DIY: Tissue Paper Tassel Banner

Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane

Over the weekend I got the urge to craft and decided to pick something from my favorites I posted about last week. Special thanks to Going Home to Roost for her tutorial.

This project is inexpensive, quick, easy and I’ll even bet you have everything you need on hand already. My favorite part? The finished product serves double duty, spicing up your next party, then adding a delightful and playful twist on home decor. The possibilities are endless!

Materials
tissue paper
scissors
clothespins, paperclips or similar

ribbon or twine

What To Do
Lay out your tissue paper flat. Now you can either layer with the same or different color sheets, or just use one sheet.  I used three sheets, one each of white, light blue and blue.  I don’t suggest using more than three sheets as your tassels may end up too large.
 
Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane
 
Fold the tissue paper in half width-wise (left to right as pictured). Do this now for all of your tassels so you can combine them for the next step, which will make it quicker.
 

Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane

Take two or three sets of your folded papers and place directly on top of one another, then clip together with clothespins, paper clips or whatever you have on hand.

Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane

Using scissors, cut your paper into strips, thick or thin, leaving about an inch and a half at the top.  Don’t worry, they don’t have to be perfect.

Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane

Cut until you reach the other end.

Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane

Unfold your paper, one set at a time, to lay flat.

Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane

Gently roll the paper, starting at one end to the other. The tassels may get a little tangled, but I don’t mind since the ones in the middle add volume, and the ones on the outside are easily detangled.

Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane

You’ll end up with what looks like a handle in the middle with tassels on each end. Twist the “handle” to make it tight…

Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane

…then fold the “handle” in half.

Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane

Loosen the fold enough to wrap ribbon around one side and tie a knot, leaving at least one inch of ribbon hanging from the knot.

Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane

Wrap the both sides with ribbon a few times, then use the one inch from the original knot to tie a second knot. After this second knot, leave enough ribbon to tie the tassel to whatever you string them on. I used a thicker matching white ribbon to the ribbon I tied my tassels with. Attach the tassels however far apart you wish (mine are 9 inches apart), and wah-lah!

Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane

Tissue Paper Tassel Banner | Tiffany Lane

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Craft Project Favorites

To start off March National Craft Month, I figured I’d give you the low down on some of my favorite craft projects I’ve pinned (and here’s a shameless plug to follow me on Pinterest!).

tie die tissue paper mobile_going home to roostTie Died Tissue Paper Tassel Mobile via Going Home to Roost

diy hammock_going home to roostDIY Hammock via Going Home to Roost

repurposed antique lawn mower_knick of timeRepurposed Baking Pans and Lawn Mower Handle via Knick of Time

repurposed-crate-storage-side-table_infarrantly creativeRepurposed Crate into Side Table via Infarrantly Creative

painted bottles DIY_la chica de la casa de caramelojpgPainted Bottles DIY via La Chica de la Casa de Caramelo

postcard calendar journal_design spongePostcard Calendar Journal via Design Sponge

READER FEEDBACK: share links to your favorite craft projects in the comments!

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March National Craft Month 2014!

March National Craft Month | Tiffany Lane

Maybe you’ve noticed most of the posts around here lately haven’t been related to crafting…at all. Well, I’m not gonna lie, another creative rut has hit.  What is it about these past few months? But since March is only a few days out and the fact that it’s National Craft Month, I figured I couldn’t get away with not posting about crafting. Right?

Now I can’t promise much (especially since Krav Maga is taking over my weeknights right now), but once a week for the month of March I’ll post something related to crafting, whether it’s something I’ve made, that I want to make, or just something I find cool.  Fair enough?

And to really up the ante here, I want YOU to play along! Leave comments with links to your favorite crafts you find on the web or, better yet, things you’ve made. Fair enough?

You can find all March National Craft Month posts here.

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Recipe: Coconut Caramel Bars (Grain Free/Vegan)

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

So if you haven’t noticed, it’s that Girl Scout cookie time of year. Since my husband insists on “supporting his co-workers’ kids”, (um, yeah babe, I’m sure that’s the reason) we have a few boxes in the freezer (yes, they’re better frozen). And as much as I enjoy them, since they’re delicious, I can’t get past all those pesky, unnecessary ingredients. The only way to resist my urge to eat an entire tray of Caramel Delites (they used to be called Samoas back when I was a GS), after of course eating an entire sleeve of Thin Mints, is to make my own, healthier version.

Let me stop you there. I know what you’re thinking, “But Tiffany, these aren’t even cookies, they’re bars.” Trust me, you won’t miss the cookies. These bars are so rich and delectable, those cookies will get freezer burn and you won’t even care. Nope, nada, no caring here.

To make these bars so rich and delectable, they’ve got to be filled with some pretty awesome things. Dates are one of my favorite treats and make the caramel perfectly sweet. But they really needed a punch of something else too. What better way to deck out my homemade caramel coconut bars than to fill them to the brim with coconut? Don’t you agree? Good, I’m glad we’re on the same page. And no, I’m not joking about the coconut. It’s everywhere in these babies!  My only warning is this: they’re addicting and if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself on the couch, watching a chick flick, fork in hand with an empty 8×8 dish. And for those of you watching your calories (which I don’t encourage), while they’re made with wholesome ingredients, these bars are most definitely not low calorie. Everything in moderation, right?

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

Without further ado, I present:

COCONUT CARAMEL BARS (GRAIN FREE/VEGAN) 

Inspired by Girl Scout’s Caramel Delites

Slightly adapted from Detoxinista’s No-Bake Twix Bars

Makes an 8×8 Dish

Cookie Crust
1 cup raw coconut butter (make a extra to save some for later!)*
4 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

Caramel Filling
2 cup Medjool dates (about 25-30 dates)
1/2 cup water or coconut water
4 tbsp raw coconut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

Topping

1 cup toasted coconut, flaked or shredded (I use Bob’s Red Mill Flaked Coconut Unsweetened)*

Chocolate Drizzle
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp raw honey

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325F and toast your coconut (in the same glass baking dish you’re going to make the bars in) by baking for 3-5 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from oven, pour into a small bowl and set aside.

Make the cookie crust by mixing the wet ingredients in a medium bowl, then adding in the coconut flour and salt until a crumbly dough forms. Press dough into an 8×8 glass baking dish greased with a little melted coconut oil then you’re going to pre-bake the crust (like you might for a pie) by baking for 8-10 minutes, until the top and edges just begin to brown. You don’t want to over bake here because it will go back in the oven with the filling (again, like a pie). After you take out the crust, turn the oven up to 375F to preheat while you make the filling.

For the caramel filling, blend all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender (I used my food processor since I made the filling in it after making coconut butter – no cleaning necessary!), until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice. This should only take a minute or two. Pour filling over the cookie crust and bake at 375F for 15-18 minutes, until the filling firms up, then remove from oven and top with toasted coconut.

While the bars are baking, make the chocolate drizzle by whisking together the melted coconut oil and honey, then adding in the cocoa powder until well combined.  Drizzle chocolate sauce over coconut topping and resist the urge to stuff your face until they’ve cooled.

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

*Tiffany Lane Handmade is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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Recipe: Lemon Spiced Nuts & Seeds

Lemon Spiced Nuts | Tiffany Lane

Nuts are a staple in our house. At any given time we’ll have large bags of almonds, walnuts, pecans and cashews in the fridge. We use them for various things, a few of which are: eating raw or roasted as a quick snack, tossed in salads, add-ins for granola, and bases for grain free snacks (like these homemade larabars).

Since they’re filling, healthy and delicious, nuts also make great party treats. Just in time for all those Superbowl parties! One of my go-to party essentials is spiced and roasted mixed nuts. Not only are they tasty, they’re quick and easy to prepare, both sweet and savory.  Lucky for you, I’m sharing one of my recent and favorite additions to the growing roasted nuts list: lemon spice. They’ve got a zing from the lemon and deep earthy flavors from the spices. Yummy!

Lemon Spiced Nuts | Tiffany Lane

LEMON SPICED NUTS

Adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme

Ingredients
5 cups mixed nuts/seeds (I used walnuts, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds)
1 small lemon, zested and juiced
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons fine sea salt
4 teaspoons cumin, ground
4 teaspoons coriander, ground
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon fennel, ground
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 teaspoon allspice, ground

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325F.  In a medium bowl, mix spices until well combined, then stir in olive oil, lemon zest and juice until a loose paste forms. Add nuts and toss to coat. Spread into an even layer on a lined, rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Allow nuts to cool enough to handle before eating.

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Heirloom Seed Kit (Gardening’s Not as Easy as it Looks!)

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

A friend gave me an heirloom seed kit recently and even with my black thumb, I’ve been able to keep the cherry tomato plant alive! The kit comes with seeds, soil, paper pots, wooden crate and instructions for growing the seedlings.

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Step 1: plant the seedlings

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Step 2: water and cover with plastic wrap

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Step 3: once the seedlings have sprouted, remove plastic wrap and continue to water

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Destruction leaves only one survivor (WHAT NOT TO DO: accidentally leave the pot directly underneath the edge of your roof overhang during a rain storm…oops)

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Step 4: transplant any surviving seedlings into a larger pot with new soil (keeping seedlings in paper pot, which will biodegrade into the soil)

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Step 5: water and let it grow!

Heirloom Seed Kit |_ Tiffany Lane

And grow!

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

And grow!

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Now it’s just a waiting game until it starts to fruit. I cannot wait to try my homegrown cherry tomatoes!

READER FEEDBACK: What do you grow in your garden?

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5 Simple & Natural Ways to Improve Your Health This Year

5 Simple & Natural Ways to Improve Your Health | Tiffany Lane

The start of a new year gets a lot of people thinking about how they can get or stay healthy. I’ll talk about five ways we can all improve our health this year, naturally!

You’ll see that these all play into each other as well.  If you’re staying hydrated, eating well, exercising, and lowering your stress, you will probably sleep better. Exercising may lower your stress levels. Sleeping well may give you that extra boost of energy to exercise more.

Our bodies are amazing and the more tools we give it to succeed the better we’ll be and feel.

1. STAY HYDRATED

This is so important, and sadly, many people, myself included, don’t consume enough water every day. This could be the root of many ailments because our bodies depend on water for daily functions.  Do you have a headache, are you tired, are you always sick? Maybe you just need more water. Did you know that many vitamins and minerals are water soluable? That means if you’re not getting enough water, you’re body is also not able to fully and properly absorb nutrients.  Dr. Kurt enlightened me on the subject in his post, The Urinal Reveal.  Be sure to check it out and poke around his blog for tons of information and many rants about healthy living.

So how much water should you be drinking every day? The popular belief is that everyone needs 8 cups of water, but that’s not necessarily true. The best way to figure out how much water your body needs (not including additional water for exercise) is to divide your body weight by 2.  The result in ounces should be your daily intake. For example, someone weighing in at 150 pounds should drink 75 ounces (a little over 9 cups) of water daily.

A great way to stay hydrated and be able to track your daily water intake is to use a travel water bottle.  Take note of how many ounces the bottle holds, fill the bottle up in the morning and throughout the day, and make it your goal to drink “x” number of bottles a day.

2. EAT A BALANCED DIET

There are so many fad diets out there it’s hard to keep track and know what to eat, how much and when. If you’ve been around here a while, you already know my stance on healthy eating, but I’ll reiterate for the rest of you. I cannot stress enough that eating healthy is not a diet in the common sense of the word; it’s part of a healthy lifestyle. First, you need to get your mind set on living a healthy life and the rest will fall into place. It’s more work to eat healthy. You actually have to take care to make food from scratch and read ingredient labels and research what  healthy foods are to begin with. But trust me, it’s worth it, and before you know it, it doesn’t even seem like extra work anymore, it’s just normal.

A great place to start is with a balanced diet rich in whole foods, cutting out processed foods altogether, and cutting down on sugar (it’s bad for your intestines and causes blood sugar spikes!). Some ways to help you with sugar cravings are to replace processed sweets (like cakes, cookies, candy) with fresh fruits, and use raw honey or molasses in place of granulated, powdered and brown sugars.  Eating whole, nutritious foods allows are immune systems to focus on healing rather than constantly fighting.

Here are some examples (not a comprehensive list) of whole foods you could incorporate into your balanced diet:

Healthy Fats: olive oil, avocados, nuts (raw, roasted, milks, butters), whole dairy products (whole milk, whole milk cheeses, whole milk yogurt)

Protein: grassfed beef, pastured eggs and chicken

Complex Carbs: whole grains (like brown rice, millet, quinoa, whole wheat), beans (garbanzo, black, white, pinto)

Vegetables (fiber/nutrients): greens (kale, spinach, broccoli), root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, celery root), squashes (zucchini, butternut, acorn, pumpkin), cabbages (red, white, brussels sprouts), mushrooms, celery, tomatoes

Fruits (fiber/nutrients): apples, bananas, dates, grapes, kiwi, mangoes, berries (strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, blueberries, boysenberries), citrus (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits)

Probiotics: fermented foods (yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, kombucha, sourdough bread (whole grain please!), soft cheeses (gouda), sauerkraut, miso soup), supplements (Wellness Mama has some good insight)

I understand not everyone is physically able to eat all types of food because of health conditions or allergies, and others choose to avoid grains and some/all animal products. This is just a starting point to give you an idea of what a healthy diet could look like for you.

A few blogs I like: 100 Days of Real Food, Food Babe, Detoxinista, Against All Grain, Shalom Mama, Modern Alternative Mama

3. EXERCISE DAILY

Even a small amount of light exercise every day can get you on the right track. Staying active keeps your immune system in tip top shape, can help lower stress, and can ever get you from craving junk food to craving filling, wholesome food (it does for me!).

Some ways to get off your butt and get moving: walk or run around the block or a park (take your pooch to kill two birds with one stone!), play outside with your kids, ride a bike, roller blade, walk to dinner instead of driving, walk during a work break, clean the house (again, two birds!), do yoga or pilates, go to the gym, workout at home (weights, floor exercises, jump rope), while shopping in a large outdoor center, walk from store to store instead of driving.

4. DE-STRESS

Our busy, always-on-the-go society sometimes frowns upon relaxing, but I urge you to make some time each day to simply “be.” Turn off the tv, stop making lists, put down the cell phone, stop planning for tomorrow and just appreciate the moment. Forget about the stressors of life.

Stress has a direct impact on our health and not only kills our immune systems, but drains all our energy.

Everyone is different, so something that may help lower your stress levels may not work for someone else. A few things I can think of to help you de-stress: meditation, taking light walk, watching the sunrise/sunset, praying, taking a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, taking a nap, getting a massage, playing with your kids and pets, stretching, playing a game with the family.

5. SLEEP WELL

Getting a good night’s sleep can go a long way in keeping you healthy. When you wake up well rested, you’re in a better mood and feel better, so you’re more likely to do the rest of these on a regular basis. I know that’s how it works for me.

If you have trouble sleeping and/or getting to sleep, try some of these ideas: don’t eat late at night (stop eating at least 2 hours before bedtime – your body is busy at work digesting and processing food instead of getting to sleep), stay hydrated throughout the day (so you don’t wake up parched in the middle of the night), exercise (during the day, not right before bed – this raises your heart rate and internal body temp making it hard to fall and stay asleep), turn off the tube (don’t watch tv or browse the internet right before bed – it tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime), use lavender oil on your temples, forehead and/or chest (lavender is calming).

READER FEEDBACK: What are your favorite ways to stay healthy naturally?

P.S. This post can be found at Holistic Home Link Party!

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