Resolution #31 & #9: Learn or Create a New Craft + Something I Can Wear and Oreos on Steroids

Let me tell you a secret.

I’m half grandma.

I already had my suspicions when I learned that I loved baking from scratch, scrapbooking and starting sentences with “Back in my day.” But, now… I also crochet.  It’s official. I’m a grandma minus the age and the grandchildren part.

Before I get all excited about needle craft, let’s talk about this baking from scratch thing, because I had a girls night the other night and was introduced to the most glorious creation I think has ever come from an oven.  These:

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Can you see that? Oreos. Peanut butter. Brownie. Now go ahead and try to think of something more brilliant and amazing. You can’t, I know. So, since I had to forego alcoholic libations at this girls get-together because of a medical study I’m participating in (more on that later), my night was full of…these.  In fact, I didn’t feel like I was missing a thing.  Of course, like any attempt on anything I’ve ever made that looks beautiful on a food blog, ours came out ugly. No, really. Really ugly.

Our Version

Note the ones in the pan that have fallen apart, oozed peanut butter, or otherwise. But, hey, they all just get chewed up anyway and they were to die for, so what’s it matter?  You want to make these at home, you say?  Well it’s easy.

Just grab a pack of Oreos, a jar of peanut butter, and a box of brownie mix (confession time: there is nothing ‘scratch’ about these). Dig out a muffin tin. Then either line it with papers or go heavy on the Pam, we did the latter and they still stuck a bit but it was okay.

Then, proceed thusly: Oreo, peanut butter on top of Oreo, another Oreo, more peanut butter on top, drop into muffin tin, cover in brownie batter.  Repeat x12. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Voila!  You’ll thank me later. Also, if you try this at home, send me your pictures? I want to see if anyone can make them as pretty as the picture perfect food blogger original. Go on, try it.

Anyway, on to the crafting. I’ve been doing this medical study for the last couple of weeks to fulfill resolution #40: Pay off at least one credit card. But, here’s the thing about medical studies: They are BORING. And you can’t do ANYTHING. No exercise, no snacking, no leaving the building. Basically, you are left to whatever entertainment you can fit in a suitcase and of course, whatever companionship you find with other subjects. So, week one I was pretty content with Netflix, mindless social media and catching up on work and writing. By the end of the week, though, my eyes were aching from screen time and if I saw one more hashtag I swear I’d have lost it.

I did notice a woman while I was in there who seemed perfectly content with a ball of yarn and a crochet hook. Why didn’t I think of that? So, as soon as they set us free for a few days I high-tailed it straight to the craft store (okay, I went and got pancakes first, because there isn’t real food in there either), picked up some yarn and a hook and set to google to teach myself how to create something wearable.

I got a little ambitious and wanted to try for this, for my roomates’ new baby:

SockMonkeyHat_1

But then I started reading through the pattern and seeing abbreviations I didn’t know and realizing I should probably start small so I settled for…these:

photo (3)Those are mine!  I made those!  Essentially it’s a tube with thumb holes, but I call it… A GLOVE. Resolutions accomplished!

I even had enough yarn to make another pair and Dru thought they were so warm-looking and fashionable that he wanted some too. Grandma powers activate!  (I think that face means he’s happy, but I can’t be sure.)

Gloves

If you’re interested in some of your own, check out http://crochet.about.com/. I learned everything I had to know there and found the pattern for these gloves. It even came with patterns for a matching hat and scarf, but we’ll see about that. I’m now on the path to learning how to make elf hats. …What, you thought I’d be making average stuff? No way. Elf hats. Then maybe I’ll revisit the sock monkeys once I get some experience under my belt.

The Art of IKEA Hacking

I’ve noticed lately that I am horribly behind on my resolutions…I needed something like 9 or 10 a month, and I’ve managed maybe 4? Uh oh.  So I started perusing the web for potential ‘new hobbies’ I could pick up to accomplish resolution #17.  I went through everything from anything that can be picked up in a kit from hobby lobby to the millions of crafty tidbits on Pinterest, when I came across this:

Wait, I have that side table!  That $8 IKEA side table!  And is that a WORKING fountain in there?

After reading the step-by-step instructions I realized that with a few tools and a Tupperware container I could easily turn my own LACK side table into a fountain.  So if this is so easy, what else can I do with IKEA?  And thus, the world of IKEA hacking opened up all around me.

It turns out that in addition to DIY bloggers everywhere sharing their individual projects, there is also a site called IKEA Hackers that collects the best IKEA hacks from all over the web and some are mighty mighty impressive.

Check out this huge home library made entirely from Billy and Benno shelves:

Or this fabulous headboard made from Benno dvd racks turned to planters.  (I’m doing this one when I have the money.)

You can even make a snazzy industrial looking lamp in 10 minutes with a cheese grater and a light bulb/cord.

So after spending a while looking through these projects saying “I want to do that!” or “I could do that!” I think I may have found my new hobby.  Plus, it will give me a sweet new look in my apartment, for way less than buying ready-made crazy cool furniture pieces.

I’ve also landed on the first project I will attempt:  This “Torked-Out Backlit Frame”

Isn’t it gorgeous?  And it’s all IKEA, even the LED lights.  Can you believe it?  All I need is a drill and a little white paint, and I’ll have a beautiful solution for the empty space above the bed.

So, if you’re interested in doing some IKEA hacking of your own, remember to check out IKEA Hackers.  You’ll find all the projects I posted here and many many others to try.

[Resolution] #71 Create a Homemade Beauty Product

I went to my first Mary Kay party the other day.  My sister and I partnered with a woman named Karen as fellow direct salesmen and did a combo make-up & chocolate party.  So, before we dished out brownies to the hungry masses we got to try out putting on our Mary Kay faces.  I never thought I’d ever be involved in anything Mary Kay.  I was under the impression that anyone associated was well-off and pretentious, but I’m happy this time to report that at least in Karen’s case this is not so.  She’s actually a really fantastic lady who’s in the business to because she (paraphrasing) enjoys the feeling she gets from making people feel beautiful and self-confident.

Unfortunately, I didn’t walk away with any products that night but I did walk away with the knowledge that my skin care routine needs work.  When I created this resolution I was thinking face mask? Sugar scrub?  But what I was in real dire need of was a face cleanser.  Don’t gawk at me, but… (confession time) I never remove my make-up.  Not officially at least, it just happens to come off in the shower.

Well, unbeknownst to me, I’m basically damning myself to early aging and blemished skin. So for this resolution I decided to take a page out of the Mary Kay book and create an ‘exfoliating cleanser.’

I did a bit of searching and found this great blog, “It’s Not Easy to Be Green” that had this recipe for a homemade facial cleanser.

It’s a pretty easy concoction to make.  In the article it called for:

  • Baking Soda
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Essential oil of your choice and
  • Honey (optional)

I went ahead and got the honey; local honey from the bulk section so I apologize for the ugly bottle. I’ve heard it actually has really impressive qualities when used topically. And then chose lavender oil since not only does it smell good but it’s also good for boosting psychic abilities.  Two-fer.

If you want to find out more about essential oils and the properties and uses of each one, you can check out this list that has a ton of information to help find an oil you could benefit from.  I also won’t blame you if you go by what smells good. 🙂

So, to keep portions small and prevent caking, the article suggested putting the baking soda in a spice jar with a shaker lid (with the holes in it).  It’s a lot easier to store that way since you can’t seal those damn boxes.  Then, fill a dropper bottle with jojoba oil and a few drops of essential oil.  I just used three and it was plenty fragrant.

When you’re ready to use it, dampen your face with warm water.  Shake the baking soda once into your hand, add 3-5 drops of the oil mixture, then a dollop of honey.  Mix gently with your fingers and apply to your face.

I instantly loved this cleanser.  The baking soda is fine but still gritty so you can feel it exfoliating as your rub it in. The honey doesn’t end up being sticky when mixed with the water already on your face.  Then, when I rinsed it off my skin was so smooth! Not dry or tight like with other cleansers I’ve tried.  I suspect it has something to do with the oil.  It’s in a small enough quantity to moisturize without leaving your face oily.

The oils are a bit of an investment at first, but a little goes a LONG way.  I guarantee you’ll save loads using this stuff instead of that expensive chemical stuff at the drug store.

Thanks again to It’s Not Easy to Be Green for the idea.  If you’re at all interested in other ways of living green, this blog is a great resource.  I plan to poke around more later. 🙂 Maybe there are some other habits I should look at changing.