DIY Coffee-Infused Natural Skincare Products

Receiving my monthly boxes from Petit Vour have been really inspiring. After considering the fact that my skin absorbs whatever I put on it, I realized that so many products I use contain all sorts of chemicals and undesirable stuff that can actually make my skin worse.I've been happily pinning all sorts of natural and DIY skincare and makeup recipes. One that really intrigued me was a recipe for coffee-infused eye cream. Caffeine is supposed to help reduce puffiness and also help with cellulite. I decided to give it a go and started by infusing my oil.To do this I ground about 1/2 cup of fresh coffee beans and tossed them in a pint-sized mason jar. Then I covered the coffee grounds in castor oil and set the jar in a pot 1/3 full with water. I set the pot on top of our gas stove/fireplace and stirred it every 10 minutes or so for about an hour. You don't want the oil to get too hot, just enough to steep the coffee.After the oil had steeped it needed to be strained. I strained it through a mesh strainer and realized that I had a ton of beautiful, glistening coffee grounds that would be perfect for a body scrub. So I saved those and used them to create a luxurious sugar scrub. After the oil was strained I let it settle out to get the little flecks of coffee to settle on the bottom.[responsive]IMG_3132[/responsive]Here is my recipe for the Coffee-Infused Eye Cream:1 tbsp Cocoa Butter1 tbsp Shea Butter1 tbsp Coffee-Infused Castor Oil1 tsp Vitamin E Oil8 drops Lavender Essential OilBasically you just have to melt the shea and cocoa butters together, then add the rest of the ingredients. Let cool till it's semi-solid and whip it with a fork. Then transfer to a clean, dry container (I used an old baby food jar – perfect for this sort of thing!).The eye cream is a little oily so next time I think I will add some beeswax to take away from the oiliness. It's perfect at night, though. The smell is really lovely, too.[responsive]IMG_3130_2_2[/responsive]Next, for those luscious coffee grounds. This scrub is so super-simple and completely luxurious. My skin felt soft and smooth after I showered and I didn't even need to moisturize. The coffee grounds are also supposed to help break down cellulite so that's always a plus! Only downside - it made a bit of a mess in the shower. Worth it.Coffee Bean Sugar Scrub1/2 cup Castor Oil-Infused Coffee Grounds1/2 cup Sugar (I used regular granulated sugar)1 tsp CinnamonCombine all ingredients and store in a clean, dry container.[responsive]coffee-scrub[/responsive]Hope these recipes are useful! I know I'm loving my new coffee-infused products.

Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Scones

After being cooped up in the house all weekend I got to urge to bake some scones to go with my coffee. I didn't really have good scone-making fruit so I searched for a recipe for scones with brown sugar. I thought the warm, rich flavors would be perfect for a frigid winter morning. After doing some digging I found this recipe for Brown Sugar Cinnamon Scones from Kitchen Treaty. The changes I made to the recipe were to add chopped pecans at the end, vanilla bean bourbon paste instead of regular vanilla extract and substituted half of the AP flour with whole wheat flour. They could have stayed in the oven a bit longer but they were pretty tasty and I think it's a great go-to scone recipe when you don't have much in the pantry.[responsive]IMG_3113_2[/responsive]

Unboxing Petit Vour January 2015

As always, I was super excited to get my Petit Vour box in the mail this month, so I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived yesterday instead of next week. In this month's box they included:100% Pure French Lavender Hand Buttercream ($8)EVOLVh Leave-In Conditioner ($8, Full Size $26)Modern Minerals En Pointe Eye Shadow ($12.50)Raw Skin Ceuticals Rose Creme Cheek Color ($15)[responsive]IMG_2974[/responsive][responsive]IMG_2978[/responsive]The hand cream is perfect for this time of year and I will definitely be keeping this in my purse. The lavender scent is light and floral and the consistency of the creme is super luxurious.[responsive]IMG_2979[/responsive]I've only used the leave-in conditioner once so far and I'm not sure about it. The scent is really nice and citrusy and it definitely detangled my hair, but now my hair feels kind of weighed-down and a little sticky. I have really fine, stick-straight hair, though, so it may just not work for me. I think I'll have to give this one a little more time before I make a judgement on it.[responsive]IMG_2977[/responsive]At first when I swatched this eye shadow on my hand it didn't look like much. When I applied it on my eyes, however, it turned into a beautiful new-penny iridescent shade. It's really nice and subtle with the right amount of shine. I love that it's a full size product, too.[responsive]IMG_2976[/responsive]This cream blush scared me a little at first. It looks pretty purple and when I tried some on my hand it was straight up chalky lavender. Not really what I want in a blush. I usually like more warm peachy colors and this looked way too cool for my skin tone. After reading the description on the card, though, I tried it on my cheeks using a teeny tiny amount of product. After using my normal powder foundation over it I had a perfect, subtle color on my cheeks. The best part is that this blush is so highly pigmented that it will last a really long time.I took a few photos after doing my makeup with these new products so you can see them in action.[surow][sucolumn size="1/3"][responsive]IMG_2985[/responsive][/sucolumn] [sucolumn size="1/3"][responsive]IMG_2984[/responsive][/sucolumn] [sucolumn size="1/3"][responsive]IMG_2988[/responsive][/sucolumn][/surow]In case you're interested, here are all the products I used:French Girl lip tint in Cerise (another Petit Vour item)Yes to Grapefruit CC cream in LightEveryday Minerals cream stick concealer in SandRaw Skin Ceuticals creme blush in RoseNYX matte foundation powderModern Minerals eye shadow in En PointeNYX cream eyeliner in BlackUlta plush drama mascara in BlackThat's all, folks!

6 Free Patterns to Download

[responsive]pattern_featuredimage[/responsive]After being totally inspired by seeing Amy Butler's beautiful textile designs I decided to try to create a few during the holidays. They somehow turned out a little retro with a 60s flair and I'm pretty pleased with how they look. The file is available for download at the bottom of this post. It is a .eps vector file and the patterns are repeatable. The file also includes pattern swatches. Enjoy![responsive]Pattern_6[/responsive][responsive]Pattern_5[/responsive][responsive]Pattern_4[/responsive][responsive]Pattern_3[/responsive][responsive]Pattern_2[/responsive][responsive]Pattern_1[/responsive]Download Link (18mb file)

New Years Eve Dress - Cynthia Rowley Pattern #1873

Of course, in a mad dash to make a dress for New Years Eve in 2 days, I decided to pick a nice, complicated pattern. Ok, so the pattern really wasn't that complicated, but the pleats were a pain. I cut out the pattern on Sunday, cut the pieces and put together the bodice on Monday, pleated the skirt, attached it and put in the zipper on Tuesday, then finished by hand-stitching the lining, buttons and hook and eye. Lastly, I hemmed it with hem tape and a 2.5" hem. The fabric I used is a sort of poly/nylon blend with the loose weave of linen. It drapes really well and has a nice sheen to it. Perfect for a party.[responsive]1873_1[/responsive]This pattern definitely has a sort of 60s retro look to it with the scoop neckline and tab details. I used two mother of pearl buttons to add some more metallic elements. Pretty pleased with the way it turned out![responsive]img_2906[/responsive][responsive]img_2903[/responsive][responsive]img_2901[/responsive]

Unboxing Petit Vour - December 2014

After being bombarded with Facebook ads for Birchbox, I decided to look into getting a subscription to one of the many beauty boxes available. Birchbox seems nice, but the products look pretty cheap and I already have a lot of cheap makeup that I never use. After a while of searching I discovered Petit Vour. All of their products are gorgeously packaged and luxurious. Most importantly, they are 100% natural, organic, hypoallergenic and cruelty-free. The box is $15 a month, and so far the products have definitely been worth it.I ordered my first box on October 31st. Unfortunately, due to some shipping issues and the company moving, I didn't get my box until late in November. So far I've gotten 3 boxes and not a bad product in a single one. My favorite products so far have been the Caru Skincare Co Rose Facial Serum, French Girl Organics Lip Tint (in rose) and the Pacifica Devocean Lipstick.[responsive]petit vour dec 1[/responsive]For this month their box was themed Merry & Bright. It features Trust Fund Beauty Nail Lacquer in Do You Know Who My Father Is?, Blissoma Evening Calming Facial Creme in Peace, Meow Meow Tweet Cream Deoderant in Lavender and Everyday Minerals Matte Blush in All Smiles.[responsive]petit vour dec 2[/responsive][responsive]petit vour dec 3[/responsive]The packaging for this nail lacquer is just beautiful. I love anything with watercolor designs. The color itself is probably not one I would've picked out, but I like the soft pink. I usually tend to go toward aqua/minty green colors (huge surprise.) This should be really nice to transition into Spring, though.[responsive]petit vour dec 4[/responsive]So far I'm loving this matte blush. It gives my naturally rosy cheeks a healthy look instead of the painted up look that usually happens with blush. I use a kabuki brush to apply it, which is fine, but the packaging is a little tough to get the product out of. It's probably much easier on the full-size version of this product.[responsive]petit vour dec 5[/responsive]I've only used this stuff once so far, but I LOVE anything lavender scented, so this is already a win for me. I used it just before heading to a Christmas party, so it should have been a good test. I honestly forgot I was wearing it. That's probably a good thing though, because my traditional Dove deoderant can sometimes feel sticky and uncomfortable. So far so good![responsive]petit vour dec 6[/responsive]I've used this creme the last few nights and I like it so far. My skin still seems to be on the dry side, but I think that's just a side effect from the cold, dry winter air. It absorbs well and the herbal scent is really nice.All in all, I love this box! The past two have had lip products in them (both of which I love) but I'm glad this one was a little different. The total value of this box ended up being about $40. Not too shabby.

Our First Christmas Cards

I figure since Brad and I have been married for over a year now, it's about time to send out Christmas cards. Of course, I couldn't just drop in some photos on Shutterfly...I'm too frugal and plus, I have the skills so why not use them? Here is what I came up with...[onehalf][responsive]christmas 1[/responsive][/onehalf] [onehalflast][responsive]christmas 1[/responsive][/onehalflast]And here's our Christmas tree![responsive]christmas 1[/responsive]

Beaded Layered Necklace

I've seen quite a few simple, delicately beaded necklaces lately and I wanted to try my hand at making one. This project only took about an hour to make and turned out great!BeadedNecklace_2BeadedNecklace_4BeadedNecklace_3BeadedNecklace_1

Materials & Measurements:
How To:
Thread a crimp bead onto the three stands of beading line toward the ends. Add a jump ring after you put the crimp bead on.  Take the ends of the three lines and thread the back through the crimp bead, closing them around the jump ring. Use needle nose pliers to crimp. Thread your beading needle onto the first and shortest line. This may take a little adjusting as the line is thicker than the hole in the needle, it helped me to flatten the end of the line with pliers. Start threading on your first bead color until you reach the first measurement (I dipped the needle into a bag of beads which seemed to take a lot less time than threading them on one by one.) Switch to your metallic beads and continue switching back and forth until you've threaded each section on that line. Add a piece of tape to the end to keep the beads from falling off. Repeat this process with each length of beading line, making sure to follow the measurements. Repeat the crimp bead and jump ring process on the other end, making sure not to pull the line too tight. Open the jump rings and add your clasp. That's it! Enjoy your creation and try your own variety of colored beads, measurements and patterns.

The Gin & Tonic Gets an Upgrade

One of my favorite drinks is a gin and tonic. It's classic, simple and delicious. I decided to get a little creative for a more summery recipe and the result was DELICIOUS. 

Upgraded Gin & Tonic
- 1.5 oz gin- 1 oz St. Germaine- Juice of 1/2 a lemon- 3 or 4 mint leaves- tonic water Muddle a few mint leaves with juice of half a lemon in a cocktail shaker. Add 1.5 oz gin and 1 oz St. Germaine. Add ice and shake. Strain into lowball glass over ice and top with tonic water. Garnish with a lemon slice.I was given this adorable little bottle of St. Germaine for Christmas. Just enough to fall in love with the glorious elderflower liqueur. It's been described as tasting floral with flavors of lychee, grapefruit and orange. I went to the store to buy a full size bottle, but at $40 for 25.5 ounces I can't really justify it... I did a quick search on replicating the flavor and discovered that Ikea sells elderflower syrup! Good ol' Ikea. Looks like I'll be heading that way soon. G+T_1G+T_2G+T_3

It's Alive!

The garden, that is. Plants_9 Plants_8 (my peony hasn't quite bloomed yet, but the ants seem to really love it.) Plants_7 (cute little cherry tomato plant.) Plants_6 (spearmint in the sunshine.) Plants_5 Plants_4 (gorgeous purple irises from Gary Gaffney's garden.) Plants_3 Plants_2 (wildflowers from the seeds we scattered last year.) Plants_1 (they look pretty great in a simple white milk bottle vase.)

DIY Summer Dress - With Tutorial!

Hi! After a long hiatus I have decided to revamp the blog and start posting again. So...enjoy!I present to you a super comfortable and simple diy summer dress. And it only takes two yards of fabric! This dress was made with a polyester print fabric (which was so not fun to work with, but it's pretty, so I'm good with that) and one invisible zipper inserted in the side of the garment. I used a 22" one, but ended up trimming quite a bit off of it. I finished the hem with lace hem tape which makes the boring task of hemming kind of fun and gives it a bit more weight, important for such a lightweight fabric. Also, I used a 1/2" seam allowance.B+W_Dress_3The dress consists of 4 pattern pieces: the bodice (with two neckline variations), the skirt panel, the waistband and the straps.B+W_Dress_Tutorial1The bodice pattern piece looks more confusing than it really is. Just use common sense. Cut a bodice piece of each neckline (on the fold) out of your outer and lining fabrics. You should have four bodice pieces. Then cut a long skinny piece for the straps. I made mine about 2" wide x 30" long.B+W_Dress_Tutorial2Then cut your two skirt panels and 2 waistband pieces.

The Bodice:
To start, sew together the outer bodice pieces on the right side. Sew the lining pieces together on the left side. Do the same on the opposite side, only stitch about 3" down (to leave room for the zipper). Then, with right sides together, sew down the long side of the strap piece. Pull the end through to turn the strap right-side-out. I use one of these.With outer and lining fabric right sides together, sew the arm holes and neckline, leaving the strap section open. Try on the bodice and figure out how long you want your straps to be (+1" for seam allowance). Cut two straps out of the long tube you made. Iron them flat. With bodice pieces still right sides together, thread the straps through the strap openings, being careful not the twist them. Pin and stitch in place, meeting the seams you made on either side for the arm hole and neckline. Turn bodice right side out.B+W_Dress_2Stitch two lines of gathering stitches around the bottom of the bodice, keeping the edges even. Gather the bottom so that it matches your waistband length.
The Skirt:
With right sides together, sew one side of the skirt panels. Do the same for the opposite side, leaving about 6 inches open at the top (for the zipper). I used

Coffee Filter Flora

I've been doing some experimenting with creating paper flowers for our wedding decor. After looking at many different methods and tutorials, it seems that a surprising material creates the most delicate, natural looking blooms. Coffee filters. After some searching I found two different tutorials with directions that seemed simple enough. This one from Two Shades of Pink and this one from Emmalee Design.Here is what I came up with:[gallery link="file" columns="2" ids="373,375"]The rose shaped flowers are made from natural colored cone shaped coffee filters and the carnation looking ones were made with bleached regular coffee filters. I dipped them both in a tea mixture (passion fruit and acai flavored varieties) and hung them upside down to dry. The natural coffee filters definitely didn't take the color as well, but I still like the light brown color they ended up with.I'm not sure how these flowers will be worked into the decorations and I still want to experiment with different methods and colors. I love the final product of this project, though!

Painting the Studio

So remember those paint swatches from the last post? Here's the result! Well, the in-progress result. The color is called "Magnet Dapple" by Valspar. Weird name, I know. My only concern is that the dark blue color will make the space a little too cave-like. But we have four two-bulb flood lights that will go up in place of the 80s track lighting.The color is a little hard to capture, but it's kind of a darkish denim blue. I'm pretty excited to start getting all of my supplies and everything set up.[gallery columns="2" link="file" ids="364,363,362,361"]Some navy blue room inspiration (from Pinterest, of course) :Screen shot 2013-02-26 at 9.39.33 PM  Screen shot 2013-02-26 at 10.08.34 PM  Screen shot 2013-02-26 at 10.08.45 PM

Lavender, Succulents & Plant Fun

Brad and I are well into the process of planning for our September 20th wedding. √ Venue. √ Caterer. √ Cake. Flowers? I knew I didn't want to allocate a huge part of our budget to flowers and also that I want the flowers to look different, special, unique. Of course, everyone wants that for their wedding. One of Brad's many passions is indoor gardening, specifically cultivating jade plants. I'm not sure how he started this hobby, but we've collected about 40 or so varied house plants, most of them jades.
The point of all that is that I've decided (with the help of Pinterest) to start propagating our jades and use them as wedding favors. Here are a few inspiration photos:Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 9.08.52 PM  Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 9.09.06 PMSo, with that in mind, I'm starting to take some cuttings from our jades and getting them ready to root. I've been trimming them just before the second set of leaves. From what I've read, you're supposed to let the cuttings "scab over" for about three days before you put them in soil (to prevent water rot?) Along with the succulent favors, I will be incorporating them into my bouquet, centerpieces, etc. We've decided to order our flowers through a place called The Flowerman in Columbus. My mom will pick them up a day or two before the big day and we'll have a few people over to the house for a flower arranging frenzy.Another plant I want to incorporate is lavender. Ever since an awesome babysitter helped me stitch and embroider a lavender sachet for my grandma I've loved the sent and look of lavender. It makes me think of memories, summertime and learning how to sew. More inspiration:Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 9.35.56 PM  Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 9.36.30 PM  Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 9.36.43 PM  Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 9.37.04 PM  Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 9.44.09 PMAnd now on to some of my in progress photos:[gallery link="file" ids="348,347,346,345,344,343,342,341,338"]Those yellow flowers aren't a part of this project, I just like them. The big tray with the fiber cells is full of seeding soil and lavender seeds. They're supposed to start sprouting in about 2 to 3 weeks. I've never tried starting a plant from seeds. There are so many factors to it... I just hope something comes out of those little shiny seeds. Also, notice the paint chips. Brad and I were trying to decide on a paint color for the studio (something in the navy blue family). Photos of that coming soon!

A Tour of Our New House!

It's been a while. But trust me, there's good reason for that. Brad and I have been working on buying a house! Here's a tour.[su_youtube url=""]Click here for photos! you can see from the photos, there is a ton of work that we are doing and still needs to be done. It's kind of a dusty mess right now, but at least it's our dusty mess!

Chili sin Carne

20120905-175149.jpg I know it's early for chili, but with the rain outside it looks so dark and gloomy and positively autumnal so I made my favorite Fall comfort food.

Baked Goat Cheese Salad

I know, I know, it's been a little while. But vacation really takes it out of you! (more on that later) Until I get around to posting vacation photos, here's a little something.Goat Cheese. One of my personal favorites. The only person I know who doesn't love goat cheese is my grandma. Her explanation is that it tastes like goat to her. I wonder how she knows what goat tastes like... We sometimes even try to sneak it into her food to see if she'll even notice that there's goat cheese in it and without fail, she makes her best "I just ate something and it did not taste good" face. Go figure.So anyway, goat cheese. We bought an 8 oz package of the creamy, delicious stuff and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. Goat cheese salad! And with blueberries in season, they were the perfect complement. The salad I made had spinach, arugula, blueberries, apple, sliced almonds and baked goat cheese with a homemade blueberry dressing.I found a simple recipe for the goat cheese online...all it took was sautéing some garlic, adding panko and some butter and dipping goat cheese medallions in it so they were covered in crunchy bits. Then those went in the oven for about 10 minutes. I think the oven was set to 375 or something.The dressing consisted of blueberries (duh), red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, and a spoonful of plum jam for sweetness. It almost looked a smoothie after I mixed it, but it tasted pretty darn good.After that, I just put the components together. Ta-da! Beautiful, delicious and probably fairly good for you.