Category Archives: DIY

All things do-it-yourself

How to Create a Desktop Zen Garden on a Budget

I used to be kind of obsessed with Asian inspired decor. My entire home was accented with  Chinese word art, decorative fans, candles and holders galore. My color scheme was red, black, and gold. I loved it all, but all became too much so I opted to downsize and keep only a few things. The one thing that I wouldn’t even consider getting rid of was my desktop zen garden.

How to Create a Desktop Zen Garden on a Budget

A zen garden is pretty different from your typical vegetable or flower garden. They are great for helping with meditation and finding solitude on stressful days. You’d be amazed how rearranging a couple of rocks could help you relax.

If you have more of a black thumb than a green thumb like me then a zen garden could be the answer. You still have the benefit of maintaining and growing something without the hassle of a traditional garden. Succulents are nearly impossible to kill so you’re likely to have luck with them in there.

So, if you’re still reading I’m guessing you want to know how to make a desktop zen garden. Let’s find out and of course this is budget friendly.

Step #1 Decide on the size. Take measurements of the area you want your garden to be located. You’ll want the garden to be slightly smaller than the space you have available.

Step #2 Gather your supplies. I like to use upcycled and reclaimed supplies whenever possible. You’ll need a mostly flat piece of wood for the base. If you have an old dresser or cabinets the bottom of a drawer/shelf would work great. You’ll need more wood to build the sides of the garden, just cut them to the shape you want.

You’ll also need:

  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Sand
  • Small rocks
  • small plants, moss, etc… if desired

Step #4 Prepare the space. Whenever sand is involved there’s a potential for mess. Lay down an old newspaper or towel to build your garden on. This will protect the surface below from unwanted mess and scratches.

Step #5 Build the garden. By now you should have the frame pieces ready for the build. Go ahead and glue them together and sand down any scratchy edges. The frame doesn’t have to be perfectly symmetrical, you just want it to be sturdy and have no gaps.

Step #6 Fill it up. Now the fun begins. Fill the zen garden with at least 2 inches of sand and adorn it with rocks and, if you want, small plants. You can rearrange the garden whenever you want, adding and removing adornments as you see fit.

A few fun tips for maintaining your zen garden

If you’re a beach lover or avid traveler bring back sand from your trips. It’s kind of awesome to have pieces of memories in one spot.

Don’t stop with boring rocks. Try seashells and quartz to make your zen garden more personal.

Sometimes you need to just add water. Build a small pond somewhere in your zen garden for added tranquility.

Make it yours. This is your zen garden so don’t be afraid to add personal touches. Add fun designs in the sand, add your own trinkets, etc…

Natural DIY Beauty Products

As great as some of the beauty products on the market are they aren’t always eco-friendly or affordable. I like to think if it can’t be found in nature then we don’t necessarily need it. What did people do before when chemicals weren’t readily available and alchemists were few and far between? They sure didn’t run to Boscov’s to pick up a jar of face cream!

To help myself stay more environmentally conscious I like to make my own natural skin care products. This way I control the ingredients and there’s less chance my sensitive skin will have a bad reaction.

The following skin care ‘recipes‘ are inexpensive and natural, perfect for those on a budget.

Face Mask

face maskEating the right foods helps give you the right nutrients you need for healthy skin. You can get even more of these vitamins and minerals by putting the good stuff right on your skin.

Use this recipe to make a natural face mask.

  • 1 carrot, pureed
  • 1 avocado, pureed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup organic honey

Mix all ingredients together and apply generously to your face. Leave on for 15 minutes then rinse with cool water.

Make an all-natural toner with 2 grated cucumbers and 1/2 cup of lemon juice.

Hair Conditioner

diy conditioner

For a natural and affordable alternative to store-bought conditioners use this recipe. Your hair will be soft and shiny and this conditioner can be used regularly.

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon castor oil
  • 2 – 5 drops essential oil

Mix ingredients together and work through hair. Let it sit for 10 minutes then rinse with warm water. Experiment with fresh herbs, flowers, and oils as you like.

Hand and Foot Cream

diy skin careA quick face mask will help make you look great in not a lot of time, but hands and feet require extra care. Use this recipe to make a hand and foot cream that will make your skin thank you.

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons natural sea salt
  • 5 – 10 drops essential oil

Mix ingredients and massage onto hands and feet. Let sit on the skin for a few minutes then rinse with warm water.

When it comes to natural beauty products, these recipes are just the start. You can find hundreds of different combinations in natural beauty books, magazines, and on the internet. Or you can go to your kitchen cabinet and make your own special creations.