Thursday, March 21, 2019

Free Spring Printable

It might be spring officially, but it was c-c-c-COLD today in the Hoosier State!  So I was inspired to make some easy spring d├ęcor to brighten things up inside while we wait for things to warm up outside.  Of course, I wanted to share it with you.  So please enjoy this FREE PRINTABLE of one of my favorite quotes (it's even hanging in my daughter's room) in a very clean, crisp design.

Just click on the link below and download your free printable.  Sized to fit an 8x10 but because of it's white background you can easily resize it in whatever program you have and it will work in whatever frame you'd like!  I'm on the hunt for a great square frame to put mine in!

I'd love to see how you display your new printable so make sure to tag me @cutcraftcreate and inspire us all!  Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

DIY Motherhood Earrings

Oooh boy oh boy you guys, I am SO excited to have actually gotten a craft for myself done.  Not to mention- It. Is. Spectacular.  So here's how this came about: a woman from my church started selling handcrafted earrings (check her items out HERE). I love her pieces and asked about custom designs.  She's not currently doing that but I just kept longing for the design I had in mind. The motherhood symbol.  The problem is, I don't have a machine that cuts wood and I wanted something sturdy. So I came up with this solution that only took me about 15 minutes!

[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to products I used to create these earrings. Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.]

Y'all. This is made from Shrinky Dinks.  The process is simple and fast.  Here's how:

-'Crystal Clear' Shrinky Dink paper
Sharpie Marker
Dangle Earring Hooks (jewelry making supply)
-(optional) Printoff of your design to trace *I do not own this design.*

If you are tracing a design, print off your photo. Make sure that it is 3x larger than you want the finished earrings to be. Mine was about 4.75 inches tall to start. If you are blessed with more of an artistic skill than I am, free hand your design! When finished, cut around your shape.  I suggest using the clear Shrinky Dinks so that your design can look detailed without having to cut a bunch of small pieces. Lastly and very importantly: Using a hole punch, make sure to put a hole at the top to hang the earring pieces from. (remember it gets smaller, so use an actual hole punch!)

STEP 2: 
Bake your pieces! Following the instructions on the Shrinky Dinks, bake your design.  It only takes a minute or two so keep an eye on it. This is the exciting part!

[you can see how large the pre-baked pieces are on a baking sheet vs how small they are in my hands after being in the oven!]

When shrink paper bakes, it not only get smaller but much thicker as well.  So the flimsy pieces become thick and sturdy- perfect for a pair of lightweight but strong earrings!

Attach your new shrunk pieces to the earring hooks using pliers or a small tool (I used tweezers!) and enjoy!

These turned out exactly how I was hoping and that rarely ever happens so perfectly.  You can do any design you want in any color. Just remember that the marker color does darken when you bake it. I am so in love with these earrings and I love being able to wear a piece that is such a beautiful reminder of this crazy amazing journey of motherhood that I've been blessed to be a part of.

[although my eyes look tired, it's actually allergies.  But I thought tired mom eyes made a good photo too! ha!]

What design would you make?  The opportunities are endless! Join me on Instagram & tag me in your own creations. I'd love to see what you make!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

An HONEST review of Apple Valley Natural Soap + Discount code!

If you follow me on Instagram or are a part of my online craft community (facebook) then you may have seen me talk over and over again about how I want NEED to make a change in my life from the single use, chemical ridden junk that is filling every sector of our lives and transition to reusable, sustainable and natural products.  But here's the thing... that does not come naturally to me. At all. I am always forgetting to pack my reusable grocery bags, I frequently ask for a "to go" box at restaurants and dang it.. I really love my boxed mac -n- cheese and pizza rolls.

Needless to say, this transition in my life is difficult but necessary.  The thought of my children's bodies being full of all this junk was the tipping point for me-but now it's about keeping my body healthy for my family and about doing my part to leave this world in a better state than I found it for generations to come.

So... if you're looking for an HONEST review of the most natural, environmentally shampoo/body care I could find from someone who is not at all used to doing this whole "eco-friendly, toxic free" thing... read on.

 [Disclaimer: I have received free product in exchange for an honest review.  I reached out to the company for collaboration and all opinions are my own.  Giveaway is sponsored by Apple Valley and facilitated by Cut, Craft, Create]

Discount code is offered through Apple Valley.  Take 10% off by using AVNSKELSIE10 at checkout!  

What's this all about?

Apple Valley Natural Soap is a company owned by a woman named Marianne and her family that creates natural and organic body care products for hair and body.  More specifically, they HAND MAKE these artisan soap products.  They have over 60 soaps and you can even see on their website which ones are currently curing (which I think is super cool)!  When searching online, there were a few things I was looking for.  First- that the soap (shampoo in particular) was free of the toxins and fillers that many of the popular store brands have.   Secondly- I was looking for an environmentally friendly (plastic bottle free) packaging.

AVNS had both of those things, so I went a little deeper, reading customer reviews and searching their products. I found that customers are CRAZY about this company.  More importantly, customers who have tried other "natural soap" products preferred this company over others.  That was important to me because I'm starting from scratch and was worried that if I picked a not-so-good company on my first try that I would be discouraged.

{soap shown is (1) slice from the shampoo sample pack}

Here's what I tried:

I asked to try the Shampoo Bar Sampler Pack (which always comes with a free hair rinse sample as well) and the Soap Placemat.  They also included a sample of the specific shampoo & body bar too!  I picked the "sample pack" instead of the full shampoo bars for a few reasons:

First- I wasn't sure what scent to pick.  Like I said, this whole natural thing doesn't come easily for me and I was worried that I would pick a scent that smelled terrible. So I opted to try 15 different scents and find my favorite!  I also love the idea of the sample pack because it's easy to share.  I let my kids pick one of the "slices" to have in their bathtub upstairs and I picked another one for myself.  If you have a friend who is considering making the switch or has never even heard of it, you can just grab a slice from the sample pack and give it away!

I ended up trying the marshmallow & aloe scent and my kids picked grapefruit patchouliThe sample pack comes with a little pamphlet that lists all the scents in order so you can track which ones you are using and which are your favorites.

Now that I've actually tried them, what do I think?

Lather: I've used bar soaps in the past (never shampoos) and honestly they never had that great of lather- at least not enough to be used as a shampoo. I was skeptical but let me tell you... it lathers like crazy! Just as much as the bottled shampoo I've been buying for years.  I was really surprised. You just take the bar and rub it into your scalp and down the hair.  It's so easy that my kids do it to themselves!

{yes, of course we had to draw their logo on the bathtub. I mean... we have the crayons- why not?!}

Film: The other issue I've had with bar soaps before is that weird dry film that it always seems to leave on my skin.  I was willing to handle that if it wasn't too bad for the sake of using natural products.  In using it on myself and my children, I found that at first it does feel a little different but by the time I rinse off and get out of the shower I don't feel any "film" at all!

Cleanliness: But does it work?  From my experience, yes-but!  I only wash my hair once a week (really) so I was skeptical that it would last as long being made without all those manufactured ingredients that we've grown so used to.  They do say on the website that it will take your hair a few washes to really get used to basically the "lack" of chemicals.  I do feel like my hair got greasy a little sooner than it had before (by a day or so).  My kids wash their hair every couple of days and I have not noticed their hair getting oily more often than it did with their previous shampoo.

{it feels just like 'traditional' shampoo once it's on}

Chemical Free: Every bar on their website lists the ingredients used so there are no secrets.  You'll find that they are free of things like sulfates, preservatives and synthetic detergents. They really are made from natural ingredients.

Packaging: No wasteful plastic bottles here! Not only is this much better for the environment but it takes up a lot less space in your shower.  It also means that you can take these bars with you as you travel, even out in nature because they are biodegradable!

What's a "Hair Rinse"?
This was the hardest thing for me to adjust to.  I'm used to using shampoo and conditioner.  With these products you use the shampoo bar and then a hair rinse.   Below is what their website says about how and why you should use this:

"If you are going to use our shampoo/body bars as part of your hair care regimen, it is important to use a natural vinegar rinse  periodically. After washing your hair with one of our conditioning shampoo bars, either spritz a citric acid or herbal vinegar rinse all over damp hair and scalp. This step can be done before washing the rest of your body so the rinse can soak in. Then rinse it out very briefly. The vinegar smell will go away as your hair dries"

My thoughts? It's a little weird spraying your hair. I was concerned that I wouldn't get enough coverage since it's not something that gets lathered in, so I may have sprayed in more than I needed to! However, I personally believe this is just something that I need to get used to because it's different from the way I've always done it. Different doesn't mean bad and in this case it's good- it means progress! I used the 'Bergamot Orange' scent and didn't notice any vinegar smell at all (and I hate the smell of vinegar).  So definitely something to get used to but worth it. I also used this on my children.  They thought it was odd that I was spraying their hair!  I guess they are creatures of habit like I am. (hehe)

What's a Soap Mat?
Basically it's a little mat that you place your soap bar on so that it lasts longer.  Think- if you just have the soap bar sitting where it gets wet in your shower it's going to "wear away" a little faster since there is no packaging around it.  The mat keeps the bottom of it dry and gives it a little space of it's own. I have one in my shower but not in the kids' baths and I think it does help some.  Long term I think it would save you money for sure.

Some things to note:
- They do not suggest using  the shampoo/body bar on your hair if you have hard water (still okay to use on you body with hard water).  We have VERY hard water in our home but have a water softener and it seemed to be fine .  Read more about that here if you are questioning your water.

- You can use the shampoo bars on your body as well (that's what I do) but you should not use specific body bars on your hair.

-You can SEARCH for the perfect scent (by type: such as masculine scents, curly hair, thin hair, even ones made specifically for kiddos!)

{This gives you an idea of how long each "slice" lasts from the sample pack (actual bars much larger). This was before and after using on the hair AND bodies of two kids. I tried to draw lines to show the size difference but later noticed the soap is sitting differently. Instead- compare the differences based on the height against the hand sticker!}

My final thoughts:
It's a little different than I'm used to, especially the hair rinse.  However, I'm glad that I gave it a try and I'm going to stick with it. Having to learn a new way of doing things for a week or two is worth the long term benefits to my body, my children's bodies and the earth.  I recommend everyone give these products a try and I'd love to hear what you all think about them!

If you think you'd like to give them a try or you're already a fan, they are offering a $50 Gift Certificate to one of you to get whatever you'd like on their website!  Just use the rafflecopter below to enter.  Then once you've entered, head to their website, take a look around and start creating your wish list! I personally can't wait to try their latte brunette and pink lemonade shampoo bars next!

*Discount Code*  Making a purchase? Take 10% off your order when you use my code: AVNSKELSIE10

Contest open to US residents 18 or older and ends 12:00AM March 16, 2019. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway