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Last Updated on August 23, 2018

30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of

30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of

Do you know what’s great about DIY projects? Everything. When you make items yourself, you can choose projects that suit your tastes, create them in your choice of colours/textures, and then use them to your heart’s content.

Whether you’re aiming for efficiency, decoration, fun, or self-sufficiency, there’s a list of 30 awesome DIY projects just waiting for you. Pick a few that you might like to try out:

1. Bird Feeder Wreath

Bundt Bird Feeder

    A circular mold, wide ribbon, some birdseed, and some melted suet are all you need to help feed our feathery friends over the winter months.

    Find out how to make it here!

    2. Upside-Down Tomato Planter

    Upside Down Planter

      Just save your plastic soda bottles, cut the bottoms off, ease in a tomato plant seedling, and pour in some earth. Then hang it up, water it regularly, and watch your tomatoes grow! This also works well for herbs and peppers.)

      Find out how to make it here!

      3. Yogurt Cheese

      Yogurt Cheese

        Place a few layers of cheesecloth in a colander, pour in plain yogurt, and let it drain overnight: you’ll have a creamy cheese when you wake up the next day.

        Find out how to make it here!

        4. Yarn-Wrapped Painted Jars

        Yarn-Wrapped Jars

          Wrap some yarn or twine around a jar, paint it, and peel the yarn away once it’s dry: you’ll be left with a gorgeous luminary for tea lights or candles.

          Find out how to make it here!

          5. Baked Salt Dough Tags

          Salt Dough Tags

            Perfect for Valentine’s gifts, baby/bridal showers, or any other occasion.

            Find out how to make it here!

            6. Leafy Stepping-Stones

            Stepping Stones

              It’s easy to make beautiful stepping-stones for your garden with large leaves (like rhubarb), cement, and a trowel.

              Find out how to make it here!

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              7. Shoe Holder Planter

              Shoe Holder Planter

                Use an old over-the-door shoe holder to grow all kinds of plants. This is great for growing herbs outside your kitchen, or on a balcony wall.

                Find out how to make it here!

                8. Tea or Coffee Cup with a Message

                Sharpie Tea Cups

                  Grab a teacup and a Sharpie marker, write a message on the inside bottom of a cup (or on the side of it), and bake for 30 min at 350 F to make the writing permanent. Great for bridal party gifts!

                  Find out how to make it here!

                  9. Pebble Placemat

                  Pebble Placemat

                    Use a hot glue gun to glue flat beach pebbles to circles of felt or wood. These placemats are perfect to use beneath teapots and warm serving bowls, and they look great at garden parties.

                    Find out how to make it here!

                    10. Needle-Felted Toys

                    Felted Gnome

                      Use a barbed needle and some wool roving to make Waldorf-style toys for kids of all ages.

                      Find out how to make it here!

                      11. Water-less Snow Globe

                      Waterless Snow Globe

                        Grab an empty jar, a dollhouse miniature, some glue, and fake snow, and you’ll have a water-free snow globe decoration.

                        Find out how to make it here!

                        12. Hanging Garden Basket

                        Hanging Lettuce Basket

                          A wire basket, some moss, and some seedlings are all that’s needed to create a gorgeous hanging basket of edibles. Try a mix of lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, or even strawberries!

                          Find out how to make it here!

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                          13. Reusable “Swiffer” Pads

                          DIY Swiffer Cover

                            If you know the basics of knitting or crocheting, you can create your own reusable pad covers for your sweeper.

                            Find out how to make it here!

                            14. Lip Balm

                            Lip Balms

                              Make your own amazing lip balms with carnauba or bee’s wax, a carrier oil (olive, almond, etc.) and your favourite scent/flavour.

                              Find out how to make it here!

                              15. Floor Stencils

                              Stencilled Floor

                                Instead of throw rugs, consider dressing up old wooden or concrete floors with painted stencil designs.

                                Find out how to make it here!

                                16. Laundry Detergent

                                Laundry Detergent

                                  Just in case you run out of laundry soap (or want to make a cost-effective detergent in the scent you like best), make your own with a few household ingredients.

                                  Find out how to make it here!

                                  17. Cake Stands

                                  Cake Stand

                                    Use industrial-strength adhesive to glue thrift shop glassware together to make cake stands and pedestal bowls.

                                    Find out how to make it here!

                                    18. Nail Polish Key Identification

                                    Nailpolish Keys

                                      Use different colours of nail polish on your keys so you can easily tell them apart. Just remember which colour you used for each door!

                                      Find out how to make it here!

                                      19. Cassette Tape Wallet

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                                      Cassette Wallet

                                        You might have never played a cassette tape, but chances are you’ve seen them lying around. Transform one into a wallet for a bit of retro fabulousness.

                                        Find out how to make it here!

                                        20. Painted Garden Stones

                                        Painted Garden Stones

                                          Keep track of what you’ve planted where by painting large stones for your garden.

                                          Find out how to make it here!

                                          21. Wood-Burning Camp Stove

                                          Camp Stove

                                            All you need is a large tin can, a few metal tent pegs/stakes, and a drill to make this camp stove.

                                            Find out how to make it here!

                                            22. “Fairy” Garden

                                            Fairy Garden

                                              Great for small spaces or as a project with your kids: grab an old bucket, drawer, or bowl, add some earth and small plants. Then tuck in some miniatures, and you have a tiny, perfect garden.

                                              Find out how to make it here!

                                              23. String Lanterns

                                              DIY String Lanterns

                                                It’s amazing how easy it is to make these elegant string-globe lanterns! All you need is twine, corn starch, glue, balloons, and spray paint. Easy peasy.

                                                Find out how to make it here!

                                                24. Suitcase Dog Bed

                                                Suitcase Dog Bed

                                                  A vintage suitcase transforms into a dog bed with a little TLC and some fluffy pillows.

                                                  Find out how to make it here!

                                                  25. Jar Garden Mini Terrarium

                                                  Jar Garden

                                                    Fill empty jars with pebbles, soil, moss, and small plants for mini gardens you can place around your home. Feel free to add in some miniatures for extra impact!

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                                                    Find out how to make it here!

                                                    26. Wallpaper Dresser

                                                    Wallpaper Dresser

                                                      Furniture gets an updated look with a fresh coat of paint and some strips of wallpaper in complementary hues.

                                                      Find out how to make it here!

                                                      27. Clothes Hanger Jewellery Storage

                                                      Jewellery Hanger

                                                        Add a few eyelet screws to a wooden coat hanger and voila: instant jewellery organization.

                                                        Find out how to make it here!

                                                        28. Bath Salts

                                                        Bath Salts

                                                          Epsom salts or coarse sea salt is mixed with your favourite essential oils and a few drops of food colouring to make luxurious bath treats.

                                                          Find out how to make it here!

                                                          29. Paint Swatch Wall

                                                          Paint Swatch Wall

                                                            Can’t decide what colour to paint your wall? Why not choose “all of them”? This decor was created from free paint colour swatches (available at any home reno store), pinned to the wall with straight pins.

                                                            Find out how to make it here!

                                                            30. Recycled Leather and Wood Shelves

                                                            Wood and Leather Shelves

                                                              We could all do with more storage space, and you can create some pretty fabulous shelves with some recycled wood, a couple of thrift shop belts, and a few nails.

                                                              Find out how to make it here!

                                                              Hopefully some of these will inspire some creativity at your end, and if you find yourself in a hardcore DIY headspace, a great place to find more projects is on Pinterest: either do a search for your craft of choice, or just type DIY into the search field to see what piques your interest.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                                                              Published on November 14, 2018

                                                              Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                                              Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                                              With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                                              For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                                              In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                                              Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                                              Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                                              It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                                              For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                                              Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                                              Symptoms of Fatigue

                                                              Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                                              • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                                              • mental blocks
                                                              • lack of motivation
                                                              • headache
                                                              • dizziness
                                                              • muscle weakness
                                                              • slowed reflexes and responses
                                                              • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                                              • moodiness, such as irritability
                                                              • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                                              • reduced immune system function
                                                              • blurry vision
                                                              • short-term memory problems
                                                              • poor concentration
                                                              • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                                              Causes of Fatigue

                                                              The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                                              • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                                              • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                                              • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                                              • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                                              Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                                              Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                                              If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                                              Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                                              Anemia

                                                              Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                                              Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                                              There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                                              Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                                              Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                                              This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                                              Diabetes

                                                              Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                                              Sleep Apnea

                                                              Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                                              Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                                              Thyroid disease

                                                              An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                                              Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                                              • Lack of sleep
                                                              • Too much sleep 
                                                              • Alcohol and drugs 
                                                              • Sleep disturbances 
                                                              • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                                              • Poor diet 

                                                              Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                                              • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                                              • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                                              • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                                              • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                                              Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                                              Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                                              • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                                              • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                                              • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                                              How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                                              Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                                              1. Tell The Truth

                                                              Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                                              To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                                              Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                                              The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                                              One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                                              • How you feel
                                                              • What time of day it is
                                                              • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                                              • How your mind and body reacts

                                                              This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                                              2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                                              When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                                              If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                                              When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                                              Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                                              3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                                              If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                                              Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                                              If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                                              Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                                              Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                                              4. Express More Gratitude

                                                              Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                                              It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                                              Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                                              5. Focus On Yourself

                                                              Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                                              There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                                              But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                                              We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                                              6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                                              Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                                              Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                                              The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                                              Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                                              7. Take a Power Nap

                                                              When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                                              Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                                              This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                                              8. Take More Exercise

                                                              The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                                              Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                                              The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                                              You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                                              9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                                              To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                                              Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                                              My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                                              10. Improve Your Diet

                                                              Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                                              Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                                              On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                                              To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                                              Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                                              Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                                              11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                                              Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                                              When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                                              Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                                              My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                                              12. Get Hydrated

                                                              Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                                              Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                                              If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                                              The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                                              The Bottom Line

                                                              These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                                              If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                                              Reference

                                                              [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                                              [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                                              [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                                              [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                                              [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                                              [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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