DIY: Shell Artwork

My good friend Stacey, whom I draw a lot of inspiration from, has moved in to a new house with her husband and she has been a busy bee making a home for the two of them. She is super creative, so when I bring Viv over for lunch play dates and a quick chat, I am always looking to what new furniture or art project she has done since the last time I was there.

This visit I noticed some shell artwork above her media console, and it was almost an "a-ha" moment when you look at something and go, "why didn't I think of doing that?". She simply took some small sea shells she found at the craft store, glued them to a linen back and framed them in a shadow box. Voila! Beautiful and simple and I am sure a fraction of the cost of what you buy at some fancy boutique shop. Love it!


Homemade Marshmallows: So Sweet!

For years I have been wanting to try to make homemade marshmallows and for one reason or other I have never gotten around to it. My husband loves marshmallows and will buy a bag just to eat plain...hmmm. Not really my thing, but he loves it so I thought making him some for valentines day would be a fun treat.

After all those years of procrastination, they were the simplest of things to make. Some gelatin, corn syrup (not the best for you I know) and sugar and you have yummy marshmallows. And there is no comparison to the artificial texture of the store bought ones. They are like fluffy pillows of gooey heaven. I made my husband some hot chocolate in the morning and placed some of the marshmallows cut out in heart shapes (sorry, they were consumed before I could get a photo of them). We don't celebrate valentine's day with grand affairs, but the small little gestures are what counts.

I made simple vanilla flavored ones this time, but the flavoring possibilities are endless. See Martha Stewart here for the recipe and other ideas. Also, here is my simple recipe for an instant at home 100 calorie mocha with no espresso machine required. It's a great substitute when you are trying to cut back on spending your hard earned cash at Starbucks. And I use all natural ingredients to avoid as many artificial additives as possible.

100 Calorie All Natural AND Instant Mocha:

2 tablespoons Organic Hot Cocoa from Trader Joe's
.5 - 1 teaspoon instant coffee ( I use Trader Joe's or the Starbucks Via one is good but pricier)
4 tablespoons All Natural Whip Cream (any all natural one will do and they have the same calorie and fat content than the artificial ones. Aka Reddi Whip)

Place your cocoa and instant coffee in your favorite mug, mix just enough boiling water to mix the cocoa and coffee, add the whip cream and mix again. Then add the rest of the boiling water and mix. For an extra special treat add a homemade marshmallow on top. I just did and it made it that much yummier!


I Heart Garland

I can honestly say my new excitement over garland came innocently when I first made the garland for my daughter's birthday. Since then, I have seen garland ideas all over and some mighty good ones at that! At least in the blogger world I have been seeing them every where (See Poppytalk for a great article on garland). And I can see why - they are just a fun simple way to celebrate any occasion without a whole lot of fuss.

I am not one to decorate for every single holiday. And Christmas is about the only one I manage to do or put effort in to. However, I thought it would be fun to make some Valentine's garland this year. And it is so stinking simple how could I resist?! I was at my local craft store and found some 100% felted wool. I l.o.v.e. felted wool for so many different applications and this was no exception. The only problem with felted wool is that I am not willing to put in the effort to get wool to the felted stage. But this was already felted and dyed and sold in paper-sized rolls. Perfect.

I made my heart template in two different sizes and then punched out two holes at the top of each heart. Then I used, of all things, some poultry string that I had in the kitchen. It took me all of an hour from start to finish. Easy peasy. Minus the shopping time of course. Plus, this is something you can keep year after year and not a craft you are likely to throw away...on to my next garland idea!


Preserve Toothbrush: Naturally Appealing

Call me crazy, but I have actually stared at my toothbrush and not liked how it looked amongst the rest of my bathroom design. How insane is that?! I admit it openly...though within the comfort of my little blog. So yes, the little minutia of details run through my head and I would like to fix most of them. But I also understand practicality, and so my toothbrush has remained on my bathroom counter top looking garishly bright and juvenile in comparison to the rest of it's suroundings. Until...

I was at my beloved Trader Joe's and looking at all of their personal/beauty products to see if I needed anything and out popped these toothbrushes by Preserve that bestilled my heart! (Also available at "Amazon)It was white, a simple design AND (bonus!!!) environmentally friendly. I was so thrilled that I bought one to try. Despite it's good looks, it had to be a good brusher as well. I have been using it for several weeks now and have to say I love it's function almost more than it's looks. It curves outward contrary to most other brushes. I thought this might be awkward to hold or reach my teeth, but it is quite the opposite. Here are some details on it's origins:

• 100% recycled plastics in handle, at least 25% recycled Stonyfield Farm« yogurt cups.
• Tri-level virgin nylon bristles with softer outer rows to protect your gums and tooth enamel.
• Curved handle, developed with dental professionals, for an effective and thorough cleaning.
• Preserve Toothbrush and packaging are completely recyclable with our postage-paid mailer (included with each order).
• Packaging is reusable travel case with ventilation holes.

"The Preserve Toothbrush was developed by dentists and engineers to be a high performance brush - and from the start, it and its packaging are designed to have minimal impact on our Earth's resources. Through our innovative recycling partnership with Stonyfield Farm«, we source at least 25% of our handle plastic from recycled yogurt cups. The Preserve's packaging is not only a reusable carrying case, but the materials are wood-based plastics from renewable forests. When you are finished with your Preserve toothbrush, use our postage-paid mailer to recycle your used Preserve and case into plastic lumber products, like park benches."

If you are a colorful brush kind of person, they do come in several vibrant colors that are sure to please. I like that even the colorful ones are one solid color. So brush in natural bliss and feel good that once your toothbrush has taken care of your pearly whites, it won't do more harm to the landfills.