Make it: Complexion Clearing and Refreshing Facial Mist

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I love a good beauty DIY just as much as the next girl, so when I decided that this Oklahoman weather was just too much for me to bear and I needed a way to refresh my poor skin (sometimes on the hour, ick), I started to research exactly HOW.

This is what I came up with.  Now, I’m rather frugal (circumstantially, if I was a rich girl yadda yadda yadda) and if I can save a buck or two by doing it myself, you know I will.  This spray will invigorate and refresh your skin while keeping oiliness and blemishes at bay by packing in a bunch of antibiotics and anti-bacterial properties. Yes PLEASE:

Materials/Ingredients

1 clean (and preferably recycled) mist bottle
Green tea
Peel of 1 orange
Sweet almond oil
Oregano oil (other anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory options include tea tree and lavender, but oregano is my FAVE)

First, brew 1 cup of green tea – to make it easier, brew in a jug.  Add peel of orange, agitate and poke at peel a little to bruise and release oils and let steep for about 10 minutes.  After this time, fill bottle about 3/4 of the way, add about 1 tsp of sweat almond oil and 5 drops of oregano oil.  Top with remaining tea, shake and refrigerate.

Once cooled, shake and spray mist onto face and for a split second, pretend you’re sitting pool-side in Malta.  Oh yeah.

Keep refrigerated to prolong the life of your spray, keep it for up to 3 months.  You can also use the spray to give your makeup a pretty, dewy look.  Très chic!

For those of you with less of a desire to DIY, I would suggest to head on over to Mountain Rose Herbs – they have some great toning mists with all natural ingredients and a friendly price!

Posted in Budget, DIY

How to store fresh produce

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Today we went on our fortnightly trip to Altus to collect the awesomest produce from our Food Co-op.  Check. It. Out.  Because of the vast amount of food we get every time and the fact that we need to make it stretch over 2 weeks, I live for ULTRA PRODUCTIVITY AND PREPARATION…every second Saturday (the other ones, I sleep in).

When we first started buying our produce this way, I would get to the second week and we’d be running out or everything would be dead and slimy.  I HATE waste and I love food, so this made me pretty sad and I decided I needed to up my game and devote some time to prepping our vegetables and fruits in a way that would see them last, stay fresh and be easy to access/use/eat at any given time.  I now consider myself pretty versed in produce storing (only because I’ve failed a billionty times) and I would really like to pass on the things I have learned and the things that have NOT worked, even though the internet said it would.

First things first, our food co-op.  Bountiful Baskets is a fantastic organization established in most states, so the chances of your county having a location is pretty high.  The prices are incredible, the people are wonderful and the produce is always amazing (as you can see above).  As an example, a standard basket (approx 50/50 fruits and veg) goes for $15.  You can order up to 5 baskets, and you can upgrade to organic for $10 extra.  Every ‘offering’ they will have a number of extra add-ons to choose from, all optional of course.  The picture your see above is our haul from today, all up we spent about $48.  They also have a wonderful unrefined coconut oil that they offer every so often and I have to say, IT’S MY FAVE.  You can sign up free of charge to Bountiful Baskets here.

Okay, onto our next deal – storing your produce in a way that will preserve freshness, keep your fridge and brain organized and extend the life of your food.  I’m going to list tips for the produce I got today, however if you have any questions about how to store another type of fruit or vegetable, leave your query in the comments sections and I’ll try to get back to you in a timely manner!

Washing

I cannot stress enough how important it is to never skip this step.  Whether your produce is organic or not, it’s just extra peace of mind that your food is clean, free of slugs and bugs, dirt and germs transferred from the hands that have handled it.  The rule of thumb is to wash everything with a skin that you eat – so don’t bother with oranges, cantaloupe, banana, pumpkin etc.  If you eat the skin, chuck it in (…to the water, that’s my rhyme).

I usually scrub out both sides of my sink with bi-carb, fill with water and add a GOOD slosh of Apple Cider Vinegar (the recommended ratio is 1 cup of acv to water) and then pile the fruit and veg into the water to soak for about 5-7 minutes.  During the course of those 5-7 minutes, be sure to poke, agitate and swish your produce about, making sure the water/acv solution is getting all up in there.  If you have any particularly dirty veggies or fruits, get your potato scrubber out and go to town.  Pesticides can hide in nooks and crannies too, you know.

In the case of big, leafy vegetables, I usually give these a dip in the solution for about 2 minutes, then chop and rinse/spin in my salad spinner.

Storing

I’m going to list this by vegetable, so bear with me.

Things you’ll definitely be needing:

Paper towel
Zip lock bags (big and little)
Storage containers
Clean tea towel

Stone fruit and Apples
Dry off with clean towel and place in a bowl and onto the top shelf of your fridge.  The temp up there is perfect and keeping them in a bowl, directly in your eye line will remind you that the fruit is available and you can snack on that instead of nasty things.  Ideally, it is best to keep these kinds of fruit out on the counter, but in Oklahoma the weather is just too hot and things go bad in the blink of an eye.  Come winter, we’ll be going back to unrefrigerated.

Bananas
Bananas can be tricky.  To keep them from ripening too fast, you can go ahead and separate them all and don’t store them close together.  I usually keep a bunch on the counter and a bunch in the fridge.  Any that pass their prime eating stage can be cut up, put into a zip lock bag and put in the freezer for smoothies or ice cream.  If you find you have gnats in your kitchen due to storing your bananas (and any other fruit) out on the counter, simply place an open, wide mouth jar in a corner in your kitchen.  Fill it 1/4 full of Apple Cider Vinegar with a squeeze of dish soap.  Those critters will be 100% gone within a couple of days.

Summer squash, zucchini, carrots & cucumber
These can be quite hearty, though I’d suggest to use them within the week.  To prolong their life, don’t wash until right before use or 1-2 days before.  I find that they store best in a lined crisper drawer.

Pineapple
Easy!  They don’t need washing and you can store them either on the counter or in the fridge.  If you’re like me and get 3-4 at a time, you can keep one or two on the counter and the rest on the top shelf of the fridge.  You don’t want to move them to the lower shelves as it gets colder down there, which will cause the pineapple to shrivel a lot quicker.  Also, you’ll probably forget about them down there.

Blueberries, strawberries and any other berries
Here is where my real frugality comes in.  Dump them all into your sink full of ACV solution, they’ll only need 7 minutes.  Rinse and KEEP the containers they came in, dry them and line with paper towel (a good quality one.  Budget paper towel will rip and stick to your food).  After the 7 minutes, fish out of your sink (I use a stainless steel strainer to get them all quickly) and dump out onto some paper towel.  Pat dry and let sit for 5 minutes to air dry.  Then place back into towel lined containers and store on the top shelf.  Consume within the week, but if you find yourself slow on the intake, place into a zip lock bag and freeze.

Celery
This stuff is amazing and keeps its crunch for quite a while when treated right.  After washing, scrubbing, rinsing and drying, cut into stalks (save base to either regrow, compost or use in stock) and place into an airtight container for storage on the middle or bottom shelf of your fridge.

Leafy Greens
This includes Kale, any type of lettuce, asian greens and anything else green and leafy.  As mentioned above, I give these a quick soak (and rub) in the ACV solution, then chop, place in salad spinner, rinse and spin.  Once dry (you can pat dry if it’s still a bit damp), store in an airtight container or zip lock bag and keep on the middle or front-bottom shelf.

Broccoli and Cauliflower
When washing these ones, place upside down.  Once rinsed and dried you can place on shelf as is (if you plan on using soon) or wrap in plastic wrap/put in a zip lock bag and store on bottom shelf.  I tend to chop the stalks off my broccoli and store them separately.  It makes for easier storage and easier use.

Tomatoes
Once thoroughly dried, place into bowl and store either on counter or on top shelf of fridge, depending on the weather.  They taste a million times better when stored at room temperature, but lately my kitchen has been a hot box and they weren’t lasting, so I’m using the fridge option until fall.

Peppers, jalapeños, chillies and everything else that appears to be from this family
Once dry, either store in lined crisper draw or zip lock bag (I tend to keep the smaller ones in sip lock bags, just to keep them together).  I often get excessive amounts of these and don’t get to use them all in fresh salsa before they start softening up. Remember, these are FANTASTIC sautéed – I have them with my omelet in the morning – and you can also make them into a delicious, pro-biotic snack by pickling them using this method.

Snap peas, beans etc
Once fished out of ACV solution, pat dry and store in paper-towel lined zip lock bag.  Store on middle shelf of your fridge.

Brussel sprouts and cabbage
After soaking and drying, store in zip lock bag on bottom shelf.  I often have trouble ever using these items, but I have recently discovered the easy art of sour kraut (a method I will be posting soon, once mine is fully fermented) and thinly slicing brussels and sautéing in coconut oil with garlic and ginger is AMAZING (trust me).

Herbs/Watercress
This is a big one.  I have wasted soooooo many herbs trying to figure out an efficient way to store them.  The internet even told me to store them in a jar of water, in the fridge, covered loosely with a zip lock bag.  That DID NOT work.  Only two methods ever have.  For fresh herbs, clean gently with paper towel and a little water/acv, dry and then wrap in (new, dry) paper towel, place in a zip lock bag and seal to be airtight.  Store on top shelf.  If you don’t seem to use fresh herbs quick enough, clean as specified, chop roughly and place into a zip lock bag.  Store in the freezer for herbs on hand whenever you wish (obviously to be used in cooking, not fresh meals, juice/smoothies or garnish).

It should be noted that while I use a few zip lock bags in this process, I am super frugal about it.  Once I have used something up, the bag gets rinsed and stuck to my kitchen window to dry (if you wet the outside enough, it will stick just fine).  Try to be mindful and re-use everything you can!  The earth and your wallet will thank you.

Again, if I have missed a certain fruit or vegetable that you would like to know about, leave a comment below and I’ll answer as soon as I can.

Well, this has been a long winded post, but I sure hope it helps some of you to get more out of your fresh produce!

Posted in Budget, Food

A Soundtrack to Your Weekend

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I’ve been super homesick lately.  Seriously, look at where I used to live.  Crazy.  Music is one of those things that ties all my memories together, as I’m sure it does for every other human being in the world.  Inspired by places I love and the feelings they evoke, I created a weekend playlist that I have been using as my work/writing playlist.  HOWEVER, it is just as perfect for that road-trip with friends as it is for busting out your creativity all over that weekend project and channeling all your productivity into the millions of chores that seem to appear on a Saturday morning.

Seeing as I’m about to publish a post full of my morning productivity, I thought I should preface it with a gift, of sorts.  Here you go:

Posted in Uncategorized

Potato and Leek Soup

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The last few days have been wonderfully out of character for this strange state (OK).  Rainy, cold, cozy – all of my favorite things and the PERFECT weather for good music and good food.

Heck, it’s always perfect weather for good food.

But SOUP! I haven’t been able to eat or make soup since early Spring, I just can’t do that kinda thing in a hot climate y’know.  So when the temperature began to drop, I got super excited at the possibility of being able to combine my red potatoes and enormous leeks into something incredible.  The outcome – this delicious, hearty, warming soup:

My favorite Potato and Leek Soup

8 red potatoes washed or peeled – cubed (skin on, if organic)
1 LARGE leek, washed and sliced
2 cloves of garlic
oregano oil
grass-fed butter
4-6 cups whole milk (preferably raw, can also be replaced with coconut milk or unsweetened, homemade almond milk. You could also substitute a homemade broth, it just wont be as creamy)
2-4 cups filtered water
sea salt

Heat desired amount of butter (I used about 4 Tbsp) in a large pot.  Once lightly bubbling, add leek and sauté until caramelized.  Add cubed potatoes and finely chopped or minced garlic, sauté for approximately 10 minutes, then place lid on pot and sweat for another 10-15 minutes, stirring intermittently.  Once potatoes are starting to soften, add enough milk to JUST cover the ingredients, then add enough filtered water to be about 2-4 inches above solid ingredients.  Salt to taste and simmer until potatoes are very soft (about the texture that you would use for mashing).

Use stick blender or transfer soup into blender and blend until completely smooth.  Salt to taste and serve immediately topped with natural yoghurt or even just your favorite fresh herbs.  We had our soup with a big slice of Slow Cooker Bread.  Curl up on the couch, slurp and watch Parks and Recreation while you watch the rain fall outside.  PERFECT.

If you’re not yet back on the ‘Potatoes are actually really good for you’ bandwagon or have a starch sensitivity, you can feel free to substitute with sweet potato.  That would be EQUALLY as delicious!

Yum-o.

Posted in Food

Make it: Twig & Twine wall hanging

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Living in the middle of this country means INTENSELY hot summers and high utility bills (sweet, sweet air conditioning).  Unfortunately, I have found this to be very VERY true, particularly for the past few weeks and, incidentally, Scarlett hasn’t been too fond of going outside to play for more than 10 minutes at a time.  Cue – cabin fever.  We got it – so I have been wracking my brain every darn day trying to think up fun activities and things to do with her inside that will be entertaining for her and not the end of my sanity.  It wasn’t until today, while I was pouring over one of those “we live life like it’s one big garden party and our decor is impeccable” blogs, that I found the perfect craft that combined a little outside time with an activity that Scarlett could do (mostly) by herself.  There was a perfectly lit photo of some ladies enjoying the world’s best mason jar cocktails in front of a beautiful white wall covered in twig-mobiles – Twigs with feathers and rocks hanging from them basically.  One click was all it took to see that they were being sold for $75 and I’m all like, “MY KID COULD MAKE THAT”.

So she did.

Granted, it looks like a kid made it, but I can’t wait to make one of my own and let’s be real – it’s freaking adorable. Here’s what you need:

Twig & Twine Mobile

Good looking twigs (good opportunity to shoo the littles outside to search for “treasure”)
Feathers – bought or found.  I suggest washing and Lysol-ing the crap out of found ones.
Beads, if you want
Other pretty, hang-y thingies, if you want
Your choice of colored thread/embroidery thread/twine

The method is pretty easy.  Wrap the twigs with the twine as heavily or sparse as you like – this is really a ‘make-it-up-as-you-go-along’ kinda deal.  Once you’re satisfied, rig up the pretties you would like to hang from the main twig.  Pro tip: if you’re going for a more ‘color-blocked’ wrapping look, tie the hanging pretties on first, then wrap.  You can disguise knots better this way.  Once you’re happy with your super-duper stick thing, fix some twine for hanging on either end (perhaps wrap it around a few times to, again, disguise knots) and hang wherever you please!  We chose to hang ours next to our Cody Eich original print.

Obviously, you can vary what you hang from these mobiles, I’m thinking that I’ll hang smaller sticks from my next one (horizontally, so they’re all parallel, if you can picture that).

As I am sure that I can’t be the only one with bored offspring this season, I’ve included my favorite DIY’s that will be fun for Mommy and littles alike.  Take a look below!

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(left to right)
Yarn Banner @ Creative Bug, Pom Pom Fruit @ Mr. Printables / Macrame Curtain @ A Beautiful Mess / Trash Trophies @ Mr. Printables / Wrapped twig bouquets (great for further inspiration!) @ Aesthetic Outburst

Have fun!

 

Posted in DIY

Slow Cooker Bread…What?!

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That’s right, y’all.  This isn’t a Pinterest hoax, this is REAL LIFE.

I have tried and tested A LOT of bread recipes since arriving in the land of sugary sandwich bread (America, if you were wondering) and not a single one of them has turned out as soft and fluffy as this recipe right here.  As if I didn’t already have a dependency on my slow cooker, this has only added to the condition – who knew you could use it to create wonderful, artisan style bread?!  Forget your ovens, hide your loaf tins and throw away your expensive Le Creuset dutch oven (actually, don’t do that. Just email me for my shipping address) because this method is about to become your new best friend.

Summer is an atrocious season.  I am not a heat person at all, I loathe it with a passion.  So, when it comes to cooking in summer, particularly in our current house which is without airflow in the kitchen, I try to avoid using heat as much as possible because I don’t want to Jekyll and Hyde my poor family.  Using a slow cooker means no heat radiating about your kitchen.  It also means little effort.  This bread is SUPER easy to make and also has a bunch of variations, which I will list below.  Have some fun with this.

Slow Cooker Bread

1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (like bathwater)
1 tsp himalayan salt
3 1/4 cups flour of your choice (I like to use an organic, unbleached flour)

Place yeast, salt and warm water into a bowl, whisk quickly and leave to bloom for approx 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, add the flour and mix into a shaggy dough.  It’s okay if it’s sticky and wet, that’s what we want!  Cover and let rise for an hour.  During this hour, it’s a good idea to get your slow cooker out and preheat (on high).

Once dough has doubled in size, lightly flour counter or workspace and pull out half of the dough – it should be noted, however, that if you’re using any of the variations or making your own, this is the time to add whatever extra ingredients you choose.  Lightly knead them through and then continue with separating the dough in half.  Hold the ball of dough and, using your thumbs, tuck the sides underneath.  This part is important, but hard to explain so watch a quick tutorial HERE.  Place dough ball on baking paper, cover and allow to rise for another half hour.

After 30 minutes, place dough (baking paper and all) into slow cooker.  This is the part where you get to exercise your kitchen prowess.  I have found that cooking time can vary anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.  Basically, you’re waiting for the bread to look cooked, rounded and springy.  It shouldn’t sink in and not pop back out when pressed, but it WONT be browned like the bread you’re used to.  You can remove it once it’s cooked and just leave it at that, however, I choose to broil mine on high for 2 minutes, just to achieve a nice browning and crustiness to the outside.  DELICIOUS!  Let it cool completely and then eat it all in one sitting.  You’ll want to, believe me.

Variations:

Whole wheat:  If you choose to use whole wheat flour, remember that it doesn’t have as much gluten as regular flour and will be more dense.  I usually mix it up by adding half/half regular flour and whole wheat.  In any case of using whole wheat (mixing flours or 100% whole wheat), be sure to mix in 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder after the dough has risen for the first time.

Garlic and rosemary:  At the point specified in the above method, add 2 cloves of minced garlic or 3 tsp garlic powder and a handful of bruised rosemary leaves and knead through gently making sure that additions are completely distributed throughout dough.  Continue as per recipe.

The above are the two variations I have tried so far, but there are many more.  Here are a bunch of ideas:

Basil leaves and finely chopped sun dried tomatoes
Subbing 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of rye flour
Cinnamon and honey (add 2 tsp of honey with yeast/water/salt mixture)
Zucchini and oregano

Have fun playing around with your own combinations and be sure to post and tag me in a photo if you make a loaf!

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Posted in Food

Skate commission

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I know I’ve been posting a lot of Clint’s work lately, but the guy is doing some SUPER things.

Here’s a little sneak peak of a Skateboard commission he posted off today.  Turned out really nicely and I AM LOVING the natural grain of the board.

So cool.

While we’re on the topic, check out this 4 color, silk screened piece by Chris Johanson (he’s a favorite of ours).  A limited edition run of 30 recycled boards, with under 10 left, I suggest you GET ON THAT.  Quick like.

  

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Posted in Ready Made

Makin’

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My hunk of a husband did a few test prints of the new shirt and it looks awesome.  Obviously.

Not only that, but he’s decided to do a limited run of hand screened posters.  In metallic ink (I’ve only been hassling him for sparkly prints for, like, ever).

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Get them here.

Posted in DIY, Ready Made

A good tee conquers all

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As you may or may not know, my husband is an artist and screen printer.  He runs a small print shop out of a workshop in the backyard and produces wonderfully, high quality work and I benefit from a never ending supply of cool t-shirts.  This month, he’s released this ‘Labor Conquers All’ design, available for pre-order from his store.

This is a sentiment that we both strongly agree with and carry as our personal motivation.  Working from home, for yourself, is no picnic, but there’s always solace in the fact that hard work and good motives generally pay off.  Day by day, we see improvements in our own work and opportunities opening, so I’d say it’s a pretty great verse to live by.

All that aside, the t-shirts are baby-soft and this is a badass design.  Get the best on your chest NOW!  Again, if you’d like to own this great piece of apparel, you can pre-order HERE.

Posted in Ready Made, Style

Hey, Mum

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Today is my Mum’s birthday.  I am so incredibly sad to be so far away from her today, but I am also feeling so incredibly blessed that I have had her all my life.  We haven’t had the smoothest ride, ups and downs like most Mothers and Daughters, but I can confidently say that we are strong women with a strong bond and a love for each other that wont be broken (trust me, a lot of things have tried, yet here we are).

I owe everything to this woman, particularly the mother I am today.  I would be nothing without her love and guidance, her lessons in patience and her belief in me.  I am far away at the moment, pursuing a grown-up life and family of my own, but there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not thinking of this marvelous woman and the things she has taught me.  She also managed to make 3 additional, good looking and incredibly intelligent human beings after me.  She is quite a lady.

Happy birthday, Mummy.  Counting down the days till we can go out for coffee and shopping again.  You are, without a doubt, my favorite coffee date.  Enjoy your day!

I love you.

Posted in Uncategorized

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I am Amylee - Maker, married to a fellow Maker, mama to a mess in a tutu and big time dreamer in small town Oklahoma.  I wish I was stylish enough to have a fashion blog, but I might just write a lot about coffee.

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