About Me

Monday, February 20, 2012

DIY Spice Rack: Upcycle and Be Creative!

I have been scouring thrift stores for weeks looking for something I could use as a spice rack, but I couldn't find anything like what I had in mind. Then yesterday I was reorganizing my cabinets and somehow just looked at my spices and knew what to do! I save empty boxes all the time to use for later crafts, so I had a giant baking soda box on hand. I had a canning jar box as well that my spices were already piled in, like so...

I flipped that over, hot glued the baking soda box on top...
(I didn't center it so I would have room for extra spices on the left side)

and then wrapped it in wrapping paper. I thought about spray painting it, 
but I only have white...super boring.

I also wrapped a small box for my bulk, bagged spices, which you can see on the left side.

I love the result! It was super easy and didn't cost me any money!
Just in case you nosy people want to know, I organize my spices by which ones I use most frequently. 
My OCD side wanted to organize them by similar bottles, but my practical side won. :)

Update: My mom made one the exact night that I made mine and we hadn't even talked about it!
This one is hers.

Update 5/10/12: My brother made one for his kitchen after he read this post. As you can tell, my family really loves to cook and we certainly love our spices. :P

P.S. I know you can buy a spice rack at the Dollar Tree for a dollar, but you get to recycle this way and you can adjust the boxes to fit your exact cabinet and spice needs! 

Easy Lotion Wand Extender

I will unashamedly admit that I am addicted to lotion. I take it with me everywhere I go and have to put it on every time I wash my hands. I'm pretty sure there's something wrong with my skin because I'm addicted to chapstick as well (Burt's Bees FTW!). I always get frustrated when I get to the end of my bottle and can't reach the rest of the lotion at the bottom. I thought of using a Slurpee straw but I don't drink Slurpees nor do I frequent 7-11 stores. I do, however, drink my fair share of Jamba Juice. :)

I simply took a straw...

Cut it like this...

And slipped it over the lotion wand.


It's just long enough to scrape the leftover lotion off of the bottom. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Pinterest Challenge

I was thinking to myself the other day about the facets of Pinterest. I remember back in my grade school days when in class or sunday school, we'd be doing an art project and I'd be doing creative little quirks that I thought were oh-so-special and ingenious. I'd snicker to myself, "Mine is so cool...I put two different shades of green glitter on this tree instead of one."

But then...ohhh then...I'd look to my left and see that my friend had not only used two different shades of glitter but had used cotton balls to make clouds as well as the sheep!! I'd be filled with envy and want to beat my head on the table screaming to myself, "Why didn't I think of THAT?!  How could I be so stupid?! Mine SUCKS." I'd spiral down into a self loathing creative funk and begin smoldering my paper with my hate filled laser-glare.

I was having trouble a few weeks ago, in which I was feeling just like this, again. I was on Pinterest, scrolling through craft and organization ideas and I just felt worse and worse with every amazing idea that I saw. "That's incredible! I should have thought of that...stupid..stupid..stupid." I was sick that everything I had been making lately had been based off of someone else's ingenuity and creativity. Sure, I changed things up a bit, but seriously? Where's the creativity in that? Suddenly, all of my drive to create was gone. I knew I could never think of anything original because everything has already been pinned.

I told my boyfriend about this and he challenged me to go all day with not only not going on Pinterest,  until I had kicked this funk. He knows me so well, it's crazy. The first day I did this, I created five things in the space of a few hours. Normally I only have time for one thing a day, but I was a machine! It's amazing how much time I had when I wasn't getting lost online looking for "inspiration" or replacing my own good ideas with "better" ideas I had found.

I have all of the inspiration I need inside of me already. I am creative, I am ingenious, I am crafty, purposeful, and resourceful. It was challenging to do something I hadn't done before and have to think of how to do it without the help of others. It was fun, invigorating, and confidence boosting.

I still love Pinterest and I still go on there frequently but now I watch how much time I spend and my attitude while searching. I make sure that I find happiness with two shades of glitter, because sometimes the reward of creating something all on my own is all that I need to kick start my creativity again.


T-shirt Revamp

I have this T shirt that I got because I liked the design on the front, but the super awkward gray color left a lot to be desired. I wasn't a fan of the washed out, pinkish gray so I decided to do something about it! I never wear the shirt any more so I figured it wouldn't be a loss if it didn't turn out. I just soaked it in some bleach for a while and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to! 

It's still slightly pink, but whatevs!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Dyeing Cloth With Coffee and Tea

So I have a sweater. It looks like this.

I don't like to wear very white sweaters or coats because I hated to draw attention to my shy little self and it's just kind of stuck, even though I love wearing bright colors now. 

 Anywho, I found this sweater at Goodwill for 5 buck-a-roos. I've been looking for a sweater like this for a while and I was just glad that I had found a sweater that wasn't made of puce colored velvet.
I figured that I could put on my big girl pants and deal with the white. Except that I loathed it when I tried it on at home. 


So I decided that since I already loathe it, I couldn't possibly mess it so bad that I would..loathe it more?

So here's what I did.

I boiled a giant sauce pan of water.
I put in
 14 tea bags, 
2 packets of instant coffee,
and about 1/4 of Vinegar.

(you can mess with the proportions to figure out color, but the vinegar is important to help the stain set)

It looked yummy.


I removed it from the heat and left it there for about an hour, stirring every now and then. 

Here's what I learned:

Don't leave the tea bags in. I got a few yucky, too dark spots where the tea bags came in direct contact with the fabric. No bueno. 

The longer you let it sit, the darker it gets.

If you don't want your fabric shrinking, do not put it in hot water. Let the tea/coffee mixture cool and then insert your fabric to be died.

Freshly wash your cloth and don't use fabric softener or a dryer sheet. Those leave residue and the stain won't work as well. 

Play around with the color! I used more tea (I don't have much coffee) so it turned out more peachy-orangey colored. I feel that coffee would turn it a more earthy brown/tan.

This is not a permanent dye. It is a stain. This will wash out (and may seep onto other clothes in the washer, so just take heed and don't wash it in hot water).

This is what it looked like when I was done!

And for dramatic effect...

Woot, woot! 


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I also linked up here:

Frugally Days, Sustainable Ways

but the link picture showed up like this...

Sad. Just click on the link. 

Earring Tree

I like to change things up a lot, so I devised a new way of hanging my earrings.

My supply of branches from the ice storm is still going strong. For a while I had collected them while out in my car and it looked like a tree was growing in my back seat. Now I just have a bunch of mini trees growing throughout my house. Better, no? :)

I anchored the branches in a vase with rocks and hung my earrings on the little knobbies on the branches. Quite convenient, really. 

I like. :)


Simple Valentine's Decorations

I mostly love Valentine's Day because it comes in the middle of February and I will take ANY excuse to decorate in happy colors in the dead of winter. Heck, I'd almost dress my cat up like Abe Lincoln for a shred of entertainment. Plus, who doesn't love a holiday in which red and pink are actually acceptable colors to put together? I find the combination garish, kind of like the purple and orange at halloween, but I'll let it slide for the month of February. :)

In addition to window clings (I am such a nerd for window clings!), I made a simple Valentine's Day Tree  this year.

I couldn't find anything pink or red to cut hearts out of, so I painted water colors on paper, cut hearts out, glued them together, and hung them with fishing line. I also picked some red beads out of my collection and strung those with fishing line, too.

I wrapped it with a bit of tissue paper and ribbon and called it good!

I love when I can make something out of things I already have, instead of having to go out and find the things I want. 

I thought that the leftover cut outs were cute, so I put them in a frame. 

Simple, festive and not overdone. I'll leave the overdoing for St. Paddy's day! ;)


Egg Drop Soup Recipe

My mom and I have been making this for years. I have no idea where she got the recipe from, but I've made it so many times that I know it by heart.

It's strange, I bake so much but I still have yet to memorize a chocolate chip cookie recipe. I actually use a different one every time although I have no idea why. I just recently figured out how to make my all time favorite CCC though, so I've been working on memorizing that one.

Anyway, this egg drop soup is nothing like the type you order in an asian restaurant. I tried that one time and was massively disappointed because I was expecting my mom's soup. I like that type now, but for a picky kid, it was a rude awakening. :)

Here's what you need:

4 cups of water
2 chicken bullion cubes
1/2 - 3/4 cups instant brown rice

3 eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup fresh spinach 

1. Boil water and bullion cubes together
2. Add rice to boiling water
3. Reduce to a simmer (very important)

4. In a separate bowl crack three eggs and mix with lemon juice.
5. Slowly pour about 1 cup of chicken broth into the egg-lemon juice mixture while stirring.
This is called tempering. It slowly rises the temperature of the eggs and prevents them from cooking too fast and separating. 
If you prefer the type of egg drop soup you find in restaurants, where the cooked egg swims in a clear fluid, simply dump the egg and lemon juice mixture straight into the hot broth.

6. Slowly pour the tempered egg mixture into the simmering broth, while stirring.
You will find your self with a milky broth with some large cooked egg strands.

7. Add spinach, turn up to a low boil, cover, 
and let it sit for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. 
It will start looking kind of foamy and fluffy on the top, this is a good thing.

8. After ten minutes, test the rice to make sure it is cooked. 

9. Enjoy!


Easy Peasy Homemade Granola

Sean and I went on a meandering adventure this weekend with my brother and his girlfriend. We picked them up in Seattle and headed north on the freeway until we got into the countryside. We got off on a random exit and followed it around to LaConner, a tiny town named Edison, and finally Bellingham.
We stopped and tasted cheese at an organic dairy outside of Edison, ate at a small restaurant that only uses local foods in their meals, and bought fresh bread at a bakery in Edison. This bakery had samples of granola - a simple mix of roasted oats, coconut flakes, and raisins - which I found to be delicious. 

After church yesterday, where my beautiful friend Becca preached an awesome message, I came home and looked up how to make my own. There are so many recipes out there, so I summarized the important information I found (oven temperature and timing) and experimented with the rest. 

This was my end product of the first batch I made:

I started out with this:

3 cups old fashioned oatmeal 
Quick cooking oats don't really get crispy.

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
I would have preferred chunkier flakes, but this was cheap

1 cup acorn squash seeds
I had these on hand - you could use pumpkin seeds or nuts. 
I can't have nuts, so I went with these.

Mix it up and spread it on two greased cookie sheets in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Check and stir it around every few minutes to keep it from burning or sticking.

While that is roasting, prepare the sauce. I used:

1/4 cup vegetable oil 
I've heard coconut oil is really good.

1/4 cup agave
Honey or maple syrup works, too.

2 TBLS Brown Sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup raisins

1 tsp cinnamon

You can mess around with these ingredients as much as you want, it all depends on how sweet you want it to be and what flavors you like. 

Heat in a sauce pan until brown sugar dissolves. 

I added the raisins to this mixture to soften them and add flavor, but a lot of people just like adding them straight to the pan with the oats. Mine became plump and juicy when I roasted them later. 

Your oat/coconut/seed mixture is done when it starts looking like this:

Mix this and the sauce together in a bowl and lay back out on the cookie sheets.

Lower the oven temp to 300 degrees and put it back in for 10 minutes to start. 

I checked mine every 2 minutes or so and it took about 15-16 minutes for it to finish roasting.

This is what it looked like when it was done. 

It turned out really good, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for. The granola I had had at the bakery the day before didn't have any sauce on it, I guess, so I did the same thing as this recipe, but just left the sauce off. It turned out to be exactly what I was looking for! The crunchy, nutty oats, roasted coconut, and raisins was the perfect combination. I just switch back and forth between the two depending on how much sugar I'm in the mood for.

Making this granola was super easy and really hard to mess up. I think the only thing you can do wrong is to let it burn. :)



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