Category Archives: home

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!!!!”

Boo! Halloween Wreath

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I just had to share this wreath.  I usually don’t do much in terms of decorating for Halloween – I’d rather focus my energy on fall décor, because I can use it for months, whereas Halloween is only doable for a couple of weeks.  However, this year is different. I don’t know what came over me, but I decided I absolutely, positively had to have a Halloween wreath hanging on my door, otherwise the world would end.  And of course, I can’t just buy something, I had to make it.

I started out with half a yard of glittery BOO! Halloween fabric that I cut into 3 inch strips across the width of the fabric with my handy dandy rotary cutter.

Then I hot glued one end of a strip to my wreath form (those cheap straw ones that come wrapped in plastic) and wrapped it around until I couldn’t wrap it around anymore trimmed it and glued it so the glue was always on the back of the wreath.  I repeated the process until the wreath was covered.  It took me four strips, and I almost needed a fifth.

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Then I decided I needed a little ghost family.  There are a lot of steps for this, but it was pretty easy.  It took me about 20 minutes.  I’ll list the supplies for this part:

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– 2-inch foam balls
– skewers
– foam block or something to hold skewers up (I tried an empty tissue box, and it wasn’t quite strong enough, but I made it work)
– watered down modge podge (I had 1/4 of a medium sized bottle left, and I filled it with water, shook it, poured it out, and added 1 1/2 more bottles of water to it, although I probably didn’t need the extra 1/2)
– container for the modge podge (I used an old wipes container)
– 8×8-inch (or so) squares of cheesecloth (about 4 or 5 per ghost)
– gloves (nice, but not required)

Here’s how to do it:
1. Put a skewer in each ball so it looks like a lollipop.  Stick it into the foam, with plenty of space for you to work.

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2. Soak a piece of cheesecloth in the modge podge and wring it out.

3. Lay it over the foam ball, but a little off to the side. Repeat with three or four more pieces, laying each one opposite from each other.

4. Do the same thing for all the foam balls.

5. Let them dry. This is what they will look like when they are drying (and when they are dry):

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The modge podge will stiffen the fabric and keep it from fraying, but it will still look flowy.  You’ll be able to work it a little bit, almost like wire mesh. Just an FYI- I don’t think modge podge is supposed to attract killer bugs, but a bee kept dive-bombing me and the ghosts while I was working and then a preying mantis nestled itself between the ghosts while they were drying and jumped at me when I moved them. So just watch out if you work outside. Also, if you’re wondering what I was doing with  the foam brush, I thought that by brushing more modge podge on the top, it would help it stick to the foam, but it didn’t.  I ended up putting a dab of hot glue where you can’t see it.

So the ghosts are done! Yay! Now to mount them onto the wreath you’ll need:
– hot glue
– metal floral hooks (97 cents for 100 of them at Wal-Mart)
– craft knife

Here’s what you’ll do:
1. Glue down the cheesecloth to the foam ball by lifting off the cloth, putting down a blob of glue and quickly putting the cheesecloth back in.  **Make sure you put the glue towards the back of the ghost’s head, but not dead center in the back so that you leave room for the floral hook.  Think of where a ponytail would go, if that makes sense.**

2. With the craft knife, cut a slit as wide as the floral hook in the back of the ghost.  I twisted the knife a little to make it wider. {little side note story: I used a small pink Swiss army knife that my brother gave me for Christmas when I was in middle school.  I still use that thing almost every day, can you believe it?}

3. Shove the hook into the hole so the pointy ends stick out, making sure they’re far enough in so that they won’t go through the wreath.

4. Decide where you want the ghosts on the wreath, and stick them in.  They are pretty solid, but I went back and hot glued them in just to be sure.

5. Trim up any jagged edges on the cheesecloth.

Finishing it up:
Break out your craft stash and go to town! I used googly eyes and puffy paint to add eyes and a smile to each ghost.  Then I used some leather cording, felt and more puffy paint (yay!) to make a little pennant banner that says “BOO!”

I used some of the cording, hot glue and floral pins to hang the wreath. I also used scraps from the fabric to cover up anything on the back that might be unsightly so that it had a nice, finished look all around.

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Do you decorate for Halloween?  I want to see your projects!

Baby Girl Nursery Show and Tell

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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

It’s about dang time (a.k.a. a house is not a home)

Four years.  That’s how long we’ve lived in our house, a house that we were so excited about.  Our ‘forever-or-until-our-yet-unconcieved-children-are-out-of-the-house’ house.  We moved in just days before Christmas in 2007 having just moved to NC, excited to be in a place where we felt we could settle down, set down some roots and start a family.  Having already had a house, we had most of the furniture so you’d think it would be set up in no time, right?  And yes.  Our rooms are furnished and boxes are unpacked.  We have a few personal items out on the shelves in our family room.

But we never got around to making it a home.  Only two rooms in our home have been painted.  That’s it.  Two.  My son’s nursery in 2009, almost two years after we moved in, and my craft room/guest room just last summer.

Everything else is low-quality blah-blah-builder-beige (although the paint can calls it ‘antique white’).  It chips and scratches just by looking at it. And it’s so drab.  But it’s not just the paint.  We haven’t put anything up on the walls except for a couple of prints in our entry door (‘antique’ maps of the world).

The need for ‘home’ in our house has been nagging at us for a while and now it’s like a bomb went off.  It’s not a just nagging need, it’s an itch, one that has grown into a really annoying, stinging, poison-ivy-meets-jellyfish-meets-fire-ants kind of feel, right in the middle of your back where you can’t reach it and it drives you nuts until you take care of it and then are all like “AAAHHHHhhhhhhh.”

Alright, I’m sorry about that.  Where were we?  Oh yes.  Making a house a home (or is it finding a good back-scratcher?).

It may seem superficial, but making your house pretty, personalizing it with memories and things that make you smile really adds to other memories.  Coming home and seeing photos of your baby when he was a baby or that trip where you fell in love all over again feels like coming home to hugs.

But where to start?  For us, it was here:

While taking down Christmas decorations, my hubby apparently got into a back-alley fight with a Command hook that resulted in a chunk of paint being ripped off the wall in our family room.  Unfortunately, the way our house is, if we paint that chunk, we’d have to paint the wall, and if we paint the wall, we’d have to paint the whole downstairs because of the open layout, so that left us with the option of covering it.  So off to Kohls we went and replaced the blank wall with this:

And their home accents department was having a buy-one-get-one for a dollar sale, so we got another mirror for our entry (and moved the map prints to the dining room). Then we decided to move a chest that we had cramping our garage entrance to the upstairs, hang some pretty trivets on the wall, pulling out a really pretty red depression glass plate that was handed down and using it for a pop of color…and so on and so forth.

I even put back the coffee table into the family room.  It had been moved out of the way soon after my son was born to a) make more play space available and b) keep him away from the fireplace.  Now I realize that having the coffee table limits how many toys can be out (he still has plenty of room to play) and gives me my fireplace back.  And a place to put my feet while I blog or cruise FB/Twitter/Pinterest.

We kept holding off adding personality until we painted.  But I can’t figure out what color(s) I want, since each room flows into the other so everything is visible and I don’t know how to choose a color that will work..and…and…and.  So many reasons to sit inside my builder’s beige world and not add personality.  But no more.  Even if I’m not ready to paint yet (and oh, God, how I need to do that!) there is no excuse for keeping my house so lifeless.  I don’t have to spend a fortune, I just have to have it reflect who we are.

I’m so excited to finally get some personality into our house!  I hope you don’t mind coming along for the ride with me.  How about you?  How do you make your house a home?  How did you choose a color?