Painted Coffee Mugs

I’m a fan of anything hand-created. I’m not sure what other people think… but I believe there is something special about items you make yourself. Plus, the whole ‘creation’ process tends to be enjoyable!

For Christmas this year, the grandmothers are going to be receiving coffee mugs painted by little Gus. They are SUPER easy to make.

Supplies:

Cheap mugs

Alphabet stickers

Ceramics paint & brushes

Step ONE: Stick those stickers on. We’re rocking the “Nana” and the “Mima.”

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Step TWO: Paint away! Make sure to paint completely over the stickers.

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Step THREE: Air dry! Seriously. Let those bad boys sit for a few hours. The stickers are easiest to tear off when they paint is NOT tacky.

Step FOUR: …peel off the stickers! Things I learned: let the paint completely dry. Otherwise the paint will come with the sticker. I ended up using an exacto-knife to help feel them off. It can get pretty tedious, but it’s worth it.

Step FIVE: Now, with painting ceramics, you have to heat them up. You can either let the cups sit untouched for a month, or you can do what I did. I set the mugs in the oven, set the heat to 350 degrees. When it reaches that temperature, I set the timer for 30 minutes. Finally, I turn off the oven after the timer sounds.

Basically, you let the cups heat up in the oven, cook, then cool down in the oven.

These are top-shelf dishwasher safe (if you use the same kind of paint).

Our “Mima” cup didn’t turn out… because I tried to peel the letters ahead of time, but the “Nana” cup looks pretty darn good!

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Not too shabby! 🙂 Time to wrap these up and get ourselves a nice “datte” (that’s “latte” in Gus speak.)

Winter Emergency Kit

In the upper Midwest where I live, snow is pretty common. I love the stuff. I can’t imagine my life without it. Snow is the best…

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…but it can also be the worst. Like, when you’re driving. You may be the best driver in the world, but those road! I’m telling you!

 

Generally, it’s a good idea to carry a first aid kit in your car, regardless of where you live. I believe in taking that a step further, especially for those chilly winter months: an (almost) all-inclusive emergency kit.

 

Today, I give to you, my emergency kit.

 

  1. First Aid Kit – really, you should already have one of these. No judgment! Just get one now.
  2. Blanket – just a little something for you to keep warm with when you’re balls deep in a snow drift.
  3. Kitty Litter – “But I don’t have a cat,” you say. Well, it’s not for your cat. It’s for your car. Stuck? Just pour a little bit of these magic rocks to help your wheels gain traction.
  4. Shovel – Um. To dig yourself out, duh.
  5. Flashlight – It gets dark fast in the winter and I, for one, like to see!
  6. Flag/chemlite – something that you can leave on top of your car to signal to other drivers or emergency vehicles that, “Hey! I’m here! I need help!”
  7. Matches – Burn, baby, burn!
  8. Food! – Starvation sucks.
  9. Water – Dehydration also sucks.

 

I made a few alterations to my kit; I encourage you to do the same.

 

  1. Little heat packs – why not? Cold hands and feet are the worst. So is frostbite.
  2. Chapstick – because my lips hurt really bad
  3. My food cam in the form of an MRE. Bonus of being in the army, I have a nonperishable packet of food, perfect for an emergency kit such as this.
  4. Kleenexes – Something to wipe the “what the hell has happened to my life” tears.

 

If you have any suggestions, I welcome them! Stay warm and safe out there, my friends.

Coffee Peppermint Body Scrub

What are three things I love?

Baths. Coffee. And easy DIY.

Body scrubs, like soaps in general, clean your butt. Scrubs do just that–scrub. So, you’ll get a bit more dead skin off of you in the cleansing process. Just don’t scrub too hard because that’ll do more harm than good. A little pro-tip: salt scrubs are good for oily skinned people while sugar scrubs work best for those with normal to dry skin.

Apparently you can “scrub the cellulite away” with coffee scrubs. Whatever. I’m not going to put much stock in that… the coffee just smells delicious!! So, that’s what we are making today: coffee body scrub.

Throw in some peppermint for the aromatic benefits. Sugar does the “scrubbing” that we are looking for. The coconut oil squishes everything together and hydrates your skin. Simple stuff, huh?

Let’s get down to business:

Took a whole 30 seconds to collect this stuff. Major effort.
Took a whole 30 seconds to collect this stuff. Major effort.

4 cups Sugar

3/4 cup Coffee grounds

1 1/2 – 2 tsp Peppermint Essential Oil

3/4 cup Coconut Oil

Now, prepare yourself. Intense science is about to happen.

1. Melt down your coconut oil. (It’s a solid at room temp…) You can use a double boiler or nuke it. I chose the latter because that’s how I live my life.

2. Dump your sugar in the bowl with the oil. Mix it. Super complicated. 😉

3. Done? Good. Mix everything else (coffee & mint oil) in.

It's not rocket surgery.
It’s not rocket surgery.

When it’s full blended, it’ll look like dirty sand. Store our delicious scrub in glass jars–mason and the like.

Perfect Christmas gifts!

Perfect Christmas gifts!!

Feel free to adjust the recipe however you want. I don’t care. Try less sugar. Try more oil. Try brown sugar. Try organic crap, if you’re into spending that much money. Try decaf or regular coffee. Try vanilla or lavender instead of mint oil.

Honestly, body scrubs are suuuuper easy to make and suuuuper inexpensive. So, if you’re hurting for cash, they make a GREAT gift. Plus, you can get a few jars out of each batch. If you play your cards right, $10 may create presents for your entire family. I like the sounds of that!

Either way, making the scrub is just as fun as using it. Scrub away, my friends, scrub away!

Homemade Paper

Years ago, I made paper with my aunt. I can’t recall much of that day, but I do remember thinking how cool it was.

When we had set the paper out to dry, my aunt told me to leave it alone. Of course, I ignored her. I purposely stepped on one of the pages… and because I liked the squish under my feet, I stepped on all of them. When she asked if I had made the footprints, I denied it and blamed the dog. Skilled lying, I know. The evidence was there.

Years later, she gave me one of those footprint-ed pieces of paper. My aunt, the crafty pastor, was the one who officiated my wedding to Husband (formerly LoverMan). As a gift, we made our own paper to give to her. Pretty cute, huh?

Like I said, my memory is shit. I had to google and pinterest how to make paper. The instructions that I found were incredibly confusing and most didn’t have pictures. Nevertheless, I figured it out. And my gift to you is an inordinate number of photos.

I encourage you, dear reader, to try making some of your own. It’s a great bonding exercise for couples, families, or even friends. Or on your own, it doesn’t really matter–it’s fun!

So, here it is. The plain and simple “How To.”

Most of your necessary crap
Most of your necessary crap

What you need:

A bowl

A blender

Window screen

A small frame (to the size you want)

Tissue paper (for color… I used red)

A shit ton of white paper

A bucket

Water

Towels

Sponge (I used a dish one)

Okay. First thing’s first: take your screen and attach to the frame. You’ll also want another piece that’s about the same size. Check it out:

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Ta-daaaa!!!!

Next, Shred up your white paper. Honestly, a paper shredder would be easiest… but I don’t have one. So, I just used my hands. Naturally, my fingers ached. But I live life the hard way.

Shred up the tissue paper that you want. HINT: use the cheapest paper you can find. You don’t want that glossy crap… It won’t blend as well, if at all. Cheaper the better–music to my ears.

Then, throw all the paper into a bowl. Dump a bunch of water on it, enough to cover all the paper. Now, ignore it. You want to completely saturate the paper. I left mine overnight–totally overkill. (I just got lazy busy.)

This is how it should look
This is how it should look

Easy, peasy. Now, blend it up!! You may have to add extra water to the blender–it does NOT matter how much, just that you have enough to completely pulverize the paper. Pulp. We want pulp. (Think of orange juice! More pulp the better!! 😉 )

Remember that bucket that we gathered up? Yeah, now fill it with water. Don’t overfill!! It’s easiest if you only fill about 1/3rd of it.

Dump your paper pulp into the water bucket. (See, that extra water we added to the blender totally didn’t harm the process.)

Check it out.
Check it out.

This picture also shows our next step! We grab the frame-screen thingy. Use both hands… I had to take pictures, that’s why you can only see my right one. The next part isn’t tricky at all, it may just be a little difficult to describe. Bear with me.

Hold the frame-screen vertically. Dip it into the water. Slide it along the bottom of the bucket so that it’s now horizontal. SLOWLY lift the frame-screen up, again, horizontally.

Like so. Can ya see it?!
Like so. Can ya see it?!

Pull it completely out of the water…

So pretty. See that bright chunk? Yeah, that's glossy tissue paper. Just the WORST!
So pretty. See that bright chunk? Yeah, that’s glossy tissue paper. Just the WORST!

Also, you’ll probably want to clean up the edges. I just used my fingers to push the pulp off of the frame itself.

Then lay that extra screen sheet on top of our pulp-covered frame-screen.

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Do we really need this picture? Why not…

Carefully, you want to press on the paper-pulp sandwich to press out some of the water. Get as much out as you can now. But don’t worry, the next step continues to rid us of that pesky water. It’s just less messy while you’re still hanging out over the bucket.

Okay. You want to have a towel prepped: fold it up so that there are more layers to absorb water. Lay the frame and all on top of the towel.

Grab your sponge. You’re going to press the sponge to simultaneously soak up and push out water.

Squish, squish, squish
Squish, squish, squish

Done? Okay. Now, peel off the frame-screen. Next, carefully peel the paper off of the second screen. Lay the paper onto a toweled surface to dry!

IMG_1224As far as this second towel-act goes, it can be a paper towel or a bath towel. I don’t care. Just plop the towel down in the location that you want.

No picture. Do you really need a picture of paper drying??

Again, ignore it. Watch out for those pesky dogs–they may step on the paper! 😉

Depending on how well you pushed out the water, it may take from just a few hours to 12+ for the paper to dry.

Chances are, your paper will warp in the drying process. That’s OK!! It’s expected. Just put the sheets under a heavy surface. I used a stack of books. It flattens them out just fine.

Once dry… you’re done! That’s all! Sure, there are a lot of steps… but the whole process is stupid easy.

So purrrdy!
So purrrdy!

 

I figured that I’ll use these sheets for card making. One of these days I want to try and make a folded card… I’m not sure how yet.

I think what I will try is to press a line halfway down the paper to help fold it. You see, these pages are typically a little brittle.

Anyway, good luck! Let me know if you have any questions. And of course, share your results with me!! I want to see your beautiful paper too, my dear readers. 🙂

DIY Bachelorette Party Shirts

My wedding is getting closer and closer… the planning is done and the festivities have begun!!

My girls planned an amazing bachelorette party. It was amazing. We had a Smitten Kitten (pro-women, healthy sexy toy party), pole dancing class (!!!), food, a fire, hot-tubing, and a movie.

To add to the fun, one of my girls suggested she and I make shirts for everyone! Naturally, we “pinterest-ed” ideas. There was soooo much! The purchasable ones would rack up quite a bill for the 6 of us. And the DIY ones were intricate and slightly intimidating. We ended up creating our own simple shirts for a decent price.

Basic Supplies:

The shirts were on sale ($4)

Metallic acrylic paint ($4)

Sponges ($2)

Plastic stencils ($6)

Masking tape ($2)

Wax paper ($3)

First thing’s first… this is all of our gear.

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A Note on Paints: the best type of paint to use is fabric paint. If you don’t have any/can’t find any, you can mix in a textile medium. However, we couldn’t find any in our town… so we just used the acrylic paint as it. It honestly worked out just fine.

To set up, we cut wax paper pieces and inserted them in the shirts to prevent the paint from bleeding through. It works like a charm. And much more handy than cardboard.

The next step is to take those beautiful, reusable stencils and center them on the shirt as you’d like. Tape down two of the letters. For instance: in “CREW” we taped the “r” and “w.” (Trying to place the entire word or two letters side by side will create large gaps.) Take your little sponge brush and dab away. DO NOT USE STROKES. This will move the shirt and mess up your design. Dab, dab, dab.

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Keep on, keeping on. You can either let dry completely before doing the next letters… or you can do what we did. We let it dry for a little while then very carefully placed the other letters down. Tape these on the top and bottom (Obviously taping the sides won’t work too well.) Continue painting!

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My partner in crime, Heidi. This girl rocks.

Here’s a bonus picture of our moral support… Abaddon took a break from supervising us to supervise the fish. Kinda cute, huh?

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Anywho, this is what our shirts ended up looking like! “BRIDE” for me; “CREW” for, well, my crew!

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As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, we went to a pole dancing class! It was a wonderful experience and a little bit of a work out. No, it wasn’t at a strip club or anything. There’s a fitness in The Cities that teaching pole dancing classes. (Our instructor was adamant that she has never been, nor ever will be, an erotic dancer.) Great experience. If I had a gym closer to my house that taught classes like this, I would certainly participate. I encourage ya’ll to try it out!

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Me & my girls 🙂

Easy Homemade Granola

I suck at healthy eating, much less breakfast. In my attempt to do so, I’ve taken baby steps: Yogurt. The problem is, yogurt is boring and doesn’t fill me up for long.

Enter: granola.

I’ve searched high and low to discover a simple, moderately healthy granola recipe. I found THIS ONE. I wanted to share the love—so here it is!!

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Easy Homemade Honey-Vanilla Granola

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Here are all the supplies I used. The original recipe didn’t use parchment paper, but I did. It makes life (and clean-up) a lot easier! You’ll see in the recipe listed at the end of this post that there are numerous optional add-ins. I chose to use almonds and crasins. Because they are delicious.

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Mix together the rolled oats and brown sugar. Old-fashioned rolled oats work the best—they’re less likely to disintegrate. I also used light brown sugar. You can adjust how much sugar (and later honey) if you want sweeter granola.

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In a smaller bowl, whisk together honey, vanilla, and oil. I used coconut oil. The mixture won’t be 100% integrated, and that’s alright. Just make sure it’s as combined as possible.

A Note on Coconut Oil: It’s solid at room temperature, so I nuked it for 10-15 seconds to melt it down. I used the Kirkland (Costco) Brand oil. While good coconut oil isn’t supposed to have any flavor, this stuff did. It works for my purposes and I really don’t mind the coconut flavor. Just so you know.

Dump the honey/oil/vanilla mixture into the oat mixture. Mix around for a few minutes to evenly coat the oats. Then add in the nuts or seeds that you want to use.

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Spread EVENLY on the baking sheet (again, parchment paper is a godsend!). Toss it in the oven (350 degrees) for 30-40 minutes. The original recipe said thirty, but I kept in the oven for a little longer. Use your own judgement. Just make sure you stir it up every five minutes. It’s a pain in the butt, yet totally necessary to prevent burning.

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Keep ‘er cooking until the granola is golden-brown instead of white-ish.

Take it out of the oven and mix in the dried fruit. Let the granola cool before breaking into chunks.

Store it in an airtight container.

Let me tell you, the effort is completely worth it!

Enjoy being healthy 🙂

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