Archive for the ‘DYI’ Category


Posted: May 15, 2013 in DYI, Holistic Living

I have noticed in the short time I have been on this earth an uptick in cancer rates, allergies, as well as other health concerns. My family tries to eliminate as many as these chemicals as we can, one way we do this is by making our own all-purpose cleaner. You can make a gallon of it for pennies.

It is easy as pie to make what you’ll need is:

  • 1/3 cup dish soap
  • 1/3 cup borax
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • Water
  • Your favorite essential oil for scent (optional)

Use a funnel and pour all the ingredients into a left over gallon jug. Fill the jug with water, and add oils to desired scent.







Kitchen Face Lift Phase 1

Posted: May 13, 2013 in DYI

Lori and I have been thinking about refacing our kitchen for a while now, since before we moved in, but just haven’t gotten around to it. We live in a devlopment out in the country where everything in the home is “builder grade,”not really our style, but is fine for now it got us into the right school, at the right time, for the right price. Like most we ant to put our mark on where we live, and make it out home.

Last year my grandmother passed away, during the sale of her estate the buyers of her home did not want the appliances, so I stepped up to take the dishwaser (we hate our builder grade dishwasher) a really nice BOSH but it is white and our cabinets are dark this inspired Lori to reface the cabinets white so the dishwasher would match, which has not been done yet. At any rate this dishwasher has been sitting in my mom’s garage for about a year, until last week I shut the door to the builder grade washer and the hinge snapped right off, replacement part would cost $50. Well, I thought “bump that I’m putting that BOSH in with or without the cabinets white.” Man I have to say it sticks out like a sore thumb, but sure is quite and cleans dishes well. Maybe this will motivate us to paint.


Anybody else got some mismatched appliances?

DIY; Compost Bin

Posted: March 20, 2013 in DYI, Gardening

Okay, so you started a garden. Now you have decided you are ready to take the next step into Gardner-hood; composting.

There are many ways to build a compost pile. You can build one with stakes and rabbit fencing, you can make one with lumber and fencing with cool drop down gates, heck you can just pile it up in your back yard. That’s what I was doing until Lori let me know it was looking a little unsightly. After Lori let me know how things are, I priced some bins at the home centers, and found they are very proud of their compost bins. Next, I got online and found some pretty cool ways to build some out of dimensional lumber and cattle fencing. After thinking it through;  it seemed like it would be some unnecessary work turning the pile by hand with a pitch fork. I found the easiest to build, least expensive, and easiest to maintain was to build one out of a garbage can. Here’s how I did mine:

You really don’t need hardly anything at all (total cost was ~$30 if you don’t have a trash can already lying around):

  1. (1) Garbage can with a lid. I went with a Rubbermaid Commercial Line, because I figured I’d need something that can take a beating.
  2. A drill & drill bit. If you don’t have a drill & drill bit just use a hammer & nail.
  3. Some bricks or CMU block. These are necessary for upward ventilation, and if you use a metal can it will prevent rusting.
  4. A bungee cord. I use the flat black ones with “S” hooks, because that’s what Truckers use.
  5. A watering can or hose.

The Process:

  1. Drill holes all over the can. The microbes need air to break down the organic material. I didn’t punch holes in the top, because I figure you want to trap the heat inside the can.

  2. Place the bricks on the ground where you want to place your bin. Place the bin on top to judge  what spacing is needed.
  3. Then fill your bin with alternating green materials (nitrogen rich), and brown materials (carbon rich). Examples of green materials include grass clippings, vegetables scraps, tea bags, coffee grinds, weeds.  Examples of brown materials include leaves, cardboard, paper, & wood chips.
  4. If your material looks dry add some water. It should be like a wet sponge.
  5. Put the lid on and bungee shut. Place the bin on its side, and give it a roll to mix the contents.
  6. Place back on bricks.

For the best results you will want to roll the bin once a week, and water if it looks dry. Compost should be ready with in 4-8 weeks.

Do you compost at your house?


Halloween Bean Bag Toss

Posted: October 12, 2012 in DYI


This year I was recruited to be my kindergartner’s school’s first ever Room Dad. About two days after volunteering I was pushed right into the biggest fundraiser of the year, the Fall Festival.

Okay, you may be thinking “big deal, an elementary school Fall Festival.” Well friends allow me to tell you this is no ordinary Fall Festival; these people are serious about some fundraising. Here are some of the highlights.

  • First the PTO expects to net over $40,000 (this thing only runs from 9am-3pm.)
  • Over 4,000 are expected in attendance.
  • Carnival concessions, games, rides, and prizes.
  • Live and Silent Auction

I am a “type A” kind of guy, so I hit the ground running. I thought a bean bag toss, and the idea was confirmed by another room mom. Rather than spend $15-30 I thought about my scrap wood pile, and dumpster diving (as I do many times a day.) My reasoning for not buying something is the same as it always is; I can do it bigger, better, and cheaper, and as an added benefit I intend to use these as decorations for this Halloween.

If you want to build a Halloween Bean Bag toss for a Fall Festival, party, or for whatever this is how I did mine.

Here is what you’ll need:

  1. Some paint for your design, I like Beher Premium Plus. It seems to hold up to the abuse of the munchkins that live in my house as well as, or better than the more expensive professional brands.
  2. A drill, drill bit big enough for the jig saw blade, and #2 Phillips bit
  3. Jigsaw
  4. 2″ coarse threaded screws
  5. (2) 2×4 sheet of wood
  6. material to make 4 feet


I’d rate this project easy. You don’t need to be a master with a jigsaw. I have never seen a pumpkin, or ghost without a crooked mouth.

How I did mine:

This first thing I did was drag out a scap piece of MDF (2×8) left over from our old house’s kitchen remodel. I knew I’d need it one day, so I stashed it in my mom’s detached garage who lived just down the street, unbeknownced to my mom of course, she never goes in there anyway. Next, I simply cut the board in half to make (2) 2×4 pieces.

My board happened to be primed already; I tested a paint sample, and it didn’t stick. Out came the belt sander, which I saved from a dumpster years ago; it only needed a new cord!


Next was to get my beautiful artist wife to sketch a pumpkin, and a ghost. After that it was time to cut out some holes for the toss. First thing first, you will need to drill a hole to fit the jigsaw blade into. After you drill some holes, cut out the shapes with the jigsaw, and file or sand down any rough cuts.


First up was the ghost. I cut him out then painted the body black, and then mixed black and white paint together to get grey, and a black back ground. This was recommnded by Lori to give him a translucent look.


Next was the pumpkin. He’s pretty straight forward. I game him some coats of “pumpkin patch orange” and a black background.

After painting I needed a way to stand my creations upright. I dug through my scrap pile on the lumber rack. As I was coming down from the ladder I spotted some 7″ triangles (7″ rise x 7″ run = 9 7/8″ hypotenuse, if you want legs of different measurements use Pythagorean theorem)  left over from building some stairs which Lori had rescued from the bonfire pile. “Those would be perfect! Oh man! I can’t have those, Lori is going to do something with them. Did I burn the others last weekend? I better go check.” I thought to myself. I frantically hurried off to the lumber pile where, SCORE!

Attaching the feet was easy. I made sure the 2″ coarse threaded screws wouldn’t puncture the front of the bean bag toss. Pre-drilled the holes at the determined angle, to prevent cracking the feet, and sunk the screws. I then painted the feet black as well.


What is cool abut the triangle feet is you can lay it down like corn hole, or stand it up for a baseball pitch.


The only thing left is the bean bags. Lori, isn’t sewing in your department? ….

— Nate