Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Coffee Scrub (aka HEAVEN)

I have been using this scrub for six or more months now and I'm in love. It smells AMAZING and makes my skin soft and my showers feel like a spa experience. 

Ingredients Needed:
  • 1/2 cup coffee grounds 
  • 1 1/2 cup epson salt (I use this kind)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 5 - 10 drops of tea tree oil
Materials Needed:
  • Bowl for mixing
  • Jar for storing 
  • Spoon/fork for stirring
  • Measuring cup (for measuring!) 

Combine all the ingredients listed below into a bowl and stir! I actually ended up heating the mixture a bit this time to soften and better incorporate the coconut oil since it's cold here now and this oil is hard/somewhat solid at colder temperatures.

Once you get all the ingredients mixed together the scrub will be dark, and smell amazing (thought sometimes the tea tree oil overpowers everything as you stir). Put the scrub in a container and you're good to go. I used a little glass jar but you could do plastic or flip-top container. Whatever works! 

I actually cannot express to you how wonderful this smells when you open it up and use it in the shower. I love coffee so that accounts for some of my extreme obsession with this coffee scrub, but it's the cinnamon smell too. It's sort of like a breakfast cookie. In short: WONDERFUL. And, my skin is super soft and well moisturized even in these winter months. I tend to get ingrown hairs or little bumps where my hair follicles are (TMI?) and since using this as an exfoliant it's not been an issue! Plus, coffee is supposed to be great for your skin. AND my little cuts and scrapes seem to heal so much faster, I assume it's a result of the tea tree and coconut oil magic. Though I have been known to believe that tea tree oil cures/solves most/all problems, THIS IS FOR REAL. Promise. (I am not a doctor or a healer so this is not a legit claim or anything. Do I need a lawyer now?)

RE: saw a scrub similar to this at Whole Foods recently, made in store and selling for almost $15 a pound! He was all like, LAURA YOU NEED TO OPEN A STORE AND SELL YOUR SCRUBS IMMEDIATELY. Ha! Do yourself a favor and make this at home. Just one more way to TREAT YO SELF for pennies.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Wrangling in the Shades

I dislike, very much, when I can't find something. I'm generally very organized but sometimes my processes need some fine-tuning. I, after momentarily misplacing my sunglasses a few times, decided my sunglass placement/storage needed a face-lift. As per my usual, I pulled together some things I had on hand to create something to store my sunglasses.

Materials Needed:

Begin by staining your balsa wood. I stained the front and the sides. The back will only see the wall, so it's not necessary to stain that side. After staining the wood, while it was drying, I cut out little foam pieces to glue to the picture hooks. The foam "grabs" the sunglasses and helps them to stay in the picture hooks better. Below is a close-up of the hooks so you can see how and where I attached the foam. I used superglue to attach the foam to the hooks.

After the foam dried, I lightly sanded the back of the hooks, so the glue would hold better when I glued them to the balsa wood. I checked out the general size of my sunglasses and determined I would need 3.5 inches of space in between the hooks on the wood. I measured and marked (in the center of the front of the wood) every 3.5 inches on the front of the balsa wood. The wood was 4 inches wide, so my center line was 2 inches in from either side. I used a regular pencil to mark the wood. To glue the hooks to the wood I put a dab of superglue on the back of each hook and glued the hooks to the pencil marked spot, covering up the pencil marks neatly in the process!

After waiting an hour or so for the glue to set, I used the 3M Command strips, hung my wood strip up, and loaded it with sunglasses. See the finished product above. Funnily enough, the colored sunglass frames pull out some of the colors in the art we have hanging on the wall in our hallway. 

Shine bright everyone, I'll be here with my shades on. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Salty Soak

I've been getting more into mixing up my own products at home. I've been making and using this AMAZING coffee grounds scrub for the shower for a couple months now (I'll post about it soon!) but thought I'd share this super basic, easy, and adaptable epson salt bath salt 'recipe' first. Dipping the toe in (ha!). 

Materials Needed:

I measured out a cup of the epson salt and put them in the bowl. I decided, since I'd neglected my basil and let it bolt, I'd cut off some of those flowers to use in my salts. I thought they would add a fantastic basil smell and whatever goodness comes from basil plants. All plants have some goodness right?! I trimmed the tops of my thai, purple, and sweet basil plants. 

Above are the stems with flowers, below are the stems de-flowered (if you will).

The thai and purple basil flowers are purple and the sweet basil flowers are white. 

After picking the flowers off the stems I threw them into my cup of salt and added 10 drops of the essential oil and gave it all a good stir before putting it into my jar. So pretty! 

Here's the final product!

I just used some the other day, the scent really opens up when you drop it in water. It smells absolutely amazing and feels luxurious. I see many spa days in my future. Pro tip: I put about a 1/4 in a tub to soak my feet. I fill up half of the tub with boiling water, pouring it onto the salt to help it dissolve quickly and to open up the scent. I then top it off with room temperature water, resulting in a perfectly hot tub of salts ready to use. If you want to go for the full bath, pour a full cup into the tub and fill with warm water. 

These are great for personal use and would make awesome gifts too! You could use any number of scents or herbs to make unique or personal scents. Go on and get your relax on. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Straight Coastin'

I made some coasters out of rope. RE: thinks we have too many coasters but I say, not possible! They are great, and pretty straightforward to make. I started these while watching TV because I had rope and thread lying nearby and I compulsively make things. Now I have a set of six and I love them! 

Materials Needed:

My embroidery thread comes with six strands, I used only three which means I separated the thread into two. 

After separating the thread, I threaded the needle with the three threads and got started. To begin, you coil the rope up and stick the needle through the center of the rope, through the entire coil. This starts the base of the coaster. 

Then, continue to coil the rope around while wrapping the embroidery thread around the new rope and the closest existing coil. 

I ended up making these 3 3/4 inches because it seemed like a good size when I put my glass on top of it. You can make them bigger or smaller based on your preference. Here is the finished coil.

I debated making a set of one color but settled on a multi-colored set. You could do your favorite team colors, all one color, whatever you like. After finishing off the coasters, I cut six circles in the grey felt and sewed them onto the bottom of the coaster. Here is the set.

There are so many variations you could do using colored rope, dying natural rope, using different kinds or colors of thread. The possibilities are endless! I also like these because you could wash them if they end up dirty. 

What colors would you choose? 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Baubles, Organized

I've been looking for some way to organize my jewelry for awhile now. I knew if I organized it better I would wear different pieces more rather than wearing the same things every day, which is my default. Inspiration struck one day. I had a random, leftover piece of wood from an Ikea dresser I bought years ago (so old it doesn't look like they sell it anymore) and gold nails from a picture hanging kit (FIXA, also from Ikea). The wood piece has a white veneer on the front and back but the sides were unfinished so I knew I had to cover those up.

Enter my go-to: yarn. I have this mustard yellow yarn (the company calls the color gold but it's mustard yellow), Red Heart Super Saver Yarn. I figured it would be a good contrast to the white wood piece, would set the white wood apart from the white wall it would hang on, and I really like the mustard yellow color!

Materials Needed:

  • Twine (used to hang the wood)
  • Yarn
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Nails
  • Piece of wood

Here is a picture showing the sides of the wood that I needed to cover up:

First I measured across the wood and divided it up so I could place five nails evenly across the wood (this required dividing up the wood into six segments). I ended up staggering the nails on the wood front so my bracelets wouldn't overlap each other when hung up. Two important points regarding the nails: I picked nails with a large head and angled them down a bit so my jewelry would not slip off. Next I glued the yarn around the sides using the glue gun and finished the piece by nailing two smaller nails in the top of the wood. I then tied a piece of twine around those two nails so I could it to hang the whole thing up.

Here's the finished product, adorned:

And here's a bit of a close up of the side so you can see the angle of the nails better:

I've had this for about a year now and it works great! This is another project you could vary the style of greatly. Use a piece of antiqued wood for a more vintage feel. Paint the wood a color that fits in with your room decor. Use a different color yarn or twine. The options are endless!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Twine It Up

I have a thing with glass jars and bottles: I can’t throw any of them away. I scrape off the label, clean them, and put them aside for random projects like this one. I ended up using two jars I had laying around, one old spice jar and I honestly can’t remember what the second jar was, maybe a jelly or salsa?

Materials needed:

  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Twine
  • Yarn (color(s) of your choice)

This is a pretty basic project, easily done in an hour in front of the TV. After the bottles have been de-labeled, cleaned, and dried simply put a dot of glue on the bottom and start winding the yarn around, going up the sides, until you decide you want to switch to twine. I kept adding glue for every row to ensure the yarn stayed in place and continued that pattern for the twine.

I ended up doing these two slightly differently. For the larger jar I started with the yarn on the bottom and for the spice jar I started on the sides. When they are displayed, I can’t really tell a difference so do what you’d like depending on the bottom of the jar you’re using and how well it will stand with or without yarn on the bottom.

I filled one of mine with a collection of shells I have from various beach trips. It is a nice reminder of vacations I’ve taken and people who are special to me. And, since I had all of these materials on-hand this project was free! If you had to purchase yarn, twine, and a glue gun I’d imagine this might run you $25 (depending on how fancy you get with the glue gun and yarn) and you would have the materials for future projects. 

The style of these can vary greatly depending on what yarn/twine you used. Mine ended up with a slightly nautical look (partially because I added seashells) but they blend right into the rest of our decor. What combinations would you choose? I've seen some great projects around with neon rope which I think would be fun on these.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Wine Charm Favors

I needed to come up with a favor I could give out for a friend’s bachelorette party. The party was more glamour, less grunge, more wine, less shots. This led me to the idea of wine charms. I used the bride’s wedding colors as inspiration for the charms and purchased stones and other beads in her colors: cranberry, peach, silver, and ivory. And they happened to be 50% off at JoAnn's. Bonus! To wrap them around the wine glass I picked up some silver earring hoops.

I wanted each guest to have at least six charms since that’s the number wine glasses are typically sold in. I came up with the following combination:

Assembly could not have been easier, just string the bead onto the earring hoop.

To package the charms I picked up ivory organza bags at a local store during their going out of business sale. And to ensure they fit in with the rest of the shower material I made circle tags and put one on each bag.

Sante! Now off to get some cheese and crackers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Record Wall Art

The RE: and I have been living in our apartment for over a year now. And for that entire time I’ve been staring at a blank wall over our Klippan loveseat. The walls here cream with 1.5 inch molding boxing out squares, which I love! But after a year even the molding isn’t easing the pain of a picture/decoration/frameless wall. Something needed to be done. And it needed to be done free. Or as close to free as possible. Can anyone else believe how expensive frames are?

Around the time I started brainstorming my wall problem I was reorganizing our closet and noticed these records RE: grabbed from the yard sale pile when we moved my grandmother out of her house. Perfect! They were graphic, good and classic artists, there were some we’ve gotten from concerts we attended ourselves, and there were enough of them that had colors that jived with our living space.  
I did a little research into various options to hang/display the records but in the end I decided on using nails with wide and flat heads. Nothing like a cheap, easy, and quick project! I measured the records and the square on the wall where they would hang. Did some math and marked their placement on the wall in pencil. I knew those marks wouldn’t be enough for me to nail from so I used blue painter’s tape to make it clear where each nail would go.
Here’s the end result! I love the new wall ‘art’ and never get bored staring at the fun graphic covers of some legendary artists. It cost almost nothing. We used the wide head nails in this Ikea nail set, I already owned the hammer, painters tape, and records. 
And here’s what I see when I come in the front door:
Adios empty wall!