Tag Archives: Crafty Adventures

Crafty Adventures: Making Homemade Sugar Scrub

Crafty adventures: making homemade sugar scrub. An insanely easy and fun craft project that makes great holiday gifts.


Homemade sugar scrubs are great for winter. They are comprised of three simple main ingredients: sugar, coconut oil, and essential oils. The coconut oil moisturizes your skin while the sugar exfoliates. The essential oils add fragrance and give a spa-like aroma therapy experience in the bath or shower. My skin tends to get dry in the winter, and homemade sugar scrub is the perfect remedy.

I’d never made homemade sugar scrub before, but it is super easy. I went on pinterest and found a few recipes to work from. They all seemed to have different ratios of coconut oil to sugar, and I tried a couple different recipes. Coconut oil is great for your skin, but it also is one of the few oils out there that is solid when stored at room temperature. The solid oil helps give the sugar scrub its crumbly shape. If you use a higher ratio of coconut oil to sugar, your scrub will feel a bit “stiff” at first, vs more crumbly. When used, the coconut oil will melt on contact with your skin and the hot water in the shower.

homemade sugar scrub
homemade sugar scrub

I ended up using two recipes for my homemade sugar scrubs, a green tea sugar scrub recipe, and another basic sugar scrub recipe that I customized with essential oils.

First, the green tea recipe:

I got this recipe from the Savy Naturalista at  http://www.savynaturalista.com/2013/09/04/green-tea-sugar-scrub/

It was simple, and the matcha green tea powder colors the homemade sugar scrub nicely without any dyes. I tripled the recipe and wound up with six 8 oz jars.

Green Tea Sugar Scrub Recipe:

  • 1 ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp. matcha green tea powder
  • 2 green tea bags
  • 1 cup cconut oil

Recipe Directions: Open green tea bags and empty green tea leaves and set aside. In a bowl place white sugar, green tea powder and loose leaf tea leaves; mix together all the ingredients until the green tea powder is incorporated into the sugar. Then slowly add coconut oil and stir until all the mixture is covered in oil. Place in air tight container and store.

green tea homemade sugar scrub
green tea homemade sugar scrub
green tea sugar scrub
green tea sugar scrub–dry ingredients mixed before adding coconut oil

Once the matcha green tea powder, sugar, and loose green tea were mixed, I added the coconut oil. It was a little like baking where you have to mix sugar and butter together. You want the end result to be crumbly and well-mixed. I ended up ditching the spoon and getting in there with my hands.

I also added several drops of eucalyptus essential oil to give it a spa-like soothing smell.

homemade green tea sugar scrub
homemade green tea sugar scrub
homemade green tea sugar scrub
homemade green tea sugar scrub

Basic customizable sugar scrub:

Other recipes I found fluctuated between a quarter cup to a half cup of coconut oil to one cup of sugar. I went with one cup of sugar to a half cup of coconut oil, and tripled that recipe (three cups sugar and 1.5 cups coconut oil) for each of the other sugar scrubs I made. I ended up with five 8 oz jars from the tripled recipe.

Basic sugar scrub recipe:

1 cup sugar (refined or raw)

1/2 cup coconut oil

essential oils for fragrance

One friend of mine wanted a more organic scrub and used raw turbinado sugar, which is brown. It was a coarser texture and provided a more rustic, organic look.

homemade sugar scrub
homemade sugar scrub
homemade sugar scrub
homemade sugar scrub
homemade sugar scrub
homemade sugar scrub made with organic raw sugar

As for essential oils, you can pretty much use whatever scents you like. Some recipes had measured amounts of drops of essential oil suggested, but I just added it until it smelled good.

I was a bit surprised by how strong the coconut oil smell came through. Some essential oils overpowered the coconut oil more than others.

The other two scrubs I made were a citrus sugar scrub with a blend of orange, lime, and grapefruit essential oils, and a lavender peppermint scrub. Of the three, the lavender peppermint scrub was the most pungent and ended up being my favorite.

lavender peppermint sugar scrub
lavender peppermint sugar scrub

For color I added a teeny tiny drop of gel food coloring to the citrus and lavender peppermint scrubs, turning them a light lavender and a light peach color. The tiny amount of food coloring mixed in isn’t enough to dye your skin and gives it a fun colorful appearance. Adding food color is completely optional.

The containers I used were wide mouth 8 oz plastic jars from the Specialty Bottle Supply company, which you can order online. My friends just used 8 oz and 4 oz canning jars, which give a nice homemade looking presentation. Personally I’m not a fan of glass in the shower, but you can use whatever you want. My only suggestion would be to get something with a wider mouth that is easy to get your hand into when scooping out the scrub in the bath or shower.

Decorate with a little ribbon or a printed label and you are all set with gifts for the holidays!

homemade sugar scrub
homemade sugar scrub



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Crafty Adventures: Carmen Miranda Costume

Crafty Adventures: Making my own Carmen Miranda costume for Halloween

I get really into Halloween. I start planning my costume in August. I love the experience of crafting a unique costume that isn’t a cheap out-of-the-bag costume that I may see ten other people wearing when I go out. Last year, I wanted to be Carmen Miranda. It took a little work, but my Carmen Miranda costume ended up being a success. Here’s how I made it:


Since I’m not a talented seamstress, I usually start with a pre-made costume or garment and modify it. I looked around at some of the “samba lady” costumes online, and didn’t find much that was my size, or that didn’t involve a bikini top.

I figured what I really needed was something strapless with a big slit up the side of the skirt that I could add ruffles to. I looked at some costumes on HalloweenCostumes.com and found a Jessica Rabbit costume that I thought might do the trick as the base. It came in plus sizes too.


jessica rabbit costume for carmen miranda costume
image from www.halloweencostumes.com

The dress showed up, and it fit but was a bit big. Not wanting it to be too tight, I decided to keep the slightly too big size and modify it to fit me better.

But first, ruffles:

making a carmen miranda costume
Ruffles galore

I bought all of the red and yellow ruffles that Joann Fabrics had. There was a bit more red than yellow, so I made that my main color, and it matched the dress anyway. I was hoping to make it a bit more colorful but I could only find other ruffles in white, black, or pastel colors that didn’t really go with the bold Brazilian samba look.

I started with a yellow ruffle along the hemline of the skirt and up the skirt slit, overlapping at the top. Next I added a red ruffle underneath it. I hand sewed everything, since my sewing machine died last year and I hadn’t replaced it yet. It wasn’t that bad, it was something productive to do while watching TV.

For the armbands I bought some extra wide elastic, made arm bands with it, and sewed four tiers of ruffles alternating yellow and red. Unfortunately, I didn’t account for the fact that if you sew something non-elastic to elastic, it prevents the piece from being elastic.

carmen miranda costume ruffle armbands
Sewing ruffles on the elastic armbands

I solved this by cutting it back open and sewing a small additional elastic strip to give the band some elasticity. not the nicest looking job, but it was on the inside of my arm so no one could really see it. I did the same thing with the second armband, leaving some of the elastic open.

carmen miranda costume ruffle armbands
Open elastic to allow stretch on the ruffle armbands


The top of the dress had a big sweetheart neckline that was a bit too big. I folded it down and hemmed it, trimming off the excess fabric. I then took some yellow ruffle and sewed it around the top of the dress. The lack of elasticity in the ruffle actually helped out quite a bit here, as the dress was a bit big and it helped tighten it up.

Last, the most important piece of the Carmen Miranda costume is the fruit hat. I ordered this one online from another costume retailer, intending to add some fruit to it:

carmen miranda costume fruit hat

Not surprisingly, it arrived much less glorious and more deflated than the web photo above. That giant green ostrich feather at the top was only about 6 inches long. This wasn’t a problem as I wanted to add a lot more fruit to it anyway. The grapes were nice, but the little pineapple on top was pretty pathetic. I went to Michaels and bought more grapes, two bananas, two lemons, an apple, and an orange and two big red and yellow ostrich feathers.

The thing that was most helpful to me in embellishing the Carmen Miranda costume fruit hat was a glass head that Paddy acquired from an old roommate. It sat out in our garage for ages and I once asked if we could get rid of it but he wanted to keep it, and now I’m glad we did.

I was able to put the hat on the glass head and superglue the extra fruit and feathers to it while it was upright. Assuming that you are a normal person who doesn’t have glass heads in your garage, you might be able to get a styrofoam wig head from a craft store to use, or just ask your best buddy to model it for you.

Carmen Miranda costume

Carmen Miranda costume

Wearing the fruit hat was a bit of a balancing act. I had to bobby pin it to my head around the rim of the velvet turban part, but it was still a little slippy. I had some flower hair clips that I ended up clipping in the back to secure it further, and they worked well.

I added some bracelets and beaded necklaces, and some spangly chandelier earrings, and voila!

Carmen Miranda costume
My Carmen Miranda costume and Paddy the evil jester.
Carmen Miranda costume
Carmen Miranda tangos with Indiana Jones
Carmen Miranda costume
Carmen Miranda and Indiana Jones

Carmen Miranda costume

Somehow, my Carmen Miranda costume fruit hat stayed on crammed into a car, at our friend’s Halloween party, crammed into a car again, at another friend’s Halloween party, and then out at the bars on Capitol Hill in Seattle. It got me a free drink from a guy dressed as a widow carrying around a framed photo of an old man. Finally, just after we were kicked out of the bar at 2:00 AM, I was eating a taco at a food truck and my fruit hat dove off of my head and crashed onto the sidewalk. I’ll call it a success.

Happy Halloween and happy costuming!



Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from product links on this site.

Crafty Adventures: How to Make a DIY iPhone Photo Booth

Crafty Adventures: How to make a DIY iPhone or iPad photo booth for your next party. It’s easy, cheap, and a lot of fun!

People LOVE photo booths. Especially if it is an event where they are dressed up nice or for a theme party of some sort, such as a wedding, Halloween, luau, holiday party, etc.

There are a lot of photo booth rental companies out there in Seattle and across the country that charge a ton of money for professional style photo booth rentals. These are great for weddings and large events with a big budget, but I was determined to figure out a cheap and easy way to get create a photo booth for my party myself. I ended up creating an iPhone photo booth for our annual white elephant Christmas party, and it was a smash hit. Technology is awesome.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1. iPhone, iPad, or comparable smartphone or tablet with camera

2. Pocketbooth app (downloadable on the app store for $1.99)

how to make an iphone photo booth

This app is awesome. It gives you a classic photo booth strip of four photos, and you just have to click the green button to start it taking pictures. You can delete photos if you don’t like them, guests can email them to themselves, and the photos automatically save to your phone. You can also choose from black & white, sepia, color, and other filters.

3. A somewhat quiet, out of the way corner to set it up in (guest room, basement, somewhere away from the main party area)

Having it in a separate area will give your guests a little privacy to make them comfortable to be as silly as they want to be, and draw the party to other areas (instead of everyone cramming into the kitchen near the food and booze, which is what always ends up happening).

4. Tripod and tripod adapter attachment for your iPhone or tablet

We used our gorillapod, but a regular tripod will work just as well if not better. The adapter was bought on Amazon, and is adjustable to accommodate various phone sizes. I believe they make these for iPads and tablets as well.

how to make an iphone photo booth

5. A good lighting source facing directly at the people in the booth, (but not a blinding one).

I had a couple of square-shaped paper lanterns that I bought super cheap at Ikea for around $15.00 each. Lighting is imperative for good photos that aren’t grainy. The paper around the bulb diffused the light nicely, and the square shape helped them stand on their own.

how to make an iphone photo booth

6. A bench or two chairs, and a table for the tripod if needed

how to make an iphone photo booth

I had a little shelf that I used. I covered the top with Christmas wrapping paper, and put my props in the shelves below for people to easily access.

7. An extension cord to keep your phone or tablet plugged in the whole time so that the battery won’t die during the party

Your phone will get a lot of action, best be safe and make sure the battery doesn’t die and ruin all the fun.

8. A fun backdrop and props.

I used a piece of sparkly red fabric from Joann Fabrics (don’t forget to check their website for 50% discount coupons, they always have them) and some Christmas lights. Props get people into it–feather boas, reindeer antlers, funny hats, sunglasses, wigs, stuffed penguins, leis, coconut bras, rubber spiders, creepy dolls, anything that you think goes with your theme. Use your imagination!

how to make an iphone photo booth


There are a couple of things to consider when using an iPhone photo booth. First, make sure you can trust your friends, as people will have the ability to use and get into your phone. Our friends are awesome and our party wasn’t huge, so this wasn’t a concern for me. Another option is to create a guided access security option on your phone in the settings, which will lock your phone into one app and you can’t get out of it without your pass code. This is pretty easy to do, made for parents giving their phones to their kids to play games.

Also, if your phone is in the photo booth, you won’t know if someone is trying to call or text you. Or someone else might answer if they do…A way around this is to put your phone in airplane mode to hold all your calls and texts. Just make sure you have a wifi signal turned on so that guests can still email photos to themselves. You’re hosting a party, you don’t need to waste time with your phone anyway. You have guests to entertain.

Last– I didn’t think about it until after the party was over, but my phone is set to lock after an hour of no use. The iPhone photo booth was such a popular attraction at our party that this wasn’t an issue. Keep in mind though that you may need to adjust your iPhone settings to make sure it stays unlocked throughout the party.

Once you get it set up, test it out with various lighting options. If your party is going to mostly be after dark, don’t test it during the day unless the room has no windows. Make sure everything is all set up beforehand.

I tested mine with Finnigan. He was less than thrilled, but was a pretty good sport about it.

how to make an iphone photo booth
iphone photo booth

The lanterns worked really well for the lighting. The photo booth was a hit and everyone had a blast. I think I’ll have to do it every party from now on. Already thinking up different backdrops….

how to make an iphone photo booth
Finnigan, Paddy, and I
how to make an iphone photo booth
iphone photo booth
how to make an iphone photo booth
Photo booths are so exciting!

how to make an iphone photo boothhow to make an iphone photo boothhow to make an iphone photo boothhow to make an iphone photo boothhow to make an iphone photo boothhow to make an iphone photo boothhow to make an iphone photo boothhow to make an iphone photo booth

Crafty Adventures: Outdoor Pallet Sofa Sectional

Crafty Adventures: How we made an outdoor pallet sofa sectional and turned a boring corner into a little garden oasis

Paddy works in shipping and receiving, and tons of pallets are recycled by his warehouse on a regular basis. I’d been seeing lots of recycled pallet furniture ideas on Pinterest and really liked the outdoor pallet sofa posts that kept popping up. We had this corner in our garden that nothing was going on in, and I thought it would make a perfect summer reading lounge, or a cute little conversational spot for our next summer party.

Paddy brought home six 35″ x 50″ pallets in good condition. As soon as we had a free weekend day with some sunshine, we started the sanding phase. We don’t own a belt sander, but were able to rent one for a couple hours from Aurora Rents in Seattle. You might be able to find a similar rental shop in your area as well.

Our sanding job wasn’t super smooth, just enough to take the really rough splintery parts off, especially around the edges.



The following weekend, we made some time to stain them with weatherproof deck stain. This was to protect the wood in the rain, and it also gave the pallets a nice dark wood finish. We picked up the stain and brushes at the Home Depot. It is pretty oily stuff, so we’d highly recommend putting a plastic drop cloth down to protect your patio area from getting stained as well.


We took turns staining the pallets. The stain was really fumy, it gave me quite a headache by the time we were done.


The next day, after the pallets were dry, it was time to assemble.


We leveled the ground a bit, and then stacked two on top of each other in an “L” shape. We then screwed them together with long wood screws around the edge planks. We opted for screws instead of nails, because it would be easier to unscrew them apart if we had to move the sofa at some point.


We also bought some reed fencing to wall off the walkway between the side of the house and the fence, and create a private little corner. You can buy a roll of reed fencing at most stores with garden departments. They are only about $35.00 for a 6 ft x 16 ft roll, and make a nice little summer privacy screen. They aren’t super sturdy, so my guess is that we may have to replace it by next summer.

We screwed on the last two pallets on as the back of the sofa, forming a corner backing.



Here’s where I had to do most of my research and planning: cushions. I googled and googled and couldn’t find a decent instructional about how to actually make the cushions or where to buy the foam (and which kind). I determined that I needed upholstery foam, preferably at least 3″-4″ thick, and possibly an outdoor kind. When I started looking for that online, it proved to be really expensive. I would also have to get an electric knife to cut it, and find rolls of it that would be wide enough for our 35″ wide outdoor pallet sofa.

Then– somehow, during all that googling, a dog bed came up in the search. A dog bed that was exactly the size of the pallets, and 5.5″ thick. It was found at Drs. Foster & Smith Pet Supplies, and it was water and tear resistant, and it was on sale. All signs seemed to point to these dog beds as the perfect solution. I ordered two of them, and they arrived within a week. The model I ordered was the “Ultimate Dura-Ruff® Dog Bed,” in case you need to get one. They were still expensive at just over $100 each, but it was actually cheaper (and much less work and waste) than making them myself would have been.

For extra rain protection (and because sage green wasn’t my desired color), I googled waterproof outdoor fabric until I found some orange outdoor furniture fabric at Buy The Piece. It was $6.59 a yard, and I ordered 13 yards of it. This ended up being way more than we needed to cover the cushions and pillows, but it’s good to have extra for repairs.

Not being the best seamstress, I just wrapped the fabric around the cushions like a present, and superglued it. Probably not the best way, but it worked out fine and I can always re-cover them and repair them if necessary.




Next, I found some dog pillows (it turns out dog beds and pillows make great furniture cushions and pillows) at the local Fred Meyer for $15 each on sale. I bought three an sewed covers for them.

I got through the first cover with my old sewing machine, and was in the living room cutting more fabric when Paddy and I heard a click, then another click, and then my sewing machine whirring at full speed. We ran into the back room and found my sewing machine going by itself, smoke billowing out of it and threatening to burst into flames at any moment. We quickly unplugged it and decided that the incident was the sewing machine’s swan song. We added it to the dump-run pile, thankful that our house didn’t burn down, and wondering if we have a poltergeist that we didn’t know about.

How to make an outdoor pallet sofa sectional

I finished the rest of the pillow covers by hand. It wasn’t too bad.

How to make an outdoor pallet sofa sectional (15)


I tried out the new corner lounge and it was very comfortable. To add an Eastern flair, I bought a mosquito net on Amazon and some outdoor pillows at Cost Plus World Market (also on sale!) and completed our garden oasis.

I am looking forward to reading in the shade on our outdoor pallet sofa on the next lazy hot weekend day we have this summer!