Category Archives: How tos or Tutorials

A collection of blog posts that include how to and a tutorials.

DIY Dream Catcher Necklace

Supplies: ||old bangles ||embroidery floss or crochet thread || scissors || chain ||

Step 1: Wrap the bangle. How tight or how loose is your preference.

Step 2: Begin wrapping around the bangle with large gaps of space between wraps creating your first round of the web. I always pulled my thread back up through the wrap so it would hold in place well.

Step 3: Continue wrapping till you get to the center, and tie in feathers, braids beads. Connect your chain the length you like with a jump ring and rock it!

I found these little plastic bangles in the grab bag that my amazing brass walnut came in. They were pretty uncomfortable and just kind of messy looking so I took a few and turned them into tiny dream catchers. This is a pretty quick project you can put together in about 30 minutes or so. These also make adorable wall art when grouped together and are the perfect size to mail as gifts as they fit inside an envelope well.

[Let me know if you'd like more details on the wrapping. My advice is just give it a go and find your method and do what you like best. Remember that your first round of wrapping will affect the shape of your finished project. I know the steps show me starting with five, but for the dream catcher pictured in the finished project I actually only used four wraps for my starting round. Those photos didn't turn out as good as the second set with my second dream catcher.]

Please feel free to tweet, facebook share, or pin this tutorial! The more the merrier ’round here!

Happy Crafty Tuesday!

Hillery

Easter Tutorial round up

A few pretty Easter egg tutorials from around the web

You can click on the image or the link below it to be taken to the tutorial.

//Decor 8 Painted Easter Eggs//

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//Silk Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs Our Best Bites//

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///Wohnide Wunderwieb Painted Paper Napkin Appliqué Easter Eggs///

^this site is in German.S

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//Embroidered East Eggs Design Sponge//

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//Spoon and Fork Water Color Easter Eggs//

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Love and light! Happy Easter Everyone!

Tips for hosting the ultimate outdoor gathering

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yippie it’s spring! Spring has sprung!

There really is no other medicine like getting a group of friends together to eat good food, drink good beer, and catch up on a cool spring evening. I want to share with you some tips I’ve learned over the years on hosting a successful little shindig that’s not going to break the bank.

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1. Getting guests involved – Invite your guest to bring their favorite dish, drink, or dessert. Potlucks create a sense of community; guests really get a chance be apart of the gathering and to share something they love. What better way than through food? Also, it’s alright to be specific when it comes to beverages or alcohol, most guests are more than happy to bring something to sip on or an ingredient for a cocktail if you just let them know what it is you are looking for.

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2. Food and beverages –  Finger foods and quick snacks are great so guests can enjoy conversation, and still grab a bite or two. This also takes the emphasis off of serving an entire meal. One one great way to promote conversation and get folks involved in the party through food is to set up little tasting areas all around the party space, instead of a one long table. This will encourage guest to move about and try different things as well as keep the traffic flowing and avoid everyone standing around in one place.

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3. Bring in the indoors out – At the best back yard parties I’ve planned for we brought the furniture out and into the yard. Grab rugs, couches, chairs, even tables equipped with lamps, a few magazines, and collectables. It gives the party a light hearted feel, it’s a lot more comfortable than lawn chairs, and it is actually a lot fun to hang out in your living room furniture amongst the trees. Although, if you feel you might come up short on seating ask your guests to bring a chair or two.
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4. Decorate with what you have – A great way to keep costs down on decorations is to repurpose and use every day items you have around the house. Grab a few interesting things, as well as extra curtains, sheets, a pieces of art work and place them around. You can really add color and interest by simply propping up a few household finds. Also, you can fill up baskets and vases with fresh fruits and veggies and picked flowers. Or try using lettuces instead of flowers. When the party is over you can toss them into a salad for the next days lunch. Flowers also usually last a few days, send them home with the guests as party favors. Super markets sell inexpensive flower bundles. You can buy a few different bouquets and take them home to make your own arrangements.
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e5. Lighting –  Mood lighting is going to be your best friend  at an outdoor party and you want to make sure that your party can transition well from day to evening, meaning you will need some light sources if you want your guests to hang around. The cheapest way to add pretty and interesting lighting  is to hang up old Christmas lights. Also having a few candles, and torches around can add to the mood and brighten things up.

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6. Engage your guests – One of the best ways to engage your guests is a bonfire or fire pit. Guest can cozy up next to a warm fire, roast marshmallows, and tell stories. The warmth of a fire creates a relaxing and comforting vibe and over all good will throughout the party. It is perfect for those early spring nights that still get cool.

spring!

Last but not least!

7. Clean up – keep an eye out for garbage during the party. Instead of waiting till the end of a party to clean up, designate a few people to help keep an eye on trash and empty glasses. This cuts down on the work you all do later and keeps messes and accidents at bay.

Wahoo!

Backyard gatherings really are the best things about warm weather. Such joyous spaces for growth and friendship. I couldn’t be more excited to get together with friends, family, and neighbors to really enjoy the beautiful weather and company that is on it’s way.

Tutorial Round Up – March 31 2012

Whooo! This sure is a long awaited post. I just love crafty tutorials and love searching out new and amazing designs and projects around the blogosphere. It’s quite exhilarating.

Remember you can click through the images to the tutorials.

 Pretty Patchy Paper lanterns by Lola Nova….1. These ‘Pretty Patchy Paper Lanterns’ are made using scrap fabric and card stock. I love how versatile the project can be depending on what scraps you have lying around. Tutorial and images via: Lola Nova
 2. Aren’t these painted camera straps great? I am in need of a new camera strap for my old Nikon and I this DIY is really inspiring me to make my own! Tutorial and images via: Design Love Fest

3. These cloud lights are incredible! They are made with a paper lanter, cotton batting, and flameless candles. I would love to make something like this to put over our guest bed or a reading knook. So whimsical; and everyone knows I love whimsy. Tutorial via: Wedding Nigh Image Via: Alexis Mires Flickr
4. Call me a sucker for everything tacky, but I love this necklace display made with faux antlers and silk flowers mounted on a reclaimed pallet. Tutorial and Images found via: A Beautiful Mess

5. Kinsey’s sandal revamp where she adds a simple leather fringe. Tutorial and image via: Sincerely Kinsey

6. I am a sucker for macrame. and love the neon cording against the white bowl. I have a ton of vases left over from our wedding and lots of black cording. I’ve got to make some of these to complete my dream of a hanging garden in our living room. Tutorial and image via: Refinery 29 Love that site.

Notice a trend? (:

Well besides the sandals – I just threw those in there because I am dreaming of warmer weather.

I really want to work on pulling my living room together this weekend. It’s in need of some real TLC and a spring make over! Do you have any projects big or small planned for the weekend? Any crafty plans? I am definitely making some time this weekend to get my craft on!

I hope you have a fun Friday night and beautiful weekend!
Hillery

My Hair Regimen (Washing with Vinegar)

Experiment: 30 days without using shampoo or conditioner in my hair.

I have always struggled with scalp sensitivity, dryness, and dandruff. Ever since I can remember my scalp was either too dry or too oily. There was never an in-between or a balance and both were extremely uncomfortable and took a toll on my confidence.

The variables: White vinegar, baking soda and Hillery’s scalp.

I have tried everything from prescribed steroid creams and foams, to oil treatments with no success. Even with the regular use of hypoallergenic and organic products, though luxurious, I still had problems. I even changed my diet and to no avail.

Hypothesis: Vinegar when used as an astringent, cleanses without stripping the hair of it’s natural oils and minerals and can be used as a shampoo replacement.

I can not remember exactly were I had heard it first, but back in 2010 when I was living and working at the Omega Holistic Learning Center in Rhinebeck, New York. I met a participant who swore by vinegar. She too struggled with with the same issues I did and had been going without shampoo for nearly 4 years. At that point in time I stored the information away into my mental notebook and forgot all about it. Living in the woods in a tent can amplify the need to use soap.

When January this year rolled around with New Years Resolutions and winter dryness in full swing, I had hit my limit. All of my winter clothes were lovely dark browns, grays, and blacks. Yet everyday was like a snow storm hit my shoulders and the dryness was terribly uncomfortable. That’s when it hit me: the conversation I had with that participant on the smoking bench at Omega came flooding back to me. I had vinegar, I had baking soda. This was going to be awesome. I started right away and made a 30 day commitment.

The Data: 

At first, I used baking soda every day and rinsed my hair with straight vinegar. The first day my hair looked great, but after a week it was incredibly frizzy and my scalp seemed really dry. So I thought: I must be doing things backwards. I simply switched over to just using vinegar, which worked like magic. Though after about two weeks, I did notice my hair seemed a little oily near the roots. That night I massaged baking soda into my scalp and roots and rinsed with warm water. It worked like a charm.

After 30 days I was amazed. My hair looked fantastic. It was the softest it has ever been, with little to no frizz, and I had no problems with extreme dryness or oiliness. The icing on the cake: no scalp irritation or dandruff.

With this method I didn’t even need to use other products to define my curls, they naturally got bouncier, more defined, and even…curlier! However, I did start keeping a spray bottle of plain water around for mornings after sleeping on my hair. A quick spritz and I was ready to go.

Conclusion: I haven’t looked back and I don’t think I ever will. It is now going on three full months since I stopped using shampoo. I am reformed. 

It definitely took some time to get used to no suds, but after a while it became second nature and to me it is more luxurious than even the sudsiest of shampoos or the creamiest of conditioners because I know how awesome my hair is going to look and feel.

My tips for going no poo:

  1. Get yourself a refillable plastic bottle for your vinegar. An old shampoo bottle with a pop-top is great; you just need something you can squeeze.
  2. I dilute 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water and it’s still just as effective as straight vinegar; saves me money and cuts down on the smell.
  3. When using the baking soda, mix about 1 tablespoon into a plastic cup with warm water and swirl around with your finger to mix.
  4. For applying both the baking soda and vinegar rinses, I always lean over and start pouring from the base of my head towards the front of my scalp so’s not to waste any and ensure total coverage.
  5. Make sure you massage into your scalp and rinse really well; having baking soda residue in your hair can be really uncomfortable.
  6. If you have trouble with the smell, eat an orange and roll up the skin and add it to the vinegar. It will cut the initial smell with a refreshing, orange-y zestiness, making it much more bearable. I find the orange scent also makes the cold temperature of the vinegar seem more normal. I guess because orange juice is cold and I make that mental connection. You do get used to the coldness eventually and I really enjoy it now.
  7. Stick with it, and find your method. What works for me may not work for you as we all have different hair types and skin sensitivities. Try, try again, and if you are adamant you will find what works best for you!
Feel free to ask me any questions! Also, if you do try or are currently trying or have heard of something like this let me know in the comments below. I want to hear what you’ve heard, as well as your progress, and how it turns out for you!

Have a beautiful spring day,

Hillery

Shipping Container Home

Lulu’s California shipping container home, where she and her daughter co-habitat the original structure of 160 square feet, they later built an additional shared bedroom with a loft on a transfer trailer bed.

Rag Doll Tutorial Guest Post with Megan from the Darling Ewe

While I am off enjoying my anniversary I still have something really fun in store for you guys. Megan from the Darling Ewe has written up an awesome tutorial to share on the Handmake my Life blog today, which I am so excited to share with you! I’ll let Megan introduce her self and get us started.>>>>

Greetings Handmake My Life readers!

My name is Megan and I blog over at The Darling Ewe.  Hillery kindly asked me to do a guest post with a DIY or tutorial of some sort.  I was so very excited as this is officially my first guest post, and my first step by step DIY on the good old internet machine.  I was so excited that I had to get started right away, and didn’t let my one-handed-ness stop me.  (Yep, I am sporting a cast.  Basically what I am saying is that you can do this craftivity with one arm tied behind your back!)

 The DIY craft is a good old fashioned yarn doll, and is a great way to use up some scrap yarn.  I’ve made these at summer camp, while babysitting, as cat toys, and sometimes I make them just out of sheer boredom.

Ready to get started?

 Materials needed for this project include a medium or large hardcover book (or sturdy cardboard), yarn(s), scissors, and crochet hook (optional)

 Step 1: Wrap your yarn around your book.  I wrapped the yarn 75 times for this tutorial.  More yarn will result in stockier dolls.  The book used was fairly small for this project – taller books will result in longer dolls.

 Step 2: Slide yarn off book and use three smaller pieces of yarn as ties to block off doll sections.  A contrasting yarn color is used to illustrate the various tutorial steps.  Ordinarily I use a matching color so that the ties are undetectable.  (Though I do like the contrasting colors this time around!)

 Step 3:  Tie the top two pieces to block off the doll hair and head.  Before you fasten the bottom tie, separate two side sections.  These will be the arms.

 Step 4:  Cut the ends of the yarn loops of each arm.

 Step 5:  Separate each arm into thirds.  Arms will be braided.

 Step 6:  Braid arms and use a yarn tie to fasten the ends.  I only braided mine about halfway so that the arms would be shorter than the rest of the body.

 Step 7:  Trim the extra yarn ends to form the hand.  Make sure not to cut too close to the tie so that the yarn doesn’t slip out of the ties.

 Step 8:  To start the legs, cut the loops at the bottom of the doll.

Step 9:  Separate section in half.  Legs will be braided just like the arms.  Or, skip this step and the next if you want your doll to be sporting a yarn fringe skirt!

 Step 10:  Braid and tie legs.  Trim feet.

 Step 11:  The hair is whatever you want it to be!  For this tutorial I simply separated the hair into pigtails and fastened the ‘do with yarn ties tied in a bow.

 Step 12:  If you want to give your doll some personality you can easily add a face with a few scraps of yarn.  I used a crochet hook to weave yarn and tie a few strands in a double knot and then trimmed the ends to make the eyes.

 Step 13:  For the smile I used one tie to fasten to each side of the face and left some extra slack in between the two knots.

Step 14:  Trim the ends of your smile, and ta da!  You’ve got yourself a dolly.

This project is a great easy project to do with anyone!  There are SO many possibilities and variations with a yarn doll.  Change up the body sections, braid different sections, play with yarn colors and textures, make a multi-colored doll with scrap yarn, make clothes for your dolls with scrap fabric, slide in wire or pipe cleaners to be able to bend and manipulate different doll poses… So many options!

Hope you enjoy!
Warmest wishes,
Megan
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<<<This is the perfect tutorial for when my little nieces and nephews visit! Be sure to stop by Megan’s blog and don’t forget to check out her Etsy shop with all her cute knits. Thanks again Megan!
I hope you all have a lovely Monday,
Hillery

Weekend Project – DIY Showcase

This is an incredible project that was just posted by Meg Allen Cole on Craftzine this afternoon. This is a perfect weekend project and I think it would make a fantastic group projects as well.

A long time fan of Meg’s blog and her youtube decor videos, I was especially impressed by the finished piece in this video, seen in the photo above. This geometric sculpture is made entirely our of paper and is simple and straight forward. Meg gives great instructions and all you need is some card stock, scissors, a glue stick, and Meg provides the template. The finished product is a visually stunning, masterpiece to hang on any wall. I am totally thinking this might just be THE project for that daunting, giant space above our stairs entry way. The real beauty of this project is you can choose any color scheme you like pastels, gray tones, warm and exotic. As well you can make this piece as large or as small as your heart desires.

This week is actually a super exciting time for Meg as she is finally getting to live one of her dreams, meeting Martha Stewart. And better than that she’s actually going to be on the Martha Show next week on the Hallmark channel. If you love Martha, you are going to love Meg.

Watch the video below and be sure to check out her channel on youtube: Meg Allen Cole Crafts. She will blow you away with her awesomeness.

Sources for this post: 1|2

On an important side note.

Sorry for the hiatus. I had to do some soul searching and take a little time. I will be spending this weekend without my blog as I plan to focus on the hubs, celebrating our one year wedding anniversary, and getting more than a little Etsy work done. I’ll be back on Tuesday with aN Etsy Repurpose Round up and don’t forget to stop by a little later in the week for the next installment of my ‘Eating Alone’ mini series and hopefully a little surprise.

Until then have a beautiful, beautiful weekend.

Hillery

Eating alone: Part One – That’s too much effing food on your plate

Eating alone is not one of those things that our society prepares us for once we reach adulthood. Many North Americans are unfamiliar with their kitchen appliances and know very little of proper food preparation.

But eating cheaply and well can be done without any fancy schooling, and even if you are a single lady, oh, oh, oh.

My first advice to you? Invest in a few tools! No handy-person would show up to the job without their tools. Approach feeding yourself this way and it will make life a breeze.

The first tool you need is a good knife, and by good I don’t mean you have to buy a hundred dollar knife, but making an educated purchase from a specialist retailer – like an actual kitchen supply store, and not a department store will ensure you have the knife you need. Just begin by inquiring about knives, ask to hold one so you can test the weight (see if it’s comfortable). It doesn’t need to be too heavy or too fancy, but you should look for something which feels both confident in your hands, and is dependable. I always look for a knife with a long ‘tang’, this means that the blade extends the full length of the handle, increasing both stability, and ensuring I will never need to worry about handles breaking-off. Ask about price ranges and make sure you state up front that your aren’t looking to spend a fortune and see if they’ll throw in a knife sharpener for free.

And, while you’re at the kitchen supplies store… invest in some regular ol’ measuring cups and spoons, and if you can, invest in a quart sized liquid measuring cup. These should just about cover all bases in the measuring department. You don’t even need a fancy-shmancy scale to get the job done.

The last tool(s) I would insist that you invest in are quality tupper-ware and food storage containers (be them bags or not, whatever tickles your fancy, really). I prefer being a little nicer to mother earth by purchasing reusable containers. I look for tempered glass which can withstand both freezing as well as oven temperatures, in similar sizes (for easy fridge/freezer organization) and just large enough to hold food for two servings (which I will address in my article about freezing and storing food). I suggest investing in re-usable freezer bags, but regular ziplock baggies will work if you have them around. Although, you can find some very affordably priced reusable freezer and fridge storage bags here in the LoveForEarth etsy shop.

Now that you have your tools, it’s time to get cooking. The most important advice I can give you here is measure, measure, measure. Eating alone is all about the realization of yield. Or how much an item changes in volume after it’s cooked. Now, your measurements don’t need to be exact in most cases – these aren’t volatile chemicals in science class, they are potatoes – however, it is always good to measure ingredients fairly accurately to insure both A) you don’t cook more than you need and B) so you don’t end up with all potato and no butter; meaning it’s much easier to spice something if you know how much you are actually cooking.  You might also want to work on brushing up on your fractions when attempting to scale down recipes. But hey, you can almost always look up how many teaspoons are in a quarter cup on the ol’ interwebs.

Have you ever cooked too much pasta? Or too little? Pasta is the most common go-to food for when you need to eat fast, yet, pasta is tricky and odd shaped, and it doesn’t really fit in a measuring cup very well. I’ll let you in on a few tricks about the different kind of pastas and how you can easily measure them for the perfect fast and easy meal for one.

There are three basic types of pasta, the first of which I will address are spaghetti and linguine. The easiest way to measure these types of pasta without a scale is to grab a handful between your thumb and pointer finger. A hand full about the diameter of a 25 cent coin is about 2 ounces of pasta, or the average size for a light meal or pasta side dish. If you are going to be having pasta as your main course you can increase this to 3 or 4 ounces, or two ’25 cent’ hand-fulls, personally, I find this is too much pasta and usually go with a middle ground.

For measuring smaller pastas such as macaroni or penne this is when your quart cup measuring cup comes in handy, because they are bit wider than the ‘stackables’ and pasta can lay quite comfortably. Pasta like these usually double in volume, so half a cup to three fourths is about a two ounces of dry pasta and cooks to just about a cup.

Egg noodles, are similar to other pastas, but tend to double or even triple in size when cooked, which can be tricky. I find that a fourth a cup is  about two ounces of dry pasta and will be just over a whole cup when cooked.

Now, all people are different; some people have smaller/larger appetites than others. This series has nothing to do with portion control, but simply how to gauge food so you waste less when eating alone. If you try the measurements above and find that it is too much, or too little, please feel free to adjust accordingly as that leads to more effective cooking.

It’s also very important to measure when cooking other grains such as rice, oatmeal, and barely. I suggest investing in a cookbook on grains that can guide you through how to cook each grain perfectly or consulting the internet for the specific grain as there are many forums and cooking websites which discuss the yields of different grains. Though I will share with you the method I use to get the perfect steamed rice.

Through my experience, 1/2 a cup of dry rice has proven to be the perfect amount for a main course for one person and ends up about equalling about 1 cup cooked. To get the perfect steamed rice it is very important not to have too much water as the grain will become mushy and tasteless. For every 1 cup of rice you need 1 and 1/2 cup water and for a 1/2 cup you need just under a whole cup of water, or about 3/4ths. You will need a pot that has a tight fitting lid. If you are worried that your lid doesn’t close tight enough you can put a piece of tin foil between the lid and the pot and turn down the sides. I learned that from Madhur Jaffrey Indian Cooking, an excellent cookbook by the way. Add the rice and the water together into the pot, set the stove element to high and wait for it to boil. Once the rice and water come to a boil cover and turn the temperature down to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. After 15 minutes check the grains, if they are done enough to your liking remove from element, fluff with a fork, and serve. If not remove from the element and keep the rice covered for another 10 minutes undisturbed. After the 10 minutes the rice should be perfectly steamed.

Having the right tools as well as being more aware of food yields will make cooking and preparing the proper amount of food for one person much easier. Especially when it comes to grains like pasta and rice which don’t keep very well and are quick to make.

Be sure to check back for Eating alone: Part 2 – If you liked it then you shoulda put a label on it.

<<<Eating alone: Introduction and the logistics of food snobbery

Photo sources: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7

This week’s dinner menu and mini series Eating alone: Introduction and the logistics of food snobbery

Most nights I eat alone since the hubs works evenings and usually eats there. I’ve been wanting to go into detail for sometime about how I do this and what I eat on a daily basis. So I have decided to put together a hitchhiker’s guide to eating alone. No seriously this is a how to on eating alone, all – by – yourself.

Eating alone: Introduction and the logistics of food snobbery

I am a real food-a-holic and semi-health food snob. This has lead me to making 97% our food from scratch. We don’t buy prepackaged anything, not even crackers or cookies. Though we do buy pre-made pasta that, frozen spinach, and juice to take up that little 3%.

This has a lot to do with the fact that our grocery budget is very very tiny and by tiny I mean 40 bucks tops most weeks besides our bi-monthly stock up budget with which we buy 22 lbs of flour, dry goods like nuts, dried fruit, onions, potatoes, and beans, we also grab a few other baking necessities, as well as toilet paper, kitty litter, and cat food.
How do we do it? Planning really and we do a fair bit of prep work, it pays off in the end, I promise and I’ll get to that.

It is absolutely possible to cook good, tasty, fast, quality food for one/two, on a tiny budget, and have very little food waste.

The best way to achieve this of course is to know what yields what when cooking and having the right containers and materials for packing/storing your food as well as taking the time to put it away and label it properly and it can all be done on a Saturday afternoon.

Be sure to check back tomorrow as I discuss these topics and share some tips and tricks of the trade in Eating alone: Part One – that’s too much effing food on your plate.

Have a lovely Monday and go get something accomplished!