Saturday, April 15, 2017

How to Make Large Tissue Flowers

For years I have loved tissue paper pom poms, as you may have seen in both girls' rooms decor as well as for their birthday parties. But when we decided to gift Avery with a "big girl room" for her 5th Birthday, I knew I wanted to change up my usual pom pom decor. But as you can see I didn't stray too far, and instead of hanging pom poms, I created a tissue paper flower mural on the wall to match her fun and floral comforter.


And since I couldn't find a tutorial to really guide me through making these, I decided to make my own that way you can give them a try too! I love them as wall decor, but they could also be used as table centerpieces, or as large "bows" for presents, truly the skies the limit.

Here's the supplies you will need for this project:

*Tissue paper. For this project I wanted some specific colors of tissue paper so I headed over to Papermart.com as opposed to shopping at my local craft stores because their color selection was pretty minimal. As you can see from the picture here, they have over 70 colors of tissue paper to choose from which is great, but also makes it a bit difficult to choose from since there are SO many choices, and it's hard to tell if the color in the picture will match the look you are going for. But either way, they were a great site to use. I also liked their large sheets of tissue paper. The size I ordered are 20" x 30". 



The specific pack I got was called, "Matte/Matte Mini Pack (meaning it's matte on both sides)" and it only cost $2.50 per pack and I got 24 sheets per pack, a pretty good deal if you ask me. Here's the colors I ordered that you can see in my flowers:
  • White
  • Coral (2 pks.)
  • Island Pink
  • Teal
  • Midnight Blue
  • Aquamarine (2 pks.)
  • Light Gray
Now I ordered way too much, I even ordered 2-3 other packs but I didn't like the colors so I didn't use them. It's always better to spend a few extra dollars and have extra than run out. Now I have extra for the next time I feel like making tissue flowers...um Mila, want some in your room too? ( :

Now before beginning the flowers, there's some prep work that needs to be done: 




  1. Trace the petal templates, rectangle shape (for crumbling later), and the circle (used for providing stability if hung on the wall) onto posterboard and cut them out.
  2. Gather your tissue paper and decide on the flower color choices. I did a total of 9 flowers (2 big pink, 2 big teal, 2 medium coral and 3 medium gray).
  3. Decide on your "inside color", I kept this consistent on all the flowers because that's what the flowers were like on Avery's comforter, so feel free to keep the colors the same or change them to suit the look you are going for.
  4. Once you know the inside color, you will use the rectangle template 
Now you're ready to start your first flower: (Be sure to watch the video for more picture details on how to make the flowers!)


  1. Begin by tracing the large flower petal template onto the tissue paper with 3 layers and folded in half to get 6 petals
  2. Now trace the medium flower petal template onto the tissue paper with 3 layers and folded in half to get 6 petals as well.
  3. Now trace the small flower petal template onto the tissue paper with 2 layers and folded in half to get only 4 petals.
  4. Next trace 9 of the rectangle templates onto the tissue paper that you want to be the inner most circle of the flower (later it will be crunched up and glued on). Cut out the rectangles and set them aside. 
  5. Now cut out the large, medium and small flower petals from the tissue paper.
  6. Then it's time to start forming your flower. Begin with smallest flower petals and start grouping them together like you are making a bouquet. Allow them to form a stem at the bottom of the the grouping. Also, fan them out and cup them up to look like a flower (as opposed to flat or pointing down petals). 
  7. Now use some tape and tape around the bottom of the flower "bouquet" to keep it all in place. I usually used 2-3 pieces. 
  8. Next repeat the same steps for the medium flower petals, grouping them together in a bouquet and fanning them out. I like to see it like a four leaf clover at first, and then add the last 2 petals opposite each other in two of the corners of the petals to make 6 altogether. Then tape the base and bottom of the "bouquet".
  9. Next repeat the same steps with the large flower petals, also using 6 petals total and then tape the bottom. Now is a good time to turn on your hot glue gun.
  10. Now trim down each of the bouquet stems so they are much shorter little stumps. They will be glued like nesting dolls into each other and work better when the base is shorter.
  11. Now you are ready to assemble the flower. Begin by crumpling up the rectangle tissue paper template that will make the center of your flower. Next, using your hot glue gun, apply some glue to the inside of the smallest flower petal bouquet and quickly place the crumpled center in place. Add more glue as needed to keep it in place. 
  12. Now we are going to start working our way out to the larger petals of the flower, so get your medium size flower petal bouquet and prepare to place the small flower petal bouquet on top of it. Then using your hot glue gun, apply some glue to the center of the medium flower bouquet and then place the small flower bouquet on top. Press and hold the petals from the top and bottom at the middle to secure all layers.
  13. Then repeat the same steps with the larger flower petal bouquet, by hot gluing the medium flower petal bouquet inside of it as well. 

You're flower is now done! If you plan to hang your flower on the wall (as opposed to a centerpiece) follow the next step:
  1. Using one of the circle templates you originally cut out, hot glue it onto the back of the flower holding it down from the center and back. Add more glue as needed so it serves as a secure base for the flower.
  2. Now you are ready to hang the flowers on the wall. I used 2 push pins for each flower and placed them behind the small petals, one of the top (middle) and one on the bottom (middle) of the flower so it was secure in the wall.

Now repeat all steps 8 more times...you may want to find a good show on Netflix for this one!

When it comes to hanging them all on the wall and creating the "final grouping" of the flowers feel free to play around. I moved mine around tons of times. Do I have tons of push pin holes all in my wall now? Yes, but they are mainly covered up by the flowers and when these do come down we can simply patch the holes in the wall and call it good. 



That's about it, how I made large tissue flowers for Avery's room. Hope you can give them a try as well!


If you give them a try, tag me on Instagram @ashleysgreenlife!

How to Paint Furniture with Chalk Paint

Do you ever have pieces of furniture that don't match the look you're going for in your space but you don't want to spend the money to buy new ones? I was so there this past summer after we changed out our carpet and tile floors to dark bamboo. The darkness of the floors with the darkness of nearly all my furniture was a bit much for me and since I spent most of my money on the floors, replacing all the furniture was not an option either. So that's when I got crafty and green and decided to keep my current furniture but just paint it with chalk paint to give it a new look...talk about one cool way to reuse what you already have!


Now the main reason I decided to use chalk paint was because I had some left from when I painted my fireplace stone over the summer and while researching how to use the chalk paint I kept seeing all these things about how you could use chalk paint to update your end tables, clocks, among other home decor and even furniture. So using what I had left from my stone project, I decided to paint four furniture pieces from the dark and random colors they were to white to get a more uniform look in my space and to brighten things up a bit.  Here's how I did it...

Now let's get started with that project. Here's the pieces of furniture I was going to be painting for this project:

Supplies needed for this project:


But is white the only colors? Heck no! There are tons of colors available on the Chalkworthy Antiuqing Paint website...truly the skys the limit!

This was my second time using chalk paint, and the Chalkworthy Antiquing Paint company was kind enough to send me some samples to use in this project and I've been more than happy with them. Read more about how to use chalk paint on their website here, or stay tuned on my blog to see another post coming soon where I share how I paint furniture with chalk paint.

How I did the project in this week's video...



A big thanks to Chalkworthy Antiquing Paint for sending me the free samples I used for this project, all opinions expressed are my own. 

Happy painting greenies!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Make Dinner with Me: Vegan Burrito Bowls

Join me and my family for a fun new video series called, “Make Dinner with Me” where I trade in my usual video format for a more candid look at some of our favorite kid-friendly vegan dinner recipes. First up are Vegan Burrito Bowls that we make with quinoa, roasted veggies, beans, cashew cheese, salsa, and guacamole. Enjoy the craziness!



RECIPE:
"Vegan Burrito Bowls”

Ingredients:
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 organic red pepper
  • 1 organic green pepper
  • 1- pkg. Large portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup dry organic quinoa (http://go.magik.ly/ml/1ax/)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 1 can organic corn
  • 1 bag organic tortilla chips
  • 1 jar of your favorite salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Cilantro
  • Spices for veggies: cumin, chili powder, salt
Steps:
  1. Add 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of water to a rice cooker (here’s the one I use) and cook until done, keep on warm until ready to serve.
  2. Chop and saute all the peppers and onion on Medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the water releases. Then season with a pinch of cumin, a few shakes of chili powder, and salt to taste then set aside.
  3. Drain and pour the cans of beans and corn into separate sauce pans and put on Medium Low so they can warm (add salt if needed).
  4. Put salsa, guacamole, cashew cheese, and chopped cilantro in separate bowls to create an assembly line with the other ingredients.
  5. Now go through the “burrito bowl assembly line” and serve up with the quinoa, roasted veggies, beans, corn, salsa, guacamole, cashew cheese, and cilantro...oh and don’t forget the tortilla chips for dipping!
Vegan Cashew Cheese Ingredients
(Inspired by Cafe Gratitude's Nacho Cashew Cheese)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of raw unsalted cashews, soaked for several hours (or at least 1 hour) (http://go.magik.ly/r/ashleysgreenlife/b86a/)
  • 3/4 cup water (or a little less)
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
  • ½ Tablespoon nutritional yeast (http://go.magik.ly/r/ashleysgreenlife/15612/)
  • ¼  Tablespoon salt
  • ¼ Tablespoon arrowroot powder (http://go.magik.ly/r/ashleysgreenlife/b45d/)
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (http://go.magik.ly/ml/3rb7/)
Steps:
  1. Soak 1 cup of raw, unsalted cashews in water for 6-8 hours, or at least 2.
  2. Then rinse the cashews, pour them in the blender and add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Blend for about a minute or two until completely smooth.
  4. Place leftovers in a container in the fridge, will keep for 2-3 days



PRODUCTS MENTIONED IN THE VIDEO:

Thanks for watching! Be sure to tag me on Instagram @ashleysgreenlife if you try this recipe!

Parenting Hack: Motivating Kids to Brush Their Teeth

We’ve all been there before; battling it out with our kids to get them to not only WANT to brush their teeth, but to brush their teeth  LONG enough to actually do something to prevent cavities. But battle no more, with today’s  “Parenting Hack” I’ll show you a fun and easy way to motivate kids to brush their teeth that will leave everyone smiling (and with clean teeth!).


The magic trick that has really changed the way my girls brush their teeth is an app for your phone called, "Disney Magic Timer by Oral-B" it is basically a timer that runs for two minutes and as your child is watching and brushing their teeth, a scene of their favorite Disney character is uncovered. Here's a link to the Oral-B website, as well as a link to the app in iTunes, and a link to the app on Google Play.


As simple as it sounds, my kids have really improved in their toothbrushing since we've started using it, not only by increasing the time they brush but also in their effectiveness of the brushing too.

One catch to using the app is that it has to be with Oral-B toothbrushes, and whatever character toothbrush you have that's the scenes you will see when brushing. Want a new character scene? Well then you need to buy a new toothbrush. Here's a few favorites you might like: DoryAvengersStar WarsDoc McStuffins, and Princesses.


But aside from that, it's pretty simple to set up. You first set up your child's name/profile, then they can choose a character to brush with. From there you scan their toothbrush and then it starts a countdown. Once it starts the timer begins for 2 minutes and a scene is shown, but covered in bubbles. As your child brushes, the scene become more clear. During this time music also plays, which my girls love and it makes the brushing time much more fun.


See them brushing here...



In case you're wondering my two favorite “green” kid’s toothpastes that are fluoride-free are:
Xlear Spry Tooth Gel and The Honest Company Strawberry Blast Toothpaste.

After they are done, the scene is revealed and they get to save it as a sticker which goes in their "sticker book." Each character they have gets a sticker book and they can look back through and see all the stickers they have earned so far.


So there you have it, my simple parenting hack for getting kids to brush their teeth: just get the app!
Again here's a link to the Oral-B website, as well as a link to the app in iTunes, and a link to the app on Google Play.


Do you have any other toothbrushing hacks or tips to get your kids to brush their teeth? Share below!
Also, see my other favorite green kid products here on my "Obsessed with It" page (scroll to the very bottom of the page to find my “Green Kids section”.

Disclaimer: This was not a sponsored post, just my honest review of the app...which we love!


My Favorite Eco-Friendly Rug Pads

When buying new areas rugs this summer I thought all I needed were the rugs...wrong! Rug pads are a crucial part of having a rug pad not only to keep it in place but also to make it more comfortable. The problem is that most traditional rug pads are made with glues and adhesives that off-gas. But after searching the market, I discovered that some greener alternatives do exist and one of those is Rug Pad Corner



They offer a variety of rug pads that are made from recycled fibers, natural rubber, and contain no glues, adhesives so there is no off-gassing. One of the ways they are able to ditch the toxic glues and adhesives is by using heat pressing to press together the felt fibers of the rug pads...yeah for greenness and not toxic-ness! On top of this the rugs are hypoallergenic and are resistant to mold and mildew.

So I reached out Rug Pad Corner to see if they would let me try some of their green rug pads and they were nice enough to send me some and that we now walk on daily.




The first place I needed a rug pad was in my kitchen. As you can see, the dark floors plus dark table was needing some brightness and color to break up all the dark wood.



The rug pad I was sent for that area is called a Superior Thick Felt Rug Pad and I placed this rug pad under this rug: Dash and Albert Diamond Handwoven Yellow Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug (5’ x 8’ for the one linked, but the one in my dining room is 6’ x 9’ in case you’re wondering).


What's unique about this one is that it doesn't have a natural rubber backing like the one I will share next because this one was going under my dining room table which would hold it in place. But in my living room, the rug pad is in the center of the room with little to no furniture on top of it so it needed a little extra non-slip help.

The finished look. 

And the second place I needed a rug pad was in my living room, which was also looking very dark with the dark floors and dark furniture.




This one has the natural rubber backing. 
The rug pad I was sent for that area is called an Ultra Premium Non Slip Rug Pad which I originally placed under my Dayln Rug Co. Cabana Hand-Tufted Robin’s Egg Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug (5’ x 7’6”).



But then I realized my dogs' nails were gradually ripping up so I had to swap it for a shag rug they wouldn't damage and I also decided to upgrade the size to better fill the space (and so I swapped out the rug pad to be a larger size as well).  Here's the new rug I chose: Safavieh Dallas Shag Light Blue Ivory Trellis Rug (6’ x 9’)


So there you have it, my favorite eco-friendly rug pads and how I use them in my home. If you are in the market for a more eco-friendly type of rug pad be sure to check out Rug Pad Corner. What kind of rug pads do you like to use or do you use any at all? Share below


Disclaimer: Rug Pad Corner sent me these rug pads to try for free to try for this video, all views expressed are my own.

Parenting Hack: It's OK to Wake Alarm Clock

First up in my new “Parenting Hacks” series is a video about how to help your kids know when it is “ok to wake” in the morning and come out of their room.  I don't know about you, but I've struggled for short periods of time with both of my girls waking up at random times during the night and early morning, thinking it was a-okay to just come on out of their room. So in desperation I searched the internet to find what I could use or if a special way to teach them when it was time to come out and then I found something simple, easy and fun...


It's an OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night Light that you set to a certain time and each day a green light goes off on the clock to signal your child that it is now "ok" to wake up and come out of their room.


Right off the bat I loved the simplicity of this alarm clock and how it was easy for me to teach my kids to only come out when the light is green, and if it's not green that they needed to stay in their room.



Obviously when you're choosing what time you want your child to wake up at, you'll want to find one that's not too late that they end up in their room for a super long time after they have woken up, but you also don't want it too early so that they sleep right through it (it stays lit up for 30 minutes).  For me I set it for 6:50, this goes for weekends and weekdays...because we all know it makes no difference to young kids!  The reason I chose this time is that they both usually wake up between 6:40 and 7:00 on any given day sometimes later, sometimes earlier and this time was the perfect middle ground.


I also make exceptions that they can come out of their room if there's an emergency or if they have to go to the bathroom, we just say it's not time to "come out and start your day" until the light turns green. And right now Avery is 5 and Mila is 3, and they understand it pretty well and follow it diligently...meaning on most mornings the second the clock hits 6:50 I hear footsteps running down the stairs ready to get ehir breakfast.

I personally love the wake up light because it gives me extra time and peace in the morning, knowing I can get everything I need done  like working out, making lunches, and getting ready for work all before that light turns on, as opposed to some mornings they get up at 6:00 and other mornings 7:15. I think they also like the predictability of it too.


So there you have it, the OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night Light, my favorite parenting hack for helping my kids know when they can come out of their rooms in the morning. What's your favorite way to teach or show your kids that they can come out in the morning? Or have you ever tired a wake up light device? Share below!

Also, see this and my other favorite green kid products here on my "Obsessed with It" page (scroll to the very bottom of the page to find my “Green Kids section”.


Disclaimer: I purchased this product with my own money and this is my honest opinion of it.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Vegan What I Ate Today: January...with Mila!



After a long break from making my "what I ate" videos, I finally have one to share with you greenies, and this time I have a special guest...Mila! Her grandma who usually watches her on Tuesday and Thursday was out of town, so I had the day off to watch her. So my food for the day will not only include my food but also her's as well so you can see my some of our favorite vegan kid foods and snacks. 

So let's get started with Mila and I's food for the day...



Okay so usually I post not only the video but also detailed pictures of each thing I ate during the day, but with my busy schedule, I've decided to cut down on all the pictures in my blog posts to help save time. Sorry to loyal blog readers, but it's just become too time consuming to take the pictures, compile the video clips, edit the video, write the post, link products...and still edit the pictures, stick my logo on them and then arrange them on the blog. So for awhile I think I'm going to be going with reduced-picture blog posts so that hopefully I can get more videos out to you guys. Thanks for understanding.

With that said, here's a list and all the links to the food Mila and I ate that day...


That's my food for the day!

Have you ever tried any of the food Mila or I ate? Share below!




Sunday, January 8, 2017

How I Updated My Backsplash Using Smart Tiles


Sometimes when I do home improvement projects things start to snowball. It’s starts out as replacing the flooring, then the kitchen cabinets need painting, then a new countertop has to be installed, followed by new appliances, and what do you know…a new backsplash! What can I say, when I get on a roll with my home improvements I go a little overboard and no stone is left unturned. That’s the case with my new kitchen backsplash. The only problem was after using most of our home improvement budget for new floors, a few new appliances, and a new countertop there wasn’t much money left to replace the backsplash, so I took the internet and found a cool, cost-effective solution that would save me from ripping out my old tile and trying my hand at installing new tile, which I can guarantee is not in my skillset. 


The product I found is called Smart Tiles. The idea is simple; they are basically tile-like “stickers” that you stick over your existing tile to create a new look for your backsplash.  If you don’t already have a tile backsplash, you can also use the Smart Tiles too, you just place them on the wall in your kitchen or bathroom.

What motivated me to want to change my backsplash in the first place were the dated, off-white tiles that remained probably from back when my house was built in the 70s. I thought they might look okay once I painted my kitchen cabinets white, but all it did was highlight the off-white color and also I really started to notice the textured, slight bevel look the tiles had, not to mention the old grout was looking very yellow. Eww, I was not a fan. These days when subway tiles are all the rage, not grid-like square tiles I like had, so I knew I needed an update.  Thank goodness I found Smart Tiles.

The "Before"

Some features of Smart Tiles include how they are:
-lightweight, easy to handle, cut and clean
-resistant to heat of stovetops and humidity of bathrooms
-you don’t have to add any extra glue
-they can removed if needed
-they have a patented Gel-O technology that will not yellow over time

On their website they have styles that range from a variety of colors and tile sizes. My personal favorite tile-style called “Metro Blanco.” It was a crisp, bright white,  large subway-style tile, which I thought would go great in my newly painted white kitchen.

So I contacted Smart Tiles and they sent me the product to try out in my kitchen.
The tiles are sold in sheets and each sheet costs about $7.99 (other styles have different prices) and you figure up how much surface area you need to cover and then purchase that amount of sheets. For my project I needed to cover approximately 20 sq. ft. so I needed about 40 sheets of the Metro Blanco tile.  Which works out to be about $320.



I then gathered the rest of the supplies I needed for the project, which included:
  • ·      A rotary mat
  • ·      Box cutter
  • ·      Rulers or sewing rulers
  • ·      Pen




Then I got to work. After watching several Youtube videos about the installation of the SmartTiles and re-reading the instructions, I was ready to get started.  Thinking it would be a quick project; I planned to do it during my girls’ nap one afternoon.

The steps to the project are fairly simple and go like this:
  • 1.     Clean and prep the surface (using a degreaser, I like Krud Kutter)
  • 2.     Remove outlet and light covers.
  • 3.     Start installing the Smart Tiles in the corner and work your way out and then start on the other side making sure to overlap the grout lines as you go.
  • 4.     Measure around outlets and cut the Smart Tiles accordingly before placing on the wall.
  • 5.     That’s all!


Unfortunately once I got started, I realized this was no easy afternoon project. Once I started installing the Smart Tiles over my existing tile I had some trouble. Mainly the fact that the existing tile and it’s already made lines were messing with me big time. I could not get the Smart Tiles to line up nicely in the corners or on the wall.  Also, in the installation videos I saw the tile sheets seemed to be more symmetrical and even, but with the subway-style look of my Metro Blanco tiles, things did not line up as perfectly, which made cutting it even harder (for me).
 
See how the tiles slightly angle out on the left-hand side? The grout
of the previous tile made things a little more confusing!
Add on top of that that measuring and cutting out materials were not my forte.  What stressed me out the most was messing up my measurements or cutting incorrectly so then that entire sheet of tiles was wasted and when you know you only have a set number of sheets, it’s kind of hard not to wonder if you are going to end up with enough. (My advice would be to order 5-10 extra sheets just in case!)

So that’s when I called in my project helper, my husband Brandon. He installs duct work for a heating and cooling company for a living so taking measurements and cutting out supplies are things he does all day, every day. He had no quams about measuring and cutting out the tiles, where as I on the other hand would measure, re-measure, line it up, re-measure again, think about it some more and then if I was feeling brave, finally cut it.

So with him by my side, he took on the measuring and cutting and I did the smaller work like filling in the smaller tile sections and staying away from the outlets and light switches…my least favorite part.


Making progress...
Another challenge we faced was in my windowsill because the tile goes all the way into the windowsill which left us wondering, how do the tiles to go around a corner without having them pop up or open?

Luckily the Smart Tiles team emailed us with some specific instructions for folding the tile vertically for this space and then treating it like a corner on each side.




Once all the tiles were complete and in place, we went through and caulked the corners, and the tops.






Then it was finally complete.

The "After"






Looking back at the install process, I’d have to say it was much more difficult than I planned, so if measuring and precise work involved in this project doesn’t seem like something you are good at, you may be better off hiring a pro and sticking with real tile.

But if a good ol’ DIY is your thing, this Smart Tiles would be great for you.
Since having the Smart Tiles installed for a few weeks now I’m loving the cleaner, brighter look and of course, the way it completely changed the look of my dated backsplash.  It’s also much easier to clean and I really enjoy knowing that I didn’t have to send any of my old tile to the landfill, so kudos to Smart Tiles for that green factor!

If you’ve ever installed a peel and stick-like tile for your backsplash before or this Smart Tiles product, share below! Or if you have any questions for me about the product or installation, feel free to post that below too.

 Happy home renovating!

Disclaimer: Smart Tiles sent me these tiles for free to try for this video, all views expressed are my own. 


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