DIY Coffee Mug

I previously posted a cute little engagement gift basket that I had created for my newly engaged best friend. In the basket were two coffee mugs with the sayings… “One Lucky Mr.” & “Soon to be Mrs.”

This is a really simple, fun and easy DIY you can create if you want to add a personal touch to any gift. Now I do not have the best hand writing but I think the imperfections and handmade look are what makes the gift that much more special.

This is an inexpensive project as well so instead of spending $12.00 on a coffee mug from Target, you can just look up some inspiring quotes on Pinterest and make one yourself!

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Materials:

1. Paint Pen.  (I got mine from Michaels)

2. Two plain coffee mugs. (you can pick these up at any craft store)

-You will also be using your oven.

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Again, I do not have the best hand writing so I had to re-do the sayings a few times before I got the look I wanted. To do this simply wipe the mug with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol and dry.

Here are a few more sayings you could add for an engaged couple:

“I popped the question…” & “I said YES!”

“I do.” & “Me too!”

“Let’s have coffee together…” & “for the rest of our lives.”

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Once you have your desired look, bake in the oven for 40 min at 375 degrees. To avoid cracking heat up the mugs in a cool oven. The baking should make the mugs dishwasher safe. But I would still hand wash just to make them lat that much longer.

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And that’s it, you’re done! Like I said its a simple project that can add a personal touch to any gift.

Thank you!

-Brandie

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Engagement Gift Basket

A few weeks ago my beautiful best friend got engaged at Callaway vineyard and winery in Temecula California. Her fiance made the sweet and smart decision to hire a photographer who was able to capture the special moment.

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I wanted to get them a little something to celebrate the occasion and came across the idea of an engagement gift basket.  I thought it was the perfect way to gift them a few practical yet fun items and creating the basket gave me an excuse to D.I.Y.

Here is the finished product:

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And here is a closer look at some of the harder to see items:

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Items:

– Wedding planner.

-Wedding day scrapbook.

-Bottle of champagne & two glasses.

-Wedding themed stickers.

-Wooden letter “G” (for his last name).

-Mexican wedding cookies.

-Handmade coffe cups.

-Handmade date idea jar.

-A “diamond ring” wine cork.

-Ring holder.

Several of the items I found on Amazon and the rest were from various department stores like Target and Michael’s. The handmade coffee cups were a little tricky since I don’t have the best hand writing, but I think they turned out great and I will post a how-to soon.

I am insanely happy for my friend and can’t wait to start working on some D.I.Y wedding crafts!

-Brandie

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Home Sweet Home

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Well I haven’t created a post since October, but I have a good excuse! I bought a house!

My S.O and I just marked our first month of living in our very own home. We searched for about three months before we found one that seemed perfect for us. We made an offer and it was excepted. But that was the easy part. After that comes the waiting, lots and lots of waiting. And so much paper work! And about two months from our offer date we were able to finally move in.

But first we had to clean…and clean and scrub and sweep and clean and paint.

We still haven’t completely settled in but we’re getting there day by day. I am excited to start decorating and completing some DIY projects that will make our house a home.

I will be posting projects regularly again, so stay tuned!

-Brandie

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Googly Eyed Door Decor

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Did you know Halloween goes by multiple names: All Hallows’ Eve, Witches Night, Lamswool Snap-Apple Night, Samhaim and Summer’s End. Witches Night sounds the most frightening to me, good thing I’ll be indoors tonight!

Halloween is such a exciting time of year, not only is it the start of the fall season but its a great excuse to create some DIY decorations for your home.

You’re probably going to have lots of little ghouls and goblins at your door this evening. So why not make your doorway a little more spooky to enhance their Halloween experience.

Here an easy last minute DIY Halloween decoration you can complete before the festivities of tonight begin.

Here are the materials your going to need:

1. Wooden letter. (mine was 13″)

*I chose the letter “B” for my last name*

2. Black paint & paint brush.

3. Googly eyes. (I used two packages)

4. “Spider” webbing.

5. Halloween ribbon.

6. Glue gun.

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First, paint your wooden letter with a coat of black paint. I sanded mine a little just to help the paint adhere better.

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Once the paint has dried, start gluing on your googly eyes. I places all my larger eyes first and filled in the remaining space with the smaller ones.

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Now after all your googly eyes have been placed stretch a small piece of spider webbing across the back of your letter, I secured the webbing with my hot glue gun.

Lastly, I attached the Halloween ribbon on the back of the letter and created a sort of foe bow. This part will be used to hang your letter on the door. I secured the ribbon with my hot glue gun as well.

And now you have your-Googly Eyed Door Decor!

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I think this decoration is the perfect mix of cute and spooky.

Happy Witches Night!

-Brandie

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Churro Cookies

One of my favorite desserts, especially living here in Southern California is a crunchy delicious churro. (A churro is a fried dough pastry covered in cinnamon and sugar.)

I’ve been wanting to attempt homemade churros for awhile now, since I and everyone in my family loves them.

But…they are a little too complicated for my level expertise, for now anyway. So I found this recipe for churro cookies which seemed much more do-able. And hopefully will help me work my way up to making authentic churros.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

1. Pie crust (2ct.)

2. 4oz Cream cheese

3. 3/4 cup Sugar (1/4 goes into the mixture & the rest for the coating)

4. 1 tsp. Vanilla extract

5. 2 tbsp. Cinnamon

6. 2 tbsp. Melted butter

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In a bowl combined the cream cheese, vanilla extract and 1/4 of the sugar. Set mixture aside once completely smooth.

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Unroll one of your pie crusts onto a cookie sheet and spread the cream cheese evenly over the pie crust. Make sure to get as close the edges as possible, so you can use up as much of the dough as possible.

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Next, lay the second pie crust over the top of the first. Once you’ve lined up the sides of the crusts as much as possible, use a cookie cutter (or glass like did) to cut out your circular cookies.

Now that you have your cookies cut out, place them on parchment paper and seal the edges by pressing a fork into the edges of the dough.

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Bake for approximately 12 min at 350 degrees or until golden brown.

Let them cool then brush the melted butter onto both sides of the cookies.

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And lastly, combined the remaining sugar and cinnamon in order to cover each cookie thoroughly with the mixture.

And now you have….

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Churro Cookies!!!

Hopefully I will be posting a recipe for actual homemade churros soon.

Enjoy!

-Brandie

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Coconut Body Butter

I have been using coconut oil as a beauty product for quite some time now. I typically use it as face moisturizer or mix it with a bit of baking powder to create a facial scrub. This recipe is for a body butter which is a thick moisturizer for the body.

I have incorporated a few more natural ingredients to boost the skin benefit factor. Here are the ingredients you are going to need:

1 1/2 cup-Coconut oil. (needs to be in a solid state)

2 tablespoons-Sunflower seed oil.

2 tablespoons-Aloe vera.

1 tablespoon-Olive oil.

1-Glass container.

Here are some benefits of each ingredient:

Coconut Oil– Coconut oil contains triglycerides, due to the presence of these fats coconut oil retains the moisture in your skin.

Sunflower seed oil– Sunflower seed oil is rich in Vitamin E which acts as a antioxidant in the body and helps to regenerate cells. This oil will help to better protect your skin from sun damage and the natural skin aging process.

Aloe Vera-Aloe vera is used to treat various skin ailments such as sun burns. Aloe vera is also used for wound treatment and lessens the visibility of scars such as stretch marks.

Olive Oil– Like sunflower seed oil, olive oil contains a high level of Vitamin E which can help with premature aging.

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First combined all ingredients into a large bowl. Again make sure your coconut oil is in a solid state this is necessary to achieve the whipped consistency.

Now with a hand mixer blend ingredients together until mixture has a frosting like consistency, about five minutes.

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Now scoop the mixture into a glass container. Coconut oil has a melting temperature of 76 degrees, therefore in the summer months you’re going to want to keep your body butter refrigerated.

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Just smear this stuff all over once you jump out of the shower and your skin will feel like a baby’s bottom all day!

-Brandie

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Beef & Broccoli Stir-Fry

Chinese food is definitely a go to favorite take out meal for most people, including me! Its quick, cheap and despite the whole being hungry in two hours, its tasty.

However I have found that certain dishes tend to be a little over cooked especially beef and broccoli. The meat is sometimes overwhelmed by sauce and the broccoli is often mushy lacking any taste.

So I thought making it from scratch would be the perfect solution, plus homemade is probably quite a bit healthier for you compared to your local chinese restaurant.

Here are the ingredients you’re going to need:

4 cups of broccoli florets

1 small onion (cut into wedges)

1 1/2 pounds of chuck steak (cut into thin strips)

1/3 cup soy sauce + another 1/4 cup

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons cornstarch divided

1/2 cup water + 2 more tablespoons

2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided

1/4 teaspoon of chili pepper flake (optional)

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In a medium bowl combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of water and the garlic powder. Stir until mixture is smooth.

Now add your beef, coating all pieces evenly with the mixture.

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In a large skillet cook the beef with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium heat until the meat is brown, this is also were I add my chili pepper flakes. But if your not into spicy feel free to leave them out. Once cooked remove the meat from the skillet and place to the side.

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Next add your onion and broccoli to the skillet in the remaining vegetable oil and 1/4 cup of soy sauce. Cook until vegetables reach desired texture. I like my broccoli a little crunchy so I only cooked my vegetables for about 5 minutes.

Return the beef back to the skillet.

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In a separate bowl combine the remaining soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, remaining corn starch and the 1/2 cup of water until smooth.

Add to skillet and stir for about two minutes.

And you’re done! A homemade delicious meal. I served mine over brown rice, see still trying to be healthy.

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-Brandie

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Renegade Craft Fair

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This past week I was able to visit the Los Angeles Renegade Craft Fair at Grand Park in downtown LA. Even though I live twenty minutes away in Long Beach I hardly make it down to this area of Los Angeles. And visiting this past weekend has reminded me of how much I love it. Downtown LA has a much different vibe on the weekends compared to during the week. In fact there is very little traffic and with up and coming restaurants like Poppy + Rose on Wall St. its a great way to spend your Sunday.

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The Renegade Craft Fair is hosted twice a year here in Los Angeles, once during the month of July and again in early December to help you prep for christmas time. And if you are looking for a unique and one of a kind gift this is definitely the place to go.

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This event features dozens of vendors who offer an array of handmade or vintage items. Some vendors are local while other travel across the US selling at each Renegade Fair like Lost Vintage Girls. The entrance to the fair is free and features some of LA’s best food trucks. Shopping and good food, what’s better than that!?

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This year handmade jewelry and ceramics seemed to dominate the scene.

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But by no means was there a lack of diversity in the beautifully crafted items offered. Honestly I have gone these past few years just to get inspired and to admire all the creative displays.

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My only complaint is that some of the items can get pretty expensive the average price it probably around fifty dollars for any particular item, but you do have to keep in mind that they are all hand crafted which takes time and dedication by all the vendors. Therefore you’re paying for the quality and for the fact that you’re purchasing one of a kind pieces.

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The next Los Angeles fair is scheduled for December 12th and 13th, the exact location has yet to be announced but I will definitely be there.

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-Brandie

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Wine Bottle Vases

Upcycling is the idea of taking items that are old or used and transforming them into fresh functioning pieces, usually changing their original use.

This is not only a money saver but also helps our environment by eliminating waste.

And one waste item that me and my friends usually have are wine bottles! So I’ve decided to turn them into fun contemporary vases.

Here are the materials your going to need:

1. Three wine bottles. (labels removed and cleaned)

2. Multi -Surface paint. (I used Martha Stewarts brand in a satin finish)

3. Painters tape.

4. Paint brushes.

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Before you start painting your wine bottles wipe them down with alcohol, this will clean the surface and help the paint adhere.

Next paint the surface of your wine bottles, I chose to paint them white. I painted each bottle with three coats of paint. Make sure you wait at least 20 minutes in between each coat. This will help the paint disperse evenly.

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Let your bottles dry for one hour before placing the painters tape. (I was inpatient and it cause the tape to peel away some of the paint)

Next apply your painters tape around the circumference of the bottle so you can paint the bottom sections a different color. You can choose to make each vase identical or paint the bottom sections different proportions, like I’m doing.

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Now paint the bottom sections of your vases, I chose to paint them each a different color.

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I only had to paint each vase with two coats of color. Once complete let the paint completely dry before removing the painters tape.

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And now place a few long stemmed flowers into your vases and admire your handy work. You’re welcome earth!

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You can also use them as jewelry stands for your bracelets.

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There are a million ways to decorate these vases so use your imagination and continue to upcycle!

-Brandie

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Zuppa Toscana

I know today is the first day of Summer and preparing a hot soup may not be what you had in mind for todays menu. But this soup is so easy to make and so delicious I could honestly eat it any day of the year despite the temperature outside.

This is a hardy Italian soup my Mom makes in huge batches for our entire family. She doesn’t have a recipe written down so I had to play with it a little bit to get the right quantities for a smaller serving, this recipe will serve about four people.

Ingredients:

 3 Spicy Sausage Links. (Pork)

1 Bundle of Kale.

Rustic Potatoes. (Medium Size)

2 Cans of Chicken Broth. (14oz.)

1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream.

1 tsp of Red Pepper Chili Flakes.

1/4 tsp of Salt.

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The only prep involved for this recipe is to chop both your potatoes (peel on) and kale into bite size pieces.

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Next brown your sausage in a medium skillet. Once browned, combined all ingredients minus the kale into a large pot.

Note: My family likes this soup pretty spicy so if this is not suitable to your taste feel free to lessen the amount of chili flakes.

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Cook combined ingredients on high until the potatoes are soft which will take about 3o minutes. Lastly, your going to stir in the kale and cook for another 5-7 minutes.

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Doesn’t that look yummy!

Once the kale has cooked down, let the soup cool for a good 15 minutes before serving. I know it looks delicious but control the urge to dig right in, the soup will be extremely hot!

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And here is the final product, I hope your family loves this recipe as much as mine. Bon appetit!

-Brandie

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