Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Favorite Yoga Pants

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Performance Leggings be LaPearlBlanche

Yoga Pant Round Up

Who doesn’t love a comfy pair of yoga pants?

In my opinion there is a special place in heaven for the person who invented yoga pants. I literally wear them everyday. I only have one or two pairs of jeans in my closet and they only get worn when I run out of my comfy pants.

Some of my favorite brands in the past have been Lululemon and TNA. I recently wore a hole through one of my pairs from Old Navy that I had for about three years. It’s finally time to go shopping for some new ones.

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Orange Printed Leggings by Second You Clothing

Last summer I took advantage of Sports Authority going out of business and bought lots of new workout and yoga gear when it was on clearance. Unfortunately most of the stuff I bought was a little on the small side and despite my best efforts to slim down, still don’t fit.

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Tapestry Rug Pants by I Heart Norwegian Wood

The fashion trend for pants these days seems to be a high waist style. I have to be honest, these are not my favorite. What happened to the time when all pants were hip huggers? Like all trends I’m sure high waist pants will go out of style again and I can have my beloved low waist jeans and leggings again.

Here is a round up of some of my favorite yoga pants and leggings I found on Etsy.

 

  1. Tie Dye Leggings by Cool Leggings Everyday
  2. Braided Leggings be Azahlhea
  3. Bleached Leggings by DerIllufuchs
  4. Lotus Leggings by AkuaCreative
  5. 5. Bamboo Yoga Pants by Cucur Clothing
  1. Leggings by Slit Weave
  2. Floral Leggings by Cool Leggings Everyday
  3. Swallows Leggings by Shovava
  4. Printed Leggings by Sunjunki
  5. Luna Leggings by Grizzy Love

Which ones do you like best? What is your favorite yoga pant/ legging brand? Let me know in the comments!

DIY Wedding Flowers: 4 Tips to Create the Best Floral Arrangement- Guest Post

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DIY Wedding Flowers: 4 Tips to Create the Best Floral Arrangement

 Guest Post from Joel

Excited to arrange some pretty flowers for a friend on her wedding? Not so fast.

Flowers come in different colors and styles. You may have difficulty in choosing one when doing a floral arrangement. Additionally, you will not only choose a selection of flowers but decide on what vase to use and what other extra pieces to incorporate to your floral arrangement. To get the best bang for your buck, DIY is the way to go as this could save your friend’s wedding budget.

So if you’re ready to get started with your first floral arrangement, take a cue from our list.

Practice makes perfect. Just because you have a bunch of flowers right in front of you doesn’t mean you can create the most fabulous floral arrangement the first time. Browse the net for some inspiration and save some photos. You may also want to find some tutorials to get you started with a pretty bouquet. Remember, it doesn’t have to look perfect but a little bit of practice would definitely amp up your skill.

Select the right vase. If your friend’s wedding has a particular concept, make sure you choose a vase that matches the theme. Additionally, be very wary of scale. A vase that looks huge for your table at home may look tiny when placed in the wedding reception. When looking for the best vase, go to craft stores, thrift stores, and flower markets. Do a bit of crafting to add instant sparkle to your vase.

Ask for help. Unless you’re creating a simple floral arrangement, you may want to ask help from a few friends. Bring a sample or two for others to copy. Remember to check everything and make sure the floral arrangement should look the way they’re supposed to.

Create a realistic schedule. Create a centerpiece two days before the big event. Let two people work for three to four hours for ten to fifteen centerpieces. As for bouquets, create it the day before the wedding. Make sure to keep the flowers fresh and clean.

Here’s hoping the tips will help you in creating your first DIY floral arrangement. Remember to have some fun and experiment with your creations.

At Ready Flowers, we got you covered with our wide selection of flowers. We provide a flower delivery in Perth and offer same or next day service of fresh flowers and other gift deliveries. Our company aims for a quick and efficient service at an affordable price. Drop us a line and we will help you select the best flowers for different occasions.

Fall Cleaning

ackitchen1Fall Cleaning is like Spring Cleaning except obviously in the fall. I have found it makes the most sense for me to try to do a deep house cleaning at the change of every season. Cleaning everything really thoroughly four times per year helps make everything easy to maintain and the more often you do a deep cleaning the easier and faster it gets each time.  After trying out lots of methods, reading different books and articles about organization I have come up with a plan that works quite well for me. I use a combination of the Marie Kondo method and Jan Dougherty method of cleaning. I reviewed both of their books earlier this year. You should definitely check them out if you have a chance.  Here is the rundown on how I do my big quarterly house cleaning. It takes me about a week working a couple of hours everyday. I hope to get it things to the point where I can get it all done in a weekend.

I start at the back of the house and work my way towards the front. I choose a different room to work on each day. Bathrooms, then bedrooms, then the hallway, laundry room, kitchen, dining room and living room and that will bring us to the front door!

I start each room by removing the curtains, blankets, pillows and anything that can be put in the washing machine. Those get washed first. I then go through all the cabinets, dressers, closets and cupboards and remove everything. I clean out the shelves and wipe down everything one by one as I put it back. Anything that doesn’t “spark joy” gets donated or tossed. Seasonal cleaning is a good way to go through all your clothes and get rid of  (or pack away) anything that you won’t be wearing the next season.

Once all the cabinets and closets are cleaned out I remove anything from the room that isn’t bolted down. Picture frames, lamps, tables etc. If it’s too heavy to move out then I at least try to pull it away from the wall.

After the room is mostly empty I vacuum and dust the area where the walls meet the ceiling. Major dust and cobwebs! Then I work clockwise and wipe down all the walls working one arms length at a time, top to bottom.  Then I wipe down all the big pieces of furniture and add back all the accessories and art that I want to keep, wiping each one down as I put them back. By then the curtains and pillows are cleaning and dried and I can put them back.

I finish off with vacuuming and mopping the floors and then I plug-in my oil diffuser with a little eucalyptus essential oil and add a fresh-cut flower or two from the garden.

One room a day and I am done in a week. Some rooms take longer than others. I can do both bathrooms in a couple of hours and the bedroom ended up taking two days. I save the kitchen for the weekend since it needs the most attention.

I take the trash out daily and put all the donation items in my car right away so that they are completely out of the house.

What projects are you working on around the house?

Tomato Roses and Carrot Flowers

An easy way to take a basic dinner dish and make it fancy is to add some garnishes. It’s all about the presentation. I learned how to make vegetable flowers out of tomatoes and carrots in my Hospitality Foods class in grade 9.One of the few skills from high school I actually still use.
For the tomato roses:

Take a small to medium sized tomato and slice off the stem and any leaves

Flip the tomato over and start to slice the end off about 1/4 inch thick- but don’t cut all the way. Slide the knife around the outside of the tomato skinning it into one long piece.

As you can see in this photo to the left you will have a long slightly curled piece of  skin attached to the bottom slice of the tomato.

Take the free end and start to curl it and roll it back up to the base of your piece

Once it’s curled all the way prop the curled skin on the base.

Voila! Tomato Rose!

You will still have the rest of the tomato to chop up and use in whatever recipe you are making.
Next, the carrot flowers:

Peel one or two carrots. Using a sharp knife start to cut down into the carrot diagonally but do not slice down all the way. Rotate the carrot 3 or 4 times  and slice down into the side each time. By the time you get all the way around the carrot the tip of the carrot will be chopped off and transformed into a little flower.

 

Easy Homemade Hummus

Have you ever learned how to cook something new and wonder: A) Why it took you so long to learn how to make it?  and B) How you lived without it for so long?
Once I learned how to make hummus I definitely felt that way. I’ve always enjoyed heaping helpings of hummus at parties and social events but I thought it was too difficult to make myself. Boy was I wrong. It’s SO easy. In fact I think I like the hummus I make myself better that the stuff I used to buy at the store. Want to learn how to make hummus? Keep on reading, I’ve got the super simple instructions for you below.


Ingredients: 

1 can chickpeas aka garbanzo beans
1 small lemon
3 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of tahini
Herbs and other spices of you choice (optional)

Tahini is a paste made of roasted sesame seeds. It’s similar to peanut butter except it tastes quite different. Tahini is low in sodium and cholesterol and high in thiamin, phosphorus, copper and manganese. Tahini can be difficult to find at the grocery store. If you can’t find it where you normally shop try Whole Foods or other specialty grocery stores. Tahini is a popular ingredient in many Middle Eastern dishes so you can probably  find it at a Middle Eastern or Indian grocery store. If you can’t find it you can omit it and just make the hummus with the other ingredients.

Instructions:

Drain your beans and blend in your food processor. Add the other ingredients one by one until they are all blended into a fluffy paste. It’s that simple!  Serve in a small bowl and drizzle some extra olive oil on top if you like. You can dip veggies and crackers in the hummus, eat it with pita bread, or my favorite, use it as a spread instead of mayo on a sandwich.
I like my hummus with a lot of garlic and lemon juice. The great thing about this recipe is you can add whatever you like to it. You could add beans, different spices, roasted peppers, anything that tickles your fancy!
Do you like to make your own hummus? Share your recipes in the comments!

Pinecone Bird Feeders

Here’s a quick and easy way to attract some birds to your garden this winter. An old classic that’s great to make with kids. If you have more time on hands and some random beef suet in the freezer you can make these . But if you don’t you can make these simple pine cone feeders with things you probably already have around the house:

When my husband makes bacon we save the grease in this gross container. It’s not good to pour it down the sink and if we tried to pour it in the garbage the dogs would go crazy trying to get into it.
You can easily use peanut butter instead of bacon grease. It would probably be less gross.
Step one. Tie string around the pine cones

Step 2: Smear the pine cones in bacon grease or peanut butter and roll them around in bowl of birdseed

Now you have a whole bunch of seed covered pinecones

Hang and enjoy. The birdies will be by shortly!

Suet Bird Feeders

Ok before we begin, full disclosure. I’m vegan but my husband is not. Rob loves his meat and I’m OK with that. Well I guess I have to be OK with that because there’s nothing I can do about it 🙂 Living with someone who eats animal products when you are trying really hard not to presents it’s own set of challenges but I’m trying to make the best of it.
For reasons I won’t go into here there was randomly a 1 pound packet of beef suet in the freezer. I decided that this would be a good opportunity to make some suet bird feeders for my feathered friends. Since the suet wasn’t going to be used for anything and thrown out if I didn’t use it I figured it would be OK and might as well put it to good use fattening up my feathered friends.
For this project you will need the following:

1 cup suet
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup birdseed
1/2 cup flour
string/ yarn/ rope
plastic cups, soap molds or muffin tins

Start by chopping up your suet into one inch or smaller chunks. Put them into a pot on the stove and set the temperature to medium. Let them melt. Open the windows and turn on the fan. It’s going to get stinky. Actually you may want to light some incense or a scented candle because it’s really stinky. You are melting cow fat.
Once the fat has melted add the peanut butter flour and the birdseed. Mix it up real good.
Pour the mixture into your molds. Soap molds work great for this. Candle molds would probably work well too. No molds? No problem. Get creative. You can use muffin tins, plastic ups, the bottom half of a pop bottle. Just make sure the mold is slightly flexible and you will be able to get the hardened mixture out. Let your molds cool overnight or in the fridge. They will get nice and hard.

Pop them out of the mold and tie some string around it

Then wrap the string around all crazy and secure the loose end.
Tie to a tree branch and enjoy!

For another variation you can have the string going right through the suet. I took a plastic cup and poked a hole in the bottom

Fill the cup with the mixture and let harden. You will want to tie the string to something so that it stays straight while it dries. Once hardened cut away the mold and hang.

Now sit back relax with some hot tea and wait for the birdies to fly on down.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

If anyone who knows me in real life is reading this post today they probably read the title and literally laughed out loud (I‘m talking to you mom). You see, I’m not exactly known for my sparkling clean home or being fastidiously clean. I’m definitely not a germaphobe and when you hear those people talk about how they are so OCD that they can’t live with dust or crumbs on the counter I cannot relate to them. At all.  That said, when I do take the time to really deep clean my home I make it count and in spite of whether or not messy people like myself should be dishing out cleaning advice I’m going to anyways.
I started making some of my own cleaning supplies about a year ago. I haven’t bought Lysol or Windex in a very long time. Making your own cleaning supplies is fun, environmentally friendly, economical and easy! This is the recipe that I started using to wash my dishes but as you will read soon enough you can also use it for other household cleaning needs as well.

The Ingredients:

1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
½ cup salt
½ cup citric acid

What the heck is all this stuff???.

Washing Soda is similar to baking soda but they are not the same thing. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and washing soda is a sodium salt of carbonic acid.  Baking soda is very easy to find at the store but washing soda can be more difficult to come by. I went to 5 different stores in my area looking for washing soda and couldn’t find it. It was only after I bought some off eBay that I randomly stumbled upon washing soda at Fred Meyer. Go figure. Although it wouldn’t hurt to mix the two up when it comes to making cleaning supplies you definitely don’t want to use washing soda for cooking.  Washing soda comes in a yellow box whereas baking soda is in an orange box. The laundry section of the grocery store or a hardware store are your best bet for tracking this stuff down. You can also buy it online if they don’t sell it in your town.

Borax is also know as sodium borate and is derived from the same stuff as boric acid. Don’t use boric acid for this recipe. Boric acid is nasty, nasty stuff used to kill cockroaches and other bugs. Look for the box in the laundry isle that says 20 Mule Team Borax. It has household cleaning as one of its uses listed on the side of the box so you know it’s safe.

Salt. I think we all know what salt is. Regular table salt will do just fine but purists may prefer to use finely ground sea salt or kosher salt. These will work fine as well. Moving on…

Citric Acid
is a weak organic acid. Its used as a preservative, cleaning agent and a TON of other things. You can also use it to make bath bombs! (recipe coming later this week!) I have no idea where to buy citric acid except the Internet. I bought a big 5lbs pail off Amazon. Citric acid is your secret ingredient in this recipe. It helps to cut grease and residue.  Apparently you can also use unsweetened Kool Aid or Lemonade mix instead of pure citric acid though I have not tried this.

Mix the ingredients together and store in a reusable container. Add two tablespoons per load. Swap out your regular rinse aid (Jet Dry)  for regular distilled white vinegar.

Because everyone’s dishwasher and water hardness are different you may have to tweak things around until you find the right ratios for your homemade detergent. Try making smaller batches at first until you find the right mix.

You can also use this mixture to clean your toilet bowl. Take a bucket and fill with water and dump it into the bowl. This will flush out the water and leave it empty. Wearing gloves, (obviously) rub the powder on the inside of the bowl thickly and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  Scrub it with the toilet brush and flush. Voila, sparkling toilet!

In a pinch your can also use this as laundry detergent. The homemade laundry detergent recipes I have read usually don’t include the citric acid or salt but I have been adding a couple tablespoons instead of laundry powder and it seems to be working just fine.

For the shower, take an old spray bottle and add two teaspoons of the mixture and fill the rest with water. Spritz on the bathtub and shower walls and scrub like you normally do. You need to use a little more elbow grease but it does work.

Do you make any of your own cleaning supplies? What are some of your favorite recipes?

Make a Compost Bin out of Pallets

I  wanted to buy a compost bin and saw some  for sale at the Home Depot. They cost $50-100 and up depending on how fancy you want to go. I decided to make my own after seeing some online tutorials. Why pay for something you can make for free?
This is a project you can do for free or very little money.  You can get shipping pallets for free from shipping companies or any place that receives freight.  Go take a look behind a big box store and you will probably find some pallets. The stores will be happy to give them to you.  I work for an international shipping company and we receive freight that comes on pallets. The pallets are a pain for us to get rid of. I got my husband to bring his van to my work and we loaded it up with the pallets.  Wear gloves and be careful. Pallets are usually full of splinters and many have old rusty nails sticking out.  Try to choose sturdy looking skids that are all the same size.

I propped them up in position and secured with rope. I just twisted the rope through the slats and tied the loose ends together. You could nail them together or use old wire coat hangers to secure. For the front, I only secured one side so I could still open the front to get out the compost. You could use a bungee cord to help secure the front for easy access.

If you live in a dry climate you may want to line your bin with plastic to help keep the moisture in.  Moisture isn’t really a problem here in the Pacific NW.  So I didn’t bother with that step.
The slats on the pallets help to increase airflow. You could have an additional pallet on the bottom to help with airflow from underneath

Compost tips:

  • Alternate brown and green layers in the bin. Brown= vegetable and kitchen scraps and manure. Green = yard waste and grass clippings
  • Chop the scraps up as small as you can, they will break down faster
  • Water the compost to keep it moist, but not so wet that it gets rotten and stinky, turn often with a pitchfork.
  • Consider adding composting worms to your bin to help things break down faster.

Vegan Potato Pancakes

My husband bought a humongous bag of potatoes a few weeks ago and I was starting to worry that they would sprout and go bad before I had a chance to use them up. I decided this would be a good opportunity to try out a new recipe,. Vegan potato latkes! So yummy, but if you are trying to watch your weight this recipe might not be a good option since you use so much oil to fry them in.  Prep time about 15 minutes, cook time about 20.

Ingredients

3 lbs of potatoes
1 medium onion
1 egg replacer
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp baking powder
Olive oil for frying
Apple sauce and vegan sour cream for dipping

Directions:

Peel and cut potatoes into chunks.  Using the grate blade on your food processor grate all the potatoes and the onion. You can grate by hand with a cheese  grater but it will probably take you 3 weeks. I wasn’t going to even make this recipe if I couldn’t find the grate attachment for the food processor. 3lbs of potatoes is A LOT of taters.  In a bowl add the rest of the ingredients and mix them together with the grated potato and onion.
Heat the oil on medium in a large pan spoon in the potato mixture into the pan into little pancake patties  about 3- 4 inches in diameter.  Cook for 2-3 minutes then flip. Continue cooking and flipping until both sides are golden brown.
Serve with  applesauce and vegan sour cream.