Cardboard & Cloth

recipes, DIY, parenting & me time

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DIY Essential Oil Perfume/Cologne

Check out this quick how-to on making your own perfume or cologne. It only takes a few ingredients (alcohol, oil and essential oil) and a bit of patience as the scent cures. In the meantime, you can make simple, chemical-free room sprays with just essential oil and distilled water!


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Clemen-time of Year: Clementine Simple Syrup

This time of year our family plows through about a box of clementines a week. And while the peels don’t work that well for making candied orange peel (the skin is too thin to take the white pith off without tearing), they do make a delicious simple syrup! My husband particularly likes to use itfor early spring Old Fashioneds, and I put it in just about everything from coffee to lemonade. The recipe for the syrup is super simple:

Clementine Simple Syrup

  • Equal parts water and sugar (I used one cup of each for two clementine peels)
  • handful of washed clementine peel (preferably organic to avoid pesticides in the skin)

Bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain out the peel and any particulates into a sealable jar such as a mason jar and you’re done!

clementine syrup collage

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10 Recipes Using Flat Soda Pop

We really don’t drink that much soda at our house, so when we do wind up with a 2 liter bottle – either after a small house party or when someone gets a tummy ache – we end up letting whatever’s left sit in the fridge until it goes flat. I always feel awful about just pouring the flat soda down the drain, so I decided to see if there were any recipes that make use of soda, either flat or fully carbonated. And there are! In fact, just about any recipe that calls for the use of beer can use a soda such as ginger ale as a substitute. Following are several great recipes that can help you use up that old soda without worrying about wastage:

  1.  Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Ginger Ale Sauce
    Eggs, cream, bread, oatmeal and apples – you can’t go wrong with a combination like that! Instead of the apple pie filling called for in this recipe, I simply cooked down two cups of peeled apple slices with half a cup of sugar, some water, and a bit of lemon zest.
  2. Cola-Brined Chicken Wings
    The cola seems to give the wings an extra sweet crisp when you bite in.
  3. Lemon-Lime Soda Pound Cake
    The addition of the lemon-lime soda seems to give this cake a delicious, extra crunchy outer layer.
  4. Soda-Baked Apples
    Thank you, Paula Deen! This is probably one of my most favorite ways to eat an apple.
  5. Cherry Balsamic Short Ribs
    Cherries and short ribs? Yes, please!
  6. Diet Soda Cake
    A two-ingredient recipe is hard to beat!
  7. Cola Pork Chops
    Ketchup, brown sugar, cola and pork chops – it doesn’t get much simpler.
  8. Coca-Cola Barbeque Sauce
    Instead of liquid smoke, you can use 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika. It isn’t as smoky, of course, but it works in a pinch.
  9. Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes with Red Licorice Filling and Marshmallow Frosting
    …I think the title says it all.
  10. Beer (or Soda!) Can Chicken
    You can’t have a soda recipe list without beer/soda can chicken. This one even comes with its own cola-based barbeque sauce recipe! Even though the alcohol in the beer boils off, the beer can is easily replaced by a soda can if you’d rather avoid the use of alcoholic beverages.

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Dishing Up A Clean Shirt: DIY Rag Bib

We go through a fair number of dish rags around our house. Every few months or so I find myself cutting up an old towel or running out to the dollar store to grab a new, unstained and rip-free stack for the kitchen. The old ones tend to wind up in the garage for a last run as a car wash rag or for random messy projects, but recently I decided to give an old rag another run around the block as a bib. It works great! The little guy doesn’t care that it has some tears and odd spots on it, it’s simply clean and it covers way more of his shirt than a regular bib. All I did was fold the rag in half, then in quarters, and cut a thin half-oval out of the top for munchkin’s head. Then, since he tends to get a very fair amount of food and/or art project on the front, I cut the rag up the back so I could remove it without pulling it up over his head. To keep it in place, I quick stitched a button on the back. When he’s done, I just toss the rag in the sink and give it a good rinse, then hang it up to dry for the next day. The best part is that, when he’s done with it, I can remove the button and pass it on to the garage rag pile and stitch up a new one in about five minutes.

Dish Rag Bib collage

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Entertainment Kits for Kids-At-The-Office Days

Whether you work from home or at the office, or even if you just need a go-to for entertainment on dark, rainy/snowy days, keeping an emergency entertainment kit on hand can be a life saver! Check out some of these ideas at for entertainment ideas as well as kit items, including:

  • Safety scissors
  • White glue and simple decorations such as glitter, etc.
  • Books
  • Puzzles
  • Board games
  • Watercolors
  • Craft kits such as French knitting spools, bracelet looms, Play-Doh, button art, etc.

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Crafts that A-Rose from a Curtain

Don’t toss out those dusty, sun stained old curtains quite yet! There are actually a bunch of different things you can do with them, from renewing old shoes to making shabby chic, French country picture frames with rose accents. Check out these step-by-step directions on making your own raggedy roses from old curtains and some ideas on how to use them!

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Mom Tip: Un-Stale-ing Cheerios (and other baked cereals)

This one came to me after I finally got the little guy to go to sleep for the night and realized that we never ran out to the store for groceries. I had two choices for dinner: some oatmeal baby food I’d made earlier or cereal. I opted for cereal.

Unfortunately, however, the box had been opened for a while and after one bite of those dense, chewy o’s, I almost tossed the box. But then I thought about my other option and decided to figure out a way to make my cereal option a little more edible.

The solution was almost too simple: spread them out on a baking sheet (I used a piece of parchment paper underneath the o’s just in case) and toast them for about 10 minutes at 225 degrees F.

The result was a perfectly crisp cereal with a little bit of home cooked warmth. They only took about 5 minutes to cool down and the meal was a success. The next morning, Edward also approved of the freshly toasted cereal and polished off several handfuls.