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Remember when I shared how to make a basic, two strand braided ribbon lei and promised that a tutorial for the more complex, four strand version was forthcoming? Here it is!

Honestly, it’s still fairly simple in the grand scheme of ribbon leis, but it’s complex enough to look special and can be pretty wide when made with ribbon larger than 1/4″. It’s great for occasions like Mother’s Day, graduation, or even weddings. Wouldn’t these be cool as wedding favors? Or even as a make and take project for a summer birthday party?

Braided Four Strand Ribbon Lei Tutorial

Because this lei uses four strands of ribbon, you can us anywhere between one and four different colors. I think two or three look best, but the choice is yours. The example is made with two colors of 3/8″ ribbon. Using 3/8″ ribbon for this project creates a pretty wide finished lei (mine is about 1.5″ across) that shows up really well in photos.

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Wordless Wednesday – Pack it up

pack it up bike

natashal

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I don’t tend to post my crafting and culinary failures. I know some bloggers do, and some people think they should, but I don’t. Usually when I mess up, it’s too much of a discouraging, unappealing mess to look at! I picked up a bunch of purple sweet potatoes recently with the intention of creating sweet potato latkes. Well…they may have tasted okay, but they were hideous. The potatoes oxidized and turned this awful brownish grey color that I didn’t even want to eat, no matter how good them smelled! Purple sweet potatoes are gorgeous, though, and I really wanted to create and share a recipe using them. I went back to the drawing board and came up with these mashed purple sweet potatoes with lime and coconut.

Paleo Coconut Lime Purple Sweet PotatoesI’m actually glad my latke attempt turned out horrible or I probably never would have made these. Man, they are delicious! Especially when you steam or roast the potatoes, instead of letting them get all soggy in a pot of water, and then add more coconut on top.

Paleo Coconut Lime Purple Sweet Potatoes with flaked coconutHave you ever steamed potatoes? It’s pretty easy, and the purple sweet potatoes smell fantastic while they’re steaming! I know that doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true.

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Monday Dose of Cute – Relaxin

It was a lazy Saturday morning at the zoo. I found many of the denizens enjoying the sun on a warm but windy day!

relaxin

sleeping fennec fox

sleeping chimp

I really didn’t mind, though, because it let me practice taking photos through the enclosures without having to worry about the subject scurrying off! I also played with the exposure compensation which, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit, I had never used before last week (even though I’ve owned this camera for two years!).

I’ve been actively trying to learn more about/improve my photography since Papi Chulo left, and so far it’s been a fun and rewarding experience. I kind of read a little when I first got this camera in April 2013, but then I just got busy with life and plodded along with the “no flash auto” and, occasionally, aperture priority modes. I was really inspired by BBArtisan teammate Rose’s tabletop photography e-book, specifically by her RAW tips and how to deal with the format. Her book convinced me to try RAW, and then I really thought about how much more than me the camera could do and started doing more reading and experimenting. My pictures are still far from excellent and my understanding of photography far from perfect, but it’s really great to try out new things and see some improvement.

natashal

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This is the essential oil deployment survival kit I recently sent off to sea with my husband. He’s on a submarine, so he doesn’t have much space! Each item in the kit is there for a reason, and they’re all oils I know he likes and uses. I’ve already gotten emails about how one oil or another came in handy! Even though I designed this kit for my husband to take on deployment, it would also make a great present for loved ones left at home. Whether your loved one is headed off for deployment or just a busy day at work, I hope these suggestions for an essential oil survival kit help you out!

MYO Essential Oil Deployment Survival Kit

Here’s what’s in my kit:

  • Lavender
  • OnGuard Beadlets
  • PastTense
  • Breathe roller bottle (recipe below!)

And they’re all packaged up in a nice, padded zipper bag I made him! He was actually the inspiration for my entire line of zippered essential oil carrying cases, which are currently top sellers in my Etsy store.

These aren’t just random bottles I threw in a bag! Each one is there for a purpose, so here’s the story:

Essential Oil Deployment Survivial Kit [click to continue…]

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“Wordless” Wednesday – Aloha ‘Oe

“Aloha `oe, aloha `oe
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo
One fond embrace,
A ho`i a`e au
Until we meet again”

From Aloha `Oe by Queen Lili`uokalani

boat 1

aloha oe 1

boat 3

aloha oe 2

natashal

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You know that situation where 1) you suddenly find out about an event you need to attend and 2) that you have been volunteered to bring something to eat? And then, just for extra fun, make it so you can’t actually get to the store between now and then, as it were, and have to fix up something from what you have on hand. Yeah…this happened around here recently.

Papi Chulo volunteered to stop by the Commissary and pick up something ready-made, which made me insist with volume and vigor that I could figure something out, no way I was bringing some store made stuff to a cookout. And that’s how this Greek yogurt caramelized onion bacon dip was born. Funny thing is, he ended up getting out of work late and we didn’t even go to the cookout! The dip was a huge hit at home, though, and Papi Chulo even asked for it to be included in his lunch the next day. Because I know there are some vegetarians who stop by my blog – I can assure you that this dip is also amazing without the bacon, so just leave it out and enjoy some onion dip that’s way better than anything from a mix! Plus, it doesn’t have any mayo or sour cream, so it’s healthier (and, I think, tastier) than pretty much any ready-made onion dip you’re going to find.

No Mayo Greek Yogurt Onion Bacon Dip [click to continue…]

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Monday Dose of Cute – Speckled Bird

I have no idea what type of bird these two are, but I watched them strutting around for a while last week!

spotted birds

Does anyone know what they might be?

natashal

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Free Printable Nautical Wedding Table Numbers!

I feel like a slacker because I haven’t posted many tutorials lately, but I don’t regret not taking the time to write them. I’ve been spending as much time as possible with my husband while he’s been in port because he’s about to leave on deployment. This is our second deployment, and it actually feels much harder than the previous one. During his last deployment, I was working full time, was a full time grad student, and I didn’t live where he was stationed. During this deployment, I’ll be living in the apartment that’s been our home for well over a year and working from home, which makes things feel pretty different!

Even though I’m glad I’ve spent the last couple weeks with my husband instead of glued to my computer, I do really love sharing. That is why today I decided to post some freebie printable table numbers for all the folks out there brave enough to take on a DIY wedding! I designed these for my Etsy store and had all these plans to create additional items around them, but best laid plans and all that. I don’t have the complementary items to support them in my store, but I know people find my blog while looking for DIY wedding ideas, so I hope someone finds these and enjoys them.

Free Printable Nautical DIY Wedding Table Numbers

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Wordless Wednesday – Balboa Park, 1915

1915

natashal

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