coast on by

Have you priced a set of coasters lately?!

I’m not necessarily a ‘thrifty gal’. I’m sure there are things I purchase that others might think are crazy so ‘thrifty’ and ‘indulgent’ can be fairly relative terms. But I recently priced coaster sets for our outside table. We have family coming to visit next month so I need around 10 of them. Most sets are sold as 4 coasters and can run from $10-15. I didn’t want to spend $30-45 just on coasters! PLUS, I didn’t want flat coasters. We’ll be eating outside so our glasses will definitely be sweating so I wanted something that could catch the condensation.

…….I know what you’re thinking. Greta is a Classic Overthinker! Newsflash: that’s not a newsflash. – ha!

Another thing you may be thinking: This is an outside table so doesn’t it get wet when it rains?? Well yes. I don’t care if the glasses sweat onto the table, I just don’t want actual wet glass rings staining the table.

Yes. yes. Overthinking.

So I set out to make my own.

I had some leftover drop cloth material. (I love to use and abuse painters drop cloth.) I cut the drop cloth: 5×5″ I also had leftover flannel which I cut: 4×4″

It was like putting together wonton wrappers. And yes, I AM craving crab rangoon now.

I sewed each square together with a 1/2″ seam. Then a simple cross in the middle…

After sewing the X, I frayed the edges (which accumulated all over the place.)

Such a simple project. The coasters would be really cute in various colors and patterns too, for whatever your decor. A little leftover material, a sewing machine and a springtime afternoon. Bring on the summer!

So now we are prepared for those lusciously cold drinks. I’ll just toss a bunch of these into a basket outside and we’ll be ready to party!

Come over for a sit and sip! We’ll throw some burgers on the BBQ.

v v valentiney

When do you know if something is just ‘too much’? Coco advised always taking off one item of jewelry before leaving the house.

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, however, I ignore all the rules. More is more. The more love the better.

I’ve started adding some Valentine’s Day things around the house. I’ll tweak and edit but it’s fun to just throw everything out there and adjust as the days go by.

I made some wonky, rustic hearts this year. I used old fabric and even a beloved Shabby Chic old sheet that I just can’t quit on. It wore a hole after years and years of use but I’ve kept it and have used it for many different projects. This year, these soft pink hearts.

I drew a wonky heart onto a manila file folder, traced it onto material, cut out the shapes, and sewed them together. I usually have a box of fiberfill but it must have been discarded in the move so I grabbed some cotton balls, pulled them apart and stuffed the hearts with those instead. Use whatcha got, pals!

I’ve had a unfinished wooden ‘love’ word for a couple of years but have never painted or done anything with it (gasp!, an unfinished project?! What?! ……#storyofmylife) But over the weekend, Scott made a rustic frame for me, we painted and stained it and voila’!, a cute finished project. Surely the very essence of the word love, no?

Pink, polka dot straws and Valentine’s pencils (I’m a huge sucker for cute pencils!)

And salmon-colored begonias from Lowe’s to add a little ‘live’ love to the mix.

This is one of my favorite phrases because it reminds me so much of Scott. I think I bought it the first year we were married. He does make me smile.

Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day? Do you cringe at the color red like I do? It can be hard to work with…until I shrug and say, ‘So what. Let’s dance, Red.’

(I have recently started a new Facebook page. Feel free to pop over and follow along there as well!)

Rosemary and Time

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When we first moved into our California house, there was a VERY overgrown bush tucked in between the oleander and a yet-to-be-determined hedge. It was overgrown and dead in places and clearly hadn’t been manicured or tended to for quite some time.

It was on the backlist of things to get around to.

Any yet, one day as we were clearing out another area of the yard, I wandered over and dug a little closer. As soon as I touched it’s branches I knew it was rosemary. Not the little rosemary we grew in clay pots back in the midwest, but a huge bush of an herb. And ohhhh, did it smell heavenly.

Scott got out his big hedge clippers and we went at it. I hesitated, thinking I should probably google when the best time was to trim back a rosemary bush, but it was in such bad shape we thought ‘what the heck’ – what could we possibly do that’s worse than how it looked now?!

As he cut and discarded, trimmed back and tossed out, I grabbed a few sprigs for myself.

And then I grabbed a few more…

An armload of the rosemary went to a new friend in California and the rest I took into the garage to let dry.

Instead of trimming it all the way down to the ground, we left a little of it to stretch out and breathe some fresh air, now that it was newly free to grow and spread with all the room we’d given it.

One evening we found ourselves in front of the tv to watch a christmas movie so I plopped down on the floor with the dried rosemary stems and stripped the herbs from each stem (insert an achy back but fingers that tingled with the aroma of fresh rosemary oils.)

I made the following recipes I want to share with you. We used our backyard rosemary but you could also use the fresh rosemary you buy at the grocery store or garden center.

  1. Lavender Rosemary Bath Salts (we even used dried lavender from the lavender bushes we planted earlier in the fall)
  2. Lemon and Rosemary Sugar Scrub
  3. Lemon Rosemary Bath Salts
  4. Williams-Sonoma Potpourri
  5. and even though I haven’t made it yet, I’m sharing a recipe for extracting rosemary oil to make essential oils and
  6. Infused-oil Rosemary

Our kitchen has been smelling fab.u.lous lately, I’ll tell you that!

First, this Lemon and Rosemary Sugar Scrub. Oh my! It smells unbelievable! Winter brings dry skin. Elbows, heels, arms and legs. They all suffer from the lack of moisture in the air. The defoliating properties in this sugar scrub are both healthy for your skin as well as a healthy aroma in the shower.

Rosemary oils are an antiseptic. They protect skin cells and are very good for your skin and hair.

Lemon and Rosemary Sugar Scrub

1C extra fine granulated sugar
1/2C grapeseed oil
2T dried rosemary leaves
1 tsp lemon essential oil
1/2 tsp rosemary essential oil
1/2 tsp lemon zest

Combine all ingredients together. If it’s too thick, add more grapeseed oil. Too thin, add more sugar.

Store in an airtight container.

Use within one month.

Williams-Sonoma Potpourri

2C water in a pot

Slice up one lemon – put in pot and bring to a boil

Add a few sprigs of rosemary

1/2 tsp vanilla

Simmer – adding water as needed

Lavender Rosemary Bath Salts

1C Himalayan sea salt
1C Epsom salt
1/2C coarse Kosher salt
10-20 drops lavender essential oil
2T crushed, dried rosemary (pulse in the food processor a few times)
2-3T dried lavender buds

Combine the salts, lavender buds and crushed rosemary

Add the essential oil and mix thoroughly

(You can add purple food coloring…I didn’t.)

Store in an airtight container.

Lavender is a go-to essential oil. It’s a stress reducer (perfect for bathtime, no?) and has anti-inflammatory properties. I usually go through my lavender oil more quickly than others because I use it a lot at night for relaxation and sleep. (Funny sidenote: Scott read somewhere that it causes men to lactate so that’s usually an ongoing joke at night too!) 

And speaking of Scott.

Another ongoing ‘joke’ between us since we first met is our ‘role reversal’ when it comes to bathing. Scott is a hard-core bath taker. (As are his parents before him.) He relaxes and enjoys it and I……well, I…….hate baths. (please don’t hate me!)

I know! I know! Everyone loves to take a bath, right? No. Not me. They make me impatient and the thought of sitting in non-moving water kind of grosses me out. Needless to say, they are NOT relaxing for me.

However! I do really really love soaking my feet in warm water with good stuff dissolved inside. Now THAT is very relaxing and rejuvenating. Plus it’s a good activity while bingeing on Mrs. Maisel.

So we will use these bath salts in different ways – but each enjoying our own version of healthy, indulgent self-care.

Lemon and Rosemary Bath Salts

By the way…we used rosemary and lavender buds from our backyard and (fingers crossed!) eventually we will be able to use the lemons off our lemon trees.)

2C Epsom salts
1/2C baking soda
2-3T fresh dried rosemary, finely chopped
8 drops lemon essential oil
2-3T lemon zest

Combine Epsom salt and baking soda

Add half the essential oil drops, mix, then add the remaining drops

Mix in chopped rosemary and lemon zest.

Store in an airtight container.

The next two rosemary recipes I plan to make next…

Rosemary Essential Oil

Fill a pot with water. Put a bowl (or use a double boiler) on top of the pot of water with 2-3 ounces of dried rosemary leaves.

Cover the leaves with 2C of grapeseed oil

Simmer on low heat for 3 hours

Seal and store in a cool, dark place

Infused Rosemary Oil

1 pint jar

Clean and dry your rosemary – make sure there’s no water on the rosemary

Warm the olive oil on low heat for a few minutes. Make sure you don’t get it hot – that destroys the healthy properties.

Put some rosemary sprigs in the pint jar.

Pour the warm olive oil over the rosemary and fill the jar. The warm oil begins the infusion process with the rosemary. Set aside to cool.

Once cooled, seal the jar and store in a dry, cool, dark place for one week to complete the infusion process. After the week, you can strain out the rosemary or leave it in until you’re ready to cook with it.

The Kitchn has a great recipe for freezing the extra herbs to use later on in cooking and other DIY rosemary projects.

I hope these give you some ideas on how to use fresh rosemary in a variety of ways. I’d love to hear how you use rosemary – or other herbs – and let me know if you use one of these recipes and how it turned out. No time to make the recipes right now? Well by all means – pin it for later, right?!

I love simple DIY projects that merely take – a little rosemary and time…
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