DIY Deodorant

Do you use deodorant? Of course you do. But is your deodorant just a deodorant or also an antiperspirant? I’ve always used an antiperspirant because, well, I’ve not wanted to be dripping with sweat all day. But a little light went off in my brain the other day when I read this beauty profile of Erica of The Mama Circle and she mentioned that anti-perspirant includes aluminum as the active ingredient, which is a super scary thing to be putting on your skin and seeping into your blood and the rest of your body (especially for nursing moms because your breast tissues extends in to your underarms). Say what?!  Add that to the long column of things we need to worry about.

So I tried one of the ones Erica recommended – Lavanila. Despite its lovely name and the promise of a soothing vanilla scent, it was awful. Just horrible. To me, it smelled like bug spray as soon as I opened the cap and by noon I could smell that fake perfume swirled with body odor amplified in a horrible way, even worse I’d say than it would have been if I simply hadn’t worn anything. Woof.  There are a few other natural deodorants out there that some people swear by. Like this one, this one, and this one. Clearly this is an issue that resonated with more than just me because not too long after that beauty profile, A Cup of Jo editor Caroline did a “Do I Smell Funny?” Natural Deodorant Challenge (kudos to her).  But she gave the Lavanila four out of five stars so maybe what works for one doesn’t work for others. I’m still not sure.  Perhaps I should just start stealing Mumbles’ every morning – after all, it seems to be working just fine for him and he can only use deodorant (not antiperspirant) due to some kidney issues. I’m not above putting some Old Spice under my arms every morning. I’ll smell like hunky man and it’ll be fabulous.

Before shelling out any more dough, I may just try Erica’s easy peasy DIY for deodorant, found here.  (Apparently it’s a common DIY, all-natural recipe because it was also posted on Babyccino Kids a while back…tried and true, fingers crossed?!).

diy natural deodorant via the Mama Circle

 

Do you use an all-natural deodorant you can recommend?

 

P.S. “Do Any of These Hippie Deodorants Work?

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Mommy to Bee Baby Shower

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I have been dying to share this with you and what better time than now, right?  Have you ever really wanted to throw a party? Since my first pin on Pinterest, I’ve been pretty obsessed with bee-themed parties and last summer I was lucky enough to finally bring the idea to life in the form of a Mommy to Bee Baby Shower for my sister-in-law. I had so much fun finding decor and props, and my SIL’s best friend was a wonderful host with a beautiful home, which made planning and putting it all together quite a lovely affair. I think it’s such a sweet, playful theme with lots of details to incorporate like honey, honeycomb shapes, flowers, and beehives.  Perfect for spring or summer showers for brides or moms-to-be, and also a festive theme for birthday parties too!  Here are some insights from the day:

I found some great hive vases in various sizes and colors that tied in the theme with hexagon shapes on sale from west elm, along with this darling beehive cake stand.

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Hive Vases from West Elm

These cute honey pots and dippers were great props to use on tables and to hold yummy organic honey hard candies (I found them at Whole Foods, and they’re available online at Soap.com).

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Honeycomb botanical vase from west elm and honey pot and dipper from Williams-Sonoma filled with Go Naturals Organic Honey Candy

On the food front we had a nice salad bar with various types including pasta, Chinese chicken, green, fruit, and a wild rice to give guests options.

For the drinks, lemonade and individual pink and yellow bottles of Barefoot wine helped guests stay hydrated and happy.  I stumbled upon the mini wines at Rite Aid of all places, and I think BevMo! has great options for cute libations (like the individual Sofia sparkling wine cans that come with straws).

For dessert, beautiful bundt cakes in red velvet and pecan praline from our trusted favorite – Nothing Bundt Cakes – we’re a big hit. I tried the drizzle frosting on one of them to have a varying look to the dessert table and it was just as yummy in frosting-to-cake ratio, and the folks at the shop had the beautiful flowers already on the cakes when I went to pick them up so all I had to do was put them out!

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Nothing Bundt Cakes and the Beehive Cake Stand dome (10″ cakes do not fit under that dome; see smooshed frosting)

As a thank you to the lovely women who attended, bundles of flavored honey sticks were wrapped with burlap and a little note that read “thanks for being so sweet!”

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honey stick party favors

A wishes for baby book let guests leave messages for baby and mom, a sweet memento of the day, and during the party guests played a mom/baby animal name game which I’d never played before (and wasn’t very good at), and a guess how many game with Burt’s Bees products as prizes.

As a gift for the mommy-to-bee I made some little yellow pom poms and tied them to a basket filled with bath towels for baby, some onesies (including an adorable peacock one from the bodysuit line at Gap), Burt’s Bees products for mom, and a stack of thank you cards I made to go with the theme.

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Mommy to Bee gift basket

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handmade thank you cards

Check out my Baby Love and Party Themes & Ideas Boards on Pinterest for more celebration inspiration.

Is there a theme you are looking forward to using for a party?

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DIY Custom Rubber Stamps

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super easy and fun — my handwriting made into rubber stamps!

Need a sweet little gift for new homeowners, brides-to-be, or a couple turning into a family?

Wit & Whistle recommended the online company RubberStamps.net (you may have seen photos from this blog post floating around on Pinterest) and I’ve been ordering my custom stamps from them ever since. It’s a very easy process — simply draw, write, sketch or type out what you want your stamp to look like, upload the photo to their website, select the size of the stamp, and order. In a few days, you’ll receive your rubber stamp on a weighty, beautiful wood block with the stamp art etched into the top (or a handle mounted on top for larger sizes, if you’d like. and they also have self-inking stamps).

I recently made this return address stamp for my childhood friend getting married this summer so she can add a nice, personal touch to her wedding invitations, RSVP cards and thank you notes. Bundled up in a light blue hanky along with an ink pad in a coordinating wedding color, it makes the perfect bridal shower gift! For a more deluxe gift, include some blank thank you notes, envelopes, a nice pen, postage, and washi tape to make a complete correspondence set.

Gift Idea: Watercolor Set

Lately I’ve been finding myself staring at beautiful watercolor paintings on Pinterest (see here) so I decided to ask one of my favorite bloggers, Creature Comforts, on Twitter what sort of kit she’d recommend for a newbie watercolor artist.  Her answer?  The cheapy kits at craft stores! Ha!

Not sure whether that should’ve been a relief or intimidating, on a recent trip to Walmart, I picked up a Crayola kids version, which I think is very clever, because what’s the use of spending a lot of money (the artsy watercolor kit was about $20 in comparison, so still, not that bad) if you’re not even sure you’re going to like it?  Exactly.  So, $1.88 later plus about $5 for a watercolor pad and another few dollars for a nice pack of brushes in various sizes (which I’m sure to use again for other crafts), I had all I needed to try my not-so-skilled hand at watercolor painting.  I made it a little easier on myself by looking at photos of paintings I liked to see how I might need to add brushstrokes or use color to blend shapes but all in all, knowing I’m not a painter, I was happy to just have an afternoon of creating and trying something new.

my first foray into watercolors
— an easy, striped card

If you’re looking for a clever gift idea or stocking stuffer, a cute little watercolor kit would be a fun, thoughtful gift for kids and crafters on your gift list.  And, you can even get a kit for yourself to make beautiful gift tags and cards to personalize gifts this year!

Here are two inexpensive gift sets for the would-be artist on your list:

1. via Target  |  2. via Consumer Crafts

1. Travel Easy Watercolor Set from Target $12.99

2. Creative Dimensions Art Set 79pc. $14.97

DIY Holiday Clay Gift Tags

DIY Holiday Clay Gift Tags.jpgI found this big tub of air-dry clay at Office Depot (you can also get it at Oriental Trading, in bulk from Walmart, at Kohl’s…just keep an eye out) a while back for about $10 (kind of random but I was really into using clay at the time…still am, actually…I tend to get obsessed with materials and never really quit them) so I thought I’d give this clay a try. Obviously meant for children but still fun for adult crafting, the clay is super easy to use but being an air-dry clay, you have to move quicker than you would with an oven bake clay. With the desire to get my hands into something, I started rolling out little balls like cookie dough and decided to make some stamped gift tags to stock up for the holidays just around the bend. Rubber stamps — another on a long list of items I’m slowly collecting — along with a toothpick and a straw were used to create these little guys.

These gift tags are a super simple little craft to make while you’re on the couch or in the kitchen. All you’ll need is some clay, a cookie cutter if you want perfect shapes, a straw, a hard surface and wax paper to work on.

Here are step-by-step photo instructions:

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step 1: roll out little balls of clay

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step 2: use a rolling pin (or your hands if you’re going for a more organic look) to flatten out your little ball into a circle or oval shape.

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step 3: insert a plastic straw into the clay and twist to create a small hole which will allow for ribbon or string later on.

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step 3.5: experiment with different hole placement for alternate ways to hang your tag — one hole at the top to hang, one in the center, one hold at each end, three holes in the center like a button…

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step 4: use rubber stamps to stamp your designs or phrases into the clay

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step 5: lay out your finished clay tags to dry (I let mine dry for 48 hours).

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Finished tags ready for presents!

Just as I was about to post this, I stumbled upon this post from one of my favorite blogs, Creature Comforts. How funny! These tags look more refined and if that’s the look you want, I’d definitely try the oven bake clay instead of air dry. Plus, there are a lot of color options!I’ll soon start gathering little pinecones and twigs from the neighborhood to keep in a little pile for pretty packages tied up with strings! I may hate Halloween but I’m excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

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my christmas presents last year — can’t you just picture a little clay tag on there, too?

Hemp Ball Hanging Mobile

Remember the hemp balls I made for my sister-in-law, Dr. T’s bridal shower? I had quite a few of them (15 to be exact) around the house because I got an idea after making our headboard a few years ago that I’d like some sort of statement piece above the headboard…maybe a large horizontal mirror, artwork, two of these cb2 turquoise “weeds wall art” candle holders…something.  Then I found a tutorial for making hemp lampshades. I thought a few of them grouped together would be tasteful but playful, like an adult mobile, if you will.  Well, after making a ton in different sizes using different hemp and yarns, giving a few away, making more, using them for the “lovebirds” themed bridal shower then putting them on the shelf and tucking some away for later in the closet, I somehow got a spark of “this has to happen right now!” (only over a year later). And, fortunate for me, Mumbles was a great sport despite having just arrived home from a long business trip. What a guy!

A lot of tutorials to make these hanging pendants involve a balloon but I chose to use bouncy balls of various sizes, leaving a large hole opening while wrapping the hemp so I could deflate the ball once the shell had dried, then pull the deflated ball out of the hole to blow up and use again. The only thing I’ll say about that is you can only do as many balls as you have, whereas with balloons you’d likely be able to do a lot more in one day (unless you buy a lot of bouncy balls!). Also, if you don’t want to leave a hole opening and you want the ball to be completely covered, using a balloon that you can pop will be the best way to go. Just remember to leave an opening at least large enough to use tweezers to pull out balloon pieces.  Also, remember to wash off the dried glue from the bouncy balls in between uses so it doesn’t clump up and show between the strands of hemp like stained glass (this will happen if, like me, you loosely weave the hemp to see through the ball).

I you leave a hole opening, I think these would make really great decorative bowls in the living room for candles or even for storing corks or bottle caps since it holds a similar shape to one of my favorite Crate and Barrel glass bowls which I use for that exact function.

So back to my adult mobile: Instead of hanging each ball individually from the ceiling (and creating tons of holes in the ceiling), I used a 3ft. dowel rod and tied each at various lengths and angles laid out on the floor before hanging the whole rod up by two hooks (only two holes!). Once it was up, I put a few battery-operated tea lights in balls where the hole would allow a candle to rest comfortably without falling out (some holes were angled downward on mine). I found a a great, affordable set of tealights and votives at Costco that even came with 30 extra batteries! I can’t recall exactly how much it was but I remember thinking it was a ridiculously good deal, especially because places like C&B charge $12 for a set of six or something crazy like that.

So here it is, in all it’s fabulous my-room-now-looks-complete/DIY glory!…

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finished hemp ball hanging mobile
above our master bedroom headboard (also a DIY!)

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the finished hemp ball hanging mobile
with battery-operated candles.

I think putting something other than candles inside would be cute but I can’t quite think of what…dried (or fake) florals perhaps? Airplants? If it wasn’t dangling above our heads whilst we sleep, the options would probably be endless, keeping in mind you don’t want it to get too heavy. Maybe to house cotton balls, q-tips, and hair ties in the bathroom?

before & after: hemp-wrapped $6 mirror

I also made a hemp-wrapped mirror using one of those cheap mirrors you can get at Lowe’s or Home Depot for about $6…I contemplated hanging two horizontally above the bed but I only did one and the hemp ball mobile really wouldn’t have looked as fabulous anywhere else in our master bedroom (and, as I had to explain to Mumbles: I don’t want hemp decor in every room of our home. Ha!). Sometimes when I get stuck on a craft or a certain medium I get carried away.

Here are some more shots — we had houseguests over so our bed was unusually tidy which led me to take as many photos as possible!

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Have you done any DIY projects with hemp? 

What’s hanging above your headboard?

Vintage Circus Baby Shower

I am so excited to share this post with you. My fabulous friend Sarah and I threw a vintage circus themed baby shower for my beloved BFOTB (and henceforth I shall be known as BFOTBM: Best Friend of the Baby Mama – talk about a title promotion!). Sarah is probably the best co-hostess you could ever wish for because she is extremely thoughtful, resourceful and crafty (plus she comes with a handy carpenter husband too! be sure to check out her Pinterest page to see the impressive bean bag toss they made…themselves…from scratch. it was wonderful!) so this was a super fun celebration from brainstorming, buying, pinning, and setting up all the darling details. Here are some notes, sources, inspirations, and lessons learned.  As you can see, we had plenty of pinspiration on this one!

Invitations with a whimsical vintage font were ordered from Tiny Prints.  I should digress to say in a mortifyingly bonehead move, I forgot to include the time of the event on the invitation (gah!) but on a positive note, I’ve never received RSVP responses so quickly as guests needed to find out the time! Ha! Clever little trick, I’d say!  To add some layers of glam to the white invites, we ordered blush pink cardstock (on clearance!) from Paper Source and regal burgundy envelopes, each dusted with a gold stamp ink pad along the edges for some gilded charm.

BFOTB’s main request for the theme was centered around a pin she saw of cotton candy in martini glasses.  Sarah and I had a marvelous time perusing the aisles of local Goodwill stores where we found a three-tier cake stand for $9.95 (!) and I later scored a pristine set of 12 martini glasses for $10. (note: Sarah cleverly used this trick to get a dreamy pink seaglass look on the clear glass cake stands to fit with our theme). Here’s the kicker: cotton candy looks playful in martini glasses for all of 18 minutes on a hot day.  Minute 19 and they are a melted, small, sad looking glob of pink sugar.  Bust!  I’m not even including a photo because it just looks like a pink, sticky mess. So, take it from us, folks, leave the cotton candy indoors or, at the very least, get photos of it while it’s all cute and fluffy and fabulous before it melts the happy grin right of your aren’t-we-so-awesome-for-pulling-this-off-face.

In the battle of crepe paper v. ribbon, ribbon wins.  We had grand ambitions for a circus tent-like canopy of crepe paper, which would have been lovely indoors, however, the breeze (thankfully present on this hot day) was a little too swift for the crepe paper to sit still and look pretty. The ribbon, however, rose to the occasion, fluttering like a lovely dream above.

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Tickets are an easy, creative prop and would even make a great backdrop if you had a bunch of lines hanging down or draped haphazardly behind a dessert table (dang, wish I would have thought of that before!). I found large yellow and pink rolls at Smart & Final and Dollar Tree.

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I adored this impressive elephant Sarah bought at Toys R Us… it was on the pricey side, so we let him preside over the food. The gold bookends holding the nakins together were another fun find from Goodwill.

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Boxed white wine sangria from Target (it’s delish, promise) with frozen fruit slices to keep it cool, organic strawberry lemonade from Trader Joe’s, and the classy lady party staple: chillled water with fruit. The bottles of berry lemonade didn’t get opened but I thought they were cute enough to contribute to the decor.

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a parade of animal figurines from Party City freshly painted gold (spray paint would have been quicker but I had a great Martha Stewart gold paint left over from other projects). I also used a sponge brush to water down the gold paint and washed it over vintage looking old bottles to use as decor.

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The centerpiece consisted of a “Guess How Many?” game with tickets for guests to jot down their guesses, paper pinwheels and starbursts, terracotta pots Sarah brilliantly painted to look like a circus stage filled with peanuts and our animals on bamboo sticks, all on top of stripes of ribbon laid across the table.

The gold animal figurines were inspired by this pin.

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organic lollipops, saltwater taffy, circus cookies and animal crackers in matching round boxes were laid out for guests to snack and sample.

In our circle of friends, desserts sometimes constitute full meals so we didn’t skimp here. Our dessert spread included itty personal sized bundtinis in White Chocolate Raspberry, Red Velvet and Pecan Prailine from Nothing Bundt Cakes, homemade (by my Mama) cake balls, and Sarah used her Pinterest prowess to find this divine baked mini cannoli recipe (I’d recommend them to a friend).

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Sarah’s superhero husband made this amazing trellis for their wedding (I know, go ahead, take a moment to gush about that) and she created this super cute set up for an easy DIY photo booth, complete with props to make everyone smile!

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While it’s a darling way to present fruit, these sugar cones can’t fit much in the way of fruit.  But, that wasn’t a problem at our party, seeing as we had waaaayy too much food. (pinspiration found here)

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Another ingenius idea: individual veggie cups with dipping dressing at the bottom, made even more enticing by displaying them in a cupcake holder.  Too much goodness, I tell ya!

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The pennant flag banner was made from a stack of vintage pink scrapbooking paper, hot glued onto twine – quick and easy! – and even found a home in my work office for festive decor following the event.

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Check out the stunning view from Sarah’s in-law’s house (where she and her husband wed). It was such a fun and gorgeous setting for the shower!

Beautiful baby Harper Grace arrived a few days fashionably late (already fitting in with our crowd!) on August 26!  It was such a blessing to have a day to celebrate friendship and family, and shower our dear friend with love and joy before she arrived.