Are Bambi and friends using your garden as a midnight snack bar? Irritating right? Yet you don’t want to harm the party crashers just to keep your garden off the menu. There’s a simple solution to this dilemma. You CAN have a nibble-free garden without harming any Disney characters in the process. Just place a pair of used sneakers somewhere in the area that’s being used as a snack bar. You can hide them under a bush, it’s not the sight of your grungy sneaks that keeps them away, it’s the human scent that repels them.
Chances are you’ll eventually run out of things to store in your egg cartons so here are some ideas for using egg cartons that don’t involve storing items in them but should still work to make some aspect of your life a little easier..
Poke a few holes in the bottom of an egg carton for drainage. Fill each section 3/4 full with potting soil and vermiculite. Plant seeds according to package directions and set in a sunny window.
Remove the lid from the egg carton and save it for another use, such as a drawer organizer.
Pour birdseed over the bottom portion of the carton so that each section is filled with birdseed.
Poke holes in the four corners of the carton and attach a bright string or ribbon to each corner. Don’t use fish line as the birds may not see it and get entangled it in. Gather the strings together at the center, knot, and hang your bird feeder from a branch.
Charcoal Fire Starter
Pour melted wax over the bottom section of a paper carton so that each section is approximately 1/3 filled with wax. For obvious reasons – which I didn’t figure out until I used a plastic egg carton – don’t use a plastic egg carton. Place one charcoal briquette in each section with the wax. Close the carton and store until your next barbecue. To use, tear off and set aside the top of the carton for another use such as a resting place for your barbecue tongs and barbecue sauce brush. Place the bottom half of the carton in the bottom of the grill. Light the carton. Wait a few minutes and then add more charcoal.
You won’t need lighter fluid with this fire starter. Fill each section of a paper egg carton with dryer lint. Pour melted wax (from candle stubs) over the lint. When wax is hardened tear apart the sections and use for fire starters.
Chips & Dip Picnic Tray
Fill the lid of a plastic egg carton with chips, cracker and/or veggies. Serve dip in the half with the egg indentations. This works best when using Styrofoam cartons. The cardboard ones will soak up any liquid in the dip.
Disposable Cutting Board
Many of the ideas in this section call for saving the top half of the carton for another use. I pack a few egg carton tops with my camping gear and in my picnic basket to use as cutting boards. When the meal is done just toss them in the trash.
I stack egg carton tops in my cupboard next to my plates and when I want a disposable plate there they are. These are great for when the dishwasher is full of clean dishes and I don’t feel like washing dishes by hand, for a day at the beach and for picnics.
Use Styrofoam egg cartons to make extra ice for parties or picnics. Wash them well before filling with ice. Keep the lids attached so you can stack them in the freezer. Getting the ice out pretty much trashes the egg carton but at least you got one more use out of it.
Egg cartons are great garage sale “cash registers” because you can divide your change into separate compartments. Staple an envelope or two pieces of elastic to the inside top of the carton for the bills.
Use the carton whole, break it up or pack small items inside the carton.
Now I bet you’ll think twice before throwing away an egg carton.
Is there anything better than a nice warm fire on a chilly day? I used to leave my fireplace cold for two reasons – 1) it cost money to buy logs and 2) I didn’t always have the time to sit and enjoy the fire. I’ve now solved both of these issues and am looking forward to many cold days warmed by the free logs I’ve amassed. AND I didn’t have to tromp through the woods with an axe and a sled to collect my firewood.
How do you get free logs you may ask? Well we all have newspapers and junk mail that (hopefully) we’ve already been tossing into the recycle bin. Now you can turn all those papers into free fireplace logs!
Start by laying out your paper with the larger pieces on the bottom and piling more sheets on top. You can put really small pieces of paper into the very top layer. You can add as many layers as you want. It’s good to make logs of varying thicknesses so you have a variety to use. Start rolling at one corner and roll across the stack to the opposite corner rolling as tight as you can. When you’ve rolled to the opposite corner use cotton string or twine to tie around the log once at both ends and in the middle also if it’s a larger log. It’s best not to use plastic ties and other synthetic items because as you burn your log you’ll be releasing those toxins into your home – not good.
Once you have all your logs rolled, take them outside and soak them with a hose or use your bathtub to soak your logs until they are wet all the way through to the inside. Let them dry in the sun – which could take as long as three to four months which is actually a shorter length of time than if it were curing a green wood log. If you want your logs to look more like logs and less like rolled up paper you can add coffee grounds or tea leaves to the soaking water. Neat trick!
If you get in the habit of rolling all your papers once a week or so then you’ll always have some logs drying and some ready to use.
These newspaper logs are just as nice as wood logs as far as producing heat, flame and a cozy atmosphere. A three-inch log will burn for about an hour.
If you want to have some fun with your logs you can add one pound of borax, table salt, or Epsom salts to each gallon of soaking water. Borax will give you green flames, table salt makes yellow flames and Epsom salts produce a white flame.
Oh – I almost forgot – reason number 2. Now that my fireplace logs are free I enjoy the luxury of burning them when I’m working in the kitchen where I can see the fire in the family room or while I’m working out in the family room instead of only enjoying a fire when I can sit right in front of it and get the full benefits. It feels so luxurious to have a fire going while busying myself around the house. Just make sure to not leave a fire alone for more than a couple of minutes.