Random Christmas Faves and a DIY for Candle Making

Hey!!! Goodness do I miss blogging on a regular basis — and reading other’s blogs as well! Subbing in the schools has been crazy busy lately. I love it BUT I miss my normal routine, so I’ve made it a goal to get a post out…even if it means currently writing at 3:45 A.M. I’m gonna include a few of my own random holiday favorites plus a DIY on candle making today. I wish I was publishing this post two weeks ago but it is what it is…better late than never!!

Just for the record you’ll see a lot of Amazon links in this post, I don’t get commission from any purchases made LOL..I wish though!

Random Christmas Faves:

1. Delicious Gluten-free Gingerbread Cookies! This recipe is absolutely amazing. I’ve been using it for a few years now and then I make a non gluten-free version for those in my family who don’t have to eat gluten-free (it’s more cost-effective this way because gf flour is pricey) and let me tell you — my family actually prefers the gluten-free over the regular.

Soft and Chewy Gluten-free Gingerbread Men recipe

2. Checkered Christmas Tree Skirt. It was time for me to update our Christmas tree skirt and I knew I wanted something simple and timeless. I feel like black and red checkered is a Christmas time staple so I couldn’t go wrong with this choice. Even Max and Eli seem to appreciate it!!

Checkered tree skirt on Amazon

3. Christmas Music! I love to listen to Christmas music and anything from Pentatonix, the Home Alone sound track, to Michael Buble is good for me!

Mary Did You Know?

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

4. Christmas (tree) Light Dimmer. We typically keep our tree lights on all day and all night. The kids like the lights to serve as a nightlight but since our Christmas tree sits right outside their bedroom doors they complained about how bright it was so I ordered (from Amazon) this nifty light dimmer. Works like a “dream!”

Christmas Light Dimmer

5. Video Projector and Screen. If you’re looking for a last minute Christmas gift for the family this might be the thing for you! The kids have been asking for a tv projector this year. They want to be able to watch a movie outback when the weather warms up again or set up a “theater” in the living room (where we don’t have a tv) and because of the versatility I caved. Kind of excited about this gift personally!!

**There’s a $20 off coupon right now on the projector so you can get it for 60 bucks and the screen for another 30ish on Amazon..add a bag of popcorn as stocking stuffers and you have a super cool family gift all for under a hundred dollars!

Megawise Video Projector

Projector Screen

Okay the last part of this post I’ll show how to make your own candles and I’m also going to include the fact that I’ll never make them again, too messy! I’m actually not even a fan of candles. When essential oils stepped into my house, I threw out every one of my candles because the oils are a safer, cleaner option. Nevertheless I happened to have leftover beeswax in my house from some soap and lotion projects my girls had been doing and since I don’t like things going to waste I figured I’d put the beeswax toward candle making and use them as Christmas gifts. This idea of candle making was close to the worst craft experience I’ve had, the first was the time I stapled into my finger with a finish nailer while making pallet-board Christmas trees.

Anyway here’s what you’ll need:

Beeswax pellets

Candle wicks

Coconut oil

A saucepan filled half full of water

An empty large soup can

Hot pads

A spoon that you don’t mind tossing afterwards

Mason jars/tea cups

Hot glue gun and glue

Pencil

**A pound and a half of beeswax pellets made 8 small candles.

Instructions: First use a glue gun to glue the end of the candle wick (on the metal piece) to the bottom of the tea cup or jar in the middle.

Next you’ll want to crease the soup can rim to create a spout and then fill it half full of beeswax. Put the can into the pan of water with the burner set on medium heat and give a little stir every so often.

**Be sure the water in the pan is a little higher than the wax in the soup can.

Once the wax has completely melted into liquid form (using hotpads) you can remove the can from the stovetop, set it on a hot pad or cutting board, add in a tablespoon of coconut oil and stir well. **At this point you could add essential oils but you’ll need about 20-30 drops to even notice the smell; I’m cheap so I went without. You’ll want to work quickly because the wax sets up pretty fast.

After you’ve mixed, it’s time to pour the wax into the jars or tea cups. **Try to avoid pouring onto the wick or the sides of your jar, see photo below.

Now you can roll the wick around a pencil and allow the pencil to rest on top of your jar or cup.

Leave it this way for about 12 hours, remove the pencil and cut the wick nearly an inch from the wax. That’s all there is to it!

**You can continue the process of the directions above using the same soup can and spoon until your wax is all used up or you run out of jars or tea cups.

Seriously the most satisfying part of this whole deal for me was watching how quick the wax hardens, otherwise I’ll resort to Yankee (candles) from here on out for gifting!!😅

Here’s the final product:

As always if you end up giving this DIY a try I’d like to hear about it in the comments.

Have an amazing week!

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” —John 8:12

November DIY Fabric Coasters and Camera Strap

Well the month is already more than half way over but at least I’m getting this out before the last day of November!!

Since I’m sharing two DIY’s I’ll waste no time and jump right in!

The first DIY features these sweet little machine-sewn fabric coasters. If you’re not a sewing gal (or guy) but happen to have a sewing machine tucked away pull it out and don’t sweat a thing. These coasters are so easy to create that my twelve year old daughter took over and finished them up!!

For one coaster you will need:

Sewing machine/threaded in any color

Scissors

Sewing pins

A stick to push finished corners into place

4 different colors of fabric

Iron

Begin by cutting your fabric into 5 inch squares. Use whatever colors you’d like but create some type of pattern similar to my picture below…so for the fronts of your coaster you’ll want 2 matching colors and then another 2 matching colors, one solid color for the backside, and lastly another color which will be hidden on the inside as a liner piece.

Fold those front four squares in half and then take an iron over all six pieces once you are at this point.

Now it’s time to layer; pretty sides face-up on all layers. You’ll want your inner (hidden) piece on bottom, then comes the backside piece and then the top pieces need to be layered in a woven pattern with the cut edges facing out. Probably best if you just check out pics to get the idea!😉Once everything is lined up neatly pin it all the way around like the photo above, and then sew all the way around the square about a half inch from the edge (removing pins right before you get to them). Make sure you back stitch at the start of sewing and then back stitch when you’ve made it all the way around the square and back to the starting point.

Cut off any extra thread and turn the material inside out. With a dull pointed stick (or closed writing pen) poke the inside of each of the corners so there’s no bulky excess fabric within. (See photo above)

Now you can iron over the front and back sides to give a flat and tidy finish.

That’s it!! Super simple!!

Now while you already have the sewing machine out why not put together a classy, personalized camera strap?!!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Sewing machine/threaded in any color

Fabric cut to 8 x 44 inches (length can be customized to your preference)

Sheet of leather (found on Amazon or in craft stores)

Metal hooks and rings

Scissors

Embroidery thread/needle

Iron

To start, be sure your fabric is ironed smoothly and fold it in half with the inside facing out. Pin along the long open side and sew about a half inch from the edge, removing pins as you come to them; only sew down the long edge, leaving the short ends un-sewn. See photos below. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and at the end. Cut off any excess thread.

Once you are finished sewing along the edge you’re ready to turn your neck strap inside out.

For the leather sheet you’re going to cut a piece in the shape of a bow. It’s easiest if you draw half of the bow on paper first, fold it in half and then cut. Then follow up by tracing your cutout onto the leather sheet and cutting that out, you’ll need to do this twice (one for each end of your neck strap). Follow photos below.

After you have the leather sheet cut out it’s time to put everything together.

Put the leather through the ring, then lay the fabric end on top of the leather, fold the leather over (tucking the fabric ends inside).

Start the embroidery thread (about 30 inches long) on the inside part of the leather so all of the work is hidden to give a neat and clean look. Be sure the end of the thread is double knot tied and begin hand-weaving the embroidery thread through the front and back of the leather piece; work all the way around the edge like the photos below.

Once you make it around, double knot and carefully cut the end piece off, and then repeat this entire process on the other strap end. Attach the metal clips to the key rings, and then clip those onto your camera’s strap holder clips.

That’s all there is to it!!

The coasters or the camera strap (maybe even both!!) would make great Christmas gifts or any-time-of-the-year gifts!

As usual if you end up doing these DIYs I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Blessings!!

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” —Psalm 31:24

Reopening my Etsy Shop on Day 11 of Quarantine

Last week I wrote about my run-in with (or exposure to) Rona which threw me into a 14-day home quarantine.

So far I’ve managed to dodge the bullet and I’m at day 11 still feeling well; no symptoms means no getting tested. Been there, done that with my nursing home hair job as they have to test employees once a month and trust me if you haven’t been tested there is absolutely nothing flattering about someone shoving a six-plus-inch stick up your nose. I don’t think it actually goes six inches or whatever up there BUT nevertheless my brain feels like it wants to sneeze each time afterwards!!

Anyway quarantine hasn’t been bad but I’m also a homebody so I don’t mind, plus it’s cooled off a bit my way so I’m good staying indoors. My homeschooled girl, Mc, on the other hand is chomping at the bit to get out of the house and go somewhere… ‘like to grandma’s or (her friend) Quency’s’…I hear that at least three times a day!!

So what have I been up to during my time of quarantine you might ask?

Well I’ve organized the pantry, created a simple laundry system for my way-too-small laundry area, re-situated the baskets and their contents in our linen closet, cleaned out and tidied the basement storage room, sanitized surfaces a half a dozen times each day…

Y’all I’m feeling well accomplished!!

That basement storage room was no small task! Boxes of clothes, boxes of junk, boxes of nothing, bags of this and that…stuff collects and builds quickly and I’m not a fan.

When I get out of hock (actually quarantine has been wonderful) my first outing will be to the second hand store to drop off this mess of collections. Technically it’s all still good stuff, it’s just things I’ve grown tired of or the kids have outgrown etc….In a future post I plan to write about getting rid of things and not feeling bad about it, and really just getting to the point of minimal-izing (I might have made that word up).

Sorry mom if anything’s in there that you’ve given to me over the years.

Minimalism is something I’m hugely passionate about!!….But it wasn’t always that way…so if you’ve ever felt in the same boat, take heart, there is hope! I’ll be sharing (in an upcoming post) some of the things that have helped me to throw out “stuff” without feeling like I’m throwing my heart out with them!! Stay tuned for that one!!

OK so in my title I mentioned that I am re-opening my Etsy shop….

I’ll explain. Along with deep cleaning in the basement storage room I had to look my jewelry making supplies right in the eye because they share the same space. I felt like it was taunting me….‘what a waste of money…think of the possibilities…Christmas is right around the corner…’

Sooooo two days ago I took the initiative to clean up that space, hammer out a few pieces of metal, and relist some of my items on my Etsy shop.

Rustic Looks Etsy Shop

I actually plan to open an Instagram account as well which is scary — actually terrifying to me. I like simple and practical so the idea of having a few more social media platforms to operate is somewhat intimidating to me.

However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned during 2020 it’s that life is so unpredictable and with that neither of my jobs (substitute teacher or nursing home hair stylist) are providing a stable income. I’ve decided I’m going to make an effort to get a bit more serious about jewelry making and other odds and ends that I may list on Etsy to create a little extra cash flow on my end. Aside from Instagram I’ll advertise on Pinterest as well. That’s one I use already but not necessarily for the benefit of advertising so that’ll be an adventure in itself too!

As I write this post so many motivating Bible verses come to mind but there’s one I want to settle on and highlight:

Romans 15:13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

That verse encourages me to do what I feel called to do but also (and most importantly) to just simply trust that God is in control no matter what.

The things we dive into, get involved with, create or take interest in may very well flop — they quite literally may. We’ve seen, and hopefully learned, in 2020 that plans change and uncertainty exist — yet even then God is ALWAYS strong, dependable, and His love is steadfast. He never wanes. Ever.

It’s okay and healthy to have the mindset of motivation as we want to release from what might feel like a gripping year BUT ‘motivation that is moved by Him who leads’ is what will bring us through.

As I venture out to re-open my Etsy shop I want my motivation to be stirred and moved by God. I want to listen and follow His lead. I want even Rustic Looks Etsy Shop to bring glory to Him.

Thanks for reading! Take care!

Rustic Looks Etsy Shop

**Feel free to browse Rustic Looks and share on your social media avenues. Adding new items frequently.

**We give 10% of all sales to charity.

A Lasting Season of Joy

This past month, in my fourth and fifth grade Sunday school class, I’ve been working through a lesson on the topic of joy with the kids. They’ve shared about circumstances that seem unfair and yet they can pinpoint how joy can be found in that situation nevertheless.

For example when a friend breaks a promise, doesn’t keep their word, and let’s us down we can choose to find joy in the fact that God always keeps His promises. He’s the author of the Living Word. And He will never let us down; Psalm 54:4 reminds us that ‘God is our helper and the upholder of our lives.’ People are imperfect and fallible, but when we consider our relationships we can find joy in the truth that God is always trustworthy and capable with us. Continue reading “A Lasting Season of Joy”