Ways With Granola

DIY, Food

I’ve been on a granola kick. So naturally,  I started wondering how easy it would be to make my own. The answer? Very. What’s great about this recipe is that it is 100% customizable. You can make it as simple or complex as your heart or wallet desires. Just hit up your local grocery or bulk food store and let your imagination and taste buds run wild!

granola_1

What you need:

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup nuts
  • 1/2 cup seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (chopped if large)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp spice (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup oil or fat (coconut oil, butter, olive oil, etc.)

 

Instructions:

Step 1 – Mix dry ingredients together (except dried fruit and chocolate)

Step 2 –  Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients

Step 3 – Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet

Step 4 – Bake at 300°f for 35 min or until desired colour is reached, stirring twice.

Step 5 – Mix in fruit (if using) while still warm.

Step 6 – Mix in chocolate after cooled.

*Some great add-ins include coconut flakes, banana chips, blueberries, raisins, cranberries, apricots, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachio, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, chia.

* Don’t like dried fruit or chocolate or seeds? Just substitute for more rolled oats or other dry ingredient of your choice!

*I made my granola of the less sweet side. If you want a sweeter granola try using 1/2 cup sweetener and 1/2 cup oil instead.

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Solid Perfume

Beauty, DIY

I was helping my mom clean out the basement and we came across these cute little jars. Originally purchased from Avon containing cream sachets they were now empty and begging for a purpose. DIY to the rescue! What better to fill an old perfume container than more perfume? This solid perfume is a great gift. It doesn’t last as long as a traditional store bought perfume but it’s all natural and can be reapplied throughout the day. It’s incredibly quick and easy to make and you can experiment with your favourite essential oils to make your own personal scent.

solid_perfume_2

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp beeswax (grated or pellets)
  • 2 tbsp carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba, grapeseed, etc. (I used sweet almond)
  • About 60 drops of essential oil or blend of your choice (I used ylang ylang, sweet orange and lavender)
  • repurposed (or new) containers to put the finished product.

*when using essential oils do your research! Some oils may cause irritation to the skin or are photosensitive. Better safe than sorry.

Instructions:

Step 1 – combine beeswax and oil in a double boiler and melt.

Step 2 – Once melted remove from heat and let cool slightly before mixing in your oils.

Step 3 –  Carefully pour into your containers and allow to solidify for a few minutes before capping.

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Dry Shampoo

Beauty, DIY

Whether you’re out of time, on vacation, or just don’t feel like it, this dry shampoo is perfect on days when you just can’t wash your hair. This all natural dry shampoo recipe is a fantastic substitute for store bought concoctions. Arrowroot starch acts to soak up grease and cocoa powder is a great additive for people with dark hair, like myself. Not to mention the added bonus of smelling like chocolate!

shampoo_1

 

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp arrowroot starch (can use corn starch or baby powder instead)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (optional: for dark hair only)

Instructions:

Step 1 – combine arrowroot starch and cocoa powder (if using).

Step 2 – transfer to airtight container for storage.

Step 3 –  Apply with make up brush or comb. Enjoy!

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3 Ingredient Lotion

Beauty, DIY

It’s almost December and I live in Toronto, Canada. That means that my skin is hating its life right now and it’s only just the beginning of a long, long winter. Up until now I’ve been getting by with occasional moisturizing using my homemade body butter but I find it too greasy for consistent everyday use. Enter this recipe. This quick and easy lotion is light and non-greasy. If you use it after a shower it soaks right into your skin and the best part is there are only 3 ingredients!

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup liquid oil (I used sweet almond oil but you can use one or a combination of several oils such as avocado, jojoba, olive, argan, coconut etc.)
  • 3 tbsp grated beeswax
  • 3/4 cup luke warm water, herbal tea or rose water (I used water)
  • 5-10 drops essential oil (optional: I didn’t use any)
  • food processor

Instructions:

Step 1 – Combine oil and beeswax in a double boiler until melted.

Step 2 – With water in food processor, turn on high.

Step 3 –  Pour oil mixture into food processor VERY slowly. The goal is to emulsify the liquids. Once you’ve poured all of the oil into the water you should be left with a creamy lotion.

Step 4 – Transfer lotion into a glass jar or other container with lid. Can store at room temperature for about 3 weeks.

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Soy Candles with Reused Containers

Craft, DIY, Home

I have been holding on to some fancy yogurt cups not sure why or how I would ever use them. Cute little glass containers with no lids; though I had no immediate use for them I thought they were too adorable to send out of my life forever. Then finally it came to me. I’ve never made candles before but I thought I would give it a try and I’m glad I did. They are easy, customizable and the perfect use for old glasses and jars that are just taking up space. I love how easy it is to personalize this recipe with different combinations of scents and reused or vintage containers!

What you need:

  • Soy wax flakes
  • Candle wicks
  • Hot glue gun
  • Clothes pins (can use pencils instead)
  • Fragrance or essential oils (I used combinations of Jasmine, Sage, Lavender and Grapefruit oils)
  • Glass or ceramic containers to hold wax (I reused some old yogurt cups)
  • Microwavable bowl or double boiler for stovetop (I used a microwavable measuring cup for easy pouring)

Tips:

  • Soy wax flakes really shrink down when melted. To measure the approximate amount to make your candles, fill each of your containers with flakes twice.
  • For easy clean up lay down some parchment paper on your work surface.

Instructions:

Step 1 – Using a hot glue gun fix wicks to the bottom of you containers. This really helps keep the wicks in place.

Step 2 – Thread your wicks through clothespins to keep them centered. If you’re using pencils, wrap your wick around the pencil so it is held in place.

Step 3 – Measure your soy wax flakes and place into microwavable bowl.

Step 4 –  Microwave wax for 1 minute and stir. Then continue to microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until wax is completely melted. (can alternately melt wax on stovetop with double boiler)

Step 5 – (optional) Once melted add your scented oils. I used 40-60 drops for 3 small candles but this is really about personal preference. It’s best to start with less and add more if you want a stronger fragrance.

Step 6 – Carefully pour scented wax into your prepared containers.

Step 7 – Let candles sit until the wax is completely hardened. Depending on the size of your candles this can take 2-4 hours. Enjoy!

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Homemade Lip Balm

Beauty, DIY

Winter is coming and so are chapped lips. This simple lip balm is perfect for those cold, dry months ahead and uses all natural ingredients. It’s easy to adjust the recipe for smaller or larger batches as the ratio of ingredients is 1:1:1. Make a little for yourself or a lot to give to friends and family. Enjoy!

lip_balm_1

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp shea butter
  • 2 tbsp beeswax (grated or pastilles)
  • 30 drops essential oil (optional: I used peppermint)
  • containers to put finished balm

Instructions:

Step 1 – Combine coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax in a double boiler.

Step 2 – Once melted, remove from heat and stir in essential oil.

Step 3 –  Pour mixture into containers.

Step 4 – Let cool completely before capping (about 2 hours).

 

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Easy T-Shirt Alterations

DIY, Style

Sometimes I just need a change. I don’t want to spend money but I want to treat myself to something new. I have so many old t-shirts that I can’t seem to get rid of. Although I often donate or repurpose these items, sometimes I find that a few simple alterations can revitalize an old piece and get me excited about my old tees again. Below I’ve outlined some quick and easy ways to ramp up your existing wardrobe. The great thing is you can combine elements from each shirt and customize your look as you please.

What You Need:
  • Old T-shirt(s)
  • Scissors (the sharper the better)
  • Pencil/ pen/ tape – something to mark where you want to cut (optional)
  • ruler (optional)

Shirt #1 – high/lo waist + cut out neck (bonus rolled sleeves for final touch

High/Lo Waist

Step 1 – Try on the shirt and mark with a pencil 1-2 inches below where you want the front of your hi/lo top to sit. Just one small dot on the front will do.

Step 2 – Lay the shirt on a flat surface and smooth out the wrinkles.

Step 3 – Draw 2 lines: line 1 across the front of the tee (where you drew your initial dot) and line 2; a curve along the bottom hem leading up to line 1.

Step 4 – Cut along the curve line so both the front and back of the shirt are curved. *If you want a front and back scoop you can stop here.

Step 5 – Finally, cutting only the front of the shirt, cut along the remaining drawn line.

Cut Out Neck

Step 1 – Cut Along outside seam of existing collar.

Bonus: Roll up sleeves. 

Shirt #2 – Sleeveless + Peek-a-boo Back

Sleeveless

Step 1 -Lay the shirt on a flat surface and smooth out the wrinkles.

Step 2 – Cut the sleeve(s) off using the seam as a guide. I cut 1 cm inside of the seam all around. (You can of course cut further inside the seam. You may wish to draw a pencil line if so. Remember, a little goes a long way.)

Tip: You can ensure symmetry by flipping the removed 1st sleeve over and using it as a template for the 2nd cut.

 

Peek-a-boo Back

Step 1 – On the back of your shirt, draw a scoop. It can be helpful to try the shirt on before cutting and making a rough mark where you want the dip to end.

Step 2 – keeping the collar of the tee intact, cut along the base of the collar and along the scoop line you’ve drawn.

Shirt #3 – Cropped + Sleeveless

Cropped

Step 1 – Try on your T-shirt and mark where you want to crop it.

Step 2 – Cut a straight line across where you marked you’re crop line.

Sleeveless – See Shirt #2

 

Tip: When cutting a t-shirt, remember that the fabric with roll after it’s cut. Some weights of tee will roll more than others. It’s best to leave a 1-2 inch allowance. *Unless you don’t mind showing more skin. 

Homemade Bath Bombs

Beauty

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a nice hot soak in the tub after a long day. To create an illusion of luxury I often use essential oils or bath salts. but while I’ve been curious about DIY bath bombs, I thought they looked too complicated to make. I was wrong. I came across this basic recipe that’s very simple and customizable. I love that there is room to experiment with different salts, oils, colours and scents!

What you need:

  • 4 oz baking soda
  • 2 oz corn starch
  • 2 oz salt (I used epsom salts)
  • 2 oz citric acid
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon essential oil ( I used a combination of lavender, mint and eucalyptus)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon oil ( I used liquid coconut oil)
  • food colouring (optional) (I didn’t use any)
  • Bath bomb molds (can by from amazon/craft store but I just used a measuring cup)

Instructions:

Step 1 – In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients and whisk to get all the clumps out.

Step 2 – In a small bowl, mix wet ingredients.

Step 3 – Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ones whisking as you go. It’s important to whisk right away and only add a small amount at a time to avoid too much bubbling.

Step 4 –  Pack the mixture into your mold very firmly.

Step 5 – Carefully remove from mold.

Step 6 – Let dry for up to 24 hours. Enjoy!

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Macrame Hanging Planter

DIY

Go figure, macrame is cool again. I’ve seen macrame wall hangings and plant hangers at hip, trendy retailers and online vendors for a while now and really wanted to hop on the band wagon. But personally, I couldn’t justify the expense. That’s why I decided to give this craft a try for myself. It took a bit of trial and error but I’m happy with the result. This is a simple, basic macrame hanging planter design that is great for a beginner and works as a wonderful gateway into a new medium.

planter_1

What you need:

  • 4 x 15′ lengths of rope
  • 2 pieces of string, thinner than the rope you are using.
  • Hook (to hang planter from ceiling)
  • Potted plant
  • (optional) 1 carabiner

Instructions:

Step 1 – Gather the 4 lengths of rope together and thread through the carabiner. Pull through halfway so there are 8 even pieces of rope hanging from the carabiner. If you are not using a carabiner just fold the 4 pieces in half to get 8 equal lengths.

Step 2 – Use string to tie the pieces of rope together. If you are not using a carabiner make sure to leave enough of a loop to hang your planter from a ceiling hook. To add a band of colour – tie with a long piece of colourful string. Coil the string around the rope until short and tie off.

Step 3 – Now to make the first set of knots. Pair the rope so there are 4 sets of 2. Tie each pair together about 3 feet down from the carabiner/loop. This is where the top of the plant pot will sit.

Step 4 –  To figure out how far down the second set of knots will be, measure the height of your pot and divide by 2. My pot is 5″ high so I tied my second knots 2.5″ down from the first ones.

Step 5 – For the second set of knots, take one rope from each pair and couple it with one of the ropes from the neighbouring pair. Use the photos above as a guide. Start with the centre pieces and then finish by tying the end pieces together.

Step 6 – To figure out how far down to tie off the strings, use the measurement for the second knot (mine was 2.5″) and add about half the diameter of the pot. Using the same method as in Step 2 tie all 8 pieces of rope together.

Step 7 – Trim ends if necessary.

Step 8 – Hang from ceiling using a hook and place your potted plant in the planter. Enjoy!

DIY Customizable Body Butter

Beauty

I have been playing around with making my own moisturizer for a while. I’m always amazed at how you can take a few simple ingredients and transform them into such a nourishing treat for your skin. This body butter is incredibly moisturizing, absorbs into the skin quickly and doesn’t feel as greasy as others I’ve tried. By using a 3:1 ratio of butter to oil you can experiment with different ingredients to create a finished product that is totally tailored to your wants, needs and price point.

What you Need:

  • 3 parts Butter – shea, cocoa, mango, coconut (solid). Any one or a combination of these will work well. I used mostly shea and a bit of cocoa butter.
  • 1 part Carrier oil – sweet almond, avocado, jojoba, grapeseed, coconut (liquid), olive. Again, there are many to choose from and you can combine oils. I used sweet almond oil.
  • (optional) Arrowroot powder, tapioca or corn starch. I used Arrowroot powder. You’ll need approximately 1 tsp per cup of butter/oil concoction. This helps cut the greasy feeling and makes the butter absorb more quickly into the skin.
  • (optional) essential oil. About 36 drops per 1 cup of butter. I used grapefruit essential oil.

Instructions:

Step 1 – Melt butter in a double boiler over medium heat.

Step 2 – Mix carrier oil with arrowroot powder and set aside.

Step 3 – Once butter is melted, remove from heat add carrier oil/powder mixture. Mix well to combine.

Step 4 – Put mixture in fridge until opaque; firm but not rock hard. For me this took about an hour. I mixed the butter after 45 minutes and refrigerated for another 15 minutes.

Step 5 – Remove butter from fridge, add essential oil if using and whip with a fork for 1-2 minutes until you reach your desired consistency.

Step 6 – Transfer to an air tight container. Enjoy!