Triumphant Return! And Sunday Funday

Greetings Beta Testers! Apologies for my extended absence... however some wonderful news!

I have gotten an new job at Pacific Northwest Ballet as the (newly created) Production Assistant for Shoes and Rentals. I am thrilled to step into this post at a company I already know and like. This means that I can start school and still be able to pay my rent! Woohoo! 

I am utterly obsessed with lemons and lemony flavored/scented things. Pardon me while I bask in the glory of these beauties.

I am utterly obsessed with lemons and lemony flavored/scented things. Pardon me while I bask in the glory of these beauties.

Today's short project is Lemon Sugar Scrub! I made this one on location visiting my dear friend from college Emily on Bainbridge Island. 

View from the Seattle to Bainbridge Island ferry

View from the Seattle to Bainbridge Island ferry

Ingredients:

2c white sugar

Jojoba oil (or any other skin oil you have on hand such as Almond or Avocado oil)

Dr Bronner's castile soap (I like the almond scent but you could also use the unscented)

Zest from 3 lemons

Vitamin E oil

Lemon extract

Airtight or screw-top containers (sterilized)

Bowl, measuring cups & spoons, and spatula

Method

1. Mix the sugar with enough Dr Bronner's to achieve an almost soupy texture. Mix approximately a quarter cup of Jojoba oil into the mixture. If this is too soupy, add some sugar and stir.

2. Zest three lemons into the mix and add a teaspoon or two of lemon extract to your scent preference.

3. Stir in about half a teaspoon of vitamin E oil. 

4. Pour the mixture into your pre-sterilized containers and ta-da! 

Lemon is my most favorite scent these days and this luscious scrub is absolute heaven! It's great on feet or hands after a long weekend at the beach or out gardening. I especially love using it as one step in treating my over worked dry hands. And now... for the

Gems of the Internet

I hope you celebrated Malala's 18th birthday! She is a shining light for the future.

Well this statistic is disheartening. UGH

Some self-love inspiration for all my babelicious readers

Dyed pit hair is getting to be all the rage, spurred along by my friend and brilliant hair stylist and blogger Roxie-- mastermind of How to Hair Girl (whose praises you have heard me sing before)

And finally a little good news about the massive earthquake set to devastate my beloved Pacific Northwest


Hope you've enjoyed my return post-- keep those questions and suggestions coming! More body products are definitely in the works as well as recipes and more of my deck re-do, so stay tuned for those projects. To get the behind the scenes scoop on what's going on at Betty HQ, follow me on instagram, twitter and pinterest! xo--

Deck Decor Re-do on a Budget: Part 1

Happy hump day readers! This week's DIY is part one of my Deck Decor Redo-- my low-budget answer to all the cute pictures in magazines and on Pinterest of adorable outdoor spaces. 

1. Step one was finding the right furniture, which was an extended process of Craigslist trolling and sticking to a solid budget of under $100 for two chairs and a small table. I was hoping to find wicker that was a good price with the cane in good condition. 

2. Once I found the right chairs, negotiated the right price ($75), and wedged them into my Toyota Corolla (not easy), it was time to pick a color. I went with a soft warm yellow spray paint made by Rust-oleum. I felt the color would be bright without being overpowering and would compliment lots of other colors. And how often do you get to paint in REALLY perky colors? I mean really. Make sure to choose one that works for outdoors and is meant to adhere to the kind of surface you chose. I used four cans for the two chairs and one table, which was more than I thought, but the cans are only $4 each (at Home Depot) so that was okay by me.

3. Then get to painting! As with all spray painting, you want a well ventilated space like a garage or driveway and to cover all the nearby surfaces. Spray paint travels so just assume it will get on anything in the general vicinity. 

4. Start with the bottom and use light layers, spraying 6"-10" from the surface. It is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint. Look at each part from lots of angles, especially if you are using a light color as it can be hard to tell where you've covered. 

5. Let the bottom dry (time per can recommendation) and then flip everything over and paint the top side.

6. Allow the paint to cure at least 24 hours, more if it is humid. And ta-dah! A beautiful outdoor furniture set that cost you $100!

The cushions were $15 each (50% off at Cost Plus World Market) and I splurged on the pillows, spending $25 on the stripe and $40 on the rainbow petals both from Dot and Bo. More than I would usually spend but LOOK AT THEM.

All in all, a pretty good project coming in at under $200 total!


Hope you enjoyed this mid-week DIY-- more from this series is coming soon so I hope you'll come back for more budget-friendly projects and inspiration. Have a project you'd like to share? Burning DIY questions? Hit me up on the social media and use #bettybetatester to show of your DIY skills! xo

Summer Succulents

Welcome back, Beta Testers! I can't tell you how thrilled I am to not only be done with spring quarter, but also the PNB season is done! Three cheers for only one job and being done with school 'til fall! 

So let's dive into a little mid-week DIY, shall we? As I think you might have noticed, I love plants and having bits of green life in the house makes me heart happy. However,  I am plagued by forgetting to water said indoor plants and have frequently killed them (don't be like me). SOLUTION: succulents. Not to get all pinteresty on you, but succulents are adorable and are a great way to get more green inside and out.

Replanting Succulents

  • Make sure you have a plant that is appropriate for where you intend to have it. Indoor succulents don't do well outdoors and outdoor varieties are often less happy indoors. 
  • A container for your new friend. When it comes to selecting a container, expect the unexpected! Use an old tea tin, mug or jar. Anything will do! 
  • Washed gravel to promote good drainage
  • A bit of extra potting soil, loam or sand is preferable. You can also sometimes find "succulent" soil blends which you could also use.

As with all other planting, you'll want to shuffle the roots around and pack the new soil around it. Usually, you would want to water well after replanting anything, but in this case just give it a light mist with a spray bottle. 

E voile! Easy peasy and adds a delightful pop of green to any room. 


Hope you enjoyed this quickie project and I promise we'll be back to our regularly scheduled projects soon! In the meantime, keep up with me on social media and share your DIY questions, flops and successes with #bettybetatester or in the comments below! xo 

DIY Stamped Brass Keychain

Happy Hump-Day, beta-testers! It's been a quick few weeks, with going on vacation, coming home from vacation, and getting ready for the end of the quarter. Whew. 

This is the time of year for change; graduations, moving house, changing jobs. What better time for a personalized keychain?? They make great housewarming, graduation and any-old-time gifts!

Stamped Brass Keychain

  • hammer

  • 6mm alpha metal stamps 

  • steel bench block (optional rubber or sand block to muffle sound)

  • 1 1/2-2" blank brass tags

  • jump ring

  • key ring

  • paper, pencil, stamp pad, scissors, masking tape

  • leather tassel (DIY coming soon!)

1. Decide what you want your tags to say and mock them up by stamping them out on paper, cut out the words and place on a traced tag. Once you've decided, tape the text in place and use for future reference.

2. Use the masking tape to tape the tag to the bench block. Use the tape to keep the letters straight on each line and the tag from shifting. 

3. Stamp your letters holding on to the stamps with your thumb and first three fingers and use your pinky for balance. Give the stamp a good whack or two with the hammer. You only have this one chance, so make it a good one!

4. Once you have your tag all stamped out, give it a good polish! Attach a jump ring, a split key ring and a cute little leather tassel. 

It's a quick project and once you get the hang of it, it will make a sweet personal touch to any gift. Pretty much all of the tools and materials can be bought on Amazon for pretty decent prices. I'm hoping to make some cute veggie garden markers with the stamps later in the summer, so keep a look-out for those!


What fun projects have you gotten up to lately? Anything you want to do but can't quite get started? Share your do's, don'ts and how the heck's with me in the comments or on social media with #bettybetatester! xo 

 

DIY Fold-over Clutch

Happy May Day, beta testers! The intro is short and sweet this week because it's spring time and there is a LOT of goodness to soak up, like this sweet little DIY...

Fold-over Clutch

For this project you will need (in addition to the following materials) a sewing machine and a little sewing know-how. If you'd like a sewing basics tutorial post, let me know! I'd be happy to whip one up if folks are interested!

I got my lining and patterned fabrics at Pacific Fabrics and the leather and zipper at Joann's

I got my lining and patterned fabrics at Pacific Fabrics and the leather and zipper at Joann's

  • 1/2 yard patterned cotton fabric (you might be able to get away with 1/4 yard if your pattern isn't directional... or if you don't care for pattern matching)
  • 1/4 yard leather (I used faux because it's easier to work with and a LOT cheaper)
  • 1/2 yard solid cotton fabric for lining
  • 1/4 yard fusible woven interfacing (optional)
  • 18" metal zipper (doesn't matter if it's a separating zip, you can always stitch it closed!)
  • Matching (or contrasting!) thread color
  • Pins, hand-sewing needle, scissors, pencil and ruler 

1. Cut your pieces: 2- 11"x15" pieces of lining, 2- 5.5"x15" of leather, and 2- 7"x15" of outer fabric and fusible interfacing. This is optional, but you may want to give your outer cotton fabric more support if your leather is super stiff or the cotton is super wimpy. Up to you!

2. Stitch the leather to the outer fabric, lining up the long sides (right sides together) and stitching with a 1/2" seam allowance. Press the seam allowances open (you may need a press cloth to keep the pleather from melting).

3. Line up your outer panels right sides together, pin and stitch the sides and bottom together with 1/2" seam allowance. Leave about 1/2" at the top open. This makes inserting the zipper easier. Trim your corners. Repeat with the lining, leaving about 6" open along the bottom so you can flip the bag later.

This reduces bulk and lets you turn your corners more cleanly

This reduces bulk and lets you turn your corners more cleanly

4. Insert zipper. Turn lining inside out and outer bag right side out, nest the outer inside the lining so right sides face each other. With it unzipped, pin the zipper to the top of the bag and lining making sure the zipper faces up and the top of the zipper lines up with the stitching line. Stitch zipper using your sewing machine's zipper foot, 1/4"-3/8" from the teeth. This is the trickiest part of the project so don't be disheartened if you have to take it out a couple times. Zippers are jerks, it's not you. 

It's a bag in a bag

It's a bag in a bag

Getting the pins in right is half the battle

Getting the pins in right is half the battle

Stitch it up!

Stitch it up!

5. Turn the bag right side out with the little hole you've cleverly left yourself in the lining. You're almost done! I gave all my seams a little press at this point while I could still access the inside, then stitched the opening in the lining closed (by hand or machine). 

Done! Now you have a charming and fashionable bag made by your own lovely hands! Even better it didn't cost an arm and a leg to get there! What's better than that?? (the answer is chocolate).


Have any suggestions for projects you'd like to see me tackle? Want to show off the sassy clutch you made? Post it with #bettybetatester! I've got even more springy fun recipes and projects coming your way this month so stay tuned. xo 

Weekly Wrap-up

Welcome to Sunday, readers! I hope you had lovely weekends where you got time off to sit and enjoy life. These moments can be rare sometimes and I hope you soak them up when they come along. 

If Spring Cleaning was on the docket for you this weekend (it definitely was for me), I have a quickie DIY for you! If you're like my household, you use the dishwasher packs instead of liquid or dry dishwasher detergent. I love the packs because they take the guesswork out of starting the dishwasher and I've never had spots on my dishes. Lately though, I've been thinking about how many things we use in the house that can be made with simple ingredients for much cheaper. Thus... homemade dishwasher cubes! 

DIY Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Cubes

  • 1/4c baking soda (any brand)
  • 3/4c Arm & Hammer washing soda
  • Lemon juice (just enough to coat, maybe a few tbs)
  • Ice cube or baking trays (mine are Wilton silicone treat-moulds)
  • White vinegar

1. Mix the baking and washing soda with the lemon juice until it is damp, but not soggy

2. Press the mixture into your trays. Make sure these molds are smaller than the soap chamber on your dishwasher!

3. Let dry overnight, pop out and store in an airtight container.

I love this DIY because it is super easy and requires very little. Also one box of baking and washing soda and one bottle of lemon juice could keep you in dishwasher cubes for YEARS. For best results, I have taken to adding a couple tablespoons of white vinegar to the "jet dry" chamber. Not only are my dishes sparkly clean, but so is my dishwasher! It's pretty easy for me to keep a small jar of white vinegar under my sink with the jar of cubes so it doesn't really feel like an extra step.

Now for this week's...

Gems of the Internet (with bonus links!):

 

In honor of one of my favorite book's 90's anniversary, 50 of the most beautiful quotes from  The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In honor of one of my favorite book's 90's anniversary, 50 of the most beautiful quotes from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


So how was your week? Keep up with all the fun on social media and tell me what you'd like to see by dropping me a line at bettybetatester@gmail.com!  xo Betty

Vintage Hack: Faux Enamel Milk Glass

It is officially spring, people. And you know what that means-- SO MANY FLOWERS. Flowers everywhere. I'm not complaining because I LOVE flowers, but the influx also begs the question--where do I put them all??

Photo by Leslie of  Splendid Rags  via  A Beautiful Mess

Photo by Leslie of Splendid Rags via A Beautiful Mess

Well, Betty has come to the rescue with a simple, budget-friendly way to get an awesome vintage look vase without spending much of your hard-earned cash or precious time.

Supplies:

  • dollar store vase
  • perm-enamel paint in colors of your choosing (or other enamel paint formulated for glass) 
  • perm-enamel surface conditioner (or rubbing alcohol-- they aren't technically the same but the alcohol gets the job done)
  • paint brushes and paper towels

1. First wash the vase with hot soapy water and allow it to dry completely, then condition the inner surface with the conditioner or rubbing alcohol. Again allow it to dry fully. 

2. Pour some paint into a cup and thin it a little with water. If you are mixing more than one color together to get your desired shade, make sure you pre-mix it, otherwise you'll get not-fully-blended color.

3. Once you have your desired color, pour the paint into the vase and use your paint brush to cover the entire inside of the vase. Turn it upside-down on a paper towel and allow the excess to drip out. The color will be thicker or thinner depending on how long you let it drip for. I wanted a thick coat so I left it for a few minutes. After setting it right-side up though, there was lots of dripping inside so I had to go back and touch up the drips and excess at the bottom every 10 minutes or so while it dried. 

4. If you plan to use the vase with water (not just for decoration, because these are NOT food-safe), be sure you let it fully cure. This means either baking it per the directions on the paint package, or letting it dry for 3 weeks. I chose the "let it dry for 3 weeks" option because I'm not sure how a dollar store vase would do in the oven, even at low temperatures. 

And behold! A beautiful vintage-looking vase for cheap! I do suggest picking a simple vase that doesn't have too much texture or angles as I can tell you that makes it way harder to paint the inside and achieve smooth, even coverage. As you can see, I did not do that and it was hard. Don't be like me.


Thoughts? Feelings? Love or hate it, I wanna know! What vintage-look should I hack next? If you can't get enough of my projects, keep up with me on social media and be the first to know about all the fun stuff I'm getting up to.

Mason Jar Projects part 2

Happy December, everyone! I am so glad finals are over and I can rejoin you all in the land of the living!

As promised (a LONG time ago), here is a brief how-to on DIY colored jars. 

DSCN1570.JPG

This method is the simplest and the most effective I've tried (and believe me, I've tried a LOT of methods). Before you get started, make sure you know what you want to do with your lovely colored jars. If you intend to use them for flowers or anything that needs liquid, I suggest method #1. If it is for tea lights or light-catching loveliness, go with method #2. Also know what sort of finish you'd like, clear or frosted.

Supplies

  • Jar or other glass vessel
  • Mod-podge (note the finish when you buy, matte will give a frosted look and gloss a clear look, I don't recommend the "glitter" version for this project, but I don't know your life.)
  • Food coloring
  • Sponge brush
  • Parchment or wax paper

Method #1: For liquid

  1. Mix one tablespoon of mod-podge and a few drops of food coloring. This is enough to do a couple small jars.
  2. Use the sponge brush to apply the color mixture to the OUTSIDE of the container in smooth, even strokes. Don't forget the bottom and the rim. Note that while this will allow you to use the vessel to hold water but does NOT make it food-safe.
  3. Let it dry upside down on parchment or wax paper for at least a couple hours, maybe overnight. As a life-long mess-maker, I didn't do this. Don't be like me. 
  4. Ta-dah! Best part is, if you don't like the way it turned out, just soak in hot, soapy water and poof! No more color.

Method #2: No liquid

  1. Mix one tablespoon of mod-podge and a few drops of food coloring as in method #1.
  2. Use the sponge brush to apply color on the INSIDE of the container in smooth, even strokes. Be sure to pull any extra out of inner corners and crevices.
  3. Let dry upside down on parchment or wax paper. Definitely a few hours, probably overnight.
  4. Woot! Done. 
DSCN1571.JPG

I love this because it is SO simple and inexpensive. It's a great way to repurpose all kinds of thrift store finds and to change your color scheme without a bunch of time, money and hassle. And so pleasant on my kitchen table!


How's everyone's holiday eating season going? Hope it's not sugary enough because have I got the treat recipes for YOU! Just you wait...

As always, can't wait to hear how you like this how-to! Share your projects on social media with #bettybetatester!