d.i.y. · house · Leo · video


I do not claim to have any crafting talent.  Truth be told, I think all crafting and artistic skills in our family dwell squarely between my mom and two sisters, who can sew, draw, scrapbook, paint, make jewelry, and much more.  But I aspire.  And on Sunday Shannan hosted a wreath party.  She had all the supplies – wreaths, yarn, bling, ribbon – and we brought the food.  I brought popcorn, which I always love, but shoot, these girls put me to shame.  They had drunken goat cheese and cookie dip and this crack bark that was so good I thought about quitting my wreath and just sitting in a corner with the jar of it.

We wrapped and wrapped and glued and tied and whined but it was all worth it:

IMG_2890(photo stolen from Shannan)

I’ve got mine hanging up in the kitchen, where it fills the door to the mudroom like it was meant to be.


Then I got so yarn-ish and inspired that I went and crafted a little more: two pom garlands for the dining room windows.


As for Shannan, I’m going to go ahead and brag on her for a minute.  Sunday she hosted the amazing party and then early Monday morning she took Leo for us as Dave had work and I had a 7:30am dermatology appointment (remember my skin cancer?).  And then she – voluntarily – took Leo along while she and Silas ran errands.  Leo got home at 11 – just in time for lunch and naptime – happy, tired, and decked out in big boy 4t pajamas (another point for Shannan: dealing with a leaky diaper and parents who failed to pack a change of clothes).  Proof:

You keep a friend like that around.  Especially if she’s the crack bark supplier.


pashmina to circle scarf

I’ve got a little tutorial here.  It’s nothing special and chances are you’ve figured it out yourself, but on the off chance you haven’t, here you go!  Warning: this post is full of awkward self-portraits.  I’m sorry.

I love scarves in the winter.  I love having my neck wrapped up so warm and cozy.  And since I tend to wear the same clothes year round (just with various layers), scarves help me feel like an outfit I’ve worn the past 7 months just became “new.”  I have three pashmina scarves.  They’re super soft, can be worn dressed up or down, and are most often worn like this:

Or at least that was the way I always wore them!  I like this way, but the dangling ends often get in my way and it sometimes felt like I forgot to take my scarf off when I took off my coat.  Then I figured out how to make my pashmina into a circle scarf!

Self-portrait crazy eyes.  

First step: knot your scarf together at either end and once in the middle using the tasseled ends.

My tassels were pretty long so I actually knotted each tassel further down, then cut off the extra.  It makes for tucking in the tasseled ends easier.  I actually keep mine knotted even when I wear the scarf the other way (shown above) – you can’t tell they’re tied and it’s easier than untying and retying the knots.

Loop the scarf over your head with the tassels at the back of your neck.

Grab the bottom of the scarf and loop it over your head again.

Grab the bottom of the scarf and loop it over your head one more time.

Adjust the scarf as needed to make some loops longer or shorter and to have them lay as you want.  Tuck the tassels beneath the layers so they aren’t obvious.  And there you have it – pashmina gone circle scarf!

d.i.y. · house

d.i.y. update

An update on the d.i.y. projects around here:

shampoo: Still love it!

deodorant: Dave liked this, but he needed an antiperspirant, so he switched to Tom’s of Maine.  I was going to make a batch for myself, but with the warmer temps right now, I’d need to store the deodorant in the fridge (coconut oil has a low melting point).  I knew I would forget to put on deodorant if I did that, so for now I’m using Arm and Hammer Naturals deodorant.  It doesn’t have aluminum, which is important to me (aluminum has been linked to breast cancer) and it smells like clean laundry.  Love it!

dishwasher detergent: We still use this!  We do have to make sure to rinse the dishes pretty well before they go in, but they come out clean!  We also use a little white vinegar in the rinse chamber.

laundry detergent: We do still use this, but not as widely as we did.  I use this detergent for washing Leo’s diapers, which is still about 4 loads (or more) a week.  We use regular detergent for Dave and I’s clothes.  I found that this detergent wasn’t getting stains out well, so I switched.  However, if I were just better about pre-treating stains, I think we could still use this detergent exclusively.

This isn’t exactly d.i.y., but I’ve instituted a cleaning schedule for myself.  I genuinely enjoy housework, but with Leo and a full-time job, it’s really hard to fit it all in.  I end up scrambling when people are coming over or just being generally frustrated about the state of the house.  So I took a lesson from my mom and made a schedule.

  • Mondays: bathrooms (we have one and a half)
  • Tuesdays: off (generally my day I’m in the office and gone from 6am to 7pm)
  • Wednesdays: dust
  • Thursdays: sweeper floors
  • Fridays: leftovers (do anything I didn’t get done Monday-Thursday)
  • Saturday: off/miscellaneous/yardwork
  • Sunday: sweeper kitchen/dining room and steam mop

Most jobs take 30ish minutes, so they’re not hard to squeeze in somewhere during the day.  And the kitchen and dining room floors get hit twice a week, which is a huge help, since they get gross the fastest.  So far I’ve held the schedule for a little over a week and it’s gone really well!

Throughout the week I also do laundry and try to pick-up here and there, but that’s way easier to do on the fly.

What d.i.y. projects have you done lately?  Do you keep a cleaning schedule?


d.i.y. · health

d.i.y. shampoo

I love a good do-it-yourself project that makes something either 1) cheaper or 2) more natural.  The best is when it does both!

I had recently debated going the no-shampoo route, using apple cider vinegar and baking soda (I had heard about this from a couple different people).  However, I had a couple big reservations:

  • People who go the no-shampoo route say it takes 4-6 weeks for your hair to acclimate.  4-6 weeks of greasy hair?
  • My sister tried it and wasn’t pleased with her results.  We have identical hair.

Instead, I found a recipe for coconut milk shampoo.  I liked this because it still used real soap (natural castile soap) but also had coconut milk and a little oil, so I figured my hair wouldn’t get dried out either.  After I finally used up the last of my old shampoo, I mixed up a batch:

  • 1/4c. coconut milk (not light)
  • 1/3c. liquid castile soap (I bought the unscented because I had planned on adding essential oils.  In the future I’ll buy the lavender.)
  • 1t. olive oil

You have the option of adding essential oils (10-20 drops), which I was planning on doing.  And then I priced out essential oils and saw how expensive they were, so that got tabled.

I poured it into my old shampoo bottle and shook it up.  I make sure to shake the bottle before I use it, to keep it mixed.  I love this shampoo.  My hair feels and smells clean.  It also feels lighter than it did before.  It styles as usual, so far isn’t frizzy (we’ll see as the summer progresses), and looks normal.  My hair has no volume to speak of, so I can’t vouch if it makes hair flat or not.  But I’ll definitely be keeping this recipe and using this as our shampoo from here on out.  Dave also uses it and likes it.

Next week I want to do an update post on all our past d.i.y. projects – if we still do them, how we like them, which we’ve ditched!

What shampoo do you use?

d.i.y. · house

d.i.y. dishwasher detergent

Last night Dave and I tried out some new dishwasher detergent – homemade!  I found a recipe for the detergent on Pinterest that used Borax and Washing Soda.  We already had a box of each of these from when I made laundry detergent (something I need to make again this weekend).  The recipe calls for equal parts Borax and Washing Soda.  Before we mixed up a giant batch, we wanted to do a test run.  I combined 1T. of Borax and 1T. of Washing Soda and set the dishwasher to go.

The verdict?

The dishes were clean!  Clean dishes, cheaper detergent, no chemicals, and earth-friendly.  Lots of things to like about that!  I’ll definitely mix up a big batch for us to keep on hand.

What have you d.i.y.’ed lately?

d.i.y. · house

d.i.y. laundry detergent

As you probably know, babies need different laundry detergent because their skin is more sensitive.  Since we do more baby laundry in this house (cloth diapers and cloth wipes), we go through baby-friendly detergent at a faster rate than most (I assume).  Initially we used Charlie’s Soap Powder as our detergent – both for our own and for Leo’s.  We figured the eco-friendly, good-on-sensitive-skin couldn’t hurt us either!

Recently I saw a recipe on Pinterest for making your own laundry detergent.  I knew this was possible but didn’t know the details.  A quick scan showed it’s really easy!  The hardest part was finding the ingredients.  Walmart didn’t carry any of the products (which surprised me).  Neither did Menards.  But Kroger carried Borax and Washing Soda!  I took my chances and stopped by our locally-owned hardware store and – hooray! – Fels Naptha soap!

I grated the soap (took about 10 minutes) and then mixed it with the soda and borax.  And there it is – instant, delicious-smelling (very fresh and lemony) laundry detergent!  It works great, too.  I did a test run on a load of dirty diapers and they all came out clean, stain-free, and fresh smelling!

Here’s the price breakdown:

  • Borax: $4.29
  • Washing Soda: $3.49
  • Fels Naptha: $1.89
  • TOTAL: $9.67

Each batch should make about 40 loads of laundry, but I have LOTS of Borax and Washing Soda leftover.  So next time all I’ll need is the Fels Naptha.  That’s some pretty cheap detergent!

What laundry detergent do you use?  Would you consider making your own?

d.i.y. · Dave · recipes

make your own deodorant

Last week I embarked on a new adventure: making deodorant.  Dave needed new deodorant and had found this article on making your own.  I definitely had all the ingredients, so I whipped up a batch!

I halved the recipe since Dave only had a small empty deodorant container.

So far he’s liking it and thinks it is working well.  Unfortunately, Dave hasn’t been able to run lately because of a tweaked knee, so we can’t give it the real “back from a run and I still don’t smell” test.  I think I’ll try it, too, when my deodorant runs out.  I could even add a drop or two of an essential oil (like lavender or mint) to mine if I wanted to “pretty up” the smell.

We keep his deodorant in the fridge right now.  Coconut oil has such a low melting point that it stayed pretty liquid-y in the medicine cabinet (we try not to use our AC if possible and when we do we keep it set around 79 unless people are over).  In the winter it will probably fare fine, but for the summer it’s a fridge thing.  We thought that might be weird or inconvenient, but turns out if you’re in the fridge for breakfast, you might as well grab your deodorant and slap it on, too.

Have you ever made your own deodorant?