Did you ever wish you could change the color of your upholstered furniture? We have a great solution for giving old furniture a face-lift. You can use this chalk painting technique on chair cushions, sofas, wing chairs, and so much more! This can give your thrifty finds or a dining set a whole new look in just a weekend! Finish your project up with sealing wax. Watch our video tutorial to learn how you can do it too.
Weighted blankets provide a deep pressure that is very comforting and soothing to children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The pads provide deep pressure which is highly recognized as a helpful therapy for SPD.
There is a ton of info out there on the benefits of weighted blankets, animals, and pads for children. What many people don’t know is that nearly everyone can benefit from them. By simply laying the pad across the lap, it gently applies consistent light pressure (deep pressure) that feels like a big hug and soothes overstimulated little ones in a way that nothing else can provide.
I’ve made several weighted items for my own son over the years. They were especially useful when he was younger. I’ve made snakes for over his shoulders, but he played with it too much, so it couldn’t be used in school. I’ve spent years finding ways to help my SPD son feel comfortable & weighed pads and blankets are a tremendous help. These can be very costly to purchase, so we’re making it ourselves. I hope you find these steps easy to follow and make one yourself. The one that worked the best for us, was a lap pad similar to the ones we’re making here.
I’ll go through all of the steps, and show you how you can very easily make a lap pad for a young one. The ones we’re making will be a suitable size and weight for a preschooler. I hope you will be inspired to make one yourself. I’ll also show you important additional steps, in case you’re making a much larger one, so you can distribute the weight properly.
I’ve made these just like you would make a larger one – for demonstration. I’ve over-complicated the steps, so you can make one any size you need. If you are making a preschooler sized pad, you don’t need to do all the additional steps of separating the filling.
Step 1 Find the Correct Weight
The following weights are the recommendations from occupational therapists, physical therapists, and psychologists to help you design your own weighted goodies. The weight you make yours with should have the recipients weight in mind and no two will be the same. The larger person, the larger the pad/blanket will need to be. You start by figuring out 10% of the body weight of the person it’s for. Then you add one or two pounds. For example, ours are for preschoolers, roughly 30-50 lbs. I started with the low end – 30 lbs & 10% would be 3 lbs. Then I added 2 lbs, making them 5 lbs each. This weight will fall nicely into both ranges of the kids 30-50 lbs as you can see below.
The one I’m making today is for a preschooler. It’s size fits about 5 lbs of weight. It would need to be larger if it needed more weight.
Step 2 Choose a Weighted Filling
There’s quite a few materials that you can put inside for weighted blankets, but for this tutorial we’re going to be using Victory poly pellets, so that the lap pad can be washed, since it’s going to be used in a classroom setting. These pellets are round and will be soft under the fabric once they’re made. I found these online much cheaper than in a store. These are the only washable filling material.
If this for use in my house, I would use one of the materials below and save some money or use a more natural product.
Other weight/filling materials you can use:
- Rice (most commonly used)
- Millet (feed/grain store has in bulk-it’s used as birdseed)
- Small dried beans
- Dried corn
Step 3 Choose a Fabric and Size of Finished Product
Cut out your fabric to the size and shape you want. I’m making a 14 x 21 lap pad perfect for little learners. I will give it an extra 1/2 inch all around for seam allowances. I will cut 15×22 out of two fabrics to make the pad. If this were a large project, say adult size, I would give 3 extra inches.
I chose fleece because it’s super soft. I sprung for the no-pill fleece so it can stand up to repeated washings without wearing out.
NOTE: While fleece is very soft, there are a fare number of people that can’t stand fleece, cotton balls, etc. It’s actually painful and/or electrically uncomfortable for them. This fabric will not work for those individuals.
Step 4 Sew Edges
Place your right sides together so the wrong side (back side) of your fabric is up. Pin the two longest edges and sew them together from top to bottom. give this a second stitch as reinforcement to hold the stuffing in. If you are NOT adding fidgets on the end, you can stitch a third side, leaving one open side. Just be sure to reinforce your stitches. This is NOT how ours were made. Cut off all your strings as you go.
Step 5 Turn Right-side Out & Sew Edge
Turn the fabric right sides out. Pin one edge about an inch from the edge to be sew closed. This is the edge we will add fidgets to later. Sew the edge about an inch from the edge and reinforce by stitching again.
Step 6 Sew Channels
Larger Blankets: Sew channels or lines running the length of the pad, making sure to go the direction you have an open end on. This helps distribute the weight so it doesn’t end up all on one side. This is how ours were all made, so the fabric wasn’t stressed all on one corner.
Be sure to stop your channels an inch from the edge, so you can still fold it under and sew it closed later.
Step 7 Prepare and Attach Fidget Ribbons
If you have a sensory seeker, you will want to add something for little fingers to fidget with. To make the fidgets for the edge, I cut ribbons of various size, color, and texture. Some will become loops and some just ribbons. Be sure to use Frey Check on both ends of all the ribbons so they don’t unravel.
After ribbons have dried, pin the edge (the one sewn an inch from the edge) folding both sides under and pinning ribbon in between them. This was a little time consuming, just make sure your ribbons are pushed as far in as they will go because they WILL be pulled on. Sew it closed, remove all pins then sew as close to the edge as possible to reinforce it.
NOTE: The reason we sewed this same edge closed ahead of time, was to seal off the stuffing inside. If a fidget gets pulled out, you won’t have to worry about the stuff inside coming out. We’re planning ahead and preventing a messy/choke-hazard catastrophe in this whole step.
Step 8 Weigh Out Filling
Now we’re ready to fill it with weight. Weigh out the desired amount of filling with a scale. This is easy if you’re buying 2lb bags of rice that are pre-weighed, but you have to measure out your filling material before you can put it in. Divide it into however many channels you need to fill. For the tiny lap pad, that’s just one, so you don’t need to do this.
Step 9 Fill Channels
You can see in the photo I have 4 channels, so I’m dividing it into quarters, once it’s all weighted out. Then I further divided my channels into 4 parts each, which is what you need to do for a large blanket. If this was an any larger project, I’d have to use a larger container to store the increments, like a pail, or gallon baggies, dish tubs, anything really.
Use a funnel (or make one from paper) and slowly fill the bag. For a tiny one, just fill it with all the weight and pin it closed. Try to leave yourself room to fold under the edges for a clean edge. For any other size, fill one channel at a time, approx 1/4 of the way and pin closed. Sew the channel closed and fill again, following this until you have filled the whole channel and sewn each section. Reinforce seams.
Step 10 Sew Edge Closed
Take your time and sew the pinned edge closed, and then sew it again, to ensure it’s strong. Fold the edges under and sew closed for a clean edge. Fleece doesn’t have to have sewn edges, but it makes for a cleaner look. If you wanted, you could try to work in another row of fidget ribbons.
Note: Fidget ribbons are easiest to attach before filling the pad. That’s why this project has them on one side. It’s very hard to sew properly with that much weight.
There’s our finished pad! Yours won’t have the channels if it’s this size, but I hope you’ve learned how you can make a therapy weighted blanket for someone you love.
Halloween is an especially creative time of year for us. It’s usually a really busy time of year for us too. This video tutorial is quick and easy to add some spooky to your indoor areas. There are so many variations you could try out, or you could carry the idea onto other holidays too. If you can imagine it, you can create it.
In today’s world it is, unfortunately, getting harder and harder to stay away from exposure to toxic chemicals. Just the amount of exhaust we inhale on our daily commutes is enough to want to hold your breath. Forever.
Today, I am talking about “Green Cleaning”. I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard this term by now, and some are probably still wondering how to go about it. The point is to take control by reducing your toxic exposure in your home. The one place you actually have control over. Your sanctuary from the crazy outside world.
But why Green Cleaning? Two main reasons:
- You are eliminating a large amount of toxic chemicals left floating about in your home. Think about it. You spray the cleaner. Yes, it goes on the counter, but the amount of molecules released into the air is staggering. If you can smell it, you are inhaling it. They say indoor air quality is far worse inside the home than outside.
- The second reason, is that it truly is more economical. You can purchase the few ingredients needed for the same price as a single set of cleaning supplies, and the ingredients you buy will provide several rounds of cleaning supplies. Think of it as the best BOGO out there-only it’s more like 4 for the price of one!
There’s a plethora of recipes to be found online. Some work. Some don’t. Finding the right one can be an undertaking. And believe me, I know how easy it is to just go to the store and buy the chemical cocktails on the shelf. It would be ridiculous to ask someone to make the switch to completely green cleaning all at once. Especially since we have been conditioned to use all these harsh chemicals, believing our homes will not be clean otherwise. Let’s start small.
After experimenting and tweaking, I have two recipes which I find work well. The measurements here are for a sample size. A little goes a long way with these. It may not seem like you’ve made much, but trust me, it’ll do the job! Test it out. See what you think, we think you’ll love it.
One is an Eco Soft Scrub you can use on your sinks, counters, tub and shower, toilet, and even on hard to clean hands. Think gardening, mechanic, or construction work. The second is a Green Degreaser for hard to clean dishes, countertops, microwaves, and for the goo left behind from stickers. You get the idea. Both use simple, non-toxic ingredients you likely already have, and will leave your home genuinely clean. Imagine how many toxic products you can say farewell to with just these two cleaners in your arsenal.
Here is your entire supplies list:
- Baking Soda
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Liquid castile soap
- Liquid coconut oil – fractionated
- Essential Oils
- 4oz jar
- 2oz spritzer bottle
First up, Eco Soft Scrub!
- 4 oz jar
- ⅔ c baking soda
- 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
- 2 tbsp liquid castile soap
- 30 drops essential oil
Essential oil options (Choose one of the two below to customize your cleaner):
Mix all ingredients in your jar or bottle. To use, apply soft scrub on surface to be cleaned and let sit for up to 1 minute. Scrub with a sponge and wash off with a microfiber cloth.
Next, Green Degreaser!
Mix all ingredients together. Pour onto the bottle. Shake well before each use.
NOTES: *Fractionated coconut oil is produced through a process of steam distillation and hydrolysis to remove the long chain fatty acids. This allows the oil to stay liquid at room temperature and gives it a longer shelf life.
I love pizza, and being on a Ketogenic diet has made it very difficult to indulge in this particular treat. This recipe uses a sneaky trick to get more veggies into the mouths of even the pickiest eaters. The sheer cheesiness of this meal has my family wanting it again and again. Even my friends who aren’t keto love when I make this pizza.
We keep this grain-free and low-carb by using almond flour. This is keto because it is high in fat and low in carbs. The amount of carbs will greatly depend on the sauce. Most creamy sauces can easily be found with around 2g of carbs. You can use any toppings you choose, but these are some of my families’ favorites! This gave me an opportunity to use some of my cool season garden vegetables too.
Start by making a basic fat head dough pizza crust. This is not my original recipe, I’ve been making this for years, and I don’t even know where I first saw it. (The basic recipe can be changed in hundreds of ways.) I generally double this recipe. It’s quick to make more (like under 2 mins) if you need more. Just make sure you keep the mixture warm and cover any you’ll get to, like a second pizza crust. I use a cookie sheet to cover my bowl, so it stays warm until I get to it.
Fat Head Dough
- 1 oz cream cheese
- 2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 c almond flour
Melt cheeses in the microwave in 30 seconds increments. Stir them together.
Mix almond flour into the cheese mixture. I use my hands to press the dough into the almond flour.
While the dough is warm, make a ball, place it between two pieces of parchment paper on the counter, flatten with your hand, then roll into a circle pizza shell. Roll it out thinly and quickly about 1/8 is perfect. You don’t want it too thin or too thick. If you’ve never used fat head dough you’ll be pleased how much it actually rises. Transfer dough onto parchment paper on a pizza pan, and poke holes in it with a fork. A lot of holes. This prevents big air bubbles from forming while cooking.
Bake at 400° for 12-15 mins until brown around the edges. Let it cool while you work on the toppings.
TIPS: You can stick it in the oven while preheating. Use a knife to pop large bubbles if they form while it’s in the oven.
I use a food processor on pulse a few times and combined:
TIPS: You could use just about any fresh veggies you have on hand. Using the food processor makes it more difficult to identify the veggies, but you can use a chopper, tiny food processor , blender (with a silicone spatula to get it back out), or you can spend some time chopping them very small. I like using the food processor because it also changes the texture, which is often a big part of why foods are disliked to begin with.
Part of what makes this such a fast meal is the use of a store bought jar of sauce. I used Bertolli Alfredo sauce this time, but you can choose any type you like, so long as it’s low in carb’s, preferably with zero added sugar. Spoon the Alfredo sauce on the crust and spread with the back of the spoon. Leave at least 1/4 inch of the edge for the crust and so you have something to hold.
Spread the veggie mixture around onto the sauce. Spread it thinly rather than in clumps if you can, to distribute the yummness.
Next add mozzarella cheese on top of that.
Add a Parmesan/Romano cheese blend on that to kick it into taste overdrive. This is optional, but recommended.
Be sure to let this pizza cool some before you dig in. It gets firmer and is easier to serve and eat if it has cooled a few minutes. It’s hard to keep people away once it’s out of the oven though.
Prep time: 15 mins
Bake time: 15 mins
Bake at 400° F for approx 12-15 minutes. The cheese will be melted in the center and parts of the cheese will be golden brown.
TIP: To reheat pizza bake at 375° F for approx 10-13 minutes.
So good. There are so many ways you can make this pizza unique and delicious. You could use a jar of pesto, instead of the alfredo if you want. I usually just use whatever veggies I have on hand. Red bell peppers are great on this pizza, and I’m not usually a bell pepper fan. That says something.
If you love this post, don’t forget to pin it for later.
Now that it’s getting chilly outside, it’s time to cuddle up in the house and stay warm. There’s no better way to do that than with a wonderful steaming hot cup of tea. In this tutorial we’re going to sew our own easy cotton reusable tea bag that can be cleaned out and used over and over again.
This is a super easy tutorial, and we designed this project for beginners. I even found the easiest way possible for all the steps, so this can be done by anyone. If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can still hand stitch this, it’s just going to be harder to clean it back out when you use it for tea & you need to use small, close together stitches, but I’m not one to stop you from your sewing dreams! Or from getting some tea!!
We’re adding these tea bags to our arsenal of projects that could be given as gifts to your friends and family, or as a spa-like gift for your clients. The fabric you choose will set the tone of the tea bag and you can choose whatever pattern you like. It could be crazy colorful, or serene and relaxing, like this fabric I chose.
The best fabric to use is 100% cotton. This is the ideal beginners fabric. It won’t frey like crazy like some other fabrics, and many synthetic fabrics contain chemicals you don’t want in your tea cup. An off-white muslin is the best choice for a food product, because it hasn’t even been bleached. I chose this holiday cotton fabric. I really liked the serene, spa-like quality to the design and it was in the remnants at my local store. I just needed a little bit of fabric.
To keep things relaxing, choose colors that are muted like greys and beige as well as patterns that are subtle. To energize use fabric with strong patterns and bold colors.
Let’s get started! I made a pattern from folding a letter-sized piece of paper in half, lengthwise, then cut. I then folded that half into quarters, giving me a great size and shape for the tea bag. You can see in the photo below that there’s plenty of room for seam allowance. I ended up using a total of an 1/8 yard of quilter’s cotton for this project and I made ten completed tea bags all exactly the same. I stopped at ten.
If you cut all four sides of the fabric, you will sew where all the blue lines are for your closed edges. I’ll be folding my fabric in half and using the fold to make both sides of my tea bag at once. You can see that I’ve folded it, cut it, and now I’m marking my pattern lines with a piece of chalk I borrowed from my son. (Be sure to wash the chalk out of the fabric before using them for tea.)
I plan to use these as amazingly personal gifts this year to a few deserving people, so I’ve made more than one. To streamline the process, I’m marking several then I will cut them all at the same time.
Once they’re cut, we’re ready to start pinning the top edge. Fold the edge that will be the tops toward the inside and pin them into place. Your pins have to run perpendicular to the edge so they’re less likely to get caught in the sewing machine needle. Stitch the edge using a coordinating colored thread for a sleek professional look, or spice it up with a colorful decorative colored thread if that’s your thing.
After you’ve finished the top edges, fold the bag so the right sides are together and it is now inside out. line up the two edges you’ve completed and pin the two remaining edges together, being sure the top edges meet up.
If you used two separate pieces of fabric, or a different fabric for each side, you will pin three edges together, still lining up the top edge. You will be stitching the three dotted lines on the pattern.
Sew the sides (and bottom if they aren’t attached by the fold.) Take out all your pins and turn the little bag right side out. This is where you would wash it to get the chalk out. Press with an iron to make it nice and crisp. If you’re just going to toss it into your mug, don’t worry about ironing go to the next step. It will make it look much nicer as a gift, if it’s nicely pressed.
To add a tie to this lovely bag, we used a large hand needle and Egyptian cotton embroidery floss. We used straight stitches starting on the outside and then ending on the outside. This close up shows you how easy it really is. Tie the string together in a knot, approx an inch away from the edge.
I used a color of string that will stand out, so it can be seen easily, yet doesn’t scream at you. One of my gifts is for my mother, who needs to be able to use it even if her arthritis is bad. The string moves easily in the cotton fabric to tighten the bag so the contents don’t fall out, yet it’s easily reopened when wet so you can clean it out. I chose the color of thread that I did also so you can clearly see how it worked out.
Simply fill your tea bag with about a tablespoon of your tea, pull the string closed and place the whole thing in a mug of hot water! When your finished, it’s easy to clean out and reuse again and again. No more throwing away bags with every cup. We’ve found it’s nice to have several to choose from, if you drink tea frequently. Because they’re made from cotton, they dry quickly too.
This brings me to why I actually made these awesome reusable tea bags. I’m not putting tea in these. Yea I know, I call them tea bags and everything. I’m just doing one of the variations we try to encourage here. I personally love a hot bath when the weather outside is fridged. These reusable bags can also be used (or instead of) to hold luxury bath salt mixtures for use in the tub.
You fill your handmade bag with the herbs of your choice, like chamomile or lavender flowers, add a little Epsom salts, pull the string tight, and toss it in the tub. No more flowers stuck to your bum & nothing to try to wash out of the tub when you’re finished.
Our Luxury Bath Soak DIY is coming in November. Link will be HERE.
I can’t wait to make some of these for myself!
Ah tea. The beverage of a thousand possibilities. Known to have started in Ancient China, tea can warm you up or cool you down; give you pep or relax you into sleep, help your ailments, and always soothes your soul.
With the arrival of Fall comes all the holiday festivities. And, as joyful as they may be, it is easy for us to get overwhelmed and fatigued; causing brain fog and lowering immune system function. Not to mention, we feast in vast amounts, making our digestive systems work overtime. This can all leave us feeling bloated and heavy. Not to mention the heartburn.
Why make your own tea? Yes, you can buy pre-bagged teas. Sure, you can order tea at most any coffee house. But, nothing beats making your own blends and brewing them at home. There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes with the process of mixing herbs together, knowing exactly what is going in it, and what it’s for. Making your own tea gives you the freedom to adjust your tea blends for strength, flavor, and effects.
The whole process of making your own blends, has its own healing benefits. I don’t even know how to describe the feeling of satisfaction I get when I take that first sip of a personally blended cup of tea. There is definitely some pride and giddiness.
These Tea tutorials will help you stay calm, focused, and balanced this holiday season. Some of the blends are my own blends and some I’ve collected. There are six tea recipes for you, two for your children (should you have any), plus two that are proven favorites at holiday gatherings. Use these recipes for yourself, or give them as wonderfully personal handmade gift this holiday season. Paired with our handmade tea bag, it would be the perfect gift.
Let’s begin with a grounding tea. It’s nice to start your day already centered and ready to take on whatever it may bring. This particular blend makes 2 ½ cups of dried herb mix. And with only 2 teaspoons per cup of tea, one batch ought to get you through. All herbs are dried.
- 2c betony, flower and leaf
- 1 c chamomile, flower
- 1 c tulsi, leaf
- 1 c catnip; flower and leaf
- 1/2 c St. John’s wort, flower and leaf
- 1c boiling water
Store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar.
Fill tea bag or tea infuser with 1-2 tsp of the tea blend. Place in 1 cup of boiling water and let steep for 3-5 minutes.
These blends are from robinskey.com. Here are two unique blends to help keep your brain clear and focused during those high brain stimulating days.
- ½ c green tea
- ¼ c basil, dried
- ¼ c peppermint leaf, dried
- ¼ c rosemary, dried
- ¼ c sage, dried
- ¼ c rosemary, dried
- ½ c green tea
- ¼ c ginkgo biloba, dried
Store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar.
Fill a tea bag or tea infuser with 1-2 tsp of tea. Place in 1 cup of boiling water and let steep for 3 min.
This recipe is from Wellnessmama.com. It is a common problem to lay in bed at night, running through your to do list for the next day or review what was or was not accomplished on that day’s to do list. This blend provides a calming of brain and body to gently send you into sleep.
- ¼ c chamomile
- ¼ c mint
- ¼ c catnip
Store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar.
Fill a tea bag or tea infuser with 1 ½ tsp of tea. Place into 1 cup boiling water and let steep for 5 min. This is best to drink about 20 min before bed.
Headache Tea (4 yrs-old and older)
This blend is from Demetria Clark’s book Herbal Healing for Children. We can’t forget about the kiddos. Children feel the hustle and bustle of the holiday season just like we do. I know mine get worn down and suffer brain fatigue; which usually leads to headaches. So, to help your wee ones cope with it all, and to help save your sanity of a tired cranky child (can’t blame them), here is a blend for children; catered to younger, smaller systems; to help keep them balanced and clear headed.
- 1 tsp peppermint leaves, dried
- 1 tsp rosemary leaves, dried or fresh
- 1 tsp chamomile flowers, dried or fresh
- 1 tsp lavender flowers, dried or fresh
Steep in boiling water until lukewarm.
Note: For children under the age of 4, I recommend putting 1 drop of lavender oil in a diffuser and having the child rest and do a calm activity near the diffuser. A second option, is using 1 drop of peppermint oil in a diffuser.
This is a great after meal beverage to aid your digestion when feasting is high.
- 2c alfalfa leaf
- 1c peppermint leaf
Store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar.
Fill tea bag of tea infuser with 1-2 tsp of tea. Place in 1 cup of boiling water and let steep for 3 minutes.
For when you find yourself having eaten too much of a good thing.
- 1 c mint leaf
- 4 tbsp lavender, dried
Store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar.
Fill tea bag or tea infuser with 1-2 tsp of tea. Place in 1 cup of boiling water and let steep for 3-5 minutes or until cool enough to drink.
This blend is also from Demetria Clark’s book Herbal Healing for Children. This is another great children’s blend that you’re sure to enjoy as well.
- 1 tsp echinacea flowers and leaves
- 1 tsp astragalus root, dried
- ½ tsp boneset leaves, dried
- ½ tsp licorice root, dried
Steep in 2 cups boiling water, at room temp until cool
-2-3 years = ¼ cup per day
-4-5 years = 1 cup per day
-6-12 years = 2 cups per day
With these teas in your arsenal of well-being, you are ready for the party. The following are two classic beverages for yourself and your guests to enjoy during those gleeful holiday gatherings. Double or triple measurements to suite the number of guests. The following recipes with serve about 10 people.
Cranberry Spice Tea
- 12 cups water
- 9 oz cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 2 large or 4 small lemons, juiced and zested
- 5 cinnamon sticks, whole
- 2 tbsp peeled and grated ginger
- 6 tbsp goji berries
- 6 black tea or Rooibos tea bags
- Raw honey to taste
- Fresh lemon and cinnamon sticks for garnish
Slow Cooker Directions:
- Combine water, cranberries, lemon juice and zest, cinnamon sticks, ginger and goju berries in the slow cooker.
- Set to high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours then keep warm
- Add tea bags and steep for 3-5 minutes just before serving.
- Serve with the option of adding honey for taste, and lemon slices and cinnamon sticks for garnish.
Stove Top Directions:
- Combine water, cranberries, lemon juice and zest, cinnamon sticks, ginger and goji berries in a stock pot.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add tea bags and steep covered for 3-5 minutes just before serving.
- Serve with the option of adding honey for taste, and lemon slices and cinnamon sticks for garnish.
TIPS: I prefer the slow cooker method, because it allows for other party preparations to take place while cooking. Plus it really fills the house with that tangy, sweet spice we find so familiar this time of year.
This is also a great beverage to serve chilled mixed with sparkling water.
I really can’t see a holiday gathering occurring without Wassail. Nor can I help myself from humming the song when preparing this warm and cozy beverage. This is a slow cooker recipe, because there really is no other way to go with this. Really. If you don’t have a slow cooker large enough to hold a gallon or more of liquid, you can half the recipe.
- 1 gallon apple cider
- 4 c orange juice
- 4 hibiscus tea bags
- 10 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp cloves, whole
- 1 tbsp juniper berries
- 1 – ½ inch fresh ginger, cut into slices
- 1 apple, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 orange, sliced into thin rounds
- Place all ingredients into the slow cooker and cover.
- Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours, until dark and the fruit is soft.
- Remove tea bags and serve hot.
TIP: For the adults 21 and older; if desired, add ½ cup of your favorite brandy in the last 5 min of cooking. This will blend the brandy into the wassail without diminishing the alcohol. (Please drink responsibly.)
Supply and Ingredients Notes:
Glass or ceramic tea kettles are best as they to not transfer molecules into your tea like metal does. Nor will they absorb the tea like metal does.
Most of what you will need you will find at your local market. For those harder to find ingredients I recommend online resources, such as Mountain Rose Herbs and Em’s Herbals (we aren’t affiliated with these companies, they just sell awesome herbalism & aromatherapy supplies). You can find more with a simple online search, just be sure your herbs come from a reputable organic grower.
When choosing flooring materials it’s important to choose a material that will worked well with the space. For this artist’s studio, I chose luxury vinyl plank flooring because it won’t be ruined when it gets wet. It was an obvious choice because it will be able to handle spills, splatters, snow, and anything else I throw at it. The planks are made pretty much of PVC, coated in a top layer that looks like wood. I need a flooring that is going to be easy to maintain as well as something that is going to be very easy to install and to put into place myself.
The first step was to lay an underlament down on the sub-floor. The one I chose was a dense foam that rolled out and covered the floor in two rows. This is considered a floating floor which means that it’s not glued or nailed down in any way it just sets on top of it underlamanent. Molding around the bottom of the wall is what holds it down.
Next I figured out which direction the wood grain on the planks should run. Because this building is 8×10, I wanted to visually maximize the square footage. The proper direction to lay the floor would be the direction the sun comes in the windows or running planks through a doorway. While the direction the sun comes in would look nice, I chose to run the boards following the door entrance creating a long line for the eye to follow, making it look much deeper. I figured out which wall would be the starting edge and where the finished cutting edge would be. I used the full (uncut) strips directly in front of the door where I walk into the building, with the partial pieces along the wall under my work bench where no one’s going to see it.
I took planks out of the box and connected the first row end to end which creates a stronger seam. I laid an entire row on the floor and marked where to cut the end plank with a dry erase marker. I took advantage of the doorway when I did this so that I was able to run my boards past the wall and mark it.
I then used a straight edge and a utility knife to gently score the top layer of the vinyl plank. You don’t need a press very hard. Use the utility knife and go over it a few times. Then you turn it over, on the back, and snap back along the line you created. It really is that simple and it really does work that well. I used my jigsaw for a couple of irregular shapes around my doorway, but overall working with the vinyl planks was extremely easy.
Once the first row was in, I worked on the second row. You want a staggered floor, so that the seams don’t line up with another row. This was very easy because you have to cut a length off one plank, and then it in turn becomes the beginning of your next row which naturally makes it staggered. I put the pieces end to end for the row, marked, and cut the end plank to fit. The rows fit snugly into little grooves on the previous row. Be careful to pay attention to which side has which kind of groves because they all need to run the exact same direction. It was easier to have two people putting the long row into place. I laid it by myself too, but it was easier with a little help, just sayin.
Continue to lay each row, until you come to the last edge. Mark where the plank needs to be cut and cut the pieces for your last row to fit. Carefully fit them into the groves as a whole row. As long as that fits snugly into the previous row, you can lay it down and step on it to get it into place.
I was actually very shocked by how easily I installed this floor. It was very inexpensive as far as flooring is concerned, and my underlayment was about a third of the price because this is just an 8 x 10 area.
I hope that this tutorial has helped you understand just how easily you could lay your own luxury vinyl plank flooring yourself. We would love to see the results of your projects. Email us at Ibreatheidiy@gmail.com.
This easy video tutorial shows you how to make your own pattern and replace some old fabric liners with newly sewn jacquard tablecloth liners. This is a sewing project perfectly suited for the beginner/intermediate.
Sometimes you come across decor you love… if it were a different color.
About four years ago, I had an 8×10 shed built with windows, in hopes of having an artist’s studio. I moved this shed when we moved to another town, and this year I moved my fence so the shed could be in the backyard, instead of the front. This is it in my front yard. It was built and covered with typical masonite siding and I had dreams of turning it into a quiet, secluded place to hang out and create or write someday.
I always planned to work on it during the fall and winter because it’s uninsulated and hot as heck in the summer. When the weather would cool down, I worked on it a bit, but winter comes quickly sometimes here in Colorado. There was always something more important that needed my attention or time. This is the year I’m finally finishing it so I can have a place to work with resin (& other stinky stuff) without having to use the garage and banish the cars.
I have an extreme intolerance of heat so I can only work on this shed until 11AM when the sun hits it directly, comes through the windows, and heats it up. Blackout shades don’t help because I need to see really well. I also can’t work on it everyday.
The difference between now and when I got it is that I have a really big project for an international wearable art show I need to start in Oct. I have to complete my building enough to be able to work in it, cut down the dust, and pour my clear resin without contaminates floating in it while it cures for twenty-four hours. Right now, there’s no way that’s going on in that space. It’s time to turn my should do it – into my MUST do it.
I spent one season, a couple years ago on insulation and I always felt like when I went in there, there was too much insulation dust blowing around, so I rarely went in it… for two years. It became my mannequin & dress form storage and it was sad to see. Most of the ceiling insulation was on the floor now too.
This building has a very steep roof so I had to figure out a way to cover the ceiling by myself. This was tricky. I am the handy one in our family, so I needed to come up with materials I can lift and attach without any help. I’ll be the first to admit I made some mistakes before it worked out.
I used spray adhesive to adhere the insulation to the ceiling so it would stop falling on my face… usually you would leave the facing or paper side out it’s much cleaner and the proper way to do it, but I was about to cover it entirely and I forgot while having my first cup of coffee. I sprayed the paper and stuck it up. I sprayed a line around the edges and a line across the center. I ended up with a hodge podge of types of insulation from left over projects, but ultimately I bought the faced kind to finish up.
My first thought was that I would get lightweight masonite to attach to the ceiling. I found one with a white coating on one side to lighten and brighten the small space. I had the hardware store cut the boards lengthwise so I could fit them in my Jeep. They were only two-feet wide now, and pretty easy to move around by myself.
I took them home and I immediately went to work covering the insulation I had put in the ceiling. It looked like this.
I got two sheets up and decided I really didn’t like it. I got the first one up, but I had to have my hubby help hold the second up. There was no way I could do it by myself, which was what I needed. I had screwed it to the framing that ran every 16 inches and it was sagging in between the 2×4’s. I tried to flatten it out, but it looked terrible. I took it down despite all the time I put into getting it up there (which was longer than I want to admit). There had to be another way.
I bought wide cedar fence pickets. They were rigid, lightweight, and easy to lift over my head. They worked great and could be cut easily to fit. I spent a few days putting all the boards up. It smelt nice and cedary when I was done, which should also deter bugs from making it home. I did have to be careful about the quality of the boards since they had to fit snugly together. Lay them on their side on the floor if you can’t tell. The floor will be flat. You don’t want bowed pieces.
I left the gap at the top of the peak because I’ll attach a board, parallel to the ground, to run wires through. I plan to have solar lighting, but that’s not imperative to starting my upcoming deadline so I’m leaving it alone. If I worked on it now, I feel I’d be wasting time. This ceiling was super easy to install and I just laid the pieces alternating like wood flooring so the seams never matched up. It made it look big and much closer to being finished.
The smell in the building is warm and comforting. The boards have shrunk a bit because they were green or fresh when I put them up, but I’m not bothered by it. Originally I figured I could fill the gaps and paint it all bright white, but I’m really digging the bare cedar. I can always migrate the pieces down if it bothers me in years to come. I like calling it done and I can breathe in there without breathing fiberglass dust!!
Luckily when I thought about the walls, I still had the masonite or hard fiberboard, I had intended for the ceiling. It was light, and could easily be cut using a metal square and a utility knife. Of course a jigsaw or circular saw would work better, but I work on this space before my neighbors are up in the morning. Originally I had put up a couple spare pieces of OSB, but I didn’t want to put up more because it’s so heavy and so much work to put on the walls, so I took those down.
I measured and cut the boards using a sharp utility knife and a straightedge to score the top. I used dry erase marker to mark my measurements. I lightly went over the edge with the blade a few times then turned it over and snapped it off.
You will get the feel for it when you are able to peel the back away, leaving your clean edge on the piece you’re using, not on the side you’re discarding.
I bought enough of this white board to do the ceiling, but it wasn’t nearly enough to do four walls. When I went back to get more, they were completely out. ARGH! I don’t have time to wait for it to come in, so I ended up finding more masonite boards that were brown , with one smooth side. The brown will probably need to be painted, but I was glad to have what I needed to finish in the same thickness as what I’ve already used.
Here you can see how it looks up on the wall. Not bad, huh? I just fit pieces in and screwed them in until the whole wall was covered.
Finally! I have walls covered enough to work around and finished enough to add my floors!!
Looking back on this project, I love how easy it was to do this all by myself. Now I have a space that is safe to work in, and I can use it more months out of the year, due to the insulation in the walls. Next we’ll be installing luxury vinyl plank floors, that will provide the nearly indestructible floor this artist’s studio needs.
We take a mirror with a lot of potential and transform it using sliverleafing and a glaze wash.
Click the picture or the link below to view the full tutorial.