Archive for the ‘ DIY ’ Category

Finals, Spring 2012

Here’s how I survived Finals, Spring 2012 (If you have any desire for prints, re-use, etc. please notify me. Being my photography, I own the rights, and do not want anything reproduced without my permission.):

Tani quickly realized I was going to spend 90% of my awake time at my desk, ignoring her, so she survived by spending a lot of time snoring on my lap as I studied. When she wasn’t on my lap, she was on a decoy paper I had on my bed (as in a sheet of paper I WASN’T using for studying).

Speaking of Tani, I had dreamed up a project that would prevent her from sitting on my alarm clock, changing the volume, etc. I wasn’t going to actually complete it during finals time, but I was antsy one day, and got ‘er done.

One of the evenings when I was simply sick of studying I took a quick break to head over to Old City Cemetery, in hopes there would be raindrops of roses, since it had just showered. I was in luck.

This wasn’t my only trip to Old City Cemetery – another day I went in hopes of swinging. Again, I was in luck!

When the two weeks of torture were finally OVER my roommate and I treated ourselves to pedicures.

The sunset tonight wrapped up these past two weeks in a beautiful way.

I am so glad finals are DONE and I am free for the summer.

Now I’m off to catch a late movie at the dollar theater!

~Amber Joy


Being a homemaker continued… or I really like sewing my own stuff.

I have sewn quilts, blankets, and my amazing purse, but I have never sewn clothes… Until today. I sewed my very first skirt!

Unfortunately, I really just made it up as I went, because I had the wrong kind of elastic for this tutorial – – and not enough fabric according to any of the tutorials. Therefore, I didn’t take any pictures, because I was focusing on not wasting my $15 of fabric. Yes, I splurged on fabric. I wanted a loud, but not crazy, print. I wanted bright colors, but nothing outside my color palette or comfort zone.

So, here’s the finished product:

Fortunately, I can retell my steps for those of you dying to recreate this project.

1) Get fabric of choice, preferably polyester or rayon. These fabrics don’t wrinkle like cotton, but are still washable. You’ll need 1 1/2 to 2 yards. Basically whatever wraps around your waist one and a half times. I made a high-waisted skirt so I just need 1 1/2. Also get elastic. I used 3/4 inch.

2) Keep fabric folded in half, like it is on the bolt. Cut 2 strips (since you have it folded in half, just make one cut) that will be two times wider than your elastic once sewn together.

3) Place the right sides together of the 2 strips and sew along both long edges. Turn right side out.

4) Measure your elastic by stretching it around where you would prefer the waist to be. Add one inch and cut.

4) Using a safety-pin, thread your elastic through the waistband, making sure to hang on the both ends otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time fishing it out. Sew each end of the elastic to the waistband, making sure to go over at least three times to secure it.

5) Turn the skirt body so the right sides are together. Sew the long edge (opposite the fold), and turn right side out.

6) Here comes the fun part…. Sew the sewn long edge of the skirt body to the waistband. The elastic will make it be scrunchy, but stretch it out to ensure the fabric lines up. It’ll work, I promise.

7) Turn the fabric right side in, and sew the remaining seam.

8) Put on and admire your handiwork!

The beauty of this project is there is not a hem. It makes for a great introduction to sewing my own apparel.

I’m considering tacking some pleats along the waistband, so it’ll lay exactly right each time I put it on.

I can’t wait to wear it! It’ll most likely make its debut in the Dominican Republic — my trip is just TWO WEEKS AWAY!

~Amber Joy

Soap from Soap, finishing touches.

Here’s what I found when I checked out the soap this morning:

Is it liquid or a solid? Or both?

 The consistency was weird. It was neither liquid nor solid, and nothing like soap at that point, so I added a couple more steps.

7)Whip the soap with an electric mixer. Make sure to get all the clumps. Squish them with your hands, if necessary.

After being whipped.

8)Be amazed at what was just created: Liquid soap. It should be a snot-like consistency, which may be disgusting, but that’s when you know you’ve got what you were aiming for.

9)Funnel the soap into container of choice. The snot-like consistency makes this a little tricky.


Ta da! 1 gallon of soap!

What a fun project!

~Amber Joy

Soap from Soap! DIY

Today I made soap, out of soap. Did you know that if you take a bar of soap, melt it into some water, add some glycerin, and let it cool, you’ll get soap? Neat, huh? I was originally inspired by Savvy Housekeeping a few months ago (, but never got around to it. Just recently my sister and her roommate made some ( inspired by The Farmer’s Nest (, and my desire to make my own was renewed.

This afternoon I scoured CVS for Glycerin, with the help of an employee. We didn’t have any luck until I called my sister and she directed me to it, even though she’s in Minnesota and I’m in Virginia! I proudly showed the employee who had given up by that point, then went on my way. I bought Neutrogena Naturals Face and Body bar (, because my sensitive skins prefers no dyes and added chemicals, etc. Because I will need a place to keep all of this soap, I bought a gallon of water, and plan on funneling the soap into the gallon. Clever, right?

That’s all you need! 7-8 oz of bar soap, 1 gallon of water, and 2 tablespoons of Glycerin.

Soap, 1 gallon of Water, and Glycerin - that's ALL.

Here’s how I made it:

1)Pour the gallon of water into a large pot, and put on the stove on medium heat. The other tutorials save this step for once the soap is grated, but I did this as my first step, because I anticipated grating for a while, and wanted to be time efficient.

2)Grate the soap. Be prepared to be shaky afterwards, if grating alone. Get a grating partner if possible. My left hand served as my partner, although it wasn’t as coordinated and quick as my right hand.

One bar grated, down to a nub.

Part way through the second bar - taking a photo as an excuse to rest.


3)Add the soap to the water.

4)Add the Glycerin.

The soap in the process of dissolving.

5)Stir until the soap is dissolved. It should look like soapy water.

6)Take off the heat and let rest for 12 hours.

The soapy water moved to the back burner for an 12 hour rest.

7)See if you have soap!

Note – I just did steps 1-6 this evening, and am now one hour into the resting. I’ve read it may be snot like consistency, or may need some whipping. We will see! If there are more steps, I’ll add those tomorrow, along with a picture of the finished product.

I’m excited to use this soap! It’s saves a lot of money, and gives you the bragging rights of being resourceful.

~Amber Joy

PS – Sorry the photos aren’t top quality! I AM a photographer, but didn’t have the energy to figure out how to properly capture things in the strange lighting of my kitchen. Plus my fingers were soapy, so I didn’t want to have much contact with my camera.