Make Something Monday Part 2: Mini Winter Gardens

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Make Something/Green Monday continues with Part 2…

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Mini Winter Gardens

 

I have a long list of people who do things for me on the regular, so every time the holidays roll around I try to keep an eye out for a simple & beautiful something I can give to quite a few without breaking the bank. I’ve always loved having clear vases of paperwhites all over the house come January – aaaaand there was an excess of mason jars hanging out in the kitchen – so there you go. This is the perfect solution for an army of giftees.

You’ll need:

  • Mason Jars (I used 1/2 pint & pint wide-mouth jars)
  • Potting Soil
  • Rocks or Pebbles
  • Live Sheet Moss or Peat Moss
  • Water-Blooming Bulbs (I used Paperwhite & Crocus but you can also use Amaryllis, Hyacinths, Tulips, Daffodils, or Dutch Iris)
  • Water

If you don’t plant your mini-gardens right away, store your bulbs in a cool dry place and your moss (if its live) in a cool, damp place. The roots of crocus and paper whites only need 3″ of room to grow, so I did a layer of soil for moisture and a layer of rocks for drainage, plunked the bulb down on top, then pushed some sheet moss in around it to hold the bulb in place (plus, this is what REALLY takes it from “bulb in a jar” to “mini winter garden”).

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1 Narcissus bulb fits perfectly in a wide-mouth pint jar and 3 Crocus in the 1/2 pint wide-mouths. I used White Marble Rocks (love that fresh, bright white) and live sheet moss from the local garden store. I totally recommend buying the live stuff – its a cheery festive green, it insulates the bulb, holds just a bit of water (even when dried out) and a little goes a LONG way. I probably only used about a 5 in. x 5 in. square for the 20 I put together tonight.

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Personally, I think they are super cute as is in the clear jars, but if you are feeling a dressed-up version, we wrapped some of ours in paper bags + twine and are loving the look. You could also use some of the sweet phonebook wrap you probably just made… 😉

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This is seriously a great thing for kids to make (so quick and easy) and give (especially to other kids). And its truly the gift that keeps on giving, because who isn’t ready for some fresh flowers come January?  REALLY.

 

 

Make Something Monday Part 1: Phonebook Wrapping Paper

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Happy Green Monday! To be honest, I didn’t really even know that was a thing until this morning – and I guess its just a…second cyber Monday? Hm-kay. Well, we’re celebrating “Green Monday” AND our usual Make Something Monday with TWO, count ’em TWO simple and lover-ly holiday projects that will leave you with the cutest darn eco-friendly gifts you ever did see. So if you by chance are not standing in a line somewhere waiting to see Star Wars tonight, grab your kiddos and make these with us!

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Tonight I’m finishing up  2 projects – one is a wrap and one is a gift, and they go sooooo well together!

While cleaning out the kitchen recently, I ran across a stack (not just one) of old phonebooks – the bane of my existence. Low on brown paper, and needing to get some gifts out the door, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and turn those lame old doorstops into something cool and useful. I loved the pattern the print on the phonebook pages made and using bright colors turned something dull into something bright and cheery!

Phonebook Wrapping Paper

 

THIS is SO EASY. And SUCH a good project for kids and SUCH a good way to repurpose an old around-the-house item.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • An old phonebook (or even just pages you never use…the X’s?)
  • Paints (I used old samples of exterior paint – this actually worked way better than I thought it would! Any old paint that isn’t TOO water soluble will do though)
  • Paintbrush or stamping tool or even just little fingers!

So this isn’t a project that really requires any instruction, just have fun painting! I’ll share a couple quick tips though…

Although you can’t see through the paper once its on a package (which is kind of amazing) it takes just the slightest breeze to blow it around while you’re working on it. For kids especially, a little painter’s tape or some paperweights at the edges while  working and drying is a great idea. I paint on the back of old cookie sheets because they’re super easy to clean off. This also makes it easier to move them if I need to do that for drying. Also, leave PLENTY of time for that – there’s nothing worse than getting wet paint on a new gift. (*shudder!*) After they’ve dried completely, flatten out any crinkles by letting them sit underneath a few heavy books for about 20 minutes – the paint I used didn’t stick, but you may want to put some wax paper between pages when you do this depending on the paint). Use as is, or tape a bunch together for larger-sized gifts.

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VOILA – super fun upcycled custom gift wrap! And the phone company generously supplies you with a gazillion pages! 🙂  I like to “garnish” with some green clippings and twigs from the yard and twine – super simple and super cute.

Sit tight for Part 2, coming tonight: ADORBS mini crocus and paperwhite garden gifts!

Make Something Monday: Gratitude Stones

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Things I am thankful for today: the fact that someone reminded me THIS Thursday would be Thanksgiving. WHAT??? Where did November go?? With all of the busy-ness and the 2,561 things to do, and food to make and events to plan, it is so easy to rush whole days and weeks away. There are Pinterest boards, Facebook posts, TV specials, greeting cards, even a whole DAY devoted to reminding us to take some time out to remember what’s important and express our gratitude and thanks – but, inevitably, the season goes by every year and I realize I’ve missed a lot of opportunities to slow down, enjoy and be thankful. That’s why when I ran across the idea of Gratitude Stones I thought it was a perfect answer.

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This fantastic idea comes from Melissa at Fireflies and Mudpies and is such a great, simple way to start a tradition of taking a minute out to express gratitude everyday. She has so many meaningful suggested uses – many of which not only teach kids the importance of discusssing what we’re thankful for, but also learning how to express strong feelings, creating a time for relaxation, finding ways to pass our gratitude to others and the community. We’ve listed the materials below, but head over to the full post here for detailed instructions.

Its also a great activity for Thanksgiving day – especially if there’s someone in your family like me who knows ZERO about football, but can run a craft across the end zone every time (yeah, I just did that – I don’t even know if it made sense, because really – I know zero about football).

Materials:

  • Stones (washed and dried)
  • Tissue Paper (or photos or anything!)
  • Scissors
  • Glossy Mod Podge
  • Paint brushes

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Happy Thanksgiving! We present our happiest, happiest hearts to you and your families – we’re so grateful for all of you and the extra time you take (everyday!) to raise our future world-changers.

Tasty Tuesday: Applesauce Bites

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

We saw this post on Mom-dot-com  and were amazed at how clever it was! Trisha simply poured little dots of applesauce onto a wax-paper covered cookie sheet and placed it in the freezer overnight… AND NOW HER TODDLER (who isn’t that great with a spoon) CAN ENJOY APPLESAUCE AS A FINGER FOOD!

Genius, right?

You can do it with yogurt too!

We’d write some more, but now we’re going to see what fruit and yogurt combinations we can throw through the blender and into the freezer for snacking during all-night work sessions.

Make Something Monday: No Sew Beaded Tutu Bedskirt

Monday, March 18th, 2013

 

We saw this tutorial written by Beth of Free Stylin’ and HAD to share it.  It’s such an easy, cheap way to make your little princess/dancer/mermaid(think blues!)/fairy’s room super cool and special.

 

 

What You’ll Need:

  • A ton of tulle fabric
  • A fitted sheet
  • Beads (optional)
  • A hot glue gun OR a needle & thread (to go with optional beads)
  •  A ruler
  • A pencil
  • Scissors

Directions are HERE.

Cool Company: Carrie Bears

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Carrie Bears is not only one of the sweetest companies we’ve ever heard of, but they’re complete masters of upcycling!  Their motto is “It helps to have something to hold on to” and they focus on creating adorable stuffed bears out of a lost loved ones clothing in order to help children (and adults) have something tangible to help them connect with someone they have lost.

“Sometimes, when it’s hard to let go, it helps to have something to hold onto. Carrie Bears comfort those who are grieving by helping them feel close to someone they have lost.

To create your bear, send a favorite shirt, blanket, or article of clothing to Carrie Bears. We will turn it into a soft, huggable 20-inch stuffed bear. It is heartwarming to see what happens when we can actually hold something that connects us to someone we have lost.

Bears can also be made to match a baby nursery or a bedroom set. If a loved one is confined to a hospital bed or has moved far away, a Carrie Bear can make home feel so much closer.”

While their main focus is to help the grieving, they also make bears out of baby blankets, maternity shirts,  and old favorites that have been grown out of – to help preserve good memories.

Make Something Monday: Recycled Pool Noodles

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Somehow everybody seems to own at least one foam pool noodle, even if they don’t have a pool, or live near one. They’re cheap, take up room, and usually get thrown out after one or two uses.  Not in our world though, we at b&b love to upcycle whatever we can, so here’s some of our favorite pool noodle upcycles:

 

 

Slice one noodle in half and race matchbox cars/marbles!

Chop off about 6″, slice one side, and wrap it around your door. No more slamming doors! (Especially on kid hands!)

Swirl the noodle around itself (secure with a hot glue gun), wrap it in clear plastic and stick it on a bit of pvc pipe and you have a giant lollipop for all sorts of partys and awesomeness.

Turn them into hobby horses! Tutorial is here.

Did we forget about any other ways to upcycle these? Let us know!

Love,

Jodie

Weekend Mix Tape: Vanessa

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Our good friend Vanessa of The Owl Mag took time out of her busy music-review writing schedule to make this weekend mix tape for  you to chill out to. And to write the following note:

“As a kid I loved making mix tapes. There was always a reason for a good one whether it was mood, season, occasion or love interest. When I was older, making my first mix cd practically blew my mind. But regardless of the medium, a good collection of tunes is such a wonderful thing. I experience angry punk moods, electronic dancey moods, earthy folk moods, 80s’ new wave moods and so on. This playlist is compiled of old favorites, along with some new ones. On a bad day, any of these musical gems can pull me up and take me to another place for that moment. It’s a beautiful thing and I hope you enjoy them.”

Check out Vanessa’s mix tape here.

Check out Vanessa at The Owl Mag here.

She’s also kind of obsessed with improv, performing in San Diego with The Hinges and Swim Team. For fun, and because she’s crazy, she drives to UCB: LA to take classes in being better at making things up on the spot.

 

Cool Company: Punjammies

Thursday, March 7th, 2013



HANDMADE, ANCIENT INDIA WEARABLE ART: 100% cotton, printed by hand using organic dyes in the ancient Indian kalamkari print process, then hand cut and sewn by women rescued from sex slavery, restored to health and paid a fair wage.

 

PUNJAMMIES™ are pajama pants (full length and capri), shorts, tees, tanks and sweatshirts that are created in after-care facilities for women who have been rescued, released or escaped from a life of forced prostitution. Their lives have been marked by a message – you are a commodity – to be used for others’ gain.

Whether sold by her own family, trafficked from another country or driven by desperation, she was a slave to this life. Each story is as unique as each woman.

When a woman escapes from this life, she has few options. Beyond their emotional and psychological trauma, women in India who have been forced to work as prostitutes cannot easily enter schools, return to family systems or secure jobs to support themselves. A high-quality after-care center is one of the best options a woman has for rebuilding her life.

Holistic aftercare involves quality medical care, emotional safety, education along with the tools and community to create a new way of living.

PUNJAMMIES™ is the vehicle used to empower each woman.  Instead of the vicious cycle of her former life, the making of PUNJAMMIES starts her on her own virtuous cycle of self-reliance and dignity.  A simple thing like making pajamas is what it takes.  With the brothel behind and opportunity ahead in a new, supportive community, she is gradually restored to health.  When its time, she is trained to sew — and more importantly, to contribute as an integral part of an inter-dependent team.   Here is where she learns that she is valuable, to take pride in her work, and to trust again. To trust again–in herself and in others!  Her past diminishes and her future brightens.  She is becoming the kind of person she was made to be!

When one woman was asked about how her life has changed, she said, “In the brothels, I was alone. But now I have sisters.”

Every pair of PUNJAMMIES™ tells the story of a woman who was, once, voiceless. When you buy her PUNJAMMIES, you are key part of her path, out of modern-day slavery, into a life of hope, dignity and freedom.

Wear PUNJAMMIES™. Wear hope.

(Story from the Punjammies website)

Wear It Wednesday – Saraya the Champion.

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

 

You’ve met Saraya before when she was rocking her Orca onesie and the sweet leggings her mom, Janene, made her.

When Saraya was soaking  up the SoCal sun in our Feathers tee and adorable straw hat, she had no idea that she would enter and win our first ever Photo Competition. But now that she’s won, she has yet another b&b shirt to add to her collection, she had the honor of being the face of both our Facebook and Twitter for an entire month, AND she’ll be getting a special present at the end of the year.

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Visit Janene’s blog here .

Check us out on Facebook here to keep up with future photo contests.