Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Heart Shaped Aromatherapy Pillow DIY

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Valentines Day.  While maybe not as exciting as Christmas, I completely appreciate a holiday that encourages everyone to give heart shaped boxes, brimming with chocolate, to others. Of course, like me, my children are always happy to see a box of chocolate come their way, so needless to say we do up the whole Valentines holiday in our house.

This year, with both my boys away at college, along with my son's girlfriend, Courtney, Valentines this year will be sent in a care package. I really like putting together care packages for the kids, so I needed to think of what other small gifts to include with the mandatory box of candy. With the cold and gloomy weather of February, I needed to send them something comforting, something that would feel like a hug. And I thought of the perfect thing.

I decided to make them each an aromatherapy rice pillow. Both boys are college athletes with absolutely grueling workout and practice schedules and Courtney is a nursing student, say no more, so I thought this would be a special gift to send in their valentines care package.

Now in case you have never tried an aromatherapy rice pillow, they are WONDERFUL. They are  small pillows filled loosely with rice and most often scented with essential oils. You can heat them in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and then use them for heat therapy on sore muscles or for pms cramping. Once heated, they deliver comforting warmth and the oils release the most relaxing scent. You can also put them in the freezer like an ice pack. I got my first one in an Origins gift box my husband gave me and we have all been using it ever since.

While I was going to make the boys a pillow that was long and designed to lay across shoulders, I decided I would make Courtney a heart shaped pillow, perfect for cramps or backaches.

This tutorial is for Courtney's heat shaped soft and cozy aromatherapy pillow.

The supplies required for this project are:

7 cups uncooked rice
1/2 yard fabric
essential oil of your choosing. I choose a stress relief blend similar to this 
thread and needle (and sewing machine in you choose)

Gather all your supplies together. Then, pour your rice into a large bowl and add about 7 drops of essential oil(or to your liking) into the rice and stir around. I let this sit a couple hours to absorb.

 Print TWO copies of the template provided here.

Take your two templates of a half heart and cut them out staying on outside of black line.

For both Courtney and the boys, I selected  a super soft and cozy fabric. Because it is warmed in the microwave, stay away from anything that would have metallic elements in it.
Fold your fabric in half and lay it out (because you need to make a front and back for your pillow).  Place the two templates together to create a heart and center on your fabric. 
Then take a sharpie and outline the heart (don't worry about the sharpie color, this will be on inside of pillow). To make the heart a bit bigger than was possible to print, I made dots one inch bigger than the heart along the outside and then connected the dots with a line. 
Now, the template is one inch bigger around.

Taking sharp scissors, keep the two pieces of fabric together and cut along your line, I folded mine to cut... thinking it would make things even but it actually made the edges uneven!
 So do not fold to cut like I did...just keep the two pieces of fabric together and the heart shaped layd out full and cut along the line you drew.

After cutting you will have two heart shapes. Pin together.

You can the sew together by hand or using a sewing machine. 
Leave about a 2 inch opening to add rice later.

I folded one of the heart templates and made a funnel which I stuck into the opening in fabric. I then scooped out the rice and filled the pillow. Fill until full but not overstuffed. You want it to be able to move around .

After filling, sew up the opening in pillow with needle and thread.

Now, you have the perfect pillow to snuggle. Unheated, it still gives off a relaxing sent. To warm,
place in microwave for 30 seconds, move it around, and heat 30 seconds more. Keep heating in 30 seconds intervals, no more than two minutes total, until just warm to touch. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Renovation of Our Old Barn - Phase 1

Three years ago, when we purchased our 1856 Victorian farmhouse, we were drawn to its character and uniqueness. The two sets of winding stairs, the quirky layout, the 3rd floor attic bedrooms, the gardens, and oddly enough, the dilapidated two story barn.

Somehow we were able to look past the barn's rotted wood, the missing windows and quite frankly the entire hot mess and see potential. 
Be dreamers, or fools, we were convinced it could be restored.

As the years rolled by, we got estimates and ideas from contractors to restore it. Many said take it down and rebuild. Others, however, saw the beams and logs that had been standing for over 200 years (the barn is older than the house) and believed, like us, it could be salvaged…at a price. Most often that “price” did not fit our budget. So, the old barn sat. And the more it sat, the more it seemed less like potential and more like a problem

Then this March, we met a contractor through a friend, who specialized in historic renovations. When he came out to see the project, he ran around the barn, almost giddy, excited to bring the barn back to life. He had the same vision as us and wanted to keep as much of the original structure and he would work within our budget. 

We had found our man. The next week, the renovation began.
Step one....parking a dumpster out front of it!

With the dumpster in place, the contractor's first step was to remove the center beam in front and in the middle to make way for stairs. They flanked the center beam with two posts reused from the second story, before removing the beam.

And although there were multitudes of problems with the barn, the two things positive things it had going for it was a concrete subfloor the previous owner had installed and a good metal roof that just needed to be power washed and cleaned.

After the center beams were removed, they began working 
on the second floor and the windows.
We added 10 windows to the new barn. The frames were hand built and we recycled old window sashes we found for $1 each. 

On the second story, the over grown vines were removed and low overhead support beams were replaced with ones set higher to give more headroom. 

When the upstairs supports were reset they then began removing any outside siding that was rotted and could not be salvaged and then made the cutout for stairs.

The stairs were built using 2 inch thick wood treads 
and a rail was put up on the second level.

With the stairs complete, next came the siding. The new siding on the front top of the barn was wood salvaged from other parts of the barn. 

For the side and back, new poplar wood was used. We plan to let the new wood weather a bit and then paint or stain the outside of the barn to make it more cohesive.

Then like any good renovation story, we ran into a problem. 

By June the project that was supposed to take two months was still weeks from being finished and really over budget. In addition, our talented contractor stopped showing up. I would call him and leave messages and when I would finally reach him, he would reassure me that he would be out the next morning. But by the next morning, the barn would be sitting there alone. This went on for months.

Despite the good work up until that point, it became clear that we had to find another contractor. All we had left to finish was some battens and the doors.

In the end, we connected with Lance, and excellent builder who did some renovations on our kitchen.  He agreed to finish the project. Lance was out by the next week with his partner Scott and together they finished applying all the battens, installed a subfloor to the second story with plywood and built and installed the doors for the front.

 Boom. Done.

When Lance and Scott packed up after two weeks, we finally had a usable barn,  It was functional and secure from the elements. Over next spring, we will insulate the second floor and then paint the roof and the outside.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 Ornament Exchange & Blog Hop

Welcome to the 2017 Ornament Exchange & Blog Hop! This year, there are 47 amazing bloggers participating in the exchange. The rules of the challenge were simple: be partnered with a fellow blogger, create a handmade ornament for $15 or under, create a tutorial, and ship the ornament off to a new home!

For the christmas ornament exchange, I was paired with Chelsea from Love Paper Crafts. After we were partnered, Chelsea and I connected through email 
and I then went to visit her blog. 
Her blog is amazing and she shares a great story about how she taught herself Calligraphy and is now running a successful business! 
Please stop by and visit her! 

Chelsea's christmas style is traditional and she decorates with white, silver and red. Since she lives across the country from me in Las Vegas. I thought it would be nice to use greenery from the east coast in her ornament. 

For my tutorial, I made Chelsea a scented wax ornament with evergreens, cranberries, cloves and star anise. I played around with other looks incorporating snowflake decorations, but I stuck to the natural elements for Chelsea.

2017 Ornament Exchange and Blog Hop

Meet the 2017 Ornament Exchange Hosts

Erlene ⋅ My Pinterventures Kim · Made In A Day Pili ⋅ My Sweet Things
Michelle · Our Crafty Mom Beverly · Across the Blvd. Cindy ⋅ DIY Beautify
Christene · Key to Inspiration Nicki · Sweet Parrish Place Katrin ⋅ Kreativ K
Debra · Shoppe No. 5 Trisha · Rosewood and Grace Jeanie · Create and Babble
Lorelai Life with Lorelai Debbie ⋅ Tweak and Style Stephanie ⋅ Swoodson Says
Vicki and Jenn ⋅ 2 Bees in a Pod Joanne ⋅ Our Unschooling Journey
Tylynn ⋅ Bitterroot DIY Sam ⋅ Raggedity Bits Mary ⋅ The Boondocks Blog
Chelsea ⋅ Love Paper Crafts Evija ⋅ From Evija with Love Anne ⋅ Orange Bettie

I love how these wax christmas ornaments turned out! 

To start this project, gather the following supplies:

silicone candy mold 
empty soup can
wood stir stick
vanilla scent
any assortment of greenery, spices, dried fruit, or little decorations
I used evergreens from my yard, cloves, star anise, dried cranberries
 and decorative snowflakes.

(Please note affiliate links listed)

Since my wax came in bricks, I chopped them up a bit so they could fit in the soup can. You can also buy wax that comes as beads and then you would not have to do this step.

Gather the wax and place it in the soup can. 
Then heat about 3 inches of water on medium heat in a small pot. 
You will be making a double boiler to melt the wax.

Once the water comes to a low boil, Place your soup can with the wax in the pot. 

Stir off and on continuously until the wax melts. This will take about 20 minutes.

While you are melting the wax you can begin to organize your decorative ingredients. I experimented with a lot of looks and what I liked best was having the natural elements visible from both sides. 
To get this look, start by adding some elements in the empty molds.
 This side of the mold will come out very smooth and only give a glimpse of elements. 
(I only did four samples for this tutorial
as I had done other batches and was getting low on wax.)

Once your wax is melt, turn your heat off and add a couple drops of essential oils if you like.
 I added vanilla.

Then using tongs or an oven mitt, slowly pour the wax into each mold and fill about 3/4 full.

Wait about 1 minute so wax is gelling just a little and add more elements. Lay them gently on top so they don't get buried in the wax and let some extent out. Get creative here and experiment here with different looks and elements

Then, drizzle more wax on top.
 Do not completely bury your elements under wax because once the wax dries it will become almost obscured.

Now, let the molds sit at room temperature and let the wax dry. After about 30 minutes, your wax ornament should easily pop out. To create a hole in the ornament I originally tried it with a straw but it did not work easily. So I found that heating a metal skewer, or in my case a metal tipped temperature gage I no longer used, over the heat and gently inserting into the wax worked best. I worked it through one side and slowing pushed it through.

Once your hole is set, simply add some pretty twine and hang!

FIND ALL 47 HANDMADE ORNAMENT TUTORIALS BELOW AND SHARE YOURS TOO! Use Hashtag #2017OrnamentExchange so we can see your creations on social media.

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