Category Archives: diy

DIY Coffee Hand Scrub

the teal magnolia | coffee + coconut oil scrub

I love to cook. Something about the chopping and sizzling is almost therapeutic to me. What I don’t love is the lingering garlic smell on my hands that no matter what I do (other than sacrifice a lemon for its juice – what a waste of a lemon!), just won’t go away. It’s an annoying problem, especially now that I’m a mompreneur and SAHM because I tend to have a lot of meetings in the evenings and do my work at night.  This leaves me with garlicky hands when I go on business meetings (or GNOs) or when I go work with the beautiful fabrics that I get to play with for the shop.  Not good.

And then I found a solution that seemed to float down from heaven on a cloud – it was that perfect. I came across coffee soap, and saw that it was sometimes labeled as ‘kitchen soap’ because it helps eliminate those smells from your skin.

Well, considering how how big a DIYer I am, I decided that while I may not be a soap-maker, I can certainly make a scrub with the copious amounts of coffee grounds that we go through in our house. And it couldn’t be simpler.

Ingredients:
used coffee grounds (seriously – used coffee grounds. Instead of emptying my used coffee grounds into the trash, I put them in a plastic container)
coconut oil

Method:
1. Place coffee grounds in a container.
2. Add about half the amount of coconut oil as you have coffee grounds. I started with 1/2 of espresso grounds an a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil.
3. Mix well. Add coconut oil or coffee to get the consistency you like. I like mine to be like gritty cookie dough, so heavy on the coffee and easy on the oil.
4. Store in a closed container near your kitchen sink.

That’s it. It’s that simple and it works. It gets rid of smells and exfoliates your hands too! I just put a little bit (about a quarter-size amount) in my hands and ‘wash’ them. I then follow up with soap to get the oil off. And to all my mamas out there – you know how getting diaper cream off your hands is nearly impossible? This works for that as well.

I’ve found that I can add more coffee to it and it magically still stays together.

I love that I’m using something that would normally go in the trash – getting just a little more use out of what we have. I like that I don’t waste coffee – I’ve already enjoyed my espresso, and I’m simply using up the by-product.

And the super bonus for you evil wevils out there is that it looks like Oreo truffles. Oh the pranks I could pull!

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Hello Spring Pinwheel Wreath

I am so glad that warm days are here again! Being a Florida girl, I tend to get the winter blues pretty badly. Don’t get me wrong – I love the cold weather and snuggling up under a pile of blankets, but the lack of color and vibrancy gets to me. A few weeks ago, I had reached my breaking point with all the gray, dreary days. I had to do something, but couldn’t figure it out.

And then it hit me out of the blue. I needed a pinwheel wreath. Something that would counteract all the icy weather. Something that screamed spring, cool breezes, sunshine and fun. The more I thought of it, I also pictured soft grass and lots of color in the form of a yarn wreath.

Two things stopped me: 1) I am absolutely not a paper crafter, and 2) I vowed I’d never ever make a yarn wreath after getting overly annoyed with the process on my first try after only getting about an eighth of the way around. So a yarn wreath with paper pinwheels seemed like the most intimidating craft project ever.

Still, the idea kept nagging at me, and I knew I had to do it.

I found gorgeous fuzzy yarn in different shades of springy green and white. Wrapping the wreath wasn’t so annoying this time around.  A little time-consuming, but not bad. I guess these days, after spending my daylight hours running after two kids, I welcome anything that is calm and monotonous in my down time.

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I then made pinwheels from double-sided scrapbooking paper in two sizes using 6×6 and 3×3 squares and used my sewing pins for the center.

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I sprayed the pinwheels with super high shine modge podge spray to protect them from the elements a little bit. I did two layers on the back, and then about five on the front. You don’t need to do that many layers on the front, but I loved how shiny it looked and kept doing more. It almost looks like plastic. So cool. Once they were dry, I pinned them into place on the wreath.

It needed something more, so I thought a fun ‘hello!’ would be cute. I used shrink plastic (also known as Shrinky Dinks) and my Slice cutter to cut out four-inch letters, colored them in with a purple marker, baked them and hot glued them onto the wreath.

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Cute, but… I wasn’t loving the purple letters. After a week or so, it really bugged me and I took it down until I could figure out what to do. It looked too plain without the letters, but I hated the purple. I tried painting them yellow, but it didn’t work. Finally, I modge-podged some extra paper from the pinwheels and they became orange with white dots.

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I just love how it turned out. So simple, so fun, and different from what you normally see. Most  of all, I love that it screams “SPRING!!!!”

DIY invitations for pennies!

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Y’all.  I feel like I’m totally cheating the party planning gods with this one, but it’s too much fun not to share.  But with 31-cent custom party invitations, how could I not? I hope I won’t get struck by lighting or something.

Hosting parties can get expensive, and invitations, especially for kid parties, are crazy expensive and something that will most likely be thrown away.  And since my two kids have birthdays just over a month apart, and right before the holidays, I definitely look for ways to keep costs down.  Besides, the less I spend on invitations, the more I have left for the actual party.

So when I was planning my daughter’s first birthday (which was just immediate family and a couple of close friends), I came up with the idea of designing an invitation and having it printed at the drugstore one-hour photo.  I didn’t think it would work.  But after one misfire and a second try, I got success!

Then, when planning my son’s party, I thought I’d go for it again.  It’s such a great way to get a completely custom invitation for a great price.  Each photo cost 20 cents, and then I got a box of ‘special occasion’ envelopes for less than $5 for 50.  With tax included, I had a 31-cent, fully custom party invitation.

For the designing part, I used Inkscape, a free design program that you can download.  It’s not as robust and user-friendly as Adobe Illustrator (oh, how I miss it!) or Corel, but it works for simple stuff.  But if you’re not familiar with design software, you can take any photo and print it.  You can use photo editing sites like PicMonkey to add text and details and just send it off to be printed.

What I love is that this can be so personal and be kept simple at the same time.  How about a beach ball with the party details written on it for a pool party? Or your child holding a poster board with the information written on it?  Or standing by a fire truck for a firefighter party?

I just love how they turned out.  And it’s such a cool and inexpensive way to set the tone for your next party.  Do you think you’ll try it?

Baby Girl Nursery Show and Tell

babygirlnursery

Get ready for a picture-intense post. I finally got around to taking pictures and writing about our nursery. I love this room.  I really do.  Sometimes, during those middle-of-the-night feedings, I try to come up with ways to get my hubby to agree to switch rooms so that this could be our master bedroom.  No joke.

I just love the soft, dreamy aqua with shades of pink and clean white.  It’s bright and fun, yet calming and soft at the same time. It’s definitely very girly but not too fussy and frilly.

But I think what I like most about it is how personal it is.  Everywhere I look, there’s something I made, or something from my childhood, or a reminder of a loved one.

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I’ve blogged about bits and pieces of it, but here’s the whole shebang put together:

First, I’m going to do a little sketch of the layout of the room (totally not to scale). When I was looking for inspiration online, I could never get a feel for the whole room because I couldn’t see the layout. And this room is kind of weird because every wall has either a door or a window, plus an air vent that blows directly where most people would put a crib or bed, so furniture placement is a little tricky.

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Looking to the left when you first walk in is the wall of quotes that I blogged about here.  Right in front of it, tucked into the corner, is the glider that I redid with the quilt that came with the crib bedding thrown on top.  I kept the window simple – it has a pink curtain that’s supposed to block out light, but all it does is make the room glow pink, which I don’t mind too much.  Because pink is awesome. {Did I ever mention that I had a pink wedding cake back when nobody did any color at all on wedding cakes? yeah…I luv me some pink}

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Next to the window is the changing table and hutch that I spruced up (see this post). My little girl absolutely loves it and spends her diaper changes trying to touch the dots.  Let’s hope the sealer I used can stand up to baby fingernails!

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I filled the shelves with all sorts of things that make me smile.  Most of the stuffed animals were mine, including the purple and yellow ‘hazmat’ rabbit that I got when I worked with a fire department and did a ride-along with the hazmat (über cool firefighter slang for hazardous materials) unit for a day.  I also have the last pair of pointe shoes I used when I danced, a ceramic poodle that used to be in my bedroom when I was little, a little acorn that my son picked up for his baby sister on a walk, the wire bicycle that held flowers that were delivered to us when we had her, a bejeweled Eiffel tower coin bank, and a bunch of other things that make me smile, as well as the useful stuff: diapers and wipes, lotions and potions, etc.

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If you keep spinning towards the right, you see the crib. The poor embattled crib that barely survived my son’s teething days (cosmetically, of course. it’s still sturdy and super safe).  Why didn’t anyone tell me about teething guards?

The bedding was the inspiration for the room.  I was having such a hard time finding anything that I liked.  Everything was princess, flowers, PINK or just not right. Then I saw this and fell in love with it.  It’s Pixie in aqua by My Baby Sam.  I love paisley, polka dots, pink and aqua, and shazam! there it was – my favorite patterns and my favorite colors in one set.  It’s like the nursery gods smiled upon my soul.

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Above the crib, I hand-painted a pink frame with swirly edge, hoping for kind of a parisian-ish metal street sign kind of vibe. It’s a simple design, but I am so proud of it. There was no template or guide. Just imagination, a ruler, some chalk, painting supplies and nerves of steel. Inside the frame are letters spelling her name that I got from www.craftcuts.com because I got it in my head that I wanted all lower-case letters with a serif and those aren’t sold at craft stores. I’m a font nerd, by the way.  Their customer service is awesome and helped me figure out what size I needed, and even double checked with me after I placed my order to make sure that I was getting what I wanted.

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I decided to bypass the traditional mobile and make some pom poms in different sizes to match the room and as a nod back to the polka dot motif in the bedding. I cut about a million and a half circles folded them up, hot glued them onto foam balls and then fluffed them.  I used fishing line and command hooks to hang them.

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The final wall is pretty bare. It has three prints of very chic ladies in some of my favorite cities in the world.  I wanted to add a bit of a world-traveler vibe to the room, and loved these prints.  I love looking at those during those night-time feedings and thinking back to when I visited those cities and how I hope she’ll get to see them someday (and hopefully take her mama along!). That part of the room is pretty bare right now, but I foresee there being a little art table there or maybe a ballet barre or a dress-up area there in the future.  For now, the fluffy white lamb play mat will do.  And that’s cool, because I love it.

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The final piece that I want to share is the lighting.  My grandmother let me have one of her chandeliers from her house before she passed away last summer and my in-laws completely took it apart, cleaned it, replaced any hooks and wires (as well as the actual electrical wiring) that needed to be replaced, painted it and put it back together.  I love love love love love it.  Not only does it remind me of my grandmother, but it is so pretty and sparkly and adds so much to the room.

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Well, there it is.  My little baby girl’s room. I put so much heart and soul into it, and even though she may not appreciate it, I love being in there.  I still have a couple of things I want to add, and of course, things will change as she grows, but I’m pretty proud of how it turned out.

Paint colors (all from Behr)
Walls: Adriatic Mist
Hutch backing: Poetic Princess (and plain white acrylic paint for the dots)
Frame for letters on the wall: Palace Rose

Infant Mermaid Costume DIY (Super Easy)

So, remember how I bribed my daughter so she’d be born before I had to get induced?  Well, here are the results of the sparkly Halloween costume I promised her ~ a mermaid!

Now, I realize it’s kind of nuts to DIY a halloween costume the week after giving birth. I fully believe in having time to bond with the baby, get the family settled and give my body time to heal before I jump back into ‘regular’ life (although now that I’m a SAHM, I’m not sure how realistic that is).  I know a lot of people go back to work and start training for marathons the day they leave the hospital, but that’s just not me.  So it felt somehow wrong to make a Halloween costume for a ten-day-old baby. But a deal is a deal, and I couldn’t bail on this one.  I mean, how bad would that be to not go through with the first deal I make with my own daughter?

And it’s not like this was difficult to do.  All it took was a mad dash though Joann’s a few days after she was born for some shimmer tulle (one yard each of three colors) and some elastic sequin trim.  The baby stayed in the car with my hubby while I ran into the store.  And then I foraged through my craft stuff for anything else I needed, which ended up being a square of felt, a rubber band, a needle and thread and a rhinestone button.

I began by making the skirt by following directions for a tutu (like this one except that I cut my own strips of tulle), but I made mine long enough that it would go past her legs and then some.  I tied it a little past her feet with a rubber band, and then I put trim around the waist and around the rubber band, barely stitching it in place by hand.

I then placed my square of felt (the ones that are like 39 cents in the kids craft area at Wal-Mart – nothing fancy here) over a long-sleeved onesie and cut it to fit in a bodice-like shape so that it wrapped around just a bit past the sides. I used some leftover tulle to make the bandeau top, and added a bit of sequin trim.  I glued the tulle to the felt and then hand-stitched the felt to the onesie so that I can use it again.

For the headband, I measured out how much sequin trim I needed and glued the ends together.  Then I made three yoyos with two layers of tulle each so they’d be full.  I sewed them on and sewed a rhinestone button on the center one because every infant mermaid headband needs bling.  I should have done some sort of pearl to go with the mermaid/ocean theme, but I used what I had on hand.

This project is super easy.  I think it probably took about 45 minutes, and that’s because I hand-stitched a lot of it so that I can reuse the materials later. I was able to easily do it between feedings here and there over a couple of days, despite being in that post-partum recovery/newborn adjustment time.

Words of Wisdom {Nursery Wall Decor}

Confession time: I’m a little scared to raise a little girl.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m excited about having a little girl, all the pink and glitter, ballet classes and general ‘sugar and spice’ that having a girl entails.  It just seems like it’s so hard to be a girl and it’s getting harder.  I keep hearing things like how third graders at a school nearby have lunch group therapy because the cattiness with the girls has gotten so out of control (although that might be the product of helicopter parenting), and I see more and more cattiness and just downright rudeness between little girls.  And women as well.  I mean, let’s just look at the whole mommy wars thing.  Breastfeeding vs. formula, attachment vs. cry-it-out…  We do it to each other. It breaks my heart.  And I don’t know how to raise a kind, smart, confident, creative little girl that will grow to be a strong woman someday.

But dammit, I’m gonna try.

So when I was thinking of what to do in the nursery, I got an idea in my head of having a wall of wisdom, if you will.  I looked for quotes from strong women that would reflect qualities I want my little girl to have – things like kindness, confidence, creativity, doing your best, reading… I thought it would be hard to find enough to fill a wall, but the hard part ended up being narrowing them down.

The project was a lot of fun to do. I rummaged around my house, craft stores and Goodwill to find frames and my hubby and father-in-law spray painted them white.  Once I had an arrangement I liked on the wall, I began designing what went where and how it would look.  I ended up with a few other things that weren’t word frames: a corbal/shelf to which I added a little bud vase with a pink rose, a mirror to add some sparkle to that side of the room (and because it was $2 at Goodwill), and her initial.

To design the word ‘art’, I used a free trial of Adobe InDesign.  I love, love, love the Adobe Creative Suite.  I miss it so much.  I think that’s what kept me at my old job for so long.  Sigh.  But I digress.  I channeled my inner design nerd and spent way too much time playing with fonts, sizes, kerning, spacing and all those fun things I used to do back when I worked 9-5.  Finally, I had each frame the way I wanted it (mostly).  Most I was able to print at home, but there were two that were too big for my printer, so I had them done at Office Max for a whopping $3 or so. I then trimmed everything down to size as needed and popped them into the frames.

It might be hard to see the quotes in the photo, so if you are interested, this is what is up there (for now, at least):

1. We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. – Marie Curie

2. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible!” – Audrey Hepburn

3. Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. – Oprah Winfrey

4. Let us always greet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. – Mother Teresa

5. You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have. – Maya Angelou

6. No me embarco sin galleta. – my grandma (this means “I won’t get on a boat without a cracker/cookie” in Spanish, meaning to always be prepared and being able to take care of yourself.  She said this all the time, and we take this advice to heart, literally and figuratively.  My husband who travels a lot will now not get on a plane without crackers based on her advice.  My grandma passed away this summer, so it’s nice to have a little piece of her in my little girl’s room.)

7. …something magical happens when you read a book. – JK Rowling

8. A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. – Coco Chanel

Admittedly, some of these have been all over pinterest and aren’t exactly novel, but they all speak to me.  What I couldn’t find were quotes on travel/seeing the world, but got some travel-inspired prints for another wall in the room to give her that sense that there’s a world beyond our little town.

Here’s another look from further away. I love how it’s part of the cozy little corner where I’ll be rocking her for hours  and hours.

I’ll admit that having these quotes on a wall in a room for a baby who can’t read may not make her a strong woman later on in life, but at the very least, it will inspire me to try to live up to these ideals and to work hard to raise a daughter that embodies these sentiments.

Glider Makeover

A few years ago when we were shopping for nursery furniture for my son, we found a glider in what we thought was a great neutral color that will work in any future baby’s room, whether it’s a boy or girl.  The taupe-y cushions looked great in our son’s woodland-themed nursery and the microfiber was soft and easy to keep clean:

But flash forward to a few weeks ago, when we put it in our light, bright aqua girl’s nursery and it looked like baby poop:

So what’s a hormone-raging mama-to-be supposed to do? Have a panic attack about how I can’t possibly have that glider in this room, or else some awful catastrophe will happen. Totally normal, right?

Well, I wasn’t that melodramatic, but close.  Still, I was really intimidated at the thought of recovering the cushions.  I mean, I’m used to coffee cuffs, notebook covers and bags.  Cushions are big.  But when a 60% off coupon for Joann’s arrived on my smartphone, the project didn’t seem so bad.  At least I wouldn’t be out too much money if the project was a bust.  So armed with 4.25 yards of fluffy pink fabric (which is enough for the glider, a blanket and more), I set to work.

I began by laying out the cushions on freezer paper, my pattern-making material of choice.  I had to tape two pieces together for the back and seat cushions to get it wide enough.

Then, I traced around each cushion.  After that, I used a compass (yes, the ones that gave you headaches back in ninth-grade geometry) to give myself room for the cushion depth. There’s probably a good way to measure this, but my pregnant brain wouldn’t process it correctly anyway, so I guesstimated how much to add. I ended up with an extra two inches except for the front of the seat cushion that’s a little thicker.  I went with three inches for that.

After cutting out the paper templates, I pinned them to the fabric and cut out the pieces. Next, I pinned the fabric pieces right sides together and stitched them together, leaving one side open to stuff the cushions.  I added two 20-inch lengths of grosgrain ribbon where the straps that snap to the chair on the back cushion so I could tie it on instead of trying to make little covers for the straps.

And this is where I began to cheat and get lazy.  I decided to just safety-pin the back cushion closed, since it rests on the seat cushion and I wasn’t going to see the closing anyway. I didn’t want to sew more ties or deal with a zipper/velcro closure, and I hate it when cushions are sewn shut because then it’s so much harder to pull the covers off to wash them.  I pinned the seat cushion closed as well, which allowed me to use the ties from the original cushion.

Here is a view of how the cushions tie.  The back cushion ties with the ribbon and the seat cushion ties with the original ties.

For the arm rests, I made the pattern pieces and cut the fabric the same way as the cushions, but I sewed just the sides, so I ended up with tubes.  My glider arm cushions snap onto the chair at the top and bottom.  At first, I was going to sew them completely in and then slit some holes where the snaps are until I realized that the snaps are completely hidden.  So I slipped the tube/covers on the cushions, pinned one side to the cushion to keep them from sliding off and snapped them onto the chair.  I didn’t even need to pin the bottom side.  It’s snugly snapped in and well hidden.

The foot rest was next.  I cut out fabric the size of the top plus a half-inch seam allowance, and added 4-inch bands around the side.  When those were all sewn together, I hemmed the bottom to make it nice and straight and an even depth.

So there it is.  A glider makeover for a little girl’s room, all pink and fluffy and soft.  And it was so much easier than I thought it would be.  I think it will make those 4 a.m. feedings much more pleasant, don’t you?