Browsed by
Category: DIY

LACK-HACK – Perfect Mother’s or Father’s Day Gift

LACK-HACK – Perfect Mother’s or Father’s Day Gift

My parents are the kind of people who have everything.  They are retired, they spend most of their time at the beach, and they don’t ever “need” anything, but they love toys.

PhotoCoastersHR


I made some photo coasters for them a few years ago, and my dad mentioned wanting to do a photo table.  I decided to make this for him for father’s day this year (Dad, if you’re reading this, STOP!!!)

 

This project was pretty simple, just some basic materials and some ratty clothes are all you need to make this project a reality.  I would try to space this out over an entire weekend, if not longer.  Each layer needs to dry in order for this to work properly.

 

Materials:

  • Ikea lack table ($9) or sub another table, maybe one from a thrift store
  • 25 Photos, or more if your table is larger
  • Elmers glue
  • Paper cutter (optional, this will allow you to make clean cuts on your photos, and measure them for consistency)
  • Modpodge (matte finish small should be fine)
  • EnviroText Lite High Gloss Finish
  • Brush or Sponge applicator (for the modpodge)
  • Disposable measuring container (I used an old coffee tin)
  • Wooden stick (to smooth out the resin)
  • Hair dryer

TopLackHacksmall

Steps:

  1. Cut your photos to even 4’’x4’’ squares, or any other size you like!
  2. Lay out your photos in a pattern you like (optional: tape some or all of them down to keep them in place)
  3. Glue photos down with elmer’s glue
  4. Let this dry at least two hours— place something heavy on top of the photos (like a book)
  5. Apply three layers of modpodge on top of the entire table.  Make sure that the layers fully dry before applying your next coat (about 3-4 hours between coats, you can place a fan nearby to help the layers dry faster)
  6. Mix equal parts resin and hardener in to your disposable tin (if your bottles are fresh, you can simply pour them into your tin, and compare the amount left in the bottles to make sure you are using equal parts, or you can pour them into a disposable measuring cup and measure them out)  For this project I needed a little less than half of each of the bottles.
  7. Quickly pour your contents on to your table, and smooth it out using your wooden stick.  Make sure that there aren’t any “holes” and don’t worry about bubbles too much.  Try to keep it as even as possible,  but remember that a lot of it will even out as you go along.  I poured it all out on the center of the table, and then smoothed it to the corners
  8. Use your hairdryer to get rid of any bubbles (I just applied it as closely as I could to the table, and just ran it over the bubbles until they went away)
  9. Let dry for a least 12 hours, but a good day or two is best
  10. Wrap and give to a loved one

 

Also consider doing this with a map, scrapbook paper, coins, old letters, beer bottle caps, wine corks, etc.  The list is endless.

IMG_2011 (2)

Good luck 🙂

Camper for a Year

Camper for a Year

It’s a mystery to me
We have a greed with which we have agreed
And you think you have to want more than you need
Until you have it all, you won’t be free
-Eddie Vedder

In January, my fiance and I decided to stop drinking.  Not because we necessarily had a problem with it, or anything like that, we just decided that it was inhibiting us from doing the things we love.  As we are getting older, we are finding that what used to be a minor hang-over the next morning before breakfast has turned into two full days of non-stop vegging.  We would eat ourselves sick on some chipotle, wonder aimlessly around our apartment, and basically do nothing.  This was preventing us from living our lives.  We weren’t hiking as much, camping, saving money, spending time with friends, or being productive.  Our apartment was starting to slip, and all organization went out the window.  I am not saying that we were even drinking that much, just a couple of drinks for me and a little bit more for David, and we were basically done for the next day.  Since we are active people, this was a problem.

This brings me to the point that since we stopped drinking, we’ve noticed a lot has changed in our lives.  For one, we are a million times more productive.  I started blogging, taking online courses, spending time with my friends and family, and I even started painting again.  David has dropped 15 pounds, can run a 5k like a boss, and has significantly diminished acid-reflux.  He has even stopped taking his medication for it, supplementing with Tums instead when needed.

Our mental health is at an all-time high, and we have noticed that our itch to travel is non-stop.  Like a rash that won’t go away, we just can’t scratch idea of getting out of town out of our heads.  We had a stroke of good luck from the universe last year around this time when my parents bought a new RV and we adopted their old twenty-year Mallard (I know the Ballard Mallard is all we used to say when I was growing up).  We decided to store it in our favorite campground, Sugar Mill Ruins in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  Here, we can go to our private oasis (we are homeowners  now after all) and get away from Atlanta.  After spending a few weekends in our camper, we decided that we could totally, one-hundred percent, live in that camper.  With minimal dishes, clothes, hobby stuff (this is a tough one for me), and furniture we can do it.  We could save a lot of money, pay off some student loans, and maybe even see a huge chunk of the United States.  Sure, our camper does need a little love, but we really lucked out because it is in terrific shape. We do have a few projects we are going to try to accomplish before we both go virtual:

    • Bathroom Reconstruction

lillangen-sink-cabinet-with-doors__0419562_PE576351_S4

    • New Toilet
    • New Vanity
    • Pull the wallpaper off and paint the walls of the tub and entire bathroom
    • Paint the tub lining
    • New shower controls
  • Solar Panel the roof
  • Figure out a good solution for a desk area
  • Put vinyl flooring in
  • Find a comfortable sleeper sofa
  • Paint and clean the outside of the camper
  • Cosmetic fun stuff
    • Pull the wallpaper up in the slide room and paint
    • Paint the walls all over
    • Paint a fun quote on the outside of the camper
    • Put up fun map and ocean paintings
    • Curtains
    • New Blinds
    • Put new knobs on the cabinets
    • Paint all the vents, speakers, etc.
    • Restructure the shelves in the closets to make them more accessible
    • Mount a TV in the living space
    • Set up our “kombucha world”

I will be posting about everything we do, taking a few time-lapses, and definitely some how-to videos as we go along. Below is a video of what it looks like now. There was some water damage in the bathroom, so that will be our first priority.  Below is a video of what it looks like now:

How to Peel the Labels off Your Kombucha Bottles

How to Peel the Labels off Your Kombucha Bottles

Brewing your own kombucha is a fun way to save money and get the exact flavor and consistency you want.  If you don’t already know how to brew your own, please see my other post here.  Part of the brewing process is bottling.  A great way to cut back on your waste and decrease consumer demand is to reuse your old kombucha bottles. I usually drink GTs when we are out of the good stuff at home. Their bottles are perfect for brewing, and they add that nice carbonation that we all love about kombucha.

Below is a video I made to show you how quick and painless it can be to peel those labels off of your bottles. Think of all of the possibilities there are for reuse:

  • Bottling any drink (think club soda and lime on a hot summer day)
  • Storing any nuts, seeds, coffee beans, or any other dried food
  • Decorations (I’m thinking chalkboard paint and fun stencils)
  • Bringing a homemade drink with you to work
  • A water bottle at work (no plastic here, thank you- just leave the lid off)
  • A gift for a friend who is also brewing his or her own kombucha
  • A very unique mixed-drink glass
  • A cute pencil holder (put a ribbon around the rim, voila!)
  • Massive spice rack
  • I could go on, the possibilities are endless


If peeling the labels off your own bottles isn’t your thing, you can always order some bottles from amazon.  I’ve never tried these, but they seem like they would work great.

Kombucha Brewing Dayhiked-5

 

 

How to Brew Kombucha

How to Brew Kombucha

Brewing kombucha is such a simple process, and it isn’t as scary as it seems.  With many name-brand kombucha products running $3 or more per bottle, brewing your own kombucha is a no-brainer.  I absolutely love The Kombucha Shop’s products.  We ordered our first brew kit from them, and it really made brewing a dream.  Follow the steps below to take the scary out of brewing your own kombucha.

Brew Kombucha

Brew Kombucha

Ingredients:
S.C.O.B.Y.
1 cup of already brewed kombucha
3 tablespoons loose-leaf tea, or enough tea bags to brew one gallon of tea
*green and black teas are my favorite*
1 cup of sugar (organic pure cane tends the work the best)
Vinegar (for cleaning)
Filtered water

 

Materials:
1-gallon fermentation jar
1 stick-on temperature gauge
6 reused kombucha bottles, or other bottles
Container with a lid
Muslin cloth tea bag (disregard if using tea bags)
Pitcher
Rubber band
2 unbleached coffee filters or 1 reusable muslin organic cotton cloth piece (I do not recommend cheese cloth)
Large pot (for boiling water and steeping your tea)

   

Instructions:
1. Clean all surfaces and materials with vinegar and rinse with water (with the exception of any cloths or coffee filters)
2. Add your temperature gauge to the fermentation jar (make sure that you stick it closer to the bottom of the jar)
3. Clean your hands with vinegar, then rinse with water
4. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil
5. Add the 3 tablespoons of tea to your reusable tea bag, and add it to the water once it reaches a boil, then quickly move the water away from your heat source
6. Steep the tea for 5 minutes (unless otherwise instructed)
7. Add 1 cup of sugar, making sure that it fully dissolves
8. Add the sweetened tea to the 1-gallon fermentation jar
9. Fill the jar mostly full with cold, filtered water
10. Once the tea reaches a temperature between 68 °F and 88 °F, add your S.C.O.B.Y. and 1 cup of kombucha from the previous batch
11. Cover with your cloth or 2 coffee filters, and secure using the rubber band
12. Store in a warm, dark place with little movement for 2-4 weeks, depending on desired sweetness


Kombucha Brewing Dayhiked-5To Bottle Your Kombucha:

I usually like to brew my next batch of kombucha at the same time that I bottle my most recent batch
1. Repeat steps 1-8 above, only once your new kombucha reaches the appropriate temperature, add your current S.C.O.B.Y and 1 cup of current brew
*Keep in mind that your new batch will produce a second S.C.O.B.Y. It is perfectly fine to add both to your new batch, create two new batches instead of one, or consume your S.C.O.B.Y. (maybe add it to your smoothies?).  If you have a good friend maybe give it to him or her, but don’t waste it!  You grew it!
2. Pour your new batch of kombucha (sans the S.C.O.B.Y.) into your pitcher

3. From your pitcher, slowly pour your brew into your bottles
4. *Optional* add fruit or ginger while bottling for added flavor
5.  Secure lids tightly on the bottles
6. Store in a dark, warm place for up to 1 week (this will add the signature carbonation everyone loves, and further ferment your delicious brew)
7. Place in your refrigerator and enjoy whenever you need a boost!