Bugs Ruining Your Picnic? Try These Homemade Hacks

Homemade fly paper. Courtesy of Liesl Clark of Trashbackwards.com

 

 

 

If you are someone who enjoys spending time outdoors, you’ve probably already been accosted by a bug or two already this summer. Now you may want to reach for bug spray, but before you do, why not try some of these less toxic suggestions:

No More Ants

Ants can be bothersome or even harmful with their bites. Here are a few suggestions for keeping them away:

Vinegar and Windex Spray – According to Melromanczak on HomeTalk, this little mixture works instantly. They measured a half a bottle of Windex with a half a cup of vinegar to kill them on contact.

Create a Barrier: Sprinkle one of the following around your patio: Cayenne pepper, Cloves and Cinnamon, Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth, Lemon Juice,  and more are suggested from Mother Nature Network.

Tell Bees, Wasps, and Flies to Buzz Off

Stinging insects flying around can ruin a day of outdoor enjoyment. These tutorial hacks can trap them, deter them, and even kill them.

Keeping Wasps at Bay: Although Science World is still undecided in this technique, many people believe if you hang a puffed up lunch paper bag nearby, certain types of wasps will be deterred. Bob Villa offers a tutorial on building a trap from a soda bottle and Natural Living Ideas suggests using spearmint or peppermint oil on cotton balls and placing them strategically around your area.

Deter Bees Instead of Killing: Since bees are now on the endangered species list, it’s better to deter them, or even have nearby hives removed for free. Bees and other insects are known to dislike mint scents. Many people have suggested spraying the yard with dollar store mint mouthwash before a gathering. PestKill suggests sprinkling generous amounts of garlic powder.

Block Flies From Ruining Your Picnic: EHome Remedies offers over 15 solutions for your fly problems, including burning camphor candles or making a yard and patio spray of 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper to 1 1/2 cups of water.

An Ounce of Prevention

Taking steps to ensure your yard is not a bug magnet is half the battle. Make sure your area is clear of garbage, empty beverage cans, and standing water. Tightly lid garbage cans and remove them from the area of your social gathering. Strategically plant herbs that deter bugs: Eucalyptus, Lemon Grass, Mint, Citronella, Lavender, Basil, are a few to mention.

With a little prevention and planning, you’ll be able to focus on friends and family, rather than shooing insects.

 

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10 Ways to Make Frugal Firestarter

Firestarter image courtesy of motherdaughterproject.com.

With campfires and grills in full swing, I’ve watched people struggle to start a fire. Some think it is as easy as pouring lighter fluid on wood or coals. But often that flash fire dies quickly, and more lighter fluid is sprayed on smoldering – or worse, on a small fire. Find out why that method is dangerous.

As an aging Girl Scout and Cadet, I’ve seen many types of homemade firestarter. I can attest that the following recipes and instructions are tried and true. So make them ahead and enjoy the fruits of your efforts. As always, remember to use caution working with melted wax and lighting firestarter.

Lint on left, Cotton on right. Both make good bases for firestarter. Image courtesy of AmericanPreppers.com

Wax and Lint Egg Carton Cubes

Push dryer lint (or cotton) inside a empty paper egg carton. Melt wax on low/med in a small pot, pour over carton. Note: wax can come from broken or leftover pieces of candles or Paraffin wax. I have even used broken crayons. When cool and hardened, break into pieces.

  • FYI: a double boiler is not necessary, just keep temp. on stove lower for regular pot.

 

Wax and Mini Newspaper Rolls: Fold a single page of newspaper accordian-style, then roll into a circle akin to a cinnamon bun. Tie a small piece of wire around the roll to secure. Dip each roll into melted wax and let dry.

Pinecones and Wax:  Melt wax in a pot over low/med.heat. If wax starts smoking, lower the temp. With tongs, dip each cone long enough to absorb melted wax, then lay them down in muffin tins to dry.

Toilet Paper Tubes and Lint : Fill a toilet paper tube with lint, and either dip in wax or cover in wax paper, twisting the ends like a candy wrapper as shown in Sadie Seasongoods.

Candle Roll-ups: Find leftover candles (birthday, tapered, tea light), cut small pieces of wax paper about 2 inches bigger than candle piece, and wrap each one like a piece of candy, twisting the ends closed (see link above). * If using birthday candles, bundle them in groups of 4 or 5, then wrap in wax paper.

Although I haven’t tried the below ideas, a plethora of people stand by their success:

Herbal and Orange Firestarters

Vaseline and Cotton Ball Firestarter

Sawdust Firestarter

Wax Shredded Paper

Wine Cork Firestarter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Humble Honor is Added to Frugal Frights and Delights

Samara from "The Ring" prop. She still scare me. Image courtesy of Debbie Morrow, All Rights Reserved.

Samara from “The Ring” prop. She still scare me. Image courtesy of Debbie Morrow, All Rights Reserved.

It has come to my attention that this Frugal Gal ( under my old website name DebsDreamThemes) has been highlighted in Haunted Attraction Magazine and Inventorspot.com has recognized one of my props as 10 Epic DIY Halloween Decorations Sure to Make Your Guests Freak.  For me, this is like getting an Emmy. Continue reading

Make Father’s Day Gifts He’ll Actually Love

A refrigerator transformed into a Tardis. Image courtesy of bitrebels.com

A refrigerator transformed into a Tardis. Image courtesy of bitrebels.com

With Father’s Day around the corner (June 21st), it’s time to get snapping with ideas for what to give your husband or dad that will make him grin from ear to ear.

Since this frugal gal is into making rather than buying, here are some awesome ideas that will surely deliver a bit of happiness.

For the Man Cave

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12 Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts to Make

Gifts made from the heart are priceless, especially when it comes to moms. Below are 12 easy gifts to make that will melt her heart. Better yet, most take less than an hour to accomplish and use supplies you might already have at home.

To all the mothers who are reading this blog:

Happy Mother’s Day!

Last Minute Valentine Gifts to Make

It’s just a few days away – the day we honor our loved ones. For some it may be a friend, for others it may be a spouse or child. Yet, the one common thread to Valentine’s Day is the celebration of love.

With the clock ticking, your anxiety of what to give may rise.The key to giving isn’t in how much you spend, but in the effort/love involved. Hopefully, you’ll find something in these DIY projects that will get your creative juices flowing.

Part 4: Minecraft Madness!

The Minecraft Periodic Table, courtesy of Stubby EE on  Minecraftforum.net

The Minecraft Periodic Table, courtesy of Stubby EE on Minecraftforum.net

This is part of a series of how we pulled off a Minecraft gaming party for over 45 people. Part 1, includes a game tutorial, dealing with vendors, and helpful links. Part 2, shared our gaming trailer experience, event schedule, glitches and making a Minecraft invite for a girl. Part 3, we go over decorations, food containers transformed into Creepers, party favors/bags, tableware, and several links for printables to make 3D table toppers.

Every post has helpful links, so please check them out if you’re thinking of having a Minecraft party. For Part 4, we’ll go over foods you can match with the Minecraft Periodic Table, and drinks. Continue reading

Part 3: Minecraft Madness

We enlisted our entire family to help with decorations and favors. The Creeper/Endermen were made from gum packs. Image courtesy of Debbie Morrow, All rights reserved.

We enlisted our entire family to help with decorations and favors. The Creeper/Endermen were made from gum packs. Image courtesy of Debbie Morrow, All rights reserved.

This is the third segment in my series of tutorials for a Minecraft party. Part one went over making a Pin the Tail on the Minecraft Pig (my version in 3D). The second segment went over the gaming trailer, party schedule/plan for an event of over 45 people and it included several links to printables for invitations, skins, and more.

For this post, we’ll go over decorations: tables, centerpieces, banners, and favors/bags.

Table Decorations

For simplicity, we used throwaway green plastic tablecloths. Yes, we could have added large, black squares for eyes, nose and mouth (for a big Creeper), but we had so many dishes of food (with printed Minecraft labels), Minecraft food containers, and 3D table toppers that we didn’t feel the need.

Utensils and Plates

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Part 1: Minecraft Madness! DIY Party Ideas

One of the tables for our Minecraft party. Image courtesy of Debbie Morrow, All Rights Reserved.

One of the tables for our Minecraft party. Image courtesy of Debbie Morrow, All Rights Reserved.

Does your loved one know every type of potion, brick, mineral, and creature that exists in the Minecraft world? Well, then you may consider making their dreams come true with a Minecraft Gaming Party!

Having had the recent pleasure of throwing a Minecraft party gives me the opportunity to share what worked and what didn’t work so well. I’ll be adding a 1-3 tutorials at a time, since they can be lengthy. So check back frequently for follow-up posts.

The Party : Prepare for Glitches

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DIY Noise Makers for New Year’s Eve

This beautiful vintage inspired noise maker can really wow your party crowd. Image courtesy of vintageimagecraft.com

This beautiful vintage inspired noise maker can really wow your party crowd. Image courtesy of vintageimagecraft.com

What could be more fitting than to add a nostalgic popper to the night we often look back on as we sing the Scottish poem of Auld Lang Syne? A soda can has never looked better and the tutorial is easy to follow.

You can also let 2014 go out with a bang by making a bunch of noise makers with the recent leftovers of gift wrap, basket fillers, candies and more!

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