steal this idea: diy reed scent diffusers

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Looking for a fabulous-yet-frugal gift for the moms in your world? Something easily thrown together in minutes with things you probably have around the house? Well, then let me suggest these DIY reed scent diffusers — they are way cooler than the ones you see for $15 each. I’d been thinking I should make my own ever since I saw the first crazy-expensive air fresheners in a specialty shop years ago. They just looked TOO SIMPLE. So this year, when wracking my brain for mom’s day gifts, I remembered my stash of used SanBitter bottles, and decided to give it a shot.

I did a bit of Googling to see how it was done, and I found this post from Young House Love in 2009, but I was disappointed to see that they had just used Mrs. Meyer’s Household Cleaner as their scent (nothing against Mrs Meyer’s — I SWEAR by the lavender products). I wanted to custom-blend my own scents. Thankfully I found this helpful post at TipNut to help me make my own uniquely scented gifts. I used a mix of grapeseed and sweet almond oils as my “carrier oil”, added a splash of vodka to help it diffuse, and my favorite essential oils, gave it a shake — and BOOM. That’s it.
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What you will need:
Bamboo skewers
small bottles or narrow necked vases
vodka
essential oils
grapeseed or sweet almond oil

Trim the pointed ends off the skewers with wire cutters or sturdy kitchen shears. To mix the scented oil, measure out 1/4 c grapeseed/almond oil, add a splash of Vodka and 12-20 drops of essential oil. Shake. Pour in your vessel (no more than 3/4 full), add the skewers, and flip them a few times to start the diffusion more quickly. Favorite scent combinations are grapefruit & sandalwood, lavender & clary sage, and black pepper & palmarosa. Have you ever made them? Share your results in the comments! — Megan B.

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this company will build you a secret lair

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If you’ve been reading us awhile, you may remember the hidden bookshelf door how-to from a few years back. Well, if you’re really into the idea but are too busy in your laboratory (pronounced “la-BOR-uh-tory,” of course) to take on a construction project, check out Creative Home Engineering, the subject of a recent article in Wired. They’ll build you hidden entrances and secret rooms to your heart’s content, including features such as “a door that opens when certain piano keys are pressed or when pieces on a chessboard are arranged just so.” I am both frightened and intrigued! — Mary T.

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on the hunt for a modern affordable picnic table

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Once you have kids, benches and booths seem to become the dining furniture of choice. Which is why we’re selling our practically new IKEA ARHOLMA patio set on Craigslist and looking to replace it with a simple yet stylish picnic table. There’s just something so casually charming about this humble outdoor table. If money were no object, I would gladly fork over $1,000 for Pottery Barn’s Chesapeake Picnic Table set, made from FSC-certified solid eucalyptus. Or Loll’s more modern Alfresco table and benches. But, sigh, my price range is several hundred dollars below that. Leave it to Target to save the day once again with its own version of an FSC-certified eucalyptus picnic table. For just $199! Not as wow as the Pottery Barn option, but what do you think? Should I go with the more basic Target one and put that $800 toward a new grill and outdoor lounge chairs? –Ginny F.

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more windsor love from west elm

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Just in time for warmer weather, West Elm has a new collection of Windsors. This time, they’ve gone modern outdoorsy with a driftwood finish. The Dexter Outdoor Bench is 60” long and is on special right now for $279. (Regularly $329.) I haven’t seen it in-store — road trip time! — but compared to the ones at the hardware store, that seems like a deal. The collection also includes a chair (on special for $169), lounge chair (on special for $228) and two different-sized tables. Anyone seen it in store? — Sarah L.

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