Beautiful Mistakes

I had an amazing past three days! Saturday I volunteered with in.gredients with two wonderful people. We spent most of the evening sanding down the playground and sign. After our hard work we enjoyed a wonderful potluck with the other volunteers and got to talk with some of the people behind in.gredients. It was a great night! Oh and we got free t-shirts. Bonus! If you have no idea what in.gredients is, then you should look back at my old posts or check out their website in.gredients.com. They are great people with a great idea. Can’t go wrong with that combo.

Sunday I headed to Bryan, Texas where I helped my sweet little Juliette with DIY projects for her wedding. We ended up sanding, nailing, stapling, painting, breaking and creating lots of fun things! Here are some pictures of some of the things we did.

Spray painting cardboard for a chalkboard frame

finished framed chalkboard

Old window frames before they were transformed!

 

Juliette working hard

Finished window. Chalkboard in the middle and burlap and wire for pictures on the sides.

Before

It was so much fun to sand the doors and see all the layers underneath what was initially seen. I just think that is such a beautiful correlation to relationships and people in general. We have our exterior that people see just like when noticing a door “Oh hello blue door!” But when we really seek beyond what can be seen, we are able to experience all the beautiful layers that lay underneath the surface. The doors that we worked on had so many colors and layers to discover, but it took time to find them. How great is it that we all have our own unique layers that make up who we are.

After

Look how happy I am being crafty (Ok I look creepy. But I am suppose to look happy)

Finished window with burlap and wire for hanging pictures.

That’s basically it. There are some other frames we worked on but I think you get the idea. It was so great to work with Juliette and have the freedom to create and be ok with things not looking “perfect”. Whenever either of us felt as if we had messed something up, we kept reminding each other that you just simply turn it into a “beautiful mistake”. I get so much joy from helping people! If I can help people in ways where I can interact with them, while working with my hands in the outdoors…oh my goodness, that is pretty much perfection.

 

When Trees Attack!!

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I had bought worms for our worm bin and that they died. Well that was pretty sad, but ladies and gentlemen, my garden has been attacked!! Not by the normal garden pest, no no. My garden was brutally attacked by a tree! This past Saturday morning when the wonderful rain came to Austin, it apparently upset a tree of ours so much that it dropped a huge limb right on top of my garden!

My poor roommates were home when this happened. It shook Sarah’s wall and knocked down pictures! Every human was ok in this situation, but my poor broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and greens are probably not going to make it. I was prepared for pests and disease, but trees attacking my garden…it leaves me speechless.

Austin…You got it goin on!

Sometimes when I’m stuck in traffic on I-35 for a ridiculous amount of time or I’m squeezing between massive amounts of people at HEB to grab some salsa I think…WHY!! Why am I in this big ol’ city full of smelly cars and buildings when all I really want is beautiful open space to explore and grow!

But then, I’m reminded that despite Austin’s downfalls, there are so many amazing things going on in this city. So many people  here love their neighbors, and the earth and all the beautiful things in it. It’s exciting to read about and see all the wonderful things being done to teach and empower people of all ages to start making big and small differences in their daily lives.

I know I have made it quite evident to friends how much I love jars and the many uses. Well folks…guess what! I’m gonna get to use my jars a lot more pretty darn soon!! Austin is introducing to the United States the first package-free, zero waste grocery store! Exciting stuff guys. That means you can gather your clean jars, and load them up with rice or flour or lentils or whatever bulk item you need!. I’m pretty pumped about this. Check out in.gredients

 

Also, something I just discovered today through the daily deal on livingsocial is a nifty thing called Farmhouse Deliveries. It has the same principle as a CSA (community supported Agriculture), but as I understand it, they are a liaison to you and the farms. They gather the freshest produce from local farms and put together weekly or bi-weekly boxes of goodies for you. They buy large amounts of produce and goods from these farms and distribute them to people all over Austin helping to support and sustain local farmers! I have been looking into joining a local CSA, but I just thought I would share this with you as well. Lots of options people if you want to eat local healthy food here in Austin! There is no excuse..and on that note I need to take my own advice and come up with a budget where I can make this work, because it is most definitely workable, even on a very small salary! I get distracted and I bounce around from idea to idea (I’m aware everyone), but this is something that I really value and want to pursue. I started my fall garden and my worm bin (They died though. My worms, not my plants…I’ll be writing about that soon), but I also want to rely more on local produce and farmers instead of making quick trips to HEB (seriously..where do all those people come from)!! Ok those are my thoughts today. I hope everyone has a great Friday night!

So check them out on their website and their living social deal

Honey Please! I love those Birthday Bees!

First before I start, this is probably going to be a very looong post because I have been MIA for two months…sorry about that. Also, I want to share with you my birthday times and a lot happened so I must tell you everything!

It is true. This old gal just got a little older a week ago. I am officially now a 26-year-old woman! I had a great birthday week full of projects and fun activities! Here is a recap of the awesome celebrations!

Saturday morning Ryan and I headed down to ol’ Seguin for an intro to beekeeping class. We were curious as to what sort of crowd we would be joining, and we were greeted by two of the friendliest men on this earth. Dave and Mark. Mark was running the class and has been keeping bees for over 30 years. Dave was also a local beekeeper and friend that helped assist with the class. While in North Carolina, I became familiar with bees because I was able to help go into the hives a couple of times on the farm. I attended this class because I wanted a better understanding of what it took to keep your own bees in Texas. There is quite a buzz about having your own bees and I find them to bee quite fascinating. (ohh bee talk). We had the best time sitting in Mark’s backyard under a beautiful Oak tree listening to him talk about his love of bees. And we even got to suit up! (Not really necessary, but kind of fun).

I think we look like 60’s space explorers who discovered bees!!

Check out their Blog!! Ryan and I got our picture on it. woohoo! We are bee celebrities!!

                                              Gretchen Bee Ranch

Monday Ryan took off from work so we could work on my garden. He built me a raised garden bed, put a post in the ground for our clothes line and bought me a truck load of dirt for my birthday! That’s right folks. I got lovely brown dirt from my boyfriend and it was the best gift ever!!!

Yes that is our “grass”…dead dead dead!

That night I was able to hangout with some of my dearest Austin friends at the neighborhood bar. My wonderful friend Betsy gave me the coolest gift. She had remembered me mentioning my new obsession with Mason Jars and wanting to do an olive oil picture project (I don’t know if you have heard..but I’m obsessed with jars!) So she brought her little Polaroid and some jars and we went to town! It turned out really cute!

Here are some of the pictures that didn’t go in the jars. Aren’t my friends so cute!

The olive oil magnifies the picture. Neato! Thanks Betsy Boo

(she’s floating in the far right jar)

If this wasn’t enough of a Celebration night, Wednesday on my actual birthday I went out to eat with my Sister Kate and Ryan and Sister Jane and Brother/sister Chris surprised me and came as well! We ate Sushi. Soo good!

Look how much fun they had!

Hey Look it’s Ryan!

After Sushi we went to The Cactus Cafe to watch one of my new favorite bands Hello Wheels. They are friends of Ryan and they are awesome! Super entertaining and talented. I love me some bluegrass grooves.

So to sum up. Pretty stinkin awesome birthday if I do say so myself.

Straight Talkin ’bout Crafts

I love being crafty. I like to be creative and imagine things and then make it into something. But I think for me, most of the joy comes from making things for other people. Recently, my very sweet and lovely roommate Claire (well now she’s my roommate but she was my bosom buddy way before the roommate title) returned from Africa. So my other sweet and lovely roommate Sarah (She was roommate first and now friend! She’s adorable), and our other amazing friend Lindy (she’s never been a roommate, but is a superlative friend)….(too much??) all helped to create a cute pendant banner for her return.

We had so much fun sitting in our living room cutting out pendants while watching Straight Talk. My cousin AnnaBanana sent me this movie because growing up we watched this movie all the time. Watching as an adult made me love it even more! One of our favorite quotes from the movie used to be “Tinkle or get off the potty”, but I think my new favorite Dolly quote from the movie is “I’m busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest!” Yep. That’s the winner. I couldn’t find the trailer for the movie, but here the movie’s theme song and amazing music video. Enjoy

We didn’t really have a great glue to use, so we ended up using a hot glue gun to connect the fabric pendants to the twine rope. We used a simple running stitch to attach the felt letters to the fabric. I was pretty happy with the end product!! Good work ladies!

Feeling in the spirit of crafting for my friends, I sent some of my chocolate chili and sea salt cookies to some friends in North Carolina (Don’t worry, I will be putting this recipe up soooon). These friends are in the process of starting up a homemade ice cream sandwich business where they ride around on their bikes selling them from their built on attachment thingy (i’m not quite sure how it works so as soon as I get a picture, I’ll post it) Anyhoo, I sent them some cookies and the recipe, but I’ve really been wanting to give some cookies away in a mason jar. So I did. And I added a bit of flaire on top.

I’m excited about finding more ways to love my friends through crafts. Friends: If you feel you need more Meg love in your life, let me know..and I’ll craft you something. Or give you a hug. Or a crafty hug.

Sprays Your Way

I have a tendency to get a bit obsessed with certain items. Lately its been sweet potatoes, coconut oil, fancy flake sea salt, and mason jars. Right now I am on a quest to find all the uses for mason jars.  I recently have discovered pinterest and there are so many creative ideas! I could spend hours upon hours looking at different cooking ideas and DIY projects and MASON JARS!

My next mason jar project is going to be for the bathroom. Here’s is what I hope it will look like.

Once again, i’m off my main point; Do it yourself Sprays!!  A few months ago, I went on a “no poo” kick (shampoo that is). I used baking soda and apple cider vinegar. After using that mix for a couple of weeks, I realized that I probably needed to find something that made my hair look less…disorganized. So I did some searchin and found a recipe online for homemade shampoo. I have been using this mixture now for a couple of months and love it! The recipe is extremely easy, and if stored in a spray bottle, it lasts even longer! I use it on my face sometimes as well as a body wash.

This recipe comes from instructables.com

    • 1/4 cup distilled water
    • 1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap(Dr.Bronners) – I use unscented, but you can choose your favorite
    • 2 tsp jojoba oil
    • 1/8 tsp peppermint ess oil
    • 1/8 tsp tea tree ess. oil

Mix all ingredients, then add 1/4 cup distilled water
Store in a bottle. Use as you would any shampoo, rinse well.

You can really use whatever essential oils you like. Peppermint makes my head and face feel tingly.

Today I decided that I would make my own counter spray as well. I will let you know how it goes. I got this from re-nest.com

  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Dr. Bronners or dish soap
  • 2 TBS vinegar
  • warm water
  • optional essential oils

Using funnel, put baking soda, dish soap, and vinegar into your spray bottle. Give it a stir/shake. Let it sit for a minute, now fill a spray bottle with warm water and shake it up. Give it a few more minutes to calm down, and add a few drops of essential oil if desired.

Have fun making sprays your way!

Happy Birthday Daddy-O!!

My Sweet old Dad will be turning a whoppin 57 on Monday. I have been on a huge baking spree, and decided to cook him some of my delicious chocolate chip and sea salt cookies, with added pecans because they are his favorite. I had a bit of a hard time baking them last night because we moved into our new home, but do not have gas until Monday. So I hauled all my cooking stuff to our empty and sad apartment and baked away. I found a wonderful cookie recipe on savorysweetlife.com.

  •  cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour. (Don’t cheap out on the flour)
  • 3/4 tsp. smallish-medium coarse sea salt (I used fancy flaky sea salt)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until it is nice and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes on medium-high speed on a K-5). Add both eggs and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour until cookie batter is fully incorporated. Finally add chocolate chips until well distributed. The cookie batter should be somewhat thick. Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough or use a medium cookie scoop and plop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are nice and golden brown. Remove from heat and sprinkle each cookie with the flaky sea salt and allow the cookies to stay on the cookie sheet for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer to a cookie rack and enjoy!
I have made this recipe a couple of times now, and I realized it makes a difference with the flour I used. Make sure you are using all purpose flour. I think the cookies turned out pretty good, but I don’t think I’ve quite sold my family on the whole sea salt craze. As for me, I’m a bit obsessed!