Tag Archives: make

How to Make Extra Money Recycling Scrap Metal

how to make extra money recycling scrap metal Recycling scrap metal is our latest money-making weekend excursion. We live on a property where people used to dump trash. It’s unfortunate, but it happened. Instead of being bummed about our situation, we’re being opportunistic and profiting from recycling the old metal that was left on our property. You don’t have to live at a dump (ha!) to profit from recycling. My sister and I saved a thousand dollars a piece as kids from recycling aluminum cans.

Locate your source
This is the most important part of scrapping. Here’s a couple of ways to locate a scrap source if you aren’t lucky enough to live on a dump. 🙂 Ask family and friends if you can haul off their old appliances. Ask your neighbors if you can go through their recycling and pick out the aluminum cans— that’s what I did as a kid. Notice that your workplace doesn’t recycle? Offer to take the recycling to the dump and profit from the aluminum cans (and in some states, the glass bottles!). Post an ad on Craigslist to haul off old junk for free.

Locate your local scrap metal yard
Different scrap metal yards will be take different kinds of metal. Look up your local scrap metal yard and check to see what kind of metal and objects they accept. Some metal yards are wide-ranging and they’ll accept anything from coat hangers to Christmas lights. Others may just accept aluminum or old car parts.

Check the pricing
The price of metals can change on a daily basis. Certain metals will be more profitable than others. Copper, for example, fetches a high price. Aluminum is much easier to locate, but will fetch a lower price.

Check the weather and consider time of year
Scrapping in the rain is no fun. Also scrapping in 90 degree heat may give you heat stroke. Use common sense, people. If you are scrapping metal in the woods or outdoors, the early spring is prime time to scrap. The poison ivy isn’t out yet and neither are the snaaaaakes.

Wear appropriate clothing
No one should spend their scrap metal profits on tetanus shots. Wear thick gloves. If you are going out into the woods, like we did, wear long pants and long sleeves to protect yourself from poison ivy, brambles and the rogue sharp object.

Keep weight in mind
If you come across a large source of metal, you’ll want to keep weight in mind. When we moved scrap from the woods, we picked out the largest, heaviest objects because we knew that they would bring more cash. We avoided the flimsy, small and “roached out” pieces of metal.

Invite your strongest friends
If you plan to scrap appliances or large barrels, like we did, you might need to split your profits with a strong friend. I could carry out a few of the barrels, but George did the majority of the heavy lifting. We found a couple of stoves and a bed frame back there and there is no way my spaghetti-noodle arms could have carried that stuff out alone.

Borrow a truck
Scrapping can get dirty. We borrowed my father-in-law’s truck to haul our junk to the scrap yard. My car didn’t get dirty and we were able to put much more scrap into the bed of a truck than in the bed of my Honda!

Scrapping metal can be a profitable little side gig and a great workout. George and I joke that we should invite people over to our house for “country crossfit” and make city people do all of our chores— chopping wood, pulling scrap metal out of the woods and tilling the garden.

Have you ever tried to trade in your scrap metal for cash? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

How to Make a Rustic Photo Backdrop

backdrop box Blogs are mostly smoke and mirrors.  You’ll see this gorgeous shot of a houseplant or a DIY project, but what you won’t see is the 10 pounds of clutter hiding in the corner– just outside the shot.

Today I’m going to show you how to make a rustic photo backdrop and to hide your 10 pounds of clutter– for a photo, at least.  A backdrop could be simply made from a white sheet, but I wanted something that had a little more texture. Old barn wood did just the trick. If you don’t have old wood lying around, that’s ok. You could make this from new wood, or you could prematurely age the wood.

Supplies
6, 1×6 pieces of barnwood approximately 2 feet long
1, 8 ft. 1×4
16, 1 1/4 inch drywall screws
Circular Saw
Drill
Paint Brush
Flat White Latex Interior Paint

1. Take the 1×4 and cut it into 4, 18 inch pieces.
2. Lay two 1x4s flat on the ground in an “L” shape allowing them to lay on top of each other in the corner of the “L”. (See the below photo of the box in the photo for reference.) Use the electric drill and two screws to attach them together.

backdropbox1
3. Repeat step 2 with the two remaining 1×4’s.
4. Hold one of the “L” frames vertically and place three of the barn wood pieces on top of the bottom of the “L” to check for fitment of the pieces. make sure the “L” frame is square to the end of the barn wood. Drill one screw through each piece of the barn wood and into the base of the “L” frame. It helps to have a partner hold the “L” while drilling.
5. Repeat step 4 on the opposite end of the base using one screw to attach each barn wood board to the bottom of the other “L”.

backdropbox3 6. Once the “L’s” are attached to the three barn wood boards that make the base of the box tip the box on it’s back and attach the last three barn wood pieces in the same way as done on the base. This will create the back of the box.

backdropbox4
7. Now that the structure of the box is complete, use flat white latex paint and your brush to paint the surfaces that will be visible in the photographs. I did some test painting on the back of the box with a couple different washes of white and a light gray but decided to go with two coats of the flat white for my final finish.
8. Allow the paint to dry. Once dry, you have a beautiful, rustic backdrop to photograph.

You can see the backdrop in action below!

Canned Biscuit Doughnuts with Powdered Sugar

Special thanks to my husband. He is a constant behind the scenes helper and I love him for it.

love,
melanie

A Last Minute Holiday Gift for Your Furry Friends

handmade cat toy I didn’t finish my handmade holiday challenge, but I got close. Sometimes life just gets in the way. Never fear, I will have a recap for ya’ll. And I did have time to eek out this little gift for my furry friend. If it was up to me, I’d have 10 cats, but alas, I’m a cat lady who is allergic to cats.

My sister brought her newest furry friend home for the holidays and I just had to make him something. I couldn’t leave him out! P.S. he looooved the toy!

This DIY was super easy, I made it with scraps and it only took me about 10 minutes.

easy version how to make pom poms First, I made two pom poms. I made them the easy way and just wrapped the yarn around my fingers, then tied the yarn together in the middle. Then, I cut the looped ends. I made two pom poms and tied them together, so the poof was extra poofy. I also made sure to reinforce all my knots since this kitty loves to play (aka rip things apart.)

I then braided a length of yarn slightly longer than my arm and traveled outside to find a nice-looking stick. Once I found the perfect stick, I attached the braided yarn to the stick and attached the pom pom ball to the braided yarn. Finally, I wrapped yarn around both ends of the stick to make it a little prettier.

cat toy close up The hardest part of this project is tying knots super tight so little kitties won’t immediately kill the toy.

Did you make anything for your furry friends this year? I’d love to see links to your projects in the comments!

love,
melanie

How to Make Money at Flea Markets

flea marketOne of the best ways to unload a large amount of junk and make a few extra bucks is to sell your wares at a local flea market (or as some call it, a swap meet). In my experience, we’ve had much more success at a flea markets than at yard sales. Yard sales require the customers to drive to your house. Yard sales don’t have as many vendors, so they don’t attract as many customers. And people also seem to want you to offer you .10 cents for everything at a yard sale.

Over the past couple of years, George and I have sold a large chunk of our earthly wares at the Raleigh Flea Market. During this time, we’ve also acquired an array of tips and tricks to the flea market game. Here’s what we’ve learned:

1. If your flea market is outside, check the weather report! People will not shop if it is raining, super cold or very windy. It is also a total bummer to sit outside in harsh elements all morning. Bad weather can also ruin your stuff. For example, if you sell books, even a little bit of rain will completely ruin your stuff.  Bring tarps or a large tent even if the weather report is in your favor.

2. If your flea market takes reservations, call early in the week to book a good spot. Scope out the best spots the week before and ask for those specific spots. Look for spots near a bathroom or an entrance. These areas are higher traffic, therefore, your items are more likely to be seen.

3. Know your competition. Visit the flea market a couple of times before selling to scope out the competition. What is everyone else selling? Are their prices high or low? What can you offer that other booths may not?

4. Know your market. In the beginning, it is hard to figure out what sells, but by bringing a variety of items, you’ll be able to quickly narrow down your scope. For example, we’ve found out that vintage clothing does not sell at our flea market, but I’ve been to huge flea markets, such as the Rose Bowl, where vintage clothing sells like hotcakes.

5. You’ll want to narrow down your scope a bit, so you don’t have to haul your entire house to the flea market, but keep things diverse. We’ve had weekends where only our furniture had sold and we’ve had weekends where only small knick-nacks sold.

6. Create an appealing booth. Put your best items at the front of the booth to draw in customers. Spread items out and display them in a shop-like way. Go to the mall to get inspiration! No one likes to get on the ground to sort through junk. Put your items on tables, display clothing on racks and play music that reflects your style. Check out the picture below of our last set-up. We put our most eye-catching items towards the front of the booth. The painting of the pig drew in so many customers!

flea market set up

7. Price your items slightly higher than you the amount you would take. Some people at the flea market like to negotiate. Some don’t. If you see someone is hovering over an item or you can tell they may be a bit shy, let them know your low price.

8. With that being said, don’t take a price that is less than you feel comfortable with. People will always try to get something for nothing. Someone else will come along and you’ll sell that item eventually. Don’t worry too much.

9. Don’t take it personally when someone balks about the price. You know what the item is worth to you. Some people don’t see the value in it and never will. Ignore those people. When we bring George’s art out to the flea market people balk about the price and try to offer us less. The pieces are original and often take hours, if not days, to complete. We price it fairly. The end.

10. Have fun, talk to people, put on sunblock, dress in layers, bring a chair, lots of snacks and relax! Selling your old junk is easy money.

Have you ever sold at a flea market? Got any tips? Leave ’em in the comments!

love,
melanie

Reclaimed Coat Hook

Coat Hook
Having very little money to decorate has forced George and I to get creative when it comes to the home items we need. I’ve shared my secrets to thrifting, so today I’m going to show you a little bit of how we reclaim items.

spigot

We desperately needed a coat rack for our tiny entryway. I hate the look of coats thrown over chairs and scarves hanging on doorknobs. We found a piece of old barn wood, a horseshoe and two spigots in (what else?!) an old barn at my in-laws house. All we had to do after that was screw the horseshoe and the spigots onto the piece of wood and instant coat hook!

Kinda looks like something from Pottery Barn, no?

Have you ever used something unconventional to decorate your home? I’d love to see it, so leave the links in the comments!

love,
melanie

Clay Beads Necklace

DSC_1002

Monday was my mom’s birthday. Happy birthday again, Mama! Since she was coming into town to visit us, I wanted to give her something extra special. My mom loves jewelry, so I decided to make a necklace for her birthday gift.

This was by far the most intense and time-consuming craft I’ve done so far. I usually stick with projects that take 5 minutes so I don’t get frustrated and give up. But since this was for my mom, I wanted to try something a little more difficult.

Supplies needed:

  1. Rolling Pin
  2. Polymer clay
  3. Parchment paper
  4. Chain
  5. Clasp
  6. Split-rings
  7. Pliers
  8. Paintbrush or a tool to make a small hole in the clay. (I thought the small screwdriver (pictured) would work. It did not.)
  9. Small cookie cutters or a tool to make a shape. (I used an empty beer bottle.)
  10. Exacto knife
  11. Optional: clear spray paint

DSC_0994 Step 1: Roll out your clay. Try to make it approximately 1/8 of an inch thick.

DSC_0995 Step 2: Punch out the shape of your beads. This is easiest to achieve with small cookie cutters or a tool, like the top of a beer bottle, but you could cut your shape out with an Exacto knife if you are good at free-handing shapes.

DSC_0996 Step 3: Touch up the edges of your newly-made beads by cutting away stray bits of clay with an Exacto knife.

DSC_0998 Step 4: Carefully punch out small holes in your beads using a tool, such as a thin paintbrush end. I cracked several of my beads during this process. Be patient and make more beads than you think you will need for a necklace.

Step 5: Bake your beads on a piece of parchment paper according to the clay manufacturer’s directions.

Step 6: (Optional) After beads are done baking and cool, spray with clear spray paint. This will give your beads a glossy look.

DSC_1012 Step 7: Pry open the split-rings and slip through the holes in the beads.

Step 8: Determine where on the chain you want the beads to be placed. I skipped this step at first and started placing the beads on randomly. The necklace didn’t look very pretty with random beads everywhere. I would have saved myself a lot of time if I had put the chain on and determined exactly where on the chain I wanted the beads to be placed. I would have also saved more time if I had made sure I was placing each bead on face-down, so when the necklace was worn, the beads would lay flat and face-up.

DSC_1015 Step 9: Slip the split-ring through the links in the chain and using the pliers, carefully close the split-rings.

Step 10: Using the pliers, attach the clasp onto the end of the necklace.

And voila! You have a beautiful, stylish, one-of-a-kind necklace to keep or give as a gift!

love,
melanie

How to Make Giant Tissue Paper Flowers

field of flowers

I have very little patience for craft projects. If a craft project takes more than 15 minutes, I have no interest in it. So, when I decided I wanted a little decoration to spice up our Spring brunch table, I knew just the project. Seriously you guys, my elementary Spanish teacher taught us uncoordinated elementary schoolers to make these. You can make these too. DIY your face off.

Supplies

  • Tissue paper (6 sheets per flower)
  • Floral wire
  • Tape (floral tape looks best, but I used regular ‘ol masking tape)
  • Scissors (optional)
  • Watercolor paint & a brush (optional)

folded tissue paper

Step 1: Lay out 6 pieces of tissue paper on top of one another and face the short end of the paper towards you.

Step 2: Fold tissue paper accordion style, back and forth, as if you were folding a paper fan. Folds should be about 2-3 inches wide.

Step 3: Optional: Round the edges of the tissue paper with scissors. I didn’t round my edges because I’m a rebel.

tissue paper flower wire detail

Step 4: Gather tissue paper together in the middle with one hand.

Step 5: Take wire and wrap around middle tightly, but not too tight. It will make it difficult to pull the petals out if it is too tight.paper flower petals

Step 6: The hardest part! GENTLY pull the pieces of tissue paper apart to form the flower petals. Do not man-handle the tissue paper! It will tear. I know from experience 😉

Step 7: Wrap tape around the bottom base of your petals to ensure the wire is tightly secured to the flowers.

Step 7: Blammo! You’re done. Continue to Step 8 if you want to color your flowers. If you’re not a fancy man, stop here.

painting flowers

Step 8: If you want a bit more detail to your flowers, you can paint the edges with watercolor paint. This technique is really hard to mess up. Just grab a brush, dip it into some watercolor paint and lightly brush the paint onto the petal edges and in between the petals. Optional: Feel like you are under the Queen of Heart’s orders to paint the roses red!

Step 9: Let dry.

tissue paper flowersStep 10: Not optional: Frolic in a field of flowers.

Got any questions? Leave ’em in the comments.
love,
melanie