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Category Archives: DIY
One of my favorite things about the holidays is the smells: pies baking, tea brewing, rich spicy aromas from all of the outdoor elements being brought inside… heavenly. A few years ago, I went to a Thanksgiving party hosted by one of my guy friends, and while I was lending a hand in the kitchen, he showed me how he kept his house smelling amazing hours after the last of the baking had been done. He used something called a pot simmer, which is combination of aromatics that are heated to simulate that delicious holiday scent. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit, but here it is for you, my recipe for a Holiday Pot Simmer.
- 1 orange, sliced
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 whole star anise
- 1 tbsp of whole cloves
- Combine ingredients in small sauce pan and cover with water.
- Place the pot on the stove and bring the contents to a simmer.
That’s it! Now you will have to check on your pot from time to time to add additional water, but this is largely a set it and forget it situation.
If the idea of leaving something simmering on the stove makes you a little uneasy, you can use a crockpot. Easy peasy.
While this is my recipe of choice, feel free to switch things up a bit. You could add a little vanilla or switch out the orange for a couple of lemons; you could even take things a bit more earthy by adding rosemary or pine to your pot. Play around and find which brew is right for you.
I saw this amazing DIY on Studio DIY a while ago, and I knew I HAD to make one for myself. Heck, I wanted to make one for half of the people I know, but that seemed a teeny bit ridiculous and a lot of bit expensive. Then life got really busy, and a lot of recipes and diys I’d been planning got set aside. This past weekend I hosted brunch for a few of my friends, and I knew this was the perfect opportunity/excuse to finally give it a try. Added bonus, my lovely bosses gave me a VISA gift card for Administrative Assistant’s Day, and that, plus an Amazon gift card I already had, paid for the bulk of the supplies I needed.
- Clear Photo Tumbler (You could also do this with a travel mug.)
- Glitter, Sequins and/or Metallic Confetti (We used a combination! Raid your stash or the craft store!)
1. Make your glitter mix. We mixed a bunch of different colors, shapes and sizes. You don’t want anything too big (it won’t fit inside the tumbler).
2. Unscrew the bottom of the tumbler and remove the papers from inside. Sprinkle or spoon in the glitter mixture.
3. Fill the compartment with water, as full as you’d like. I filled mine up as much as possible. Tightly screw the bottom back on and that’s it! Obviously, do not unscrew the bottom again unless you are over a sink, but you really have no reason to! Hand wash only!
- I tweaked the DIY just a bit. I used distilled water to fill the cups, which will theoretically keep things from growing in the sealed cup, and we super sealed the bottoms with a bit of E6000 because two or three of them weren’t getting a tight seal.
All and all, this was an amazing project. All of my guests loved making them, and they were easy enough that we all ended up absent-mindedly picking out sequins and confetti while we caught up with one another. It was also really cool to see how different all of the final products ended up. We all had the same supplies to choose from, but no two looked alike. I am considering making another two or three of these to send to out of state friends for birthdays.
All images, except for the first, are from Studio DIY.
As the days until Christmas tick steadily down, the city itself seems to respond proportionally with an increase of frantic holiday shoppers. I am fortunately done. My final gifts were ticked off the list and wrapped a week ago. That sounds impressive, but this is the first year this has ever happened and it wouldn’t have happened this year either if my mom hadn’t been helping me, so believe me when I say I feel for you, last minute shoppers. In an effort to lessen your gift buying burden, here are 5 quick and easy gifts in jars that I think most people would be delighted to receive.
The other good thing about these jars is they are all relatively inexpensive to create. So go forth, procure supplies, and in a single evening of crafting, finish off that list.
All images are from the associated links.
As I’m sure you remember, I was a little anxious to dive into the Christmas-ing this year. So much so, that I cheated on Andy’s “not until Thanksgiving” rule and decided to tackle some of the DIYs on my Christmas Craft board. The first thing I made was this Tea Advent Calendar(full tutorial) for our cat sitter, who is an avid tea enthusiast. Here is how mine turned out.
As you can see, I went a more colorful route. The best thing about this particular craft was the price. Andy and I drink a lot of tea, and between gifts and what we buy ourselves, we always have a large variety of blends stashed in our pantry. I also have plenty of wrapping paper and cardboard in my crafting closet so the only thing that actually had to be purchased for this project was the clothes pins, bringing the total cost of this wreath to $2.50, which is pretty awesome. Since I loved the large wreath -so much so I had a little trouble letting go of it-, I am considering making a few smaller ones (12 days vs. 25) for a couple of the people in my office, as well as myself, maybe even one for Andy to take to work with him. Hopefully, the cooler weather will hold on, and things will be perfect for a steamy cuppa first thing in the morning or before bed.
Andy and I have had really bad luck with tree skirts for as long as we’ve lived together. I think I probably has something to do with our combined households leading to having six cats under one roof. We’ve tried pretty much everything, and even though we don’t put out the tree skirt until Christmas Eve, it is always destroyed before we can safely pack it away for the next year. The last couple of years, to make the impending loss less financially daunting, I’ve made our tree skirt out of supplies I already had in my craft closet. This year I’ve narrowed it down to one of these:
My mom and I made the first one year before last. It took a while to glue down all those ruffles, and there were a few glue gun burns, but we had fun and it turned out really well. Since she is coming in on Sunday I am going to try to talk her into helping me decide which one to make this year, and lend a helping hand when it is DIY time of course.