Living A Simplified Life!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Recycling 2lb Coffee Cans

What could you do with a 2 lb coffee can? That is besides just throw it in the dumpster!  After removing the labels to where you have just silver can you try doing some of the following:

1.  Make an outdoor patio candle: Poke holes about ½ down from the top rim.  Affix a hanger to the top rim by punching two holes, inserting a wire hanger (a wire coat hanger works great, use the hook to hang from a nail)
Then fill the bottom part of the can with candle wax and a wick. Add citronella if you want to deter bugs.

2. Make a hanging lamp: Paint the can to complement your décor. Cut out a medium sized hole in the bottom of the can to where you can slip through a light making kit cord. Use the cord from the lamp kit to loop through hooks in your ceiling to hang the lamp or you could use ribbon, twisted twine, or macramé.

3. Make a can up light:  Paint can whatever color you want. Make a hole in the bottom of the can large enough to put the cord of a lamp making kit through. Glue 3-4 felt furniture protector dots to the bottom of the can to lift it up from the floor a little bit so that the can will not rock or glue on some little wooden “feet.” Insert a 40-watt light bulb and place near a tree in the corner of your room to shine interesting patterns on the wall.

4. A towel tower: This will require at least 10 coffee cans. , a board the width of four coffee cans wide and some glue made to stick metal surfaces together.
Use small nails to nail four cans to the board, side-by-side, and edges touching one another. The next row will be three cans, centered over the four cans. Glue the sides of these cans together and then glue them t the bottom cans. Repeat this process with two additional cans for the next row and then one can on top. When finished, spray paint the unit inside and out. Place on top of you toilet tank and put rolled towels and wash cloths in it.

5. Make planter pots: Use them as planters for your garden plants. Poke holes in the bottom, add some crushed rock or pieces of old clay pots, dump in planting soil, add your seeds and have a nice container. You could even paint the outside if you wanted to.

6. Hardware storage:  Do you have many home repair items lying around, like screws, nuts, bolts, nails, etc. that end up in the bottom of a toolbox or in a drawer somewhere? They work great to store these types of “handyman” items. Write the contents either on the outside of the can or on the plastic lid.

7. Camping trips: You can store things from food items to paper goods in them to keep animals out of foodstuffs and moisture out of paper goods.

8. Knitting canister: punch a hole in the lid, insert your skein of yarn and you will not have to worry about tangles ever again.

9. Kids toy storage: Do they have blocks, small cars, army men, etc that are always getting lost? For all those little items that kids love to scatter about that end up in the bottom of the toy box and they never can find.

10. Cat Food or Dog Food: traveling with your four footed friends and do not want to carry along a bag of food that can be ripped our tipped over and have food all over your car? Throw their food into a coffee can for easy and convenient feeding.

These are my ideas now what are yours?  I would love to hear how you would recycle your coffee cans.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cottage Garage Apartment

Many people are now finding it very advantageous to have more than one family living together, whether it is because of the declining economy or the declining health of parents who now need to be closer for assistance or even a young family member who is starting out that needs some help.

For this reason, many are looking at parcels of land that doesn’t have restrictions as to how many residences can be placed on that piece of land. Rural areas of course offer you those options much more so than city dwelling does.

Here is a great little house plan that will work for any age group that needs a starter or retirement home from The House Plan Shop.

This little dwelling is 582 sq ft and has one bedroom and one bath plus a two car garage, which is 426 sq ft and has laundry facilities tucked in it. You can call it a garage apartment or a carriage house, but it is designed to give freedom and independence to senior members of your family, a young single adult or a married couple the privacy that they deserve and want.

There is a welcoming front porch to enjoy cool summer breezes and company of family and neighbors. The bay windowed dining area not only brings in sunlight and views from the outdoors but creates architectural interest and a feeling of spaciousness. There is a serving bar between the kitchen and dining area, providing additional room for seating or buffet serving for a get-together.  The open flow floor plan, linking the living room, dining room and kitchen together also creates a feeling of spaciousness and is extremely functional, especially if someone has some disabilities.

The bathroom is tucked in the short hallway, adjacent to the kitchen and next to the spacious bedroom.  With the floor plan of this house, it would be very easy to create two nice sized bedrooms out of the garage area for someone who might have a family.

With the layout of this home and it’s size, it would be very reasonable to heat and cool. You could actually even use a small portable solar panel system to supply all the electricity that you would need and not be dependent upon the utility company. If there is a well on the property, that could also be used to bring water to the home and basically take the structure totally off the grid system. I would certainly install ceiling fans in both the bedroom and the living room to assist the air conditioner and the cost of cooling. For winter heating, I would be sure to have a small pot-bellied stove fireplace put into the living room area so in case of power failure, there would be a way to heat the house and to cook.

I could see myself living in this little house very comfortably either exactly as it is or with slight modifications. I might be inclined to convert half of the garage into additional living space, so that I could have a little more room for a home office and my large collection of books and still have a one car garage for my vehicle.