Saturday, December 20, 2014

Homemade Whipped Body Butter

Over the past year I've really started to eliminate a lot of the "beauty products" I have that contain a ridiculous about of chemicals and harmful ingredients (parabens!).  Many of the items I use come from Young Living (Thieves toothpaste, Lavender shampoo and conditioner, and Thieves foaming hand soap).  After venturing into the world of making my own bath salts and foot soaks, I've decided that I can make pretty much anything.  Today's experiment:  Homemade Whipped  Body Butter (made with Young Living essential oils)!

Just as in other posts, I want to mention that I only use Young Living essential oils.  Young Living is the only company that makes PURE, THERAPEUTIC GRADE essential oils in a completely transparent way that they guarantee with their "Seed to Seal" process.  If you plan on following this recipe or any other that involves essential oils, PLEASE note that the $4.00 bottle of Lavender you find at the drug store is not the same thing.  The quality, purity and grade of oils is not the same.  Please do your research and know what you're using on your body.  To get your own Young Living therapeutic grade essential oils click here

What you will need:

1/4 cup Shea Butter
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
1/4 cup Almond Oil
10 drops of Young Living Essential Oils (your choice!  I did Peace & Calming and Lavender)
1 Half Pint Mason Jar 
Stainless steel mixing bowl

Start by combining all your ingredients in a stainless steel bowl. I used the bowl that goes with my Kitchenaid stand mixer.  Place the bowl top of a bowling pot of water (you're basically making a double boiler to melt down and combine shea butter, coconut oil and other oils.

It shouldn't take long for everything to liquify.  I used a silicone spatula to stir to make sure everything combined together well.

Remove from heat (take out your spatula) and place in the refrigerator to cool.  This will probably take a few hours.  You want it to cool all the way through, but not be rock hard, so don't use the freezer.

Use a mixer to whip the cooled ingredients.  I should look deliciously like whipped frosting!  I had to scrape the sides a few time to make sure everything got mixed really well. 

Use your spatula or a spoon to dish the whipped body butter into your jars. 

Seal them up and label them!  

This recipe is easily doubled or tripled to make gifts.  I found the portions listed above makes enough for one jar half pint jar. 

Other Yummy Smelling Suggestions:

Lemon - which smells like lemon custard!  Since citrus oils (like lemon) eat petrochemicals (plastics), please make sure you use a glass jar for storage.
Peppermint - definitely a great scent for the holidays!
Lavender - very relaxing and calming.  Also great for skin care!
Orange - an energizing scent.  Since citrus oils (like lemon) eat petrochemicals (plastics), please make sure you use a glass jar for storage.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Peppermint Foot Soak

I was introduced to Young Living Essential Oils almost a year ago (by my stepsister, Jill Wade) and I love them.  I don't go a day without diffusing them or applying them topically to my family or me.  They are life changing!  I'm sure there will be more time for me to comment on my love for Young Living, but I wanted to begin my post today by pointing out that I just use Young Living and ONLY Young Living oils when making oily items (like this Peppermint Foot Soak).  

You see, Young Living is the only company that makes PURE, THERAPEUTIC GRADE essential oils in a completely transparent way that they guarantee with their "Seed to Seal" process.  If you plan on following this recipe or any other that involves essential oils, PLEASE note that the $4.00 bottle of Lavender you find at the drug store is not the same thing.  The quality, purity and grade of oils is not the same.  Please do your research and know what you're using on your body.  To get your own Young Living therapeutic grade essential oils click here.

Now let's talk about FOOT SOAKS! This was not my idea.  A classmate from high school actually shared her plans for holiday gifts and I loved it... so I copied it!  (Thanks, Amber!)  It is such a great option because my recipe yields a lot for little cost, has very little mess/clean-up, and has a lot of options when it comes to aroma. It is also easy enough to make that my 5 year old daughter was able to assist (stirring), which was great since these are the gifts she made her teachers!

3 cups Epsom salt
1 cup baking soda
1 cup mix of sea salt and PINK Himalayan salt (makes it look like peppermint bark!)
20 drops of Young Living Peppermint essential oil (or the oil or combination of your choosing)
Glass jars/bottles
Glass or stainless steel mixing bowl (don't use plastic with essential oils)
Fork (to stir ingredients)
Silicon funnel (to fill bottles)

I got my glass bottles from the Target $1 spot (for $3 for 2)!  Everything else I already had at home!  

Begin my mixing the Epsom salt, baking soda, sea salt, and pink Himalayan salt in a large bowl.  (This is a perfect job for a child... like the little girl who picked 11 teachers to bring gifts to!)  Add YL Peppermint essential and stir some more.  I let it sit while I opened all my bottles.  

 Next I use my funnel to fill the bottles and made sure the lids were on tight.  

The theme Amber came up with was "For Your Mistle-TOES!", so I ran with that idea and made some cute cards with directions and printed them on cardstock.   

My daughter signed the back and helped me tie them...

This was a lot of fun and EASY!  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Picture Frame Door

Much to my husband's dismay, I have a habit of finding "stuff" in the alley or on the curb that others have set out for trash.  Anytime I bring something home (or request for him to go pick something up), there is a minor amount of grumbling... which I understand because who really wants someone else's "junk" sitting in their garage?  I think we've come to an agreement though:  he will support my urges to "dumpster dive" and I will flip whatever we found as fast as possible.

This is how I got my latest project - a glass paned door turned into a picture frame and wall hooks! 

Last week I was perusing Facebook and Pinterest, where I saw someone had posted/pinned a door that had been turned into a picture frame and wall hooks.  

Awesome way to reuse an old door. Unique picture frame. #DIY 

I was intrigued, but didn't really have a door to use, nor was I going to purchase one.  Then, coming down my alley on the way home I saw it!  Someone was throwing out a door!  I got out to make sure it was all in one piece.  It was!  I got home and immediately asked the husband to go down the alley to get the door.  (Which he did because he loves me!  Thanks, honey!)

Window-paned door
Hooks (got mine at The Home Depot)
Antiquing Glaze (I use a water-based Valspar from Lowe's)
Polycrylic clear coat (also water-based)
Paint brushes ( I used a 2 1/2" and a 1" brush)
Rags (you will need a few)
Bowl of Water
Window cleaner and paper towels
Tape Measure
Up to 15 Pictures (horizontal, sized and cut down to fit the windows) 

I started by setting up the door in the garage and wiping it down with a damp rag.  I went ahead and did both sides and cleaned the glass on the backside so I didn't have to worry about it later.  I also had the husband cut it down, since typically the bottom part of the door is wider than the top.  Now it's evenly spaced!

Then I got my glaze ready.  The large stainless steel bowl has warm water in it.  I used the smaller green bowl to pour my glaze into for wiping.  A little goes a long way, so I just pour in a little at a time until it's all gone and then add more.  I hate wasting paint, so this works well for me.

I then took a clean rag, got it damp in the water and then dipped it in the glaze.  Then you just rub.  Get it everywhere! I learned to glaze from my friend Rachel (proprietor of Retro Rach!)  She is a master at antiquing furniture and I love everything she does (including the dresser in my daughter's room)!  Her key is the messier the better.  You want to make sure you get glaze in all the cracks and corners.  DON'T WORRY ABOUT BEING NEAT!  Seriously, the messier the better!

I let my glaze dry a little bit and then I took a clean rag, got it a little damp in the water, and then wiped/rubbed away.  The more you rub, the less glaze there will be, so you can decide.  If you get a little heavy handed in the rubbing, get your other rag back out and rub on a little more glaze. 

 Then you need to let it sit for a couple of days to cure.

After a couple of days I  got out my Polycrylic.  My favorite is Minwax clear satin (from Sherwinn Williams).  There are other less expensive brands you can get - this is just what we have at our house.  I started with my wide brush and coated around all the sides and the outside edges.  After that I took my thin brush and coated all interior parts of the door.  You don't want to get a lot of clear coat on the windows, so go light.  You can always add more, but you don't want it to pool on the window.  Then let it dry for about a day!

Next step:  Hooks.  These were the only things I had to buy for this project ($2.98 each!).  

I started by measuring center first.  Then in from the two sides, then centered the last two hooks between those.  Mark everything with a pencil first!  Make sure you have it where you want it and then you can take your drill and attach the hooks. 


Looking at the door I knew I needed to do something about the door nob/deadbolt holes.  I love my burlap ribbon (from Hobby Lobby).  I just used some scrap I had to tie a beautiful bow through the holes.

The last thing is to place your pictures.  Since I plan on consigning the door, I didn't want to put personal picture.  I had an old calendar, so I cut down the pictures to fit in the windows (you will need to measure your windows and cut down your pictures or center them accordingly).  I used plain scotch tape to hold the pictures in place.



Sunday, May 11, 2014

Cinder Block Herb Garden

We moved last year and one of the things I miss most about our old house (besides our wonderful neighbors) is our herb garden.  One of the first exterior improvements we did at the old house was fill the 16 foot flower bed in the backyard with rosemary, sage, chives, peppers, basil, cilantro... it was so perfect!  I love our new house, but definitely miss the fresh herbs.

Things were hectic when we moved in last year, so we didn't really get around to doing any yard improvements, let alone landscape a garden.  You see, our new house only had one small triangular-shaped bed in backyard and it is much too small for an herb garden.    

To solve this problem I started looking on Pinterest on what ideas I could find.  Scott and I had a plan for the backyard, but we aren't even close to being able to start that giant project.  At first I thought of doing a "palette garden" which could start horizontal, but then be turned vertical once things rooted well.  I even went as far as driving behind Target to check if they had any extra palettes laying out.  (Scott was not thrilled.)

When we got to Home Depot to buy plants, Scott asked about just making a flower bed.  I said I wasn't against the idea, but we would have to move the whole thing when we decided to landscape the yard, move the fence, put in a storage shed, and grow real produce.  The conversation did remind me of a pin I did for an above ground bed that involved cinder blocks.  I showed the pin to Scott, who loved the idea. 


  •  Cinder blocks - we used 10 and they were about $2.00 each at Home Depot
  • Garden soil - I think we went through 6-7 bags
  • Garden cloth - to keep weeds from coming up
  • Your choice of herbs - if you use 10 cinder blocks you will have 20 small "pots" to fill and the middle area.
    For the small "pots"we went with:
    1- Parsley, 3 - Lavender, 3 - Cilantro, 2 - Basil, 2 - Thyme, 2 - Oregano,
    2 - Chives, 2 - Sage, 2 - Dill
    For the middle area we planted:
    2 - Rosemary, 2 - Jalapeno Peppers, 2 - Habanero Peppers

First know your plants and what kind of light they need.  You can research it, ask someone in the garden center, read the little stakes that come with the plant, but my favorite is to just ask my wonderful mother-in-law, Linda.  She is a plant genius.  Anything I can put on the brink of death, she can bring back!  We chose a part of our backyard on the north side close to our fence.  

This was a great location, but not the most level ground.  We started by laying out the blocks where wanted them.  Then Scott used a flat shovel to "trace" the area.  He then dug away a the top layer until it was more level.  If your yard is already level you won't have to do this.  

We then put down the weed cloth and put the cinder blocks down on top.

Now for the easy part!  Scott started mowing the yard while I went to work planting the herbs.  To make things simple, we went ahead and dumped all the soil into the center of the bed - then I could transfer it over to the small "pots".  I also placed the herbs where I wanted them. 

It didn't take long to plant everything it it's new home.  We love... LOVE rosemary!  I want another rosemary bush just like we had at our first house so I placed two rosemary plants in the center part, along with Scott's jalapeno and habanero pepper plants.  

For now I left the little plastic labels in, but I'm hoping to make some cute and colorful labels using paint sticks... but that's another post for another day!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

What to make? What to bake?

I discovered something while planning for Christmas gifts this past year, but a friend of mine reminded me this past week.  First, a little back story...

This was Scott and my 11th Christmas together.  For the past 11 Christmases I have done a majority of the Christmas shopping/making/gift planning.  Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about... and since my first real job as as a gift wrapper at JC Penney, I also wrap a majority of the gifts - usually all except mine.  Scott is actually a pretty good gift wrapper, for the record.  

This year I had some issues planning for my sister-in-law, Jessica.  She's really not difficult to shop for, but I know we've given her a few scarves, jackets and other clothing over the years.  I wanted something more original.  Maybe something for their new house?  I didn't know what to do and had major creative block trying to think of something.  

ENTER PINTEREST - to save the day once again!

I was surfing on Pinterest and saw some really cute stuff Jessica pinned.  Then it dawned on me - I don't have to ask for a list or suggestions from her; I can just check her pins for something she would like!!  It was genius!  (I know this isn't something new and many of you have done it, but I felt awesome thinking of it!)  

Jessica pinned a beautiful jewelry board (similar to this, but not the same.)

I knew I had to find/make/buy something.  I headed to Hobby Lobby and started filling my basket with a frame and ribbons... then I roamed down an isle and found one!  Perfect!!  

With the crazy last few months I have had it doesn't surprise me I forgot about this.  That was until a friend of mine offered to make us dinner while I was out on medical leave.  She was trying to think of something to make for us and ended up surfing my Pinterest page for the answer.  (Thank you, Amy Brown, for the delicious cream cheese chicken enchiladas!)

So, the moral of the story:  When you're looking to make something for someone, bake something for someone, or just hit a creative block on what to get them... check out their Pinterest page!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Picture Frame Wreath

What you will need:   
24-2x3" frames
24 of your favorite photos
18" grapevine wreath
floral wire, ribbon (if you want)

When I first joined Pinterest I pinned a beautiful wreath made of picture frames, hoping one day I would be able to make it for my mother-in-law, Linda. This Christmas I decided that would be the perfect gift for her.  I started by asking her to pick about 20 of her favorite pictures - group, singles, old, new... pretty much whatever she wanted (which caused some problem on her part because she wanted more direction than I was willing to give).  I already had a few photos I wanted to include, hence only 20 and not 24.

While Linda perused through years of photos looking for her favorites I set off looking for small pictures frames.  I decided I needed about 24-2" frames of different shapes and designs.  I did know I wanted to stick with "silver" for the color scheme.  I hit up Hobby Lobby first... they have a great selection of small frames but they were really expensive, even with the 50% off, when I would be buying over 20.  After that I strolled over to The Dollar Tree where I hit the jackpot!  I bought pretty much everything they had, as well as a few that really caught my eye at Hobby Lobby.  

Once Linda gave me the photos she loved, I scanned them into my computer and used Picasa (a free program) to crop them all down to 2x3 and adjust them all to black and white (my preference). Then I printed them all on regular paper (you could use photo paper if you wanted, but I did not find a need to since I have a nice printer).  Then I used a cutting board to cut them all out.  Then they are ready to go in the frames.  I laid all mine out to make sure I had everything like I wanted it!

After putting all the pictures in frames I did have to prep the frames.  The "arm" on the back of the frame used to make it stand had to go.  I was able to do this to most, but my "good deal" frames from The Dollar Tree needed their stands hot glued down.  Basically you are making something to weave the wire through.

Floral wire laced under the stand on the back of the frame - stand has been hot glued down.
 When all your frames are ready you can begin placing them on your wreath.   I loved the way this worked on the grapevine wreath!  There were a lot of place to weave and twist the floral wire to when attaching the frames.

The hardest part was making sure there weren't too many pictures that were similar (the same people, even or layout - landscape/portrait) in the same place. I did have to move some around after adding more.

 As you can see, my style leans more towards an overlapping, eclectic mix.  I didn't really want the wreath to show through too much and I wanted as many pictures on as possible.  Some had to be twisted to just the right angle so the photo next to/behind/etc. could still be seen. 

 Once I finished attaching and adjust all the frames just right, I attached a burlap and lace ribbon to add a little something extra.  I thought the final product was perfect.  I'm sure I'll make another one of these soon... for me! :)