Category: DIY

Sugar water hair & styling spray

Are you one of those girls that struggles with hair products? I totally am. The problems are that I have fine, baby hair and I’m cheap. At least I know my issues, right? Many months ago I started seeing a real hair stylist in a real salon that has their own line of great products. Instead of weighing down my hair down with mousse, gel or mud, my new girl suggested their Sugar Water spray. I tried it, I love it, I’m never buying it again!
DIY styling/hair spray www.nestinthewest.comI’m making it! It’s ridiculously easy and I’m so embarrassed that I paid over $20 for my first bottle – I did get a gorgeous reusable glass spray bottle though so maybe it was worth it. This spray can be used as a styling product or a soft hairspray…with no stickiness or chemicals.┬áHere’s how I made mine:

  • 1/2 cup warm, almost hot water
  • 1-2 tsp plain old white sugar (more sugar equals more hold. I use 1 tsp)
  • Spray bottle

DIY styling/hair spray www.nestinthewest.comHeat the water until it’s almost boiling. One minute in my microwave is perfect. Add in the sugar and stir until it’s completely dissolved and distributed. This isn’t like stirring sugar into your coffee…one, two three and done. Really stir it! Pour it into your spray bottle but leave the lid off to let it cool. Once it’s reached room temperature or less, it’s ready to use. It will be a bit cloudy, this is good! This ‘recipe’ makes 1/2 a cup of product which will last me for weeks. I know what you’re thinking….really? sugar in my hair? isn’t that just going to be a sticky mess? Honestly, truly, no!
DIY styling/hair spray www.nestinthewest.comHere are a couple of options for styling with it.
One: spritz a little puddle of the sugar water into the palm of your hand. Rub hands together and rake through hair paying particular attention to the roots. My stylist actually scrubs it into my roots! Dry as usual. If you need a quick refresh through the day, just rub your fingers into the roots to puff up any fallen volume.
Two: use this as a light hold hairspray! Use a fine misting spray bottle and spritz this on dry, styled hair.
DIY styling/hair spray www.nestinthewest.comFor my short cut with waves, this simple spray solves my hair issues! It adds soft volume and hold and costs just a few cents to make….boom! I can’t speak for how it works with longer straighter styles but it’s cheap and easy enough to try out, right? Give it a go for soft, summer hair.

Pond in a pot

Well, I got my zen going on the side patio and am here to share. As hinted, I set up a little pond, complete with a pump, fountain, plants and fish. It’s a great addition to my garden area and the soft trickle of water is so relaxing.
imageThere are two things I need you to know up front: one is that this project is actually not new to me – I had a similar set up at my previous rental. Second, this is not as budget-friendly as most DIY’s I take on but already owning the pump, fountain and pot made it do-able.
If you want a mini pond or water feature of your own, here’s what you need (with approximate costs):

  • a plant pot with no drain hole, plastic is the cheapest and easiest ($10)
  • a small pump (found at a garden centre, WalMart, Canadian Tire etc) ($15)
  • a fountain or spitter (optional) ($25)
  • your choice of water plant(s) ($10)
  • fish, food and water conditioner ($6)

Start by giving your pot, fountain and pump a thorough cleaning with mild dish soap. Be sure to rinse well, especially if you plan to add fish.
Select your location and place the pot there. Choose carefully because once full, these are too heavy to move around! Fill your pot 3/4 full with cold tap water.
I lined the bottom of my pond with rocks, partly because I like the more natural look and partly because it gives fish a place to hide out.
Set up your pump according to package instructions, they’re easy, and submerge it in your pond. If using a fountain or spitter, connect the pump to it now.
Add your plant(s). I raised mine on an upside down planter just to give it more height.
Now, plug in your pump and make any adjustments you need to direction or flow of water. Safety first, use a 3 prong outlet with proper grounding. Top up the water level if needed. You now have a little pond!
pond in a pot www.nestinthewest.comIf you’re adding fish, please do so gradually and carefully. Water conditioner needs to be added at the start and about every month of so of having fish in your pond. I picked mine up at WalMart in the pet department for $2. You’ll normally bring fish home in a plastic bag filled with water. Place the entire bag, still closed into your pond and let it sit there for at least 1/2 an hour. This allows the fish time to get climatized to the new pond and gradually change to a different water temperature if needed. Next, open the bag and leave it in the pond. It may start to sink and the water from the pond and the bag will mix. That’s good. I left mine like this overnight and by the morning my fish had made their way from the bag to their new home in the pond. They seem pretty happy there ever since.
pond in a pot www.nestinthewest.compond in a pot www.nestinthewest.comI’ve had this simple little pond going for just over a week now and it’s a bit ridiculous how much fun I’m having with it! As soon as I get home from work I plug it in to get the water flowing, then I feed my fish. I see more and more of the fish as they’re feeling safer in their pond. I find myself spending more time on this patio too. Now I just need to teach the kitty that this isn’t a new watering hole for her!

Chalkboard cutting board DIY

www.nestinthewest.comAm I the only one still loving the chalkboard paint trend or do I have some company? There are so many fun projects to take on (as you may have seen here, here and here) that I’m still rolling with it. This weekend I whipped up a couple of chalkboard painted cutting boards which I think are ideal for labelling your offering at a pot luck or for a fun message at snack time.
The supplies are simple and readily available:

  • A cutting board
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Paint brush
  • Painters’ masking tape

www.nestinthewest.comUse the tape to mask off a portion of the board for painting. With larger boards, I left about a 3″ strip on one long edge. On the snack board I did a narrow strip on each short side following the pattern of the board. Wrap the tape all the way around the board as you’ll be painting the front, sides and back. Burnish the tape well onto the board. Now you’re ready to paint! I did 4 light coats allowing each to dry for about an hour between coats. Don’t be alarmed if your first 2 coats are a bit streaky. The later coats will even this out. You can set the wet board on top of the roll of tape to lift it off your painting surface and allow all painted bits to dry at once. When the final coat of paint is dry, remove the painters tape carefully. Allow the paint to cure for a good 24-48 hours. Then condition the chalkboard portion by rubbing a layer of chalk over the entire surface then brushing it off. This will leave a bit of a cloudy finish, which is good. This step is important! If you skip it, the first message you write on the board will never completely erase. Once you use the cutting board, just wipe it clean with a damp cloth, do not soak or put it in the dishwasher. How easy was that?
www.nestinthewest.comwww.nestinthewest.comThis is an ideal project for a day off. You can get all 4 coats of paint on in a day then let it dry overnight…or 2. I think they’d be good presents for weddings, housewarming or just for foodie friends…be sure to pass on care instructions too. I’ve had great luck finding bamboo cutting boards at the dollar store for less than $5 and I use Martha Stewart’s chalkboard paint, bought at Michaels with a coupon. Economical, functional and fun…my favorite kind of craft!