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The Most Popular and Clever DIY Projects of 2012

The Most Popular and Clever DIY Projects of 2012

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…

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    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…

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      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

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        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

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          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!

            More by this author

            Catherine Winter

            Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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            Last Updated on March 24, 2021

            8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

            8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

            We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

            On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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            Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

            1. Smart Door Locks

            A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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            2. Smart Kitchen Tools

            Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

            3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

            If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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            4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

            These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

            5. Nest Thermostat

            This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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            6. Smart Lighting

            Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

            7. Google Chromecast Ultra

            Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

            8. Canary

            This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

            Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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