Monday, December 31, 2012

Relax with this cruelty-free kitty

This month's DIY was supposed to be a bunny in honor of the Leaping Bunny Foundation's collaboration with Eco Emi (as suggested by my online buddy Bitt), but since I made its ears a tad too short, it looks more like a kitty cat.

As you know, I like making DIY projects out of my Eco Emi box filler each and every month (in case you missed them, check out last month's DIY post, which contains links to all the other ones, as well). In my last post, I said I'd share this one before the end of the year, so I guess you can say I made it by a "hare." Ha ha :-)

After a year of receiving Eco Emi boxes, I had gotten a lot of fabric pouches, which are perfect for presenting handmade gifts, storing jewelry, etc. Toward the end of the year, though, I had no issues with deconstructing them and transforming them into something new, like with today's relaxing cruelty-free critter aromatherapy eye pillow. I also used some tissue paper and decorative paper shreds from this month's box, along with some lavender and rosemary from a past Eco Emi box and embroidery floss I had on hand to complete my project. Here's how I did it:

First, I deconstructed the silky fabric pouch using a seam ripper, although I have done it with scissors in the past.

Then, I made a pattern out of the Eco Emi product description card. I just rounded the edges and cut a "v" where my nose would be. The end shape looks like a bean.

I folded the fabric in half with the shiny sides facing each other. Then, I traced the eye mask pillow pattern onto the backside of the fabric. I added on a little extra to the sides, as I was afraid the eye mask wouldn't stretch all the way across my face. Then, I drew another line around the mask line for seam allowance.

Next, I cut out the two layers of fabric, following along the outside line, and set it aside while I went to work on the ears.

On the scrap piece of folded fabric, I quickly sketched out two ear shapes and drew another line around them for seam allowance. 

I cut out two layers of both ear shapes, following the outside line, as well as some layers of tissue paper for added thickness.

Following the inside line, I sewed the ears together (I put the layers of tissue paper on the bottom and topped them with the two layers of fabric, silky sides faces each other). I cut tiny triangle shapes around the edge of the sewn ears and then flipped them right side out.

Before putting the whole mask together, I decided to give this cruelty-free critter a face, using some blue and pink embroidery floss (although you could also use fabric paint, pens, more fabric, googly eyes, etc.).

I was so happy with the results that I also stitched some pink onto the finished ears.

When it was time to attach the ears and sew the whole thing together, I positioned the ears facing downward and pointing toward the nose. 

Then, I covered the face with the silky side of the matching piece of fabric. I also opted to add some tissue paper, just like I did to the ears for added thickness (think of it as interfacing), and pinned it all together. Oh, and I traced the mask shape onto the tissue paper as a guideline for sewing.

Once it was sewn together (make sure not to sew it all the way shut, so you can flip it), I cut little triangles around the outside before flipping the eye mask pillow right side out.

I used a pencil to help shape the eye mask pillow once it was flipped.

Then, I stuffed the eye mask pillow with the white paper shreds from this month's Eco Emi box.

I decided to fill my eye mask pillow even more with some uncooked rice, which I mixed with leftover lavender and rosemary from a past Eco Emi box. If you don't have lavender or rosemary, feel free to add whatever soothing scent you'd like.

Lastly, sew your eye mask pillow shut with an invisible stitch, lie down on the couch, put it on your face and relax like Hayden :-)

See ya next year! 

*Don't forget to save the ribbon from your deconstructed fabric pouch. You can always use ribbon scraps in other DIYs, or attach them to the sides of this eye mask pillow to help hold it on your face.           

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

When you can't wait to open your Dec. Eco Emi

Last month, Hayden and I considered only posting about our Eco Emi boxes, rather than doing an unboxing video, as well. We probably should have made that our last video, because this month's didn't go quite as smoothly. Lesson learned: Don't make an unboxing video with a small child on her favorite holiday of the year.

To our surprise, we received our December Eco Emi on Christmas Eve, right before we headed out the door for a family gathering. We couldn't wait to open it, but managed to at least  keep it sealed until the next morning. After opening all our Santa presents, we couldn't resist just one more. I was ready to reveal what was inside without the camera; however, Hayden insisted we do a video, probably to show off some of her new toys (she's also a creature of habit, so she might want to film again next month).


Poor Hayden has a bit of a cold, so I apologize in advance for wiping her nose during the video. Then, Hayden got a little crazy with her toys, snacks, a lotion sample, etc. I took it as a sign to "sign off" and turn off the camera. Then, I found a handful of small packet samples I forgot to mention while filming. Oops! At least I can mention them here on the blog (as well as in the YouTube video description). Here's what we received:

Vanilla Bean Granola Chips by Willamette Valley: Hayden is eating these while I type this. I was hoping to save these for when we are away from home, but she wanted to sample them now. They are like little rounds of granola pressed into a thin chip shape. They remind me of a sweet version of Mary's Gone Crackers. Hayden is refusing to share them. Ha ha. I took a piece when she wasn't looking, though; they taste similar to Frosted Flakes cereal.

Licorice Toothpaste by Auromere: After eating those sweet treats, we'll need to test out this toothpaste next. It smells like black licorice. I love that scent.

Original Mint Gum and Tooth Powder by Eco Dent: I have yet to try tooth powder, but I've wanted to in the past. I know that baking soda works well and makes my pearly whites even whiter. I also like to carry gum like this in my purse for those times when I can't brush. There are only a couple of pieces in this sample, so it could even fit in my pocket when I run out the door. 

Organic Perfume "Aiyana" by Tallulah Jane: This is one of the samples that I forgot to mention in the video. I haven't worn much perfume lately, as I prefer natural fragrances, like a dab of vanilla from my kitchen. This one smells natural and somewhat woodsy in the sample container, but when I put it on (I've heard that fragrances react differently on people), the Moroccan rose, vanilla and Italian lemon became intoxicating. I will definitely be wearing this again.

Chocolate Mint Lip Butter by Organic Indulgence: As you know, I never get tired of lip balms and butters, especially when Hayden runs off with some of them. This one is sheer and smells more of mint than chocolate. You can't go wrong with mint chocolate.
Vegan Adaptive Energy Facial Tonique Toner by Blissoma: There is something about a facial toner in a spray. It is my favorite application method. It makes it easy to refresh your skin throughout the day, or in some cases, use as a light fragrance. This one doesn't have much of a scent, but I like it on my skin.

Organic Fundamental Face Scrub by Fundamental Earth: This is another sample I missed in our video. I think exfoliation is key when it comes to skincare, especially this time of year. I can't wait to try it. I once had a face scrub from The Body Shop that contain ground apricot kernals. I wonder if this one works as well.

Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream by Burt's Bees: Hayden used half of this sample in the video. Although she wiped some of it off (she really had way more than enough on her hands), she kept it as her own.

Vegan Assorted Body Creams by 100% Pure: I am a huge 100% Pure fan. I can't believe I didn't notice this in my box until after I shut off the camera. I received the vanilla bean scent, which I adore. Actually, I love all of their fragranced body creams and various other products.

Original Lotion for Men! by Bulldog Skincare: I haven't used this one yet, but my hubby will. His hands get dry this time of year, too. Maybe this will help.

Apricot Eye Therapy by Better Botanicals: You know I like my eye cream. This one should be a good followup to the face scrub, due to the use of apricots. 

This box was a collaboration with The Leaping Bunny Foundation, so all the products were Leaping Bunny certified to be cruelty-free. I thought the personal purse size shopping guide was a nice touch.

Well, I've spent a lot of time on this post, and now I need to get back to my family. Hope all is well. Maybe I can get my latest followup Eco Emi DIY done before the new year. What should I make?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Making friends with Santa

A week or so ago, Kelly Ripa asked her viewers to send in photos of their kids crying on Santa's lap. It's funny how those end up being our favorite photo memories. I tweeted this photo from last year of Jacob laughing while Hayden clung tight to me in fear. It didn't get a retweet or mention on Live with Kelly and Michael, but it did make me wonder if this year would result in a similar pic.

The first attempt at seeing Santa was following our church Christmas play (Hayden had a blast participating in it, especially since it was "A Charlie Brown Christmas." I just love the part where Linus tells the Christmas story). As expected, Jacob was all smiles ...

... and Hayden wouldn't let go of me.

Take 2: Hayden had her Christmas program today at school (her preschool is at our church which explains the familiar background). At first, she was hesitant to go near the jolly old soul, but once she saw her peers lining up with no fear, she grabbed my hand and led the way. She only asked that I go with her, so she could sit on my lap instead of his. I finally have a clear pic of last year's dress (it's the same one she is wearing in the first photo). I guess I'll have to put her in this year's fluffy red dress for the next Santa encounter.

When Hayden and Santa were done reviewing her list, she bravely put it in the specially marked box and happily accepted a book from Santa. They are friends now :-)

While on the subject of preschool, Hayden has made so many cool Christmas crafts there lately. It made perfect sense to give a homemade gift to her teacher. Hayden and I made a personalized crayon wreath for her. Isn't it cute?

We also got crafty in the kitchen with these strawberry Santa hats for her school holiday party. We simply stacked up a strawberry on top of a banana slice. Then, we added a small grape to the top. Simply scrumptious!

The other day Pure Bar's founder Veronica tweeted a pic of the strawberry Santa hats her daughter made in her kitchen with berries and whipped cream. I was so happy to see a retweet and reply from Veronica about the Pure Bar purse I made the other day. She was interested in having one made for her (such an amazing compliment). If I get a moment (probably not until after the holidays), I might make her a wallet or a wristlet. Maybe I should barter for some Pure Bars. Ha ha :-)

Happy holidays! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Pure Bar Project: My Pure Purse

Hello everyone. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend. I know I am. We've been celebrating my son Jacob's birthday; I can't believe he is 10 already.

I addition to birthdays (two of my nephews and my friend's son are on the list of celebrations, as well), I've also been filling my time with holiday gatherings, programs and such. No wonder you haven't heard much from me online. It's also another reason why I haven't had many, if any, food posts with you. Times like these have me toting along some Pure Bars wherever I go.

You may recall me mentioning that Pure Bar project quite a while ago. You'd probably thought I'd given up on it. In fact, I, too, was wondering if I'd ever get around to it.

Luckily, I found a moment yesterday to construct this colorful creation, perfect for carrying around a Pure Bar snack and my usual purse contents. There is no doubt that I used Pure Bars to construct it.

For those of you out of the loop, my Pure Bar Project started as a Twitter chat set up by FitFluential, Pure Bar and GNC. Someone participating in the chat asked if Pure Bar had a program set up for recycling the wrappers. I suggested that she make something out of the wrappers, like Terracycle. Before I knew it, ideas started being tweeted and other participants wanted in on the action.

That was probably the last I heard of the project, but it didn't stop me from following through with it (I am a woman of my word). I stocked up on Pure Bars (I purchased them all myself) and ate a lot of them. I also held onto the clear plastic envelope I received in my last Eco Emi, in case it could be of use. All I needed was a plan.

Since I make so many accessories on my site, it made sense to transform the wrappers into jewelry and/or a bag. Of course, my first idea was to make one of those upcycled woven wrapper purses, using the same technique I did as a kid to fold gum wrappers into bracelets.

When I experimented with folding the wrappers, I realized it was no longer clear that these were Pure Bar wrappers, so instead, I decided to take a different approach that would really showcase the simple beauty of their design.

I actually sewed the wrappers together side-by-side, like an array of Pure Bar flavors. I treated the wrappers as if they were fabric.

I repeated the process with another group of wrappers in the same pattern, so I'd have a matching front and back to the purse. Then, I sewed the front and back together, forming the purse around that plastic envelope I saved from my November Eco Emi box (it gave the purse some structure). I also cut a slit in the side of the plastic envelope, which lined up with the opening of the purse.

I must apologize for the lack of pics and instructions, as I was making this in a hurry (it was getting dark, and I had some hungry mouths to feed) and without a well-thought plan in place. Anyway, I also sewed some more wrappers for the strap and secured the wrapper fabric, plastic envelope and wrapper strap together with some matching brown duck tape (I just love duck tape crafts).

Then, I needed some kind of closure. I found a zipper in my sewing basket, which I installed with some more duck tape. 

So, here is my finished Pure purse. What do you think? Did anyone reading this go through with the Pure Bar Project? If so, what did you create? I still have more wrappers. I hope to make a matching wallet and possibly a statement necklace. I'll post them, if I do.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! :-) 

*Again, I just wanted to make clear that Pure Bar did not pay me to do this post. I also purchased all the Pure Bars myself. I just love a challenge.