What is Rose Water?
Rose water sounds very fancy and elegant, and I guess in a way it is, but when you find out what it is and how easy the rose water recipe is, you’ll wonder why it seemed so mystifying before.
Rose water is literally what it says it is: rose petals steeped in water, like rose tea, if you will. It’s long been used as a perfume (because it smells like roses, of course) but has also been used for culinary and medicinal purposes.
Uses of Rose Water
In addition to using rose water as a perfume, it’s also said to be great for the skin because of its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to calm skin problems like rosacea and eczema.
It’s also an antibacterial that can be used to treat wounds, and even (according to the source linked above though I’m scared to try it) used as an eyedrop to help treat dry eyes and problems like conjunctivitis.
Breathing in rose water (such as the steam when you make DIY rose water) is said to be helpful in treating depression, headaches and other ailments.
As a food product rose water is used in Middle Eastern cooking and elsewhere in the world for the floral note it can add to dishes. It’s particularly great with fruit and is considered to be an aid to digestion.
How to Make Rose Water
The rose water recipe is actually really simple. First you need rose petals, from a trusted source like your yard, or flowers you know were grown without the use of pesticides.
You can make as big or as small of a batch as you like. For this batch I used maybe six flowers of different colors. If you want pink rose water, use red roses. Mine were mostly white and yellow and my rose water came out sort of golden.
Add the petals to a pot and cover with water.
Bring to a boil, cover and turn down to low.
Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and steep for 20 minutes.
Fish out the petals and then filter through a coffee filter into a glass jar.
Rose water is perishable so I keep mine in the refrigerator.
Uses for Homemade Rose Water
Rose water is a natural and gentle product that you can use in a lot of different ways. You can apply it directly to the skin or add it to bath water for a fun scented experience.
Or you can try rose water in a recipe for your hair or skin to make it even nicer.
Rose Water for Skin
Rose water by itself is great for a lot of things:
use it as a toner
put in a spray bottle for a refreshing face mist on a hot day
soak a cotton pad and use under your eyes for cooling and preventing signs of aging
But of course you can mix your DIY rose water with other great ingredients to pack more of a punch.
Rose water toner: mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (or witch hazel) with 1/4 cup of rose water for an even better effect. Apple cider vinegar is great for oily skin, while witch hazel is great for sensitive skin.
Rosewater face mist: make a strong tea with a cup of hot water and two green tea bags. Remove tea bags after steeping and let cool. Add rose water in equal portions to the tea (a quarter cup of each is a good place to start) then put in a spray bottle and keep in the refrigerator.
Body oil using rose water: Mix almond oil and rose water for a super-moisturizing (and great smelling) treat for after your bath or shower. Try adding half a cup of rose water to a cup of almond oil.
Rose water makeup remover: This recipe comes from Simply Darling. Mix a cup of water, 1.5 tablespoons of baby shampoo, 1/8 teaspoon baby oil, 1/4 cup rose water and up to 15 drops of tea tree oil (especially good for acne-prone skin). Use cotton balls or a washcloth to apply.
Sunburn soother with rose water: the Chalkboard Mag has the how-to for a simple sunburn spray made with rose water, aloe vera juice and apple cider vinegar. I’m definitely keeping this on hand all summer.
DIY rose water is a great treatment for your hair. Mix a couple of tablespoons of rose water into regular water to rinse your hair; it will make your locks smell great!
Or add rose water to your favorite hair conditioner for extra rosy goodness. Use in the shower mixing about half as much rose water as you use conditioner, or try this recipe from Eco Chic to make a leave-in conditioner with one part conditioner to two parts rose water along with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for extra shine.
Have you ever made rose water? Now that you know how to make rose water I hope you’ll give it a try and share your uses for it with me!
My daughter has been a Girl Scout for three years, and I’ve been trying to come up with a better way to handle cookie time every year. She doesn’t sell a ton of cookies (we have a mere 12 cases sitting in our dining room as I type this) but it still takes a lot to keep track of which cookies go to whom, how much they owe and who has paid.
An Easy Fill-in Girl Scout Cookie Receipt
This printable Girl Scout cookie receipt makes the first part of that a little easier, anyway.
As I go through her order form selecting boxes for each person who ordered, I can fill out exactly what they ordered and how much it costs.
I add in a due date that’s a few days before I need to have the money collected to go to the troop, and note that they can make checks to the troop directly.
I check each person off on the order form as I “fill” their order, and then I know which boxes go to whom without having to pull it out every time. This will definitely make it easier when I’m distributing cookies to the 20 people in my husband’s office who ordered cookies, most of whom I don’t know. And any cookie distribution he has to do will be easy, too, because everything is labeled and all the information they need is on the form.
Pro tip: Those rubber bands from Whole Foods, or any large rubber bands, are perfect for collecting two or three boxes together. Bigger orders go in bags with the receipt stapled or taped to the bag.
(Speaking of delivering cookies to 20 people in one office, this year I bought a collapsible folding wagon to make that a ton easier.)
I have two versions of this for you: the Word document you can edit with your own troop number or add any other details you like, and a PDF you can add your troop number to by hand.
In the past I have just kept track of who had paid me for their cookies right on the order form. There’s a space for that, and it’s super handy if you’re carrying around your order form as well as your money envelope.
Sometimes people will return the receipt with their payment, which is also super helpful.
I hate to bring another spreadsheet into my life, but I’m thinking that might make it easier. Or a checklist of names in One Note that I could access on my computer or my phone, wherever I happened to be when someone paid me.
I definitely don’t have all the Girl Scout cookie time tricks sorted yet (in fact, I’m not a full-fledged troop leader exactly because I don’t want to have to deal with more cookie stuff than my own). But I would definitely love to know your tricks if you have them.
And anything you do to keep from eating them all in the first week I would also love to know.
Living a more creative life is always a goal for me, and something I try to encourage in my readers and friends as well. And even though I have plenty of ideas for things to make and try, I’m always interested in other people’s ideas and how they encourage people to be more creative.
Most of the videos are just a few minutes long. If they are longer it’s because Courtney is showing how she approaches the prompt, which sometimes takes a bit more time.
The course also comes with a PDF of links to resources, books mentioned in the workshop, even a custom creativity playlist.
How Workshops Boost Your Creativity
I started experimenting with paint pouring again after watching these videos.
You might think that watching someone else be creative isn’t going to do anything to boost your creativity. And you’re right; the idea is really to get you doing the things instead of just watching her do them.
But I found even just watching the workshop through pretty quickly I was inspired to want to try some of the projects or to reframe her prompts in different ways.
That’s probably the main creative benefit of watching crafty workshops for me: they give me something to piggyback off of to try in my own creative practice. I’m an idea person so my mind is constantly changing up or adding to creative ideas I see in the world; if your mind doesn’t work like that or you’re not inspired, creative prompts like those presented here are a great way to get a boost, no waiting for an idea required.
Do you ever use online classes to boost your creativity or learn new skills? I’d love to hear about it!
This Mardi Gras candle jar is super simple to make with leftover Mardi Gras beads, and could also make a fun storage container or vase depending on the size of your jar. Affiliate links included for your convenience.
Let the Good Times Roll
I’ve always had an affinity for Mardi Gras. I was raised Catholic but we never really celebrated it (which, if you’re going to have the deprivation, you ought to get the party, right?). But I love the food, music and spirit of New Orleans (not to mention the wider Caribbean world where Carnivale is celebrated).
I even hosted a Mardi Gras themed house party several years ago complete with food, crafts and lots of kids running around. So why not use Mardi Gras as an excuse to decorate the house in purple, green and gold, throw some beads around and let the good times roll?
It’s actually because of that house party that I have so many Mardi Gras beads lying around. I have a plastic grocery bag full of them, and for years I have wanted to use them in some crafts but have never managed to do so. This year I finally made this Mardi Gras candle jar (or you could put craft supplies in it, or flowers, or whatever you want).
How to Make a Mardi Gras Candle Jar
Making this Mardi Gras beaded candle holder is actually super simple. All you need is a jar (mine is like these glass jars with lids, but you could use a smooth-sided Mason jar, and actual candle holder, even a glass vase), Mardi Gras beads, a hot glue gun and lots of glue and a pair of scissors. I probably used two whole sticks on my project.
Choose which beads you want to use on your project. I opted to go with all round beads but you could do this with other shaped beads as well, they just might not line up as well.
I went with five colors but you can do as few or as many as you like. With my jar I could go around the jar twice with each strand of beads, leaving a few extra. It’s up to you whether you want to trim those extras off or have stripes of slightly varying widths.
To make the Mardi Gras candle holder, heat up your glue gun (I used both the low and the high-melt settings on my gun during the project, and they both work just fine) and cut your beads so that the strand is a long line rather than a loop.
When the glue is warm, spread a bead of glue along the bottom of the candle jar. I did about a third of the way around at a time. Press the beads into the glue. You don’t need to wait for it to harden before proceeding.
Continue around the base of the candle holder, then begin the second round of the stripe just above the first. When you get around twice, trim the remaining beads off if you like and begin the next color.
Once all is completed, clean up your glue strands and add a candle or whatever else you want to put in your jar. I think this would be a fun pencil cup on your desk all year long.
I used a candle that was in a little tin, but you could also use a votive or little tea lights to illuminate your Mardi Gras candle jar. It will be great for mood lighting when we’re devouring our red beans and rice come Fat Tuesday.
Do you celebrate (or craft for) Mardi Gras? I’d love to hear what you do!
Give yourself an open-ended, process art project by gathering some materials to make decorated, layered hearts. This is a great project for adults and kids and can be done with other shapes, too, or no shapes at all. Affiliate links included for your convenience.
Fun with Process Art
Sometimes I feel like we get so wrapped up in the finished product of a craft project.
At least I know I do.
You see a craft on Pinterest or have an idea for something you want to make and you have all these expectations that the thing will turn out as well or better than the model you have — whether it’s real or in your head.
But it seems like that rarely happens.
What we (or I, anyway) make usually falls short of the vision.
Which is why it’s a good idea sometimes to take the time to make something just for the sake of playful experimentation. To not really care exactly how it turns out.
You can call it process art or free art or just making for fun.
Whatever it is, I think we need more of it.
Process Art Layered Hearts
This project did actually start with a vision in my head of how I wanted it to be. I was going to take a bunch of fabrics and cut out heart shapes and sew them together and maybe embellish them in different ways and it was going to be super cute and fun.
And it was, but what I did wasn’t quite the same as what I imagined.
I decided that instead of allowing that initial vision to dictate what I did, I would just start making and see what happened.
I mostly used items that were in easy reach of my sewing machine or that were already in my office. When I couldn’t find what I “needed” I did something else.
I ended up making five hearts that are all pretty different, and most of them came out really well.
Of course how mine came out is not the point, but I show you mine so you can make your own free art hearts secure in the knowledge that there is no right or wrong way.
Process Art Heart Examples
I started with a heart that I’d cut out for a different project and didn’t use. It’s the only heart I didn’t freehand cut (it was traced from a cookie cutter, I think).
I added a larger heart (cut from a cloth napkin that needed mending) and a smaller heart (leftovers from a dress I made the girl recently).
I used the sewing machine to try to sew around the hearts, but those curves are kind of tricky. And I added some beads in a flower shape.
The second one is a piece of red felt I stitched around with metallic pink yarn. It’s glued to a fleece heart and the plastic bead is glued to it. (Fabric glue is the best invention ever.)
Then I made another one with the help of the sewing machine. I pinked the edges of one of the hearts, stacked them together and did more of a freehand sewing on top to secure the layers.
It came out in kind of a heart shape, which was unintentional but I probably should have expected. It may be my favorite.
The second white fleece one sat on my desk for days. I had glued on the red fabric strip (left over from the crocheted rug project) and intended to do beading on it, but I was very resistant to actually doing it.
So I wrote on it with a Sharpie instead, because the best projects are ones that get done, am I right?
Finally I tried to sew a tiny heart pillow. It did not go well.
And that’s OK! It was still fun to try.
And trying IS the whole point.
Make Your Own Process Art Heart Project
If you want to try this free art project at home (and I hope you do!) gather some scraps of fabric or paper, different embellishments like beads, markers, paint, etc., some scissors and glue and your sewing machine or hand-sewing supplies if you want to.
Then just start playing! See which fabrics or papers you think look good together. Try them.
Which ones would you never pair? Try that, too.
Add beads or buttons or draw something or write something. Use hole punchers to decorate or make a peek-through portion.
Do whatever you want.
And have fun!
I’d love to see your creations if you give this process art a try.
Are you more of a process person or a product person? Do you ever try to focus more on one or the other? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
I started writing this post about my One Little Word about a month ago, but I never finished. After looking back at the progress I made in January I figured it was still worth sharing. It’s never too late to come up with a word.
Last year’s word was deliberate, and ironically I didn’t even write about it, which will tell you something about how well that went.
The idea was that I was going to be more deliberate in the use of my time, deliberate in relationships, what I eat, the things I keep in our house, stuff like that.
What really happened is that we moved three rooms in our house, a lot of the stuff is still around and work got crazy at the end of the year so I wasn’t being deliberate about anything.
Listening for One Little Word
The way I usually figure out my One Little Word is that sometime in December I’ll start thinking a little about what I want from the new year and how I need to approach my time and work and life in the next year.
The idea I got from this listening to my thoughts (and writing my morning pages, of course) was that I need a reminder that things take the time they take and not to rush them, but also the fact of things taking time doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to do them.
Not exactly little or a word.
I eventually came up with a three word notion of what I want for the year:
First I need to make progress on all my goals, and once I’m in a better place I can work on a process to make those things easier to do/maintain and then build on the momentum of all that good work to make even more improvements.
How it Went in January
January was definitely a “progress” month. I had a lot of things I wanted to get done (cleaning the upstairs, blogging more, posting more often on Facebook and Instagram, more reading, more exercise) and I definitely made progress in all these areas.
I wouldn’t say I got any of them to where I hoped I would be (except maybe exercise; I worked out all but one weekday that the girl was out of the house) but it’s all about progress, right?
This is the lesson I needed to learn.
Just because you can’t do it all at once doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing, and doesn’t mean it won’t ultimately get done.
It just means you have to keep working, keep making progress and keep acknowledging the things that did go well and the progress that was made.
What February Looks Like
Of course I am planning to make even more progress this month. It’s a short one but there’s still plenty of time to pack a lot in, and I plan to: working out and eating better, more cleaning and organizing, more making (in particular submitting knitwear designs to publications, which I haven’t done in way too long), putting some designs in my shop on Ravelry, more writing and reading and fun.
It sounds like a lot, and it is, but again with the emphasis on making progress, incremental improvements and trying again every day, there’s a lot that can be done.
Do you have a one little word? How is it going for you so far? I’d love to hear what it is and how it’s working for you!
Upcycling old fabric is fun and easy, and making a crocheted rug from an old sheet gives new life to otherwise unusable fabrics.
Affiliate links included for your convenience.
Why I Needed a Crocheted Rug
Last summer we performed what I took to calling the Great Room Swap of 2018. In order to move my daughter’s bedroom upstairs, we got rid of our guest room, moved my office to the old guest room and her bedroom to my old office (husband got the old bedroom downstairs as an office/game room/workout room; we’re all pretty happy).
But a consequence of moving everything was that I realized my feet and shoes are really dirty. There’s a permanent black spot in the carpet where my feet used to land at my desk (eww) and a corresponding mark on the wall where I would sometimes rest my feet as well (double eww).
I decided I wanted to try to keep the carpet cleaner in my new office, so I needed a rug to go under the desk.
Preferably something free to cheap and that would be machine washable, now that I knew how dirty it would be getting.
An upcycled crocheted rug was just the thing.
Making your own rugs is great because you can make them just the size you need, and use can use materials that otherwise wouldn’t be used.
How to Make a Crocheted Rug
I am not super skilled at crochet so I kept my “design” super simple. It’s just single crochet all around.
First you need to know the basic size and shape of crocheted rug you need. My space is roughly 24 by 36 inches.
Then you need to know what you’re going to make your crocheted rug out of. I had an old king-sized sheet that I turned into fabric yarn just for this purpose, but of course you could use actual yarn if upcycling isn’t your thing. It took most of the sheet’s worth of yarn to make my rug, so just be aware this will probably take more yarn than you think.
Again you will probably want something durable and washable for your rug, such as cotton yarn.
Now, I’m a professional knitter and I know better than to just dive willy-nilly into a project, but. In this case I have to be honest, I guessed at how many stitches I would need to chain to make a rug the size I needed. I figured I could always rip it out if it didn’t work.
It was 30. And it worked just fine. I used a size p/16 hook because my homemade yarn is pretty bulky. Just make sure you use a hook that corresponds to your yarn weight and will make a semisolid fabric.
(If you want to be more scientific, using the yarn and hook of your choice, chain 15 or so and work a few inches of single crochet. Measure the width of your piece, divide 15 by whatever your width is, then multiply by the width you need. So if 15 stitches gets you 5 inches, that’s 3 stitches per inch, and you would need 72 stitches to make 24 inches across.)
Crocheted Rug Pattern
It feels silly calling this a pattern but here’s how I made my crocheted rug:
Chain 30 stitches (and 1 more to start the next row of stitches).
Single crochet across (30 stitches). Add 1 chain at the end of the row, turn and repeat.
Continue in this manner until piece is as long as you need. Fasten off the yarn.
Because I had that red fabric yarn from the tutorial, I used it around the edge of the rug just to make it a little more fun.
I like to start a crocheted edging a little away from a corner. Pick a place to start and stick your hook in the edge stitch. Make a single crochet, and single crochet around, work 2 stitches in each stitch at the corners. Fasten off and weave in ends as needed.
Do you upcycle fabric? I’d love to hear what you do with it!
These books are great choices for middle-grade and older kids for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Affiliate links included for your convenience.
Did you know there is such a thing as Multicultural Children’s Book Day?
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. The mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
As part of MCBD as it is known for short, I was sent a couple of books to review, either of which would be a fun addition to your library (home or otherwise) to help kids gain a bit of understanding about a different culture.
Every Sparrow Was Made to Fly
The first book is Every Sparrow Was Made to Fly by Lin Thomas. The book tells the story of Sammy, an Indian girl whose family moves to America. Sammy is shy and worried she won’t make friends at her new school, and at the same time worried because her family is facing the sale of their ancestral home back in India.
A mysterious painting she brought from India offers clues she hopes will allow the family to save their home, and a bit of magic that helps her make friends and become more comfortable in her new life.
This is a sweet story aimed at kids ages 7-13, and it has a nice message about being yourself and understanding that no one else is really confident, either, which all kids (and adults!) need to learn.
Book Trailer ! Every Sparrow was Made to Fly - YouTube
I didn’t love the element of “magic” in the story (an invisible bird gives Sammy pep talks as a stand-in for good parenting) but kids probably won’t mind as much.
Every Sparrow Was Made to Fly explores a little bit what life in India is like and how it feels to be the new person at school, in a completely new country and culture, but still manages to be relatable for kids who have never had that experience.
About the book: 178 pages, paperback, published 2018. Retail price $9.99
Out of the Pocket
I also received Out of the Pocket by B.E. Stanfel. This one is for older kids, as the main character is a senior in high school and the Iraq War plays a big part in the plot.
Mercer is a typical self-absorbed American teenager, addicted to mochas from Starbucks and trying to get the guts to talk to the girl of his dreams. He’s also the son of the football coach for his team in Iowa, and he’s sure his chances at getting noticed by recruiting scouts have been diminished by the fact that his dad is serving in Iraq (and the fact that the team’s quarterback is terrible).
The book is presented in the form of a journal he’s been made to keep for his creative writing class at his Catholic high school, as well as through emails he exchanges with his dad and, later, his father’s young Iraqi interpreter, who teaches Mercer there are a lot more important things in the world than complaining about homework (Ahmed is just happy it’s safe enough to go to school) and having to help his family while his dad is away.
Through the emails Mercer learns a little bit about the history of Iraq, the difference between Sunnis and Shiites and gets to see different points of view about why the war he opposes might still have good results. These lessons read a little bit like they were cribbed from Wikipedia from time to time, but they provide a good overview for readers as well.
The end of this book is a little too fairy tale for my liking (and there are events that happen where I feel like, on evidence of my own high school journals, Mercer should have gotten a lot more emotional), but it does offer a glimpse into Iraqi life and reminds readers that the more complicated an issue is, the more sides there are.
About the book: 214 pages, paperback, published 2013. Retail price $6.94
More about Multicultural Children’s Book Day
MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team
who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who
also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s
super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual @McChildsBookDay Twitter Party will
be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will
be given away during the party ( a prize every 5 minutes!). GO HERE for more details.
This almond-vanilla melt and pour soap recipe is an easy beginner soap recipe that doesn’t require a lot of materials. It’s a great way to try out soap making without a lot of investment.
Affiliate links provided for your convenience.
I have long wanted to get into soap making (I even bought the supplies so long ago they’re from Hobby Lobby, where I haven’t shopped for YEARS), but I’ve never done it more than a couple of times. But it’s a lot of fun, and there’s something cool about being self-sufficient enough to make your own soap.
Of course I’m not out there using lye and animal fat to make soap. I’m all about ease, which is why I do melt and pour soap making (OK, that’s not very self-sufficient. But still.)
One of my fears even with this simple kind of soap making is that somehow I’m going to mess it up by putting too much stuff in it or doing something weird that won’t work out. So I haven’t branched out much into making my own soap recipes.
Until the other day when the girl said she loved the smell of almonds.
Then I decided I needed to make her some special soaps, so this almond-vanilla melt and pour soap recipe was born.
Loop yarn is a relatively new product to the yarn aisle. It’s a super bulky yarn stitched into loops so you can make a knitlike fabric without needles or hooks. Here’s all you need to know about working with loop yarn.
What is Loop Yarn?
Loop yarn is typically a super bulky yarn of a type you could buy in straight form for knitting or crochet. The yarn is processed so that it is sewn together to form loops, and if you look closely you can see the little strand of thread running at the bottom of each loop.
There are several different brands on the market, including:
Because the yarn is made of open loops, you work with it by pulling a loop through a loop on the previous row.
You don’t need knitting needles or a crochet hook, but you do need some finger dexterity in order to pinch and pull. I think little kids would be able to do it with some practice.
To start a project with loop yarn, decide how many stitches you need for the width of your project.
Pull the next loop on the strand through the last loop of your base row. If you consistently pull from back to front, you will get Stockinette Stitch.
If you consistently pull from front to back you’ll get Reverse Stockinette, and if you alternate you will get Garter Stitch.
This yarn is fun and easy to work with once you get the hang of it. I recommend starting your work on a table and checking the back of the work often to make sure you don’t have any skipped loops hanging off the back. Once you’re comfortable you can “knit” with this yarn in front of the TV or wherever you enjoy crafting.
To “bind off,” you start at the side of the work opposite from the working yarn. Loop the first loop through the second loop and so on across. Then just clip the thread holding the next couple of loops together so you have a straight piece of yarn and can weave in the end.
Check out all the details on how to work with loop yarn in my video:
If you’re looking for a bigger project, try this loop yarn blanket from Make and Do Crew. She intentionally twists her stitches for even more texture. Or keep it (mostly) simple Stockinette with this blanket pattern from TL Yarn Crafts. If my daughter didn’t already have a blanket in the non-loop version of this yarn that’s probably the pattern I would make.
I started with a simple scarf pattern, just 12 stitches wide and worked in Stockinette. Nicky’s Homemade Crafts had the same idea, but hers has a keyhole in it for a little added skill.
And let’s be honest, what I really want to knit next is the Namaste at Home coat from the Hook Nook Life. So cozy!
Have you ever worked with loop yarn? I’d love to know what you thought of it and what you made with it!