Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kale Chips...are DA BOMB....204 Days to go

Alright, I know it isn't clothing related...but not all my posts are, and many of my readers are interested in improving their I figured you may be interested in Kale Chips! They are SUPER easy to make, super delicious, and super healthy.  They are so good that I've replaced regular potato chips with them (and I LOVE chips, they are my biggest vice! Or, they were)

Here's how ya do it:
(Preheat oven to 350 degrees)
1) Tear up some Kale, put it on a cookie sheet.

2) Drizzle the kale with olive oil (I measure it out first so I don't glop too much on. I use 1 tbsp for a cookie sheet full) 

3) Toss the Kale in the olive oil on the sheet, to make sure it is well covered. 

4) Put some spices on it. I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a teeny bit of sugar.

5) Bake for 11-15 minutes (depends on your oven, check EARLY and only cook it longer if it really needs it. Better to err on the side of undercooked on this one, as it burns easily)

6) Cool, and eat. Yum  yum yum!

Any other good healthy snacks you are a fan of? I've also been really digging Kettle Corn lately...mmm, I should make some of that...soon....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hiatus and Candle Fixing.....205 Days To Go!!!!

Again, I have been gone for awhile.  At my school, we have a 6 week break over the winter.  You see, most of the time I am at my computer because I have to be, for school or for studying.  So, when school is not in session, I try to get away from the computer a bit and get out into the Real World.  And I did a lot of that over break...lots of cross-country skiing, etc. But, it meant that my blog has been woefully left behind. For that I apologize!!  I probably shouldn't have started this blog while in school, but it can be good to test one's limits while stressed, I guess:)

So, candle fixing. Let me preface this by saying that I fix a lot of stuff...but if the appearance of it isn't integral to the function (which is not the case with sewing), I will just let it stay ugly.

My sister sent me a surprise care package this week...including some bento goodies, household things, and a pair of candlesticks she picked up at Farmer's Market. Well, woe to me, they were broken in a couple spots, probably do to their shipment.  I really wanted to use them, because they smell fantastic and I've actually needed a pair of candle sticks.  So, I decided to fix them.

I looked up a few tutorials and it all involved melting candle wax in a double boiler, and doing all sorts of finishing work. Well, I didn't feel like I really NEEDED to do all that. So I figured out my own way.  I didn't think to post about it until after I was done. So I went back and tried to make a tutorial of sorts. It's really easy.

In this picture I'm pointing to where one of the cracks was. Both had 2 cracks each, and you can see where they were in the finished picture.

1)  Put out some foil for the candles to sit on

2) Gather supplies....birthday candles, something to light the birthday candles with and an area where it's safe to use fire.

3)  Light the birthday candle and let the wax drip into and around the crack in the candle.  (You can't see it as well on these ones because it's already done).

4)  Let the wax you've applied to the crack on that side harden thoroughly (go do something for 15 minutes or more), and then come back, turn the candle, and drop the wax into the parts of the crack that are not "waxed" yet.

5) Let the whole thing harden after you've filled the cracks (and you can't really overfill them, so feel free to go crazy...better to err on the side of too much wax than not enough).

6) (optional) Mine had a flaky outer appearance, and so I finished it by running a match close to the surface of the candle on all sides, just so that the patches blended a little better. I ended up using a yellow candle (not in the demo, but beforehand) and I have some Greenbay Packers colors now, so I will have to light these during the superbowl:)

So there you have it, they aren't perfect, but they are use-able now.

Can't wait to light these babies up and shed a little light on things around here:) Ha ha ha! Hope you are all doing well!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I hate the term "no 'poo"....230 days to go!!!

So, without being able to shop for clothes, I have to find something else to fill my time:). Naturally, living with less, living simply, sustainable living, etc., are all topics that go hand in hand with a no new clothes challenge. One thing I have always wanted to try was to go "No 'Poo." Now, I hate that term. So, I am searching for a good work alternative. But, it means to cleanse your hair with no shampoo.  Most people will start doing this by using a baking soda was and vinegar rinse. Then, they will taper off to where they use it less and less...sometimes not using anything but water in the end.

Now, the concept makes sense to me.  I mean, shampoo and conditioner are relatively recent additions to the hygiene repetoire. Of course, one could argue that toothbrushing is fairly recent, in a historical sense.  But, it just seems as though we shouldn't NEED shampoo and conditioner. 

I grew out all hair processing I had done on my's taken about 2 years. I also haven't had a haircut in all that time (I know, I know). So, I've been going more "natural" for awhile. I like my hair texture, color, and look better now than when I had it colored, etc. It is shiny, stronger, more natural body, etc. (which is a big deal for my fine, thin, limp hair!). So, naturally, I wonder if I would like going "no 'poo" (shudder at the term)...

Additionally, I used to have really bad skin. Now, my skin is great. I found that the key is LESS. I only wash my face once a day, and only if I wore makeup that day (which is most days, but I do not wear heavy makeup). I use Purpose bar soap on my face, and the cheapest moisturizer Avon makes. That's about it! My skin is better now than when I used to use expensive cleansers, moisturizers, serums, etc. My Mom has beautiful skin, and she has a really simple routine with regular drugstore products...and I can't believe how wonderful her skin looks! Looks better than people my age!

Anyway, so all of that kind of makes me think that natural and simple is better. Plus, using non-detergents, and more enviro-friendly products is always a huge plus. And, if eventually I could just wash my hair with water...well I'd be super stoked. So, I am thinking of trying it.  Have any if you tried it? Thoughts and opinions? Advice? I guess I'm just kind of thinking out loud here:)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Post Finals and Holiday MADNESS!:).....231 days to go!!!

Welllll, finals and holidays are over...and I am back:). I've been rather remiss in my posting, for which I apologize. However, this tends to be a busy time of year for all...personally I am just catching up on The Internet (yes, it needs to be Caught Up On).   I hope you ALL had a WONDERFUL holiday season!

This year, for Christmas, my husband and I found much more joy in giving than getting. Don't get me wrong...we received SO MANY generous wonderful gifts that we love. I'm just saying that we enjoyed giving gifts so much this year.  It was really what we were most excited for.  And, of course, due to bargain shopping, I have been saving up gifts for people since this summer.  Here's a beautifully wrapped gift that my Dad put together:) How creative is he!!!

Silver and White Packages Tied up With Ribbon...(gift wrapping is one of my favorite things to do!)

This year, we used re-usable ACTUAL ribbon on gifts, which I got back (I felt kinda bad asking for the ribbon back, but otherwise it would have been disposed of), and will use next year. The paper was recyclable.

We decorated our humble little tree with origami figures, just like last year, but added a few to the "pack." We have a handful of actual, flat ornaments, as well.  It's nice because we can pack all of these flat into an envelope...instead of boxes and boxes of ornaments.  I made the topper out of a sash I found at a fabric store for $3. If I ever get sick of it, I can use it as an accent on a dress! Or even as a throw pillow accent or something...

We did, however, get LED lights for our tree this year. Last year, we used regular, less expensive lights and they burned out TWICE! It was ridiculous. But the upside is that these will last longer, use less energy, and they look awesome when the lights are out....

However, as always, the best moments of the holiday involved the 3 F's...Family Food and Fun (haha!! what did you think I was gonna say?). Here's the gingerbread house my Mom and I made. She wanted to make it pretty...and I had had a lot of wine. can see what happened. We had fun though, which is what counts!

(The tree has fallen down, I went nuts with the icing, and just ate a lot of the candy....good times! Mom was the only reason this gingerbread house looks halfway decent!)

Hope your holidays were spectacular. So, tell me, what are your NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS??? I don't have any yet. I guess that means I'm pretty happy with things. But..if I get any, I'll fill ya in!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How To Make a Little Gift Bag!.....250 Days To GO!!!!

Well 250 is a nice neat little number, isn't it? Half of 500...115 days down. Goes pretty fast! I'm taking a break mid-finals to do a little tutorial, inspired my my Christmas preparation.  I've whipped up these little bags since I was in middle school. This year, some ladies in my life are getting these little bags stuffed with some nice goodies! (but I won't tell what they are in case any of those ladies read this:)).

First, the particulars....I picked out 2 fabrics (on my challenge it's ok to get fabric stuff if not for clothes, because I can't spend any money on clothes blah blah blah!). I just got 1/8 yard of each of the 2 fabrics I picked. So, the fabric totaled $0.87! Then, I got a spool of black, narrow ribbon....$0.47.  I used a couple beads I have on hand, since I occasionally do beading.

Of course, you can use any remnants to do this project, and you can use bits of ribbon you already have. I didn't have any suitable fabric remnants or ribbon for this project, so I had to buy it. But it is still very affordable. 

So, I started with strips of the fabric that were the same width all the way down.  Although I made these "nice" I wasn't super picky about the details. It's just not that big of a deal when making little bags!

*Oh, and I serged the non-selvage edges of all the fabric, but I didn't include that step because it's not essential, and most people don't have a serger.  And, I had a problem with my serger (my serger and I have a very tenuous relationship!), so the serging looks awful. But, it's there to keep the edges from fraying, and not to be that pretty! 


1)  First, fold the piece of fabric in half lengthwise...

2)  Next, iron at the halfway point, as shown...

3)  Cut at the crease to cut the fabric in half exactly....

So it ends up like this...of course...

4)  Pin the pretty sides of the fabric together, as shown...

5)  On one side, measure down double the width you want the tie-pocket to be, put a red pin or marking in that spot. 

6)  Start at the red pin, and sew all the way around, pivoting at the corners, and backtacking thoroughly at the beginning and end....

 It should look like this when you are done...

7)  Trim the bottom corners like so, so that they will turn easier when the time comes....

8)  Next, take the open edges above the red pin, pin them inwards, and....

9)  ...Sew those edges down so that the edge of the tie-pocket looks clean and finished

10)  Next, Fold the top towards the inside so that there will be enough room to get the tie in, but so that the tie-pocket will be adequately battened down....measure at the seams to make sure it is continuous, and pin it....

11) And then sew it down (can be a challenge on a tiny bag like this one!) 

12) Turn the bag pretty-side out! Time to thread the ribbon tie into the tie pocket!

13) I put one end of the tiny ribbon in a tiny safety pin (the kind they pin tags into garments with), and I left the other end on the spool, which anchors it just fine.

14) I threaded it through the tie-pocket, using the safety pin to grab it and pull it through, through the outer fabric. 

15)  When I finished with that, I took one end, and I tied a knot about 1.5" down, and then I used a needle to thread a bead onto the ribbon...

16) Then I tied a knot on the other side of the bead, very close to the bead, and trimmed!!

YOU ARE DONE! It is that easy. 

You get the hang of it really quickly, as it is a pretty simple project:).  Here's all the finished baggies I am making...(as of now)....

So are you including handmade gifts in your Christmas gifts? (Knowing this crowd, I bet you are:)) What are you including that you made? Any exciting holiday plans? Fill me in below:) Thanks for stopping by!!! Hope your Holiday prep is going great!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dress Challenge......258 days to go!

Oh hi there! How are you guys doing? Well, classes ended for the semester (yesterday), and now it is FINALS! At my school we have 2 weeks of finals, and a partial reading week. So, it kind of goes on forever. And ever. And ever. It has also been extremely frigid in the area of the world where I live. Tons of snow, below freezing at times, etc.

One thing that happens to me, very commonly, is that when the semester is starting to wrap up, and temperatures are dropping, I tend to become very schlep-y. I get in a clothing rut, dress in only my comfiest, warmest clothes, and generally look very blah. So this year I decided to wear a skirt or dress for the last 10 days of class (not finals. I even allow myself to wear sweats during finals). It went pretty well. Here are my findings...

1)  I felt more confident and business-like

2)  I got a lot of compliments...which is never a bad thing

3)  I re-discovered many dresses and outfits I'd never even thought of, further broadening my wardrobe! (which is a very good thing when on a no-buy!)

4)  Sometimes tights and a dress are even warmer than regular pants would be!

5)  Dresses and tights take up less room in the washer than jeans and sweaters. Which is pretty awesome when I'm already busy and don't have time to do 8,000 loads of laundry every week.

6)  It is much easier to update an existing outfit with a new pair of tights than to get a new outfit.  (If you'll remember, I am allowed to replace undies on this challenge, and to replace worn out hosiery...and all of my tights were in rough shape!)

7)  It was kind of fun to play dress up! When I was in gradeschool, I wouldn't wear pants. I wore skirts and dresses every day. I even did this for awhile in highschool. Once I got to college, that kind of ended. So it was fun to revisit all of that and play dress up.

8)  I liked it so much that I may even continue to dress up with more frequency!

All-in-all, avoiding the pre-finals schlep was a very good move.  Having so many more outfit combos at my disposal now really has opened up some clothing doors and helped quell any new-clothes cravings (easy to get this time of year with all the awesome sales around). 

So tell me, how much do you dress up during the winter? What are your go-to stay-warm styles? Any other thoughts on avoiding the schlep and staying warm at the same time?

Well, as I enter finals I suspect I will be a lazy poster for a little while longer. However, I will be back with a vengeance when the semester is over!:) Hope your pre-holiday times are going swimmingly!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

BLACK FRIDAY.................268 days to go!

Well, faithful readers and friends, I have been very remiss in my posting.  Around this time of year, I always become lost in the holidays and in school (the pre-finals rush! Yay....?).  However, now that there is a calm before the storm of Christmas and Finals, AND it is Black Friday, I figured I should write SOMETHING!

So, Black Friday. I did not shop for ANYTHING today. I didn't buy a single Christmas gift, I definitely didn't buy anything for myself, and I actually didn't buy anything as small as a cup of coffee.  I guess I remember Black Friday's rise to fame. It used to be an occasion only the bravest of the brave traveled out to enjoy. But now it is a retailer's heyday, and everyone participates. I guess I have trouble getting behind that, unless there is a truly phenomenal deal to be had (and let's be honest, no one wants to get up at 5 a.m. after a giant Thanksgiving feast to acquire any deals).

I suspect it is time for a real CHALLENGE UPDATE since I'm almost 100 days down (I think? Bad at math...why I'm in law school....HA!). Aside from the fact that I have most of the Christmas gifts for people that I need, I've felt lately like it all just doesn't matter that much.  Somehow, this no-new-clothes challenge has really made me realize how little I need all that. I already have good clothes, I don't need new ones. It's turned off the consumerist switch that corporate America installed inside of my brain (Yes, I'm gonna blame corporate America here:)).  Today, I was brainstorming a few final gifts to get....and I realized that I hadn't thought about buying clothes for a long, long time. I didn't even miss it. And that, my friends, felt FABULOUS :). 

In the meantime, I found much joy in hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time.  Also, for the first time, most of my husband and my families gathered together on a holiday.  It was very special, and I had a wonderful time preparing a good dinner, and setting a pretty table.  I enjoy few things more than having time with my loved ones, and serving up some good eats! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, with another wonderful holiday to come in a month:)

My First Thanksgiving Table (Before dinner was served!):

(I got a great deal on some napkin rings that you can draw on with markers....they double as place cards because you can write everyone's name on them! It was a fun little table addition).