Coffee Inspiration

Coffee Inspiration
Coffee Inspiration by Marjorie Ann

Happy Friday! Today I just wanted to share an inspiration board. My hubs makes a wonderful batch of french press coffee every morning. I always feel so fortunate and spoiled that he does this. I love the scent of freshly ground coffee and the comfort of a delicious hot brew, even in the summer! It’s one of my daily enjoyments. What routine do you enjoy everyday?

I also love making a coffee body scrub from the used grounds. It’s crazy easy and smells wonderful. Plus I’m so soft and smooth afterwards!

Simple Coffee Body Scrub

  • Dried used coffee grounds
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar (chunky organic sugar works best but use what you have)
  • Essential oils (if you have them)

Add about the same amount of sugar as you have leftover coffee grounds, a good sprinkle of cinnamon, and mix well. Then add enough coconut oil to create a smooth paste along with 1-3 drops essential oils (I love using orange here!). You don’t need the essential oil, but it does add an extra layer of aromatic benefits. Keep the scrub in a sealed container and use in the shower for up to 1 week. It does get very slippery so be careful when getting out of the shower or tub!

Enjoy and have a fabulous weekend! ‚̧

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Jewelry Center Organization

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One of my best girl-friends just moved into a new place. In her previous home, I had helped her organize her closet, style her rooms, and create a lovely little jewelry center. Her new place has a different vibe, plus she downsized a lot. Before (I’m always forgetting to take before pictures because I get so excited to jump right in!) she had nothing on the walls and the dressers were simply covered with stuff from the move. Using just what she had, I put together this lovely jewelry center just outside her closet ūüėČ

Some things she already had from the previous jewelry center, other items were sourced from previous rooms from her old place that she hadn’t found spots for yet in her new home. I love showing how organization doesn’t need to be costly. Obviously she already had some things, which certainly makes it easier than starting from scratch, but a set of hooks for less than $5 plus an inexpensive mirror paired with a shallow dish¬†or two takes anyone well on their way to creating a lovely little jewelry space.

Tips for Making Your Own Jewelry Space

  1. Assess what you have and what you use
  2. Think about where you put on your jewelry
  3. Decide how you like to organize
  4. Create an area with enough space/lighting/storage for your needs
  5. Find storage solutions that fit the way you organize (see #3)
  6. Give everything a home

 

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My Jewelry Tray

Assessing What You Have and What You Use

Everyone has different preferences and amounts of jewelry from none to a store’s worth! So taking stock of what you have is paramount to creating a successful system (when organizing anything really!) I have 6 pairs of earrings, two bracelets, a watch, and 6 necklaces that I wear – which is a fairly minimal collection of jewelry. Having everything on display is easy for me because my select few pieces don’t require much space.

However, if you have a lot of jewelry and/or you wear your pieces as sets, you may want a different system. Or if you prefer different display options you may like an actual jewelry armoire or velvet lined flat drawers. Perhaps your jewelry is very valuable and requires special storage conditions. Or maybe you simply have a plethora for costume jewelry that you love to mix and match. Whatever you have, make sure you take stock of all the pieces you wear and how you wear them.

Think About Where You Put On Your Jewelry

My friend’s jewelry center is just outside her closet, where her lighting is much better and just a couple paces away from the bathroom sink and mirror where she does her makeup. This works great for how she gets ready in the morning. I, on the other hand, have my jewelry in my closet because I typically pick it out while getting dressed (and my closet has good lighting). Think about your own routine and where your jewelry center could be that would make your routine run more smoothly – even if it’s in an area not necessarily with your clothes, like a bathroom or a vanity area.

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Photo from The Happy Housie

Decide How You Like To Organize

The easiest way to go about this is to first figure out if you like things put away or out in the open. If you like things out in the open, your storage solutions will be very different from someone who likes everything put away and out-of-sight. Next, decide whether you like to hang things or set things. Even if you like things out of sight, there are options to hang jewelry in wall cabinets or jewelry armoires. If you like things out in the open, your needs will be to find more vertical or wall storage if you like hanging, versus more counter or shelf type storage if you like to set things down more. Or maybe you prefer a combination of both.

Last, decide how you want things separated. Do you need each item to have it’s very own home/hook/spot or do you like having a general area for your items to be put in? For instance, I prefer things put away but visually accessible – so my jewelry is in my closet where I can close the door, but I can see everything at a glance when I’m in there. I like to both hang and set things, depending on what they are and because I only have a few things, I like everything to have it’s own spot at least visually. So each of my necklaces hangs on an individual hook yet my stud earring are all on a single dish, but clearly separated by their pairs. My bracelets are used as much for decor in the closet as they are for fashion.

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Photo from Made in a Day

Create An Area With Enough Space, Lighting, and Storage For Your Needs

If you have just a few things like I do, you don’t need much space. However, if you have a lot of items, you’ll need more space to house all your pieces. Think about how much space you need, where it will be, and if the lighting is adequate for you there. Do you have enough room to put your storage solution or can you customize your storage to fit the space? Can you provide additional lighting if needed? Is it in an area that is conveniently accessible for you?

Once you have a good idea where your jewelry center will be, you can plan for your storage solutions. This maybe as simple as setting a necklace holder and pretty dish on top of a dresser or as complex as creating a jewelry hanging center from scratch before installing it onto the wall. Make sure your storage system is big enough to hold all your jewelry plus 10%. Tip: Don’t give yourself more than 10% to grow in storage to avoid unconscious purchasing to fill your new storage area up. About 90% filled is a good guideline.¬†

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Photo from Pinterest

Find Storage Solutions That Fit The Way You Organize

Now that you know what you have, where you want it to go, and how you like to keep your things (see step 3 if you’ve forgotten), you can start creating your storage solutions. The quickest and usually most expensive way to approach this is to simply buy storage that fits your needs. However, if you have time or want a custom look and feel capable of DIYing, there are plenty of inexpensive solutions to try like these modern jewelry blocks or these driftwood jewelry hangers. Or if you like more utilitarian type storage that still looks good you could try making a stud/ring holder or a simple jewelry organizer for lots of jewelry.

Whether you chose to buy storage items, create them, or a combination of both, make sure you’re meeting 1) your storage needs 2) fitting your storage space and 3) keeping with your storage preferences. Regardless of how amazing a Pinterest post is or how perfect the colors are in a store-bought organizer, in the long run you’ll be happier with a system that works well with how you do things and what you need.

If you remember you needs, space, and personal organizational preferences first before any stylistic qualities, you’ll be far more successful in creating and keeping a good organizational system for yourself.¬†That’s certainly not to say you should abandon styles you love in your jewelry center! Instead, adapt those styles to how you work rather than trying to change how you work to adapt to a style. Either find items that work with both your needs and your style preferences, or adapt the traits you loved in another piece to your own organization.

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Photo from Pinterest

Give Everything A Home

Now is the fun part where everything finally comes together. Quite likely if you’ve been adding pieces as you go rather than buying/making an entire system at once, you’re already getting everything in its home. This is great because as you find things that need homes, you can create/buy storage solutions for them until all your pieces have their own special place! Make sure you aren’t leaving any pieces out!

And last but not least:

Admire and Enjoy Your Hard Work! ‚̧

 

Easy Harry Potter Party Ideas

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At our home, we LOVE Pinterest. All caps kind of love! Many times the Pinterest ideas I heart are WAY out of my league though. But still my girls and I pin away, hoping one day we’ll gain enough DIY levels to finally tackle those project bosses. Until then, we stick to the easier DIYs, like printing and cutting out! We’ve had a couple Harry Potter themed parties and since Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them just came out (and was completely amazing!!), Cherry wanted to celebrate her birthday with another Hogwart’s party. This one I think was our most successful to date so I thought I’d share a little of what we did for those of us who aren’t so DIY savvy (or perhaps are but just don’t have the time!)

For the Hogwarts School Section of the party, Cherry wanted to bake some sorting hat cupcakes like these awesome ones with m&ms inside. Those were hella complicated and way outside my skill set. Instead we did something more like these by Sugar Bean Bakers. Obviously ours are still not even that fancy, but Cherry¬†was so happy with the way they turned out because she helped make them all, so I’ll take that as a win over having the perfect cupcakes.

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Easy Sorting Hat Cupcakes (for the level 1 DIYer ūüėČ )

  • Chocolate Cake Mix (don’t forget your eggs, oil, and water)
  • Vanilla Frosting
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • Multipack Food Coloring (Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue! So perfect!)
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Cupcake wrappers
  • Cupcake Toppers (plus tooth picks and double-sided tape if you’re printing your own)

Directions:

Make the¬†cupcakes according to the package directions. While the cupcakes are baking download, print, and start assembling your toppers. You’ll need a printout, toothpicks, and double-sided tape. Here’s the print¬†we used:¬†Hogwarts Cupcake Toppers¬†. After they’ve printed, cut them out. You’ll need 2 circles per topper. On the wrong side, apply double-sided tape, put one toothpick tip in the center of the topper and apply the other side of the topper. So easy peasy I had the student¬†witches do this!

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While letting the cupcakes cool, take out 4 ziploc bags and fill them each with 1/4 of the vanilla icing. Add 12-15 drops of food coloring to the bags, one for each house: red/Gryffindor, yellow/Hufflepuff, green/Slytherin, blue/Ravenclaw. Close the bag and mix/mash well (this part is great for the students as well). Once cupcakes are cooled, cut out a hole in the center of each cupcake. Snip off a corner of the ziploc bag to create a make-shift icing bag and fill the cupcakes with each color while snacking on the cake holes you just cut out. If you’re baking 24 cupcakes you should have 6 of each color for each of the houses.

Next fill another bag with chocolate icing and cover the cupcakes, swirling the frosting so that the inner frosting is completely hidden. Finish them off with your cupcake toppers and admire! Now, you need a sorting hat. You can¬†certainly buy one if you’re planning on having many Harry Potter Parties to come or make one if you’re DIY savvy and/or have the time. If not, great! Just print out this¬†Sorting Hat Coloring Page, have your Harry Potter fan color it in and stick it to a frame base with some wall mount putty (so that you don’t have to hunt down an empty frame!)

 

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Simple Harry Potter Snacks and Labels

Definitely get your Harry Potter fan to help you out here too, it makes it 10 times easier! Many of our ideas came from Pinterest: like Professor Sprout’s Veggie Garden, the¬†Witch’s Brooms, and the Hufflepuffs. We also printed out these wings for the Golden Snitches¬†which use either gold packaged Lindor Truffles or¬†Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Then we just found some other easy snacks, like jelly beans, popcorn, and candy canes. After trying 4 different Butter Beer recipes from Pinterest over the past year, this¬†Hogsmeade’s Finest Butter Beer has been our favorite. We changed up 2 things this time and loved it even more! The first was to trade out the Werther’s Originals for some Butterscotch Topping and the second was to add¬†about 1 1/2 C milk after taking the butter beer¬†off the heat, both to cool it quicker and to tone down the sweetness. We topped if off with whipped cream and it was oh so decadent!

 

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To make all the signs I popped online and downloaded the Magic School and Parry Hotter free fonts¬†and installed them (I got the others while I was at it, but didn’t use them here). Then I could simply type up the sign names, set the font, and print! I cut them out and attached them to some leftover yellow-patterned scrapbook paper, though you don’t really need that (I just thought it was a great way to make the party more Hufflepuff themed!) I folded some white card stock into a triangle and taped it to the back of the little sign to make them stand up on their own.We also used yellow plates and cups to fill up with the veggies and popcorn, and had black napkins (all from the dollar store) to continue the Hufflepuff theme.

Yellow and black crepe streamers and balloons along with¬†these simple star gift bags were scored from the dollar store as well. You could pick colors from all the houses or just the house that your Harry Potter fan belongs to like we did here, the dollar store typically has all the house colors (red, yellow, green, blue, and black) so it’s super cost effective pick these simple items up there. Cherry’s awesome Hufflepuff banner¬†and Harry Potter books finished off the simple decor. Last but not least, we printed up some fun House Crests, Hogwarts coloring sheets, and activity sheets. Our party ended up super chill, they watched the first movie (always a great idea!), opened gifts, played charades, and chatted a ton (preteens ūüėČ ).

 

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Great Harry Potter Printables for Tweens

One last thing I did was to print out a guest sheet that let each ‘student’ write their name, the house they were sorted in, their pet, and their favorite class. I typed up and printed a list of the Hogwart’s Curriculum so they had some classes to choose from. It ended up being an activity all in itself as our wizarding girls discussed what each class was (mostly to explain them to our muggle guests) and what would happen in certain classes. Plus the guest sheet was great for the girls¬†to look over and see where everyone would be in Hogwarts!¬†We spent hardly anything on the party (about $10 at the dollar store and then about $25 for the food) and just 3 hours of prep time for everything, including the baking. Plus, I think Cherry and Apple had almost as much fun prepping for the party as they did throwing it! We’re pretty relaxed when it comes to hosting parties. What kinds of parties do you like to throw? How far do you go for your party?

How to Create a Simple Winter Wreath

I love wreaths! What I don’t love is how much nice¬†wreaths can cost. Making your own wreaths isn’t always inexpensive either so I wanted to be sure that if I ended up DIYing a bunch of wreaths, I wasn’t spending just as much (or more!) on the supplies to make them. I needed wanted 3 wreaths to hang on the 3 big windows we have in our main living space. I looked around the local stores for wreaths but didn’t find anything that fit with my new winter d√©cor (flocking, shimmer/glitter, natural pine, white). So I checked online and found these beauties from Pinterest, Pier 1, and Pottery Barn. None of them are in my price range for¬†one let alone three! Enter my solution:

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DIY Scandi-lush Winter Wreaths

Supplies:

  • Wreath Base(s)
  • Pine sprays
  • Pine cones
  • Floral wire
  • Baker’s Twine
  • Hot glue gun and sticks (I used about 4)
  • Wire cutters

Start by thinking about your aesthetic and colors. I knew I wanted something asymmetrical, that had Scandi-styled influences, but also had a more lush feel to it. So I used the wreaths I found online as inspiration, as well as some Scandinavian styled influences on Pinterest.

Gather your supplies with your inspirations in mind.¬†I’ll admit that I’m a bit lazy when it comes to DIY shopping. I like to get everything at just 1-2 places so I didn’t do too much hunting for my wreath pieces.¬†Most of my supplies I picked up at Michael’s during their 70% off sale. This meant I picked up my wreath bases for $6 each, pine sprays for $5 each, pine cones boxes for $4 each and my floral wire for $2. The wire would have been $1 with a coupon but I used it on¬†a cute TY snowy owl to be Cherry’s Hedwig for Christmas ūüėČ

My total cost was $42 and 2 hours for 3 wreaths since I already had the baker’s twine and glue on hand. That’s just $14 per wreath! I know the plain grapevine wreaths were less and there were plenty of less expensive sprays (as well as more expensive) so the cost of making something like this will vary greatly. I picked bases that were originally $19.95, sprays that were $16.95, and pine cones that were $12.95. If I had paid full price these wreaths would have cost over 3 times¬†more to make at $45 per wreath!¬†This just shows¬†that the DIY option isn’t always cheaper.

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Clip your branches apart. Luckily each of my sprays had 6 main branches so I simply clipped them all apart with my wire cutters and gave 2 branches from each spray to each wreath. Determine which part of your wreath is the bottom by checking the back for the wreath hanger. If you already have a wreath hanger on your form, you’ll want to figure out if you’re hanging your wreath at an angle (wreath cluster off to the left or right sides) or from the center (wreath cluster at the top or bottom of the wreath). If not (or if you happen to mess up) don’t worry, you can add a wreath hanger at the end ūüėČ

Lay your branches out on the wreath base, starting from your chosen center point on the wreath. Once your happy with the arrangement, use floral wire to attach the sprays to the base. Because my sprays were bendable, manipulating them in a pleasing arrangement was easy. I only needed 4 bits of wire for each wreath to attach my sprigs. I twisted the wire ends to make sure nothing could get loose and then tucked them into the wreath. Plug in your glue gun to get it warmed up.

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Wedge the pine cones in the gaps with bases pointing to your center point. Move them around until the wreath feels balanced and full. One at a time, lift up the pine cones and apply a moderate amount of hot glue to the cone, then apply it to the wreath, making¬†sure the cone comes into¬†contact with the base and/or the spray. Don’t press hard, just lay it on there, the glue will do the work ūüėÄ

Apply additional small sprigs, like I did with the ones that came in my pine cone boxes, or other wreath pieces as well.¬†Let it sit for 10 minutes for the glue to harden. Lift your¬†wreath for the moment of truth! If everything feels stable then turn over and add some twine or wire for hanging (if your wreath didn’t already have a hanger in back). Glue down any loose bits if needed. Now go hang it up and enjoy!

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I wish I could capture on camera all the sparkle these wreaths have! The bases have a silver shimmer and the glittery pine branches are so sparkly, it makes such a difference when you see the light hit them. So simple yet so festive! I hope you enjoy making your own simple Scandi-lush wreaths!