DIY skin care extraodinaire

IMG_9290I love lots of things. Close to the top of the “things I love” list are coconut oil (I use it in my hair every time I wash), giving gifts, packing things cutely, DIY projects and the occasional pampering. Those five things synchronized last week when my lovely sister-in-law celebrated her birth. I figure every one loves occasional pampering, getting gifts, especially cute ones that are homemade with coconut oil. So that’s what I gave her.

Here’s the run down on what I made for one of my favorite people, and where I got the supplies to package it up all nice and tidy like.


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This whipped coconut lotion is perhaps the most most moisturizing thing I’ve ever felt. A little goes a long way. It’s great for an after shower skin treatment, and leaves your skin feeling oh so soft

Whipped Coconut Lotion

1 cup unrefined coconut oil in a solid state (melted and it won’t whip!)

3 Tbs olive oil (Or 2 Tbs sunflower seed oil and 1 Tbs olive oil)

2 Tbs aloe vera gel

essential oil of your choice (lavender, vanilla, or lemongrass would work!)

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip together until all ingredients are well incorporated (about 5-10 minutes).

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to whip until mixture has a fluffy, frosting-like consistency. If you’re going to add essential oils, do so at this time.

*Make sure the essential oil is well incorporated before you scoop moisturizer into storage container.


IMG_9250 IMG_9247 IMG_9256Love Mary Kay’s satin hand scrub but want to save a few bucks by making your own? Done.

Sugar Hand Scrub

1 cup of pure cane granulated sugar

1/4 cup Olay + Dawn Hand Renewal wash

(I assume all hand soaps would work…maybe pick your favorite scent and let me know how it goes?)

Mix the two together…pow. Scrub a Tbs or so into wet hands and wash away with warm water. Moisturize.


IMG_9216IMG_9232One of the thousands of amazing uses for coconut oil is as makeup and mascara remover. Seriously…I’m not joking. And your face will smell like summer.

Coconut oil Makeup Remover 

Use it straight out of the jar, or simply melt some down and store it in another container.

Cover your face lightly with coconut oil and wash away with a warm wash cloth.

To remove mascara, gently rub some oil onto your lashes and a massage. Wipe away with a cotton ball and repeat until your mascara is no more! I heard a rumor it helps your lashes grow.


IMG_9223IMG_9234IMG_9239This all-over scrub is just what you need to exfoliate and moisture your whole bod. If used gently, it’s safe for your face. The sea salt and coconut oil are great for your skin. Perhaps leave some in the shower? Careful when you’re washing this stuff away, coconut oil can get slippery.

Sea Salt and Coconut Oil Scrub

1 cup melted coconut

1/2 cup sea salt

Mix ’em up. Enjoy the gravelly spa bliss.

For those interested in the packaging, I used little masons from around my house to store the actual product.IMG_9290-001I created tags for my jars using brown card stock which you can get at any craft store. The paper punch I used to create my labels you can buy here or probably at a local craft store. But online it’s on sale!IMG_9293

The font used on the labels and tags is called Moon Flower Bold which you can download for free at The gray baker’s twine I bought online. I can’t remember where but is a great place to start.


I’d LOVE to hear if you make any of these skin care projects…or perhaps you’ve got a different one up your sleeve you’d care to share? Next on my list: lip balm.

DIY Paint Pen Mug

Right…I know you’ve seen this on Pinterest. I mean really, it’s hard to miss. I gave it a try for Valentine’s day and was pleasantly surprised by the result. Awesome and easy.

My Hubby loves him some coffee. And he loves him some big mugs and knowing that something is homemade and unique is enough for him to love it. So I figured for Valentine’s day I couldn’t go wrong with a big custom mug. Aaaannndddd stuffing things full of candy doesn’t hurt. IMG_8798

You may have seen the little tag line that comes along with this project, “Sharpie, 350 for 30 mins – done!”. But actually it’s not that simple. I read over and over that using a regular sharpie was not cutting it. The ink would run off almost immediately after “firing”.

Here’s what I did…and it worked so I’ve got that going for me.

A grabbed a black paint pen from Micheal’s Craft Store. Dollar Tree mugs were way too small and girly so I grabbed a few from Fred Meyer for $4.00 each. I printed the quote/font I wanted and practiced writing it.

IMG_8740Honestly, after I practiced a few words/letters and I just went for it and started writing. I couldn’t get the “M” in Matthew just right, and I wondered if nail polish remover would work as an eraser. It worked beautifully. Just use a cotton ball with a little bit of nail polish remover and it wipes away easily. I was satisfied with the 7th “M” I drew.


Next, put your mug in a cold oven. Heat to 375 degrees and then set your timer for 30 minutes. Once your 30 minutes is up, turn the oven off, letting the mug cool completely in the oven. This part takes a while.

IMG_8751Once they cool, they should be good to go! I tested mine by running water over it and gently towel drying. These mugs need to be hand washed gently. Other tutorials say you can dishwasher them, which may be true. I always play it safe when I give something as a gift…you want to be sure it’ll last!

IMG_8799The possibilities are endless! I’ve seen some amazingly creative designs which I can’t wait to try. Are you gonna make one??

simple valentines bunting

IMG_8562During our short stretch of snow days I, as could have been predicted, spent countless hours on Pinterest. Of course people are pinning all sorts of valentines ideas which I normally pass up and don’t spend time on. But the past few days, I’ve had nothing but time. So I decided to follow up on a pin that led me to where I printed off the bunting from this free template. 

I’m so glad I did! Simple, cute, quick and not flashy or overly pink. Love it.

IMG_8564I printed two pages onto a nice burlap-brown colored card stock. Simply staple the top corners together. It creates a great hinge for the two triangles.
IMG_8563IMG_8571 IMG_8561You putting up any simple valentine’s day decorations?

Zig Zag Forever.

I almost can’t wait for 20 years from now when I look at this quilt (or pictures of it) and think, “Oh my goodness…I was totally into that whole zig-zag craze.” But you know…I’m a sucker for it. Bring on the freaking zig-zag chevron goodness. Lately, quilts have been the specific object of my chevron obsession. The ones that are all bright and cozy and perfect. Gathering up a barrel of scrap fabric, I decided to undertake one for myself. IMG_5967 IMG_6528 IMG_6527 IMG_6539 IMG_6537IMG_6190 IMG_6517 IMG_6451 IMG_6444Beside the obvious fact that it was time consuming, the pattern is relatively simple. Rectangles 3 1/4″ X 6″, sewn together into blocks with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Alternate blocks to make your zig-zag pattern and sew rows together on the diagonal. Then sew the rows together and trim it all down to square. Bam.

Zig Zag Quilt

I used up my scraps for the patterned sections, with a higher quality white cotton for the rows between. I found an old king-sized sheet with a nice, subtle, blue pattern at a thrift store that has that perfect sheet feel. Ya know, crisp and soft at the same time? I used that for the backing and binding. It’s 17 blocks across and 24 blocks down (12 rows of pattern, 12 rows of white). I honestly can’t remember what the final measurements are and I’m too comfortable on my couch to get up and measure it right now. It would qualify as a slightly small full. I lay it out on my queen-sized bed regardless of it’s smaller size, and it’s perfect.

Go zig-zag.

Mitered Corner Tutorial

I’ve often wondered how to get a beautifully sewn mitered corner. Not the kind you just fold, but the kind that are sewn closed with no thread showing. I would grab a dinner napkin and study its seams…thinking it would magically speak to me, telling me exactly how to create it. Well that didn’t happen. So I Googled it. It’s pretty simple and looks fantastic! Here’s how:007For this particular project, I wanted a 1 1/2″ hem total. So I started by folding my first hem in 3/4″, pressing, then folding my second hem in 3/4″. Whatever your measurements are, press well.

IMG_3067IMG_7078Press again. And press some more. You’ll use your creases as a measurement tool, so iron well. Hem all sides of your project like this.

When you’ve done that, unfold your second hem.

IMG_6203Fold one side back to second hem and mark where the outside corner meets the other fabric. (See the “X” below)

IMG_1851Do this with both sides. You’ll end up with something like this, with marks on both sides:


Still in first hem position fold the fabric, right sides together, matching up the dots.

IMG_4716Draw a line, from the dots you’ve made, to the corner of the crease made by the second hem. This is easier to see if your first hem is short than your second, but if they are the same size like mine, it’s also where your first hem ends and hits the corner of the fabric.

IMG_1531Pin and sew across that line.

IMG_4044Trim off excess and turn right side out. If needed use a turning tool or the blunt end of a skewer to turn properly.

IMG_1769Press and sew down to complete. 002

It looks sew nice.

Toddler Apron Cuteness.

When I heard my sister in law talk about how much her daughter loved her play kitchen, I knew what I had to do. Giana’s 2nd birthday was right around the corner and I saw my opportunity to make her something special.

Apron1Apron3Apron2I’m going to give you a semi-tutorial on how to make this little apron (2 to 4yrs). I call it a semi-tutorial because I just sort of did it, and now I’m trying to sort of explain how I did it. There is no pretty step by step photos, but maybe this info will help:

I started knowing that I wanted the apron to be 19″ long and 14″ wide. I created these measurements using a few different sources I found online. So I taped 4 sheets of card stock together to create my rectangle. Fold the sheet in half, lengthwise. Cut a nice little curve out of the top corner. 5 inches down and 3 1/2 inches across.

Apron8You can round off the bottom corner or leave it straight.
IMG_1892When you open the paper you’ve got your pattern!

IMG_3276Lay this on your fabric, trace and cut out. I attached a front pocket, about 8″ by 6″ before it was hemmed and sewn on. You can see I added some cupcake patches. You can make the pocket any shape you’d like.

IMG_9378 (1)The edging and the straps are all hand-made bias tape. Bias tape is simply a strip of fabric, with the raw edges folded in and iron closed. See how I explained it here. I wrapped the bottom and very top with bias tape, slightly squaring off the bottom corners. It was just quicker that way. The straps are about  24″ long.

This pattern is totally adjustable. Add some ruffle or pizzazz. Make it all your own.

Or her own.

IMG_1050 apron10Gianna loves her new apron. But she became quickly obsessed with the little dish towel I made. She carried it around with her the whole evening. She also discovered that she could keep all her little treasures in her apron pocket. Her keys, a lollipop, a birthday card from her cousin and her dish towel. Everything a girl needs.

IMG_0626 IMG_0380So go get sewing. I bet you know someone who would love this for Christmas.

DIY Fabric Labels

Today’s been a good Saturday so far. It was raining early this morning, but it cleared up long enough for Gideon and I to take a 3 mile walk. Those long walks often end with a stop at our local coffee shop. A latte for me and a heart-shaped dog biscuit for Gid. We walked home through sunny sprinkling and hung out in the backyard while my hens enjoyed some yogurt. It’s been one of those days where it always feels like early morning. Something about the light and quite.

So today, on this fabulous Saturday, I feel like sharing. I’ve been asked several times how I create my fabric labels for my clutches.

Here’s how:

You need an ink jet printer, freezer paper and cotton fabric. You should be able to get freezer paper at any grocery store, usually by the tin foil. It’s original purpose was to wrap meats and fish for freezing, in this plastic coated parchment paper. Somewhere, somehow, it was discovered that if ironed to fabric, it made for a fantastic applique aid.

One. Cut out a piece of freezer paper and a piece of fabric a little bit larger than 8 1/2″ x 11″. I usually use a beige cotton fabric, that isn’t too sheer. I also, almost predictably, skip steps to make things go faster. I “measure” by laying a piece of copy paper down and cutting around it.

Two. Iron the crap out of your fabric. Making it really smooth. Following instructions on your freezer paper box, iron your fabric to your freezer paper. I dry iron the shiny side to fabric, with fabric on top. Iron, and iron, and iron.

Three. Cut it down to precisely 8 1/2″ x 11″.

Four. After you cut it, for good measure iron again. Making sure the edges are sealed.

Five. Design your page. Test print to make sure it’s exactly how you want it. I was working on some pre-Christmas stuff. Test print, until you are happy with the size and font.

Six. Place your fabric sheet into your ink jet printer and print away!

Seven. Cut out your new labels, peel off the freezer paper and enjoy!

I usually iron my labels after giving them a chance to dry. I’ve washed them in cold water as well, and the color faded slightly, but not too bad. The possibilities are endless. Anyway, enjoy and I hope you find this helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions!

Cast Iron Clean Up.

When I was a wee lass, my knowledge of all things domestic was at its lowest, (22 – when I got married). I got a cast iron grill pan and then practically threw it away out of disgust. I actually put it in the garage, which is death to most things. I had heard wonders about cooking with cast iron and was frustrated with the performance. I didn’t know any better.

I had no clue how to use it. So I had thrown some veggies on there and after it inevitably stuck all over and was annoying to clean (I know, shudder, I used a brillo pad on the poor thing), I doomed it to hell.

A few years, one move and some cast iron knowledge later, I dug it out of my garage. This is what I found.

It was covered in rust. Nast. I did some research and found a great, chemical free way to strip all the rust off the pan. This vinegar-method might also be good for those of you who have mistreated your pans and need to start fresh. OR, let’s say you find some cast iron at a thrift store or garage sale, but the pan seems suspect. By doing this, you can strip is down to bare. Good as new.

Now cast-iron is one of those things that people care for in their own special way. Some people have pans that have been passed down to them and they follow the exact method for care that their grandfather taught them. Everyone else’s way, is not necessarily wrong, but not as awesome as their own. So if you google “clean cast iron with vinegar”, you will get a different result every single time. Although this way worked for me, there a million different ways to clean/season your cast iron.

Firstly, grab some apple cider vinegar  Because of the plastic tub I had, I needed to 2 gallons. You need enough to submerge your pan (use a plastic container).

Let your pan soak. I left mine in for a total of 2 1/2 days. Once a day, I would pull it out, rinse it off and inspect it. If there was still rust, I’d pop it back in there. You’ll know the rust is coming off when you see it foaming at the surface.

Some pans, depending on the size and/or damage may need to soak longer. In the video tutorial I watched back when I did this last year, they soaked a cost iron dutch oven for over a week. Once you deem your pan rust-free, rinse it off.

It’s important to note, vinegar will not only strip the rust, it will strip everything. So you’ll need to season your pan as your last step. I am by no means an expert on this. I usually google something and go for it. I followed Paul Wheaton’s example. He makes a note that you don’t need to season your pan. Remember, he didn’t just strip his with vinegar. You’ll need to, but if you take care of it you might never need to again!

Here’s my pan right at the end of the seasoning process. It was hot, with grease all over, but it was easiest to see, NO MORE RUST!

Woo hoo! So go forth and cook with iron!

You shoed try this – Easy way to break in your shoes.

This is magic.
It’s really rather simple. You’ve got shoes you love. Some which make you want to rip your foot off after wearing them for an hour…but there is something about them you still love. You won’t get rid of them. Or maybe you’ve got a new pair of shoes, for which you are ready and willing to painfully endure the “breaking them in” period. No more ladies. Follow these very simple steps and you will get perfectly fitting shoes in about 2 minutes flat.

First. Go 80’s style – put on your socks and shoes. I used an ankle sock which stretched these pretty cheapo shoes out easily. You may want a bulkier sock for stubborn shoes.

Second. Take your blow dryer and run it along your heel and toe. Wriggle your toes and stretch out your heel. Let the blow dryer really warm up the shoe.

Third. walk around or at least keep the shoe on until it cools.

Fourth. Try them without the sock…and be amazed.

It’s a fashion miracle.

DIY Yarn Wreath

This DIY wreath makes the perfect project for Fall. I’ve made two of these, one of them as a “new home” gift. While this project takes a little bit of time, they are inexpensive, simple and adorable.
Here’s how: Grab a straw wreath from your local craft store. This one costs about $3. Leave the wrapping on it. Also pick up some yarn and felt (for your flowers) in a fun color.

Knot your yarn and wrap it around the wreath, pulling tight as you go.

Wrap, wrap, wrap and wrap some more. Seriously. This takes forever. Like two hours. So turn on a movie or something.When all is said and done tie off your yarn, stretch your legs and crack your knuckles. Then, get busy making your felt flowers. Here’s how I do mine:

Once you’ve got all the flowers you want, arrange them on your wreath until you’re satisfied with the look. I waited to add leaves until I knew the arrangement of the flowers. Add your leaves and hot glue the flowers down.

Voila. Done. How about making one and giving it away? I know, you know, someone who would love this.