Put a Heart on It.

Still looking for a last minute DIY gift? We have a variety of ideas here.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we wanted to share this simple embroidered pillow as a bit of DIY inspiration. While this isn’t made from the softest of materials (more info below), it’s meant to add a punch of color and design rather than as a place to lay your head.

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I made this pillow at least four years ago, and it’s still going strong! Through multiple moves and many moments being sat upon, it’s holding up well. And fortunately, it has remained an enjoyable bit of decor. Seeing that big red heart makes me smile.

The combination of materials for decorative pillow cover and the embroidering adds a textural element that can make a room feel richer and more creative than if all upholstery in a room uses the same fabrics.

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As I mentioned, this is a DIY inspiration post. We aren’t giving you step-by-step photographs and instructions because I made this pillow with bits of material and reused items in my craft room.

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Materials

*The face of my pillow is made from an old burlap coffee sack with the heart embroidered using red acrylic roving. Those blue stripes that you see on the front were on the coffee sack. If you don’t have access to a coffee roaster (that’s where I get my sacks), then you can easily substitute a burlap; look for a tighter weave if you don’t want to see the pillow insert between the burlap fibers.

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  • Option – before you start the embroidery, cut your burlap to the size of your pillow (making sure to leave at least an extra inch of length in both directions for hemming), and if you’d like, you could sew along each edge to stop the burlap from fraying while you sew.
  • Cross-stitch a heart onto the burlap material being used for your pillow face. You can follow the pattern below or customize a heart to the size you want. Cross stitching is as simple as sewing little x’s on your fabric to match the red squares in the heart below. A quick tip to make your cross-stitching look more pro is to always keep the over and under stitches of your x’s consistent. For example, if you sew the line that goes from the upper left to the lower right first (it’s on the bottom), and the other line of the x second (it’s on the top), then you should use that pattern for all of the other x’s in your design.

 

heart_patternIf you don’t want to go through the effort of making a pillow. I think it would also be super cute to cross stitch a little red heart onto a piece of aida cloth (the typical cross-stitch fabric) using embroidery floss. Then you can hang it on the wall framed with the embroidery hoop. Super simple, but super cute.

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Donate with Me

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Hey y’all! This past month we introduced a few new initiatives, Read with Me & Make with Me and today we are asking you to do even more : Donate with Me. Kate and I find it’s encouraging and motivating to us if we share our mini goals and ask you to participate. It’s like we’re all in this together. It’s as if each page I read acts as a push for you to read more and each project you complete is the inspiration for us to start another one. Ya dig it?

First, I want to share a few reasons why you should donate it all. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of possessions so buying and owning less is counter culture. It won’t come naturally, but it’s something we can all work towards in a way that makes us feel good. I’m not asking you to go on a spending freeze or to move into a tiny home. I’m simply asking that you assess what you own and get rid of what you don’t use and need and by doing this you will end up buying and owning less in the future. Here’s why:

Why You Should Donate It All

  • Save money. Buying only the essentials will save you money. You’ll have the financial freedom to travel, pay off debt faster or to save for a larger, quality item that you really want and need.
  • Save the planet. The less we consume, the less we damage the environment. It’s important to think of the true cost or the entire lifecycle of every single thing you buy. Simply doing this will cause you to be more conscious of your shopping instead of simply looking at the price tag.
  • Stop cleaning. Less stuff means less organizing and cleaning. Who doesn’t want that?
  • Buy better, not more. By owning less stuff, you’ll save more money allowing you to buy better items instead of more items.
  • Occupational freedom. Spending less gives you freedom in your occupation as well. I earn less than the median salary for a female my age because I choose to spend a lot of time not working and instead of traveling and visiting with friends and family. I have the financial freedom to do this because I rarely spend money on clothes and objects.
  • Appreciate what you do have. Owning less will automatically give you a greater sense of love and appreciation for the objects you do keep.
  • Lighten your burden. The less you possess, the less burdened you are. You don’t need a large house to store everything and moving about in the world becomes easier and easier.
  • Shift your priority. When you focus less on consumption, your priorities change. You make space for new hobbies, ideas, and visions for your life instead of constantly saving to spend or keeping up with fast fashion and consumption trends.
  • You are not your stuff. The more you covet possessions the more you associate yourself with them and see them as your identity. This could be traumatic if you suddenly lost or couldn’t afford to keep up with your possessions as that would mean losing a sense of yourself.

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How You Should Donate It All

  • Always have a bag or box for the Goodwill started somewhere in your house. My roomie and I leave ours by the front door and drop it off every couple weeks, but you could also keep one in your car, laundry room, garage or at the bottom of your closet.
  • Encourage your roommate and friends to participate. Keep them accountable by asking for photos of the donation box and bags. Involving friends turns it into a competition and you may realize you need something your friend is donating or vice versa.
  • If you contemplate how much you appreciate an item, the answer is probably not much. Put the item in the donation box and leave it there for a couple days or a week, if you aren’t thinking about it or using it, get rid of it.
  • For one month, choose an item a day to give away. This will start to shift your perspective.
  • Notice which clothes always live in your drawers. The clothes you seem to never wear even when all your other laundry is dirty. Get rid of them.
  • Organize similar items together and identify your favorites in each category. Ask your self how many of each thing to you actually need and use. Donate the rest.
  • Release the guilt of giving away clothes and objects that were gifted to you. Just because you’re giving them away doesn’t mean you didn’t value the sentiment behind the gift.
  • Learn about the sunk cost fallacy and release yourself from it. Don’t dwell on money spent, feel motivated about the money you’ll save once you define what you actually need to thrive.
  • If there is anything that brings up negative feelings, get rid of it. Things hold energy and they have the potential to weigh you down. Things elicit feelings and spark memories you had when you got them. Clothes elicit how you feel when you wear them. Be realistic about how you feel when you wear or use items and get rid of them if necessary. Paying attention to these feelings also helps you to choose objects that better align with your style and ascetic in the future, which will further reduce your consumption.
  • Acknowledge that your style changes. Just because you loved a shirt and wore it practically every day for a year doesn’t mean you need to hang onto it if you’re not diggin’ it this year.

 

What You Should Do With Your Donations

  • Drop your donations off at a Goodwill, Salvation Army, or an independent thrift store.
  • Donate your cleaning supplies, towels, blankets, sheets, etc to a local animal shelter.
  • Donate bath and body items, including feminine hygiene products to homeless shelters.
  • Sift through your craft and office supplies and donate them to a preschool or send them to a young person in your life that way they can be creative without it costing them anything.
  • Sanitize and donate toys and books to a preschool, family homeless shelter or local family who may need new stimulation.
  • Sell your items on Facebook marketplace, craigslist, eBay, ThredUp, Poshmark etc.
  • Gift your quality, coveted, but unwanted items to family and friends that way you know they’re being enjoyed.

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Activated Charcoal Deodorant

When feasible, we like to experiment with our own beauty potions. You can find a bunch here, from lip balms to face masks to foot scrubs!

We like our deodorants simple and effective. With their long ingredient lists, it can be hard to find simple deodorants in the beauty section. And when we do find something that’s simple and often “natural” it’s often not as effective as we want it to be. Admittedly, that goes for our own DIY blends too.

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But we aren’t throwing in the towel yet, and today we have a new blend that we’re excited to share!

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Solid Perfume Necklace

We love crafting with essential oils. You can see some previous projects here.

One of the homemade gifts that I gave this year were these necklaces. Each contained an adorable acorn locket filled with solid perfume.

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Read on for the simple DIY and an amazing woodsy essential oil blend.

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Ideas For Celebrating New Year’s Eve At Home

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Haaaaappy New Year! Well, almost. The past two years I took it easy on New Year’s Eve. In 2015 I was actually at Katie’s house, alone, sitting on the couch watching a movie. All the cool kids (every single person) in the house went to sleep way before midnight! Last year, I hung out in Florida and found myself sitting around a patio table at midnight with a few close friends. It was intimate and amazing. I’ve also had my share of exhausting awesome nights. Two of my favorites were seeing Phish at Madison Square Garden and frolicking on a beautiful island in Thailand. I love it all, the quiet nights and the crazy ones.

This year, I’m attending a Vegas-style house party. Cute dresses, gambling with fake money, and a bit of boozin’. If it wasn’t for this party, I’m not sure exactly what I would be up to, but I’d definitely celebrate in the comfort of my own home. Here are a few unconventional New Year’s Eve ideas if you’re staying in this year. If you have another good suggestion, let me know.

Wine or beer tasting

Buy a couple bottles of different types of wine (Trader Joes has quality, inexpensive wine) or if you know what you fancy, maybe three bottles of the same type of wine. If you’re going the beer route, do a mixed six pack, again several types of beer or six of your favorite variety.

Set it up properly. If you’re drinking wine, allow each bottle to breathe for at least thirty minutes before the tasting. Set out an assortment of cheese, crackers, and some fruit. If you’re doing beer, cheese works, but you could also do some bar snacks or maybe soft pretzels. If you’re really in it to win it, take notes during the process. Document the look, feel, flavor, and your overall opinion of each drink that way you can better choose your fancy next time.

Pajama party

First, bring all the blankets and pillows out into the living room. Pile them on the carpet or on the couch and make the best little nest for yourself. Then shower and change into the coziest pajamas you own. If you have a robe, throw that over the jammies before slipping on fuzzy socks and slippers. Do you have dogs? Where are their pajamas? Put them on. Cue the music or your favorite movie and pj the day away!

Spa day

Everybody (dudes, I know you do too) has a drawer full of bath and body products that never get used. Today is the day. Pull them all out because this is basically a wine tasting, but with face masks.. for your skin.. not your taste buds. At the very least, your day should involve a lot of exfoliation, followed by layers of lotions and creams. If you’re on top of your game, a bath or at least a footbath and epsom salts should consume an hour of your day. Maybe your spa day includes making some of your own potions too. Here’s the recipe for our DIY bath bombs. Also, my dry skin cannot skip a day of Katie’s winter face oil.

Reading marathon

Vow to read a certain amount or maybe as much as possible in a single day. You switch back and forth between a few books to keep it interesting or throw in an article or maybe even a graphic novel, whatever you need to do to read, read, read. The little boy who read 100 books in a day originally inspired this idea. Thanks, Caleb!

Movie marathon

Are you illiterate? Watch some movies or a TV series instead. Apply a theme or pick your absolute favorites from 2017 or maybe your childhood? Can I recommend the movie Fargo and then the entire Fargo the TV series? Whatever you choose, try to do something to inspire the marathon instead of just binging on something random otherwise it will just seem like a day in front of the TV instead of a magical movie marathon, ya know? You could also be inspired by the marathon and dress up like a character or take on their persona for the day. Tell me you picked Cheech and Chong and now you’re stuck smoking weed all day? See how funky this movie marathon could be?!

Vision board

Have you ever created a vision board? I think of it like brainstorming for life instead of an essay prompt. Your vision board can be as complex or simplistic as you deem necessary, I think it’s best to really do it your way. Maybe you like to cut and paste or maybe you have fantastic journaling skills, that we’re all insanely jealous of. Whatever your chosen route, gather any necessary supplies, light a candle, and put on a soothing playlist. Now ask yourself the following questions and make sure you tell the truth when you answer.

Describe the life you envision. What gives you the most enjoyment? Who and what inspires you? What does your perfect day look like? Who do you love?  Set your life’s intention and create!

Declutter + Donate

Let it go, let it goooooo! Really though, just get rid of shit, you absolutely won’t miss it. My roommate and I leave a big cardboard box by the door and day by day we find things we can live without and place them in the box at the end of each week we drop it off at the Goodwill. The fewer things you have, the fewer things you need to organize and clean.

Gratitude List + thank you cards

Everyone loves mail. Everyone. Everyone. Every single person you know will be delighted to see an actual piece of mail in their box instead of a pile of junk. If you aren’t sure what to say, start with ‘thinking of you!’ and if it ends there, sweet, you just finished your first card. If you want to take it a step further, craft a few care packages.

No stamps?! Write out a gratitude list instead. It’s pretty straightforward, just jot down all the things you’re thankful for including big and small, human and inhuman, avocado and nonavocado. You can also be grateful for the absence of negative things in your life. For instance: I’m thankful there is no longer a travel ban on laptops and cameras and that I can fly through Doha without having to check my equipment at the gate. First world problems, ick.

FaceTime friends + family

I’m going to let you in on a revolutionary facetiming tactic. Set down the phone! Just have your partner prop you up somewhere and you do the same. Set your phone on a desk or windowsill or table and get on with your life. Maybe you’re cooking or crafting or watching a TV show, whatever it is, it’s much more fun together. I tend to become some combination of awkward, shy, nervous, and bored when I facetime so setting down the phone and doing something while I chat really relaxes things.

365 of something

sit-ups? push ups? sun salutations? a mantra? focused inhales + exhales? jumping jacks? pages of a book? things donated? wishes or intentions for the new year? ways to use coconut oil? things you’re grateful for? pieces of popcorn eaten? dollars earned? vacations planned? Okay, things are getting ridiculous, but now I’m off to make a list of 365 places I want to go.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Holiday Room Spray

Ginger’s our ingredient of the season, and we love using essential oils for home and body.

We’re popping in with a quick DIY : a holiday room spray! It’s simple, yet it totally adds to the ambiance when hosting visitors (this and a big glass of wine).

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Honestly, I don’t regularly use room sprays, BUT whenever I have visitors stopping in, I like to know that the house is smelling nice. You can easily accomplish this with a simple essential oils room spray.

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Winter Face Oil

The cold and dry air of winter has a way of wreaking havoc on our skin and nails. Our remedies include drinking plenty of water and creating barriers to moisture loss.

For our hands, we’re a huge fan of balms. Most of ours are made at home with a combination of beeswax, moisturizing carrier oils, and nourishing extracts and essential oils (think calendula, lavender, comfrey).

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We won’t shy away from using a balm on our cheeks if we’re heading out for a day in the elements, but for everyday use, we want some thing a touch lighter than. And that’s when we grab a DIY face oil.

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DIY Christmas Crafts

This post was originally published in 2015, we’re re-posting it again today to give you a few ideas to jump-start your holiday crafting.

Today we’re rounding up past Christmas crafts. While Sarah was busy ordering gifts yesterday, I was finishing up the decorating. I love to get everything up as soon as possible so that there’s plenty of time to enjoy it (plus, I need the decorating out of the way so that I have every extra moment left to think about gift shopping!). If you’re taking your time and in need of decorations, we put together a list of past DIY projects that we made, love, and were excited to put out again this year.

This list provides a range of projects from those that can be finished in 30 minutes to others that may take a few hours, and the skill-level required varies from the simple to the more complex. In addition to decorating your house, some of these projects like the felt and cinnamon ornaments make great gift tags. What we have here is a little bit of something for everyone.

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DIY Edible Gifts

Do you need a reminder that the holidays are right around the corner? We don’t! WE CAN’T WAIT. too much?

Today we’ve rounded up a few ideas that make perfect edible DIY gifts. There’s a range of options on this list, from nuts in solid and liquid form to citrus peels and marshmallow. Some take a bit more preparation than others (some are so easy you’ll have all of your teacher gifts done in an afternoon). But I may be a bit biased when I say that possibly the best gift on this list is the one that takes the longest to make.

And, as we all know, the best part about giving receiving an edible gift is that you don’t have to remember to put out that neon light up statue of Mt. Rushmore every time Aunt Peggy comes to visit. So get on with it.

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Spiced Mixed Nuts : a truly perfect blend of sweet and spicy. These are super easy to make with basic ingredients (think nuts, honey, cayenne pepper). Just make sure you share more than you eat!

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Hazelnut Liqueur : give this and you will be loved by all. Especially if you pass along a few key serving suggestions, such as mixing a shot into a cup of hot chocolate or a vanilla milkshake. BUT start making this one ASAP, because you need about three weeks of steeping time.

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Marshmallows! : There are so many perks to making your own marshmallows. You can personalize the color and flavor. Cut them out with cute cookie cutter shapes. Pair them with hot co for a real treat. And we aren’t kidding when we claim that these are easy to make.

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Candied Citrus Rinds : Again, another super easy treat. I added chocolate to these, but you can totally skip that. And as a bonus – we shared our orange marshmallows at the bottom of that post.

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Use this post as an excuse to get a jump start on the eating, drinking, and merriment! xo

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