Great Big Family Weekend, Plus a Tutorial

This past weekend was great big fun. Mr. Grassroofs’ family came down from the Raleigh area to see him as the wonderfully, childish Jack The Giant Killer. They loved him and we loved having so much family around and the dogs loved all the attention.

Family weekend 1 One of these beloved family members had recently had a birthday. So, I took advantage of some of my favorite farmers market connections. Jodi, of Hot Pink Cake Stand, made the most delicious and beautiful custom cake for Carolyn. The cake itself was Lavender and Honey, topped with a dense and delightful Bourbon Vanilla frosting. And…I’m decently sure she made each of those flowers by hand. Handmade flowers!

At Jodi’s place, they serve cupcakes and wine all the time. They do monthly pairings. The place is doggone cute! Family Weekend 2 Bolstered by all the love in the room, I decided to try a craft that I’d seen around the Pin-o-sphere. I painted these beer bottles we had around- three were painted white and three the teal color shown in the picture.

I’ve seen this project done with twine, but as I didn’t have any, I used yarn. I wrapped the yarn tightly around the bottle, glueing with hot glue periodically. Repurposed Beer Bottle Vases The two shown in the picture are my first two attempts. They got better as I made more, as things like that tend to do. The bottle on the left was wrapped from top to bottom, while the one on the right was wrapped from bottom to top. I DEFINITELY recommend going from top to bottom. The wrapping is easier, faster and more consistent; you also use less glue which leaves a more polished, less “arts and crafts” feel. Repurposed Beer Bottle Vases

So basically, the weekend was a huge success, but now I want to know what unusual flavors of cakes have you had recently? What would you put in a case made of a repurposed beer bottle?

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Easy, Peasy, Fizzy Bath Bombs

Ahhhhh! For reasons I won’t bore you with, I’m having flashbacks to my high school years when my family would go on a winter vacation to Myrtle Beach.  I know, who goes to the beach in the winter?  But we did, and I have really fond memories of those trips.  We stayed in this great big hotel room, taking with us a tiny, Charlie Brown-esque Christmas tree, our presents, tons of board games and loads of movies.  My family spent a lot of time in the room or at the indoor/outdoor pool (did I mention how cool it was that the pool was both in- and outdoors?!), just enjoying each other; but occasionally, we would venture out of the room to this fantastically tacky gem called Broadway at the Beach.

One of the stores became a staple of our trips because it sold fizzy bath bombs in all manner of sizes, shapes, and scents.  My brother and I always got to pick out a gigantic ball of baking soda, go back to the oversized jacuzzi tub and enjoy the lap of luxury.  It was delightful.

So, when I found the recipe for bath bombs on pinterest,  I knew I had to try it.
Relaxing, Fizzy, Bath Bombs

You’ll need:

  • 1-2 drops of food coloring
  • 3 drops of vitamin e oil
  • 4-5 drops of essential oil of your choice
  • 2 cups of corn starch
  • 1 3/4 cups of Baking soda
  • 1 cup of citric acid (often found in the canning section)
  • a spray bottle of waterRelaxing, Fizzy, Bath Bombs
  1. Mix all dry ingredients- corn starch, baking soda, and citric acid.
  2. Add the wet ingredients (food coloring, vitamin e oil, and essential oil) to the spray bottle of water. Note: If you can only get your hands on water, that’s okay too.  The essential oil is only for scent purposes.  The vitamin e oil has moisturizing power.  And the food coloring is just for fun.  You can make these bombs unscented and white if that is your preference.Relaxing, Fizzy, Bath Bombs
  3. Begin the “spray and stir” phase by giving one spray of the water mixture and stirring it into the dry ingredients. Continue spraying and stirring until the mix starts to stick to itself.  Go slowly, as over wetting the mixture could ruin it.
  4. Spoon the new mixture into molds.  The mix may “muffin” over the edges of the mold, so use the back of the spoon to press it back down down.  You have to press it down several times.Relaxing, Fizzy, Bath Bombs
  5. After most of the bubbling over has stopped, allow the mold to sit still at room temperature for several hours.
  6. Then take a deliciously lovely bath with your new water-softening, moisturizing bath bombs.

What else do you do to enjoy baths (family-freindly answers only, of course)?

 

 

Easy, DIY Gel Air Freshener

Sooooooo, sorry we missed Mr. Grassroofs Monday and the Wednesday post!  Eeek! I’ll be sure to make Mr. Grassroofs do something extra awesome next Monday.  To our credit, we did build this awesome stage set last weekend.  And Mr. G’s show opens tomorrow! He’s been working fiendishly, method acting, for his childish role as Jack (as in, with the beanstalk). Ready to take on giants and steal harps with debonaire childish-ness.

Easy, DIY Gel Air Freshener

Today I want to make sure you can make air freshener! We all have stinky places in our home or work place and we need to get. those. gone.  These little guys are so easy and cheap, plus they make great gifts! Keep them in a closet for those last minute house parties, etc.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 Tablespoons of salt
  • 4 packets of Gelatin
  • food coloring
  • essential oilsEasy, DIY Gel Air Freshener
  1. Add the salt to water and heat the water until the salt dissolves.
  2. Add the gelatin and continue heating until that dissolves.
  3. If you want all the scents and coloring to be the same, add 3-4 drops of food coloring and 3-4 drops of essential oil to the pot now.
  4. If you want a variety, pour the water mixture into mason jars.  Then tap in 1-2 drops of food coloring and 1-2 drops of essential oil in each jar.
  5. Refrigerate for a few hours. Enjoy!
    Easy, DIY Gel Air Freshener

These little guys should stay gel-y at room temperature, but I would not recommend leaving them in a summery car.  And when the  scent expires, just tap some more essential oil onto the gel blob and rest easy in our new sweet smelling oasis of freshness.

What else do you do to freshen your home?

Simple and Cheap Bird Feeders

Phew! Where did the summer go?  I woke up this morning and had a serious freak out when I realized I could count the days before gearing back up for work.  I also had to come to grips with the fact that I made my summer “to accomplish” list far too ambitious. I had visions of monetizing this blog, getting my school blog in working order, starting an Etsy shop, getting my TPT stuff looking immaculate, continuing with the renovations on our home, fixing up our guest house as a studio space, and having a delectably productive garden to boot.  Do you ever make to-do lists that are too ambitious?

Well, part of the summer to-do list was a digital cleaning house on Pinterest.  I mentioned that last time, when we made sugar scrub together.  Today’s work on the Pinteresting spring cleaning is to bring you the bird feeders Mr. Grassroofs and I used as favors for our wedding guests.  Holy cow! I’ve been married to that guy for almost 7 months now?! I think I’ll start compiling a list of celebrities who I’ve beaten at length-of-marriage.

Easy, Cheap, Bird Feeders

Anyhow, I loved these bird feeders as soon as I came across them because of their little/no impact quality.  After the birds eat all the seed, the only thing left is the tiny piece of string used to hang it from the tree. If you ensure that your yarn is 100% cotton or wool, then it’ll biodegrade or be used by a little chirper in the family nest.

You’ll start by combining all your ingredients except the bird seed: 3/4 cup flour, an envelope of gelatin, 1/2 cup water, and 3 Tablespoons of corn syrup.  Mix these ingredients together in a large bowl until you have a pasty consistency and all the ingredients are incorporated.
Easy, Cheap, Bird Feeders

Next, you’ll add 4 cups of bird seed to the paste.  Adding one cup at a time will yield better results.

Easy, Cheap, Bird Feeders

Once you’ve incorporated all four cups of bird seed, press the mixture into cookie cutters.

Use a skewer or a straw to create a hole in each feeder for a ribbon/string later.  Let the bird feeders sit for several hours before carefully pressing them out of the cookie cutter.  Add a string through the hole and tie that little guy up in a tree.  Then sit close by and wait for it to become a tasty bird snack!

Easy, Cheap, Bird FeedersAfter you’ve made your bird feeders, tell me how you cope with making overly ambitious to-do lists.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 envelope gelatin
  • 3 T corn syrup
  • 4 cups of bird seed

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the bird seed to create a pasty substance
  2. Add the bird seed, one cup at a time until it is all incorporated
  3. Press the new mixture into cookie cutters and molds
  4. Use a straw or screw to create a hole in each shape
  5. Let dry for several hours, then carefully press out of the cookie cutters
  6. Thread a string through the hole and tie the other end to create a hanger
  7. Hang your work in a tree and enjoy watching the birds delight over it

 

Nearly Delicious, Lemon Sugar Scrub

 

Do you ever fall prey to Pinterest?  Scrolling and pinning, scrolling and pinning.  My grandmother used to say that my eyes were bigger than my stomach, and when it come to Pinterest, I am absolutely guilty of pinning projects I may never do and then forgetting that I ever pinned them in the first place.

But the farmer’s market has been a great catalyst for me to “clean up” my profile.  I’ve been actually doing the projects I’ve pinned, and so I’m basically a super hero.  I’ll post the cape tutorial next week.

Relaxing Lemon, Sugar Scrub

This sugar scrub was one of the first to be tackled.  Can you tell I did this outside?  I wanted to light to be better for photos.  Did it work?

The sugar scrub is perfect for after gardening or a day at the beach, plus it smells delightful!

Relaxing Lemon, Sugar Scrub

First, melt 1/2 cup of coconut oil into a mason jar (I suppose you could use something else, but who doesn’t love mason jars?!). Add three drops of Vitamin E oil for moisturizing magic, three more of the essential oil of your choice, and three more of yellow food coloring.

You can vary the amounts and types of amendments based on your preference. Skip the food coloring, change the scent, etc.

Relaxing Lemon, Sugar Scrub

Then mix the contents with a cup and a half of sugar.  You should get a lovely little sugar scrub consistency.  Try not to eat it!

I found that this proportion made 4 tiny jars worth of sugar scrub, and they were a big hit at the market.

Adapted from the lovely writers at Loves Grows Wild.

 

$1.50 Upcycled Purse Tutorial

Mr. Grassroofs and I keep ducks and chickens- you may have read about them.  With eight chickens and six ducks, despite their free range nature, we go through quite a bit of commercial food. But no need to throw those feed sacks right in the trash can! Luckily I’m pretty handy with a sewing machine, so I whipped up these coin purses.  And you can to!

$1.50 Feed Sack Purse Tutorial

The first step is to get zippers.  I found mine at Walmart.  I try never to go to Walmart, but they are the only supplier of…many things in our tiny beach town.  But the double fluorescents and expansive selection revealed 7 inch zippers that were only $1.50.  I nabbed 6, because I knew I’d be selling them at the Farmer’s Market$1.50 Feed Sack Purse Tutorial

Next, cut rectangles that are the same length as the zipper and your desired depth.  My zippers were about 9 inches long (7 inches of usable zipper and nearly two inches of buffer).  So I cut rectangles that were 9 inches by 6 inches- I knew that would give me a purse that was long enough for bills and deep enough for credit cards, which is about all I was after.  You can, of course, adjust the dimensions to suit your awesome intentions.$1.50 Feed Sack Purse Tutorial

Then, sew one rectangle to each side of the zipper.  Using a zipper foot is the ideal scenario, but you could make it work with a regular sewing foot.

Feed Sack 5

After that, I added an additonal stitch on each side to hold down my seam allowance.  You cold opt to snip it close to the stitch line if you were really averse to sewing again.

Fold the purse so that it is inside out, but is the same shape as the finished purse will be. (Apologies for not having a picture; I got a little trigger happy with the delete button- whoops!).

Sew the two short sides, ensuring you go back over the zipper tails to really hold them in place.

UNZIP THE ZIPPER before sewing the remaining long side.  I cannot stress enough that unzipping the zipper before continuing will make your life sooooooo much easier in the long run.  Take it from somebody who had to eeek open several purses that had been sewn shut!

Feed Sack 6

Flip your little guy right-side-out and straighten all the seams out.  Just like that, you’re done!  These are totally easy and take about 5 minutes each to make.Feed Sack 7Let me know how it goes when you try it out!  What other repurposes could there be for an empty feed sack?

 

4 Steps to a Rad Wedding

4 steps to a rad wedding

Have you been to a wedding? Chances are you’re nodding your head, and probably scoffing a little bit at the mere suggestion you hadn’t. Well, before our own wedding, Mr. Grassroofs and I weren’t very seasoned wedding-goers- each of us having only been to a couple in our lives.  This shameful deficit of wedding attendance made for a big job when tackling the exciting yet terrifying monster that was our own wedding.

We read and crafted and saved and emailed and crafted and signed and crafted and begged and crafted.  We glued and crafted and folded and crafted.  We worked and crafted.  There was a lot of crafting that needed to be done over the course of the year preceding our wedding.  And of course, when the big day finally arrived, we were so grateful for the crafting.  We can’t say for certain that our guests enjoyed themselves, but we have it on good authority that they did.  Mr. Grassroofs and I had a great time; we were so happy to be married and so proud of the work that we did.

As time as has passed since our wedding, I’ve had this fear that I’d never be able to attend another wedding without getting a tad…judgy.  Hey, I’m working on it! But I’d be lying if I said I never got judgy. Right after we got Huxley, I feared I’d never be able to have another dog because I just loved that guy so freaking much.  Luckily, just as Fitz proved me wrong on the dog front, a college friend proved me wrong on the wedding front.

Step 1: Get a great venue

Katie and Matt were married on this beautiful farm.  It was a teensy bit rainy, but that only served to add to the ambience. The backdrop was beautiful in it is own right, so Katie and Matt made the perfect choice not to add too much to the ceremony location.  I love the simple lanterns and plants flanking either side and the arbor.  Their ceremony was augmented by an immensely talented bluegrass/americana group who reminded us that a Mason jar filled with moonshine and a good flannel shirt are all anybody needs to be happy.

After the ceremony, we made our way down this lantern-lit path to a  wonderful barn- a barn that was maybe never actually used for keeping animals.

Step 2: Pretty up the entrance

The burlap curtains and all the natural textures at the entrance to the reception venue were perfect.  We felt so at ease and comfortable. The two of them did a fantastic job of continuing those textures throughout the whole reception.

Step 3: Make the tables lovely

The tables were also a perfect.  There was no need for chargers and loads of silverware.  We loved the high contrast between the plates and the color palate of the rest of the table.  The center pieces were wood discs with a variety of differently sized mason jars on top.  Some of the jars held floating candles, some baby’s breath.  Some of the jars were adorned with wire lantern hangers and some were tied with hemp.  We especially thought the variety of colors in the floating candles was a nice touch. My absolute favorite touch was the table numbers.  They sat atop tiny wood discs.  The numbers had been “modge-podged” with quilty, country fabrics.

Step 4: Be perfectly and Incandescently happy

 

In the end though, the pure and complete happiness of the couple and the guests are what made the whole thing so utterly enjoyable.  Katie and Matt are a beautiful couple with hilarious friends!  If their wedding is any indication of their marriage, they’re destined for Happily Ever After.