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Christmas Gift Guide

Keep hoses and cords in check

Guide and cushion your drill

Give your plants a little cushion

Make a quick cat toy

Make mulch

Make garden markers

Regulate your pour bottles

Make candles

​Make using a straight blade a little safer

Keep pins handy

Love a good glass of wine? Don't throw away those corks. Those cast-offs from your pinot are more useful than you think. Not a drinker? You can ask local restaurants to save some corks for you or you can pick up a bag of corks at your local hobby store.

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Do tangled cords or hoses make you want to reach for a bottle of cabernet? You can keep your extension cords and hoses wrapped neatly with this easy trick. Drill two holes in a cork, lace a piece of bungie cord or elastic through the holes and tie the ends. Loop the cord around the hose or cord and then around the cork. You can keep all of your cords in check with these tips.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Need to drill a hole, but only want the hole to go to a certain depth? Cut a piece of cork and slide it up your drill bit to stop it from drilling too far. This tip also helps you avoid scuffing the paint on your walls when making holes for hooks or picture hanging.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Terracotta or ceramic pots can scuff tabletops and windowsills. To ensure your plants bring joy instead of dismay, cut a cork into four disks with a knife and hot glue them to the bottom of your pot. The corks will give the plant a soft base that won't damage your furniture or windowsills.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

If your cat's anything like mine, she loses toys way too quickly. New toys are expensive, but you can make a quick cat toy from a cork. Your cat will thank you...or at least she might hold off from biting you when you try to pet her for more than 3.9 seconds. Maybe.

Carve out the center of a larger cork with a small knife and fill the inside with catnip. Make sure to pack the catnip tightly so it doesn't come spewing out all over your carpet.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Drink so much wine that your corkscrews wear out on a regular basis? Take all of those saved corks and throw them in the blender. No, you're not making some weird margarita. The blender will chop up the corks and you can use the cork chips to mulch your houseplants. The cork helps retain moisture, so you won't have to water your plants so often.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Do you always forget the names or locations of your plants? Blame the wine, then make a quick garden marker by shoving the sharp end of a wooden shish kabob stick into a cork. Write the name of your plant on the cork with a permanent marker and stick the stick into the ground by your plant or in a plant's pot.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Do your kids dump way too much dressing on their salad? You can add a regulator to your bottles so that liquids don't flow out of them too quickly. Find a cork that will fit in the mouth of the bottle and cut a wedge out of it length-wise. Rinse the cork in warm water to remove any cork bits. When you're done, push the cork into the mouth of the bottle so that the lid will screw back on.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

You can make outdoor candles for your next get-together by soaking corks in acetone alcohol or grill lighter fluid for a week. Place one of the soaked corks in a votive holder and light. Remember, this is an outdoor party trick. Don't make or do this inside or drinking too much wine will be the least of your problems.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

I've used straight blades to remove paint from mirrors, sticky labels from bottles and to remove sale stickers from items. To prevent nasty cuts that could possibly make me pass out, I cut a little slit with a knife, lengthwise in a cork and slid one end of the straight blade into it (wear gloves!). The cork makes a great handle. When I'm done, I slide the exposed end into another silted cork for safe storage.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Stick the sharp ends of a few straight pins and safety pins into a cork and stash it in your desk drawer or bathroom drawer in case of a wardrobe malfunction.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford
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