Happy Friday peeps! Who’s ready for the long weekend? How about a little project to kick it off? Flavoured sugar is a thing. It’s recommended for coffee…..so I’m in! I’ve seen suggestions for lavender, lemon, orange, even rose flavours but I stick to spices. Vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom. As well as stirring them in coffee and tea, use them instead of regular sugar in recipes for scones, muffins and pies. Wake up your taste buds and try ’em with me! Gather a few canning jars or other air tight glass containers and white sugar. I used small-ish jars that hold almost 2 cups.
Vanilla: open a vanilla bean and scoop the seeds into a jar. Add the pods and top with sugar. Gently shake then leave for a week or more. Enjoy this one in coffee, cupcakes and on grapefruit. Mmm.
Cinnamon: measure 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon into a jar. Add 1-2 cinnamon sticks and fill with sugar. Shake this one well to evenly distribute. So good in oatmeal cookies or sprinkled on porridge.
Cardamom: place 1/3 cup whole cardamom seeds into a jar and top with sugar. Yummy in apple crisp.
Let them sit for a week or two to get the full flavour infusion. Then top up your jars with more white sugar as they start to get low. Store each for up to 1 year. Sweet and spicy….yum!
The night before I was leaving on a little Island getaway I realized I didn’t have the perfect shorts for the trip. This actually happens to me often. Fortunately it was easily remedied this time once I decided cut-offs were needed. Sturdy, comfy, casual but a bit stylish (oh, did I push it with that last bit?). I dug to the back of my closet and hacked up the ideal pair. All you need to do this yourself is a pair of old jeans, a ruler, pencil, scissors and 10 minutes. There are 2 key factors to getting your cut-offs just right:
- Start with jeans that are a size or two big for you, boyfriend style or literally men’s jeans are great.
- Cut on a slight slant starting with the inseam being the longest and tapering up to the outside of the leg being the shortest. More girly, more flattering, it works.
Turn jeans inside out and mark your cutting line with a pencil. Cut at the slight angle mentioned above. Turn right side out and try them on. Adjust length if needed. Lay cut leg on top of uncut leg lining up the waist and inseam. make your second cut using the first leg as your guide.
I used an old pair of thrifted Levi’s with a bit of distressing around the seams. I left it at that because I’m well over 40 and just don’t think I can pull off the distress trend! My first cut was a 4″ inseam but when I tried them on they were too long so I cut another inch off. Going for comfortably short without being cheeky (pun intended)!
For added softness and to get a good fray, I put them through the washer and dryer. Voila, a just right pair of cut-offs!
Lip balm is one of those simple pleasures in life that I absolutely cannot live without. I’m a bit of a junkie with tubes and pots of the stuff in every purse and gym bag, in the car and at my desk. Of course I had to try my hand at making my own! I’ve played around with different recipes over the years but this basic one is my favourite with a minty tingle and comparable to Burt’s Bees. It’s pretty quick and easy to whip up with ingredients from the health food store!
- 1 1/2 tbsp beeswax
- 5 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp lanolin
- 1 tsp honey
- 5-10 drops of peppermint essential oil
- small containers with lids
I make a primitive double-boiler out of an old pan and a recycled tin can! Wash a tuna type can thoroughly then bend one spot of the lip into a point (pliers help with this) which will become your pouring spout. Put a little water in the pan and let it simmer. Place beeswax into your tin can. Put it into the simmering water and stir until melted. Add the coconut oil and lanolin and stir to combine. A chopstick makes the ideal stir stick. Remove from water using oven mitts and add honey and mint drops. Stir well to mix the oil in. Slowly pour into clean, dry containers almost to the top and let set. I find having a paper towel lined cutting board is perfect for pouring on as there will be drips and they’re hot! As these set or harden, they tend to sink in a bit in the middle. Fix that by reheating any remaining balm mix in your tin and top up your containers. This batch filled 8 containers with some still left over!
There are all kinds of fun decorating options for your containers: stickers, labels or draw with Sharpie markers. This batch is mostly for me so I just added a strip of washi tape for a bit of color. The ingredients can be a bit of an investment initially so try to get the smallest quantity available or consider splitting with a friend and making it together! In the long run it’s way cheaper than store-bought balm and it’s all natural to boot. I know I say this about all of my projects but these truly make great little gifts. Who doesn’t enjoy a new lip balm to pucker up to?!