Archive of ‘DIY’ category

DIY Dry-Erase Love Note Board

For the "little things"

For the “little things”

Inspired by my DIY dry-erase board, I started surfing Pinterest to get other dry-erase ideas. I was looking for something that would help me organize my pantry when I found this adorable dry-erase love note board over at A Content Housewife.

My husband and I work opposite hours so he is usually sleeping when I leave for school in the morning and gone by the time I get home from the gym at night. This is such a cute way for us to stay connected throughout the week.

You’ll need:

  • 1 frame – I got mine at Michael’s on sale for $7
  • 1 sheet of scrapbook paper – $.50

The font I used was called “Loopi” and you can download it here.

I made this for Valentine’s Day, but it would be a great one-year anniversary gift since the first anniversary is paper!

It is fun to find your partner has changed the note!

It is fun to find your partner has changed the note!

No-Cook Playdough

I never realized how difficult it can be to entertain a 3-year old for an extended period of time until yesterday. Apparently coloring on computer paper with a Bic pen and a highlighter is not a toddler’s idea of a good time. Who knew? I was frantically texting my best friend asking for quick craft ideas and she suggested making Playdough. GENIUS! Not only did the little guy enjoy helping in the kitchen, the dough kept him occupied for a few hours.

No-Cook Playdough - Cucina Kristina

Playing with Uncle Jesse

No-Cook Playdough - Cucina Kristina

Playing with homemade playdough

I didn’t have any food coloring, but as you can see, my nephew didn’t care. This went over infinitely better than my coloring idea, and took a few minutes to throw together. This would be such a fun rainy day activity!

No-Cook Playdough
Time: ~5 minutes

No-cook playdough recipe - Cucina Kristina

Our creations

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Food coloring (optional)

Directions:

  1. Grab a little helper and combine all ingredients, except food coloring, in a bowl.
  2. Get messy! Mix by hand.
  3. Add food coloring until dough reaches desired color.

How to Build Raised Garden Beds

Last year, my husband built 2 raised garden beds for our garden. I was so happy with the results, I talked him into building 2 more for me this year. They are relatively easy to build and provide many added benefits to your backyard garden including:

  • Customized soil - This is probably the best benefit to a raised garden bed. It allows you to use your own mix of soil and compost to yield the best results for your plants. If you are into testing pH levels (I haven’t found this necessary yet) a raised garden bed will also allow you to group your plants for optimal growth.
  • Better drainage – A raised bed will provide your bed with better drainage. Because the soil is contained within the bed, they also help limit soil erosion. 
  • Extend your growing season – Raised beds warm up faster than regular ground soil which can extend your growing season. Not only can you plant seedlings earlier in a raised bed, but you can also continue to harvest longer due to increased soil temperatures.
  • Weed control – A raised garden bed allows you to put down a weed barrier before filling the bed with dirt. There is a lot of back and forth on the internet as to how necessary this is because weed barrier fabric does not stop weeds all together. However, a weed barrier plus a few extra feet of dirt will cut down on the amount of weeding you have to do throughout the summer. Personally, I think it’s worth it.
  • Better on your back – Believe it or not, raising your garden bed even a foot off the ground helps ease amount of back-bending needed to harvest and maintain your plants.

Last year I posted some photos of our garden beds without any step-by-step instructions. That is one of my most popular posts so I thought I’d post directions this time around. We used cedar wood because it is the most resistant to rot.

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed
Note: Our beds are 5′ x 4′. You will have to adjust your measurements for beds of different dimensions. The instructions below are for 1 raised garden bed.

Materials:

  • Two 10-foot cedar planks and two 8-foot cedar planks. We used 2 x 6′s – Have your hardware store cut them in half for you. This will leave you with four 5-foot boards and four 4-foot boards
  • One 4 x 4 cedar board – Have your hardware store cut this into 1 and a half-foot pieces. These will be your posts.
  • 3-inch outdoor decking screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Level (optional, but helpful)

Directions:

1. Lay two of the post pieces 5 feet apart on the ground and lay the 5-foot planks across them.

DIY Raised Garden Bed - Step 1

Step 1

2. Using a straight edge, make sure the plank is flush with the edge of the post. Attach one plank at a time.

DIY Raised Garden Bed - Step 2

Step 2

3. Drill two screws through the plank and the post. It helps if you pre-drill the holes in the planks. Screws should be about an inch or so from the edges of the plank and approximately 4 inches apart.

DIY Raised Garden Bed - Step 3

Step 3

4. Repeat steps 1-3 with remaining planks.

nail location

Nail the planks to the posts. I have circled where we inserted nails above. Click to enlarge.

DIY Raised Garden Bed - Step 4

Finished bed.

A quick note: We left about an inch of space between the bottom plank and the ground. This was so we could dig small holes into the ground to help anchor the boxes. In hindsight, this was unnecessary as the boxes are heavy and pretty stable once they are filled with dirt. It is up to you as to whether or not you want to build yours this way.

DIY Raised Garden Bed - Step 4

Step 5 (optional)

5. Before removing your grass and filling your boxes with dirt, check to make sure the beds are level. I don’t think this step is necessary enough to go out and purchase a level, but if you happen to have one it is a good idea to check this before they can’t be moved.

I hope this was helpful. Happy planting!

Makeup Brush Organization

Q: What does do you get when you fill a couple of Ikea vases with a bag of rice?

A: Makeup Brush Holders!

I needed a cheap way to organize my makeup brushes and this did the trick. I got the vases this afternoon for $2.49 each and the bag of rice for $1.79. The cost of this entire project was under $8, and that includes tax. Can’t beat that!

As I was walking through the grocery store, I noticed quite a few food items you could use in place of rice. Here are a few that I came across that would work just as well as rice:

  • dried beans (black, pinto, garbanzo, etc.)
  • popcorn kernels
  • red or green lentils
  • coffee beans
  • orzo or a small pasta like elbow macaroni (pasta is dirt cheap when it goes on sale!)
  • flax seeds, sesame seeds, or poppy seeds (my grocery store sells these inexpensively in bulk)

Now, if only I could find a comparable way to organize my jewelry!

DIY Raised Garden Beds

I got a slightly carried away at Kilbourn Park’s organic plant sale and purchased more plants than we had space for. Oops. They had so many things I had never heard of and, at $2-$4 a pop, I just couldn’t help myself. I’m weak! I admit it.

When Jesse and I first started dating, he cleared a patch at the back of the yard so I had a space to plant a small herb garden. Last year, I expanded all along the side of the garage and planted some tomatoes and peppers (hot and sweet) along with some beets and fennel. Up until 2 weeks ago that seemed to be a sufficient amount space; however, it became abundantly clear that I was slowly taking over the backyard we were going to need more space about 15 minutes into the plant sale when I had already filled an entire box full of budding vegetables.

Lucky for Jesse, I am full of ideas and came up with the perfect solution on the fly. He should build me a raised garden bed! There is a ton of information on the internet about building raised garden beds and they offer some really great benefits to home gardening. They allow for better drainage than traditional garden beds and give you the chance to control the soil quality and pH levels in your garden.

Assembly in process

In addition to the original patch of space in the back of the yard, the space along the side of the garage, and 12 pots containing various herbs, I had Jesse build two 4′ x 5′ raised garden beds. He was less than thrilled about having to dig up the grass under the planter boxes, but I have a feeling he will get over it in about a month when he starts seeing the direct result of his labor on our dining room table.

One down, one to go

We used untreated cedar wood to construct the boxes because the internet said it was rot-resistant and void of harmful toxins that you do not want seeping into your plants. Have you ever smelled freshly cut cedar wood? It’s fantastic. I’ll write a more in-depth post in a couple of days once we have everything completely finished and in place, but I wanted to give you guys a little sneak peak of what we were up to this weekend.

Box Duo: Making sure they are level

There they are, I’m so thrilled! In case you are wondering, we left the corner posts sticking up slightly because we have a bit of a squirrel/rabbit/cat problem and they like to munch on our plants. We’ll eventually have to cover the boxes with chicken wire to keep the animals out yet still let plenty of sunshine in.

Later this summer, I plan on hosting a “Garden Cocktail Party.” Not only will we be hanging out in the backyard, but we will also be sipping cocktails made from the fresh herbs and snacking on hors d’oeuvres made from the food we grew in the garden. Mmm, I can taste the bruschetta already!