theCOZYgreenCOCOON

Headed towards back to the basics living.


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Lavender Love

I love lavender. It’s got that almost minty smell but then there’s something else, another scent mingled with the mint that makes lavender, well, lavender. It’s relaxing and refreshing at the same time. Well, much to my surprise and delight I found out recently that Albuquerque has a lavender farm, Los Poblanos. And not just a lavender farm but an organic farm that grows lavender as well as fresh fruits and veggies, too. So when I read they we’re having a Lavender festival this last weekend, well, you know I had to try and convince DH to go check it out with me. I was a little worried when I asked him about it. I had no idea if it would be worth the effort or not.  I wasn’t sure just how big or small this festival was going to be.  IT WAS HUGE!!! There was so much to see and do.

Lavender fields set aside just for handpicking and taking home with you, mmmm!

Crafters and artists hard at work.

Some great bluegrass/jazz/country background music to enjoy under the shade…

while we sipped our lavender lemonade.

Will have to post a recipe for this, once I find a good one.

It was a little hot and humid,

Monsoon season is coming!

but I found another way to keep me cool as we wandered through the dozens of vendors selling their crafts and home-grown goodies…

…an ice-cold snow cone!

It was wonderful seeing so many people just out and about enjoying all the great things our local growers and crafters have to offer.  Now I just have to work on getting DH to stay with me overnight at their inn. They are reported to have a chef that cooks a scrumptious breakfast from all their organic produce!

Hope you all had a great weekend too! (And to think there is another fun weekend up ahead for our country!)

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Office Chair & Card Table Makeover

I needed a space to call my own. You know, a space where I sit down and the creating happens-or doesn’t happen-and then I can get up and walk away without putting anything up-and return an hour or a day or days later and pick right back up where I started. So I searched Craigslist. Nothing. Or at least nothing I would pay the asking amount for. And then I tried used retail stores like Goodwill & the Salvation Army. Nothing. It was rather weird actually. All the Goodwill stores in my area are mysteriously out of furniture. No desks, no tables, no couches. Hmmm…are people wiseing up to the resale value of their goods? Or perhaps the economy is just causing people to hang on to their stuff instead of whipping out the plastic and replacing every last item in their home. (No judgement here, been there done that, drank the kool-aid myself.)

So that pretty much left me to work with what I already had. Probably the best eco-friendly solution I suppose but definitely involved a little….creative thinking. What’s that saying? “Necessity is the mother of all invention”, I think it is. So here came the world’s dreariest card table and a rolling desk chair that I have wanted to ditch for a couple of years now along with some fabric & spray paint and voila! At least something that makes me smile when I see it! Want to try something like this yourself? Here’s what I did.

Office Chair  & Card Table Makeover

Supplies/Tools:

  • 1 yard pretty fabric of your choice
  • 1 can of spray paint in your color of choice
  • a screwdriver or drill
  • Staple gun
  • Chair in desperate need of some sprucing up
  • Depressing card table lookin’ for love

How to:

1. Figure out where all the screws are located on your chair. Using your screwdriver or drill take the chair apart only in the parts where you need access to the fabric. In my case I had to remove the back and the seat because the screws were keeping the plastic backing attached to the fabric in order to hide the one million staples keeping the fabric on.

You can see it needs a little love, right?

2. Pry  the plastic backing away from the fabric covered cushion.

You may or may not need a butter knife to help you out here.

3. Lay your cushion on top of your new fabric choice. Cut out enough fabric to leave approximately 1″  extra fabric on all sides. You want to give yourself plenty of fabric to work with. You can trim the excess later.

4. Begin gathering  and stapling your fabric to the chair cushion. Start with one side of the cushion and then complete the opposite side, being sure to pull the fabric taught as you go. I like to check my progress as I’m going just to make sure things are on track. Then do the same thing with the other two sides.

5. Now that you’ve finished stapling go ahead and trim any excess fabric. Get as close as you can without loosening the fabric you’ve just secured. You want to remove as much excess bulk as possible so that when you put the cushion back together it will still fit snugly inside or next to the backing.

6. Complete the same process for the chair seat cushion.

7.Spray paint the plastic parts of the chair. If you really want to protect it from dings & scratches make sure you use a clear sealer afterwards. (Or have your amazing hubby paint it for you , like I did.)Sorry I didn’t get any pics of this part. I think I was just too anxious to put it all back together (=

8. Reassemble the chair.

9. Do the happy dance because it looks so cute compared to before!

***To  complete the card table makeover you are basically going to follow the same process. Did you know that a card table can be taken apart VERY easily? I didn’t until I started this process. I always assumed that the top was glued on. Mine wasn’t. Only some very removable screws were holding the top to the base.

Just flip your table over, grab your drill, cut your fabric and get to stapling! Spray paint the table legs. Let dry. Reassemble, and you’ll go from this…

to this…

Promise me you're only looking at the table & chair right? Not all the craft project stuff already covering it, right?

***I’m linking up to the linking party over at Sew Can Do this week!***


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Homemade Limeade

To celebrate Summer Solstice and try and keep ourselves cool on the hottest day of the year so far, I made DH and I some home made limeade. I know, most people make lemonade-which is really yummy too, but I prefer limes over lemons anyday so 9 times out of 10 I’ll make limeade instead. Soooo, refreshing.And very simple recipe.

If you’ve never tried making your own homemade limeade or lemonade here’s my go to recipe. You can make this recipe without a juicer or a lemonade maker but it will definitely give you an arm workout! Good or bad depending on how you look at it I guess (=

Homemade Limeade

The Goods:

  • 1 qt. (4 C.) Cold Water
  • 1/2 qt (2 C.) Ice Cubes
  • 3/4 C. Sugar (Splenda is also really good in this recipe, try using just a little less though)
  • 6 Limes or 4 Large Lemons to juice and one extra to slice and put in the pitcher after mixing

The Grind:

Add water, ice and sweetener to a pitcher.

I admit it-I cheat. I use this wonderful Presto Lemonade Maker. I've had it for about 4 years now and have never regretted the $30 it cost me. I just found it here on Ebay for $10 if you're interested...

Cut the limes/lemons in half and juice thoroughly.

Add to the water/sugar/ice mixture and stir thoroughly. Enjoy (=  (Easy peasy!)


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The Newest & Most Unnecessary Product to Date

UGH!!!! Just when I think I’ve seen it all, the marketers come up with something new! Some days I am so…overwhelmed…annoyed…and dare I say, disgusted with the slew of unneccessary products that are thrown at us. Have you seen this commercial?

Really?! I almost have no words to describe what I think of this commercial (but of course what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t think of something).  After taking a few deep breaths, several things about this commercial are slamming me in the face. If we were to believe the claims (direct and indirect) of this commercial then we should  assume that all towels used in the bathroom are unsanitary unless they are used by one person, one time. Excuse me, but aren’t towels used to dry your hands off AFTER they have been washed and cleaned? And even if there are a few germs  on there, I think we’re all gonna survive. Somehow our ancestors and even myself for the last 30 years have managed to use reusable cloth hand towels in our homes. Perhaps the makers of this product got together with all the antibacterial soap/handgel makers and decided they would give it one more shot in eradicating all germs. Oh, wait that’s not possible-and in fact some germs are even good for you and even necessary. I think they missed those news segments that talked about how there is such a thing as too clean and upsetting the delicate balance of good germs/bad germs.

Another thing that slams me in the face is the lack of concern for how much waste this product would create if everyone used this product. Too bad for Kleenex that there is YouTube out there. Somebody else -I assume an eco-conscious person like us, saw how ironic this product was and questioned just how many of these ‘hand towels’ would be used in place of one or two reusable cloth ones. Here’s the parody below.

And then after you consider the trees that will be unnecessarily used to make this product, then there is the actual process of making these snow white beauties. Did you ever see Eco Trip with David Derothschild? It was a  show featured on the Sundance Channel. It used to be featured on Hulu too. That’s where I saw some of the different episodes. Some of the more die-hard eco gurus knocked it for its mainstream quality but I actually think that’s part of its beauty. There needs to be information out there that reaches the masses, to just get people thinking and I think that’s what this show does.

One particular episode I have in mind was where he explored the process from start to finish on how a paper napkin was made. I have to assume that the process in making these “hand towels” is similar. I wish I had a clip to show you where he went out with some different scientists that study our rivers and they discuss the pollutants that are being dumped into our lakes and rivers by paper mills. Really sad! If you’d like to watch some clips from the different episodes, click here.

I haven’t even brought up the cost of these things! If I’m being honest I can see how these might be appealing if you we’re having a really huge get together and you knew you were going to be using paper towels. Instead of having to rip the paper towels apart you could use these. Okay, maybe. I get that. But this commercial is suggesting that people use these on an everyday regular basis. If we base cost just  upon this commercial I bet the average family would use at least a box a week. A case of 6 boxes sells for ~$20 on Amazon. That would be just over 3 dollars a box. So for a years supply that’s about $175. Do you know how many reusable hand towels you could buy with that much money?!

(Sigh), well I have spoken my piece, I hope, hope, hope, that if you were considering buying this product that you will reconsider. If you really are concerned that too many germs are getting on your hand towels just replenish them  on a daily basis or whatever seems best to you-anything is better than these disposable ones IMO. I actually noticed that some family/friends had paper towel rolls in their bathrooms  and I came up with an eco-friendly solution a while back . Just use a stack of  wash cloths and ask people put the dirty ones  in a hamper located under the bathroom sink. This way if there is a truly legitimate reason for a one time use towel  they are available. Then come wash day toss them in with your regular load of towels. I made up a little sign so people could easily get the idea.

I only have one more terrible, awful thought: What’s next? One time use disposable bath towels?


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Father’s Day Panic

As you all know, I’m sure, Father’s Day is this Sunday. Now I always send a card/call my own dad, but this year I’ve got to add Father’s Day to my list of holidays for DH. Yay! I am excited, but also a little stressed. Been trying to think of something  a little bigger than a card since it’s the first Father’s Day he is celebrating without breaking the bank.

My first thought was to make him something to eat. Food-you can’t go wrong with food, right? I saw these fabulous shirt & tie cakes over at Tiepedia.  Aren’t they amazing!

Image Via Tiepedia

and check out this sweater & tie combo…

…but then reality sunk in. I am not a cake decorating artist. Not in any way shape or form.

And then I saw these stylish man toiletry bags (including a great sewing tutorial) from over at Prudent Baby.

But as much as I LOVE this little bag (maybe I should  make one for me), DH is always a bit squeamish about bags not looking manly enough. Seriously, I showed him this diaper bag from Diaper Dude hoping to find something to make him feel comfortable when the occasion arises in the future and even they we’re too girlie!

I also liked these homemade cards and tutorials available over at Martha Stewart.

This one was great to make for my dad, but did not make me think of DH at all. I can’t remember the last time I saw him in a suit & tie. Just not his style-and that’s okay with me. I’m a jeans & t-shirt kind of girl myself.

So what is a “young” momma to be like me to get for a soon to be daddy? Well, I saw these key chains on Etsy by change of Hart.

The airplane one would be perfect, but I knew it wouldn’t get here in time. But it got me to thinking. Since this is the first year we are celebrating Father’s day from wife to husband  I know that he doesn’t have all the typical Father’s day paraphernalia. Why not get him a simple inexpensive key chain like this one from crafty addictions?

I’m sure I can find one even at Wallies. I’ll print a small note inside: “(Already) World’s Best Daddy.” Then when we get that first photo of our little girl he can switch it out with a shot that I’m sure will make him smile.  And while I’m at it, instead of going for a super frosted iced cake that DH is sure to scrape half the frosting off, I think I’ll just make him a simple chocolate cake like the one he requested last week.

And maybe a trip to the local U Pull and Pay. It’s this huge, huge junkyard full of old cars that people can strip usable parts from. Basically, my equivalent to Goodwill or a garage sale. I love the fact that it’s actually an eco-friendly practice. Some of the things he has walked out of there with are in pristine condition but very inexpensive!

Still not sure what kind of card I’m going to make him, but at least I’m 75% of the way prepared for DH’s first Father’s Day. Whew! (Big sigh of relief.)


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Making Reusable Cloth Napkins

Ever had fresh juicy straight from the grill corn on the cob? You know the one with gobs of dripping sweet butter and the kernels just pop in your mouth? Delish! And messy! Grab me a paper towel-wait make that a reusable cloth napkin-will ya?

Yep, I got my cloth napkins finished. Previously we had just been using some el cheapo washcloths from Wallies and they work great. Utilitarian gets the job done. But I’ve been wanting to make something a bit prettier since I started my quest to ditch the paper towels.  I don’t know, I’ve always had this image in my head that green somehow equates simple no frills, and when I get the chance to prove that just isn’t true-that green living can actually be…well…nicer…well that makes me happy. I love surrounding myself with beautiful things. And I love when that means I’m living a greener life and saving myself some green stuff too.

If you’ve got basic sewing machine skills you can make these too. I consider myself at a beginner skill level.  They are easy I promise. I would say it takes more time to iron the edges , especially with my OCD tendencies to get the edges straight, than it actually takes to sew them.

To make them:

Step 1. Cut your chosen fabric into 14″ x 10.5″ pieces.

Step 2. Lay your fabric wrong side up. Use an iron to carefully fold the edges of the fabric over about 1/4″. Do this on all four sides of your fabric.

3. Then use your iron to fold over another 1/4″ on each of the four sides.

Step 4. Sew the hems into place. Hint: Start sewing about an inch from the edge of the fabric, backstitch, and then go ahead and sew forward. This prevents the fabric from bunching and jamming up the sewing machine since you are working with such a narrow hem.Do this on all four sides of your napkin.

And, voila! Pretty, reusable cloth napkins that add just a bit of fancy to your day!


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Upcycling Your Clothing

I promised you some upcycling from fellow bloggers. Here ya go (= Seriously,  these people are really, really creative. They inspired me to take a boring ol’ sports team shirt and at least make it a bit more feminine. What’d ya think?

Stacie from The Creative Crate made this adorable white cardigan from plain ol’ long sleeve tee!

Simply Designing took the simple blue scoop neck top above to a whole new cuteness level! She offers a great tutorial to get you started too.

And check out what Nicole over at House of Huddleston can do with some pretty ugly stuff from Goodwill  and turn them into something really, really cute! Really inspiring! Makes me not want to throw anything away without first trying to see the potential in it! I’m so glad that’s what God does with us-Instead of tossing us out, He sees the potential and turns us into something truly beautiful and unique!

As she said “From Frumpy to Fab.”

And here’s my beginner sports team t-shirt makeover. Not quite as dramatic but its a little better than it was anyways!

Here I am-pregnant belly and all! Once I have had the baby and get my pre-baby body back (determined it will happen) then I am going to cut a slit in the lower back of the tee and tie that in a knot to take away the loosey goosey shape around the waist.

And here’s a close-up of the knotted sleeve and the rough v-neck I added.