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Month: December, 2013

Christmas Knitting

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Over the holidays, the hubs and I usually travel west to see our family in Wyoming. I was debating on what to bring with me in terms of sewing, crafting, or some sort of diy project. A few nights before we left I picked up my knitting again and re-watched some YouTube tutorials. My favorite channel is GoodKnitKisses

Her links are very helpful, and it’s easy to see what she is working on up close because her videos are well lit and well filmed. Her videos are also nice because she repeats the same steps so you don’t have to rewind to see exactly what she did if you missed it the first time 🙂

I’ve been using the regular knitting stitch (Not the pearl stitch- I don’t even know the difference!) and it’s been very easy. The YouTube link above also had videos on how to cast on, and bind off- both of which are quite simple as well!

I’ve already made a big chunky cowl infinity scarf for myself, and I’m working on a regular long one for the hubs now 🙂

I’m also using bigger chunky yarn and bigger knitting needles (10mm) to make the project move a little quicker. I also just really like the look of a looser knit.

I taught my sister-in-law how and now in the evenings we sit together and knit. I think it’s a great way to be social but still create, and have something to do rather than just being on my phone in a room full of people.

Happy knitting!
And Happy New Year!

Sarah

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The Holly that Will Be on Your Own Front Door

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So as soon as we moved into our new apartment, I noticed the holly bushes growing around the buildings. I got really excited and was already thinking of Christmas projects.

During my search for fun holiday goodies, I really wanted to find an old wreath and re-deco it for Christmas, but one never seemed to pop up.

My friend Erica was showing me her adorable wreath that she got from hobby lobby, made of brown sticks. She just changes it’s decor every season. She’s used feathers, spring silk flowers, and red berries. It always looks adorable.

So I picked up one of these little stick wreaths myself for just a few dollars at the ol’ HL. Then, I got to trimming. I cut off bits of holly and evergreen, and found a couple pinecones. I used clear spray paint to coat the greens (you can buy stuff that’s specifically designed to keep greens longer inside, but I couldn’t find it, and I heard it’s expensive). The valspar glossy clear coat has worked well so far though!

It’s easy to change out the decor on these wreaths because you just poke whatever you want in the sticks. But for my pinecones, I wrapped some wire around the middle and wrapped it around the wreath also. I love using nature as decoration and parts of my DIY projects- it’s free and beautiful!

Happy holiday hunting,

Sarah

Dollar Store DIY Christmas Wrapping

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So this year was my first year wrapping gifts to family and friends from husband and wife. In previous years, I’ve just used whatever holiday wrap my mom had bought, or I used newspaper or something. Well this year I wanted it to be a little more special.

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I went to The Dollar Tree and found brown 3M packers wrap in the packaging section. It was 15′ for $1.00! Dealio. And this stuff is super heavy duty. Like fo-real. So making the treck out to the west with all my gifts in tow, I won’t be worrying about the corners tearing or anything. I ended up buying two rolls which covered all my gifts.

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I’d been holding on to this bright teal string that I’ve seriously had for– forever. I don’t even remember where it came from. And rather than buying ribbon, I just used that. I figured it’s sparkly and teal, so it reminded me of snow and ice and would come off as wintery. Then with scrapbook paper I had already, I made a stencil and traced some tags and hole punched them.

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I didn’t want to print or write on the brown paper like I’d seen before, so I just left it plain-  although I bet printing or drawing on it would be adorable! I like how my packages came out – cute & affordable wrapping!

May you have a very Merry Christmas!!

Sarah

Some DIY’s of 2013.

So while I was thinking over starting this blog, I wondered what I might do with all my old posts on Instagram about my projects… What would I do with them? So I decided to add just a few here. These are some of my faves 🙂

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These earrings were fun. The fabric ones fell apart, but the leather ones stayed together just fine. They look cooler than they are, because its just leather cord mushed together in a mess all put together with glue. It’s not a cool fancy celtic knot or anything … but that does give me an idea!

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I got the board from a friend who found it in her garage. And I tried what I saw from a picture on pinterest. The “o” was hard, and it turned out a little sideways. I had it hanging up for a while, but it didn’t make it in the move (as in I just didn’t bring it). Maybe I’ll make another one? I think my favorite part was hammering something… Such a good stress reliever!

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You might have seen these on Etsy before. I got the idea from some shops I found there. One of my hubs and my friends owns a bike shop in town and he had a ton of these laying around. I asked him if I could have some and he gave me a whole handful! The tubes already have a line down one part, so making feathers and leaves was my favorite. Although I did try some other shapes. Since I wasn’t planning on selling these, I just gave them away to friends. One of my friends still wears them and claims they’re her favorite earrings (she boosts my self esteem 😉 ). They were definitely very easy to make. I punched a whole for the earring hardware through the rubber with a thumbtack, and used normal scissors to cut my shapes.

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So here is an example of how I take process photos. I know, not great. But hey, I tried. This project was fun because it was 100% free! I got a piece of (really nice, I might add, it was from Ikea) cardboard and cut it like a shape of a donut. Then I poked holes in it with a box knife. I collected some of the prettier dried hydrangeas from around the house and poked their stems through the holes. Then I just bent them and packing taped them all to the cardboard. It stayed together surprisingly well! It was light though, and the wind knocked it down a few times. But when Winter came, it was no big deal just throwing it away because I can look forward to making another one next year– for free!

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This was one of the first things I sewed from scratch- by myself! Grams taught me well I guess. I was pretty proud of this. I know I chose a bold color, but this was back when it was summer so wearing bright green all over was acceptable (I guess 😉 ). It was very easy to make, and I think I used about 3 yards of fabric, and I had leftovers. I got the tutorial here at Sweet Verbena. There are also a lot of different tutorials for similar dresses if you check out my board on Pinterest, DIY | Sewing.

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I got the idea for these little guys from Pinterest (of course) and I just love them. I get a lot of compliments on them when guests come over too! I found all the little animals in the toy bin at Goodwill, and took a hacksaw and went to town. It felt gruesome at first, but once they were mounted on the (super strong) magnets they looked cute! But then I had all these little plastic booties laying around… So I made them into magnets too! I love how the dino ones turned out. A word of caution, I spray painted them after they were mounted on the magnets, and a bit of silver paint got not he backs of the magnets. Occasionally I see silver streaks on my fridge from them, but they wipe off with cleaner. I’m not sure how to avoid that problem in the future.

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I liked this pillow project because it came out looking so finished! I actually pride myself on how quickly I can put a zipper in a pillow cover… I know- big talents. With this remnant wool fabric, I wanted to do something cooler than a pillow but I just couldn’t think of anything that I wouldn’t mess up. So I found this patch from an old pillow case and stitched it on. Then I added a green zipper just for fun and it came out looking like something from Anthropologie 🙂

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This scarf is one of my faves. It’s giant. Like literally giant. I saw it from a picture on pinterest (link is to an Etsy shop, item sold but you can still view it) here. And I definitely don’t think I did it right, but thats the beauty in some projects is that if you mess up- one, you won’t know and two, it turns out cool anyway! For this what I did was take two sweaters from the thrift store, cut across under the arms and up one seam on one side. I sewed the two cut sides together to make a giant loop infinity scarf. This thing wraps around my neck three times, but I love it because its so warm and cozy. It feels like a giant (socially acceptable) Linus blanket.

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This last one is in honor of Christmas. Last year, my mom and I saw these adorable snow globes at Anthro for like over $50. Seriously? It’s a stinkin’ jar! We thought, “we can SO totally do that,” and we did! We got some jars, fake snow from the Dollar Store, and little trinkets. My trees were made from trimming the ends off a piece of garland. I just trimmed about 2 inches (enough you can still see the tree when theres snow inside, but not too big otherwise they look to tall and skinny). and super glued them to the inside lid of the jar. My mom got little Mr. Penguin from the toy bin at Goodwill and mounted him on a little glued ball of paper towels so he stood up a little higher on a mound of “snow.” Then we dumped a little bit of the faux-snow in the jar and mixed. This one did make the cut when I moved, and I put it out again this year! I love it and I also love the memories it has from when I made it with my mom.

More to come soon!

Sarah

My Top 10 Beauty Products from 2013.

This year I really got addicted to Pinterest. Okay, who didn’t? But I feel okay about it because I actually tried probably 80% of the things I pinned. I have started sewing clothes from scratch, rather than just editing thrift store finds, I’ve baked something (once), and enhanced my beauty routine.

So after pondering my concoctions in my various mason jars from the bathroom, I came up with ten things that I won’t be going without from now on during my morning routine.

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1. A Nice Wide Tooth Comb

Dude. These things used to stink at the pool as a kid, butnow I love mine. It does such a good job of detangling, without pulling chunks of hair out. And it keeps the waves in my hair without pulling my curls into frizz!

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2. Witch Hazel

I used to use ProActive’s astringent, until the bottle finally decided to die. So I used rubbing alcohol. My mom used rubbing alcohol on her face all through college- and she has great skin. But one of my nursing friends told me that rubbing alcohol, along with hydrogen peroxide, kills not only all the bad oils- but good oils too. Call me crazy but I didn’t really know a good oil existed. I have super oily skin, so removing it ALL has always been a goal of mine. Then I read an article on Pinterest about using witch hazel as an astringent after washing your face with water. I tried it. I liked it! It feels amazing, and although I thought it smelled weirdo at first, I grew to like the smell. It’s soothing- annndd it doesn’t nix all the oils on my face which can be healthy. My skin tone has improved, although I still get the occasional zit, my overall complexion seem a lot better. 

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3. Dr. Bronner’s

Okay this one is a bit of a cheat because I met Dr. Bronner’s in 2012, but I’ve come to love him throughout the year of 2013. My hubs first used the wonderful soap of Heaven while he biked across the US. He brought it home and hasn’t bought a different body wash, shampoo, or face wash since (money saver!). Now I have a few different things I use (I don’t use the Doc on my hair – too harsh for me!), but I do love Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Soap as a body wash. It’s all natural and … eel rather than me telling you, here’s the quote from their website: “Unlike any you’ve ever used. A combination of organic extra virgin coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils, together with pure essential oils, creates a unique soap that cleans effectively without being aggressive and produces a velvety-lather that leaves the skin silky-smooth and refreshed.” And I can testify, that this is INDEED true! silky smooth and refreshed. I love Dr. B!

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4. SunSilk Daring Volume Spray

I got my hair cut at the Salon Academy in town and the stylist used a “root booster” on my hair. I fell in love. Rather than buying the expensive Revlon brand, I came home and found that the volumizer I’d been using was specifically meant for roots! I didn’t really know what root-boosting-volumizer was, but the way the stylist used it caused my hair to stand up at the roots and hold it’s tease longer. Basically, you spray this magic (watered down gel like substance?) at your damp/wet roots by making rows with your comb. Then, blow dry your hair upside down so the roots gain extra volume. Then tease your hair and hairspray lightly. It sounds like a lot of work, but its just one extra step in my routine, and it does a fantastic job!

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5. Sally Hansen Hard as Nails/Wraps.

If you know me, you know I have a mild obsession with painting my nails. Okay, a full blown obsession. I like trying new patterns, using the funky nail pens, and trying out all these fun things I see on pinterest… I usually fail 😉 but its fun. And my hubs makes fun of me because I usually pick it off in the next couple of days. But I try not to! This polish works great as a base coat for me, and it prevents my nails from chipping. It has made them stronger as Ive continued to use it, and I’ve seen major nail growth! Which is super unusual for me, since I never see growth it seems like.

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6. Apple Cider Vinegar

I tried this whole ACV rinse that I saw on pinterest, and I actually like it. I don’t mind the smell of vinegar, and it did leave my hair feeling super soft. Just a word of caution, try not to get the ACV in your eyes. It doesn’t feel nice. I mixed 1 part ACV, 1 part warm water and rinsed my hair after shampooing, and it worked as a conditioner. If you didn’t pick up the trend, I have a tendency to favor natural products. Also ACV is like $0.70 at the grocery store so thats a plus! I’m not sure if it actually helps with growth, like some people claim, but I’ll keep you posted if I do this rinse weekly.

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7. Mango Body Scrub by the Body Shop

My dear friend Alex got this for me as a gift, and I have used it so sparingly because I will cry on the day it finally runs out. Its like lotion, exfoliator, and soap in one. It leaves my skin feeling soft and actually moisturized after a shower, and it smells so good that I wanted to eat it. But I didn’t.

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8. A Boar Bristle Brush

After using my cousins boar bristle brush once, I was really intrigued. It made my hair feel wonderful and seemed to add volume! How can this be? I’m no expert… I don’t really know. But I went to Ulta and bought myself a pretty nice one. I used it all the time, for regular brushing, blow drying, and detangling. I didn’t take care of it very well (I never washed it), and it eventually fell apart. So rather than go back to Ulta and buy another expensive one, I just got one from the drugstore. This time, I read about the care for boar bristle brushes. This girl had the best advice: –

“(How to Clean your) natural bristle brush- because they’re so similar to human hair, you will see every little bit of crud it picks up…oils, sebum, extra product, lint (story of my life), etc. so every week at least, you HAVE to clean it! first, run your comb thru it sideways (in the direction of the bristles) to get the big gunk out…like your hair. next, mix up a solution of warm water and soap (i use dr bronners of course). i make about a 1:15 mix ration of soap:water for my brush. seems to do the trick! let the brush soak bristle side down in the water for 5 to 15 minutes to loosen everything up. then gently run your hand back and forth over the bristles to encourage all the gunk to get outta there. then give the bristles a good swish around in the water. then rinse the bristles well under running water, and shake excess water off. take a clean, dry towel and very gently press it into the bristles on all sides to sop up extra water. lastly, lay your brush on the towel BRISTLES DOWN (so the water doesn’t get into the handle) and let completely dry. done!” – http://almostexactlyblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/brush-your-hair-correctly-to-keep-it-healthy/

Now, after learning how to care for my brush, even the not-as-expensive brands have lasted and done a great job. It goes to show that you have to take care of the things that take care of you! I’ve also noticed that after using a BBB that my hair doesn’t seem to have as much breakage and tear. I shed a lot it seems, but this brush helps. My hair also feels fuller and healthier.

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9. Bare. Stinkin’. Minerals. 

Okay so after every single tube, bottle, and packet of weird foundation crap I tried in high school ran out, I’d just head to the drugstore and buy the next cheapest, newest, most interesting thing. Let me tell you, my skin did not enjoy it. I’m not sure if it was hormones, high school, or a bad makeup choice, but I’m thinking it was a combination of the three and the bad foundation sure didn’t help. Like I said before, I have oily skin, so I stay away from any type of foundation thats liquid or oily. One of my friends uses bare minerals, and she was showing me how it worked as she put it on. It was like what I saw in the commercials. Coverage without slathering it all on. So I bit the bullet (I’m a cheapskate, and $18 was expensive for me at the time) and bought some. I got an awesome deal though, since I bought a starter kit, and it came with the Bare Minerals brushes, foundation, and a light bronzer. Let me tell you– $18 is such a good deal when it comes to this stuff. It lasts me months! And it really does do a good job at full coverage. I will never go back to a different make up. My breakouts are nonexistent with this makeup. I love the bronzer, because it doesn’t look fakey. I just can’t say enough good things about it. You have to try it out. Go buy some. Right now. Do it.

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10. A Good Night’s Sleep

As a single lady, I spent my last hour of the day staring at my phone (usually Instagram or Pinterest…. I know I have an addiction!). That last hour was usually anywhere between midnight and 2am. But since I got married, we’ve fallen into a more regular pattern of going to sleep around 11. We spend the last hour talking about the day, which is more relaxing for my brain. Getting up at a regular time has also helped me feel better overall. We usually get up around 9, which gives us a good long sleep. I’ve noticed I have more energy, and I don’t want to always take a nap. I still love the occasional Sunday afternoon nap- but its not an everyday thing like it used to be. Sleeping is just a good thing.

Again, I’m no expert- but I hope you enjoyed reading some of my favorite things 🙂

Love,

Sarah

hello!

So I’ve been told by a few close friends, and many an aqauintance, that I should start a blog. A blog to keep track of my DIY  projects (other than just the hashtag on instagram) and maybe a rambling here or there. So I thought, “why not?”

There are actually a few reasons I didn’t want to start a blog…

First, I don’t want to get sucked in to another form of social media. But maybe this will phase me out of Facebook, and into my own corner of the inter webs.

Second, I like keeping most of my DIY projects fun and simple, therefore I don’t photograph them and make them look all spiffy like some people do on their blogs. So beware, most things you see here will be iPhone photography at its (most likely) lowest point. And I don’t post process photos… I could write up a quick tutorial, but it will mostly be before/after stuff.

Third, I’m bad at remembering to post things, and I don’t know if I’ll keep up with everything I post, but I’ll post what I want, when I want, because … I can.

But there are also reasons that I’d really like to…

For one, I enjoy the occasional spout of emotion over Facebook, even though I get annoyed when others vent via social media. This would give me a place to do that without being annoying (hopefully).

Two, I have been told that I have a lot of good ideas that are worth sharing. Which is super flattering- whoooop.

Third, I need a new creative outlet. I recently graduated with a degree in Graphic Design, I haven’t picked up my sketchbook for fun in months (sorry, professors), and it’s December. And usually at the end of the year I start something weird and new. Like buying a pet turtle or opening an Etsy shop of vintage items (the past two years endeavors). The link for that shop is in the About section btw 😉

One note, I sometimes can’t spell or forget how grammar works so don’t hate on me.

So with that, I guess here’s to the beginning of Sarah’s Daily DIY: Blog Edition.

Cheers,

Sarah