DIY Air + Clothes Freshener (only 4 ingredients!)

DIY air + clothes freshener

Nearly three months into school, you begin to notice some things change – mostly in the lockerroom.  With people leaving their workout clothes in their lockers, the whole room begins to develop its own signature scent.  That’s why I’ve created a super easy-to-make air and clothes freshener with only four ingredients!

Typical air fresheners (like Febreeze), contain harmful ingredients like BHT, which is a neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, and skin eye and lung irritator.  That’s only one of the many toxic ingredients air fresheners (which now sounds like an oxymoron) use.  To learn more, click here.

Instead, for this DIY air freshener, all you need is an amber bottle, witch hazel, distilled water, and 100% pure essential oils.  It’s so clean, you can even spray it on your skin; in fact, witch hazel is an astrigent which can stop future blemishes – perfect for gym.  Nonetheless, the real stars of this freshener are the essential oils.  You can play with with combinations you want, but I recommend a combination of the ones below.

  • Peppermint essential oil – relieves head aches, has antimicrobial properties, improves mental focus, clears respiratory tract, relieves sore muscles
  • Lavender essential oil – relieves stress (perfect before heading out to class), has antibacterial properties, clears respiratory tract, relieves sore muscles
  • Lemongrass essential oil – has antibacterial properties, relieves sore muscles
  • Tea tree essential oil – has antibacterial properties, fights fungal infections, natural deodorant

Clearly these essential oils are far more qualified than any funky ingredient in typical store-bough air and clothes freshener.  Make your own bottle below!

DIY Air + Clothes Freshener
Author: 
Recipe type: DIY
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp witch hazel
  • distilled water
  • 5 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops of lemongrass essential oil
Instructions
  1. Mix up the witch hazel and essential oils (of your choice), and place it in your 2 oz amber bottle.
  2. Fill it up to the top of the bottle with distilled water.
  3. Spritz it!

 

 

Project Fabricland: Diva Inspiration

My mom and I

In January, I participated for the fifth time in Project Fabricland, a sewing competition, similar to Project Runway.  Each week, students meet for three hours to sew garments based on a theme.  This year, the theme was Divas.  This included style icons such as Marylin Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Cher, among others.  Sophia Loren has been my personal favorite icon in all aspects ever since I saw her in one of my favorite movies, Houseboat (1958).  In Houseboat, Loren plays a young Italian lady who helps a widower (Cary Grant) raise his three children; they end up forming a relationship after Grant sees Loren providing the care that his children so deeply craved, and being the charismatic person she is.  Like all Loren movies, she is feisty and an individual, and does not play a woman who falls at the needs of a man – she’s willing to through a slap here and there :).  After seeing her speak at an event, I was inspired by her honesty, boldness, humor, and dashing beauty, and therefore crafted a dress that I believe to capture who she is. Continue reading

Holiday Card Making Made Easy

Card making can be simple – yes, believe it or not, it can!  Within minutes, you can achieve a Papyrus worthy card (with a more personal touch) just by following this simple dot technique – it’s simple enough for kids too.  Plus, it looks expensive, festive, and creative.  Even better, all you need is a pencil with an eraser, ink, pen and paper!  This is truly holiday card making made easy 🙂

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Summery and Creative DIY Paperweight

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Miss the summer?  I think it’s safe to say that we all do, especially when you’re working hard at your desk underneath fluorescent lights.  Most of your year takes place in that type of room, so it’s quite nice to look at a little souvenir from your sunlit vacation.  While you still may have the time, put aside 10 minutes to make a DIY paperweight with your collected memories!

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Dried Lavender Bundles and Sachets

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On this year’s family vacation, I made it a point to visit my first lavender farm,  AKL Maui, to finally witness the home of my favorite scent and  essential oil.  Here, I was fortunate to see a vast amount of different types of lavender, such as Spanish, French, English, Sweet,  growing naturally in the countryside.  The farm is quaint, and sits on the side of a mountain, just so that you can see clouds make their way through the lavender bushes growing.  As I made my way through the trails, the scent of lavender accompanied my steps.  I had discovered that I was only semi-knowledgable on all the benefits of lavender.  AKL Maui Farm explains it best:

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Project Fabricland: Fairytale Inspiration

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My sewing teacher and me at Project Fabricland.

In January, I participated for the fourth time in Project Fabricland, a sewing competition.  Each week, students meet for three hours to sew garments based on a theme.  This year, the theme was Fairytales.  This included classic tales such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and lesser known ones such as The Gold Spinner.  Since Cinderella was my favorite as a child, I chose her,  adding a modern twist to the classic fairytale.  We’re all familiar with the Cinderella story and her happy-ever-after.  After marrying into royalty, one would think that a girl who went from rags to riches would deny her past – yet Cinderella never did this; she continued to be kind and hard working.  Inspired by Cinderella’s story, I sped it up to date: what would modern-day working Cinderella wear to her royal appointments?  Today, so many women work, and more than just mopping floors.  That’s when my idea was born.

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I quickly sketched a double breasted coat which I thought would look very professional, and what a princess today would wear – anywhere from a charity event, to picking up her children from school.  I also chose to make a coat because I wanted to challenge myself to make something I have never done before.  In previous years, I have sewn three dresses.  This was by far one of the hardest pieces I have ever done!  On my first day of class, I went through the fabric isles, and found a woven cotton blend fabric, light blue polyester lining, and navy buttons.  White is often a sign of purity, and blue represents loyalty and sincerity.  The navy blue buttons are a sign of royalty, and once unbuttoned, the lining is  the iconic light blue.  As I mentioned before, Cinderella never forgot about her past, and always keeps it a part of her, and therefore, I purposely put light blue on the inside because it reflects her continuous hard working, kind, and patient qualities.

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During my second and third classes, I cut out all my patterns, and by the fourth class I began sewing a muslin, the “prototype” of the coat.  Finally, by my fifth class, I began to sew the thirty pieces together.  I really wanted to take my time with this piece because I wanted it to truly be royalty worthy!  It was extremely difficult to work with the fabric, as it was always fraying, and it was extremely easy for the creamy fabric to get dirty.  It took about nine weeks until my coat began looking like a coat.  Finally, after 12 weeks of tedious work, I completed my coat.  I still had two steps to go, the judging and the fashion show.  At the judging, similar to Project Runway, there are three judges each with a background in the fashion industry who decide what place you will receive.  This year, we had a fashion designer who made dance outfits, an assistant director at Coach, and another designer who had her own bridal wear line.  They ask you a series of questions, as you present your garment and discuss your design board (featured two images above).

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Five days after the judging, there was the fashion show.  Thirty girls walk the runway to demonstrate their garment, as the head of Project Fabricland talks about your inspiration.  It is extremely interesting to see how everyone translated their fairytale to a garment after a lot of hard work.  This year, I was lucky to receive second place!

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Top left: My nonna and me. Bottom left: My mom and me.

 

How to Marbleize Cookies

Despite the winter holidays passing, cookie decorating is a great skill to have for anytime of the year.  My favorite technique is marbling them!  It’s pretty, and wonderful for any occasion.  Decorating cookies is a great skill to have because you can do it for anything, and it’s impressive!  The marble technique is really easy, and elegant.  My friend and I made and decorated cookies for a bake sale of the Make A Wish Foundation Club in our school.  Together, we made Martha Stewart’s royal icing which is actually gluten free and vegan depending on the meringue powder you use.  Everyone was so amazed by how beautiful they all were!

So, are you ready to marbleize some cookies?

Instructions:
Step 1:  Separate a quarter of the icing, and dye it with food coloring.  (In these pictures, we did not use natural food coloring.  If you want to, I recommend these.)

Step 2:   After making your icings, fill a bottle for each color you use, such as these.

Step 3:  Make a border with the non-dyed icing, and fill the inside in zig zag motions.  Border the outside of the cookie slowly, and exerting even force throughout.  Then, pipe zig zags with the icing within the border, leaving some spaces blank.

Step 4:  Using a toothpick, even out the icing, covering the negative spaces.  After smoothing it out as much as possible, gently tapping the cookie on the counter top to make the icing settle.

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Step 4:  Using the colored icing, pipe an asterisk onto the wet non-dyed icing. 

Step 5:  Starting on a colored mark on the outside, use your toothpick, and slowly circle around the cookie, and into a spiral shape toward the center.  This will create a marble look.

Step 6:  Let the icing settle.

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And there you have it – gorgeous, festive, and impressive marbleized cookies!

 

DIY Holiday Place Cards

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So many family members come to my grandparent’s house for the holidays, so it can get quite overwhelming.  Following the question “When can we open our presents?”, “Who’s sitting where?” is top on the interrogation list.  With a table merely over 7 feet, a homemade buffet, and over 20 guests, we tend to forget our spots at the table, and mix our food with someone else’s.  Sounds crowded, doesn’t it?  Luckily, my family will not have to suffer finding our seats again with these easy DIY place cards!

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To start off you’ll need:

  • Card stock or artist’s thick drawing paper (I chose an ivory color)
  • no bleed marker/pen (very fine point sharpie)
  • metallic marker
  • scissors or paper trimmer
  • ruler (I really like using a quilt ruler)

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Instructions:

  1. Measure out 2.75 inch (for the length), and 2 inch (for the width).Cut out the rectangles with scissors or paper trimmer for a more precise cut.
  2. Measure 1 inch on the 2  inch side.  At the 1 inch mark crease it.  My paper trimmer has the option to  crease. If yours doesn’t, use your hands to crease the card.
  3. Write the names with your black marker.  Make sure it doesn’t bleed by using a marker like sharpie’s very fine point marker.  I got inspired by these fonts.  The trick to writing good font is to lay out where your letters will be in pencil.  Then, after you write the names down in permanent marker, focus on where you should put an extra coat of marker to make the line more bold.  Also, if you don’t have a steady hand, try to do more forgiving fonts that have a more organic feel.  For this look and the one shown, I really liked the “Jacques & Gilles” font.
  4. Take any color metallic marker (about the same size tip as a fine point sharpie).  Then, on the top left corner, begin to dot the ink of the marker close together.  As you fade out (nearer to the name), spread the dots farther apart. This will add a little bit of holiday spirit to your name tags!  If you want, you can even add another metallic color such as rose gold, or another design.
  5. Make sure to save these works of art for the years to come, along with some extra ivory card stock paper, just in case your guest list changes or some place cards get soiled.

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4 Easy, Quick Halloween Outfits

We’ve all been there when we have no idea what to wear for halloween.  Or the last minute Halloween party!  Luckily, these few ideas mostly include what you have in your closet with maybe just a few more dollars!  Look for clothes like these in your closet, but in case you don’t have them, click on the link for help.

 

Amelia Earhart

Woman pilot and fashion icon –  Amelia Earhart is a wonderful, easy choice!  Inspiration:

Jacket

$59.90, Forever 21

Top

$49.90, Zara

Pants

$21, Merona

Goggles

$14.95, Elope

 

Kate Middleton

Elegant, kind, and simple, Kate Middleton always exerts beauty.  All you need is her ring to complete the look!

Dress

$36.97, Ivy + Blue

Ring

$22.99, Metal Masters Co.

Earrings

$48.75, Ross-Simons

Shoes

$39.95, Kelly & Kate Isabel

 

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour is the ultimate fashion business woman.  You can be too with these few picks:

Wig

$15.88, Amazon

Sunglasses

$14.99, Target

Sweater

$39.99, J. Crew

Dress

$69,90, J. Crew Factory

Necklace

$24.90, Forever 21

 

Jennifer Morrison as The Dark One from “Once Upon a Time”

Baby powder?  Check.  Lipstick?  Check. Sunscreen?  Check.  All the things in your home can be turned into Emma Swan, The Dark One:

Baby Powder (to make your hair white)

$7.49, Johnson’s

Lipstick

$14.90, Sephora

Sunscreen (to whiten your face)

$13.59, Badger

Jacket

$55, Asos

Leggings

$24, Donna Karan

Boots

$24.94, DeBlossom Jayne