Bucket List by quornflour

Bucket List (Originally posted on

For an upcoming project I need some food safe, water tight buckets.
Now I could go to Home Depot and buy a few Homer Buckets and call it a day: but that seems ridiculous, especially since they don’t need to be orange and I don’t want to pay to advertise for someone. (When I bought my Wrangler I removed all traces of the dealer, even the hitch cover which in hindsight I wished I had just spray painted, but oh well.)
I have a few buckets that I use for my recycling and dog food and kitchen laundry, which I figured I could use in a pinch, but first I figured I’d see about acquiring a few.

Did You Say Free?

Now you can get buckets from lots of restaurant and catering places that order large amounts of food supplies, especially pickles, croutons, protein powder and teriyaki.
I have had the best luck acquiring buckets from sandwich shops.
All you need to do is call (or stop in) and ask, now don’t do this during the lunch or dinner rush or they might stomp ya.
It is a good idea to call first because a lot of places don’t keep around what they don’t need, so you might need to ask them to save them for you. A smaller place may go thru a bucket a week or so, so if you need multiple call around.
Be sure to let them know if you need lids as sometimes they get separated.
I have run into places that charge a small amount for their buckets, if it is a mom and pop type place I am ok with it, if it is a chain, forget about it!

What’s that smell?

It is important to note that these buckets are plastic (not BPA free as far as I know), so they will most likely smell like whatever they were originally used for.
Generally a little time in the sun will remove significant smells and over time the smell will dissipate, so keep this in mind and time things accordingly.

I am super happy about my acquisition and after they sit outside for a day or two I will get some good use out of them!

Bottle Cap Table by quornflour

A few years back I decided that I needed more color in my life.

If you knew me you might laugh at that statement. Anyway.

I always liked bottle cap art. The way they are used in shrines and other art forms to add a bit of color here and there. So I decided that I wanted to cover a table in them.

One of the things I liked about the idea of a table covered in bottle caps, is that crown caps (most commonly used for beer and “fancy” sodas,) is that they are all the same size.

Most of the instructions I found called for gluing, or putting them in a frame and then covering them with a lacquer or epoxy.

I wanted the texture.

First it came to collecting bottle caps. This table takes roughly 3.8 beers per day for a year, so either get drinking or ask for friends to help.

I had friends all over saving bottle caps for me, so that I could get a nice variety.

Then I picked up some ¾” – 1″ Crown Bolt Weather Strip nails, I got a mix of brass, copper and nickel. The caps are about a ¼” high so you need them to be able to go thru the cap and then into the table. Be careful not to get finishing nails since you will need something with a flat top to lay flush against the cap.

I also needed a table, so I searched on craigslist for the jokkmokk table from IKEA, it is made of pine and fairly inexpensive to start with and a pretty sturdy table, (I also use one for my sewing table).

Often you can find them for around 50-100$ usually missing a chair. It is about 150$ new, so avoid paying more than it sells for in the store.

Really most any pine table would work, this was just fairly cheap and accessible.

Pine is good because the wood is soft enough to pound the nails into and the jokkmokk is just the right size to evenly place bottle caps is you need it to be straight.

So in addition to loads of bottle caps and nails you will need a hammer and needle nose pliers.

Trust me, trying to use your fingers instead of pliers will only lead to tears.

If you want to paint the table, do so before you start. I painted mine black with a matte water based enamel.

Start at a corner and work your way around the table, try to keep them evenly spaced and count to make sure you have the same number along the sides. If you want to be super meticulous you could make a grid, but I was just winging it, so I didn’t.

It is super helpful if you can get a second set of hands for the border to help hold the nails in place, or make some starter caps, by putting the nail into the cap separately so that you can hold it in place with your hand.

Place the nail at the center of the cap holding with the pliers and hammer into place.

Once you have your border in place, lay out the rest of your bottle caps then working your way around the outside of the table work inward, nailing each cap in place. This takes a while, but in the end it is totally worth it.

If you wanted to you could then set these with an epoxy or lay a glass top over it, I didn’t bother because I like the texture and how it ages over time, because the caps are the same size the table top is even.

You may want to invest in a steam pressure cleaner in the event you ever plan to clean this.

I also painted the chairs to add to the color and I use it in my kitchen.

Simplified instructions

You will need:

Getting to work

  1. Place first bottle cap at the corner of the table.
  2. Using needle nose pliers hold nail at the center of the cap, hammer into place.
  3. Works your way around the table into the center, lining up each cap as you go.

Stuff we Love: Self-Filtering Water Bottles by quornflour

TxK and I both travel a fair amount and we both like to keep hydrated. With all of the post 9/11 regulations, bringing a water bottle into the airport is pretty much impossible. Of course, they then turn-around charge an insane amount for a bottle of water; water in a bottle that is most likely going to end up in a landfill.

There are a few things you can do to prevent this.

  1. Bring a self-filtering water bottle:

    Brita and CamelBak both have versions that TxK and I have tested and liked. Just make sure you empty it before you go into the airport, I have had TSA agents threaten to toss mine a few times, because they can.

    His exact words, “even though that is empty, I can make you throw that away if I want.”

    To which I replied, “of course you can.”

    The bottles filter the water as you drink it, so you can fill it up at a public drinking fountain or bubbler.

  2. Make friends with a short drip:

    Bring a regular water bottle and buy a “short drip” (10oz drip coffee – kids hot chocolate size) or a banana or something at your airport Starbucks.

    Starbucks filters their water to ensure standardized taste for their coffee beverages. As a result the cold water they use for iced drinks is also filtered. In my experience, the stands I have approached in the airport will not always fill my water bottle for free, but they will fill it for a purchase of a beverage.

The earth will thank you.

Apartment Garden, Episode 1: Seedling Starters by quornflour

It might be a tad late to be starting these, but it has been such a cold winter, and I was going out of town with no one to water them daily that I am just getting around to them now. I am sure it will be fine. Around Easter is great because you may have more egg cartons sitting around than you typically would.

It is a super easy little project that uses mostly recycled stuff that you may already have around the house.

Here is what you need:

  • Cardboard Egg Cartons
  • Lipped Cookie Tray
  • Potting Soil
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Seeds
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie

Start by cutting the cartons in half; leave the tab on the egg cup side on. Place the cup site in the top and place them in your lipped tray. I used aluminum ¼ cake trays.

Now, before you say anything, note that I actually fished these out of my neighbors recycling, so it is kind of the same as already having them, I am just giving them a second life. I would have used baking trays, but I only have one and it does not have lips so it would have just made a mess.

Use the Sharpie and write on the tabs that you did not cut off to label the type of seeds you are planting.

Next, fill the cups with dirt, do not press it down but make sure all of the cups are well filled; you do not have to be neat about it. However, if you have a tendency to spill dirt, like I do, I recommend doing this par outside: saves on clean-up too.

Once the cups are filled sprinkle the tops with the cayenne pepper.

Yes, really. This will keep bugs away.

Make a little finger hole in the dirt in the center of each cup and put seeds in. I always put more than one seed in each hole in case one does not sprout. This might not be necessary.

Cover the seeds with the dirt filling in the holes and press it down so it is packed.

Then water the cups, this might take a few passes as you want to get the cardboard wet and let it soak up water to make sure that the cups do not dry out. You will want to water these 1 – 2 times a day and keep them in a warm place that does not have a risk of frost, like in your house. I like to put them near a window and a heater, so when they start to sprout they get sunlight.

Happy Sprouting!

Everything old is new again by quornflour

I am one of those people who do not like clutter, but also has some guilt around not fully using things that can easily be used again.

One such item is the container that kitchen wipes come in. While I do not often buy them for home, I do keep them in the car and at work. Here is a great, easy project that you can do to give those containers new life.

Lil’ who lives in my building gets the paper, each day it is delivered in a plastic bag that is perfect for picking up dog poop. So each morning I take Umlaut out, I grab the paper, remove the plastic bag and toss it in the house. There are days that for one reason or another I do not end up needing the bag so I stick it in my pocket, at the end of the day when I empty my pockets on to the entry table so goes the plastic bag. They can sometimes pile up and just look messy.

Then I realized that the bags + the wipe container were a perfect match, but who wants to look at a wipe container. So I beautified it.

All you need:

  • an empty rinsed wipe container
  • a sheet of scrapbooking paper (12″x12″)*
  • a pair of paper scissors
  • a 15″ ruler (or sufficient size paper cutter)
  • a pencil
  • rubber cement (or similar glue)
  • tape
  • newspaper, bread, or other poop scooping bags


  1. Start by removing the lid and carefully cutting the original label off of the container and set aside
  2. Cut the sheet of paper into two even rectangular halves
  3. Glue it back together 6″ end to 6″ end by putting rubber cement on the two pieces you are joining to make one long sheet
  4. Use a piece of tape to reinforce the back side of the seam
  5. Measure the length of the label and add ¾”
  6. Cut the strip of paper down to this size
    1. The container I used was a generic wipes container and the length I cut was 14¼”
  7. Put rubber cement on the two joining sides, wrap around the container and press
  8. Slide the paper back off the top of the container and tape the inside of the seal and slip back on to the container
  9. Replace the lid, fill with bags and ta-da! No more eyesore!

If you do not have a dog, this container is also great for pens, broken crayons, plastic grocery bags and other small items; makes a great gift for someone with a dog. I would not advise using this for food storage.

* You can also use a cool print from a large format magazine, a printout of a favorite picture on legal size paper or some wrapping paper.

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