hand that I am more than ready for warmer days! It’s been one of the coldest, snowiest Winters in my 44 years of life. Although, I live in an apartment now, and don’t have much space for gardening, I want to share a great idea. Square-foot gardening! Years ago, I created one of my own and received 8 wonderful years of harvest. It was easy to construct and tend to each year.
Check out the link below for 10 simple steps for creating your own square-foot garden!