Apr 30, 2012

Homemade Air Fresheners

This is a fun craft that doesn't take very long and can be great for party favors or even small gifts.  My friend, Rachel, and I were inspired by a couple DIY air freshener postings on Pinterest, but we ended up doing our own version - which we share with you below.

4 oz glass canning jars with lids
Scrap fabric (or craft paper)
Felt tip pen
Stylus or safety pin (if using craft paper)
Box of baking soda
Scented essential oils of your choosing
1/4 cup measuring cup and 1 tsp measuring spoon

(Quick Aside: The cool thing about using baking soda and scented oils is that you end up removing odors from the room via the baking soda and adding fragrance to the room via the oils.  A two-in-one solution!)


1. Take lids off of jars and set the metal lid inserts aside - you won't be using them for this project.

2. Lay fabric out and trace around jar lid with felt pen. Cut fabric to size by cutting about 1/2 inch out from your traced line.

(For paper version, lay paper out and trace around jar lid with pen. Then cut along the line so the disc of paper fits securely up in the lid.)

3. Fill each jar with 1/4 cup of baking soda.

4. Add 1 tsp of essential oil to each jar.

5. Position fabric over open jar and carefully screw on lid, attempting to keep the fabric as taut as possible.

(If using paper, push paper disc up into lid so it fits securely. Screw on lid, then poke several small holes in paper with stylus or safety pin.)

6. Place your air fresheners around the house and give them a quick shake/swirl every once in a while to stir up the fragrance.  Simply add more oil as time passes and the scent starts to wane.

The first place I thought of to put one of my air fresheners was on the baby changing table...just sayin'.  Other good spots include the bathroom, mudroom, or near the trashcan in the kitchen.

Hope we gave you a little smell-good inspiration for the day!  Let me know if you have any questions about the project.

Apr 27, 2012

Life's A Beach Inspiration Board

I wanted to share another inspiration board with you - this time it's in the format that I do for my Inspiration Board design service.  The sources and prices for all the room's items are listed below the inspiration board for your reference.  Now, for the room's inspiration piece by Minagraphy on Etsy...

I call this room "Life's a Beach!" - warm sandy walls, burlap curtains, accent colors reminiscent of the sea, and just the right dose of beachy/nautical items for good measure.  It's a great space for a little girl all the way up through her teens.  I'd even like it, if my husband were up to a pop of turquoise and bright pink in the master bedroom...  

Which item is your favorite?  I love the poster print, the Jenny Lind bed, chandelier, and rug best...and no, I can't pick only one favorite!  Let me know what you think of it.

Apr 25, 2012

DIY Homemade Pendant Lights

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of pendant lights - you've probably seen my Pendant Light Love post.  Because of my pendant passion I've been on the hunt for some DIY pendant light ideas...some inexpensive yet eye-catching light fixtures that you can create to totally personalize your space.  I'll show you my inspiration pieces, hand-crafted by some very creative and talented people, and then show you some products you can purchase in order to model your own.

We'll start with these half-globe pendants - my ultimate favorites of the bunch:

You can find a new or vintage globe and slice it in half with a jigsaw or even a hand saw.  The one below is extra handy because it has a nice thick equator line which makes a nice guide for cutting it in half:

Globe ($35) from Amazon.com

Next, we have a super cute colander pendant light:

Make one on your own with a colander you have on hand, or one you pick up for cheap at the store.  If you use a metal colander, you'll need a drill-bit that can go through the metal base.  You can always spray paint it, if it's not the color you want.

White Metal Colander ($10) from Ikea

A wire-basket pendant has a fun vintage flair to it:

A great tutorial on how to craft this pendant can be found {here}, using a wire basket similar to the ones shown below:

X-Small Marche Basket ($10) from The Container Store

Set of 3 Metal Baskets ($69) from Opentip.com

How 'bout a mason jar pendant - adorable over a kitchen sink or island:

You can find inexpensive old mason jars at flea markets or antique shops - sometimes you can even find cool colored ones.  An even easier route to take is purchasing a Ball glass canning jar at you local grocery store, similar to the one below:

pic from Nathan Beaver

(Please Note: With this pendant it's very important that you punch several holes in the metal lid, so the heat from the light can escape properly.)

Finally, an organic and casual-looking basket pendant, sure to make light dance off the ceiling:

pic from Two Ellie

You can find woven baskets everywhere - hardware stores, garden stores, Ikea, Target, Marshall's - I could go on and on.  I found this tightly-woven basket online:

Woven Banana-Leaf Basket ($22) from Amazon.com

You may be wondering, "Ok, so what do I use to turn these pendant shade ideas into actual hanging pendant lights?".  They're called pendant light kits, and they come in a range of sizes and finishes.  Make sure to find one you can disassemble to string your pendant shade on, or be able to attach your shade to the light socket in some other way.  You can find pendant kits at your local hardware store, or online like the one below:

 Single-Light Mini-Pendant Kit ($13) from Amazon.com

Has anyone seen any other cool DIY pendant light ideas?  I'm still on the look-out for some other great ideas, so you'll have to let me know.

Apr 23, 2012

Easy Banana Nut Bread

I've dubbed this recipe "easy" because we had all the ingredients on hand to make it - that's definitely not an everyday occasion here in our household.  We had a bunch of very ripe bananas on hand, so during dinner I mentioned the idea of making banana nut bread, and before we had all the dishes washed my hubby had already found this recipe on allrecipes.com, modified it a bit, and started whipping it up.  (He's the spontaneous chef in the family...lucky me)


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups mashed over-ripe bananas (approx. 4 large bananas)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9"x5" loaf pans.

2. Combine (sift if you have a sifter) flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in large bowl.

3. In another large bowl, mix butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Add bananas, eggs, and vanilla - mix again until well blended.

4. Pour wet ingredients into dry mixture, add walnuts, then stir until just blended.

5. Pour batter into your loaf pans - dividing evenly between the two. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until firm to the touch, in preheated oven. Once removed from oven, use toothpick to ensure bread is baked through.

6. Let cool for 5 minutes in loaf pans, then turn out onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely.  If necessary, run knife along edges to help separate the loaves from the pans.

(it makes a really pretty loaf, huh?)

Storage suggestion: Once completely cooled, wrap full loaves in aluminum foil, place in gallon-size ziplock, and place in refrigerator.

Serving suggestion: The banana bread tastes great with butter right out of the oven (we couldn't help ourselves...) but it tastes even better after being refrigerated overnight.  Slice it and place it under the oven broiler to lightly brown, then serve warm with butter.

Hope you like this as much as we did - it was mighty tasty!  As always, please leave a comment and let me know what you think...

Apr 20, 2012

Honeycombs and Hexagons

I know I'm not the leader of this band-wagon - the trend has been out a while - but I wanted to share all my honeycomb and hexagon finds with you.  It's a beautiful shape that can add some graphic symmetry to any space.  Not diggin' a bee theme?  Don't worry, the hexagon doesn't always suggest honeycomb - as you will see with the items below.

(Gee Whiz Moment: Did you know that hexagons are one of those shapes that regularly occur in nature?  Honeycombs, the sections of a tortoise's shell, snowflakes, a multitude of molecules, and mineral crystals are just a few examples of naturally occurring hexagons.  This must mean God likes hexagons too; after all, he is the Master Designer!)

While some of these items would be pretty paired together (i.e. the wallpaper and the lamp, or the rug and the vases, or the storage unit and curtains made of the pink fabric, or the mosaic tiles and the pendant light), make sure to exercise restraint with hexagons in a room or it may give you a bad "buzz".  Just sayin'...

On that note, I have to share my favorite bee pillow with you - no hexagons to be found on it.

It would be a really cute accent in a room with a hexagon print somewhere.  A sweet but subtle nod to nature's honeycomb.

What do you think?  Are you a fan of the hexagon shape in design?

Apr 18, 2012

Purses with a Purpose

Ok, you're right, all purses serve an important purpose when it comes to containing all our stuff, ladies - but these bags really "serve" a heartfelt purpose.  Sak Saum For Freedom is a ministry that "offers rescue, rehabilitation, and restoration to vulnerable and exploited women who have experienced firsthand the devastation of human trafficking".

The ministry works with Cambodian women who are motivated to see themselves changed and empowered through myriad free programs, such as education, counseling, job skill training, spiritual development leadership development, and "microenterprise" development.  These amazing women lovingly craft the beautiful items - of which 100% of the proceeds go to the Sak Saum ministry for salaries, housing, transportation, healthcare, education, and more.  What an awesome gift idea for a special woman in your life!  You know, Mother's Day is coming up soon.  A few of my favorites are below...

(Please note: posted prices include the cost of shipping)

Don't you just love it when a single gift can be a blessing to multiple people?  That being said, why not "gift" yourself while you're at it! :)
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