Ice Cube Trays- Oh the Uses!!

Let’s take a moment here and think fondly of the person who dreamed up the Dollar Store, and the person who invented ice cube trays. Together, they’re a beautiful thing. You can also find them in yard sales for CHEAP.

I use mine for a lot of things, but here are a few of my favorites!

  1. Use them to freeze homemade chicken, beef, or vegetable stock. Each cube is about 2 tbsp of stock. Once they’re frozen I loosen the cubes and throw them in a baggie (labeled) or plastic container and keep them in the freezer. Instant homemade stock!
  2. Use them to freeze Kool-Aid Lemonade. These ice cubes are great added to a glass of tea, and don’t leave you with a watered down drink. They’re also good with other flavors of Kool-Aid! (Think Cherry ice cubes in a glass of Blastin’ Berry Kool-Aid).
  3. Use them to freeze milk for your coffee. Cools it down and adds creamer! Especially if you mix it with some vanilla extract or something for a boost of flavor!
  4. Freeze fresh herbs in olive oil for an instant flavor boost to your cooking. Plus, don’t feel bad about wasting money when you have to throw out those fresh herbs that have gone rotten. Just freeze them before they rot.

What do you use your ice trays for?

Oh the things you can do with Dollar Store ice cube trays!!

 

 

 

The Coupon Binder

My friend created this, and I thought it was just brilliant.

She said it took a little time at first, but has been totally worth it, as she’s not standing in the aisle hunting down coupons in a small coupon book. She can flip easily to the right section and see all her coupons.

Things you’ll need (all at WalMart or similar stores):

  1. Binder
  2. Pocket dividers
  3. Baseball card storage pockets for binders
Step on, labels.

Step one, labels.

Step two, coupons.

Step two, coupons.

aga

You can add paper with shopping lists to the front, or a big clear pocket to stash coupons you are going to use.

Brilliant, I tell you. Just brilliant.

Bookcase to Kitchen Storage

So in this last move, my kitchen downsized drastically. I went from having empty cabinets (there’s a rare luxury!) to trying to figure out how to cram the basic kitchen essentials in. There is still a few items I haven’t found a ‘home’ for in the kitchen, but they’re not frequent use items.

I also ended up with an ugly, white bookshelf and no place to put it.

So, Bookshelf, meet my Kitchen. Specifically, the blank space between the table and the door to the laundry room.

I cleaned the shelf and used it to store dinnerware, serving ware, plastic bags (in the bag box!), bread, and other kitchen essentials. Problem was, it looked BLAH, and right now I’m on a tight budget.

Enter the Dollar Store, where I picked up three rolls of decorative, no stick, no slip, self grip shelf liner. I started to put it on the shelves when it hit me, what would it look like in the back of the shelves? I had seen similar things online, but they used wallpaper and Mod Podge. The major advantage to the shelf liner was that it could be cleaned without damage, and very easily.

The results turned out great! The entire project took less than 10 minutes.

Storage!

Storage!

Things you’ll need:

  1. Elmer’s Spray Adhesive (I LOVE this stuff!!)
  2. Shelf Liner
  3. Scissors
  4. Tape Measure
  5. Pen
First thing, to clean the shelf.

First thing, to clean the shelf because that looks dirty.

I cleaned the shelves, measured them, and used my pen to mark the measurements on the back of the shelf liner. And started cutting it down to size.

I sprayed the back of the shelf with my spray adhesive and pressed into place (I found it easiest to press in the middle first and work my way to the outside edges).

Two shelves down, one to go!

Two shelves down, one to go!

Final shelf.

Final shelf.

Finished project!

Finished project!

The Painted Bottle

After my horribly failed cutting glass bottles experiment, I had a few clear bottles left over. I had an ostrich feather that came in a flower bouquet I had received and I wanted to display it on my vanity in a pretty, but somewhat unique bottle. I decided to try painting the inside of the bottle so it retained it’s clean, shiny look.

The Painted Bottle

I had found this great little sampler paint clearanced at Home Depot for $0.50 a few weeks back so I picked it up thinking eventually I would come up with a use for it. Any paint will work, really, but it seems wall paint works very well and is easy to spread in the bottle. I have tried this previously with acrylic paint and a vase and it was not as easy to spread the paint inside.

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My 50 cent paint sample.

I assembled my necessities: the paint, the bottle, and an old funnel that has been cut to have a wider spout opening and is perfect for projects like this. Oh, and some paper towels which I grabbed as an afterthought.

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Assembled necessities: paint, bottle, and an old funnel.

I inserted the funnel and begin to pour paint into the bottle until it seemed like a good amount.

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Insert funnel. Ignore the teens school stuff in the background.

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Seems like enough paint.

I held the paper towel over the opening of the bottle and proceeded to shake and turn the bottle until the entire inside was coated in paint.

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Using a paper towel as a lid, I shook and turned the bottle until the inside was coated.

Having coated the inside of the bottle, I turned it over and tapped the sides gently until the excess paint came back out.

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Tap the bottle to drip out the excess paint. I’m not sure why it looks gray in this photo??

I let it set for almost a week to ensure it was fully dry inside. Then placed the feather and put it on display!

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Completed bottle.

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Closer shot.

On an additional note: When I finished I immediately wiped and cleaned the funnel. You cannot tell it had paint in it at any point. Yay!

 

The Bag Box

I got very tired of bags within bags and bags stuck in bag holders. So I made a box for the bags.

The Bag Box

I started with a leftover iced tea box and I cut the top flaps off.

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Instead of throwing it out, I put it to use.

Next, I cut a piece of scrapbook paper to fit the bottom on the inside and pulled out my trusty Elmer’s Spray Adhesive. I sprayed the inside of the box and placed the paper inside.

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Some light shows through, but the box sits on a shelf and the light doesn’t show through then.

I then cut scrapbook paper to size, and using Mod Podge I covered the sides with scrapbook paper.

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Covered the outside with scrapbook paper using Mod Podge.

I created a border around the edge of the box with the leftover strips of scrapbook paper. I cut each corner so it would be easy to fold over and hide the ugly cardboard edge at the top of the box. I also applied this with Mod Podge.

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Used the small, leftover bits of scrapbook paper to create a border around the edge.

Ta-dah! I put a plastic bag in as a liner and stuffed the rest inside! A box for my bags! It fits nicely under the sink and keeps everything organized.

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You can see the border tucked over the box at the top.

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I used two different types of scrapbook paper.

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I’m pleased with the finished product.

Cutting Glass Bottles- Adventures in DIY

I had saved some glass root beer bottles with the hopes of cutting them and making candles. I watched this tutorial and felt fairly confident I could do it.

  • I assembled my bottles, yarn, nail polish remover, lighter, scissors, and sink of cold water.

Bottle for ProjectTools neededIced sink one

  • I wrapped my yarn around the bottle six times, took it off and soaked it in some acetone I poured into an old container.
  • I then placed my yarn back around the bottle, wiped off the excess acetone, and lit it on fire.
  • I’d like to add at this point that I after having worked on an ambulance and for a fire department, I was fearful of this project and the possible emergency room trip that could follow. Therefore, I wiped down the excess acetone to prevent it from flaming up the bottle (and me) and wore my glasses in case the glass popped. Read on to find out what happened when I threw caution to the wind.
  • I rotated the bottle slowly until the fire went out and plunged the bottle into the sink.
Fire

After lighting my bottle I rotated it slowly until the flame burned out.

Nothing happened.

Nothing

Absolutely nothing.

Ok, back to the internet. This is simple science after all, so I had to be messing up somewhere. After some research and watching another tutorial video, I decided to switch yarns and give it another try. I also decided to add more ice to the sink to make the water extra cold.

Different yarn

Different yarn.

Iced sink two

Added lots more ice to the sink.

  • Just like before I wrapped my yarn around the bottle six times, took it off and soaked it in some acetone I poured into an old container.
  • I, once again, placed my yarn back around the bottle, wiped off the excess acetone, and lit it on fire.
  • I rotated the bottle slowly until the fire went out and plunged (ok, ok, dropped) the bottle into the sink.
Burning two

I lit that bad boy on fire and proceeded to repeat my earlier steps.

Drop

Success!

The bottle made a popping sound and broke cleanly above the yarn. It worked! It worked! Plus, it had a nice, smooth cut to it. Excited I repeated the steps with another bottle. And another bottle. I could not achieve the same results.

First and second result

Left: Jagged edges of the second bottle.
Right: First bottle.

Second bottle did not come out so nice. I figured I could sand it down and kept trying. I tried tilting bottles different ways as they burned and holding them straight. I rotated them all slowly until the fire burned out. I tried plunging them and dropping them in the water. Nada.

1 out of 4

Four bottles later, all jagged except the first.

Frustrated, I grabbed a wine bottle wondering if it might be the type of glass.

Wine bottle

The wine bottle.

It came out fairly well, except it cracked all throughout the glass.

Cracked wine bottle

Came out great- except the cracks.

I kept pursuing with different root beer bottles. I tried placing the yarn at different spots, I tried rotating fast and rotating slow while it burned. I tried dropping the bottles in the ice water and plunging other times. Twice more it didn’t work at all. I finally became frustrated.

Results

6 root beer bottles and one wine bottle. Only one came out correct.

Let me start by saying frustration and DIY are not a good combination. We’ve all been to that point where we want something to turn out so well but it just keeps failing. That being said, safety should always be on the forefront of your mind.

As I mentioned previously, I have worked for a fire department and for ambulance services. I’ve had some gruesome stuff in the back of my ambulances, and a few caused by DIY home accidents. I’m smart enough to take precautions and worry enough to enforce them.

I do get stupid occasionally though.

I was down to my last bottle and decided not to take the string off the bottle, but to pour the acetone over the string as I rotated the bottle. This caused a lot of acetone to get on the string. I wiped the bottle down, but not carefully. When I lit the string on fire, the excess acetone on the bottle lit on fire, and the remaining acetone I didn’t wipe off my hand. I dropped the bottle into dry side of the sink quickly and jerked my hand back before plunging my hand into the ice water (note to self: working as a stunt double on fire is not a career option).

I got lucky, I didn’t burn my hand. But when I jerked my hand back my shirt came up a bit and some fire reached out and bit my side, burning it a little (nothing serious).

I grabbed the bottle out of the sink and started rotating it like a mad woman. The fire went out and I tossed it into the ice water. It too, cracked all weird.

For now, I’m going to use the two bottles that came out ok and see if I can sand the others. If not, I give up on this one.