Going green on a budget

It seems like everything is going green, including environmentally friendly cleaning products for the kitchen. Boutique brands with fancy price tags are popping up all over retail shops and I must chuckle because the best “green” cleaner I know is cheap and it works wonders — good, old-fashioned vinegar.

Vinegar is a natural cleaner, disinfectant and deodorizer and compares to an all-purpose kitchen cleaner. You can clean kitchen surfaces with one part water and one part vinegar, and you can add fresh-squeezed lemon as an extra cleaning boost and for a citrus scent.

For extra-greasy or stained areas, mix a  1/2 cup of vinegar,  1/4 cup of baking soda and hot water together and use as a scrub.

For crystal-clear windows, add vinegar and water to a spray bottle and use recycled newspapers to dry the windows.

Recraft your way to a green kitchen by recycling a wine bottle into a handsome soap dispenser that looks great on the counter top and is so easy to create that you will want to make them for all your friends. It’s also a great project to do with your kids. We made ours with the word “soap,” but you could customize this with a family name or a monogram.

Here is what you’ll need:

* Wine bottle

* Rubbing alcohol

* Liquor pour spout

* Pearl white and blue polymer clay

* Letter stamps

* Blue fine-tip permanent marker

* Quick-Hold craft glue

* Drinking glass or other circle template

* Organic dish soap

* An oven

Begin by thoroughly washing the wine bottle (soak the bottle in water to remove the label). Use rubbing alcohol and a paper towel to remove any excess glue or gum.

Next, roll out a thin (1/8- to 1/4-inch) layer of pearl polymer clay. Cut out a 4-inch clay circle with the mouth of a glass as a template or circle template. Stamp the clay to read S-O-A-P, using the letter stamps. Make sure you are working with clean rubber stamps.

Roll small balls of blue clay and flatten them out to make “bubbles.” Apply the bubbles to the pearl clay circle. Press the clay label onto the wine bottle. Place the bottle with the clay label in a cold oven and bake according to the clay instructions. Turn off the oven and let the clay cool.

Finish by gluing the label in place with craft glue and let the glue set for 15 minutes. Trace S-O-A-P with a fine-tip blue permanent marker. Fill the bottle with dish soap and place the pour spout in the opening of the bottle.

Emmy-nominated Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza created and co-host “Creative Juice” on DIY and HGTV. For more info on “Creative Juice,” log on to www.diynetwork.com.

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