Category Archives: DIY

How to Make an iPad Stand for Free

How to make an iPad stand - for free

How to make an iPad stand - for free


The Art of Repurposing


Re-purposing items can create something special while saving both money and space in the landfill. Suitcases become end tables, light fixtures out of canisters – let your imagination run wild with your drill and hot glue gun.

This piece on the Simply Stated blog has a few photos to start you thinking about new uses for old items in a fabulous way. Link

Tool Lending Library

Photo: Flickr

Photo: Flickr

How often do you need a tile cutter, a ladder or hedge clippers? If your answer is ‘not very often’ then you could use a tool lending library, and so could a lot of your neighbors.

This is a community project that the Phinney Neighborhood Association in North Seattle has operated for years. Low cost rentals for tools by the week ($10/wk. for a tile cutter) means I don’t have to buy one (and store it and maintain it) and the money stays in the neighborhood rather than in the pocket of a big box store.

I think every neighborhood needs a tool lending library. I’m filing this under community projects.

Slow Cooker Magic

I’ll just put it right out there – I don’t cook very often. Once in a while the mood moves me, but usually not so much. The slow cooker I got at a neighborhood yard sale is my new best friend. Soup, stew stroganoff, chili, BBQ and even bread can be cooked in a slow cooker. It’s like magic!

Almost every thrift store has slow cookers regularly, but even buying new they’re a great deal. You can load them up with ingredients in the morning, turn it on, and by dinner time you’ve got a great home-cooked meal saving both money and time. is one of many sites that have hundreds of slow cooker recipes. Yum! Link

DIY Wind Generator for under $200

Photo: Mike Davis

Photo: Mike Davis

Here’s a step-by-step guide to building your own wind generator made out of basic materials like PVC pipe and sheet metal. Author Mike Davis explains how he started on this project:

I started by Googling for information on home-built wind turbines. There are a lot of them out there in an amazing variety of designs and complexities. All of them had five things in common though:

1. A generator
2. Blades
3. A mounting that keeps it turned into the wind
4. A tower to get it up into the wind
5. Batteries and an electronic control system

I reduced the project to just five little systems. If attacked one at a time, the project didn’t seem too terribly difficult. I decided to start with the generator. My online research showed that a lot of people were building their own generators. That seemed a bit too complicated, at least for a first effort. Others were using surplus permanent magnet DC motors as generators in their projects. This looked like a simpler way to go. So I began looking into what motors were best for the job.

This easy to follow guide is available on Mike’s website. Link.

Best Window Cleaner

Photo source:

Photo source:

In your kitchen you probably have everything you need to create this kick ass window cleaner. Simple and green, this is from the DIY green home guru Anne Bond:

Make a great all-purpose window cleaner by combining 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent, and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Shake to blend and spray on your windows.

Annie’s recipe is on the network, committed making it easy for everyone to live a healthy, green lifestyle.  Link.

Gutter Gardens

guttergarden-550x259Here’s a clever idea from – used gutters made into garden planters.

“When Suzanne Forsling moved to Juneau Alaska from Iowa, she found that it was a little bit harder to get her garden to grow.  Frustrated by cold soil, scarce sunlight, hungry slugs, root maggots, porcupines, cats, bears and ravens she got resourceful.  She got her crops off the cold ground and into the light by afixing gutters to the wood siding of her house on the sunny side and using them as planters.

This is really a great space saving idea for those with green thumbs and not enough yard to exercise them.  Personally I think these would go great along a deck railing or cut down to be mini-window boxes.  So next time someone you know replaces their gutters snatch them up and give them a new lives as planters.”