Groomsmen Labeled “Flask” Wedding Gift

 

IMG_0049I am going to assume that I am speaking to most brides out there when I ask, how many of you are still trying to come up with creative gift ideas for your wedding party?  I searched Pinterest, Etsy, Amazon, and Google for the most fitting of presents to show our appreciation.  Sure, Micheal had input, but he did not come up with any sort of insight or suggestions for his own groomsmen.   So I got to thinking…..

Cigars?  No.

Personalized BBQ sets?  No.

Cuff links?  No.

Pocketknives?  No.

Their own bobblehead replica?  No.

Then…BING!  Alcohol.  Every one of Michael’s groomsmen drink and can especially appreciate a good shot of liquor.  Now what?  Engraved bottle openers?  Flasks?  Endless amounts of travel size liquor bottles?  Hmmm….I’m a DIY’er,  I needed to create something for them – not purchase it from Etsy.  So I came up with an idea to buy a flask (or the closet glass container I could find to resemble a flask) and then design my own labels/stickers to put on them.

First I needed a trip to Micheals.  I found a variety of glassware, but these had the smoothest surface with the least resemblance to a milk jug.

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Next, I took the 5 glass “flasks” to Staples, where I bought the water-resistant Avery brand stickers that would fit them best.  I typically use Avery  products because I find their website to be extremely easy to navigate and I love how I can create an Avery profile & save all my work online.  I settled on the 3-1/2 x 4-3/4 white label sheets (product number 22827).  Make sure you double check and choose the product that is compatible with your printer (Ink jet vs. Laser).

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Then the next steps are simply logging on to www.avery.com , create your profile, look up the item by number and start designing your label.  They have hundreds of pre set designs for you to choose from, but I started my groomsman labels with a fresh, white slate and designed them from scratch.  It took awhile, but was fun!

*Hint, when you are in the designing phase, make sure the “Edit All” button is on.  Then, when you go back to make them more individualized (i.e: write in a groomsman’s name), hit the “Edit One” button.  It saves you a lot of time!

Next, we load our sheets up in the printer & send the design to be printed.  Let the sheets dry a minute after printing.  As they were printing and drying, I ran the glassware through HOT water to get all the price and bar code tags off of them.

Last step, simply peel and stick!  All 5 are done and have Michael’s approval. And now I hand them over to Michael so he can fill them with each man’s poison of choice 😉

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Just a matter of time before I come up with something else to give his groomsmen and start on that project too!  Haha

Hope you enjoyed this post and that it inspired you to come up with your own design for gifts.

 

Happy DIY’ing!

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Laroseknows Protein Packed Meatloaf

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Hungry?  Need a new idea for dinner, while still watching your waistline and providing ample protein for the family?  Try my protein packed meatloaf.  This little doozy can supply dinner for an evening, set the stage for a week long meal prep, or be used in your eggs at breakfast.  For dinner, typically paired with green vegetables and red potatoes, I urge you to try this and give me feedback on how the table reacted to this dish.  🙂

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 pounds of lean ground turkey meat (extra lean meat will give you a drier meatloaf) – nutritional information (Jenni-O)
  • 1 cup of Old Fashion Quaker Oats – nutritional information
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced onion
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 mozzarella slices – nutritional information
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional – not in shown recipe)
  • 1/2 cup broken up saltine crackers (optional – not in shown recipe)
  • Coconut oil spray

How To:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • With your coconut oil spray, coat a thin layer in your oven-safe dish to prepare for the meatloaf.
  • Wash your hands
  • In a bowl, use your hands to mix ground turkey meat, egg, oats, garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, ketchup, shredded cheese (optional), and saltine crackers (optional).
  • Create a “loaf” and set inside your oiled, oven-safe dish.
  • Using your mozzarella slices, cover the top of the loaf.
  • Place a cover on top of your meatloaf (you can also use aluminum foil to cover your dish).
  • Bake for 1 hour.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

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(picture may look greasy, but it’s the melted mozzarella and little grease from the lean ground turkey meat – I assure you its still delicious)

A healthy way to satisfy the family, easy on your budget, quick and painless in the kitchen, and definitely aimed to please.

Happy DIY’ing!

The Wonderful World of Coconut Oil – The Latest & Greatest

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In the world of home remedies, healthy cooking/eating, vain appearances :), Vitamin D obsessions, and energy boosters…COCONUT OIL is your Go-To!  This little jar of perfection has become our more recent trend – that I hope never sizzles out.

I have filed this blog under “Hacks for the Home” & “In the Kitchen”, when it should be labeled, “The Single Most Life Changing Substance Find of All Time!”

I want to share a list of all the proven uses for coconut oil you can use it for in your every day life & routine.  I won’t have to try hard to sway you in keeping multiple jars throughout your home.

This little DIY ingredient packs one hell of a punch:

  • Mix a spoonful in with your green tea to give your body an extra boost of energy, while giving that metabolism a swift kick to get your day started.
  • Use a cloth/paper towel to rub some over your face and eyes as a natural makeup remover.
  • Use as an overnight facial lotion to battle sun spots, pimples, wrinkles, and dry skin.
  • Mix a spoonful with apple cider vinegar as a natural treatment for lice.
  • In cooking as an oil with a high smoke point, while adding healthy fats to your meal.
  • As a natural SPF 4 sunscreen (rubbing this onto your skin before sun exposure will eventually help your skin develop an increase in sun tolerance and avoid excessive burning).
  • Rub on your lips as a natural chap stick.
  • Mix into shampoo and/or conditioning bottles for extra hair conditioning.
  • Rub on skin where spider veins are prevalent – over time you will see a decrease in their appearance.
  • Natural diaper cream.
  • Can be rubbed onto your scalp daily to stimulate hair follicles to promote hair growth.
  • Reduce the itch and sting of bug bites
  • Mixed with sea salt to eliminate dry skin on your feet.
  • Promotes weight loss when ingested in small does (1/2 spoonful) daily.
  • Rub onto elbow to alleviate dry, flaky skin.
  • Helps nail growth when rubbed onto cuticles.
  • Use a massage oil.
  • To prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
  • Mix with sugar (equal parts) for an exfoliating radiant body scrub when showering/bathing.
  • Add a pinch to your hands, rub throughout your hair to combat frizz.
  • Add to an injured area to heal the skin faster.
  • Use as natural deep conditioning hair mask – rub into dry hair, cover hair with a shower cap, and let sit for several hours – rinse.
  • Rub straight onto teeth or mixed with baking soda as a natural teeth whitener.

….just to name a few.

I, myself, have a Trader Joe’s jar of it both in my kitchen AND 1 in my bathroom.  It is my heaven-sent-go-to product.  Hope it works for you and your needs!

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Happy DIY’ing!

How To: Rustic DIY Wedding “Ring” Bearer Sign

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My apologies for having been gone for a bit.  I feel like I have neglected my recently conceived passion for blogging.  With only 2 weeks left in the school year, and 38 days until my wedding, life has thrown me some curve balls and I have been busy.

But I am back!  ….And super excited to share with you the sign I created for my wedding that Michael’s nephew will carry down the aisle as he makes his adorable entrance.

What You’ll Need:

  • Boards/planks from your hardware store.  I literally went to the scrap pile and found some lightweight planks that are used for outdoor fencing.  I believe I was charged a total of $1.50
  • Extra free boards from the scrap pile (to secure the sign together)
  • Sander
  • 80 & 120 grit sand paper
  • Wood stain
  • Polyurethane
  • Rag/paint brush
  • Handles with screws (for Zachary to hold the sign easier) – optional
  • Stencil lettering (found in the clearance aisle at Michaels)
  • White paint
  • Fine tipped brushes
  • Martha Stewart stencil from Michaels (for the rose design I chose) – optional
  • Saw (if you need to cut the boards to a specific length like I did)

Lets DIY!

First, I cut my boards to the length I wanted and then began sanding them down.  I did not want a totally fine smooth look to the wood because I wanted it to remain rustic looking even from afar (however, once it came to the stenciling/painting of the letters, it would have been extremely easier to have had the wood less gritty and more smooth – lesson learned), so I went with only an 80 and quick 120 grit sanding job.

Next I gave the wood a rustic look using my sanding-white paint-staining-and-swiping technique, seen here in my How To: Give New Wood the Antique/Rustic Look.   Make sure to get both sides of your board(s) – your guests have the potential of seeing this from behind once your little man walks past them.

Time to connect my 2 smaller boards to make my one big sign.  I flipped both planks over, and screwed the other free scrap wood boards I picked up to the backside.  Easy part!

Next, I placed my stencils on the board where I wanted them, how I wanted it to look, and what I wanted my sign to say.  Now, its just a time consuming tracing & painting game  🙂  (I made sure to keep my music close by to keep me motivated and moving – this part can get dull).  Once the stencils are outlined in pencil, I took my fine tipped brushes and painted “inside the lines” with my white latex paint (the least favorite step in all of this).  HUGE shout out to my mother for helping me with this step by starting at one end with the letters and meeting me in the middle!

Once the letters were painted on and dry, I placed my rose stencil on the board and blotted white paint across the stencil to add a “La Rose” touch to my sign.

After it was all dry, I added a top coat of polyurethane to protect it and waited for that to dry.

Last, I flipped the sign back over and attached the handles so Zachary would have an easier time lugging it down the aisle.

I love the finished product and can’t wait to see Michael’s face as Zachary carries this one-of-a-kind “preemptive warning” (depends on your views of marriage.  Ha!) toward my future husband!

 

Happy DIY’ing!

 

How To: Give New Wood the Antique/Rustic Look

I find it fascinating that wood can take on a whole different look, texture, purpose, and function, all with a bit of creativity and ingenuity…. I guess that is why it is my favorite subject to manipulate and transform with my DIY projects.

I get a lot of requests to explain how I take a brand new piece of lumber and give it such a weathered/antique/rustic look.  Here, I break down the materials you’ll need and the step-by-step directions on how to give your wood project this exact feel.

What You’ll Need:

  • Wood board
  • White paint
  • Sander
  • 120 & 220 grit sand paper
  • Wood finish/stain
  • Rags and/or paint brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Polyurethane

How To:

Here is a 5/8 inch x 3 – 1/2 inch x 6 feet Western Red Cedar board I picked up from Home Depot for $1.38.  This board is meant for a fence, so the “dog-ear” needed to be cut off for my purpose.  Be sure to check the scrap pile at Home Depot first for your DIY projects, there are some great finds in there that you can get for free!

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With the dog-ear cut, I began sanding the wood.  I used my new orbital sander from Habor Freight Tools that Michael bought me for $30.00.  Session one was with a 120 grit (I purposely started with a higher grit sand paper because of the look I was trying to achieve).  Session 2 was with a 220 grit and made the plank extremely smooth to the touch.  I was pleased with the results after only  2 sanding sessions.

Next, I lighting painted on white paint.  I used to paint the whole board white and then go back and re-sand some of the paint off.  But going with these light strokes eliminated that whole step for me and still gave me the same results I was hoping for.

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Next, I used a rub and swiping technique with my stain.  I love using Minwax’s Dark Walnut wood stain for my projects.  You can achieve so many different looks with the dark walnut color, hence why it’s my favorite.  To stain, I dip a rag into the stain, rub it across the board, then immediately swipe it off.  I don’t give the stain much time to penetrate the wood.  I complete this method until the whole board is covered, or I have the color I desire.  You can go back through and continue with the swiping method on top of wood you already stained if it is not dark enough for your project.  The first coat typically will give you a more grey look. 

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Once you have the color you desire, the last step is to give the board a simple coat of polyurethane.  This protects my project, while giving it an elegant shine.

*This particular board will have hooks attached to it to be used as our shoe rack and hung down low in the entry way of our home.  We have a shoe mat on the floor right now, but it gets kicked quite often or the dogs trample on top.  This way, I can hang our shoes down low, get them up off the floor, yet keep them organized in an elegant rustic manner 🙂   Check back for the finished final product.

Repurposed Door – Rustic Decor

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Here is a favorite in the Martin home.  A real eye catcher that purposes as a full length mirror – and reminder to Michael of when our anniversary is 😉

The piece itself cost about $30 and took a total of 3 days to finish.  It is a cheap way to bring character to your home – especially if you love to work with wood and the sander (like I do).

What You’ll Need:

  • A door
  • Full length mirror
  • Wood stain
  • Sander
  • 60, 120, & 220 grit sand paper
  • Gloves
  • Rag
  • White paint (if the door is not already painted)
  • Wood/Gorilla Glue
  • Address numbers
  • Handle for door (if necessary)
  • Cap for door (if necessary)

Lets Gets Rustic!

So, we begin with another Craigslist bargain:  FREE doors!

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(I picked up 3 different patterns yet similar in size because this ultimately was supposed to be a “tri-fold screen” – as seen below – that morphed into something else)

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I took off all the hinges and knobs from the door.   I was thrilled that the doors were already white, so I did not have to paint them.  My  next step was to sand.  I started with a 60 grit, then moved to 120 grit, and lastly finished the door off with a 220 grit sand.  The white paint remained, which is exactly what I wanted.  I only wanted certain parts of the paint to come off, exposing the wood.

If your door is not painted white, you will need to sand it, paint it, and once its dry, sand it again.

  • the trick is to sand the wood, paint it white, sand some of the white paint off, stain, and swipe!

By leaving the white paint on, and only taking it off at certain spots, the stain will penetrate the exposed wood and show much darker, ultimately giving it a more “weathered” look.  **Please note, that I tested the paint for lead prior to sanding my free Craigslist door.

Next, I stained the door using a dark walnut color stain, and my “swiping method”.  Here is the fun part (at least I think so…):  paint on a bit of stain and before it can settle on the wood/white paint for too long, wipe it off with an old rag.  Continue this method until you have covered the whole door or reached a color you are happy with it.

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Here is how my door turned out after I was done “swiping”.  I left the interior cut out of the pattern much darker then its boarder – it was just my preference for this design.

I needed to plug the door handle hole because I wanted to use a barn door type handle.  I snagged this brass plate hole cover  for $5.00 and this spade door handle for $7.00 from Home Depot.  Once I placed the hole cover in the door, I stained it a bit too so it would match the door.  The door handle was attached and then the mirror was measured for a perfect fit on the inside.  I picked up the full length mirror from Target for $10.  I secured the mirror onto the door using Gorilla glue.

Last, but not least, I wanted to add a touch of romance to our decor by fixing address numbers of the date of our wedding to the top.  I loved the look of these address numbers for about $1.89 each.

I am so happy with the way it turned out.  Although I couldn’t find an appropriate spot in my home for the tri-fold door decor I originally wanted, this worked out just as well.

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Happy DIY’ing!

Organize your Ribbons

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With all the holidays, birthdays, showers, and weddings that have been happening lately, I have had plenty of excuses to wrap presents and utilize my endless collection of ribbons.  If you’re anything like me, you take pride in organization and most likely grow tired of sifting through shoe boxes in order to track down the color/pattern of ribbon you intend to use.  With this simple, yet extremely organized method of storage, I can easily access the ribbon I choose to do the job.

Container purchased for $1.00 at the Dollar Store.

Rustic Wood-Inspired Decor

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Rustic is in and in popular demand as far as home decor (and pretty much the theme throughout my house).  I wanted to give an extra nod to my love for DIY’ing with wood (and especially give myself another excuse to experiment with my wood burning tool) and create a hot plate/coffee table tray with our last name’s initial burned into it.

The project is really quite simple, fast, and exceptionally cheap.  I made 3 stops on my quest to purchase the materials needed for this project:  Michael’s  and Home Depot and The Dollar Store.

 

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What you’ll need:

  • A block of wood (you can either use a rectangular shape – as I did, or a rounded wood pattern).  They range from $5.99-$14.99.  The great part about Michael’s is that you can get this item even cheaper if you take advantage of their 40-50-% off coupons!
  • Handles (I chose these Liberty 5 inch arched pull handles in bronze for $4.98 each because I knew I wanted to stain the wood dark).
  • Wood finish stain (I used Minwax’s Dark Walnut color stain for $7.77).
  • Paint brush, or an old rag (I get my paint brushes from The Dollar Store for when I stain, that way I have no issues with just tossing them in the garbage once I am done with the stain).
  • Gloves (Again, I get these these from The Dollar Store for the same reason as the paint brushes).
  • Wood burner (if you wish to burn letters/characters/pictures onto the wood.  Stenciling, painting, or vinyls letters work as well).
  • Drill (for when you need to make holes for your handles)

How:

  1. The beauty of buying the wood from Michael’s is that it is already dried, sanded and ready for the project!
  2. Simply stain your wood using an old rag or paint brush (I typically paint on the stain and then swipe it with my rag for a more rustic effect).
  3. Let the wood dry for at least 24 hours.
  4. Measure out and drill holes where you want to attach your handles.  Do not attach your handles yet because they have the potential of getting in your way when you create your design.
  5. Burn, paint, or stencil your design onto your wood.
  6. Attach your handles.

And done in 6 easy steps.  My rustic wood tray cost me a grand total of $20!  It is now displayed on our coffee table and houses our Disneyland coasters and TV remotes.  Simple, yet chic.

 

Wine Barrel High Top Table

imageAs you can see, I am a fan of the rustic decor and wine barrels have been my muse for the last 3 DIY projects.  With spring in the air, I turned my attention from DIY in the home, to DIY outside in the yard.  I wanted to add some unique entertaining space to our patio that could also be a conversation starter.  I needed a table.  But not any table….a high top table.  But not just any high top table….something fun, that tied in with the rest of our house and decor (my DIY pallet wine rack to come in a later post).  I decided to create what I call my Craigslist wine barrel table.  It is simple, quick, [relatively] inexpensive, and such a delightful addition to the ambiance of any backyard.

First, I needed a full size wine barrel.  You would think that those would be hard to come by, but no need to rummage the internet when I have already done that for you.  Amazon has a lot of great choices when searching for wine barrels.  But my favorite (and the vendor I used) is a man out of the Bay Area that sent me pictures of the quantity and quality of wine barrels he had in stock and allowed for me to choose which one I wanted (spent about $100 – only expensive part to this project).

Next, I spent a little time on Craigslist.  This is where I got the most incredible deals to finish up my table:

  1.  Round glass table tops for only $20 (purchased a glass round 30 inches in diameter)  glass table top copy
  2. Wine Corks for FREE   wine corks copy

Once I had all three items, I could piece my table together.  I placed the wine barrel on the patio where I wanted it, I filled the top of the wine barrel with my wine corks (I fit them in tight – I chose an “at random” look where the corks were set in different directions).  I wanted to secure the glass down so that I did not have to worry about broken glass all over my patio in case of weather, accidental bumps from people or pets, etc.  I chose a heavy duty quick set epoxy that I picked up at the local hardware store for $4 (make sure to read the package to ensure it is safe and made for glass adhesion).

It took both Michael and I to work as a team to get the glass fitted onto the epoxy perfectly in the middle (we marked the middle of the glass round prior to gluing with a “X” of blue painter’s tape).  I acted as the “guider” while Michael got on a stool and held the glass level, coming directly downward on top of the barrel.

And just like that, we were done!  It adds character to the backyard and I love how it all came together with a little ingenuity and patient Craigslist hunting.

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Happy DIY’ing!

 

Eucalyptus in the Shower

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Want a little spa treatment without having to leave the comfort of your own home?  Your first step should be to your local flower store to pick up a small bundle of fresh eucalyptus branches (you can even find them tucked in with flower bouquets at your favorite grocery store).

Eucalyptus leaves contain essential oils.  Bringing these branches into the shower with you will activate the release of beneficial oils from the leaves once mixed with the heat & steam.  Your shower experience will immediately be filled with a pleasant aroma that also opens up your airways in both the nose and throat (sinus decongestant), acts as an anti-inflammatory, and a stress reliever.

Creating this relaxing experience is easy and extremely affordable.  Once you have bought your eucalyptus (also sold at certain Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods locations), make sure to tie the branches together using natural garden twine (this is more moisture-resistant than using cotton string or elastic).  The most effective placement of your shower “garden” is against the wall, behind your shower head (you can also place it on the shower rod if you have a short shower head).  You want to make sure it is away from the spray of the water, but close to the source of the steam.  Use an additional string of twine to secure the bundle to the shower head or rod.  The last step is to take a shower and enjoy the aromatherapy scent the oils from the eucalyptus creates.

Your eucalyptus bundle should last about a week.

The Why’s & How’s

  1.  Stress Relief:  The smell of the eucalyptus triggers chemicals in the brain that relieve stress.  By adding the leaves to the heat and the steam of the shower, it intensifies the aroma, creating a relaxing, stress-free experience.
  2. Decongestant:  The oils for the eucalyptus leaves fight viral and bacterial infections.  Upper respiratory issues are a side effect of your body struggling with a cold or flu.  By breathing in the oils mixed with the heat and steam, it can clear your sinuses/chest congestion, making it easier and more comfortable to breathe.
  3. Anti-Inflammatory:  The eucalyptus oil helps sooth aches and pains (especially arthritis pain) when applied topically, however, breathing in the oils can also help alleviate the pain caused by inflammation in the body.

Word of caution:

Eucalyptus can be extremely dangerous when ingested.  Make sure pets, children, and other household members do not have access or the potential of ingesting your hanging shower aromatherapy!