I am a fixer, a do-it-yourself, a builder, a maker of cool stuff out of old stuff. When I met my husband and we got to that point in dating where you realize things are getting serious, I explained to him that I cannot cook. On the plus side, however, I told him I could build a barn. With a cute little grin he said, “But I don’t need a barn.” But, as far as he was concerned, my handiness was just all part of my charm.

Being handy isn’t just about using a hammer or screwdriver adeptly. You can also make all sorts of homemade cleaning supplies. Often, homemade cleansers are much healthier and environmentally friendly. Sometimes they also are much easier on surfaces lengthening the useful lifespan of counters, wood surfaces and pipes.

Also, if you love to decorate on a dime, saving articles of clothing that have gotten a stain on them is a great way to accumulate fine fabrics that can be pieced together in clever ways to make things. This is a great way to have lace hemmed pillowcases or silk throw pillows. Here are three easy do-it-yourself projects. New materials or salvaged materials can be used.

Easy Decorative Pillows
•    Materials: needle, thread, scissors, fabric, pillow form or stuffing, ruler, marker
•    Lay out pillow form or form stuffing into the shape you want for the pillow
•    Lay out fabric on top of form, pattern side facing you
•    Roll pillow over, wrapping fabric is wrapped around the form
•    Pin fabric to fit form with 1/2 inch edge for hem
•    Use the ruler and marker to draw a straight line to sew around three edges
•    Thread needle and tie in knot in the end of the thread
•    Stitch two sides completely. If using pillow form, remove, turn fabric right side out, insert pillow form, fold hems inside and sew, starting off on the inside of the fold to hide thread knot.
•    If using stuffing, sew third side almost closed, leaving an opening about 2” wide. Remove stuffing, turn fabric right side out, re-stuff, fold hem into opening, and sew closed starting thread on the inside of the fold to hide thread knot.

Microwave Candles
•    Materials: crayons,  craft wax, craft popsicle sticks, paper cups, candle wicks, essential oil, pencil sharpener, heat proof containers for candles
•    Use pencil sharpener to get fine crayon shavings and use sparingly (too much and the candle won’t burn properly)
•    Mix wax and shavings in a paper cup and pack tightly
•    Microwave mixture for 1-2 minutes until thoroughly melted.
•    Place wick in candle container, centered and held in place by two popsicle sticks resting over the top
•    Use another popsicle stick to stir melted wax, mixing color thoroughly, adding essential oil
•    Pour into container. If you want to layer colors, let each layer cool and set before adding another color

DIY Natural Wood Polish
•    Materials: 1 lemon, tablespoon of olive oil, tablespoon of water, clean cloth, container
•    Juice the lemon and pour juice into polish container
•    Add oil and water
•    Mix until completely emulsified (a sealed container that can be shaken is ideal), then use

There is just something so rewarding about being surrounded by things that you’ve made all by yourself. And doubly rewarding when you realize that by re-purposing you have saved just a little bit of space in a landfill.