Simple Pleasures: D.I.Y. Minimalist Coasters

It’s Bethany here on Oak and Earth today, and I am thrilled to be sharing a few of my favorite simple pleasures and a fun D.I.Y!

Life often gets away from us. I was thinking about this a couple weeks ago. I was crawling into bed, and I realized I hadn’t been still for one moment. Sure I had sat down, but my mind was constantly working or running. Not to be too cliché, but I couldn’t think of a time that I had stopped to smell the roses (or the coffee in my case). That’s when I knew I needed set aside part of my week to enjoy some of my favorite simple pleasures. One of those pleasures being a warm cup of coffee.

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I have a cup of coffee every morning (more like a thermos because I’m always drinking it as I run out the door for work). Since this slowing down thing is a work in progress, my husband and I try to reserve a portion of the week to actually sit down and enjoy our coffee!  On Saturday mornings, we often have time to pour our coffee into mugs instead of thermoses. We can prop our feet up, stay in our jammies, and sip and enjoy it instead of guzzling it for energy. I love this little time at home. We also love to do fun activities together! So often we go out on the weekend and hit up one of the local coffee shops—another simple pleasure of mine.

While we are there, we set aside time to be still and do what we love! This includes simple things like writing, sketching, listening to music, or reading my favorite blogging magazine called Artful Blogging. If you’re a blogger and haven’t checked it out, it’s such a wonderful little magazine. A new edition comes out every three months, and it’s something I consider a treat and such an inspirational tool.

Sometimes I’ll bring headphones and listen to my favorite music. It sounds cheesy, but I often find myself getting emotional during this time. My head is filled with my favorite tunes, and all I can see around me is creativity. Our notebooks full of ideas, sketch books full of fun, magazines full of inspiration, my husband zoned in on his designs and sketches, a mocha filling me with warm energy, and people bustling all around me while I am still.

We always cap that time with one of my favorite simple pleasures ever created—conversation. Denver and I talk about our dreams, funny stories we didn’t get to share throughout the week, aspirations, and about our relationship. Most importantly, we laugh. I really enjoy being able to set aside time to go do this with my girlfriends as well. I love when we go out together. We often realize hours have passed by, simply because we’ve been enjoying each others company (shout out to my Oak and Earth girls who totally rock). These coffee dates are by far one of my favorite simple pleasures, and they only ever cost us whatever treat we bought at the coffee shop! I always leave feeling so refreshed and inspired. It’s such a nice time to reboot before more adventuring or going into our busy week ahead.

While I love these simple pleasures and experiences, I also love simple design! Minimalism in the home? Yes, please! On one of these coffee shop dates, I came across a D.I.Y for some simple color blocked wooden coasters. I have seen a lot of D.I.Y. coasters on Pinterest and other forums, but these are so simple that they easily became something I wanted to try for our home. I found this D.I.Y. on a fellow blogger’s site SimplyLivBlog. Olivia has such a cute family and blog, you must check it out (I’ll link more of her contact information at the end of this post). I told Olivia I was going to post my experience if I ended up doing the D.I.Y., and I am so excited to share how they turned out! I’ve already put these to use, and they look adorable in the home –a perfect match for our mugs on those slow and simple Saturday mornings. I am so grateful to Olivia for sharing this idea. I couldn’t believe how quick they are to make. Want to make some? Let’s get started!

What do I need?

  • 4” X 4” wooden squares **Note: You can pick up a 2 pack for $1.99 at Hobby Lobby.
  • Wood Stain **Note: Hobby Lobby has many choices so make them personalized to your home! If you like the color I chose, it’s called “Driftwood”. Don’t forget to use your 40 % off Hobby Lobby coupon on your most expensive item, in this case that’s the wood stain. Just google the Hobby Lobby 40% coupon and have the code pulled up at the cash register.
  • White paint
  • Painter’s tape
  • Old rag
  • Paint brush
  • Design stencil if desired

What do I do?

  • Stain your wood blocks:

I simply followed the wood stain directions on the can. I put one coat on each side and edge. After 1-2 minutes, you wipe off the excess stain with your rag. This is an important step to ensure that you will be able to see the wood grain. If you would like extra protection from water stains, use polyurethane as directed. Keep in mind that this might make your stain darker. I wood stained mine at night, and they were ready to go in the morning. I love the color!

  • Tape off your designs: 

I loved Olivia’s designs, so I went ahead and mostly did those. You can choose any simple design you like. I also got a very simple Aztec stencil from Hobby Lobby, and I used it on just a few of my coasters.

  • Paint: 

To keep with my simple designs, I chose white paint. You can choose whatever color you would like! Paint around your tape. After my main designs dried, I added the stencil detail on a couple of the coasters. I simply taped down the Aztec stencil and painted. This step is only necessary if you want that little detail. Let them dry until the paint is no longer tacky.

  • Enjoy: 

I can’t believe how little time they took. Now that I have all this stain and paint, I can’t wait to make more! Here’s a few pictures of how mine turned out.

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I am so thrilled that I came across Olivia’s D.I.Y! Now I have some minimalist coasters to go along with our simple coffee breaks at home. What are some of your favorite simple pleasures? Let’s keep the discussion going! You can follow me on Instagram (@bethanympoteet), or follow along with our hashtag #OakAndEarthBlog. Want to see more from Olivia? Check her out on Instagram (@simplylivblog), and follow along with her blog at SimplyLivBlog. I am so thankful that she posted this D.I.Y. Thanks so much for stopping in and sharing in some of my favorite simple pleasures. Because of your constant support, Oak and Earth is now updating bi-weekly! We have a little bit of page overhaul coming up with some ideas to make it easier for you to keep up with us. So be sure to stop in and check that out soon.

Cheers,

-Bethany

DIY: Holiday Dreamcatchers

I don’t know about you guys, but I get a little nutty this time of year. The smells, the sounds, the lights, the traditions! As my Grandpa says, “I’m about run away with nostalgia.” (For those of you not familiar with Southern jargon, that roughly translates to, I’m extremely nostalgic!)

One of my favorite things about the Holiday season is decorating! A little after Thanksgiving I was trying to think of a fun Christmas craft to share here on Oak and Earth, and it suddenly hit me – Holiday dreamcatchers!

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This is such a fun project, and we are so excited about it! So, grab some cocoa, slip into your comfy clothes, put on your favorite Christmas album, and make a craft night of it with your best girlfriends!

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Materials:

Metal ring or embroidery ring (we used embroidery rings)

Embroidery thread or hemp (we used embroidery thread)

Leather crafting cord

Yarn (in fun holiday colors!)

Feathers, jingle bells, beads, and/or other embellishments

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Directions:

  1. Glue the leather cord to the ring (we used Tacky Glue) leaving about two inches free at the end of the cord
  2. Begin wrapping the cord around the ring
  3. When you’ve wrapped the entire ring, tie a knot using the end you left free
  4. Cut three yards of embroidery thread or hemp
  5. Tie the embroidery thread onto the ring, near to where you tied the leather cord
  6. Measure about a pinky fingers length away from the knot
  7. Wrap the thread underneath the ring, then loop it through, pulling it tight
  8. Repeat this “knot” around the entire ring
  9. When you get back to the first knot, tie a real knot
  10. Begin going around the ring again, this time making each “knot” in the middle of the thread
  11. Begin adding embellishments as you continue to weave the dreamcatcher (we added jingle bells, which we felt was a great festive element!)
  12. When you get to a stopping point, tie a knot and cut off the end
  13. Begin tying lengths of yarn to the bottom of the dreamcatcher (now begins the really fun part!)
  14. Tie on lengths of leather cord and attach feathers using tacky glue or by tying them on
  15. Add more jingle bells 🙂

The rest is up to your creative instinct! There is quite a bit of room here to let your personality shine. Have fun with it! We think these gold dipped feathers would be a great addition. Also, here is a tutorial with more in depth instructions on basic dreamcatcher weaving, with pictures!

We had a blast with this project and know you will too! Remember, this season is all about making memories with those you love, and crafts are a perfect way to do that! Tag pics of your holiday dreamcatchers to #OakandEarthBlog so we can see your creations!

As always, live healthy, love hard, and have a very Merry Christmas!

– Shelby

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“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!” – Luke 2:11

 

D.I.Y. Fourth of July Top

Hello again readers! It’s Bethany here, and I am bringing you a fun D.I.Y. project just before Independence Day! I have done quite a few D.I.Y. tank tops in the past, so I thought it would fun to try a different one for this special holiday. I am really happy with how it turned out!

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What I like about this dip dye project is that you can make personal choices along the way. This can be done on a tank, t-shirt, or a do it  yourself crop. I chose a t-shirt turned crop top! Let’s get started!

Materials:

  • White t-shirt or tank (make sure to check out my helpful hints for the best fabrics to dye)
  • Latex or cleaning gloves
  • Scissors
  • Rubber band
  • Tulip Powder Fabric Dye [Red]
  • Tulip Powder Fabric Dye [Royal Blue]
  • Salt
  • Access to stainless steel double sink OR two cleaning buckets (make sure the sink is stainless steel, otherwise you have the possibility of staining your sink).

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1) Pick a top

You will need to determine what kind of top you would like to dye. This year I wanted to do a modest t-shirt crop top with high wasted jean shorts. If you have a white shirt on hand you can use that, just be sure to check out my list of best dye-able materials below. I chose to buy a new white shirt so that I could form it to my liking. I bought a white cotton scoop neck t-shirt from Wal-Mart for $3.88.

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Choosing Fabrics:

  • 100% cotton, linen, silk, wool, ramie
  • Synthetics such as rayon and nylon
  •  Fiber blends with at least 60% cotton or other dye-able fiber (blends will tint evenly but will not achieve full color)
  • DO NOT use pure polyester, acrylic, nylon, or fabric with special finishes

Step 2) Cropping

Making a crop top from a t-shirt is very simple. To get the desired length,  I always put the shirt on and fold or measure it to where I feel most comfortable cropping it. Eye balling it on the floor or just hanging in front of you is not always the best idea, because it often comes out too short or not cropped enough. Once you have your desired length, cut along that line. On this top I decided to also cut the collar a bit wider.

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3) Prepare to dye! *draws sword*

For this step, you will need to decide where you want your stripes:

  • Vertical stripes: With options of red on left or red on right
  • Horizontal Stripes: With options of red on top or red on bottom

I chose to do vertical stripes with red on the left and blue on the right. Deciding where you want your color will determine how you role your shirt to dye it. If you want vertical stripes like I had, then you want to role your shirt starting with the collar and role down to the bottom of the shirt. If you want horizontal stripes, you will want to roll it from the right sleeve to left sleeve. Once you have rolled it like the picture on the left, go ahead and grab your rubber band. Gather it in the middle and rubber band it. This will leave you a white space in the center of your shirt.

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4) Dye

For this particular shirt, I used Tulip Fabric Dye (powder) of Royal Blue and Red. I found these in the craft section at my local Wal-Mart. These dye packets come with step by step instructions on the back, and I did not deviate at all. These are the steps on the back of the package:

  1. Fill bucket/stainless steel sink with one gallon of STEAMING HOT water.
  2. Stir in 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) salt
  3. Pour in dye packet and stir until dissolved.
  4. Submerge fabric in dye mixture
  5. Stir continually for 15 minutes, and then occasionally for 45 minutes.

Submerge each side in the sink or shallow bucket for almost an hour. Remember to make sure each side is dipped into the color you want for that part of the shirt.

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5) Rinse, Wash, and Dry

Rinse fabric in cold water. The instructions on the dye package say to machine wash warm; dry per laundry instructions. So that any excess dye wouldn’t stain any surrounding clothes in the wash, I decided to hand wash mine in the bath tub with detergent. This was quick and effective. I then put it in the dryer with other clothes I had going.

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7) Work it! 

At this point, my shirt had turned out just as I had wanted it to! I love simple Fourth of July tops, and I am so excited to celebrate in my own style!

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Now go out and make your own! This process was really simple and fun. Please do not hesitate to ask questions and comment! Feel free to keep up with me on Instagram at Bethno13. We hashtag all our posts with #OakAndEarthBlog and our travel adventures with #OakAndEarthRoutes. This is an easy way to keep up with our posts, and as always we love talking to you all! Happy Independence Day!

Peace, love, and Rocketships.

-Bethany

Homemade Baby Food Pouches

Hello, reader! It’s Tera again. This week, I thought I would share with you my experience with dabbling into the world of homemade baby food (in squeeze pouch form). The idea for this post was sparked by my sister in law, and fellow baby mama of a tot, as we visited about how we want to learn some good ways to incorporate healthy foods into our children’s diets, without having to pay Gerber (and other brands) the big bucks. Initially, $1.72 doesn’t sound too bad, but when I total up the cost of weekly pouches devoured, it nears the $30 mark…that’s a week’s worth! If I totaled that number for a whole month, it puts a dent into the grocery bill. But of course, toddlers tend to be a bit finicky, and this is no exception at our household. So getting them to try carrots, broccoli, spinach etcetera, is not an easy task. Having these pouches is so convenient for this very reason, and for many of you moms out there, it’s justifiable to spend the money to get your tots to eat veggies and love them (without them even realizing it)!

For me and anyone else out there who is on a budget, or who likes to find easy ways to save back some money each month, recreating these pouches at home was worth the try. I’ll admit, it was a bit intimidating and seemed like it would take forever and be more difficult than what it’s worth. And honestly, it was a bit of trial and error with a few of them. But, I am here to tell you what I did right (and wrong), and to tell you that it is actually quite easy!

closeuppouch pouches

So first in my process, I needed pouches to store the food in. I went with this brand from WalMart:

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For the general process of filling and storing the food, this system works just fine, and for this starter kit, it was only $10. However, these pouches are not reusable, and a pack of 50 pouches is $15. Depending on how many pouches you go through a month, it may or may not be monetarily beneficial for you. They do make reusable pouches like these that I would probably choose to use for my future endeavors, just to be the most efficient.

For this post today, I’ll share with you four recipes that I tried and liked. The really nice thing about doing these at home, is you can be as creative as you want to with mixing different veggies and fruits. Most of the combos I did were some that I have bought before and knew Norah would like. But there are really endless possibilities of different combos!

Blueberry Banana Oatmeal

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For this breakfast recipe, there are a few simple steps before pureeing. Here are the ingredients I used (roughly measured out for you):

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

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You’ll want to cook your oatmeal first so that it is tender. I also steamed the blueberries for about 1 minute in the microwave to make them extra soft. Once these steps are done, add ingredients to a food processor or blender. If you steam blueberries, add some of the liquid steamed from them. Otherwise, you may need to add some water until you get your desired texture. When all the ingredients are blended and smooth, store fresh in these pouches, or freeze and use throughout the week/month! That’s the best part about making these yourself. I found it easiest to store in an ice cube tray, for what it’s worth, but find what works best for you! This recipe makes a yummy breakfast for your tots! Super easy, and toddler approved. You could also sneak some spinach in this recipe to add some healthy greens. Just make sure to steam the spinach beforehand!

Broccoli, Peas and Pear

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This next recipe is also fairly easy. My tip for this (and any recipes with leafy greens, or harder veggies), would be that if you find you can’t get a smooth pureed texture from a food processor, to stick with a blender. Sometimes the blades blend this stuff up better. I have also heard that the Ninja, Nutribullet, and Baby Bullet work wonders for this kind of stuff…next investment?

Ingredients for this:

  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 3/4 cup broccoli (or spinach)
  • 1 whole pear

The most time consuming part about this process is steaming the fruits and veggies. Though it only takes a matter of minutes, the more ripe you can get your produce, the faster. Make sure you steam all of these ingredients to make them soft. If you’re making a few different recipes like I did, steaming a lot of your ingredients together saves time and saves you a step for each one.

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After you steam the pears, broccoli and peas, and they are tender and soft, they are ready to be blended. If you have a food processor with a grater, it might be helpful to grate them before pureeing them, but it’s not necessary. This combo needed some added water to make it thinner. If you have water from steaming, try adding some of it! The steaming process brings a lot of vitamins and nutrients into the water, and adding that to your recipe gives your baby the most nutrients possible! When you have a smooth puree, store fresh in the pouches or freeze and save for later! Getting the system down? For this recipe you could also try spinach instead of broccoli, apple in place of a pear, or try adding a big spoonful of plain greek yogurt for added protein!

Avocado Banana

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This one is by far the easiest. There is no steaming involved, and takes no time to blend up!

You’ll just need:

  • 2 avocadoes
  • 2 bananas

Slice both and add the “meat” to your blender. You may need to add a little bit of water to thin it out. Once it’s done, store fresh or freeze for later. Since avocadoes brown quickly once they’ve been sliced, make sure you freeze if your little hasn’t eaten within 24 hours. Also try adding a pear or some greek yogurt for added protein and flavor!

Pumpkin Apple

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This recipe is also very easy. I didn’t have a sweet potato for this combo, so I used some canned pumpkin!

You just need:

  • 1 can of pumpkin ( or a steamed sweet potato)
  • 2 apples
  • (optional) 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

Steam your apples beforehand until they are tender. And if you use sweet potato, it will need to be peeled and steamed too. Once this is done, add all of it to a food processor or blender and mix up! Also add some of the steam water until you get desired texture. Make sure it is well blended. Store fresh in pouches or freeze! This combo is great because you could easily mix it up. Use sweet potato or carrots (steam first) instead of pumpkin, or add some cooked oatmeal and cinnamon to make a healthy breakfast pouch! Just make sure if you use tougher veggies, that you blend them until smooth and a soft puree.

The process of making baby food seems much more intimidating than it really is! It was fun taste testing and mixing different combos. If you can dedicate 1-1.5 hours a week making and storing, your tot will have tons of fresh, healthy snacks that won’t break the bank! Try choosing a few ingredients to mix and match each week, and switch up ingredients the next. If you freeze and store, you’ll have all varieties to choose from. It also gives you a chance to ad-match and get weekly deals on different produce items so you can be cost efficient!

Here are a few more combos I’ll be trying next:

  • raspberry, banana, brown rice (greek yogurt)
  • blueberry, sweet potato, oats
  • avocado, fig, mango
  • green bean, pears, greek yogurt

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What are some of your combos and tips from your experience?! Keep up with Oak and Earth through my instagram handle @terapianalto for weekly updates and posts, and hashtag your Oak and Earth experiences #OakandEarthBlog !

xo-

Tera