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I don’t own a lot of jewelry, but the few pieces that I do have I tend to wear a lot.  When this pair of wooden earrings broke recently, I was upset.

I was about to throw them away, but thought that I should at least try to fix them first.  I chose to use EcoGlue because it is water-based and adheres to wood.

First, I applied the EcoGlue along one of the broken edges.  Then, I matched up the two pieces and held for about 30 seconds.  I let the earring sit overnight and it was as good as new!

Next time you think about throwing out a pair of broken earrings, try repairing them first!

Pumpkin Topiary from DIY Network

Pumpkin Topiary from DIY Network

With the arrival of fall come some of my favorite things: warm cider, carmel apples and pumpkins!  Here is a list of a few things you can do with pumpkins.

Carving.  Halloween is just 4 weeks away and that’s just enough time to get what you need to carve the perfect pumpkin.  HGTV has great tips for carving.  And, if you’re like me and have a hard time figuring out what to carve, try templates.  They’re easy to use and you’re bound to have the best looking pumpkin on the block!

Pumpkin Pie.  This is an absolute must have.  I don’t care if it’s store bought or home made, pumpkin pie is the best.   Here’s a great recipe from Martha Stewart.

Pumpkin Seeds.  I absolutely love, love, love oven roasted pumpkin seeds!  Of course you can buy them from the store, but they are much tastier warm and fresh out of the oven.  Lightly salted, they are a perfect fall snack.

Decorative Topiary. The DIY network suggests creating a decorative topiary with carved pumpkins. Once carved, stack the pumpkins, glue them together so they stay put, and wrap twinkle lights around the outside to complete the look.  This clever project would be perfect next to a fireplace or entry way. Try E6000 or EcoGlue Extreme.

Do you have any favorite fall traditions?

BBQ Season by Dominic via Flickr

BBQ Season by Dominic via Flickr

In the category of “random holidays,” we learn that July is not just National Hot Dog Month, but it’s also the National Month for baked beans, blueberries and ice cream. Sounds like a BBQ to us!

As we are wont to do, we scoured the Internet to find the best of the best tips for prepping for and hosting a delightful backyard soiree.

Prepping

Check the backyard for any safety issues such as filling holes that may cause people to fall when walking, or fixing a loose board on a deck or stones in a patio. Clean up a cluttered yard by putting away all unnecessary items such as toys and outdoor maintenance equipment.

You may have noticed that wobbly leg on the deck chair at the Memorial Day get together. It’s time to repair it! Make quick and easy repairs using Amazing GOOP Lawn & Garden or EcoGlue Extreme.

Keep your party bug free by setting up insect repellent devices around the yard. Make sure your repellent is EPA-registered or recognized as safe for kids, pets, and the environment. Repellent devices include Allethrin Lamps, Geraniol Candles and Diffusers, and Metofluthrin Diffusers.

Next, clean the stuff.

Good Housekeeping recommends the following top patio-furniture cleaners:

Decorating

Liven up the party with decorations:

  • Pick a theme and place decorations around the patio, yard, and house.
  • Spruce up picnic tables with fresh-picked flowers.
  • Cover tables with vibrant plastic or cloth tablecloths.
  • Place votive candles on tables to add ambiance and additional lighting to the party.

Party Time!

Whether your cooking simple hot dogs and hamburgers or lamb shish kabobs, prepare everything ahead of time to avoid a hassle during the party. Food and Wine Magazine recommends four simple steps to a great barbecue: slather, rub, mop, and barbecue sauce. Tasty food is a key component to a successful barbecue.

Prepare a buffet table and set out a cooler with cold beverages just before your guests arrive. Arrange the buffet table in a logical order so guests can easily maneuver through the delicious grub you prepared. Place condiments and extras in a central location for easy mid-meal maneuvering. Replace perishable items with fresh food to avoid potential spoiling.

Prepare games such as badminton, horseshoes, and volleyball. Make sure you have the appropriate game equipment for your guests and encourage some friendly competition by offering fun prizes.

Keep the party groovin’ with a killer music selection or playlist. Who knows, maybe the music will provoke an impromptu dance party.

And voila… you now have a successful barbecue!

Before throwing out that scrap wood, worn out piece of furniture or leftover DIY project materials, consider reusing them. We found some clever projects that do just that.

Give Old Furniture an Inexpensive Facelift

Bring an old table or chair back to life by refinishing it. Home improvement guru Danny Lipford gives directions on how to refinish.*

  • Apply liquid stripper according to the directions, allowing it to stay on the surface for the recommended amount of time.
  • Use a putty knife with rounded edges to remove the bulk of the old finish.
  • Take off the remaining finish and stripper using steel wool or a plastic scouring pad dipped in the recommended solvent.
  • Fill cracks, holes or damage with a wood filler like Famowood.
  • Sand the surface thoroughly; start with coarse sandpaper (80-100 grit) and work up to fine (180-220 grit). Sand with the grain when possible.
  • Stain the piece, applying with a rag, and allow to dry.
  • Finish with several coats of a clear finish such as Glaze Coat.

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Piece it Together with a Mosaic

In the same vein as refinishing, you can also save furniture by creating a mosaic table top. Using recycled glass, beads or tiles, you can create a work of art. E-How has great directions for making mosaics.

Deep Fried Kudzu has directions for creating this cool swirly marble mosaic table top (left). Simple, yet stunning. A great way to make a generic or tired table your own.

We’ve found EcoGlue works well for mosaic projects.

Get Crazy Creative with Vintage

You can do lots of amazing things with old suitcases from creating anything from filing cabinets to end tables. You might have some old hard-side suitcases in your garage; if not, it’s likely your local thrift store does.

I thought these suitcase cat beds were pretty clever. Maybe if I had one, my cat wouldn’t sleep on my laundry.

The legs can even be glued on (no fancy power tools necessary) with something like EcoGlue Extreme or Amazing GOOP.

Scrap Convention with Cool Wood Projects

If you’re a woodworker of any manner, you have piles of scrap wood. You can create a country chic wall decoration that doubles as a place to hang bags, coats and keys. You can glue the “tree branches” together with EcoGlue Premium Wood and then nail it to the wall in just a few places (rather than peppering your wall with nails for each piece).

Be Inspired by the Pros

You can also see how professional designers are doing amazing things with furniture and style with reused and repurposed items at Design Blog.

What have you done to turn trash to treasure? Leave your tips in the comments.

*Note that product recommendations are our own, and not from the original directions. But we’re still sure they’ll work.

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42-17590253Going green doesn’t have to cost a lot of green. We’ve done some research and found plenty of ways that you can go green around the house and not spend a lot. In fact, going green will often save you money, primarily in energy costs.

Lower your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Even a 10 degree reduction can save you 5 percent in energy costs and there’s no reason to have your hot water any higher.

Replace your incandescent bulbs with compact florescents2777441779_56d64f504a1According to the US Department of Energy:

“If every American home replaced one light bulb with an Energy Star qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than three million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.”

Seal the gaps. Doors and windows give away their air leaks and drafts because you can feel them. Two simple steps can help seal the leaks, lower your energy bills and keep you more comfortable. The first is weather stripping.

From ACME How-to:

Weather stripping should be installed along the sides and top of the door and a door sweep or similar device should be installed on the bottom of the door. Old weather stripping should be periodically replaced.

An all-purpose sealant will close the leaks around the outside of the doors and windows (the jambs, sills and moldings, particularly). This method works well for sealing around door and window frames, around plumbing fixtures and for small gaps. Using a low VOC adhesive like EcoGlue Extreme gives you instant grab and its completely water-based. It bonds to most any substrate instantly and can be painted after 24 hours.

Make sure your attic, basement and crawl spaces are well-insulated. These areas are notorious for letting heat and cooling escape.

Plant more trees on your property. Evergreen trees on the north and west sides of the house protect against winter winds and leafy trees on the south and west shade from the summer sun.

For more info:

Tips to Increase Your Home’s Energy Efficiency (Easy tips that anyone can do)

Green Home Tips (particularly helpful for historic homes, but lots of relevant tips)

Five Ways to Build Affordable, Energy Star Rated Houses (from BUILDER Magazine)

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What do you get when you cross…

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… with …

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… some great ideas from…

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…using a little…

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… and maybe a little…?

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You get a Big Ass Event.

More details to come. Stay tuned.

This is the second in a series of last minute gift ideas from ’round the Web counting down to the 25th of December. All the projects can be done very quickly and require minimal supplies. Let us know if you do any of these projects, we’d love to see your pictures. Enjoy!

Our second last minute gift idea comes from the Big Ass Book of Crafts by our friend Mark Montano (and it’s also our December Craft of the Month).

Glass-Chip Magnets Supply List:

Amazing EcoGlue® Craft adhesive
Amazing E-6000® Craft adhesive
Clip art (sized to glass chips)
Glass chips
Magnetic tape (sized to glass chips)
Flat foam artist’s brush

We got our supplies at Walmart for less than $15.00.

You can get all the instructions via our Web site.

Drawers by Penmachine via Flickr

Drawers by Penmachine via Flickr

Wooden drawers in cabinets, dressers and closets can often wear, resulting and less than smooth opening and closing. This is pretty simple fix; replacing the nylon glide on the underneath of the drawer, swap old or missing screws for new ones or using a wood glue, like EcoGlue Premium Wood, for loose dovetail joints.

Need help? Some resources for getting your drawers moving smoothly.

Pergolas as outdoor space architecture have become extremely popular. Thanks to great DIY tools and the popularity of HGTV and DIY Network on cable, this is a project that an experienced do-it-yourselfer can manage quite easily.

Scouring the Internet, I found several terrific how-tos for this project:

Be sure to check if you need a permit to add a structure to your house or property before you start.

Not all plans call for a construction adhesive, but if the plans you choose do try EcoGlue Extreme. It’s water-based with low volatile organic compounds (VOC) – so it’s earth-friendly and it works as well or better than solvent based adhesives.

Photographs by Christopher J. Vendetta

Huge thanks to Gretchen, an artist and industrial designer for this great project using EcoGlue. for more cool ideas and some surprisingly beautiful products made from junk mail, visit Junk Mail Gems.

This is a great way to use EcoGlue to turn something old into something new and one-of-a-kind.  Roll up your sleeves and put on your safety glasses because we are going to bust up some old plates and, using Eco Glue and some grout, create a beautiful mosaic flower vase.

If you don’t have old vases or plates lying around your house, take a trip to any thrift store, where you will most likely find at entire aisles dedicated to plates and vases.  For this project I am using an old plate that I already had with a vase I bought at a thrift store.  I also bought an extra white plate just in case I didn’t have enough pieces with my plate, to use as filler.  Tell the checkout clerk that he/she need not waste paper to wrap them up; you are going to break them anyway!


TIP: When choosing a vase, choosing square instead of round makes it easier and faster for the mosaic tiles to lie flat while drying on each side. When choosing plates, find ones that are as flat as possible.  Look for patterns & colors you like…textured decorations and gold edges make nice details.

Time to get out those safety glasses and head out to a driveway or sidewalk! To break the plate, I like to put then in a clear plastic storage bag so that I can see how the pieces are breaking as I go.  If you do this, use a heavy duty freezer bag.  Better yet, use one that has already been used for something else.  This is all about recycling, people!

Just make sure the bag and the plate are clean. It’s a lot easier to clean a plate than a hundred little pieces of plate.  I also set the bagged plate on a brown paper grocery bag to help absorb some of the impact underneath.  Then it’s time to go to town with your hammer!  There is really no special technique for this; just hammer away until you have a variety of different sized pieces.

Open the bag and pour them into a tray or box.  I am using the lid from a shoe box.  Flip any over if necessary to see the patterned sides, like you would if you were starting a jigsaw puzzle. Gloves are not a bad idea either when handling the glass…be careful as they are SHARP!

Next I traced the 4 faces of my vase onto some pieces of scrap paper.  More recycling…I used the backs of bad computer printouts and papers I no longer needed.  This will give you a frame to work in when laying out your pieces.

Now it’s time to lay out your composition!  This just takes some time to find pieces you like and that fit together, and arrange them so they look good to you.  They don’t need any particular rhyme or reason, but I picked out some of the scalloped edges of the plate to use around the top.  You can arrange them randomly, or into patterns.  It works best to lay out larger pieces and then fill in with smaller ones where needed.  Be sure to leave some space between each piece to fill with grout later.

TIP: Lay the paper outlines on a hard board or hardcover book.  This will make it easy to move your project if you need to set it aside for a while, without disturbing your loose tiles.

Once you have all your sides laid out how you’d like them, it’s time to crack open that fresh bottle of Eco Glue and start transferring them to the vase.

Working from one corner/side to the other, Apply Eco Glue to the back of each tile and to the vase and set each into place.  This is where choosing a very flat plate comes in handy.  The flatter the pieces are, the more surface area you have for the glue to bond, and the smoother it will come out in the end.

TIP: If your vase is not square (tapered like mine) and the tiles are sliding down, prop up one end to make it more level while the tiles dry. (Now you can see why we did not choose a round vase!)

After you’ve finished gluing down all of the tiles on one face, leave your project to dry for an hour.  Repeat the transfer & glue process for all sides of your vase and allow the whole thing to dry for at least 24 hours for the glue to reach full strength.

Next it’s time to fill in the gaps and cover the sharp edges with grout!  Pick up some grout at your local home improvement store if you don’t have any already lying around from a previous tiling project.  Start with a very small amount, because it will go farther than you think!  Pour a little into an old food container and then start adding water in small amounts.  I like to stir mine with old paint stir sticks.  Get it to a good consistency…you want it to be thick enough not to run down your vase, but not too thick or dry to work with.  Peanut butter or frosting-like usually works pretty well.

Start spreading on the grout!  This part is messy and will look ugly.  But, the main goal is to get all the spaces between your tiles filled full with grout.  Once you have laid on the thick layer of grout and have filled all the cracks, you can scrape off the excess.  It’s a good idea to use a trowel for tiling.  I use my fingers because I like to feel the tiles and what I’m doing.  But, if you do this, be extremely careful not to cut yourself!  Try to scrape off enough so you can see the tiles, but are leaving the grout in the spaces.  It’s a good idea to do small amounts and one side of the vase at a time as the grout dries quickly.

After you’ve scraped off most of the excess and exposed the tiles, let it dry for a while (15-30 minutes or so: check your grout package). Then, use a damp sponge to continue wiping off the tiles.  This is where you’ll want to scrub off any chunks that are left ON the tiles and expose or cover as much as you want to get the look you like.

TIP: If you like a smooth grout look, dip your finger in some water and smooth the edges.  Pay special attention that you’ve grouted and smoothed the corners and top/bottom edges to your liking before it dries.

Let the grout dry further, according to your grout package directions.  Once it is more hardened, take a dry rag or towel and buff off the tiles.  (Optional: If you like you can then also apply some grout sealer to your vase.)

Voila!  You have just given an old, mismatched plate a new life as a beautiful, one-of-a-kind mosaic vase!

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