Thursday, December 13, 2012

A DIY Christmas

I had my last final of the semester yesterday, and I can't wait to go home on Saturday! Christmas has always been my favorite time of year – close family, good food and presents are a winning combination in my book! But, it's always better to give than receive right?
Here are some things on my DIY list to make for the "nice" ones of my friends and family (click the numbers underneath the pictures for the links to the tutorials):

For the extended family: Mason jar gifts that can survive the ten hour drive.

1 / 2

For the brother with kids: Thoughtful gifts that can survive in the mail from Florida to Nebraska.

3 / 4

For the friends: Gifts I don't mind making a few of.

5 / 6

For more DIY ideas check out my Pinterest.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Perfect Ponies

As a college student, I don't really have much time to dedicate to perfect hairstyling everyday, but that doesn't mean I can't look cute! My favorite look: the humble ponytail. Ponytails are a trendy and easy hairstyle to wear, and there are a lot of ways to dress them up. Take your ponytail from mundane to fabulous with these few, easy ponytail tutorials I've corralled (click the links below the pictures to find the tutorials):

1 / 2

3 / 4

 5 / 6 / 7

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Container Gardening

I should preface this post with the truth: I do not have a green thumb. However, I've always been fascinated with growing produce for consumption. This mixture has led to, I'm sure you can imagine, a lot of subpar harvests of sad, little plants.
Now that I'm cooking a lot, I really want to use fresh herbs and vegetables from my own garden. I have the perfect spot for a little garden, and I've been doing a lot of research on container gardening and what I should plant. I found a lot of great resources for natural, homemade pesticides and fertilizers as well as a few helpful tips for a quick perusal. Here are some of my favorites links:

Choosing a container:

Soil solutions:

Organic fertilizers:

Homemade Pesticides:

What to plant:

In general:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Leave-in Hair Growth Treatment

Since donating my hair, I've had an obsession with attempting to grow my hair the longest I can in the fastest way. In a previous post, I made a wash-out oil treatment. This treatment has a lot of the same ingredients, but it's a daily leave-in spray. Let's get to it!

So obviously I didn't make enough to fill this spray bottle, but in my defense, I was going to use a smaller bottle.

 Here's what you'll need and an estimation of how much of each I used:

2 bags - Camomile tea (make sure it's 100% camomile) or Peppermint tea
1/2 tbs - Dry Rosemary leaves
5 tsp - Lemon juice (from the bottle or the real thing) I added this to lighten my hair - you may skip it if you wish.
1 cup - water

(Just a side note, chamomile will lighten hair - especially if exposed to heat or sun.)

Heat up your water and put in into a cup or jar to steep with the two chamomile tea bags. Leave it be for now.

Take the Rosemary leaves and grind them as fine as possible. Of course, a mortar and pestle is so helpful with this step, but getting the leaves super fine isn't truly necessary. Let's go back to our steeped tea. 

Remove the tea bags and stir in the lemon juice!

Now stir in the Rosemary leaves. I put this in a jar that I could shake but I don't think that's entirely necessary. Now I let this mixture sit for an entire day because I wanted the rosemary to steep as much as possible.

In order to get this to spray, I had to strain the rosemary from it before I placed it in its final bottle.

I really love this spray! Firstly, because it's super fast to apply; secondly, it feels really light and bright on. Personally, I added a touch of apple cider vinegar, and it smells really good too - even though I put vinegar in it. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DIY: Dip Bleached Shorts

As I was rifling through my closet, I unearthed these pair of shorts. I've had them for... ever. Too long and not stylish at all just boring they were long overdue for a restyle. I chose to do something fairly simple, easy and cute. My plan: a cuffed, dip bleached look.

I started off by cuffing them. I marked the length I wanted them to be while I was wearing them, cuffed them and slipped them off. This is optional, but I wanted the cuff to be permanent so I pulled out my thread and needle and did a quick cross stitch on the four seams of the legs. Nothing too fancy but now I know I won't have to mess around with the cuffs anymore.

Now to bleach. I filled a tub with undiluted bleach and slipped the shorts in as far as I wanted the brightest portion to be. The amount of time you leave them in will depend on how thick your denim is. These were thin so I left them in for about a half hour. (Another pair I bleached I had to leave in bleach overnight... three times.) After the half hour, I took them out and let them dry in the sun.

Of course dipping them alone didn't produce perfect results. To even them up a bit, I used a bit of undiluted bleach in a spray bottle. I merely sprayed it on lightly where more bleach was needed and let it dry.

I really like how these turned out, and they were super easy!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

DIY: Natural Hair Lengthener

Not too long ago I donated eight inches of my hair. Although it was going to a good cause and I don't regret donating, I do miss having my long hair. Luckily, my hair grows pretty fast, but I really wanted to kickstart it as well as I could. So I looked around a bit and found some natural ingredients that supposedly help hair growth and I came up with a recipe that I'm hoping will show some real results.

In addition to boosting hair growth, this should soften and subtly lighten hair. I tried it out and although I can't speak of it's hair growing properties, it did soften my hair.

Here are the ingredients:
Coconut Oil
Lemon Juice (optional: I've wanted to subtly lighten my hair)
Dry Rosemary Leaves (or Rosemary Oil)

Also optional is rinsing it out with Apple Cider Vinegar.
Melt the coconut oil and mix it together with the lemon juice in a 2:1 ratio. 
Now take your dry Rosemary leaves and crush them as fine as you can. Having a mortar and pestle really helps with this step!
Mix up the Rosemary leaves with the coconut oil and lemon juice mixture and you're done!

What you're going to want to do is massage this mixture into your scalp and through your hair. Leave it in your hair for about four hours, or ideally, overnight then rinse it out with cold water. (Make sure it's mixed really well before you put it in your hair - separation is natural.)

I really liked this treatment (even though I smelled a little bit like a salad...) and will probably do it once a / every other week. I can't wait to see how it works in a few months.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DIY Quick & Easy Hamper

I've been moving around quite a bit lately, and I was forced to downsize dramatically. Somewhere along the way I lost my laundry basket - not that it would have fit in my new place anyway. Nonetheless, I needed something smaller and that would fit in a rather awkward place in my more than full closet. I've had this idea for a while, but I didn't have dress I was willing to use. Then I received a hand-me-down. Certainly not my first choice for this project, but I like free stuff too much to just give it away when I knew it was the perfect shape.

Regardless of my initial trepidation, this was so easy and simple, and it works perfectly for me.

Here's what I did to turn an awful dress into an ugly but useful hamper: first, I cut the neckline to make a larger opening then I flipped it inside out and pinned the bottom. One simple straight seam later and I've got a hanging hamper (after cutting off the excess fringe and dress of course.) I could have stopped there, but I wanted to stabilize it on the hanger. After two seams on the straps to keep it on the hanger, I'm finished. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

DIY Braided Horsehair Bracelet

As a horse lover, there is a certain charm to wearing a little part of a favorite horse around. Thankfully, horsehair is a resilient material and makes a perfect bracelet.

Here's what I used to fashion a bracelet:
1 pin
1 lobster clasp
2 jump rings
2 "cord clasps" (I don't know the actual name for these, but they are made to clasp around a cord.)

You'll also need these items not pictured:
needle-nose pliers
super glue

Of course, you'll also need horsehair. A favorite lesson horse of mine graciously provided his entire mane as he was getting his long mane clipped to a respectable length. Where you'll want to take the hair depends on the horse. The best bet is usually the tail hair - it's longer and thicker. Obviously, contrary to this, though, I took hair from the horse's mane, but luckily he has very thick hair.
First thing I did was equal up one end of the hairs as close as possible and tied a knot. Because horsehair doesn't stay in a knot, I used the pin to secure the hair to a piece of wood by just pinning it right through the middle of the knot. This allowed me to braid the hair tightly. 

Braid as far as you can and tie the other end in a knot. Measure the braid around your wrist and figure out how long it will need to be to fit comfortably. Knot the hair a little above the length you'll want. Pull both knots as tight as possible and glue the ends right before the knot. Let the glue dry before clipping off the knot. This should leave a nice corded end.

Drop some more super glue on the inside of the clasp before setting the hair end into it. Take your needle-nose pliers and clasps both ends closed. I used a couple more drops of super glue on both end of the clasp to add extra security. 

I used a jump ring to attach the lobster clasp and the other to be the ring for the clasp. To clean things up a bit, I had to clip some of the errant hairs from the braid.

Super easy and I'm pretty pleased with the outcome! Now I want to make horsehair bracelets from all the horses in my life!