Simple Terrarium

It is a shiny new year here at share a bit of love!  I thought I would share a gift that I made for a gift exchange this year in case your new year’s resolution is to give a little more, make the world a greener place, or to spruce up your home or office.

I made this simple terrarium (two actually) for under $10 with some help from mother nature.Terrarium6

Here is what you will need:

  • Clear glass vessel
  • succulent plants
  • moss
  • potting soil
  • activated charcoal
  • gravel
  • rocks & sticks for added decoration

1. Start layering in this order: Gravel, charcoal, & potting soil.

2. Plant succulent in soil.

3. Pat in moss around to cover- You can skip this step, but it adds nice texture.  I managed to peel some moss from our front yard. (thanks Pacific Northwest!)

4. Add stones/sticks (I used drift wood from a girls weekend at the beach a few months back, and stones collected from a camping trip)

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Plum Fresh

Or should it be more appropriate to call it “Fresh Plum” today?share a bit of love DIY Plum Sauce1

I obtained a large basket of perfectly ripened Italian Plums this week from a colleague. To avoid the inevitable fruit flies that have run havoc around my kitchen this summer, I opted to make plum sauce.

Plum jam was really on my mind, but then I realized I was plum (ha!) out of my main canning staples. Enter Plum Sauce.  It just sounds decadent over vanilla ice cream, cheesecake, scones, goat cheese toast, or even as a glaze on a slow roasted turkey breast- doesn’t it?

Here is what is needed:

  • 4 cups of washed & halved Italian Plums
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon/lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice

In a large non reactive sauce pan, pour plums, sugar, spices and lemon juice. Simmer on low-medium for about an hour and a half while stopping to stir and to make sure the mixture doesn’t over boil.  220 (f) degrees should probably do the trick.  Your house will smell amazing. Meanwhile, prepare your jars for canning.  While the jars are still hot, spoon the sauce into each jar, and process using a water bath. Lick the delicious leftovers off the spoon and swoon at the late summer taste of beautiful Italian Plums.

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Easy DIY Apron

I cook a lot. You probably already know that from the many food themed blogs of the last few years.  Cooking a lot = lots of messes. Sometimes those messes end up on your favorite shirt and you find the need for an apron.

I’ve had this round table cloth- hanging out around the house for some time now. It was time it was put to good use.  I don’t have a round table and its clearly too small to make curtains.  Thanks to Martha, I found the right basic pattern to make even more simple. No pockets necessary for this gal, so I forgot all about the need to fold, add a couple extra seams, and just cut the entire pattern up about 6 inches. This made a plain front apron that hit me about the knees.

Cut out your pattern, alter as needed. Pin to ironed fabric. Cut to pattern. With a little ironing turning a hem that is about 1/2 inch wide. Turn again another 1/2 inch on all sides and iron. Sew each seam. Make you waist and neck straps in the same fashion. Attach and VIOLA! Apron City. No more splashes on my clothes any more.

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Easy Apple Chips

I don’t make resolutions. I  only make goals. This year, I’ve set the goal to be a happier, healthier me- mind, body, soul.

Food would be a big part of living healthier. I tend to go to lighter fare, but can find myself seeking sweets. All. the. time. Cold fruits get slightly monotonous for me, so I’m always seeking something healthy, easy to pack, and delicious. Finding myself without a dehydrator (would use too much counter space, I have to improvise.  Baked Apple Chips. Recipe/DIY at bottom.

You’ll need:

2 of your favorite apples

1 cup of apple juice

Cinnamon (for taste)

Tools: Mandoline Slicer, cookie sheets, cooling racks (parchment paper)

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1. Slice your apples into the thinnest slices your cutter allows.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper (trust me, this will save sticky scrubbing later)

3. Soak in apple juice with cinnamon in a bowl for 20 minutes

4. Line apples onto cooling racks without overlapping.

5. Put cooling rack onto cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 25 Minutes at 350 degrees.

7. Turn heat off, open oven to cool it a bit, and keep an eye on the apples.

8. When apples are dry, take off racks and enjoy or put in seal-able container for fresh keeping.

Peppermint Bath Salt DIY

I have a large circle of fabulous people that I work with.  I have never been a big fan of buying gifts for colleagues for many reasons, but have found that my homemade gifts are much more memorable.

This year, I have all women (with exception of one great guy) that surround me professionally. All fun, friendly, and festive. I needed something that I could make a large batch of, please the masses, and acknowledge the hard work that happens daily.

Each jar was less than $2 to make with plenty of extract left over for another craft.

Homemade Peppermint Bath Salt

For 12- 4 ounce jars you will need:

.5 fl ounces of Peppermint Extract

3 lbs. of Basic Epson Salt

The Super Easy Instructions

1. Pour Epson Salt into a large bowl

2. Drop 12 drops of peppermint extract and mix together

3. Scoop into jars and seal

4. Add your own adorable touch (Cupcake Liners for a jar topper)

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Calligraphy- a nearly lost art

I’m not sure about anyone else in my immediate generation, but I haven’t really written cursive since Mrs. Petrich’s 4th grade class. It’s slightly depressing to see my attempts at formal cursive- nothing seems to properly connect, and as for scale? Totally non-existent.

Enter Calligraphy, and a lovely local artist, trying her best to rekindle this dear pastime. Caitlin Dundon of One Heart Studio in Ballard, Washington is meticulously mastering her craft and willing to share with any wanting to learn.  I signed up for her Into to Calligraphy course with my favorite photog-friend, Mary of Mary Jo Photography.

After venturing around Fremont and Ballard to partake in deliciousness at The Other Coast Cafe, we wandered around Venue-the location of the class. It is an incredible local store with really great locally crafted goods. It took a lot of willpower to not buy every.single.thing. in that store. I did not leave empty handed- but could have enjoyed everything there.

The class had 8 openings, 7 of which were filled. Two long tables are set up with all necessary supplies in the middle of Venue. Paper, ink, and your own take-home Calligraphy pen are included. Caitlin is attentive to learning needs, and demonstrates her craft with ease. She gives a little bit of background for each type taught.  Students are encouraged to learn the basics and add their own flair. Needless to say, I struggled immensely with my “formal” calligraphy style, but the whimsy of my innate penmanship certainly took over with plenty of support of all around.

I have all intentions of signing up for Calligraphy II: Fun and Fancy Lettering offered.  Classes start at $40. Which is  a stellar deal for the art of a diminishing craft.

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DIY- Industrial Iron Pipe Shelves

In between the day job and the portrait photography, I LOVE to create. Luckily, so does the Handsome.  Part of why we work so hard is to really enjoy our home and life together.  I found myself with some free time in the last days of my vacation recently, and could not sit idle.  We’ve been improving our home for the last 5 years, from bathroom/kitchen remodels, to a pergola, and a new 2nd story deck.  We tend to reuse materials often- we’re green like that.  The Handsome has been hoarding the old lumber for more than 3 years now, and was consolidating recently- we just couldn’t part with that old decking.

There has always been an unused portion of our tall living room wall that has never looked quite right.  It was time to fix it. Enter iron pipe and the salvaged lumber.A trip to the hardware store to get the following after doing a little math for how big we wanted this masterpiece to be:

2 – 6″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes

2  – 8″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes

12 – 10″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes

4 – 12″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes

6- 1/2″ Threaded T’s

4 – 1/2″ Threaded 90’s

2 – 1/2: Threaded Couplings

10 – 1/2″ Flanges

1 box of 1 5/8″ Counter Sunk Screws

1 can of Rust-o-leum Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray paint

1 can of Rust-o-leum Indoor Clear Polyurethane (optional)

You will need lumber if you don’t have the salvaged wood option

Directions and cost breakdown are listed below.

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1st, thing is 1st: your flanges will probably be silver. I was informed that they don’t make un-galvanized flanges because they are usually used outside and need to be rust-proof.  The can of spray paint will more than cover the flanges, so do this first to let them dry.

Gather your pipes and complete a configuration that will work with your space. I chose to have a mix of smaller and larger shelve spaces to break up the wall a bit. Your hands will be filthy- the pipes are not clean FYI.

My pattern went for each “leg” went from top to bottom: 90, 10″, coupling, 6″, T, 12″, T, 8″, T, 12″, 90.

I then attached 10″ pipe to each 90 and to each T.  These will be the pipes that hold your shelves. Depending on your wood width, you could use a different length.

To each 10″ pipe, I attached a flange.  This will serve as your connection to the wall.

With the Handsome’s help, we attached each “leg” to the wall. We used a level and a tape measure to ensure the distance was correct and that the shelves would stay level.  We pre-drilled a few of the flanges before attaching to the wall to make sure we had some solid footings in the wall. This is a fairly heavy frame, so a stud should be used to secure the shelf “legs” to the wall.

We went through some of the old decking that we had salvaged that had some dry wear on it.  Some cracks and dings didn’t scare us.  We measured a portion of the wall and made cuts accordingly.  54 inches in length for four boards. Our lumber was mismatched a bit, so we had to make a cut to make the depth match the iron pipe. Using Polyurethane, I added several coats to make a slick surface on the worn wood to make future cleaning much easier.  This is definitely not necessary, but for someone who loves to make cleaning easier, this is a lifesaver.

Once the boards were dry, we placed them on the shelving frame.  After a few days, I took out one of the middle planks to make the space a little more dynamic.  I am still working on adding our favorite collections to the shelves, but it has changed the entire feel of the room for a pretty small price all things considered.

Here is the cost breakdown:

2 – 6″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes $2.05 x 2= $4.10

2  – 8″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes $2.89 x 2= $5.78

12 – 10″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes $3.40 x 12= $40.80

4 – 12″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes $3.84 x 4= $15.36

6- 1/2″ Threaded T’s $1.95 x 6=$11.70

4 – 1/2″ Threaded 90’s $1.53 x 4= $6.12

2 – 1/2: Threaded Couplings $1.53 x 2= $3.06

10 – 1/2″ Flanges $6.24 x 10= $62.40

1 box of 1 5/8″ Counter Sunk Screws=$6.47

1 can of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray paint =$6.42

Lumber = Salvaged ($0)

Polyurethane= Optional ($7.99)

Grand Total: $162.21