With the economy in the hole, many people have been finding new, innovative ways to enjoy life, home, hearth, and the like without shelling out needless armfuls of cash. DIY projects are all the rage these days,  so I’ve collected a few of the most popular ones for your creative pleasure.

DIY Pallet Garden, via Apartment Therapy

small space pallet garden

From their “gardening without a garden” series, this is an ideal way for renters to create their own little garden spaces on patios, porches, or even outdoor walls. This project is made by up-cycling a pallet (easily found behind a grocery or hardware store), and arranging the plants of your choice within it so they grow outwards and upwards once the pallet is secured against your wall. It’s an ideal way to grow fresh culinary herbs like thyme, basil, and parsley (to name a few) within a few steps of your kitchen, or to deck out your entire balcony space with cascading greenery and beautiful flowers.

Speaking of greenery…

DIY Terrariums, via Inhabitat

Terrariums

Now, this article is centered on the idea of creating these terrariums as gifts for others, but there’s no reason whatsoever why you can’t make them for yourself! Terrariums are fabulous to have around the house, as they add beautiful touches of lush greenery, but are so low-maintenance that they practically thrive on neglect (especially if you create yours from cacti and succulents that draw the water they need from moisture in the air—you won’t even have to water them!) They can be made in all shapes and sizes, from miniature scenes inside magnetic spice containers to 40 gallon fish tanks, and the variety of plants you can use in them is enormous.

You can also get super-creative with these planters, and with the combination of some interesting plants and accoutrements (such as railroad miniatures), you can have small-scale gardens all around your home.

Hey, while you’re enjoying your indoor garden, why not dip into…

A DIY Starbucks Latte, via Mom Advice

caramel latte

There are now Starbucks cafes in 61 countries, so people all over the world are shelling out oodles of cash for venti-frappa-whippy-drinks that can be made at home at a fraction of the cost (and sugar/fat content). The lovely ladies at the Mom Advice blog have put together DIY recipes for Pumpkin Spice, Salted Caramel, Gingerbread, Peppermint Mocha, and Butterbeer lattes (as well as several other drinks on the Starbucks menu) so you can whip up your own drinks whenever you like. If you find that you miss the surly baristas, I’m sure you can find some nice, scathing clips of their witty snarkings on YouTube.

Another ridiculously super-cute project is this one:

DIY Felt Elbow Patches, via HonestlyWTF

DIY Felt Elbow Patches

Whether you’re a fashion-savvy hipster sort looking for some new way to upgrade your wardrobe, or someone who’s just looking for a way to reinforce the elbows and knees on your kids’ clothes, this is an exquisitely easy, fun project that can be done in a single day, with great effects. All you need is a woolen sweater, some wool roving, felting needles, cookie cutters, a felting mat (or piece of dense foam) and an iron. That’s it. You can use any cookie-cutter shape you like to create the patch of your dreams, and after stabbing the roving through the sweater until it’s formed your shape, you just iron it, and voila: felt patches of soft, colourful loveliness.

Note: you don’t have to limit these patches to elbows, either: you can use all different sizes of cutters as stencils and add felted prettiness all over your woolens. How fun is that?

Last, but certainly not least is:

The DIY Chalkboard Wall Calendar via Curbly

DIY Modern Chalkboard Wall Calendar

Isn’t this bloody brilliant? With some tape and chalkboard paint, you can create a perpetual calendar on your wall that never has to be recycled, and can just be wiped clean whenever it needs updating.  Chalkboard paint comes in a variety of different colours, so you’re not stuck with either black or green on your wall of choice: you can choose the hue that best suits your decor, and then just use complementary chalks on it to write down everything you need.

Instead of creating a wall calendar, you could just create a giant chalkboard panel on which you can make notes about projects, and keep yourself organized. You can also use this paint on a wall in your kid’s room so they can draw on that wall to their heart’s content, or paint the insides of your kitchen cabinets with it so you can make notes about needed groceries, or even write down often-used phone numbers.

 

Do you have a favourite DIY project that you created this past year? Feel free to share it!

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