Halloween is just around the corner and it’s time to think of costumes and decorations. My children often didn’t wear masks because the process of getting in and out of a vehicles a dozen times without having things slipping sideways and kids falling down because they couldn’t see wasn’t much fun. Instead, we used homemade face paint. Here is the recipe:

Make-It-Yourself Face Paint

  • 2 Tablespoons white shortening
  • 5 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon white flour
  • 12 drops of glycerin (you can purchase this at a drug store, craft store or cake decorating shop)
  • Food coloring of your choice

Mix the shortening, cornstarch and flour together in a small bowl and then stir in the glycerin until very smooth and creamy. Divide into sealable small bowls or plastic food container.

Add a little food coloring a drop at a time until you get the shade you want. If you want brown face paint, simply stir in some unsweetened coco powder instead of the food coloring to get the shade you want.

We made clown faces with the white paint as the base, some red for the mouth (drawn really big) and some blue and green around the eyes. We used the brown for huge eyebrows and a mustache. 

This washed off easily and didn’t leave stains on their faces because it was only on for an hour or so.

Houseplant ‘Debugging’ Recipe

In the fall, those of us who put houseplants outside for the summer begin to think it’s time for them to come inside for the colder months.  But sometimes they carry in little ‘flying critters’ we don’t want in the house.

The following recipe was sent in to me.  I’ve used it for several years and it works quite well.  You will need:

  • 2 Tablespoons Listerine mouthwash
  • 2 Tablespoons blue dish soap
  • 2 used tea bags

Put the tea bags in 1 cup of tap water and add the other two ingredients. Mix well, put in a spray bottle and douse the plants just before you bring them in the door. This combination is very effective–the ingredients in the Listerine dehydrate the insects, as does the fatty acids in the dish soap. The tannin in the tea acts as a desiccant and the bugs die from lack of bodily fluids.

There are commercial products available but they are a bit on the spendy side and this works just as well.

(tip submitted by SP, IN)

‘Free’ Matching Gift Ribbons

Wrapping a present and don’t have a ribbon that matches the paper? This used to happen to me all the time before a friend shared an idea with me that works beautifully.

She said to cut lengths of wrapping paper about a half-inch wide and as long as you like from the trimmings you cut off as you wrap.  Pull the strips over a scissor blade like you do the crinkly ribbon that comes on a spool. The paper will curl up just like the crinkly ribbon does. Gather the strands, tie together with a little bit of string or whatever you have on hand that will tie (I’ve used pulled apart baler twine). Tie the ribbon on the package and you are done!

I’ve even used the twine to tie around the package so it matches the tie on the ribbon. If there is the end of a ball of baler twine hanging around in the shop because there isn’t enough to string it through the baler, take it to the house. It’s basically free wrapping string. And free is always good!

(tip submitted by RT, IA)

Repurposed Toys

My grandson loves Leggo brand bricks. I would like to buy him some more of these, but when I looked at the prices in the store, I knew I couldn’t do that on my budget. They sell little boxes of these to make a truck or a car or critters and people, but they cost a minimum of $15 and they can only build the one thing with that set.

I was in a thrift store a few weeks ago and found a big bucket of all kinds of Leggo bricks for just $5.  They were a mishmash of colors, sizes, etc. and of course, there were no directions included but they were affordable enough for me to buy them.

When I signed his birthday card, I told him that these were his ‘Imagination Leggos’ and he could build anything he wanted to with them. He absolutely loves the idea that he doesn’t have to follow a set of plans and can build anything he can dream up. I plan to look for more ‘scraps’ of Leggos at yard sales and thrift stores to fill a box full of whatever I find for his Christmas gift.

(tip submitted by  ‘thrifty gramma’ RW, OR)

Apple Chips

This is the time of year when I get out the dehydrator and make Apple Chips for the upcoming gift-giving season. I put about three quarts of water in a big bowl and float a teaspoon or two of cinnamon on top of the water–then I peel and slice my apples into this water.  The slices pick up a little bit of the cinnamon when I fish them out to put on the trays to dry. The little bit of spice makes them taste like apple pie, but without the sugar!

I bag these up and give them as part of my Christmas goodie baskets. The kids love them!

(tip submitted by LW, WA)

Freezing Cottage Cheese?

I’ve been freezing cottage cheese for years. No, I am not crazy–I use the thawed out frozen cottage cheese in my casserole dishes, such as lasagna. It’s too watery when thawed out to use as a side dish or in a salad, but used this way, it’s great!

My budget is tight enough that I normally cannot afford to buy much, but a friend told me to watch for the cottage cheese on sale when it’s within a day or two of the expiration date. I bought some for just a dollar a carton the other day. Score one for me!

(tip submitted by KW, NE)

Repurpose That Old Toothbrush

This tip was sent to me by a subscriber, and it makes ‘cents’.

She writes, ”Don’t toss that old toothbrush–run it through some hot, soapy water or even a cycle in the dishwasher and put it in your kitchen utensil drawer. I use my brush to clean the last of the cheese out of my grater, clean the garlic press and the nooks and crannies in my food chopper. It works really well and costs nothing.”

(tip submitted by AC,  NV)

Do you have any tips or ideas you would like to share? Email them to Paula at [email protected]  Be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond.