DIY Cleaning Supplies (that work and save money)

{including our cleaning supplies!}

Happy Saturday, friends! We have a special guest on the blog today. Demi Giles is sharing some of her favorite tips on DIY cleaning alternatives that not only work great, but also help save us some money. Cha-ching!

Demi contributes to several blogs and is passionate about topics related to home improvement, cleaning and organizing. She owns a small company based in London called Clean Start, and I’m excited she’s contributing to the Neat Nook community today!

DIY Alternatives for the Whole House

 

Let’s be honest, some cleaning products are just too expensive. And why waste money when you can make these things at home on a much cheaper price and they will have the same effect?

On top of that, a lot of the commercial cleaning products are really not that environmentally friendly. And it is not just the environment they harm. A lot of children and pets and the people cleaning can get affected from some the products, which could cause irritation and many other problems.

To kick things off, let’s start with a good window cleaner recipe.

You will need a quarter of a cup of white vinegar, a quarter cup of rubbing alcohol, one tablespoon of starch to reduce streaking (your options for starch are widened in case you happen to have an allergy from corn), two cups of water and eight to ten drops of essential oils of your choice.

When you have all of your ingredients, get a glass spray bottle and pour everything in. Close it up and give it a good shake so the ingredients thoroughly mix and the starch doesn’t clog up the spray nozzle.

This product can be used for not only windows but also any glass surface. So you can clean up your coffee table or glass door cabinets or display cabinets. It is best used with a microfiber cloth.

Let’s keep things shiny.

How about we stick to the shiny part of your home and talk about making a product for ideally cleaned aluminum kitchenware, aluminum window frames and doors. If your kitchen sink happens to be aluminum, that as well.

The recipe for windows and doors four cups of water, one cup of vinegar and a few slices of lemon. Mix the water and vinegar in a pray bottle and shake it up. To use this solution, rub the lemon slice on the aluminum service and after that add the mixture and wipe off.

This solution also works for removing hard water stains from aluminum, like the faucet or shower head. But drop the lemon slices and get an old toothbrush and put in some elbow grease to it.

To clean up your aluminum kitchenware, you will have to go with this method: Start filling up your pot or pan with water, while making sure you add two tablespoons of potassium bitartrate for every quart of water. After that, add half a cup of lemon juice or white vinegar and let it boil for about ten minutes. After that, let things cool down and proceed to regular washing. When you are done, set it to dry.

Now let’s clean the toilet.

You are going to need three quarter cup of borax, one cup of white vinegar, ten drops of lavender essential oil and five drops of lemon essential oil. Mix them all together in a bottle with a squirt nozzle and shake it up really nice. The way to use it is to flush the toilet once and pour the whole thing in the bowl and let it sit for a few hours.

A good idea is for this to be done in the morning so that during the day no one will need it because they are at school or at work.

Okay, now let’s see about cleaning your sofa or any upholstered furniture.

You will need rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, and if you want, essential oils for fragrance. If you are going to use essential oils, a glass spray bottle is best. You already know how it goes. Let’s move on to using it.

To be sure it works on your furniture, first use it on an inconspicuous area. If it doesn’t remove the coloring, then proceed to use it anywhere. Get the bottle and a sponge and spray and scrub. If the stain persists over time, repeat the process.

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Special thanks to Demi. I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips. Do you have a favorite recipe or secret cleaning ingredient you love to use? I’d love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Kate

PS. If you’re a blogger or author and would like to share some of your best organizational or creative tips with the Neat Nook, let me know! Check out my contact page and let’s talk.

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5 Ways to Decorate with Corn Husks

{This beautiful print can be purchased here}

As a graduate of the University of Nebraska, you could say I have a deep appreciation for corn husks. (Go Cornhuskers!)

This fact also brings me to a slight confession. I’ve never really decorated with them. Crazy, right?

You would have thought this craft-loving alumna had rooms wallpapered in husks – or at the very least multiple craft bins dedicated to various shapes, sizes and colors of husks. Sadly, no.

After spending several years surrounded by fields of corn, it took moving to Northwest Arkansas and having some amazing, authentic, homemade tamales (which are steamed in corn husks) to fully appreciate the versatility of a corn husk.

And now that we’re in harvest season, I can’t help but have husks on my mind!

So…this is the year I’m finally going to decorate with them. I’ve rounded up lots of ideas – all with links to their DIY instructions!

Which one is your favorite??

{ONE} Rock Them Around a Wreath

(above) This reminds me of a giant sunflower! And I love the pinecones in the center. So pretty!

(below) This project is an Anthropologie look-a-like, which instantly makes it Pinworthy. I like the idea of a grapevine wreath as the base, too. Smart.

{TWO} Cover Your Candles

Now I could totally see these on my dining room table or lined on the mantel. The feathers add just the right amount of softness next to the grainy texture of the husks. Yes and yes.

{THREE} Fashion Them Into Flowers

If I can summon the patience to make these, I can already think of a bazillion places where I can glue, tuck and tie these beautiful blooms. (on wreaths, in vases, on napkin rings, etc.)

Remember the time I made flowers out of pumpkin seeds?? I still keep finding places to use them. Most recently, I tucked one on the top of a birthday gift for my sweet Mom.

{FOUR} Gather Them In a Garland

(above) Isn’t this such a cool idea?! The concept is to loop the corn husks – like you would for a wreath – but instead of securing them to a wreath form, you attach them to each other and form a swag or bunting or garland – whatever you like to call these things!

(below) This is a wider shot so you can see the big picture here. (Cool clock, too.)

{FIVE} Create for Christmas

I have a feeling if I started something like this now, it will be ready in time for Christmas. Maybe?

I really like these little trees and could see them in a display with a wooden nativity or as part of a “winter woodland scene” on a buffet table. Don’t you think?

Oh, and quick tips on husks >

Shopping: Buy packs of dried corn husks (used to make tamales) in the international foods section of a grocery store or at Walmart or from this Etsy seller if you have time to wait for the shipping.

Using: Soak husks in water until they are pliable, then shape for your projects.

That’s a wrap! I honestly don’t know which project I’ll start first. Maybe the wreath?

Have a fantastic weekend.

Blessings,

Kate

PS. I’m linking up with all of these fantastic bloggers again this week. Be sure to check them out. >>

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10 Beautiful Bookmarks (that you can make!)

I love curling up under a fuzzy blanket and reading a good book. I might even brew a cup of peppermint tea and claim some official “mom time.”

Every good reading sesh comes to an end, though. And I never seem to have a bookmark on hand. Gripes! I’m usually reaching for a bobby pin in my hair or the nearest magazine so I can tear off a corner to use as a makeshift solution.

I’d love to have at least one better option lying around. So…

I decided to gather up some DIY bookmark projects for us!

{one} peppy pom poms

Making pom poms out of yarn is super easy, and I love how they look popping out of the top of a book.

{two} buttoned up ribbons

This requires a tad of hand sewing, but nothing too difficult. I love the use of patterned ribbons with darling buttons.

{three} corner hearts

With a little paper folding, this sweet heart slips right over the corner of the page.

{four} crochet bouquets

Okay, quick confession. I have no idea how to crochet.

So I either need someone to teach me how to make these gooorgeous bookmarks, or I’m headin’ on over to Etsy to find a little purchase. #treatyoself

{five} paper clip ons

Now we’re back to something I can handle: gluing and tying. Aren’t these dainty flowers so adorable?

I actually made a batch of these (below) for my office makeover. Remember that??

I use my paper clips all of the time for officey things. I haven’t thought about using them as bookmarks until now. Duh!

These were my rendition. PS. I still love the black and gold in my office.

{six} magnetic magic

Probably the coolest thing about these bookmarks is the no-slip factor. They’re made with magnets on the tips, so they stick together when in place.

This first one uses washi tape, which is brilliant. And the second one uses pretty ribbon.

{seven} light as feathers

This is probably the most basic idea…using paper as a bookmark. But these beautiful feathers certainly don’t look basic.

You can have fun cutting out your own or downloading that second set (below) with inspirational quotes.

{eight} paint chippin’ in

This is really stepping up the craft game. These bookmarks are made with (free) paint chips from the hardware store that have been embellished with stamps, doodles and a pretty ribbon tab.

Notice the flower-shaped grommets around the base of the ribbon, too. Love the detail on these.

{nine} kids’ play

This one made me laugh. And who wouldn’t want the sweet faces of their kids dangling from their books?

I’m thinking you could do this photoshoot at any park. Have your kids hold onto a monkey bar and snap away. Too fun.

{ten} pop art

Ending with the KISS method (Keeping It Simple, Sister), these popsicle sticks actually look pretty cool decorated with hand drawn tribal prints.

Here’s some additional inspiration for your patterns.

I hope you enjoy some of these projects. You’ll have to show me your bookmarks!! Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram or Twitter. My handle is @KateJandersen.

Blessings,

Kate

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Five Ways to Make May Day Baskets

It’s almost the first of May, which means I’ll be sneaking around the neighborhood delivering fresh flowers to my sweet friends pretty soon.

If you’re not familiar with May Day, it’s totally okay. I grew up in Arkansas and didn’t hear about it until I went to college in Nebraska. I think it’s a midwestern thing?! Anyway, it’s such a fun way to welcome spring and share a simple treat with others.

It’s been said that the tradition started when people would take all of the flowers that grew at the end of April’s showers, arrange them in pretty paper, and hang them on the doors of neighbors as a way of welcoming warmer weather.

Sadly, I think it’s becoming a lost tradition, but I’m not afraid to be a little old fashioned. I’m sticking with it and hope you’ll join me.

A few tips if you’re new to May Day basket deliveries.

  1. It’s supposed to be a secret. You deliver the basket, ring the doorbell, and run. My kids call it “ding-dong-ditching” which sounds very impolite. But the fact that we’re leaving goodies somehow makes it seem better to me.
  2. The baskets should be super simple. A few stems of flowers or a couple of pieces of candy is perfectly acceptable.
  3. Make each basket with grace and gratitude for your friends. Even though they won’t know it’s from you, they’ll feel your love the moment they open the door.

Here are five baskets to get your creative wheels spinning.

{ONE} Mason Jar Revival

I love Mason jars. They’re multi-tasking rock stars. Among many other uses, they’re the perfect, inexpensive vessel for May Day. Here are all of the supplies you’ll need for this first “basket”. >>

In addition to the Mason jar (with the lid) and some ribbon, you’ll see I raided the garden. This is a smart place to start this whole process so you don’t end up spending tons of money on flowers.

I snipped a mix of hostas, lilacs and some pink flowers that were growing in my hanging basket from Lowes. Lol! I ended up buying tulips from the store since mine have already come and gone. Tulips = spring to me.

To create the “handle,” you’ll want to slide the ribbon under the Mason jar lid. Notice I don’t have the top, just the outside ring. Next you just screw it on to secure the ribbon in place.

Fill the jar with fresh water, arrange your flowers, and then hang this lovely bouquet from your neighbor’s door. Ding-dong!

{TWO} Perfectly Sweet Planter

This might be the simplest idea in the batch. Here are the supplies, which I mostly got from the garden store. >>

I chose a pot of colorful zinnias for the focal point. For the basket I’m using Jiffy-Pots, which are biodegradable. You can literally plant the entire container in the ground. They’re basically thick paper cups, so it’s easy to punch holes in the sides.

And that’s the first step…punch holes on each side of your Jiffy-Pot.

Then you plant your flower of choice right into this earth-friendly little pot.

Lastly, thread the ribbon through the holes and tie knots on each side.

That’s it! You’re ready to spread May Day cheer.

{THREE} Aluminum Can-Do 

This sweet little number didn’t even require a trip to the store. Here are the only supplies you’ll need. >>

I used a can of corn in a recipe last night, so I upcycled an aluminum can. Then I “shopped” around my craft area for a pretty piece of paper and ribbon. The flowers were plucked from outside..white hydrangea and soft lambs ear.

First I covered the can with pretty paper.

Then I arranged my flowers. I kept this one pretty simple…tucking lambs ear down into the giant hydrangea blossom.

Here’s the back side where you can see the final step.

I tied ribbon around the top so I could create a loop to hang from the front door.

Note: An alternative idea would be to drill a small hole on each side of the can so you can create a more balanced arrangement.

{FOUR} Paper Plates & Goodies

For the candy lovers in your life, this would make a fun May Day surprise. Here are the supplies needed for this bright and sunny basket. >>

You’ll need a small paper plate (cut in half), a piece of pretty paper cut to the size of one of the halves, flowers, candies and ribbon.

I went with a “sunny” theme and gathered all kinds of yellow treats. The yellow pansies are from my front garden and the M&Ms were a special purchase. I had the paper and ribbon in my craft area.

To get the basket started, put the two paper plate halves facing each other. Staple the bottom to secure and punch holes on the sides for your ribbon.

I wanted to give the plate a facelift, so I glued a piece of decorative paper to the front.

The plate dips down on the edges, but I like having the paper cover the entire surface.

Here’s a better look. You can see how the paper is flat across the entire plate. It also leaves room for you to thread your ribbon.

This is a view of the finished basket with the ribbon tied to each side.

Now for the really fun part…filling the basket.

I used floral water tubes for the pansies to help keep them fresh and hydrated. You can get these at any floral shop. They also help bundle the pansies together, making it easier to tuck into the basket.

This is the final product with the candies and flowers ready to rock.

{FIVE} Triple Scoop Flower Cone

This is the most traditional style of all of the May Day baskets – with a paper cone. I also used tissue paper flowers so the entire thing is waterless. Here are the supplies. >>

In the upper left I have a stack of tissue paper to make the flowers. I also have floral picks with wire to help secure the paper flowers and give them “stems.”

The upper right is a piece of decorative paper for the cone. And in the lower right you can see I tossed in some greenery. It was actually left over from my front door wreath project. (More on that next week!)

I started by making the paper cone. I just rolled the the paper into the shape of a cone and secured the seam with clear tape.

As a tip, use double-sided paper so there’s a fun design peeking through the back.

Okay, now for the flowers. You’ve probably made tissue paper flowers before, but here’s a quick primer.

Fold a small stack of tissue paper back and forth (like a fan) until the entire thing is folded. Pinch it in the middle and secure with your wire floral pick.

Here’s what it looks like attached to the pick.

Working slowly so you don’t tear the tissue, gently pull and separate each of the layers. I like to work one side at a time.

Then work the other side until it looks like a full bloom! Repeat the process so you have several flowers for your basket.

Once you have all of your goodies ready, tuck everything into your paper cone. Finally, punch a hole in the back of the cone and thread your ribbon so you have a way to hang your beautiful bouquet.

That’s a wrap, my friends. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and give one of these baskets a try. Let me know how it goes.

Blessings,

Kate

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Friday Wrap: Birthday Party Edition!!

Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. I’ve been down-for-the-count with a terrible cold – topped off with allergies. Lovely, I know. The good news is that I’m so much better now and finally able to share some pics from my twin girls’ 11th birthday!!

We had a little shindig at our house to celebrate, and the theme ended up being a mermaid-unicorn-fairy-rainbow-pizza party. (When in doubt, just mash it up.)

And did you see the shirts I found at Thug Life?! They couldn’t have been more perfect. As seen below.

{My sweet birthday girls. We made a photo frame out of black matte board and hot-glued tissue paper flowers to the corners to glam it up a bit. I can’t wait to get into more details…}

It’s safe to say all of the girls had a mythical, magical time. And I wanted to share a few of the highlights.

Maybe this will spark some ideas for your next birthday bash?

{ONE} Rainbow Flowers & Heart Droplets

We gotta start with the decorations. I had so much fun playing around with inexpensive craft stuff, such as paint chips and tissue paper, to create a darling party atmosphere.

I used rainbow colors, because what mermaid-fairy-unicorn doesn’t love rainbows?!

I made tissue paper flowers for the table and giant tissue “clouds” for the ceiling. Then I made it rain up in here with strands of ribbon and hearts dangling from the lights.

Here’s a closer look at the rainbow heart droplets.

Directions: I tied several strands of thin ribbon to the base of our chandelier. Then I glued rainbow-colored hearts (back-to-back) directly onto the ribbon. Super easy.

Want to see the secret to those perfectly shaped hearts? >>

Voila! I used my heart-shaped paper punch.

And all of those beautiful colors were compliments (literally) of Lowes. I got a large stack of paint chips in a variety of pastel colors.

Here’s a closeup of the pinks. I love the ombre look you get from using paint chips, too.

PS. Punching out all of these hearts was the perfect activity for my girls. They were definitely involved in all of this magic making.

We had so many hearts, we even sprinkled some on the table – like rainbow confetti!

{TWO} Rainbow Cupcakes & Candies

Of course we had some rainbow-themed goodies!

I was obsessed with these cupcakes. Avery found the idea on Pinterest, so we had some inspiration. Then she and her sister made these all. by. themselves. No joke. All of those hours watching Cupcake Wars is paying off.

Directions: After baking up some vanilla cupcakes, they added a few drops of blue food coloring to their buttercream frosting. We found some Airhead Xtremes Rainbow Belts at Walmart, so they cut them in small strips and formed them like rainbows over each cake. And the clouds, as you probably guessed, are mini marshmallows. <3

Here’s a view from above. The girls did such a lovely job plating these sweet treats, too.

Here’s a wide angle of the table, so you can see the confetti hearts, tissue paper flowers and cupcakes all hanging out just waiting for the mermaids, unicorns and fairies to arrive.

Oh, and we also made a candy station using rainbow suckers, fruity Twizzlers, and tropical Skittles so their friends could “taste the rainbow.”

The girls thought it was funny to call the Skittles “unicorn poop.” I totally agreed.

And just so everyone wasn’t completely bouncing off the walls, I offered a more natural rainbow selection of fruit when it was time for pizza. #momapproved

{THREE} Fun Photo Frame

Back to the photo frame for a hot minute. As soon as all of the girls arrived, we went to the backyard to take fun pics inside the frame – photo booth style.

I made sure to take a pic with each guest and the birthday girls. Here are a few snaps >>

After the party, we printed out each of the pictures and tucked them inside personalized thank yous!!

{FOUR} Mermaids in Action

We decided to officially kick off the party like mermaids – and went swimming at a nearby indoor pool.

They were the cutest, sweetest mermaids I had ever seen.

I loved this action shot. All of this splish-splashin’ fun was followed by snacks of goldfish and Roarin’ Waters – a mermaid’s favorite snack. They nibbled all the way back to the house where we had more fun activities planned.

{FIVE} Fairy Gardens

The girls put on their best fairy faces and painted mini bird houses for their gardens.

This was Clara’s creation. >>

I bought plastic liners from the garden store, filled them with soil, then offered up an assortment of rocks, seashells from previous vacations, gems, beads and anything else I had in my craft area that felt right for a fairy garden.

The girls had a blast decorating and chatting. This is what Avery pulled together. >>

Once they were finished, we sprinkled grass seed all over the soil. Grass is pretty inexpensive and germinates in less than a week, so the girls had something to look forward to when they left!

Here’s a pic of Avery’s garden today. She has already mowed several times with scissors! >>

That’s a wrap!

After a few planned activities, I just let the girls do their thing…create Music.lys, eat pizza, snack on candy and eventually watch a movie in sleeping bags upstairs. They woke up to pancakes and more rainbow fruit before heading off into the sunrise.

It was a total, successful, drama-free party – thanks to such sweet friends.

And the girls and I want to thank you for reading along and letting us share their birthday fun.

We’d also like to give a shout out to their big brother, Evan, who was incredibly cool about having a house full of girls on a Saturday night. I’m sure he was thinking, “Thank goodness for video games.” But really, he was such a good sport.

And so was our daddy bear. Brandon is always a super-trooper and helps me every step of the way. I love my people so much!

1 + 1 = 11 😉

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you next week (pinkie promise) with some more fun ideas to share.

XoXoXo,

Kate

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5 Fun Holiday Gifts to Make for Friends

Last year I made batches of simmering scents for my friends, neighbors and teachers. They were easy to pull together and made our house smell yummy. So if you’re looking for a sweet gift idea, definitely check out the DIY instrux.

I’m feeling a little more ambitious at the moment, though. So I plan to make a variety of gifts that are a bit more unique.

Check ’em out, and maybe you’ll be inspired to do the same?

{ONE} Star Wars Snowflakes

Avery’s teacher is obsessed with Star Wars. With Rogue One just hitting the theaters, we thought making a few of these snowflakes will brighten his classroom – and his sprits!

I saw the idea on my niece’s Facebook feed. {Thank you, Mallory!} We’ll tie them right onto Mr. Kelley’s gift bag filled with treats and a gift card to his favorite restaurant.

{TWO} Mason Jar Cocktails

Nooooow we’re talkin’. This is the perfect gift for my group of friends whom I lovingly call Twisted Sisters. Each person has a special go-to drink, so I can easily personalize the gift and wrap it with love.

If you want to make some, too, you don’t have to jump on an airplane or sneak into a hotel room to get those mini spirits. Any liquor store should stock a variety of options. Cheers!

{THREE} Felt Hand Warmers

I thought about making plates of cookies for our neighbor friends, but I’m leaning toward this darling idea. Many of our neighbors have little ones, and with freezing temperatures on the way, I think these felt hand warmers would be a welcomed gift.

I can recycle old sweaters and fill them with lavender and uncooked rice. Then I’ll include instructions to microwave for 30 seconds before slipping into a coat pocket or mittens. Yay for warm hannies!

{FOUR} Paper Flowers

A few of my friends live far away, and I thought this would be a fun way to ship them seasonal flowers – like a few long stems of amaryllis or a bundle of paperwhites for the long cold winter.

All it takes is finding some pretty flower prints online and then printing them on photo paper. Once I drop them in the mail, I’ll have my friends roll and tuck their flowers into a vase. It’s a bit kitchy, I know, but something about it totally makes me smile. I would love getting this in the mail. #becauseflowers

{FIVE} Peppermint Sugar Scrub

Okay, this might be the easiest indulgent gift to make for friends – and even myself. It only requires three-ingredients plus a jar:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 12-15 drops peppermint essential oil

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil in a medium bowl in the microwave for about 30 seconds and let cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in sugar and essential oil until evenly combined.
  3. Package up into air-tight jars.

Isn’t that a cinch? I think this would do the trick for my tired and dry skin, too. Now that the heat is constantly blowing in our house, my lips and hands are so dry. Peppermint sugar scrub to the rescue.

That’s it for now, sweet bunnies. I hope holiday preparations are coming along smoothly and that you’re not too stressed out.

Remember, you can always tuck one of these babies in your pocket. I do. >>

XoXoXo,

Kate

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Feast on Your Easter Grass

It might sound strange to grab a handful of grass from your Easter basket and toss it into your next smoothie, but that’s exactly what you can do when you grow wheatgrass!! Plus, there are all of these health benefits. Thanks, Easter Bunny!

Rosie4

Speaking of…here’s our little Easter bun, Rosie. She loves to eat wheatgrass. No wonder she’s so healthy! <3

Oh, and while we’re still on the topic of eating grass, have you seen this video clip of Adele in Jamba Juice? It’s hysterical. Enjoy your daily laugh.

Okay, now for the serious business of preparing our baskets…

Wheatgrass grows super fast. In fact, in less than two weeks you can have a lush basket. If you start this week, you’ll be right on time for Easter. And depending on how quickly your seeds germinate, you might even need to “mow” before you add your eggs and ribbons!

Here are the super easy instructions for growing your own Easter basket grass.

Supplies

{one} A plastic plant saucer that’s close to the size of your basket.

 

{two} A quality potting mix.

{three} Wheatgrass seeds!

{This is from Amazon, but you can get this at most health food stores.}

{This is from Amazon, but you can get this at most health food stores.}

{four} Spray bottle.

spray bottles

{These are from Dollar Tree. Sometimes Walmart carries these in the health and beauty section.}

Now What?

This process will remind you of making lasagne. Here’s why…

  1. Fill about 3/4 of your saucer with potting mix.
  2. Spray with water to moisten the dirt.
  3. Plant a generous layer of seeds. There shouldn’t be any dirt showing.
  4. Cover the seeds with a light layer of potting mix. (See all of the layering – like a lasagne?)
  5. Spray the fresh dirt (your top layer) with water. You want there to be enough water for everything to be wet, but not swimming.
  6. Place the saucer in a warm, sunny window to “bake.” 😉

Growing Tips

  • Before planting your seeds, rinse them in cool, clean water. Then soak (completely covered) in cool water overnight. This helps speed up germination.
  • Wheatgrass does not do well in direct sunlight once it has started sprouting. So find a spot that allows for indirect light once you have some greens.
  • Use a water bottle to spray your wheatgrass as it grows. Make sure the soil is always moist. If it dries out, the sprouts will turn brown and die very quickly.
  • It should take about nine days for wheatgrass to grow six inches >>

That’s it! Here’s hoping your grass hops to it in time for Easter.

-Kate

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Embellished with Ease

Before I dive into some beautiful DIY embellishment projects, I have to ask…

Did ya’ll know March is national craft month?

Whaaat?! I stumbled upon this news while I was googling craft supplies, which is a fairly common activity for me. I can’t believe I haven’t heard about this before. What bolt of fabric have I been living under?

Most of my favorite crafty spots were offering specials in honor of this glorious holiday. So first, I gathered the great deals I could find into one, organized spot for you:

  • Craftsy – enter to win a $700 mystery box
  • JoAnn – 50% off one item using promo code: CRAFT70
  • Blitsy – sale pricing on select items
  • HSN – special pricing on select craft items
  • Hobby Lobby – up to 50% select craft items

(If you know of others, please share!)

Next, I decided it would be fun to do a few projects together. Let’s kick things off with a few fast & fun embellishments. Shall we?

PS. I completed these over the weekend. Our schedule was packed with soccer games and playdates, so you know these had to be easy if I was able to tackle them in a few short hours. 

{Tassel Necklaces}

Have you spotted the hot tassel trend? I started noticing it last summer. And now that spring is around the corner, tassels are on everything – like these darling jewels and all of these.

Instead of buying a bunch of new baubles, I decided to jazz up a few pieces I already own – like this beaded necklace >>

finished necklace

necklace closeup

How? I tied a tassel to a charm, then used the metal ring from the charm to attach to the necklace. Easy, breezy.

tassels

These silk tassels were from Hobby Lobby – in the sewing section. Notice I only paid $1.99 for 4 tassels. TIP: I found a much better selection online than in store.

{Simple Message Board}

Next up, this little number was something I created from a square picture frame, a piece of pretty scrapbooking paper and ribbon. Once I assembled everything, I jotted a happy note with a dry erase marker.

I placed this in my laundry room because I was needing happy thoughts in there – especially now that soccer season has started. Yikes.

dry erase frame

All of the supplies for this project came from Hobby Lobby. (They’re not an affiliate link or anything. I just shop there all of the time because we have a store right down the street.) Anyway, among many things, I like getting picture frames from there because they’re usually 50% off. Score.

{A Sweet Tee}

My budding Southern girls love having their stuff monogrammed: backpacks, journals, cups, hair ribbons, bracelets, tees…you name it. I’m seriously considering getting a Cricut just so I can personalize everything myself.

Until that time, I found these adorable iron-on letters. It literally took less than 5 min. to embellish this sweet pocket tee from Old Navy.

monogrammed pocket

Didn’t this turn out so cute? The pocket helped ground the design, so the letters weren’t floating in the middle of nowhere.

monogrammed letters

The letters are sold separately, so you can get the right shape to make the overall monogram. This is the packet for the letter “M” that went on the right.

{Pretty Office Supplies}

You may remember I made a small batch of these paper clips during my home office makeover. (PS. I’m still loving my space!!) Well, I use these little clips all the time, so I made more for the collection.

ribbon clips completed

ribbon clips

These are gold paper clips that have been embellished with pretty black & gold polka dot ribbon. I cut the ribbon to about 5″ long before tying to the clip. TIP: Tie to the small end of the clip so it’s easier to attach the clip to papers, etc.

{Fancy Picture Frame}

For whatever reason, I have a stash of plain black frames in my garage. I think they were left over from one of Brandon’s office moves. Anyway, they’ve been sitting there looking at me for who knows how long. So I decided to fancy them up for my black-and-gold themed office space.

Look what happens with a little gold glitter washi tape. Magic, I tell ya’ >>

washi frame after

washi frame closeup

This is a closeup so you can see how pretty it looks. Also notice I cut the corners at an angle so the tape didn’t overlap.

washi frame before

I was in luck that the frame was the exact width of the washi tape. If your frame is wider, you could easily apply several rows of tape (vertically). Pick a tape that doesn’t have a pattern (like this glitter) so it blends seamlessly.

{A Jar of Markers}

This is a bonus idea, and something that was given to the girls for their birthday a few weeks ago. It was such a thoughtful gift – and fit perfectly with today’s theme. I decided to go ahead and share it with you!

embellished marker jars

These are Ball jars that have been embellished with stickers and filled with colorful markers and highlighters!

marker jar lids

Burlap flowers were hot glued to the lids.

marker jar

Each jar was personalized with black glitter stickers. Simple and darling, right? My girls really loved this gift from their friend, Haila.

Have fun crafting this month – and always. What projects are you working on? I’d love to know!

-Kate

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10 New Uses for Loom Bands

Loom Bands

If your kids jumped on the Rainbow Loom craze at any point in their young lives, there are bound to be millions (not even exaggerating) of baby rubber bands hiding around your house. Even if you put the loom away months ago, you will still find bands lurking in the carpet, on your tables, between couch cushions, and even at the bottom of your purse. They must self-multiply. How else is this even possible?

While I do love my collection of loom band bracelets, I’ve discovered that these baby rubber bands can do so much more than decorate my arms – and clog up my vacuum. They can actually be quite useful.

I’ve compiled a list of 10 creative ways to use loom bands.

{1} Hair Ties

Sometimes you just want to pull back a small section of hair or wear a single braid. Loom bands are perfect because they’re not as bulky as regular pony holders.

Loom bands as hair ties

I used a white loom band so it was easier to see. You could choose a color closer to your hair color if you’d rather have it blend in.

{2} Bouquet Holder

When you’re arranging flowers, it helps to have them secured toward the bottom of the stems so they stand upright (and exactly how you like them) in the vase. I wrapped a loom band around these stems twice for the perfect fit.

Loom bands as bouquet holder

Green loom bands would blend into the stems really well.

{3} Bottle Opener

Don’t you hate it when a bottle of nail polish has been painted shut? It can be nearly impossible to open because the handle is small and slippery. Wrap a loom band or two around the top and you can actually get a grip.

Loom bands as bottle opener

The easiest way to open nail polish, IMO. Love this color, too. It’s Ballet Slippers by Essie!

{4} Waistband Extender

If you’re feeling bloated after over indulging on salty popcorn – or if you’re expecting and aren’t ready to jump into maternity pants, this tip is for you. Thread a loom band through the button hole of your jeans or pants, then loop the end over the button. This gives you the perfect smidge of extra room around the waist without anyone ever knowing. Your secret is safe with me.

Loom bands as pants extender

The top shows you how to loop through the buttonhole. The bottom shows how it secures to the button.

{5} Spoon Saver

This isn’t a daily occurrence for me, because I don’t always cook, but sometimes my spoon slips down into my mixing bowl and the handle gets all messy. Such a bummer. Wrap a loom band around the upper part of the spoon’s handle, right above the point where the spoon touches the rim of the bowl. No more slipping and sliding. Yay!

Loom band as spoon saver

See how I wrapped the band around the end of the spoon?

{6} Drink Markers

Of course you could buy fancy wine glass markers, but why? Especially when you have those millions of loom bands looming around the house. Have each person pick their favorite color and slip the band over the stem of a wine glass.

This works for bottled water, too. Marking bottles helps keep track of whose is whose, and you don’t waste as much water!

Loom bands as drink markers

I call purple! Now, where’s that wine?

{7} Ribbon Holder

Ribbon can get out of hand if left to its own unfurling devices. And when you’re obsessed with ribbon, as I am, you have to have a plan of action for storage. I use loom bands to secure spools of ribbon and even little ribbon scraps. Then I store all of it in clear containers so I can easily see what’s inside. Another post, another day for that part.

Loom bands as ribbon holders

Totally tidy!

{8} Pencil Gripper

If you want a legitimate loom pencil gripper, this video shows you how to weave it together. If you want the 2-second version, just slip a few bands around your pencil and you have a no-slip grip in no time!

Loom band as pencil grip

Hmm, what shall I write with this comfortable pencil?

{9} Little Reminders

As long as the band isn’t too tight, you can slip one on your finger to remind you of something important.

Loom bands as reminders

Now I’ll remember to drink more water today!

Bonus idea: Use loom bands like a rubber thimble. Put a few on your finger tips, and it’s easier to shuffle through papers. I’m thinking teachers might like this trick?

{10} Cord Corral

I like to carry a phone charger in my purse so I can recharge at a moment’s notice. The trouble with those things is that they never stay wrapped. They go sprawling all over my purse – kinda like how that one zucchini plant took over my garden last summer. Out. of. control. Okay, so I wrapped a loom band around my charger to keep it pulled together.

Loom bands as cord corral

It’s nice and neat and ready to stash in my purse! Regular rubber bands have to be wrapped several times. I just slipped one loom band over the cord and called it good in the ‘hood.

What was your favorite idea? Be sure to pin it to your Pinterest board so you can remember it later!

-Kate

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Friday Wrap

Another week, another wrap! I have some exciting projects and fun finds to share. So let’s get to it. Shall we?

{ONE} Free NatureBox

NatureBox

Thanks to NatureBox, I have three complimentary (and ridiculously yummy) snack boxes available to giveaway. The first three people to comment with “I want some snacks!” will receive a FREE box of delicious, healthy treats. You get to choose 5 of your favorite snacks from the entire Snack Catalog. (Offer expires 4/23. Shipping fees apply.) Here’s to happy snacking!!

{TWO} Personalized Umbrellas

Umbrellas

This was a project I worked on last weekend. The girls were all set with rain boots, but I discovered they needed new umbrellas. So…I looked no further than Walmart and found these clear umbrellas lined with darling flowers. I personalized them with Sharpie paint pens. Didn’t they turn out pretty cute? You should totally try one.

{THREE} Handwritten Letters

handwritten letter

This is a little thank you card I made for my MIL. I folded a piece of double-sided scrapbook paper, added a fancy sticker to personalize the card, then used an edging punch on the top flap.

April is National Letter Writing Month (among other things, I’m sure). I’ve latched onto this one because I love letters. Heartfelt notes of thanks, celebration, humor, or empathy can be some of the most treasured gifts. Letter writing is becoming a bit of a lost art – especially as more people are turning to emails, texts and posts. So why not take a moment to write a good old-fashioned letter to one of your long-distance friends? It will make him or her feel super special, and this is the perfect month to do it.

{FOUR} theSkimm

theskimmlogoI just started receiving theSkimm this week, which is considered to be “the daily newsletter that gives you everything you need to start your day.” I’m here to say that it’s pretty legit. It gets you up to speed on the news and what people are talking about in a single email. Sign up and see what I mean!

{FIVE} The 610 Stompers

I’m ending on a humorous note, because you know how much I love to laugh. Have you seen the 610 Stompers?! Holy hilariousness. Garden & Gun magazine recently featured them in a story about why they love the South. As described in the article, “This is an all-male amateur marching dance troupe of more than a hundred ordinary men clad in matching white headbands, red satin jackets, knee-high tube socks, and spray-painted gold sneakers.” You have to checkout some of their sweet moves. It will make your day. Maybe week.

That’s an official wrap. I promised to share some spring cleaning tips this week, and I won’t disappoint.

Check back tomorrow for five of my favorite cleaning hacks.

Until then, be sure to visit the beautiful and amazing blogs through Five on Friday with April, DarciChristina, and Natasha.

Fiveonfriday

Cheers, my dears!

-Kate

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