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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!

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            Last Updated on March 13, 2019

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

            You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

            Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

            1. Work on the small tasks.

            When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

            Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

            2. Take a break from your work desk.

            Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

            Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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            3. Upgrade yourself

            Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

            The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

            4. Talk to a friend.

            Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

            Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

            5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

            If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

            Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

            Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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            6. Paint a vision to work towards.

            If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

            Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

            Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

            7. Read a book (or blog).

            The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

            Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

            Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

            8. Have a quick nap.

            If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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            9. Remember why you are doing this.

            Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

            What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

            10. Find some competition.

            Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

            Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

            11. Go exercise.

            Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

            Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

            As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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            Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

            12. Take a good break.

            Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

            Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

            Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

            Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

            More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

            Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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