Category: DIY

A weekend make-over

Last weekend was a three day-er here and I believe long weekends are not to be squandered. When I learned the weather forecast I decided to tackle a big indoor project that’s been on my to-do list for over a YEAR! That’s just the beginning of the shame. Brace yourself for the tragic display that was my craft/office area.
www.nestinthewest.comOne of the selling features of my teeny townhouse was an extra ‘bump out’ in the bedroom perfectly suited to a den or office space. I purchased just one new piece of furniture and it was an IKEA Expedit wall unit to act as a bit of a room divider. Well, in theory that was great but reality is it blocks a lot of light and doesn’t provide enough desk space. It became a holding cell for paperwork and assorted junk. Not efficient at all. When you live in a small space, every square foot has to be functional and this just wasn’t.
www.nestinthewest.comClutter on the desk, behind the desk, even under the desk. Nasty! My first step was obviously tackling that. My system requires a bag for recycling, a box for donations and a bag for garbage. I filled all three!
www.nestinthewest.comI flipped the Expedit on its side….and loaded it up. Then I took a break and went to my nephew’s hockey game. My older brother got an earful and was subjected to my photos when he asked how my day was and I took the opportunity to run a dilemma by him. I knew I wanted a desk top that would rest on the wall unit on one side and a filing cabinet on the other. Any suggestions for how to account for the 6 1/2″ height difference? He offered to come take a look bit I like to be independent so instead I just went with his idea…build a box, duh. This concludes Day 1!
www.nestinthewest.comwww.nestinthewest.comDay 2 started with a trip to the lumber yard – which, by the way, I love! I put myself through university working at one and the smells are so good. I got some white melamine, had a very kind Rona guy do the cuts for me and set to work on my box and desktop. The rest of my day was spent arranging cords, accessories and homemade art – totally my idea of fun.
www.nestinthewest.comAnd here it is!
www.nestinthewest.comwww.nestinthewest.comwww.nestinthewest.comI’m over the moon happy with this. Seriously, I’m wandering in just to look around and swoon a little. Bonus that it’s the perfect spot for some craft weekend reminders. Also, I’m ridiculously proud of myself for figuring it all out on my own…for $31. Weekend well spent!

Coffee & coconut anti-cellulite scrub

Coffee and coconut anti-cellulite DIYDid you know coffee is a natural anti-cellulite treatment? Nope, me either. A horrifying event led me to this awesome discovery. I was in the dressing room at Lululemon trying on leggings. There’s not a lot of room in there however, quite a lot of mirrors and lights. To glow on the exact chunky, bumpy, extra bits that you’re trying to hide in said leggings. The whole experience was second only to the agony of swim suit shopping…which is coming.

I did a little googling and learned that coffee grounds can be used to make cellulite busting products and can be paired with moisturizers for double duty bath products. Coffee, bath…I love it when a couple of my favourite things unite. I whipped up this 2 ingredient scrub to feel like I was taking control.

  • 1/4 cup coffee grounds (recycled from my French press or your coffee maker)
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled

Coffee and coconut anti-cellulite DIYRemove as much water as you can from the coffee grounds by straining them. Place them in the bottom of a clean jar. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave at  30 second intervals, let it cool a little then pour on the grounds and stir. Continue to stir every so often until the coffee is evenly distributed and the oil firms up. You can speed this process up by putting it in the freezer for a few minutes. Put a lid on it. You may notice I switched jars partway through. The first one had too many crevices and coffee grounds were getting stuck there. So, learn from my mistake and use a jar with straight sides!

To use, rub on wet skin while in the shower, particularly dry spots and *ahem* trouble areas. Be gentle and use a circular motion, then rinse. Also rinse your tub after use! The coconut oil can leave a little bit of slipperiness and there will be some stray coffee grounds, not the big mess I had thought there might be though.
Coffee and coconut anti-cellulite DIYCoffee and coconut anti-cellulite DIYNow for a quick rundown of the benefits:
Coffee: contains antioxidants which are anti-inflammatory. It acts as an exfoliator here and smooths away dry skin cells to reveal softer skin. Its caffeine draws excess moisture from skin making it feel firmer and smoother.
Coconut oil: naturally moisturizers, fights acne, won’t clog pores and contains vitamins and minerals.

As an aside, if you find leggings that fit and tuck in your over-40 imperfections, they may very well be worth the sticker price. And you can totally justify the splurge with all the money you’re saving on DIY cosmetics!

Homemade Christmas crackers

homemade xmas crackers www.nestinthewest.comProbably my very favourite holiday tradition is making Christmas crackers for my family’s dinner. Pretty sure I’ve been doing them for over 25 years now and I still love it.
I’m very lucky in that my sister-in-law always cooks the turkey and hosts us all at her and my older brother’s house. Over the years we’ve all taken on little tasks to contribute to the meal. I get off easy with dessert and crackers. Score.
I know I’ve left this a bit late to share so file the idea away for next year if it’s too much to whip them up for this year. They’re actually super simple to make. Save your empty toilet rolls, purchase a package of snaps (from Michaels) then fill each roll with goodies, wrap them up in regular old wrapping paper, tie the ends with ribbon or wire garland (I really like the stars) and share them at your Christmas dinner!
homemade xmas crackers www.nestinthewest.comSome stuffing suggestions:
For the ladies: nail polish, lip gloss, earrings, hair accessories, bookmarks, kitchen gadgets
For the guys: lottery tickets, mints or gum, lip balm, small tools, nail clippers, key chain, brain teaser games
For kiddos: super bounce balls, Lego people, stickers, parachute guys, small stuffies, wind up toys, whistles, hot wheels cars
homemade xmas crackers www.nestinthewest.comMake these as extravagant or simple as you like. I make 8-10 each year and try to stick to a $5 limit for each. I find the men the hardest. The first few years were okay but now it’s getting tough. Except for that one year when I won NHL hockey tickets at my staff party and slipped one into each of my brothers’ crackers. That one remains unbeatable.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned the hard way along the way: don’t use heavy paper or that plasticy paper – they don’t rip and you need these to break apart. Opposite to the rest of my wrapping endeavors, I go easy with the tape. One piece of double sided tape or even a sticker is enough to seal these….again with the wanting them to break apart! Mark them with who they’re for as you go along! Just write names on a sticker or tag. If you overload a cracker and find the tube is just too small, cut it from end to end, stuff your treats inside then tape it up in a slightly larger tube, done. My family voted to do away with the funny tissue paper hats years ago and use the space for chocolate instead. So that gives you and idea of how we roll – casual and efficient!
homemade xmas crackers www.nestinthewest.comhomemade xmas crackers www.nestinthewest.comThink about adding this personal touch to your holiday gathering – not just for family. Friends will appreciate them too and they make great conversation pieces at the dinner table.

Wishing you and yours all the very best the holiday season has to offer and a big thank you for following along here and letting me share. xox