DIY Faux Concrete/Stone Planter

Over the last month, I have turned into a plant lady. I swore it would never happen, but I even go to the Garden Center for “fun”. Turns out, it’s not always a cheap hobby. You know that book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”? It’s JUST like that…

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It starts with the plant (or plants), next the potting soil, then the gardening tools, and a pot! Well, starting in September, the Garden Center marks about half of their plant inventory to 70% off as the winter months are approaching. Score! However, the pots typically remain full price. I knew that I wanted a stone or concrete looking pot that had a heavy, durable appearance. I found what I wanted, but for wayyyyyy too much money. Justifying purchasing six $150-$175 pots would not fly with the hubby. These were my inspiration. No problem- I love crafts and DIY projects.

I started looking at cheaper alternatives, and guess what, they looked like their price tag did. Poor quality and ugly colors. There aren’t many things that Home Depot and I cannot fix, so I went there next. I was able to use three cans of different spray paints to create three faux stone/cement looking pots for under $20.00 each!!

pot-vertical  pots-paint  pots-close-up-paint

Here is how:

MATERIALS

  • Rust-oleum professional spray primer in 7582 gray, here
  • Rust-oleum hammered spray paint in 7214 gray, here
  • Rust-oleum multicolor textured spray paint in 223525 aged iron, here
  • Pot of your choice (I found mine on sale at Walmart, but check out your Dollar General too!)
  • Optional fine grit sand paper (the primer will take care of this too), here
  • Drop cloth or old sheets to paint on, here 

*all color codes and names should be located on the back of the can on a white barcode label screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-8-39-09-am 

This was my inspiration! $175.00?? No, thank you.

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This is what I found on sale discounted even lower at my local Walmart. Mine was just $13.00 and some change! Yes!

STEPS

  1. Spread your drop cloth outside in a well-ventilated area.
  2. You can lightly sand the exterior of the pot depending on the existing finish. Roughing up the outside allows the paint to stick better. (I skipped this step, and it turned out fine using primer.) 
  3. In steady even strokes, spray the primer keeping the nozzle 10-16″ from the surface.
  4. Give the first coat a few minutes to dry, and repeat with another coat of primer.
  5. After letting it set for about 5-7 minutes, start with the hammered spray. It has a shinier finish for a more formal look. I did not spray it to coat it completely, but rather to add dimension and texture to the flat surface.
  6. Alternate with the multicolor textured spray. I really liked this one! It gave the pot the feel and look of concrete that I wanted.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have achieved your desired darkness or lightness.
  8. Allows 24 hours to dry completely before potting your plants.
  9. Ta-da! Textured, faux stone appearance for under 20 bucks!

Pro Tips:

  • Wear disposable gloves! I got excited and distracted and had spray paint all over my nails and hands for three days.
  • Not sure what it will look like? Test the bottom! No one will ever see it anyway.
  • Does your pot have a drain hole at the bottom? If you are potting an outdoor plant, make sure you drill a few holes in the bottom for excess water before you plant.
  • Is it for an indoor plant? Fill the bottom 3-4 inches with gravel before your potting soil goes in to allow the water to drown and not flood the roots.

Happy Painting!

Jo

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Grain-Free Sweet Potato Dog Treats

Calling all dog people! Let’s talk fur babies. I have adopted this grain-free sweet potato dog treat as our primary puppy snack. I checked out the nutrition label on the Milk Bones we had previously… not so great. Even better, our dogs seem to like them even more! It’s a guilt-free snack that you can feel good about sharing with your favorite furry.

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We have two rescue pups, Lila and Lady. Lila is a Brindle Labrador mix, and Lady is a Shepherd/ Border Collie mix. *Over-sharing alert!* Lila can eat pretty much anything, and our sweet little Lady has tummy issues all the time… until we pinpointed her grain allergy. Poor thing was feeling sick every time she ate. We switched her diet to protein and veggie based, fancy, dog-boutique food, and within six weeks she was all better! (I know, I know. Insert eye-roll.) Most dog treats are made with grain, so I had to get creative. This recipe was a huge success!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup chicken or beef broth (water works too)
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tbl peanut butter (optional) 
  • parchment paper
  • dog bone cookie cutters (can also bake like traditional cookies)
  • mason jar, or storage containers
  • blender or food processor (not mandatory, but certainly easier!)

Total Servings: About 45-50 dog treats (2.5 inch cookie cutter)

dog-1  dog-bone-2

STEPS

  1. Preheat oven to 250F
  2. Prepare two baking sheets covered with parchment paper, set aside.
  3. Boil sweet potatoes for 12-15 minutes, or until you can easily stick a fork through it.
  4. Drain water and blend boiled sweet potatoes in food processor (with skin).
    • You could also remove skin and mash if doing it by hand.
  5.  In a large bowl, combine mashed/blended sweet potatoes with 1/4 cup broth and peanut butter.
  6. With a stand mixer, or hand beaters whip together. (Old fashioned hand-mixing can get the job done too!)
  7. In a separate bowl, combine almond meal and coconut flour.
  8. Add dry ingredients to mashed sweet potatoes, stir until thoroughly combined.
  9. The dough should be thick, but not crumbly.
  10. Roll out a handful of the dough with a rolling pin or flatten by hand until about 1/4 inch thick.
  11. Cookie cutter time! Use cookie cutter and place on parchment paper.
  12. Repeat until all the dough has been used.
  13. Bake at 250F for about 45-50 minutes. They treats should come out hard.
  14. Let cool for 1-2 hours to completely firm up, then serve to your pampered pooch!

Will keep for 1-2 weeks.

dog-mason  dogsss

Pro-Tips:

  • You can store these in an airtight container, but they will likely get soft. They are certainly still edible, just without the crunchy milk bone texture. You can leave the lid off to keep the crunch.
  • Add some poultry seasoning to give it a little extra kick. I did not, and my dogs still nearly ran me over to get to the “cookie jar”!

lila-aaaa

XOXO from Lila and Lady!

Jo

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DIY Grapeseed Oil Body Moisturizer… No Chemicals!

Every evening, I end my day with a moisturizing blend of natural oils, essential oils, and most importantly… no chemicals. Here is how it started. I was in Target on the lotion isle deciding with lotion to try next. This time of year especially my skin is so dry, and I have always been a lotion snob. It has to be scent-free and extra creamy and blah blah blah.  Well, I started looking on the back of the bottles at the active ingredients and… SCARY. Even lotions and body cream advertised to be “healthy” or “green” are often far from it. For the past year, this has been my daily moisturizer, and it is here to stay.

My thoughts are…If I could potentially eat it, then I think it safe for my skin!

So what’s my routine? This is my EVERY DAY out of the shower moisturizer. I understand that in the middle of the day a pump of oil in your hands may not be practical to quickly absorb and go on about your business. However, allowing these nutrients and vitamins to soak in your skin all night is SO wonderful. You will wake up with soft, hydrated HAPPY skin without comprising your health with added chemicals. Yes, please!

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INGREDIENTS

Total Yield: This recipe makes a little over 2 cups of moisturizer. Adjust according to your bottle.

You can purchase the highest quality essential oils here! (in my researched opinion!)

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STEPS

  1. Pour 1 cup grape seed oil into container
  2. Add peppermint essential oil
  3. Add lavender essential oil
  4. Add cedarwood essential oil
  5. Pour 1/8-1/4 (1-2 oz.) cup rosehip oil
  6. Pour 1/2 cup coconut oil
  7. Give it a swift shake, and you are all set!

*Coconut oil is thicker than grape seed oil and takes a slightly longer amount of time to fully absorb. Both are extremely hydrating and great for sensitive skin (like mine!). This is the recipe/ratio that I use, but feel free to play with it. 

What do these ingredients do? 

Grapeseed Oil : This stuff is magic! This oil is light on the the skin, easily absorbed and safe for sensitive skin. It is rich in beta-carotene and vitamins D, C, E…. all fabulous for fighting wrinkles, reducing aging effects, and restoring collagen production. [Light yellow color]

Coconut Oil : Coconut oil is predominately made up of nutrient dense proteins and saturated fats. Together this composition contributes to keeping the skin plump and full… no wrinkles and sagging skin here! An added bonus that the proteins support tissue repair and cellular health. As I mentioned earlier, this oil is slightly thicker than grapeseed oil and very moisturizing. It soaks in within minutes and leaves the skin ultra-hydrated. [Colorless]

Rosehip Oil : Rosehip oil is well-known for its’ anti-aging properties along with encouraging strong elasticity while nourishing dry skin. It is currently one of the most sought after organic skincare oils for its’ powerful effects. A little bit goes a long way, hence it not being the primary ingredient in this moisturizer. [Orangey color]

Peppermint : Invigorating to your senses and calming at the end of a long day! This is one of my top three essential oils for so many things… headaches, chest congestion, diffusing… you name it. Find out more here.

Lavender : You know that Johnson’s lavender baby lotion? Well, they chose that scent for a reason. Lavender has proven calming affects for your mind and body. Your skin will drink it up.

Cedarwood : This essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is soothing to skin irritations. This is excellent for eczema and rosacea.

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Pro Tips:

  • How do I use this magic oil? Apply just out the shower after you pat dry. Your skin will absorb the oil easier when it is warm.
  • Does the quality matter? Yes! If you are going to apply essential oils topically or ingest them as a supplement, you neeeeeed to research the product before using it. I have found that Young Living products provide the highest level of quality because of their seed to seal distilling process. They have quality control guarantees in place throughout every stage of the process, and that’s what I want for my body.
  • Does it stain? I have never had an issue with clothing or sheets staining. I would allow a few minutes after gently rubbing it in before you test it out.
  • How much do I use? Enough to cover the skin thoroughly. To get really specific, I use one pump per arm and midsection. two pumps per leg. It smells and feel SO good after a hot shower.
  • Where does it go? Everywhere! Depending on your level of sensitivity, these oils are also safe for you face. I would lower the peppermint concentration to 3-5 drops so it does not burn close to your eyes. For extra sensitive skin (like mine), eliminate the coconut oil for the face.
  • I have oily skin/acne already. Does this make it worse? No way! The effects of naturals oils go against what our initial impression may be. Grapeseed oil and peppermint in particular contribute to regulating oil production in the skin. Read more here! Grapeseed oil is jam packed with antioxidants that prevent the pores from clogging. The anti-inflammatory properties of cedarwood also help in this department. If you are unsure, test a small area for a few weeks and see how it works for you!
  • Other essential oils great for skin… geranium, frankincense, carrot seed, myrrh, neroli, and patchouli. Check them out!

I’d love to hear your feedback!

Jo

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DIY Natural Body Scrub

Your skin is going to thank you when you try this DIY Natural Body Scrub. I am always making an effort to use quality, natural products and eliminate as many chemicals as possible. Have you looked at the back of your soap or lotion bottle on the ingredients label lately? Yikes… I created this recipe as a base that is easily manipulated to meet your needs! Feel free to tweak the ratio of ingredients to make it the consistency and scent of your choice!

co-body-scrub

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups extra virgin unrefined coconut oil
  • 1-1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup sea salt (fine or coarse)
  • 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil. I used peppermint for this batch.
  • Plastic container (be careful using glass if you keep this in the shower) 

Optional Add-Ins (for a more liquid consistency):

coconut-oil-ingredients co-peppermint-oil

STEPS

  1. Start with the coconut oil (solid at room temperature) and microwave it for about 10-15 seconds in a glass container enough to soften for mixing.
  2. Add essential oils of your choice, stir.
  3. Make sure the oil is not too warm before adding salt, sugar, and the optional add-ins. You do not want them to start to dissolve.
  4. Whip until thoroughly combined.
  5. Set aside to firm at room temperature.

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Pro Tips:

  • Check out some background information on essential oils and their uses here.
  • Keep your feet extra soft by soaking in epsom before applying your DIY moisturizing scrub.
  • If you tend to have irritated skin, try lavender and lemon for a soothing, brightening combo!
  • Apply the scrub without water for a more abrasive exfoliant before rinsing.
  • I do not recommend this for the face if you have sensitive skin. I use this!

You are going to love this stuff!

Jo

 

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Diffusing Essential Oils in Your Home

While we are on the topic of essential oils… let’s talk about diffusing! It is that time of year where winter is sneaking up on us and “flu shot” advertisements are everywhere. Start by building immunity and a clean environment in your home. I use this diffuser, and it lives in our kitchen (which is open to the living room), so I like to think it fills the space! A diffuser breaks down the essential oil(s) (diluted with distilled water) into micro molecules that are projected into the air around you. The different oils that you use can have different effects. My daily essential oil of choice is Thieves! It smells cozy and is known for its’ cleaning properties. If my house can smell like baked goods as the air is being purified… Count me in!

FAVORITES from YoungLiving

  • Thieves – Great for cleaning! This one is a blend of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils.
  • Lemon – My go-to summer scent. (I mix Lemon with my homemade cleaning wipes.)
  • Purification – Another blend made up of Citronella, Lavandin, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Myrtle, and Tea Tree.
  • Peppermint– I have a roller ball attachment and apply this directly on my temples and neck for headaches… It’s magic!
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia)- Mix a few drops with grapeseed oil for an everyday moisturizer.

There are MANY single oils and blends, but these seem to be my staples. I use each of them everyday at some point! Depending on the time of year, others make their way into my routine, too. Stay tuned for a flu fighting assortment coming up!

How Does It Work?

Easy! Each diffuser may have slightly different settings, but should operate around the same idea. You will add the designated amount of distilled water along with 8-12 drops of your favorite oil(s). You can also mix for custom scents. For example, in the summer, Grapefruit and Lemon are a go-to for me! In the fall, Clove and Thieves. After a long day, Peppermint or Spearmint.

*I have chosen to purchase YoungLiving essential oils after extensive personal research. Their products are the most pure and least refined that I could find, and I am not advertising on their behalf. Be selective and educate yourself on the different brands before bringing them into your home. 

Give it a try,

Jo

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Homemade Essential Oil Cleaning Wipes

I don’t know about you, but reading the back of an all-purpose cleaning bottle…. scary. I can hardly pronounce the ingredients much less know their side-effects. I stumbled into making homemade cleaning wipes that are natural, chemical-free, and customizable to the scent of your choice! They are safe on counters, stainless appliances, glass, mirrors, furniture (painted, laminate, and wood), television screens… you name it! They are sanitizing for daily maintenance, but also have become my go-to dusting cloth. (If you are concerned about a new surface, just test a small area before wiping it down.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 – 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup alcohol (I use 91% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol)
  • 1 tsp dish soap (I use blue original Dawn)
  • 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil
  • Viva paper towels (need to be thick, cloth texture)
  • Container of your choice (mine is from Bed Bath and Beyond)
  • Sharp knife to cut paper towels in half

STEPS

  1. Cut the paper towel roll in half with a sharp kitchen knife.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine vinegar and water, add alcohol, add dish soap, and top it off with the essential oil of your choice (lemon for me!). I whisk it together (bubbles are fine) and pour over the pre-cut roll of paper towels until evenly saturated. If you think they are too dry, you can add a bit more vinegar.
  3. The cardboard center should easily pull out at this point, and you are all set! They should unroll from the center just like Clorox wipes (minus all the bad stuff).

essential-oils wipes-materials

You will love these! My once skeptical husband even uses them for anything and everything! Clean your phone, the TV remotes, your computer, kids toys, and obviously all of the household chores!

Enjoy!

Jo

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