Thursday, January 22, 2015

Easy Burlap Pennant/Banner/Bunting

My blogging has been pretty great lately about being just behind the season.  Oops. 
The good thing about this SUPER EASY project is that you can use it any time of the year!  I have now used it for fall and Christmas decorating.  I even made some extras for friends and sent them back to Minnesota.  You can use this for birthdays, showers, anything fun!
A quick trip to the craft store (or your craft drawer) will get you the few supplies you need for this project.  I think I only ended up buying the burlap.  I got three large rolls at Hobby Lobby and they were only a few dollars each. 
You Will Need:
-Jute cord or a ribbon
-Burlap ribbon or sheets of burlap
-Hot glue
-Paper letter printouts or letter stencils
I started by using my computer to choose a holiday appropriate font in a large size and printed them out.  For fall, I used a larger blocky letter, and for Christmas I used a curvier font.  If I remember correctly, I used over 200 pt. font for the size. 
Next, cut out your letters with a scissors or exacto-knife.  If you want to be REALLY efficient, you can print onto a thicker paper so that you can keep your letters for future uses.  You might even be able to find alphabet stencils at the craft store or Amazon and save yourself this step all together.  I was going for cheap, but not necessarily efficient. 
Roll out your burlap and decide how big you want your pennants to be.  I eyeballed the letters on it and then cut enough space on each side.  I would say mine were about 4-6 inches wide.  Then cut how ever many squares/rectangles you need for your word. 
Trace your letters on to each square and then fill in with your sharpie.  If your stencils are the opposite way (the center is empty), you could also paint or spray paint your letters which would help them to last longer.  (Again, I was going for the quick and cheap method!)
At this point, I let my letters sit under a magazine overnight because they were a bit curly (the burlap was rolled up).  You could also iron your squares to get them flat and seal in your letters a bit more.
Now you're ready to put them on your cord or ribbon.  I used a thick jute cord and made sure to leave plenty of space on the ends so that you can tie it on to anything.  I started by putting the hot glue right on the cord and then pressing the top of each pennant on to the cord.  I then eyeballed over about two inches and put more glue for my second letter, and so on. 
At the very end, I cut the triangles out of the bottom of my burlap rectangles to make them look more like a fancy banner.  You could really do this step at any point after you have your original rectangles cut, I just like it to be the finishing touch!

This project was so easy and CHEAP!  Let me know if you come up with any variations and share your projects below!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Infused Vanilla Sugar - Great Gift Idea!

Don't forget to:  Go like my new Facebook page - Being Mrs. Olson Blog.  We will be doing a fun giveaway when we reach 250 likes!

Are you ready for another ridiculously easy project that ANYONE can do?  I've been on a roll lately of at home projects that are accessible and even kid friendly.  Check out my DIY section for ideas!

This project only requires two ingredients, one vessel, and a knife.  Shout out to my friend Lexy for the great idea! 

You will need:
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • sharp knife
  • something airtight to store your sugar/finished product  

1. Put two cups of white sugar into your vessel.

2. Place your bean on a cutting board and use a small, sharp knife to slice it open lengthwise.  This takes a steady hand and patience, so be careful! 

3. When you have opened your bean, gently scrape the seeds out and put them in to your sugar jar.  These seeds are small and moist, so again, have patience and try to get as many of them as possible. 

4. Add the scraped bean to your jar and SHAKE!  I tried to keep shaking it up every few days.

5. Let your sugar infuse for preferably a month.

6.  ENJOY!  Use this sugar in your coffee, drinks, baking, oatmeal, anything where you would like a bit of extra flavor.   

After two weeks, I bought some smaller mason jars at Target and scooped some sugar in to each of them.  I put 1/4 of a bean in to each jar as well to keep the aroma going.  I then hot-glued some festive ribbon around the lid and sent them off as Christmas gifts!  I asked the recipients to let it steep for two more weeks before enjoying...mean, right?!

Lexy also made her version of infused vanilla sugar, as well as some lavender infused sugars.  HOW CUTE is her interpretation?  I think she may have beat me for creativity and cuteness!

For lavender infused sugar:  add 1-2 tablespoons of chopped (or food-processed) culinary lavender to two cups of sugar.  Then shake and let steep for three to four weeks.  ENJOY!

I hope you love these easy sugars for yourself or for a homemade, easy gift for others.  Let me know if you come up with any fun ways to use them!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Coffee Hack for 2015 - Cinnamon

I wouldn't say I'm a coffee freak, but I definitely indulge a few times a week.  Sometimes, I go quite a while without a cup, sometimes I am having it every day.  I only have one cup, I'm not an all-day drinker.  I enjoy it for my one small cup.  

The coffee at my work isn't too great, but can be made bearable with some creamer.  But I'm not really a fan of creamer.  If I have time, I'll stop off at a coffee shop on my way to work to get something a little better tasting and more exciting.  

Current obsession:  Honey Cream Latte from Dominican Joe Coffee.  It's SO GOOD.  I order a small, half-sweet, and with a tip it's $5.  Not horrible, but definitely not an okay habit to have.  

On the weekends, and when I magically have time in the morning {never}, we make coffee at home.  Mike, in all of his research-y madness figured out a few years ago that the best method to make coffee is the pour-over method.  Don't ask me why, but I trust him.  So we over-boil our water and hand pour a steady stream to wet the coffee grounds and let it make our delicious coffee.  

Mike recently bought some ridiculously good {expensive} coffee and we tried it out this week.  We're on vacation for the New Year, so why not?!

Yesterday, I added a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top of our grounds before pouring.  It gave us a deliciously light cinnamon flavor and really kicked up the taste of the already fantastic coffee.  

TRY THIS!!  You could add it to your grinder or your filter.  Just a shake of cinnamon.  Or nutmeg...  Or something else you might think of.  I was surprised by how much flavor we got from the tiny shake I put in.

This is a super cheap way to elevate your morning coffee and give yourself a bit more excitement.  Let me know what you think!  Here's to coffee!