Fall/Thanksgiving Decoration

autumn-leaf-mason-jars4-1024x683

As seasons and holidays change I enjoy doing some kind of craft. This is a simple, easy, and cheap decoration you can make for your room or wherever. All you need to do is first find yourself a jar of some type. If you can’t find a jar, the dollar store has mason jars for a dollar.

You will also need:

leaves (real or fake)

Mod Podge

Sponge brush (some people use their fingers so you could potentially skip the brush as well)

Raffia or ribbon

autumn-leaf-decoupaged-mason-jars-fall-decor-materials-1024x683

Step 1: Clean the jar. If you have rubbing alcohol wipe the jar off with rubbing alcohol before applying the mod podge as it gets off any unseen grease, dirt or residue.

Step 2: Make sure your leaves especially if you went with real leaves, can bend and move without falling apart. If you have a leaf that you’re afraid will fall apart when you try to put it on the jar, you might want to choose a different leaf.

Step 3: To decoupage, dip your brush in the Mod Podge and paint a thin layer on a section of the jar.  Once that layer becomes quite sticky (check by dabbing your finger on it), place a leaf on the jar.  Paint more Mod Podge on top of the leaf in thin layers, making sure to smooth out the edges.  Start in the center of the leaf, and push your way out to the edges with your fingers.  It may take a few layers, but the leaf should stick to the jar. You might have to press down a few times to get it to stick but once the mod podge dries it should be fine.You can use your fingers to help smooth out the leaf so it will stick to the jar after the mod podge is applied.

autumn-leaf-decoupaged-mason-jars-fall-decor-6-1024x683

Step 4: Repeat the process with more leaves until you have the jar covered with the amount you want. It will then take a few hours to completely dry depending on the amount of leaves layered on the jar. Once the jar is dry, you can add raffia or a ribbon, and a candle to complete your project.

 

autumn-leaf-candle-holder-1024x683

If you would like to read more about this fun DIY check out: http://sparkandchemistry.com/blog/leaf-mason-jar-candle-holder/

 

 

 

DIY Costume Idea for Halloween

Can’t decide what to be for Halloween? Here is a tutorial for a completely no-sew spider web cape that you could easily make before Halloween. spider-web

All you need is:
fleece fabric – about 1 yard for a small child, 1 1/2-2 yards for an adult
tailor’s chalk or sidewalk chalk
1 yard of ribbon
sharp fabric scissors
ruler or measuring tape
*First, I want to explain why using sidewalk chalk is so great. Regular chalkboard chalk is sometimes hard to draw with on fabric, especially fleece. Sidewalk chalk that has gotten wet and then dried again, is softer and easier to work with on this project.
spider-web-1
Tip 1: To ensure you have enough fabric for your cape, you might want to measure how long you want the cape to be before heading to the fabric store. You do this by placing the measuring tape at the back of your neck and letting it hang down your back. Most fleece comes about 55-60 inches wide. If you want to keep this a no-sew project, keep in mind that it needs to be no longer or wider than the width the fleece comes in.
Tip 2: Measuring tape can act as a great over sized protractor when you are marking out your quarter circle. Be sure that the tip of the tape stays at the corner and that you mark the same length all the way across to get the proper arc.
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Tip 3: As a general rule, a small child’s neckline radius is about 2 inches and an adult’s is about 3 inches.
spider-web-3
Tip 4: If you are worried about the chalk outlines, don’t fret. The sidewalk chalk rubs out very easily. If you have some stubborn spots, rub them out with a damp rag or sponge.
For more information on this project head on over to:  http://www.deliacreates.com/no-sew-halloween-spiderweb-cape-tutorial/

Acne May Not Be So Terrible After All

Vertical image of a girl moistening skin with cream

Photo Courtesy of facingacne.com

As girls most of us have probably had to deal with acne and getting breakouts, especially at the worst possible time. According to newly released research, the people that suffer from acne age more slowly. This study was recently published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. So if you are  annoyed and frustrated with your skin, just remember that chances are pretty good based on research that you will age slowly. If you want more information about what was talked about within the new study, head over to http://www.teenvogue.com/story/acne-benefits-younger-skin-study to read the full article. Here’s a great suggestion on a daily routine to help you deal with acne and breakouts:

Morning

  1. Cleanse with a soap-free water soluble formula designed to be gentle yet cleanse thoroughly. Adding a soft washcloth or soft- bristled cleansing brush can help make sure all makeup, debris, and oil are removed.
  2. Exfoliate and help unclog pores with a leave-on, completely non-abrasive 2% salicylic acid product designed for acne-prone skin. The trick is to find one that doesn’t contain ingredients like alcohol and menthol.
  3. Apply a benzoyl peroxide treatment to all breakout-prone areas. Benzoyl peroxide is the gold standard acne-fighting ingredient and is brilliant when combined with soothing, exfoliating salicylic acid. Some products come in multiple strengths of benzoyl peroxide so start using the lowest strength first.
  4. Protect skin every day with an oil-free, lightweight, broad spectrum sunscreen. If you wear foundation, it may already contain sunscreen so you wouldn’t need to apply more.

Evening
The evening routine is the same as the morning routine, minus the sunscreen. Some of these products can be kind of drying to the skin so using a moisturizer after using these products would probably be good.

Fun Fall Hair Styles

With the start of fall, fashion changes along with hair styles and hair colors. This week I bring you some fun and trendy hair styles using braids.

Side dutch braid

braid-1

Triple braid

braid-2

Ombre’ Braid and Bun

braid-3

The top portion of the hair is sectioned off from temple to temple, and then parted in the middle with both sides braided to the middle of the head. Now wrap the two braids around each other loosely to form a messy bun. The blonde ombre color adds depth to the braid and highlights the soft curls on the bottom.

Ponytail braid

braid-4

Ponytails have always been great for those days when you don’t want to put much effort into your hair. This twist on a ponytail not only makes a boring ponytail look cute, it also shouldn’t take very long to do. You could do the braid the night before and then just get up the next morning and put your hair into a ponytail.

Braided bun

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A braided bun gives the bun a new, fresh, and fun look. This would be a good style for a special event or whenever you wanted to have fun by trying a new twist on a bun.

To see more hair styles check out www.therighthairstyles.com

Football Season a.k.a Fall

The fall season is upon us and that means the leaves will be changing colors and falling off their branches, school has begun again, and football is back on television. Are you a die-hard football fan or maybe you just go to your school’s game to show your support? If you do either one or fall somewhere in between, today’s blog is for you.  Sometimes it’s nice to do your nails in school colors or just a football theme. Here are some nail art ideas with football in mind:

football1

Paint one vertical line and three short horizontal ones to create the stitches.

football-2

Another idea would be to use your favorite team’s colors and draw the football on top. Don’t forget to let each side dry before polishing the other color. Also make sure everything is dry before adding the white as you don’t want the other colors to cause the white to smear.

football-3

Another great idea is to make the green on your nails to look like the turf the football players play on. Here’s a short tutorial to create this cool look:

Paint your nails green.  Dark green looks more like astroturf if you use it under the lighter green flocking.

Paint a second coat of green, and while your nails are still wet, sprinkle green flocking on your finger. You can buy it any craft store.

Tap your nail just like you would glitter after you stuck it down to glue, and you’re done with the grass part. (You will probably still have some left on your hands, but you can just wash it off.)

Paint your pointer finger dark brown.

Draw football stitches on it with white nail polish.

football-4

And finally, maybe you just want something simple like a football on your nails. In this picture you have the steps to turn your nails into cute footballs. Whatever you do, have fun!

S’mores Dip

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With fall quickly approaching, one of the things I love about the season is making s’mores over the fire. Sometimes though you may not be able to get somewhere that you can make a s’more so today I bring you from the blog cleverly simple, s’mores dip. Yes, a s’mores dip! How delicious would this be to sit down and dip graham crackers into a dip of chocolate and marshmallows? Pretty darn delicious in my honest opinion. #fall #recipes #smores #awesome

You will need:

Graham crackers

Four Hershey’s chocolate bars

Marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray the round pan with spray butter.
  3. Add a layer of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars.
  4. Place a layer of marshmallows.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 – 7 minutes, until the marshmallows are toasted.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Layer the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate on the bottom of a round or square pan that you can place in the oven.  A cast iron pan would do great as well.  I put about four Hershey’s Milk Chocolate in the pan.  However, if you have a lot of chocolate lovers, you may want to add some more.

Top the chocolate with a full bag of marshmallows.  Pack them in there.

Bake in a 450 degree Fahrenheit for 5 to 7 minutes.  Keep a close eye on it.

dipping into the smores dip

Let your dip cool for 10 minutes and then you’re ready to dig in!

 

Fun With Sharpies

With the summer winding down and school starting soon, why not get in one more fun project? I will bet that I am not the only one that has way too many sharpie markers lying around. This fun project gives us a chance to make use of all of those sharpie markers we all have. This fun, crafty project can turn plain ceramic tiles into cool looking coasters. This project takes white ceramic tiles, and then with a few other items like sharpie markers and rubbing alcohol, we can create awesome looking coasters. #sharpiesrule #girlsrule #endofsummer #fun

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White ceramic tiles
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Small straw or eyedropper
  • Your favorite Sharpie fine markers

You may also want to purchase felt and glue for the bottom of the coasters

Find white ceramic tile at any hardware store (they should be under a dollar each). Make sure to clean the surface thoroughly with soap and water.

Color with Sharpies! Pick a combination of dark and vibrant colors to create contrast. There are no wrong choices!

Use a stirring spoon  or eyedropper to methodically drop small “pools” of alcohol onto the tile. If you drop too much, the colors will all blur together and you won’t get any circles or patterns. Let dry! It can take up to half an hour, so just be patient!

If you think you added too much alcohol, you can go back and add more to create new “pools” on top. It will bloom again!

Seal it using a spray fixative first. Hold the tile at least 6 inches away and spray lightly over it. If you spray too closely or too much, the ink will reactivate and blur again. Do it in layers. After that, you can use a varnish or polyurethane to seal it with a glossy coat! Shine, baby, shine!

As a finishing touch, glue felt to the bottom of the tile to prevent the edges from scratching your table.

If you’re really feelin’ crazy, you can add MORE Sharpie on top of the sealed layer!

 

You can find this project and others at: http://blog.sharpie.com/2013/04/coasting-into-spring/

 

How to make boring keys awesome!

Have you ever looked at a key and thought this thing is ugly and needs help? Here’s a fun and cheap tutorial to turn keys into something all of us girls would like. Also, who doesn’t like glitter? #glitter, #summer,  #DIY

You’ll Need:
A key (or many keys)
Mod Podge or regular glue
Glitter
Clear spray paint– Don’t skip this step!

Step 1:
Put your key on a glitter-safe surface. I use foil. Paint one side of your key with you glue.

Step 2:
Pour on the glitter! Let this side dry completely before doing the other.

Step 3:
Repeat steps one and two on the other side of your key.

GO OUTSIDE and spray both sides of you key with the clear coat. This is important! If you don’t do this, glitter will fall off everywhere. Trust me, it’s a mess.

Once that’s dry, you’re finished!

If you have lots of keys, do each one in a different color of glitter so you can ID them.

Colorful Fun in the Sun!

Looking for fun activities to try this summer? Here are some options…and they all involve lots of paint or food coloring!

1. Twister with a Twist!

Play Twister with a messy twist! | 39 Slumber Party Ideas To Help You Throw The Best Sleepover Ever

Use a normal Twister game, but get crazy by adding colored paint to each circle! As long as you use non-toxic paint and wear old clothes, you’ll have tons of fun. Or get all your friends to dress in white and take before and after pictures. See who gets covered with the most color!

2. Play dodge-ball… with color-powder filled nylons!

nylon color powder balls

This is the perfect summer game because A) the “dodge balls” are soft and don’t hurt too much, B) the color powder is cheap, easy to make, and non-toxic, and C) it’s lots of fun to get covered in colorful powder! Here’s how to make the powder (it only takes 2 ingredients!):

First, mix 2 cups of corn starch and 1 cup of water in a large foil pan (you can get sets of these at the dollar store). Feel free to use your hands!

supplies for DIY color powder

 

Then add 1/2-1 ounce of coloring paste. You can still mix with your hands, but use rubber gloves to avoid stains! Make sure the color is thoroughly mixed in.

cornstarch mixture for DIY color powder

Next, leave the pans in a dry location and let them sit for a few days. Use a fork each day to break up the pieces.

dried color powder

Finally, when the few days are up you should use a food processor to get rid of the final chunks. Then just put the powder in the nylons and you’re ready to play! Wear white and take before and after pictures. Or think of other fun activities to do with this colorful powder!

homemade color powder for color fight

3. Glow in the Dark Chalk!

This stuff looks so cool! It’s also really easy to make, and it shows up in the daylight as well as at night. Here’s how to make this awesome chalk:

Start by combining water and a squirt of glow in the dark or florescent paint in a bowl.

Next, add some Plaster of Paris to each bowl. Plaster of Paris is a formula used for mold-making and sculptures, and it works great for this as well. You can buy a whole pound for just a little over a dollar, so it’s pretty cheap. Add enough Plaster of Paris to make your mixture thick but still wet–just keep adding and testing until you get the desired consistency.

Once your ingredients are mixed, spoon the mixture into an ice cube tray. Spray the tray with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

Let the cubes sit for twelve hours. Then put the tray in the freezer for ten minutes–this will make it easier to pop the chalk cubes out. Now you’re ready to start drawing!

4. Glow in the Dark Bubbles

Make your own glow in the dark bubbles using just TWO ingredients!

If you like the glow in the dark chalk idea, you’ll love these bubbles as well! All you need to do is mix dish soap, water, and a little glow in the dark paint, and then you’re set!

glowing bubbles

You can put a straw in the bubble mixture and blow bubbles in the bowl, or you can use a wand from some store-bought bubbles to blow even cooler bubbles! You can also try blowing the bubbles onto a piece of paper to make some neat artwork.

glow in the dark bubbles

5. Hair Chalk

This provides a cool look that will last for 1-4 washes! It’s pretty simple, too. All you need is any old chalk, some water, a hair tie, and a flat iron.

First, isolate the hair you want colored and tie the rest back. Get your hair wet, and get the chalk wet as well. Then use your fingers to spread the chalk on your strand of hair.

Finally, straighten the piece of hair with a flat iron to get the color to set. And there you go!

6. Rainbow Waffles

Carli would love this. I think I'll make some this summer when she had time to help.

Make your waffle batter like normal–maybe you have a family recipe, or maybe you make waffles from the box. Either way, don’t make any changes until the end. Then, instead of putting the batter straight into the waffle iron, first divide it into bowls and add food coloring to each bowl. Next move the batter to plastic bags, cut holes in the ends of the bags, and squeeze the batter onto the waffle iron. Try all sorts of different fun designs!

7. Paint Filled Eggs on Canvas

Paint filled eggs on canvas

This is a creative way to utilize your egg shells after you’ve eaten eggs. Whenever you use eggs in your cooking, try not to just crack them. Instead use a butter knife to gently crack the tops of the shells, making holes big enough for the inside of the egg to pass through. Then wash the egg shells with warm water and antibacterial soap and put them back in the carton.

Paint filled eggs on Canvas

Next, fill the eggs with paint!

Fill eggs with paint and toss them at canvas!  This project is surprisingly easy to set up and SO FUN!

Then seal the eggs gently with tissue paper and glue. Just use a glue stick to cover one side of the tissue paper pieces and then cover the holes.

Paint filled eggs- toss them at canvas for a super fun art project kids LOVE!

You’re ready to throw your eggs! Throw them at a piece of canvas, a poster, or just a piece of paper. Or try filling the eggs with chalk and throwing them on cement. Just be sure to clean up the shell pieces afterward!

Paint filled eggs on canvas

8. Summery Nail Polish

If you enjoy painting your nails, check out these pictures for inspiration! There are all sorts of colorful, summery designs for you to try.

Watermelon!

30 Eye-Catching Summer Nail Art Designs

Summer Sunset

Instagram / thenailtrail

Rainbow Sparkly French Tip

Instagram / selinasnailart

Beach Palm Trees!

Summer Splash

Instagram / thenailpolishchallenge

(Here’s how you do this! )

9. Homemade Scented Sand Paint

How to make textured and scented homemade paint for a multisensory art experience.

If you’re into art, you should try this! Not only does this paint make beautiful pictures, but it makes pictures with texture and good smells! All you need to do is mix a cup of flour with a packet of Kool Aid and then add water. You want the mixture to be pretty thick, so don’t add too much water! Then add some craft sand (you can get this for cheap online or at any craft store) and mix well.

How to make scented sand paint - a multisensory art recipe

You can use this paint directly on paper, or you can try it on foil for a fun twist!

Homemade Sand Paint Recipe - Create textured and scented paint for a multisensory art experience kids will love!  Paint on foil for vibrant print making and added textures.

10. Colored Flowers 

coloring wild carrot 5

Did you know real flowers can change color if they’re given colored water to drink? Try this with daisies, carnations, or wild carrots! Just put some water and a little food coloring in your jars and add the flowers. These will make beautiful decorations for a party, a dinner, or just for your living room!

I hope this post has given you some great, colorful ideas! Enjoy!

~Natalie

Fun (and Healthy) Summer Recipes!

Summer break is here!! School is out, the weather is nice, fruits and veggies are ripe and fresh, and you have plenty of time on your hands! If you’re looking for fun summer activities, try making some of these simple and healthy (and colorful!) summer recipes. They taste great and look cool too! And they’re all perfect for hot summer days.

Frozen Banana Pops

A healthier and more fun alternative to eating ice cream in the summer is making and eating frozen banana pops! Bananas have good nutritional value (they contain potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and more), and they taste great too! Plus you can add a variety of healthy toppings.

Easy Summer Treats

Ingredients:
-Bananas (each banana will make 2-3 pops, depending on size)
-Spread (yogurt, cream cheese, dark chocolate, Nutella, peanut butter, etc.)
-Toppings (chocolate chips, oats, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, sprinkles, crushed graham crackers, cookie crumbs, chopped dried fruit, etc.)
-Popsicle sticks, cookie sheet, parchment paper

Directions:
1. Cover a cookie sheet with a layer of parchment paper
2. Peel bananas and cut them into halves or thirds (depending on size of banana and how big you want popsicle)
3. Carefully put one popsicle stick in each piece of banana
4. Dip bananas in desired spread (or use a knife to spread if spread is thick)
*Cream cheese must be extra soft to spread, so make sure it’s warm or room temperature. Add honey or cinnamon if you want more flavor.
*For good dipping chocolate, add one tablespoon coconut oil for every 3 ounces of chocolate and heat until melted.
5. Roll each banana in desired toppings (or use hands to put on more toppings)
6. Place on parchment paper and freeze for 2-4 hours
7. Serve or put in freezer bag for up to a week

Berry Lemonade Popsicles

I am a huge fan of anything frozen and fruity. These popsicles taste great and look cool too! Bonus: they’re super simple and easy to make!

Berry Lemonade Popsicles are perfect for summer with fresh strawberries and blueberries!

Ingredients:
-Lemonade (can be from a mix, from a can, in a bottle, etc., and can be any flavor you want)
-Fresh or frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
-Popsicle mold

Directions:
1. Put sliced fruit in popsicle mold
2. Pour lemonade into mold until almost full
3. Place top on popsicle mold and insert popsicle sticks
4. Freeze overnight, then enjoy!

For other variations, try coconut water, iced tea or different juices. Or try cutting up other varieties of fruit!

Fresh Herb Flower Cucumber Bites

This is the perfect snack that can use veggies and herbs straight from the garden! The flower cucumber bites are perfect for tea parties, potlucks, or just mid-day snacks.

Ingredients:
-1 tsp lemon juice
-1/2 tsp lemon zest
-2 tbsp chopped pecans (optional)
-2 tbsp mint, thinly sliced
-2 tsp chopped chives
-4 ounces softened cream cheese
-1/8 tsp salt
-1 seedless cucumber, medium sliced into 32 rounds
-3-4 medium radishes, sliced thinly into 32 rounds

Directions:
1. Mix the first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl
2. Use a flower shaped cookie cutter to cut the cucumber slices into shapes (or try other designs!)
3. Assemble: place a radish slice on each cucumber slice and top with about ½ tsp of cheese mixture
4. Enjoy!

Rainbow Lemon Sparkling Water

Perhaps you’ve seen the awesome idea of putting food coloring in ice cubes. This is a variation that uses lemonade and sparkling water, making it taste even better and look even cooler!

Frozen kool-aid cubes and ginger ale. Cool rainbow drink

Ingredients:
-Lemonade (can be from a mix, from a can, in a bottle, etc., and can be any flavor you want)
-Food coloring
-Sparkling water
-Ice cube trays

Directions:
1. Put lemonade in ice cube trays
2. Add food coloring to each soon-to-be-ice cube
4. Freeze lemonade ice cubes
5. Put lemonade ice cubes in clear glass and add sparkling water
6. Enjoy!

Rainbow Fruit Kabobs

If you like rainbow, fruit, and SIMPLE, you will love these! They’re as easy to make as they look, and fruit is always a healthy choice!

Looking for something a little more healthy? Try rainbow fruit skewers! Delicious and breathtaking.

Ingredients:
-Strawberries, raspberries, or another red fruits
-Mandarin oranges, tangerines, or other orange fruits
-Pineapple or other yellow fruits
-Kiwis, green apples, green grapes, or other green fruits
-Blueberries or other blue fruits
-Purple grapes, blackberries, or other purple fruits
-Kabob skewers

Directions:     
1. Cut up fruits
2. Put fruits in rainbow order on kabobs
3. Enjoy!

For fun, try other color patterns. Or try sticking a bunch of kabobs in a whole watermelon—it will look great!

Avocado Corn Salsa

I am a huge fan of salsa, so I’m always looking for new recipes! This is a great one, especially for summer when veggies are fresh. Plus it’s super healthy—we all know veggies are good for you, beans are a great source of protein, and avocados provide almost 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid.

Avocado Corn Salsa Recipe

Ingredients:
-1 cup corn (fresh or cooked)
-2 avocados
-1 small onion
-2 limes
-2 medium tomatoes
-1 1/2 cup black beans
-Garlic Salt

Directions:
1. Cut/chop onion, tomatoes, and avocados (and remove fresh corn from cob if necessary)
2. Put into bowl and add other ingredients
3. Toss together
4. Refrigerate for a while (also gives time for flavors to mix together more)
5. Enjoy with any kind of chips!

Enjoy! Let me know which recipes are your favorite.

~Natalie

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