Tag Archives: DIY

DIY Friday: Infinity Scarf

While Mike was gone I went on sort of DIY binge. I used to do these things just to have something to do. Usually they would sit in my room for about a year until I decided to throw them out. But as I get older and wiser, I am realizing that DIY and refurbishment can actually give me SO many things that I can’t afford in retail form.

Last weekend I set to making my own infinity scarf (aka circle scarf or tub scarf). I took the original tutorial from this awesome blogger: Cotton & Curls. For some reason I considered myself for an expert tailor and decided to do the advanced version where none of the seams are showing. Big mistake. What should have taken one hour took three. I had to pull out and resew the seams so many times that I just gave up and did it the easier way. You can’t even see the exposed seam when I have it on!

InfinityScarf Continue reading

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DIY Friday: Meal Planning Board

So you’re trying to eat healthy? I bet you have tons of people in the wellness community telling you “it’s really not that expensive!” Well they are wrong. Eating healthy can be VERY expensive. To keep the cost manageable you have to do a lot of planning. You have you cook most of your own food and you can’t have any food waste. Unless you plan, IT IS time-consuming and expensive.

Mike and I have been gradually increasing our health factor over the last several months while trying to keep costs low. We have set up a system where, whenever either of us buys food, we put the receipt on the coffee table for the other to review. It holds us accountable and makes us analyze where money could be better spent.

Then I meal plan. I’m very organized and love to plan ahead so this isn’t too hard for me but I was lacking the necessary tools. That’s why I made this bad boy. My meal planning board.

photo 1 copy

 

My dinner system:

  • Cook double-portions every other day. This means only cooking from scratch 3 times a week! I cook half the meal only partially so it’s not overcooked when I reheat it for dinner the next day.
  • Eat leftovers on the days I don’t cook.
  • Have our “vacation meal” on the seventh day.

It’s quick and means that I can buy more in bulk. Our breakfast is the same every morning (Grainless Granola) and each of us takes care of our lunch separately. It’s a pretty nifty system but I was getting really confused about which meals I was going to cook and which food I needed on my weekly grocery shop.

So during our Simple Sunday this past weekend, the weather was nice enough to paint out on the porch. I finally did my Meal Planning board and I love it!

Supplies:

  • Pretty frame (mine was $5 at Goodwill)
  • Spray paint (for color)
  • Spray paint (for chalk or whiteboard coating)
  • clothespins
  • some cardstock to label the pins
  • fabric to hold the labels
  • hot glue gun
  • a little sandpaper to prep the frame glass
  • painters tape (if you want to do a pattern)
  • an old sheet to protect your floor

Instructions:

photo 2^ Make sure you have a surface to stick the pins to. This frame had lots of dips in it so I blocked it out with some chips of cardboard I had in the recycling bin.

photo 3^ Separate the frame and glass. Sand the glass so it will hold the paint. Spray down all pieces with however many coats they need. *I started with chalkboard paint but it didn’t work all that well. I went back and exchanged it for whiteboard paint and repainted the glass.

photo 4< If you want to paint a pattern, wait until the base layer is dry and then tape it off and spray. *I originally had yellow stripes in mine but it was just too much with the raised dots AND baby yellow. After I finished it I went back and repainted it all white.

Stick the clothespins down with hot glue. If that doesn’t hold, graduate to the messier but much stronger Gorilla Glue.

photo 2 copy^ Cut out your cardstock. And write out any of your favorite dishes. Hot glue your fabric pockets to store them in. Then label the pins with the same cardstock. Mine are for each day of the week and then Snacks to take to work for that week. Here’s the template I made for my labels:  MealBoardLabels

Another idea, for complicated meals, write the ingredients on the back of the card so you don’t have to look back to the cook book every time.

photo 1 copy

And now you have a meal planning board! I’ve only been using mine for a week and I already love it. It takes the strain out of meal planning and makes cooking SO much easier. I will say it looks a little sad and bland with all the white and gray but I’m hoping I can paint the walls our next kitchen so it will just be a pretty accent on a sunny yellow wall. 🙂

Let me know if you have any questions. And HAPPY FRIDAY! Love and a toothy smile. – Ash

 

 

Friday DIY: Brazilian Wax (Ladies Only!)

Men (and conservative women), you are forewarned: this post contains A LOT of in depth lady jargon. It reveals the dark side of beauty. DO NOT READ THIS. STOP NOW.

If you’re still reading, be prepared. Now ladies, how many of you get waxed down there in your nether regions? How much does it cost you? $30, $40, maybe something like $80? First, let me explain why I wax:

  1. Shaving really sucks. I used to get terrible razor burn and razor stubble is just foul. I don’t want my VJ to feel like sandpaper.
  2. Waxing only needs to be done every 4 weeks, and once you’ve been doing it for several years, you can go as long as 8 weeks!
  3. It actually makes your hair follicles weaker and your hair thinner. I’m to the point where my hair has stopped growing in some spots. Awesome!

Yes, it hurts. But it’s so worth it. And because your hair follicles get weaker, the pain actually gets less the more you do it. One thing I should mention is that, once you start waxing, you should NEVER shave. It reverses all the long term benefits I mentioned above. If you shave once, it’s like starting from zero on the waxing scale.

When I moved from Boston to Peoria, the price of Brazilian waxing went from $40 to $80. WHAT?!? I’ve been searching for months for something cheaper to no avail. I did find a beauty school that did the simple bikini waxes (check out this post) but no one would take it all off without charging an arm and a leg. So I decided to do it myself.

Needless to say, I was VERY nervous. Who the heck takes the chance of buying their own wax, spreading it hot and sticky all over the very sensitive patch between their legs, and then ripping it off with their own two hands? I could be making a very big mistake. But I will say, I’d watched quite a few estheticians do it to me, might as well try and do it to myself right?

Moom

So I did my research on wax and found this great option on Amazon. Of course I had to go natural so I bought sugar wax. It’s water soluble and works great on thick and thin hair. It’s called Moom. It came with everything I needed to wax (except for the sweat-absorbing starch) including microwavable wax, reusable strips, and wooden applicator sticks. And the best part, it was only $14!

photo 1

So it arrived and I stared at it on my dresser for several weeks before I plucked up the courage to try it. I set up my little station and went to work. The only things I needed that weren’t included were a towel to sit on, a mirror for when hunching over wasn’t enough, rubbing alcohol to disinfect, starch to soak up the moisture before I got started, and tweezers for post-wax clean up. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Use a cotton ball to spread rubbing alcohol over the region first.
  2. Dab some baby powder, corn starch, or any kind of starch (I used tapioca because that’s all I had) before you get started. It soaks up any moisture and the wax sticks better.
  3. Trim your hair down to 1/2″ (1cm) so the wax can pick up more of it.
  4. Heat up the wax until it’s a honey-like consistency.
  5. Analyze the direction your hair is growing in. Spread the wax in a thin layer in the same direction.
  6. Pull your skin taut and pull the strip off very fast in the opposite direction of hair growth.
  7. For a bit of relief, put pressure on the area immediately after you pull the strip off.
  8. Work methodically in sections so you don’t have to wax any area more than once.
  9. You won’t get every single hair so use the tweezers to snag stragglers.
  10. Rinse off any patches of wax with warm water. Dab dry then apply a light moisturizer to soothe the skin.

photo 2

I did feel a bit like a hunchback after 45 minutes of sitting in front of the mirror but it went really well! I didn’t rip off any skin and my happy triangle is smooth and clean. The tub of wax isn’t even 1/3 gone and I rinsed the strips clean with hot water and can use them again next time. It was a MUCH better experience than I anticipated and I’m so stoked that I found a cheap alternative to salons.

Who wants to try it? Ask me any questions, I’m happy to answer. I hope you all have very wonderful, very sexy weekends 😉

Friday Design: Make Your Own (Awesome) Belt!

Do you have a favorite belt? That piece of leather and buckle that is worn, soft, and molded perfectly to your body? Me too. I had it for 10 years. It was falling apart for 3 of those years. I bought it curved. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. The curved belt means that you never have the flap at the back of your pants that lets everyone see your crack! It was amazing. I got it at Gap and they nor anyone else ever carried it again. What to do, what to do? Finally I decided to make my own! Duh.

I quickly found out from the leathersmith that cutting it out curved would be $300+. No fricken way. So I visited a leather supplier in town (who even knew they had those??) and they suggested that I buy a raw leather belt, soak it in water, and curve it myself. Then I could dye it and add whatever buckle I wanted. Sweet! So I bought two lengths of leather (if I’m going to do it I might as well do two) and two sets of dye (brown and black). The guy there was super cool and he let me use all the tools in the shop to punch holes and cut them to the right length.

Then brought them home and started the very long and involved process of curving, dying, and finally installing the buckle.

photo 1< First I cut all the holes and shaved down the area that would fold around the buckle so it wouldn’t be fat and catch on my pants. Yes that bandaid is from that Exacto.

photo 2< Then I soaked the belt and let it dry around the upper part of a fitness ball. This gave it the curve. After it dried the side walls of the belt were also curved from the ball. I rewet it and laid it flat on the floor. I kept the curve but flattened the sidewalls by letting it dry with heavy books on top of it. You can rewet and remold as many time as you want!

photo 3^ Then began the dying process. I had to remove the buckle again for a blank canvas. Then I left the belts on our coffee table for several weeks and just applied a coat of dye once every few nights. I stopped when it wouldn’t soak up anymore. Once the color was done. I started on the matte top coat.

photo 4< The state of our coffee table for a month. Then I mounted the buckle. Took it back to the shop for a final trim of length and …

photo 1 copy Voila! This belt buckle was repurposed from a belt I got in Spain when I was 13. The leather was falling apart so I just cut it off and put it on my new one!

photo 2 copy ^ After only a few times wearing it, this one is showing some usage. I love it!

photo 3 copy< And no matter how hard you look, you can’t see my crack!

I loved this whole process. It was so cool to see it transform into something pretty. And it was SO easy! Now I’m thinking of bigger and better things. I do love my leather purses…

I hope you all have adventurous weekends 🙂