Monday, February 15, 2016

Smooth Operator

You know how you go through spurts of motivation and somehow it's suddenly 2am and you're looking up YouTube videos on how to dismantle your stove so that you can clean every nook, cranny, & crevice? Well that's kind of like this blog for me, except I never got around to putting the stove back together and I've been ordering takeout for the last year.

I keep seeing wonderful bloggers who have their shit together and feel so inspired and then that inspiration fades and I'm left feeling awful and, frankly, not good enough- Like I could never hope to be in the same playing field as them... But that's another post for another day. Maybe.

On the brighter side of things, I have a delicious, nutritious smoothie to help get you through the few remaining winter months we have left. (Side note: If anyone sees that bitch Elsa, tell her to knock it off. )

 For this concotion, you will need:

  • 1 Banana- Sliced & frozen (Heck, you could go bananas and add two for a slightly thicker mix)
  • 1 Container Chobani Greek coconut yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened almond milk (or amount needed to reach desired consistency- This smoothie is a little more fluid)
  • 4 Ice cubes
  • 1 Tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 Tsp Extra-Virgin coconut oil - solid, not melted
  • 2 Tsp Agave nectar (May be replaced with maple syrup, honey, or your favorite liquid sweetener)
  • 1/4 Tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp Ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
Now throw all that stuff in a blender and blend, baby, blend! I was recently gifted a Ninja blender by my future in-laws, and holy cow I am in love. The Blend Auto-IQ and Smooth Boost settings made this an absolute breeze!

Once your smoothie reaches the desired consistency, top with the shredded coconut and honey and enjoy!
Not only is it tasty, but this smoothie has a whole lot of health benefits. The banana is full of potassium which would be great if you're feeling a little sore from day-after Valentines activities (Get your mind out of the gutter! I meant if you're like me and downed a bottle of wine and are now eyeing the unopened bottle of Prosecco in the fridge like it's, well, more wine.)! To keep in line with helping you recover, tumeric and ginger are fantastic anti-inflammatory and detox aids as well as possible mood boosters. I mean, you could always hit up the day after chocolate sales, but this might be healthier.
If you do need to find a way to work it, put your thing down, flip it and reverse it if you did have too many sweets or a large meal (We made homemade sushi- Yum!), coconut and cinnamon are great metabolism boosters while the flax seed will keep you full for longer.
Try it out and let me know what you think! How did you celebrate Valentines Day?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

DIY All-Natural Solid Perfume Sticks

To me, Saturdays are my primo, prime time, lazy days. A lot of people have gotten it wrong in thinking that Sundays deserve an award, but Saturdays are the only day I can fully unwind without needing to think of what I have to do at work the next day, meal plans for the week, and best of all I can clean like a mad woman with no inhibitions to speak of (You don't have to tell me I'm weird- I'm fully aware that it is an anomaly to think cleaning is fun, but we won't touch on that in this post).

I'll go to extreme lengths to be able to  bask in all of Saturday's glory, including refusing to undergo huge, messy, projects unless I have my fiancĂ© on lock down with clean up duties. That being said, this is the easiest, quickest, weekend project I've done and, best yet, it's cheap.

Let's get down to business.

Keep in mind you can do these a million ways from Sunday. Err... Saturday (Does anyone even use that saying anymore?). Here's what you'll need to start with:

  • Beeswax - I had a 1 oz bar and used a grater to get the amount I needed, but you could easily use pastilles to minimize clean up and work on your end even more. Embrace your inner sweat-pants wearing domestic goddess here.
  • Coconut Oil -Since this was an experiment I just used a regular generic brand from my local grocery store's health market. I'm confident that a higher quality coconut oil would yield better results. I've seen quite a few recipes that use jojoba oil, which is cool if you want to try that route, but coconut oil seems to harden a little bit more easily, giving a more solid end-product.
  • A metal latte pitcher- I just had one laying around but use what you want such as a double boiler or measuring cup or say screw everything and use a coffee mug.
  • Heat source- I didn't own a microwave when I set out on this venture. I can feel your audible gasps here, but I just didn't need one at the time. I used the ultimate lazy-hack and just turned on my empty coffee maker (no water, no coffee, I just wanted to use the pot warmer on it) and it worked like a freakin' charm. You'd think I was Hermione or something. It melted my wax and oil slowly enough that it didn't burn and it bought me some time to get everything else ready. 
  • Essential Oils
  • Empty Chapstick Containers- I bought these off of Amazon at a whopping 15¢ each including shipping

 If you're trying to release some pent up anger over the work week, classes, kids, whatever, grate that sucker up. I used about 3 tablespoons. If you were much smarter than I in remaining a bit more peaceful about the whole ordeal just measure out 3 tablespoons beeswax pastilles.

Once you've got that bit complete, throw your beeswax into the vessel of your choice along with an equal amount of coconut oil and get ready to heat everything up. It's just about impossible to mess this up.

As you slowly melt everything, stir to ensure everything is mixed well and can heat evenly. If you're accomplishing this in the microwave, I would recommend heating at 10- 15 second intervals.  You don't want it to bubble, you don't want it to burn (Which is why the coffee pot warmer is perfect- it literally cannot get this too hot).

Once your beeswax and coconut oil have gotten mixed very well (no chunks, we aren't the Goonies), add your essential oils while everything is still warm and mix quickly. I used grapefruit and patchouli because I simply enjoy those smells together, but I also made another batch of lavender and peppermint since I get quite a lot of headaches. You could use lavender and vetiver if you want a perfume blend to promote sleep, a pre-mixed blend from Young Living Essential Oils or Do-Terra (disclaimer: I have never tried either, but both do have some wonderful sounding mixes for everything from keeping sickness at bay to pumping up your energy), or you could even load it up with tea tree and lavender and have a no-mess cut healing stick to replace that chemical filled Neosporin in your medicine cabinet. 

You do you, honeybun. Just keep in mind essential oil safety guidelines (lower dilutions for children and pregnant women for example). I used about 20 drops of lavender and 5-10 of peppermint in one batch and it seemed to do the trick.

Using a funnel (or the pour spout of your handy dandy latte pitcher!) fill your chapstick tubes and let them sit to harden for a good amount of time (at least 30 minutes). If you want to sell them, give them away as gifts, or just make them easy to identify Lia Griffith has a super cute printable on her website that you can customize, as well as a tutorial for lipbalm that you can try as well!

In retrospect, I would probably up the ratio of beeswax since these get rather soft rather quickly and while that's great for in home use I would prefer something a little firmer so that I can throw one into my purse before running around outside at, say, a festival so it can stand up to the wicked heat of the midwest.

If you have any recommendations of oil blends, please share in the comments!

Good luck, and may your mimosas be plentiful!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

DIY Glitter Marquee Letters (On The Cheap) + What I've been up to

Holy Cow. Has it really been a little over half a year since I delved into the world of blogging? I've been absent for about six months and, like Lucy, I got some 'splaning to do. Shortly after I started this sweet little thing I switched jobs and while it gave me a regular schedule (hallelujah!) I somehow still felt like I had little time in the day. During the transition I was so zapped that my crafting fell by the wayside and before I knew it I was flying out to Seattle for a wedding.
The beautiful couple's nuptials took place at the Seattle Arboretum and goodness was it lovely. After the ceremony we indulged in some awesome homemade wine, food, and friendship. Of course, by the end of the night, things got silly with the photo booth I had set up. I'm not sure where the hawk came from, and I'm not complaining or anything, but it was definitely a staple of the night.
Two of my favorite dudes helped me test it out
Following a recovery day, we traveled to the wonderful Lopez Island for a short while. I'm not going to lie... Given the ginormous mosquito bites I'd obtained earlier and the ferry ride over I was not entirely sold on the idea of setting up camp on rock in the middle of a bunch of water. I'm not not an outdoors-y person, but I'm not exactly Bear Grylls either.

I mean, I guess those views weren't terrible. 4 days was not enough, but quicker than hopping out of the shower and under a huge pile of blankets on the bed (I hope I'm not the only one to do that) our time on the island came to an end. If you ever go there, I highly recommend visiting Shark's reef. We searched for sea glass, cool rocks, and probably made someone at the TSA hate us a whole lot. 
 Those colors are unreal! As much I hated to leave that cove, I had to explore the other must see area according to Spencer. I'm not sure why I was surprised he had an itch to go considering it was named "Spencer's Spit State Park". Apparently he had good reason, however, because HE PROPOSED! That's right, I'm getting hitched! I might have holed up for a few days drafting wedding plans and delving into Pinterest, but let's not focus on that part right now. 
My future brother and sister-in-law were apparently in on it and caught a snap of the moment. It was absolutely perfect.

The ring!
Wow, you've stuck through a really long post. Like, longer than I expected it to be. So, uh, I guess give yourselves a gold star and promptly run to Target to buy a reward. I suppose I should also reward you, so, without further ado, here is how you can make your own Glitter Marquee letters for the holidays for less than $20!

Target holiday blanket not included, this is everything you will need:
  • Paper Mache/Cardboard letters- I got mine from JoAnn's for about $2 a piece with a coupon
  • Christmas lights- about $3 from Walmart for a strand of 100. You may need more if you do a longer word, or you could even do the globe lights. They're pricier for sure but would most definitely give you a more authentic marquee look. I'm a little more frugal (read: broke) than that, so I settled for a plain Jane sort of thing. 
  • Glitter- Ah, the herpes of craft supplies. Thank goodness I have a Dyson otherwise my carpet would be done for. 
  • Spray paint
  • An Xacto knife
  • Modge Podge
  • A Paintbrush
  • A trash bag 
  • A box- It doesn't have to be a beer case, a regular moving box would do well if not better, and you don't have to drink all of it before you use it but if you do we're not going to judge. You do you, cupcake.

First, you'll want to cut out the backs of your letters. Obviously some one with more common sense that I would be very careful when handling a sharp blade, but I somehow ended up with several scrapes and close calls. That being said, to help ya'll keep your fingers, you will want to cut slightly inside the outline. There is no real need to get it right on the edge as the back will be hidden later on anyway. Go ahead and discard the stabilizers that are inside as well as any spare scraps.
Next, go ahead and mark out where you would like your lights to go. I left 3/4 of an inch between the outer edge, and 1 inch between each light. Feel free to make your life easier and knock this out with a drill but if you're too tired to think straight, or if you drank that whole case of beer (you party animal!), go ahead and take a break now because this requires some coordination. Since I did not have a drill available, I just cut little X's on each light marker and then poked the tip of a number #2 pencil in the opening. Make sure you get it wide enough for the lights to go through but not large enough that the pencil can slide through! I might have broken a few lights on the way to that realization.
Make sure any curious kittens are wrangled and proceed onward. Cut your garbage bag down the seams and unfold it to act as a dropcloth. You could easily do this outside if you wanted, but this is Iowa and as much as I love Christmas, I hate the cold. 
Paint those suckers. Don't worry too much about the front- you're going to cover it in glitter shortly. Be sure to get the sides evenly with several light layers of paint in the color of your choosing. This could be achieved with acrylic paint if you choose, but trust me, the spray paint helps with the even coverage a heck of a lot more. 
If you're waiting for the sparkle, go ahead and unleash all the glitter you would like over a generous layer of Modge Podge. If you want to help make sure it doesn't flake off easily so you can not only contain the mess but also keep this decoration around for a while, mix up some Modge Podge and glitter and paint over the letter after it's dried from the first round. Spraying Shellac or a similar aerosol sealant would probably be a godsend here. Do yourself another favor while you're at it and use a cookie sheet or newspaper as your base. I cannot stress this enough, but you WILL. Get. Glitter. EVERYWHERE. 
Once your letters are completely dry (patience young grasshopper) use your handy #2 pencil to poke back through the holes you made otherwise you could break some lights and they only give you two extras. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Push the lights through making sure you go straight down the line. I had to leave two lights between the "M" and "E" to make sure I could start over at the top without too much overlap. I used paperclips to hold some wires in place as well as to connect the letters a little better. Do what you want, but don't come crying to me when your lights fall over and glitter is rained upon you like confetti on new years eve. ;) If you're using the globe lights you will probably need fewer because of their size, but you can put them in by unscrewing the globe, pushing the light through, and then reattaching. 
 When you're ready, find a place to perch your holiday cheer (You may need an extension cord) and light it up!
Happy Holidays! Here's to hoping I am able to share more crafts before the New Year- I have no intention of waiting 6 months again, so be sure to subscribe so that you may keep up!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

DIY No-Sew Curtains

Living in an apartment is hard. Especially in a college town. Here, the apartments don't have much character because they're geared more towards student living. And they're tiny. We're talking there's no room in the bedroom for much more than bed so whoever was large and in charge decided to throw the only storage closet in the place in the bathroom... without a door. Finally I got a little tired of brushing my teeth and staring at the deep abyss of clothing mixed among craft supplies and decided I had to come up with a solution that not only looked classy but was also affordable. Each time I moseyed down the aisles of Target or the purgatory named Walmart, I was met with curtain panels that either didn't fit the dimensions I had or that were $40 or more a pop for a set. No. Thank. You.

One coupon search later, I found myself knee deep in fabric at JoAnn's trying to decide on what pattern I wanted. I'd have to take the longer yet more fulfilling route of making my own curtains. Twenty bucks and less than an hour later, boom, my place looked a little bit more like an adult lived there. Plus, they're pretty much foolproof.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Your choice of fabric (I chose a thicker one so it felt more "solid" )
  • Heavy-duty iron on hemming tape
  • An iron
  • Some towels to put under the section you're ironing (don't make the same mistake I did and melt a nice new rug)
  • Tape measure
  • Tension rod
  • Curtain Clips

Do you have a tiny window to cover? A big ol' space to section off? Measure your fabric so it fits the area you need and cut to fit giving about two to four inches of "give" on either end. And on the sides too. I was lucky enough that the width of the fabric they gave me just about fit, it just needed some finishing up on the edges.

Next, decide how wide you need it to be. Do Not cut off the excess yet. You'll want to fold over the fabric evenly on each side so that the main curtain measures the width you need, then use a few pins to hold it in place while you iron the edge. this will be your outer hem. 

You will then want to fold the raw edge to meet the crease and iron that edge as well. If you have a lot of excess fabric, this is where you can trim it up. After you've got things in order, follow the directions for the hemming tape and iron that sucker on. 

Peel of the backing nice and slow, like a John Legend song, and then fold the fabric over at the crease and iron again to seal the hem and create a nice finished edge. I preferred to do the longer sides first and then the top and bottom. Pick an end to add the curtain ring clips to and space them out evenly. I wasn't picky about them being exact, but my boyfriend was. He kept going on about how he's going to be an engineer and things had to be done right so that they preformed correctly and then I just kind of stopped listening and let him do it. Talk about making a crafter's life hard. 
Then, hang up your new masterpiece and enjoy! Voila you've just created your own curtain!
Good work, guys.

Monday, April 28, 2014

First Thing's First... What is Meraki?

Okay, so I created a blog. Now what?? I could remain ambiguous and mysterious, the quintessential qualities of a hermit, or I could open up and tell you a little about myself and why I'm here. We'll go with the second option. Word on the street is you attract more flies with sugar rather than vinegar.

I am still quite young, at twenty-three years old, filled to the brim with random tidbits and ideas, and I'm pretty sure I spend more time making pilgrimages to my Meccas (blessed be the Holy Trinity that is Target, Hobby Lobby, and Michael's) than I do in my own apartment. Any trip my boyfriend takes with me (bless his heart for he clearly doesn't know what he's getting himself into when he agrees) turns into him gently coaxing my wallet away from me while I quietly whimper "But it would look so good on Pinterest". I had to find some way to justify the countless hours of "research" and "project management" I've completed since getting my Bachelor's degree. I mean, I got a certificate in Art Therapy too, so at least I'm using that really expensive piece of paper for something, right?

Here we are then. This is the part where you click that subscribe button by the way, because there's a lot more where this came from.

Craft your heart out, kid.