{Day 14} Send.

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We only sent a couple of Christmas cards out this year, but it was fun to watch Marlee help me “write” the notes inside!

 

{Day 9} Homemade Pink Peppermint Lip Balm

IMGP1608Homemade.  All natural.  Fresh.  Minty.  Shiny and flirty pink, need more reasons to make your own homemade lip balm?  Well, it’s actually pretty quick and easy too.  After balking at a $6.oo tube of all natural lip balm (really?…)  I decided to make my own.  Here’s what I did:

Gather ingredients:

You’ll need beeswax, coconut oil, almond oil, peppermint essential oil and hot pink lipstick for the color (but the flavoring and color are optional).

I already had a block of beeswax I had bought at the craft store, and I already cook with organic coconut oil so it was pretty easy after that.  We keep peppermint essential oil for various ailments so the only thing I had to buy was almond oil.  It was about $4.00 at the health food store, and I found a hot pink lipstick in my make-up bag.  If you’re into natural remedies you might already have all these ingredients, if this is your first go at doing anything D.I.Y instead of store bought you might have to start from scratch.  It’s not cheaper in the short term, but you need so little amounts of each of these ingredients that in the long run I’m sure it would cost you much less than buying store bought all natural tinted lip balms.

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Gather supplies:

Fork or small whisk, stainless steel pot, glass measuring cup, cheese grater, measuring spoons and small containers to keep your balm in.  You can find little pots or tubes at your craft store.  Whenever I go to LUSH they will usually give me small samples of their products in small black pots.  I saved them, cleaned them out and that is what I used to hold my balm. (Yay for free!)

I followed the recipe for a small batch of lip balm from this blog and it turned out great.

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Be prepared:

Have your pots ready, cleaned out and open near where you are melting your beeswax and oils so that you don’t have to go looking for them.  Once it is off the heat and you’ve added your flavor and color you will want to quickly pour them in their containers before it begins to harden.

Once it is hardened, apply and enjoy!

 

handmade dresses for baby

I am very grateful to have such a creative sister-in-law who made these adorable dresses for little Marlee!  She’s inspired me to begin thinking about what I will sew for her, now and in the years to come!



baby’s laundry bag

(UPDATE: here is the link to the product I mentioned if you are looking to avoid it!  Hamper Thanks Linda for reminding me to provide a link!)

Settling on the final touches in the baby’s room, I realized I wanted a hamper just for baby’s tiny clothes.  I really didn’t want them all mixed up with our big clothes, jeans and my husbands home repair outfits, so I set out to get one.  I ended up at Target (where you can pretty much find anything) and found a brown non-baby looking hamper and brought it home.  First things first- I ran another errand and when I stepped back into my car I was greeted with a simply awful smell!  It was the smell of a new plastic thing.  But I had never really had anything new that smelled quite so badly– and strong.  So I took it home and figured that my car was small and not ventilated at the time.  In the corner of the baby’s room it went.  The next day I walked in the baby’s room (as I do so often just to admire all the cute baby things!) and again smelled this most awful smell stinking up my precious one’s space.

What to do?

I knew it was a) because of whatever it was made out of was off-gassing and b) because it was brand new.  But still I had never had anything (besides paint fumes) smell so strongly!  So I decided it couldn’t be this bad for long, so I put it outside for a couple days to air out.  Still- it wasn’t phased! Every time we put it back in the house it reeked.  Finally, when I saw this awful thing sitting in my backyard being blown around by the wind, I thought to myself, “What am I doing? I do not have to put up with this!”  So I attached the tag back on it and promptly returned it to the store.  Finally done with that!

What I ended up doing was sewing a very simple drawstring bag out of fabric that I already had.  It was much cuter, softer, washable, cleaner, didn’t cost me a penny, and it didn’t smell like anything!  For the life of me, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this idea first, but…lesson learned.  I realized your nose is there for a reason.  It lets us know to get away from something that smells bad, because if it smells bad it is most likely bad for us.  Listen to your nose!


So for everyone wishing to save money, re-purpose materials, and having a cleaner home, here are the very simple instructions for a drawstring bag.  Thanks to My Longest Year for posting a simple tutorial for a drawstring bag!  (I did change it slightly).

Directions:

1. Place desired amount of fabric (all ironed out and smooth) wrong side up.  You can follow the dimensions on the site for a small bag, but I wanted a larger bag for laundry so mine was bigger.  (All you really need is a rectangle, but I didn’t even measure mine.  I think mine was somewhere around 24″ wide and maybe 44″ tall.)

2.  Fold each short side 1/4″ and press then fold again 1″ and press.  Stitch along edge.

3. Now fold fabric in half width wise, right sides together and sew along the open edges making sure to stop before you get to the casing you made.

4.  Attach a safety pin to the end of a rope or ribbon and feed through entire casing.  You should be left with two open ends of the ribbon or rope on one side.  Take off the pin and tie the ends together.  You’re done!


Ideas:

Small or large use it for:

-laundry

-knitting materials

-scraps of fabric

-kid’s toys

-take along bag for walks to the park or beach

-gift bag

-or anything!

the weekend’s favorite finds

I can’t think of anything better to do during a nice Fall weekend than to do a little craft and antique shopping.  It’s the perfect place to find treasures for Christmas morning, and it’s so nice to be able to support local small business owners, especially if they are able to make the crafts themselves.

First stop of the day, a residential home where several ladies came to promote their small business.  Each lady was selling something different, like jewelry, handmade purses, glass etching, kitchen ware, or handmade baby items.  Since I was in direct sales myself in the past, and because my husband is an entrepreneur, I really enjoy supporting small business owners.

My favorite find there was definitely the sweet handmade ribbon blanket made by my friend Pam.  After having baby Natalie 9 months ago, she recently started Pammie’s Ribbonry (see link under Friends and Sponsors, to the right) selling handmade baby items like soft blankets, pacifier clips and adorable headbands and bows.  Even though I don’t know whether Baby McCardle will be a boy or a girl yet, I definitely couldn’t leave without something!

ribbon blanket made by my friend Pam

Anyone who lives around the Houston area knows what glorious weather we have been having and also knows how short lived it can be!  That’s why later that day my husband and I decided to go for a walk in a nearby park.  On the way we passed a small flea market and antique shop and my husband, the smart man that he is, decided we should stop by and look.

I was glad to find a wonderful red plaid blanket that was exactly what I needed for an upcoming Christmas sewing project of mine.  And only $3!  What’s even more fun than sewing is re-purposing fabric.  It feels great to breathe new life into something that might otherwise go unused.

the perfect Christmas fabric

It was a glorious day.  People were all about browsing through new and old items, several cats lounged about soaking up the cool air and warm sun, and there were enough trinkets and treasures to keep me perfectly satisfied for hours (seriously, take a look at their website http://vintagegiftsandantiques.com), but we did have other things to do.  Before we left though, I was thrilled to find one more thing.  Nearly hidden in one of the back rooms in  small box were a dozen calender tea towels all from different years.  Their old worn look was exactly what drew me to them and their pictures were so charming, I had to take some home with me.  I found three that I really loved.

It was a wonderful weekend shopping and being with my husband.  I hope yours was just as nice!

old greeting cards are new again

A pile of old greeting cards- made new!

I started doing something earlier this year after I surveyed the mound of birthday, Christmas, and thank-you cards piled in my study.  Actually, they were sitting in this open wooden box, where my husband and I pile papers and mail that really aren’t important at the moment, and we need to do something with them, but we’d rather not.  So, as I’m finally sifting through that pile and looking at all those pretty, shiny, thoughtful greeting cards, I realized I didn’t want to simply throw them in the trash.  I decided to re-purpose them.  This is a great little (easy) craft that you can do- and just in time for the holiday season!  With some greeting cards as much as $3, $4, or $5 why not give it a try!  Here’s what you need:

1) An assortment of old greeting cards.

First I separated out the greeting cards that I really didn’t want to touch- the ones that really mean a lot, and left the ones I could part with.

2) Scissors.  A variety of scissors is great, but just one will do.

And that’s it! Here are my tips for re-purposing your cards:

– Did you get a card casually signed by your distant cousin?  Just cut off the entire back (inside) of he card so you’re left with just the front. Write your own greeting on the back of that, or use it as a gift tag on a present.

Cut around a pretty design or image and use that as a decoration for a present or gift tag.

– Does your card have an inside flap of paper that the greeting is printed on? Just pull out that inside paper and re-use the card!

Store your all new re-purposed greeting cards together in a bag or box.  I have a box I keep just for stationary.

a decorative edge

As I was looking for a little card to send my friend the other day, I realized what a nice little trick this was.  I didn’t have to run out and buy anything and I found just what I needed.  I’m sure there are many more crafts you could make using old greeting cards.  Feel free to leave a comment and share them!

everyday napkins

Here is another project I just finished.  I wanted to make simple, functional and beautiful cloth napkins to use in our home.  I wanted to make them really just to save some money, so we wouldn’t have to continue buying paper products over and over.  It felt like we were using them up all too quickly.  But this is a great project if you simply want to have a nice set of cloth napkins for dinner parties or holidays.

I knew we’d be using these napkins often, for our faces and hands and near our food, which is why I chose organic cotton fabric for material.  Cotton is known to use the most insecticides of any crop in the world, and there is reason to believe residues remain on the cotton even after processing.

(http://www.ota.com/organic/environment/cotton_environment.html)

Here is the fabric I chose- an undyed organic cotton fabric (from nearseanaturals.com)

undyed organic cotton fabric

The subtle pattern of lines matched with the light earthy tones made it perfect for every day use, and perfect for matching any decor I thought we might have.  One yard yielded 8 napkins.  I found napkin patterns throughout the internet, some of them being as large as 16″ by 16″.  Here’s my opinion- make them whatever size you want.  If you only have one yard, get as much use out of that one yard as you can.  I cut mine at about 14 1/2″ by 14 1/2″ with a little fabric leftover.  The final napkin ended up measuring about 13- 13 1/2″ on each side.  Again I firmly believe sewing projects do not have to be perfect in order to be functional and beautiful.  I would not be doing this today if I believed I had to be perfect in all my measurements.

The basic idea of the napkin is easy, it was however a little tedious.  Press one side of the napkin in 1/4″.  Press that over again about another 1/4″.  At that point I would sew that side and then move on the next side of that napkin.  Three steps to each side, 4 sides to the napkin.  Simple, but takes a little time.  There is the possibility of folding all the sides then sewing all 4 sides at once, but I found that was more difficult for me and opted to sew one side at a time.  Here is what my corners look like finished:

finished corner

Although sewing napkins could be somewhat tedious if you had a lot of napkins to make, overall I found mine turned out better than I imagined.  The organic fabric is soft and perfectly functional.  Even my husband thought they turned out great!  Here is one last tip for caring for cloth napkins.  To keep cloth napkins always looking great, treat stains immediately after you are done using the napkin.  Not necessarily in the middle of dinner, but after dinner is over.  I have since done this and found the napkin looking brand new.

Here are a couple more pictures to inspire.

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